CFO survey looking at administrative tasks for efficiencies


University employees with administrative responsibilities are being asked to take a survey of their administrative duties, and how long such duties take, as part of an effort by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer to “take a holistic look at administrative services that are provided across the University,” CFO and Senior Vice Chancellor Hari Sastry announced on Oct. 19.

Paul Lawrence, Pitt’s treasurer in the CFO’s office, told the Oct. 21 Staff Council meeting that about 5,000 of the University’s 7,200 staff members have received the survey request — “anyone who does an administrative function,” he said. The request also has gone to some faculty who perform administrative tasks, but not to any employees under union contract.

David DeJong, vice chancellor for Human Resources, told Staff Council members that this survey takes a different view of employee work than did the HR survey of a few years ago that aimed to determine which jobs fit into which “job families,” so that individual employees were properly categorized, Pitt’s salary decisions for new hires matched the employment market properly and the University could conduct “internal analyses of equity” in pay.

Senior administrators should receive an initial report from HR on its work from the earlier survey in early 2021, DeJong reported.

In contrast, the new Operational Transformation Initiative from the CFO’s office, DeJong said, looks at how diffusely or densely administrative tasks are performed throughout the University, “with an eye toward improving performance … and reducing costs.” He added that “this is not going to be associated with the elimination of jobs,” although the survey will certainly help with redistributing the duties of those who took early retirement recently.

According to Sastry’s announcement, the current survey, the Huron Higher Education Administrative Activity Study (AAS), was prompted because “the University can be very decentralized. … Is this the best, most effective and efficient way to do things?”

Survey completion is mandatory and due by Oct. 30. Huron, the company hired to undertake the survey, held a webinar on Oct. 21 to answer any questions about the survey. The webinar was recorded and will be available on the CFO Partners site. This webpage also will include general information about Operational Transformation Initiative, the administrative services project and survey, as well as frequently asked questions.

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-758-4859.


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