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July 28, 2003

Reorganization Designed
To Improve Service Delivery

A reorganization of the University's administrative structure, unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees on July 22, is designed to improve service to students and faculty, contain administrative costs, and enhance the integration of functions across UConn's campuses.

The key elements of the change include:

  • Establishment of a position of "vice president and chief operating officer," with responsibility across the University for functions including information technology, facilities management and operations, construction and business services, human resource management, and other administrative services.

  • Elimination of the position of vice president for institutional advancement. Many of the responsibilities previously held by that office will be handled by the president of the University of Connecticut Foundation, John Martin, or by University administrative officers.

  • Changing the title of chancellor and provost for university affairs to "provost and executive vice president for academic affairs" to better reflect John Petersen's responsibilities for leadership of the research, instructional, student life, and service activities of the Storrs-based programs.

Lorraine Aronson's title will be changed from vice president for financial planning and management to "vice president and chief financial officer," reflecting responsibilities that include oversight of budgeting, financial management, and financial reporting at the Storrs-based programs and the Health Center. Aronson and the new vice president and chief operating officer will work closely with Petersen and Dr. Peter Deckers, executive vice president for health affairs, who hold responsibility for the University's core functions of teaching, research, service and (at the Health Center) clinical operations.

Effective August 11, the vice president and chief operating officer's position will be filled by Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith, who brings to UConn a record of 25 years' experience in higher education administration and finance, including positions as vice president for finance and administration at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and, from 1993-97, as vice chancellor for financial affairs at the University of Alabama System. Since 2000, she has been a principal in Flaherty-Goldsmith Consulting, where she has led a PeopleSoft implementation project in Colombia, South America, and an Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project for a major research and health care institution.

"I am confident that this new structure will enhance the University's effectiveness, and help us maintain the highest levels of service delivery while containing administrative costs," said President Philip E. Austin.

Austin noted that the changes are particularly important in the present economic climate, since state support is declining as a percentage of the University's operating budget, even as enrollment grows and the physical transformation of the University's campuses statewide accelerates.

"We do not yet know the outcome of the current budget negotiations in Hartford, but it is clear that we will face very serious challenges for the foreseeable future," he said. "In this environment, it is critical that the University make the best possible use of every available dollar to enhance service to students, to strengthen our research capacity, to assure high-level and cost-effecti ve clinical service at the Health Center, and generally to build on our record of service to the state. We actively pursue cost reductions and reallocate resources to better meet our continuously evolving needs. Now the next step is to make our administrative structure as efficient as we can make it."

The restructuring reinforces the administration's commitment to the concept of "one University" - an integrated, cost-effective institution with multiple campuses (Storrs, the regional campuses, the Health Center, and the professional schools), all moving in the same direction and all positioned to realize available economies of scale.

The new administrative structure is one of the outcomes of a year-long study of the University's business services and human resources management. The study was conducted by the Pappas Consulting Group Inc.

Flaherty-Goldsmith, who also has taught in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Management and Marketing and chaired the Finance Committee of the University of Alabama Health System Board, has had responsibility for administrative and financial oversight of a public research university with a nationally-recognized academic medical center. She has worked in challenging budget climates and has experience implementing administrative improvement initiatives to support academic priorities and strategy.

"Ms. Flaherty-Goldsmith comes to UConn understanding our needs and our aspirations and her experience equips her superbly to help us reach our goals," Austin said.

Flaherty-Goldsmith said she was attracted to the University because of its growing academic reputation and aspirations and the quality of its management team.

"People across the country know that UConn is in the midst of a period of tremendous progress," she said. "I look forward to working with President Austin and all my new colleagues to build on the achievements already made and assure that our administrati ve operations continue to meet the needs of students, faculty, and all other members of the University community."