Dear Colleagues,
I am writing to update you on efforts to develop a shared administrative service model for the University of Chicago. Through the summer the Provost’s Office has worked to share information about the project and to solicit faculty input. Although more input and discussion is needed as we continue to develop proposals for shared services, faculty feedback has led to important insights on how to better manage this process. Most importantly, the discussions with faculty and staff have shown that shared services should not be viewed as an isolated initiative but needs to be viewed as one element of a continuing effort on administrative improvements. This will entail a broader, long-term effort will be needed to consistently evaluate and improve the quality of administrative service on campus. A key goal of such efforts is to develop mechanisms that provide recourse and improvements when issues of service quality or capacity arise.
An essential part of this process will be to better assess and recognize the time that faculty members spend on administrative work and consider the impact of the current service structure and potential changes on that effort. The project will examine ways to decrease the administrative burdens on faculty and thus better serve the academic missions. In the coming weeks we will be collecting additional information on faculty administrative efforts from units and welcome your individual input. 
Moving forward, the Provost Office is now the sole executive sponsor of the project and will continue to provide ongoing oversight. As part of this process a Faculty Working Group is being convened to provide regular input on the project. This group will provide feedback on proposals for shared services and is expected to take particular care in reviewing elements that directly impact academic work and the service needs of faculty and other academics.
As we continue to consider how shared administrative service organizations could contribute to cost cutting and better service to the academic mission, your input is critical. Faculty forums will be continuing into the academic year and we hope you will participate. Please find links to forum registrations here (expired link removed) or email input to: Members of my office are also available to attend faculty meeting, other group meetings or to meet individually. 
Daniel Diermeier
Policy and Administration