Comprehensive Administrative Review

Sun rising over Tech Tower

Comprehensive Administrative Review

The Comprehensive Administrative Review


What is the Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR)?

In April 2017, Chancellor Steve Wrigley of the University System of Georgia (USG) announced a Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR) of the system office and all 26 USG institutions.

The goal of the CAR is to address the challenge of how to provide quality education in the most cost‑effective manner.

The objectives of the CAR are to:
  • identify ways that administrative functions can be conducted more efficiently and effectively;
  • enhance support for delivering on the global, statewide, and local missions of USG institutions;
  • achieve opportunities for savings to provide greater affordability and access for students; and
  • strengthen the core academic enterprise and improve student support services.
The CAR is expected to assist the USG and the respective 26 institutions by:
  • developing model organizational structures and processes that will enhance our ability to deliver on our teaching, research, and service mission;
  • developing and implementing 21st century operational models;
  • gaining staff input to enhance administrative effectiveness and efficiency at all levels; and
  • identifying administrative cost savings that can be redirected to core functions of teaching, research, and service.

Georgia Tech offered to participate in the first phase of this process, along with a cohort of other schools.

Between November 2017 and February 2018, more than 3,500 Georgia Tech employees provided input to the USG. Our employees contributed important perspectives, experiences, and information about their work through surveys, focus groups, and interviews.   

In the late spring we received an initial report with the results of the assessment, which indicated practices that are working well and also identified opportunities for Georgia Tech to make local improvements.

We are now ready to launch our Institute-specific CAR action planning and implementation process. This presents a tremendous opportunity for us to address administrative and process challenges and identify ways to streamline our operations and improve efficiency.

Graduation crowd

Report Summary

Report Summary

The report reflects input from more than 3,500 Georgia Tech employees who were selected to participate because they have significant administrative responsibilities.

It indicates what is working well and where we have opportunities for improvement. The report is a starting point for a deeper examination of our policies, procedures, and practices in some key focus areas. 

However, the report alone does not provide enough detail to take appropriate action to resolve the challenges. The three core areas that the report emphasized were:

Spans of Control and Organizational Layers

Although there is no "right size" that fits all organizations, too many or too few spans or layers can affect organizational and operational effectiveness. Georgia Tech has 11 layers of administrative staff hierarchy (levels of reporting) in our structure.

Our spans of control average 3.7 employees for every supervisor. In both spans and layers, the guideline is about 6-8 (direct reports and organizational layers). The working group will need to more closely examine each layer and areas where span of control is higher or lower than recommended.

Alignment and Distribution of Administrative Functions

The results showed how similar work is performed in the units across campus and also within centralized functions. Three key areas noted were information technology, communications, and human resources.

They also noted possibilities for better aligning facilities work. A detailed review of sub-divisions and departments will focus in these areas to determine whether efforts are misaligned, duplicative, or the division of labor is intentional and supportive of the Institute’s mission and strategy.

Best in Class and Room for Improvement

Select processes within information technology, communications, and human resources were noted for best-in-class operations.

Other processes in human resources, purchasing and travel, and information technology were commonly identified as opportunities for improvement. The working group will discern these variations to determine where a positive impact can be made.

Student reading on steps

Action Plan Teams

Action Plan Teams

Consistent with the USG and colleges and universities participating in this process, we have formed two groups: an executive-level decision group and a working group.

These two groups will play a key role in identifying and taking action to address and implement the results of the assessment. These groups are intentionally small, with the expectation that they will interact and collaborate with people and units across the Institute

The Working Group

The working group will examine the data collected by USG, work closely with unit management and staff where opportunities for improvements were indicated, and make recommendations to the decision group. Members of the working group are:

  • Sandi Bramblett, assistant vice president, Institutional Research and Planning
  • Rusty Edwards, director of finance and administration, College of Engineering
  • Robert Foy, senior director, Institute Finance Support Team
  • Juanita Hicks, deputy director, Georgia Tech Human Resources
  • Mia Reini, director of enterprise risk management, Legal Affairs and Risk Management
The Decision Group

The decision group will be engaged over the next several months to review and consider the analysis and recommendations of the working group and determine how Georgia Tech can best proceed. Members of the decision group are:

  • G.P. "Bud" Peterson, president
  • Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs
  • Chaouki Abdallah, executive vice president for Research
  • Jim Fortner, interim executive vice president, Administration and Finance
  • Maryam Alavi, dean, Scheller College of Business
  • Tina Clonts, Staff Council representative
  • Joe Hughes, Faculty Senate representative

Throughout this process, the working and decision groups will engage with the leaders and subject matter experts across campus, and keep the entire campus community informed about our progress.

Classroom duo

Next Steps

Next Steps

The high-level process to define the plan of action is expected to take between 18 and 24 weeks and is designed as follows.

  1. Members of the decision group and working group have been identified and will begin with a kickoff meeting in the next two weeks.
  2. The working group will spend about 7-9 weeks performing a deeper analysis of the data.
  3. The working group will actively engage the leaders and subject matter experts from across the Institute to review and discuss initial conclusions and potential solutions (6-8 weeks).
  4. The working group will provide a set of results and recommendations to the decision group, which will review and make recommendations (2-3 weeks).
  5. The University System of Georgia will review Georgia Tech recommendations for addressing local opportunities and direct Georgia Tech to begin implementation (2-3 weeks).
  6. Once the plan is finalized, Georgia Tech leaders will begin to lead implementation of solutions. This activity will be ongoing and likely progress over several months.

Lab duo

Message from the President

Message from the President

“This review presents a unique opportunity for Georgia Tech to improve our operational efficiencies and respond to the concerns and issues expressed by our faculty, staff and students.

The report indicates where we are doing well and also the areas in which we can improve. I believe that as we work intentionally, collaboratively, and honestly, we can become more efficient and effective in both how we manage and how we conduct our operations.

By improving our operational efficiency and identifying and addressing problem areas in our administrative processes, we can place a greater focus on accomplishing our mission.

Together we can move forward and continue to strengthen our focus on creating an organizational culture of operational excellence.”