BGSU could save millions PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 11:35
Putting Bowling Green State University on firmer financial footing will take campus-wide changes, consultants from Accenture reported to the campus community Wednesday.
About 700 faculty, administrators, staff and students gathered in the student union ballroom to hear the report that promises the university net savings up  to $85 million over five years through dozens of changes.
David Metnick, a managing director, said that the recommendations were developed through meetings with more than 50 campus "leaders, academic leadership, administrative staff, classified staff and students."
The company was paid $500,000.
President Mary Ellen Mazey said the university will now take over studying and implementing the recommendations. She promised to convene working groups to study the recommendations in January.
"I'm very optimistic as long as everyone works with us... we can implement every one of the recommendations," she said.
The plan calls for "a dedicated project management team to manage the overall initiative." The initiative would require an investment of up to $13 million.
Metnick asserted that not only will the recommendations save the university more money, but could also help bring as many as 3,000 new students.
The recommendations, presented by Metnick and Accenture strategy manager Samantha Fisher, covered the gamut of university offerings and operations.
Included is a call for reducing the number of general education classes and requiring minimum enrollment for those classes to be offered. A Faculty Senate committee is already studying the issue. The university now offers 315 courses, and Accenture suggested getting that down to 125.
Another recommendation is for the university to offer more online courses. The report says only 10 percent of BGSU students now take at least one online course. Nationally, 32 percent of students take courses online.
David Jackson, the president of the BGSU Faculty Association, said he found those recommendations "insulting." Consultants who do not teach courses shouldn't be making recommendations about what courses are offered and how many students are in those courses, he said.
He also questioned the idea of offering more online courses without taking into consideration the quality of those programs.
Accenture also recommended either closing the university bookstore, moving some items to other shops, offering a "pop-up" bookstore early in the semester and creating "a robust online store," or contracting with an outside company to run the store.
More cost savings, Accenture said, could be achieved by consolidating offices. That would include: one office to handle student services; another to oversee student internships and co-ops; and another to manage and promote all conferences and events on campus.
These, Metnick said, would not only be more efficient, but also would better serve students.
Achieving some of the results would require cooperation with the city. The report contends BGSU is paying higher municipal utility rates than other institutions and calls for the administrators to discuss lower rates with the city.
At the same time, the report calls for extensive energy conservation measures and the use of more "green" energy sources including geothermal and solar.
This pleased student Josh Chamberlain of the university's Environmental Action Group. He attended the speech, he said, to make sure he was informed about the initiative.
Alex Solis, the president of the Undergraduate Student Government, said the changes could make the university "a different place."
But, "if we do what is right for students, the BGSU experience can be preserved."

Click here to download the full report on Accenture's findings.


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