ROSE and OARS move forward at U of M

The resource optimization and service enhancement (ROSE) and the optimization of academic resources (OARs) projects have been at the University of Manitoba for over two years but what effect have they had?

Debbie McCallum, vice president administration, said 26 initiatives were implemented last year as part of the ROSE program.

McCallum said potential savings of up to $6.1 million have been negotiated or implemented through ROSE so far and the projects and are on track to eventually save $8 to $15 million per year.

McCallum also said revenue is projected to increase by $12 to $15 million as a result of these programs.

ROSE was launched in 2009 to find specific ways to make the university’s business run more efficiently and cost effectively.

“ROSE is a large program, the largest ever taken on by the U of M,” said McCallum.

McCallum said the biggest financial impact of ROSE has been the negotiation or renegotiation of potential supply chain savings of up to $3.45 million each year.

McCallum said implementing Concur, a travel booking system, will save $400,000 each year in booking fees and $1 million by booking lower cost flights and hotels.

McCallum also said reducing print materials, through e-pay-stubs, e-phonebook, e-faculty reports, etcetera, is saving the university $200,000 annually and supporting sustainability goals.

But saving money hasn’t been the only effect of ROSE.

“Certainly there have been some position reductions over the past two years and there may be some in the future,” McCallum said.

McCallum said the projects under the ROSE program will be completed in 2013 but there are also other opportunities that will be considered for implementation.

The OARs project is moving in two significant directions.

Susan Gottheil, vice-provost (students), said part of OARs is the academic clusters that led to the President’s announcement about considering reducing administrative structures at the university and reducing the number of faculties.

Gottheil said OARs is also looking at what kind of enrolment the U of M wants through the Strategic Enrolment Management (SEM) planning committee.

“We’ve been growing but we know that quality has been eroded because we don’t have enough resources,” Gottheil said.

Gottheil said the SEM committee is looking at how the university wants to grow, the balance between undergraduate and graduate students, retention and student success.

Cameron Morrill, president of the U of M’s faculty association (UMFA), said there is some hope that ROSE and OARs can get rid of inefficiency and redundancy but UMFA has some concerns.

Morrill said members are concerned about the university’s contract with Xerox for supply of printers to the university, which is part of the ROSE project.

Morrill said there will be network printers shared in one central location but that could lead to problems if professors are trying to print confidential materials such as exams or reference letters.

Morrill said he thinks there will also be mixed reactions to the Concur system but that he liked a lot of aspects in it, such as the creation of U of M credit cards, allowing conference attendees to charge their expenses to the university.

Frank Wright, president of CAW 3007, said his caretaking members have been greatly affected by the ROSE project since it resulted in ARAMARK taking over their management.

Wright said by CAW 3007’s estimates some caretakers workloads have doubled and morale has gone from an average level to “well below where it should be.”

Camilla Tapp, president of UMSU, said it is her opinion that the privatization of caretaking services has impacted students directly, resulting in reduced service.

Tapp said several initiatives under ROSE have benefited the university as a whole but she also said UMSU feels several decisions made under ROSE were wrong for the university and UMSU’s members.