April 27, 2011 by Justin Bannister @NMSU
NMSU is taking steps toward becoming a more efficient and effective university – one of the Goals for Success outlined by President Barbara Couture during her inaugural address last year.
As part of the effort, the university’s new Efficiency and Effectiveness Committee has identified an initial list of priorities, including ways to lower student textbook costs, automate manual processes and better evaluate student academic performance.
“One of the best ideas is to save students money on their textbooks,” said Garrey Carruthers, dean of NMSU’s College of Business and chair of the Efficiency and Effectiveness Committee. “The recommendation was for professors to identify the books they plan to use further ahead of time. That way Barnes & Noble has more time to locate used copies of those books. Students would also save money if the same book is used across the different sections of the same class.”
As far as redundancy is concerned, the committee looked at six routine, manual human resource and accounting processes currently practiced by the university. The forms used in those practices generate about 95,000 transactions per year. The committee found that because the tasks are done manually, they create processing delays. The data from the forms must also be tracked, verified and entered into multiple systems. The recommendation from the committee was to automate those forms and to ensure the new electronic forms run smoothly between different data systems used on campus.
The committee also identified areas related to student academic performance, which affect the university’s four-year graduation rate. The group recommended discouraging students from maintaining only the minimum of 12 credit hours per semester – an average of 15-16 credit hours is necessary to graduate in four years. The group also recommended ways to keep students engaged with the university by increasing opportunities for student employment and directing students to assistance resources when needed. Increasing the available sections of introductory and general education courses and re-evaluating space used for classrooms and labs was also recommended.
Additionally, the group looked at discouraging the practice of some students of enrolling in a high number of classes with the intention of dropping one or more during the semester, all while still maintaining full-time status. This practice makes fewer spaces available for students who intend to finish the entire course.
More information about the Efficiency and Effectiveness Committee, including a section for feedback and the group’s report to the president can be found on President Couture’s website, www.nmsu.edu/president. From there, simply click on “Goals for Success” and then “Effectiveness and Efficiency.”