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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • U. of Minn. administration gets passing grades

  • A highly anticipated report prompted by complaints of "administrative bloat" gives the University of Minnesota administration passing grades but also shows areas that could be streamlined.
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  • A highly anticipated report prompted by complaints of "administrative bloat" gives the University of Minnesota administration passing grades but also shows areas that could be streamlined.
    Consultants found staffing levels within four of the university's administrative offices are "within a broad range of responding peers." But the report didn't explicitly say whether the university spends more on administration than similar universities, the Star Tribune reported Thursday.
    While the university's administrative offices are not all above average, "I don't think they're all that bad," said Richard Pfutzenreuter, the university's chief financial officer.
    "We've got opportunity and a lot of work ahead," Pfutzenreuter said.
    The Board of Regents will discuss the findings Friday.
    In January, top state lawmakers asked that the university compare its administrative costs against other big research universities after perennial concerns about costs intensified last session.
    Chicago-based Huron Consulting prepared the new report. It examines four areas — finance, purchasing, human resources and information technology.
    The report points out several areas where the university is highly decentralized, sometimes suggesting that more clustered structures could be more efficient.
    The University of Minnesota paid the firm $495,000 for the work.
    This is the second of two reports requested by Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and state Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, after the Wall Street Journal in December singled out the University of Minnesota for inflating its ranks of administrators, saying that the school had gone "on a spending spree over the past decade."
    University President Eric Kaler contested many of the paper's conclusions but promised a swift review of the university's administration.
    The first report analyzed the structure of a part of the university's workforce — about 600 positions in human resources, finance, information technology and purchasing. It concluded that there were "few areas that require attention" but says the university "could improve" its staffing per supervisor.
    Consultants will finish that analysis for the rest of the university's workforce this summer, officials said Thursday.

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