Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
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Student Services Transformation Planning

Background & Decision Making Framework

The goal of this project is to fundamentally transform the ways that faculty and staff deliver, and students access the tools and services that support their university lives.

Project Motives

In today's university environment, students expect that the administrative aspects of their living and learning experience will be seamless, simple, and easy to navigate. Faculty and staff have similar expectations for their work in providing student services. Unfortunately, the administrative offices and functions that support students at UB are all-too-often disconnected, duplicative, and difficult to navigate. In an effort to meet and exceed the expectations of today's and tomorrow's students, faculty and staff, UB has initiated the Student Systems Transformation project to evaluate the multiple components of our current student system and to explore ways to improve and integrate them.

Decision Making Framework

The Executive Steering Committee and Student Systems Transformation Project Team have developed a Decision Making Framework that provides an outline for the decision making process that will be followed throughout the Student Systems Transformation project.  This process is meant to be collaborative, with decisions being made via agreement at the lowest appropriate level whenever possible.  The framework also provides guidance for escalation of decision making when it is absolutely necessary.

Decision Making Roles

Sponsor

  • The highest level executive responsible for the project; has final funding, personnel, and organization decision making authority and responsibility.

Decider

  • The final (single) decision maker; is ultimately accountable for decisions and has the authority to resolve any impasse and to commit the organization to action.

Reviewers

  • Have veto power—yes or no—over a proposed recommendation. Exercising their veto triggers a negotiation between them and the recommenders, leading to a modified proposal.
  • If negotiation takes too long or if the two parties simply can’t agree, the recommender escalates the issue to the Decider.

Recommenders

  • Responsible for making a decision proposal, gathering input, providing the right data and analysis to make a sensible and timely decision.
  • Consult with the people who provide input, not just hearing and incorporating their views, but also building buy-in along the way.

Advisors

  • Consulted on the decision. Because advisors are typically involved in implementation, recommenders have a strong interest in taking their advice seriously.
  • Their input isn’t binding, but this shouldn’t undermine its importance or consideration.

Performers

  • Responsible for executing the decision. In some instances, the people responsible for implementing a decision are the same people who recommended it.