Kevin Hegarty responds to Faculty Council request for Shared Services information

Madlin Mekelburg

Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, submitted a response to a Faculty Council resolution requesting more information about the Shared Services Plan on Thursday morning.

In his response, Hegarty agreed to add a non-administrative faculty member nominated by the Faculty Council Executive Committee to the Shared Services Steering Committee. Hegarty also included information about the role of management-consulting company Accenture in the implementation of Shared Services and a list of the University units that volunteered to participate in a pilot version of the plan.

The plan consists of a list of recommendations — scheduled to be submitted to President William Powers Jr. in the coming months — designed to cut costs through the centralization of human resources, finance, information technology and procurement services at UT. The plan also outlines the elimination of at least 500 jobs, which, according to University officials, will take place primarily through natural attrition and retirement. 

Faculty Council passed a resolution requesting more information about the plan at their January meeting. The resolution, authored by the Faculty Council Executive Committee, asked Hegarty to share specifics of the Shared Services Plan with the public. It passed by a vote of 28-3.

“We would like to emphasize the need in all discussion on campus for transparency,” said William Beckner, mathematics professor and chair-elect of Faculty Council, at the meeting. “We would like to have information about how the pilots are progressing.” 

The resolution requested a variety of data, including an explanation of Accenture’s role in Shared Services.

In his response, Hegarty said Accenture played a role in the Project Management for the Committee on Business Productivity, which aims to identify opportunities to cut University costs. Hegarty said Accenture also played a role in developing data for the steering committee to determine the potential success of Shared Services at UT. According to Hegarty, the combined cost of these services is more than $4 million. 

Hegarty said there is no current contract with Accenture.

The resolution also asked Hegarty to disclose which University units have already volunteered to participate in a pilot version of the plan. Hegarty provided a list of 11 units that have volunteered, including the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education, the McCombs School of Business, the Moody College of Communication, the Jackson School of Geosciences, the Dell Medical School, the Portfolio of the Chief Financial Officer, the Central Business Office, the President’s Office and the University Athletics Administrative and Business Affairs. 

Hegarty also provided a list of higher-education institutions which have already implemented their own versions of Shared Services, which UT will be observing. The list includes multiple campuses at the University of California, the University of Michigan and Yale University.

Hillary Hart, engineering senior lecturer and chair of Faculty Council Executive Committee, said she appreciated Hegarty’s prompt response. 

“The more I know about this and compare it to how things were done at Michigan and Yale — the two other Shared Services at universities I know the most about — we are just approaching it so differently,” Hart said. “I think [Hegarty] made a really good start on responding to the resolution and providing the information
we requested.”