Feb. 5, 2018

Campus initiative to enter second phase this year

As the year wrapped up a little over a month ago, so did the first stage of Cleveland State University’s Path to 2020 Initiative.

Cleveland State President Ronald M. Berkman introduced the initial phase of the project in 2015 — which concluded in 2017.

Associate Vice President of Budget and Performance Management Timothy J. Long, explained that multiple reasons led to the project.

One of the main reasons was that the university recognized the on-going struggle to provide not only affordable education, but also a quality education.

Additionally, Long said that the State of Ohio placed a freeze on tuition cost for undergraduate education — causing no revenue growth for Cleveland State.

These concerns, combined with encouragement from the Faculty Senate and the Board of Trustees to inspect administrative costs, sparked the development of the Path to 2020 plan.

“The Path to 2020 initiative was developed to examine all activities and operations of the university with the goal of identifying how we could become more efficient and help maintain an affordable cost of education for CSU students,” Long said.

Phase one focused on identifying areas for improvement of efficiency within the administration from 2015 to 2017, Long explained.

Many administrators and faculty worked to develop charters and objectives for each initiative and provide a schedule to stay on track over the course of the two years.

Additionally, Long said the initiative created the Office of Performance Management, which consists of two employees — Long and Benjamin Rogers, director of Office of Performance Management.

The duo reports to President Berkman and oversees all projects under Path to 2020.

Long also noted that Cleveland State did not extensively seek outside help to create the action plans.

Although the planning process of this phase required the attention of many Cleveland State employees, the search for the new president did not slow down the progress, Long explained.

At the conclusion of the initial stage of Path to 2020, Long already noticed successes.

“The initiative was able to identify efficiencies that resulted in approximately $3.2 million in administrative expense savings to the university,” Long said.

He continued to elaborate on the benefit of faculty suggestions for efficiency. One of the solutions suggested was exploring a third-party company to manage parking on campus.

For the short-term, Long recognizes the accomplishments of phase one of Path to 2020, but he explains that the long-term success of this project depends on the attitude of the Cleveland State community adapting to the changes across the university.

“Ultimately, I think the success of a program like the Path to 2020 will be dependent on how all of us at Cleveland State assimilate this into our culture,” Long said.

This is only the first step for Cleveland State as 2018 began and the university plans to introduce the follow-up for the next stage.

The second step to the project will be announced in several weeks to come Long explained.

The second portion would be more reflective of the difficulty to provide affordable and quality education.

“The focus will be on developing two-to-three-year strategies for all areas of the university to consider and discuss, regarding how we continue to stay true to our mission, in light of the financial challenges that are affecting higher education,” Long said.

At the halfway point of the Path to 2020, the progress pleases Long and he looks to a hopeful future of Cleveland State’s effort to become more cost efficient.

“The encouraging thing about the first phase of the Path to 2020 is that it was a collaborative effort of project teams comprised of faculty and administrative staff employees,” Long said.

“We have to do this kind of work together—because we’re all in this together—and I think we made a great start.”


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