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UNT slimming down administration

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer
By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer

Up to 20 positions to be cut this summer

The University of North Texas is eliminating nearly 20 administrative positions this summer to increase efficiency, following recommendations from an outside consultant firm.

The Boston Consulting Group of Dallas recommended the university cut about 60 administrative positions that appear no longer relevant — a number that was marked down by the university to “no more than 20,” UNT President Lane Rawlins said.

“Most of their recommendations — and I think they expected this — we did not follow because we had information they didn’t have,” Rawlins explained.

For example, the consultants suggested cutting an administrator because they did not see any direct employees, though the position supervised student workers.

Rawlins says he thinks the changes will make the university more efficient, as many of the positions that were eliminated had overlap with other jobs or were no longer necessary to university functions.

“No one has a right to hold a job that no longer has work with it, and people know that. That’s not news,” he said. “Now and then you have to do this in an orderly way, and we think we’ve done it fairly well.”

The cuts are part of an ongoing battle to eliminate 100 positions to help get the budget back in check and saving the university about $5 million a year. Most of the other 80 eliminations are coming from current vacancies, Rawlins said, and the university is working to offer other employees whose jobs are being eliminated other positions or retirement packages.

“We’re really trying to find the easiest ways — the ways that are least destructive to people’s lives — to make this all happen,” he said. “But if we don’t do this, the university will stand still. ... If we didn’t make this happen, we would be dead in the water and wouldn’t be able to hire in the growth areas.”

This is a trend at public universities in Texas over the past two or three years since the 2011 state budget was a rough year for higher education, said Dominic Chavez, director of external relations for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

“For the last two to three years, our board is working closely with institutions on cost efficiency,” he said. “We recognize that if we’re going to maintain the same level of access and service at our institutions, we have to bend the long-term cost curve.”

“Generally speaking, the board feels that whenever a public institution can increase cost efficiency, increase productivity and maintain the same amount of quality the state expects, it’s a net positive for not just the state but also the taxpayers and students,” he said.

In a report to the UNT Faculty Senate earlier this month, UNT Provost Warren Burggren said the university will announce a full list of the new administration and reorganization changes in the fall.

Rawlins said the notification process is underway, and the university is working to offer retirement packages and other positions to employees whose positions have been eliminated.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.