Shared Support Services:
A Message to the Campus Community

Read InterviewThe following is a message from Dennis N. Assanis, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Lynn Johnson, Vice President for Human Resources, on the Shared Support Services initiative at Stony Brook University.

To the Campus Community:

Initiating and implementing a Shared Support model to various departments throughout Stony Brook University provides an opportunity to increase and improve effectiveness and efficiency. Shared Support will allow administrative staff to use their specific skill sets across similar departments so they benefit more people and provide a greater level of expertise. Think of it as the best and most economical use of our current human capital and how it can be distributed departmentally and programmatically so there is obvious value to our faculty, students and staff.

As we start to change how we have historically done things, our new focus is to make things better for students, faculty and staff. We all need to clearly understand the vast potential that shared services has for our institution. The process of implementation is vitally important as well and should and will involve as many staff people as are affected. It is your input that we take into consideration when developing a plan for sharing services among departments.

The goal of the Shared Support initiative is not to cut administrative support staff, but rather to best utilize staff talents. Shared Support is not a merging of departments. What the implementation of this Shared Support initiative will do is provide current staff with greater opportunities for professional growth, institute better student support programs, and improve coordination with central student support offices such as Academic Advising. Our plan is to build a staff talent pool of diversified workers who are well-trained and have the necessary resources to do a great job.

While the implementation of Shared Services will be instituted within the next several academic years, there are already examples of how it is currently working on our campus:

  1. Within the College of Arts and Sciences, staff members of the Theatre Arts and Art departments now work as a team to support operations in both departments; the Consortium for Digital Arts, Culture and Technology recently joined the group to create even more synergies where services are shared and the programs have the opportunity to prosper. The result: Staff are more productive as a team.

  2. Within the School of Medicine, the department heads of seven life sciences graduate programs have been experiencing, some for as many as seven years, that sharing staff administrators makes sense as an approach toward creating synergies for an even greater collaboration of programs.

These are two very solid examples of how working together and combining services where appropriate can be a benefit to our entire campus.

This modification that is being undertaken has already received input and recommendations from a sweeping and diversified group of staff, faculty and students in departments in which changes are already taking place. Going forward, in order for it to be as successful as possible, we urge everyone in the Stony Brook community to learn more about this initiative and to get involved in the process of sharing services.


May 25, 2012