Reengineering the Institution

Under the leadership of executive vice president
and chief financial officer Leonard W. Sandridge,
the University has streamlined administrative operations,
improving efficiency and freeing up resources for academic programs.

The most pressing challenge facing the University is meeting the steady decline in state support for higher education. Today 12.7 percent of our resources come from the State of Virginia; ten years ago the state provided 29 percent. Between 1990 and 1994, state funding declined 27 percent, dropping the Commonwealth's spending per student to forty-third in the country, only slightly ahead of Alabama, Mississippi, and West Virginia.

Rather than simply cut back, we devised creative solutions that extract the highest possible value from the University's resources. During 1994-95, our efforts were guided by seventy-six detailed objectives contained in "Targeting Excellence," a blueprint for streamlining and reorganizing that drew on the initiative of faculty, administrators, staff, and students throughout the University.

We shifted significant resources from administrative to academic areas. The separate administrative structures of the College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences were consolidated this year, realizing a net savings of $175,000, which was then reallocated to teaching. Reorganizing the University's purchasing office produced an additional $100,000 in annual savings, earmarked for the new Technology and Teaching Initiative. And a further $250,000 in onetime savings were gained from reducing general stores inventory and eliminating warehouse staff. These funds were used to configure eight electronic classrooms.

Each month, the University's administrative mainframe prints an average of 700,000 pages of reports, which, if stacked in a single pile, would tower over two hundred feet high. By transferring this information to the University's electronic PC network, the Department of Information Technology and Communication (ITC) intends to curtail this print run drastically. Users will be able to review the reports and print only the pages they need. ITC is also putting most of the University's 1,260 forms on line, allowing faculty and staff to process paperless transactions instantaneously.

The University has taken the lead in combining computer and communications net works to automate routine processes such as registration. Students now dial up ISIS
(the Integrated Student Information System) and register for classes automatically by telephone in little more than a minute. Old-style University Hall registration is now a thing of the past.

The University posts course information, job openings, news releases, event schedules, and documents about the University (including admissions publications and the President's Report)  on the World Wide Web, the segment of the Internet combining graphic images, sound, and video. About 35,000 computer users each week visit the University's homepage (, which was recently rated among the best in the nation by evaluators at Columbia University.

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