Medical School consolidates to cut costs

The school combined four finance department clusters into one.

by Dina Elrashidy

After more than half a year of discussions, the University of Minnesota Medical School decided to combine four clusters within the finance department in an effort to cut costs.

The Medical School recognized that within its accounts payable functions âÄî which manage the schoolâÄôs money âÄî there were four clusters working separately with different departments when they could be combined into one group.

âÄúWe are constantly looking at ways to improve and make things easier for faculty and staff,âÄù said Sue Richards, finance director of the Medical School. âÄúWe constantly are looking if we can help each other.âÄù

The change comes after the retirement of one cluster director and the departure of another. Instead of refilling the positions, the Medical School saw the opportunity to increase its efficiency by redefining roles and reallocating personnel, Richards said.

One of the current cluster directors is likely to lead the new unit, she said.

The clusters werenâÄôt able to help other departments because the process wasnâÄôt streamlined in all areas, Richards said.

âÄúThis is an activity that all departments [can share] rather than each department repeating it,âÄù said Mark Paller, executive vice dean of the school.

The school aims to combine the four clusters, which have existed since 2008, into one unit by July, Richards said.

Though total savings from the change arenâÄôt yet certain, Richards said that it will be cheaper to process the accounts payable within the Medical School since the process will be streamlined with a focused staff.

Paller said the school constantly looks for ways to increase efficiency, just like other schools within the University.

âÄúThereâÄôs no grand plan,âÄù Paller said. However, if other opportunities present themselves, the Medical School will look into them, he said.

Though this move did not come from central administration, it falls in line with University President Eric KalerâÄôs plans to increase efficiency around the University. A University senate committee began reviewing duplication of roles within central administration last year.