For 40 years, the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC) – Augsburg, Hamline, Macalester, St. Catherine and St. Thomas – have offered shared academic and administrative programs.
ACTC students and faculty have benefitted from collaborations in areas such as cross-registration for classes, bus service between campuses, art, creative writing, the Women’s Studies Program, CityLabs and an annual film festival. ACTC also sponsors numerous operational programs and initiatives in areas such as human resources, safety and security, and purchasing. Taken together, these collaborations save ACTC campuses more than $1 million, collectively, each year.
Building on this history of success, the five ACTC schools are exploring ways to do even more together, particularly through sharing administrative services. The benefits of shared services include improving value, enhancing services and decreasing costs, thus providing for the reallocation of resources that each campus can redirect to its institutional priorities and mission.
To better understand and evaluate the potential impact of shared services, in-depth exploration is necessary. ACTC will conduct a comprehensive analysis that will indicate whether shared services provide a valuable opportunity.
This analysis will be conducted over the next several months by a team from ACTC supported by the chief financial officers and academic officers at each school. Craig Shafer of Shafer Business Solutions has been retained by ACTC to assist with the project, which is supported by the ACTC presidents.
This team will compile and analyze data from each ACTC institution and report the results to the ACTC Board of Directors, which is made up of the presidents of each of the schools. Staff members at each institution may be asked to provide information to support this effort.
Mark Vangsgard, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer at St. Thomas, commented “that in this time of perceived high costs in higher education, increasing student debt and questions on the return on investment of a college education, it is important to look at all areas of potential cost savings, productivity and efficiency.”
Vangsgard will coordinate the comprehensive analysis at St. Thomas, working in conjunction with the ACTC.