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Town Hall covers ASU strategic business framework

May 10, 2012

Key elements of Arizona State University’s strategic business framework were outlined at the recent 2012 Tempe Town Hall.

ASU President Michael Crow greeted Town Hall attendees during a videotaped message, commending university employees who support ASU’s mission to educate students while finding better ways to work together, advance ideas and improve the quality of the institution.  

Morgan R. Olsen, ASU's executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer, thanked the staff for their service and discussed the university’s strategic business plans. 

"There are so many things that go well every day because of the efforts you make,” Olsen said. 

Olsen cited economic factors that have greatly affected the university, such as the recent economic downturn that prompted ASU’s need to respond in a quick and innovative manner. ASU continues to evolve today in an era of rising costs in areas such as health care. 

“What we do has become more expensive,” he said. “We need to change how we do things.” 

To ensure that Arizona is globally competitive and contributing to a highly educated populace, key elements of the university’s strategic business framework include building the student pipeline at every level from kindergarten to higher education, increasing the production of college degrees by 50 percent, and doubling the sponsored research volume. 

The university must be cost effective and secure resources to thrive, building quality and performance while maintaining affordability. The strategic business framework anticipates degree production can increase through improved retention and graduation performance, instructional innovation and growth of new platforms such as ASU Online. Research performance also will grow, and the university will seek additional enrollment from nonresident and international students. 

"We think there’s a lot of enrollment growth potential through recruitment of students from other states and countries,” Olsen said.

At the same time, ASU is planning to control tuition increases while offering an array of financial aid options, ensuring wide access and affordability for students. Allocation of State investments in higher education is changing from an enrollment-based model to one based on outcome or performance measures, such as funding based on increased retention rates, degrees produced and research productivity. Producing more graduates is enhanced through programs such as the Maricopa-ASU Pathways Program (MAPP) and Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) programs, he added. 

Cost effectiveness is a primary tool in the plan through the use of technology and the use of private sector services when efficient and effective, while enhancing student success and outcomes and building brand awareness and quality. Compared to other research universities, ASU’s performance already is superior.

“We’re already very productive and cost effective,” Olsen said. “We need to take that next step.” 

If the university performs this year at the level projected, ASU is in a position to make general salary increase adjustments over the next several years, Olsen said. 

Strategies that can accomplish this include cost controls, increased tuition from non-residential and international students, ASU Online growth to 20,000 students by 2020 and partnerships that benefit the university.

ASU also is examining its relationships with its health and retirement plan sponsors. The purpose of the study is to ensure that both ASU and its faculty and staff are getting maximum value for their benefits dollars. 

Kevin Salcido, chief human resources officer, provided a report on his department’s initiatives, including retooling the compensation program that was put into place in 1985 by replacing it with fewer and broader bands of positions and pay ranges. A Peoplesoft upgrade is currently being implemented and online sexual harassment training for employees will help ensure that ASU is still an employer of choice. 

"It’s good to be proactive. ASU still is seen as a destination employer with 55,000 people a month visiting the applicant website,” Salcido said. 

Salcido encouraged employees to take advantage of the tuition-reduction program and added that there are no plans to discontinue this benefit. 

Additional ASU Town Halls will take place:

• 9-10:30 a.m., May 14, at the West Campus Kiva Auditorium

• 9-10:30 a.m., May 17, at Nursing and Health Innovation-2, room 110, at the Downtown Phoenix campus

• 2:30-4 p.m., May 21, at the Union Ballroom on the Polytechnic campus

The ASU Staff Council and Office of Human Resources sponsor the Town Halls.