Franklin College Administrative Services Initiative
Beginning in Spring 2021, the Franklin College began conducting a comprehensive review of all staff positions with three key objectives: (1) to preserve the jobs and salary levels of current Franklin College staff, (2) enhance service and support for departments, and (3) improve career paths and professional development support for staff. Phase I of this project was a transition toward a business services model.
In response to department and advisory committee feedback during Phase I, the Franklin Works project team is working in partnership with department heads to identify needs and opportunities to further alleviate administrative load locally in departments. Some tasks were previously assigned to departmental business staff as part of their job duties prior to moving into the college’s business services office and need to be reassigned. Other tasks were duplicative of existing college-level services or identified as emerging opportunities for improved efficiencies. Areas of focus for Phases II and III include departmental administrative support and college-level facilities services.
Phase I: Business Services – Completed
- Completed: December 2021
- Key Benefits: service improvements, collaborative working environment, operational efficiencies
- Areas of Focus: expert financial support, pre- and post-award research support, personnel & payroll expertise, purchasing and travel processing
In Franklin College's model, business staff work as a team in a business services office rather than distributed in departments. This allows for increased specialization (e.g., grants specialists), enhanced service levels, and professional development opportunities, which are all beneficial for both faculty and staff. It is important to note that departments have business services staff members assigned to support them, so you can still pick up the phone and call someone who understands the unique needs of your department. Each department also has at least one administrative support individual on-site to provide local support.
The transition to OneSource created opportunities to review our structure and adopt a business service and support model that better aligns with best practices and has been successful at several peer and aspirant institutions. There are numerous benefits to both faculty and staff, examples of which are outlined here. With recent departures, more than 25% of Franklin College’s departments have business staff position vacancies; these were the first to transition. Further, the pandemic has created financial challenges that require us to decide where we want to invest in the future. This model allows us to protect the jobs of existing staff members while creating efficiencies for the college, which will allow Franklin College to invest in areas that directly advance our teaching, research, and service missions.
Phase II: Departmental Administrative Support - In Process
- Expected Completion: July 2022
- Key Benefits: ensuring administrative support for departments, reducing administrative load
- Areas of Focus: administrative support for department heads, undergraduate course scheduling, graduate program support, reduce duplication of effort
Each department’s administrative needs are unique, and there is no “one size fits all” solution. In most cases, departments prioritize coverage for core services local to departments, including office management and administrative support for departments, graduate programs, and undergraduate programs. Most departments have existing staff whose primary job duties are aligned with these core services, and where applicable, the Franklin Works project team offers guidance to department heads to update job descriptions to remove business services responsibilities at the department level and recalibrate administrative duties remaining local to the department.
Where vacancies exist, the Franklin Works project team is working with department heads to consider ways to refine job duties to reflect current needs, balance workloads, and recruit talent. Additionally, efforts to further reduce duplication of effort with college-level services are made on a case-by-case basis (e.g., academic advising, communications, development, information technology, study away). In these cases, the respective associate deans, directors, and project team members will offer guidance to update job descriptions and implement changes where applicable.
Phase III: Facilities Services – In Process
- Expected Completion: March 2022
- Key Benefits: building management, after-hours support
- Areas of Focus: building-related service and support, including space management, access control, and emergency contacts for after-hours support
Many departments expressed interest in establishing a college-level facilities office, allowing building-related service and support by personnel who specialize in facilities management. The Franklin Works project team is working with the Dean’s Office to establish a new team under the direction of Associate Dean Michelle Momany, who oversees the facilities for the college. Recruitment for four full-time positions, including a facilities manager and three facilities professionals, began in December 2021, and the team is expected to be in place in Spring 2022.
The Franklin Facilities Management Team (FFMT) will help departments with many facilities-related tasks, including space management, access control, and after-hours emergency response. The team will work in collaboration with departments in their assigned support zone and with campus partners, including Facilities Management Division and the Office of Emergency Preparedness.