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Project Seeks to Identify Gaps, Help Staff


Hands on a keyboard

Last fall, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer conducted an administrative activities survey to learn more about the administrative functions and activities across the University of Pittsburgh in the areas of finance, human resources, marketing and communications, procurement and purchasing, research and general administration services. 

Importantly, this was not an effort to reduce current staff, but rather an opportunity to identify needed improvements, work smarter and evolve together to support the University’s mission. Approximately 4,700 staff members responded to the survey, and a summary of the results is now available online

To assess and act on these insights, the University launched the Administrative Services Design Project (ASDP), which aims to better understand how Pitt can help staff and make their lives easier, as well as improve the experience of University members who rely on their work. 

Ideas welcome

Members of the University community can provide ideas and feedback on the Administration Services Design Project website.

“The project provides an opportunity to reassess many things in the way the University is operating for people to do their best work, addressing pain points like job creep due to early retirement programs, as well as roles that rapidly adapted to meet the University’s challenging, unique needs during the pandemic,” said Dave DeJong, senior vice chancellor for business and operations. 

As an example, the ASDP might identify that many people are doing tasks such as procuring supplies but without any connection to each other. As another example, the project might consider ways to remove silos, as Pitt IT did through the One IT at Pitt initiative to integrate their services more effectively and consistently throughout the University. 

Staff from units and departments across the University are represented on six core teams and additional functional groups in the ASDP. Through the work of these core teams and valuable ongoing input from faculty and staff, there are abundant opportunities to discover and pursue untapped solutions, focusing on collaboration and innovation throughout the process.

Victoria Lancaster, assistant vice chancellor for operational excellence, is leading the ASDP and said she readily invites Pitt community member feedback. 

“Now is the time to come together to talk about outdated, inefficient processes and find ways to build a better future at Pitt. Thank you to the project teams who are leading this important effort and to Pitt community members for their support, working together to be foundationally better and stronger,” said Lancaster.

Core teams are in the initial exploration stage of the ASDP, which will evaluate how administrative work is being completed and will take place over the coming months. Each team will then be charged with addressing common administrative function pain points and advancing new ideas to help the University community.

Work will be conducted in coordination with the Office of Human Resources’ Compensation Modernization initiative, which includes aligning positions and mapping career pathways for staff members within the University’s infrastructure.