Innovation and Greater Efficiency
William & Mary has launched a number of initiatives to promote innovation in our academic and business processes, to seek new revenues and to reallocate resources to highest priorities. This emphasis on sustaining excellence with limited resources has long been a tradition at William & Mary, where levels of performance are exceptional, particularly in comparison to the funds available. U.S. News & World Report ranks the College 33rd in quality despite ranking 97th in financial resources, by far the widest gap of any national university.
But innovation has taken on even more importance as part of President Reveley’s announced plans for William & Mary to build a new financial foundation resting on four “P’s”: (1) Performance worthy of support; (2) Productivity at high levels sustained by innovation, even greater efficiency and new sources of earned income; (3) Philanthropy; and (4) Public support for capital projects and, to a diminishing extent recognizing current trends, operations, with flexibility to take advantage of William & Mary’s unique strengths building on the restructuring legislation. Each of these elements depends on a record of exceptional stewardship.
Three related programs are now underway to make sure that the university continues to achieve great results with its limited resources.
- First, in the fall of 2011, the Provost directed each dean to reallocate costs or increase net revenues cumulatively by 5% of their school’s Education and General (E&G) budget over the next three fiscal years (FY13-15) in order for the freed up funds to be reinvested in our highest priorities. These reallocation efforts, which will total $5.8 million/year by the third year, are important both in and of themselves—they will free up important resources—and also symbolically in demonstrating that the College and its faculty are taking the lead in making needed changes. All the deans have now submitted their reallocation plans and each school has a realistic strategy for meeting its reallocation goals. The reallocations include net revenues (new programs and expansion of summer, continuing education and foreign LLM programs), salary savings and (in one case) expansion in private giving.
- Second, in November 2011, the Provost announced a Creative Adaptation Fund of $200,000 for each of the next three years “to engage and unleash the creative energy in the academic areas to develop creative adaptations that improve the quality of our educational programs either directly or indirectly, by reducing costs or generating new revenues and thereby providing funds that can be reinvested in people and programs.” In the spring of 2012, the seven initial projects were selected.
- Third, the creative adaptation initiative builds on an effort launched in the fall of 2010 to explore innovation and greater efficiency in all of the university’s processes. The review identified more than 60 initial projects (now expanded to over 70) across the campus. Some of those projects have now been completed, some are still underway, and others have been added, including those initiated under the Creative Adaptation Fund. The tracking system in place to follow implementation and record results shows that over $2.1 million in costs savings and new revenues were achieved in 2011-2012, the first full year of the program.