University plan calls for elimination of 500 jobs

Madlin Mekelburg

A draft of the “UT Shared Services Plan,” designed to reduce costs at the University, outlines the elimination of 500 jobs and a centralization of certain university services, according to a draft of the plan obtained and distributed by the Texas State Employees Union.

The plan is set to go into effect as early as spring 2014 and would take four to five years to execute.

The goal, as outlined in the report, is to create this elimination mainly through attrition and retirement. University spokesman Gary Susswein confirmed the “UT Shared Services Plan” calls for the elimination of 500 jobs and said UT could not promise that layoffs would not take place to meet this quota.

The plan is a part of a larger report titled “Smarter Systems for a Greater UT,” which was put together by a group of prominent business leaders — many of them UT alumni — and released in January.

The draft of the plan states these job losses will occur in human resources, finance, procurement and information technology, as the University seeks to centralize the services offered. Currently, an estimated 4,500 people are employed in these fields. It states that by centralizing these services, there is a potential for improvements in the services’ organization and workforce impact  because of the creation of new career path options and a redefined focus on service and performance. It also indicates that this process will lead to the implementation of enabling technologies in these fields as well as employing leadership focused on making decisions with the community in mind.  

UT will have to invest somewhere between $160 million and $180 million in order to centralize these services, according to the plan. This money will go towards redesigning jobs and administrative organization, training employees and increasing use in technology and creating new capabilities within these services. It predicts the University will save $30 million to $40 million every year.