Campanella Says Delta Is Progressing

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

The Project Delta Master Plan nearing completion will dramatically change the University's business processes and delivery of services, Executive Vice President Frank B. Campanella said at Faculty Convocation yesterday, and will significantly reduce its operating costs over the next several years.

Campanella, who devoted most of his Convocation address to Project Delta and its likely impact on the University, said the result will be a university more able to compete in a considerably tougher marketplace and one that better fulfills its teaching and research missions.

Project Delta and the University Academic Planning Council study of long-term academic goals, Campanella said, reflect "the necessary transformation of Boston College, the need to make Boston College stronger than it is, both academically and managerially.

"We need to do this so that we can compete against the best, who are stronger than we are by some significant factors in areas like endowment, faculty reputation, libraries, laboratories, student centers and student advisement," he said. "Many we are already competing against whether we ever wanted to or not."

While the University can take pride in its new standing among the nation's elite higher education institutions, Campanella said, it cannot be "satisfied with it until we are in a position of regularly winning in this new league."

The first step toward accomplishing this, Campanella said, is to recognize that traditional methods of doing business in higher education - relying on large tuition hikes to fund faculty salary increases and building plans, for example - are no longer sufficient.

The University must, therefore, find new ways of becoming more productive and must streamline processes so it can deliver better service to faculty, students and their families, he said. At the same time, he added, Boston College must resolve the conflict between its lofty aspirations and its limited revenue base by significantly reducing costs across the University so resources can be allocated most effectively.

Technology, he added, will be a key component in the University's efforts to achieve those goals.

Campanella noted that there are examples on campus of the kinds of improvements envisioned through Delta: the systems which enable students to register for classes by computer, or allow faculty to use Internet and related technology instead of traditional request forms for obtaining resources.

The master plan - now being developed by Project Delta members and representatives of Andersen Consulting - will spell out other such initiatives, he said. The plan also will detail some infrastructure changes, like the use of technology to replace paperwork, and short-term opportunities, such as a pilot project involving a specific office.

Campanella said Delta administrators now believe the University can "pull $25 million permanently out of the budget over the next five to seven years," although as planning and implementation go on that figure could increase or decrease. Just as importantly, he continued, the organizational structure of the University will be transformed.

These changes also will encompass "the roles and responsibilities of the people who work here, the measurements and incentives for performance, and skills and training," Campanella added.

Every employee at Boston College will be affected by Project Delta, he said. The only areas exempted from Delta's review are faculty's teaching and research responsibilities, which are being addressed by the UAPC.

Acknowledging that change can be unnerving to organizations, Campanella said effective communication of Delta's goals, strategies and tasks is critical to the project's success. Project Delta's leadership will do so through electronic and newsletter-style publications, he said, but also will take the time to discuss the project with members of the University community.

Campanella also pointed to "the culture of Boston College," which recognizes a shared responsibility and loyalty between the institution and its faculty and staff.

"These shared values and experiences in our culture will help us to deal with change," he said.

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