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Review to examine coordination of administrative services

During November and December, Dartmouth will take a comprehensive look at how it organizes, supports and coordinates administrative functions. The initiative was announced to all employees by Provost Barry Scherr and Executive Vice President Adam Keller on Oct. 14 and discussed at a recent meeting of the President's Administrative Forum.

At that meeting, Scherr explained that Dartmouth routinely examines how administrative functions are organized, but not often from a comprehensive perspective. "Once in a while, we need to step back and take a broader view," he said. The College has commissioned McKinsey and Company, the global management consulting firm, to help guide the effort.

The goals of the review include gaining a better understanding of how other institutions are organized and finding areas at Dartmouth where services might be enhanced in support of the College's learning, teaching and scholarly environment. "We're not looking at this as a way of saving money or cutting budgets," Scherr emphasized. "We want to make sure we're using our resources well and that our structure is one that breaks down barriers, facilitates communication and supports the kind of collaborations that characterize Dartmouth's distinctive educational landscape."

John Crane, Deputy Librarian of the College, will serve as the primary contact with the McKinsey team. "My role is to help the McKinsey team get the best possible information from Dartmouth, and to help administrators at Dartmouth understand the context and goals of the McKinsey review," Crane said.

Scherr noted that the College has evolved substantially over the last century, adding administrative functions to support new disciplines, collaborative efforts, student services and structures that ensure compliance with federal mandates. "This is a good time to assess how we are organized and how services have been added to the mission," he added. "In order to remain a leader among educational institutions, we must continually search for new ways to use our resources effectively."

"Like virtually every other institution of higher education," Crane observed, "Dartmouth has grown by bolting on new pieces or enlarging existing pieces as new requirements have emerged. It's been a long time since we've taken a look at whether our administrative structure, as it has evolved over the years, optimally delivers the services our faculty and students need. How do we measure effective service? Can we do a better job with communications across the College? Does our administrative structure encourage coordination?"

The McKinsey team will issue a report this winter that will then be shared with the appropriate committees and others for further discussion. Questions on the review should be directed to John Crane.


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Last Updated: 12/17/08