Dear Members of the Faculty and Staff,
We are writing to update you on the progress this semester of the TEAM Project and outline the next steps in this important initiative to increase administrative effectiveness and efficiency across Tufts.
We have now completed the assessment phase of our work:
• We engaged in a 16-week assessment of all Tufts’ administrative functions.
• We initially identified close to 100 opportunities to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
• We then narrowed these opportunities to nine focus areas for deeper analysis.
On the basis of the input we received from over 700 faculty and staff, and after reviewing the work with the Steering Committee and TEAM Project Executive Committee, we have decided to move forward with a number of opportunities that have the potential to bring significant value to Tufts.
Over the next few weeks, for each area of focus we will be selecting key sponsors to guide planning for implementation. We will then convene working groups of faculty and staff for these areas with representation from all schools and campuses. The working groups will represent a variety of perspectives including faculty and staff who have day-to-day involvement in these areas and therefore can best advise on the most effective way to implement new processes and policies. We will continue to use outside expertise to assist us.
We are already beginning work in two important areas:
• Information Technology: We will move to unify and strengthen IT support for end users across the university through 24/7 phone service, local service centers, and specialized teams for more efficient service, and create a single university IT operation.
• Sourcing and Procurement: We will streamline purchasing activities to reduce vendor prices in a number of high-impact areas including Facilities; Food Services; Lab Supplies; Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO); and Subscriptions.
We are in the early stages of detailed planning for implementation in four additional areas:
• Advancement: We will leverage our resources to increase fundraising capacity by standardizing approaches and tracking in line with best practices within Tufts and the profession.
• Operations: We will increase productivity through the launch of a new energy savings program, enhanced facilities management, improved processes, and new staff training initiatives. This work will build in part on the work of the Campus Sustainability Council, whose final report will be issued at the end of this week.
• Research Administration: We will design approaches to create more consistent and improved quality of service to better support faculty and researchers in pre- and post-award activities.
• Web Services and Communications: We will provide coordinated website support to simplify the delivery of a unified Tufts image and communicate effectively with internal and external audiences.
We have identified three further key areas where we have opportunities to strengthen service to the community and are preparing for detailed planning in:
• Administrative Support—how we can help staff most effectively support academic and administrative functions;
• Finance—streamlining transactional services such as accounts payable and payroll;
• Human Resources—enhancing transactional services such as hiring, on-boarding, personnel action processing, and performance management.
We will continue to update you and look forward to sharing progress in each of these areas as the TEAM Project advances. We encourage you to continue to refer to the TEAM website for questions or to share comments.
Throughout the assessment phase, staff and faculty have expressed their enthusiasm for efforts to make it less burdensome to advance our critical academic mission. Looking ahead, we will be relying on your insights as we work to develop innovative approaches to achieving that shared goal. While we will be asking deans and senior administrators to nominate members of our community to serve on working groups in each of the nine areas, anyone who would like to self-nominate, or nominate a colleague can do so by writing to the TEAM Project Manager through the website.
Thank you for your continued support and involvement as we move forward with the TEAM Project.
Tony Monaco, David Harris, and Patricia Campbell