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September 02, 2014 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-02

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2C - Fall 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily cm

Faculty raise concerns over
'U' consolidation project

Proposed cost
cutting initiative
sparks protest from
faculty, students
Managing News Editor
DEC. 9, 2013 - Through bit-
ter winds and the frigid snowfall,
echoes of "chop from the top" and
"no AST cuts" resonated across
the Diag.
Marching from Rackham
Auditorium to the Fleming
Administration Building, almost
50 students, faculty and staff
gathered Monday to deliver a let-
ter to Rowan Miranda, associate
vice president for finance. Miran-
da is one of the administrators
involved in the implementation
of the proposed Shared Services
Center - but has come under fire
because of his previous relation-
ship with the consulting firm that
designed the initiative.
The center, a component of
the Administrative Services
Transformation project, would
consolidate some University
departmental staff members into
a central location on State Street
near the University's Wolverine
Tower, creating an estimated
savings of $5 to $6 million per
year. The transition would move
almost 300 clerical employees
to the new location and would
require that they re-interview for
their new positions.
While University administra-
tors announced that they will
delay the transition due to a
slew of faculty concerns and a
1200-signiture strong petition,
the group assembled Monday to
demand a full rollback of the AST
Rackham student Brian Whit-
ener, a member of the Student
Union of Michigan, said the let-

ter delivered to Miranda includes
a job application for him to fill
out to be evaluated by the group
of protesters. The gesture comes
after staff members affected by
the Shared Services Center were
required to re-interview for their
jobs with the University.
Along with the Student Union
of Michigan, members of the
Graduate Employee's Organiza-
tion and Lecturers' Employee
Organization also participated in
the march.
Whitener said the mixed group
of student and faculty partici-
pants reflect the importance of
halting the AST initiative by
demonstrating how it negatively
affects the majority of the campus
"We think that the University
should be run in a different way
and it should be run with the pri-
orities of students, who are the
primary attendees of the institu-
tion, and workers, who are the
primary motors of the institu-
tion," Whitener said.
While Whitener said he agrees
that costs should be cut at the
University, he believes AST is
not the right way to do it. He
said upper-level administrators'
salaries should be cut and the
University should halt "needless
and unnecessary" construction
projects that cost millions. SUM
has previously voiced its opposi-
tion to the $180 million Munger
Graduate Residences - the Uni-
versity's largest current construc-
tion project.
"It is a stand-in for a larger
logic of what the University
should be and how the University
should be run, and we're opposed
to that," Whitener said.
University spokesman Rick
Fitzgerald said while it is too
early to predict the future plans
for the consolidation initiative,
University Provost Martha Pol-
lack and Tim Slottow, executive
vice president and chief financial

officer, are currently speaking to
concerned faculty members to
gauge their opinions.
"We will continue that impor-
tant dialogue as we work together
to evaluate the different options
for structuring shared services in
the near future," Pollack said in a
Earlier this year, the University
signed an $11.7-million contract
with Accenture LLP, a Chicago-
based consulting firm, to help
facilitate the AST consolidation
process. Miranda previously
worked for the firm, but Slot-
tow said in November Miranda
removed himself from firm rela-
tions "to eliminate any possibility
of real or perceived bias."
Rackham student Diana Sierra,
a member of GEO, said the AST
consolidation efforts would hurt
the least financially stable staff
on campus and a disproportion-
ate amount of women employees.
"I see this as a very explicit
attack on the workers at campus,"
Sierra said. "You see that the Uni-
versity is trying to handle a so-
called budget crisis on the backs
of its most vulnerable workers,
and I think that's part of a bigger
issue as to who has decision-mak-
ing power on campus."
Although Sierra said that
workers would be potentially laid
off with the implementation of
AST, University officials said in
November that there will be no
layoffs as a result of the new Cen-
Rackham student Paige Ander-
sson said decreasing resources for
the lower-level workers on cam-
pus sheds light on what she sees
as the larger goals of the financial
framework at the University.
"The focus is away from educa-
tion and the resources to provide
an affordable education - which
affects diversity and all sorts of
other things - to basically enrich
people at the top," Anderson said.
See AST, Page 7C

Ross junior Sumana Palle speaks during the Student Union of Michigan's protest against the Administrative Service
Transformation Project.
University announces new
leader for shared services



Thom Madden
to replace Rowan
Miranda at head of
AST controversy
Daily News Editor
DEC. 11, 2013 - The Univer-
sity announced Wednesday that
Thom Madden, the University's
director of sponsored programs,
will replace Rowan Miranda,
associate vice president for
finance, as the leader of the
shared services initiative.
Madden will now serve as the
chief architect behind the imple-
mentation of shared services, a
component of the Administra-
tive Services Transformation
Project designed to centralize
275 department-level staff in a
principal service center.
University faculty, staff and
students have raised concerns
about Miranda during the past
month because of his previous
employment with Accenture
LLP, a Chicago-based consulting
firm that the University hired
to facilitate the shared services
implementation. The Accenture

contract is worth $11.7 million.
In a statement, Timothy Slot-
tow, executive vice president
and chief financial officer, said
Madden has worked closely
with departments and faculty on
financial reporting of research
grants, making him a strong can-
didate for the position.
"Thom Madden is inan excel-
lent position to lead the next
phase of this initiative," Slottow
In orchestrating the leader-
ship transition, Slottow said
Miranda's focus was needed
elsewhere as the University
of Michigan Health System
begins steps to acquire Jackson-
based health system Allegiance
Health. The statement also said
Miranda will focus his attention
on the next wave of cost cutting
related to procurement costs and
the selection of the University's
next treasurer.
University spokesman Rick
Fitzgerald said Miranda's previ-
ous position at Accenture and
the resulting faculty outcry had
no influence on the change in
"As you know, he wasn't a part
of the selection of Accenture,"
Fitzgerald said. "It has nothing
to do with that. It has everything

to do with this project moving
into a different phase. As associ-
ate vice president, he has a very
broad area of responsibility and
needs to focus his attention on
other areas."
He added that the transition
comes at a time when the initia-
tive's strategy has refocused on
seeking additional faculty input
and a more inclusive implemen-
tation process.
"At this point, we've essential-
ly turned the corner for getting
the important input in exactly
what form to move forward,"
Fitzgerald said. "It's gone from
conceiving the shared services
initiative to the best form for
The transition in leadership
comes only a few days after
about 50 students, faculty and
staff, many of them members of
the Graduate Employees' Orga-
nization, Lecturers' Employee
Organization and the Student
Union of Michigan, marched
from Rackham Auditorium to
the Fleming Administration
Building to deliver a letter to
The letter included a satiri-
cal job application indicating
that Miranda would need to re-
See MADDEN, Page 10C


LEFT: Art & Design junior Ian Matchet speaks during the Student Union of Michigan's protest against the Administrative Service Transformation Project. CENTER: LSA sophomore Cosmo Pappas leads the Student Union of Michigan's protest through
the Diag with a sign that reads "Chop from the Top." RIGHT: Ross junior Sumana Palle and Art & Design junior Ian Matchet deliver a letter of dissent to Rowan Miranda.

Life just got better.
11:11 am
facebook.com/NewLifeA2 NewLifeA2.org

Shared services center set for August launch

Faculty release
40-page letter
addressing issues
surrounding move
Daily NewsEditor
MAY 2, 2014 - Though admin-
istrators have spent months
addressing faculty and staff con-
cerns, the University's proposed
shared services center continues
to face criticism leading up to its
official launch date in August.
In recent weeks, University
officials have claimed success in
addressing concerns after outcry
over the consolidation erupted
last fall. However, faculty mem-
bers continue to voice dissent,
as evidenced by a 40-page let-
ter to the regents delivered last
week. The letter, signed by a
dozen faculty members, railed
the University's high administra-
tive salaries, but also launched
criticisms at the administration's
continued pursuit of service cen-
The proposed project, which
would congregate about 250
unit- and department-level staff
in a shared operations center, is
predicted to save the University
$5 million annually and is part
of the larger cost-saving initia-
tive, the Administrative Services

With the first phase of its
implementation set for Aug. 4,
110 staff members will make the
initial transition to the shared
services building near Wolverine
Thom Madden, the AST senior
project director, said this first
round would include central-
ization of accounts receivable
processing, accounts payable,
benefits administration and
human resource data manage-
In this phase, 16 of those
employees are moving from units
within schools and colleges, the
vast majority because they cited
preference for positions affect-
ed by the center's first deploy-
ment. The remaining employees
assigned to the new center will
make the move at some point
between January and March.
Madden said his project team
has spent the months leading up
to the implementation engaged
in a "collaborative process" to
ensure employees are prepared
for and comfortable with their
new assignments and faculty do
not face the burden of additional
administrative duties.
The project's next stage will
still require additional engage-
ment on behalf of the Univer-
sity, which Madden said his team
plans to continue during the
summer. Though construction of
the shared services facility will
be completed by the end of May,
he said the University will work

with faculty and staff to mold
business process for the new cen-
"The next phase has greater
touch points with both faculty
and staff, so we will have a very
comprehensive engagement pro-
cess in place for- this last phase,"
he said.
Madden said this kind of out-
reach has significantly cooled the
outrage expressed by many Uni-
versity faculty members of the
past year.
"The overall temperature for
the shared services center on
campus has gone down dramati-
cally," he said. "I think going
through the engagement process,
having good, open, construc-
tive dialogue with the faculty, is
really starting to resonate. And I
think they know we are not just
giving lip service, we are truly
listening to what they say and we
are acting on it."
ny Mora, one of the authors of the
faculty petition, said this assess-
ment is inaccurate. He noted that
surveys asking for input under-
mined any real critique of the
process and that forums to open
conversation instead consisted of
lengthy presentations touting the
merits of AST.
"There's no way to bring fac-
ulty on board to something that
they actively oppose," he said.
Though Mora said the large
movement of faculty rallying
against the transformation pro-

vided cause for optimism, the
University's response has been
less than promising.
"It was an incredibly rare
moment that there was so much
consensus among such a huge
section of the faculty and the
response by Mary Sue Coleman
was just gut-wrenching for all of
us," he said. "It was astounding
that she treated the faculty as if
they were misbehaving five-year-
olds and basically gave us the
answer that we were doing AST
because she said so."
Coleman initially delayed
transitions beyond April to allow
time for gathering feedback
on the project, but remained
committed to AST's strategy
throughout the process.
Madden said the tangible
evidence of the center's suc-
cess would convince some of the
remaining critics to change their
views. Data accessible to the
public could include, for exam-
ple, markers such as customer
and employee satisfaction, cost-
savings and efficiency measure-
"These metrics will be very
visible and everybody will seo
how the organization is operat-
ing and the organization will be
managed based on those met-
rics," he said. "I really think
that's what sets this organiza-
tion apart as being a true campus
asset and that's the way it's going
to be governed."
See LETTER, Page 10C





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