Message from the President

GaryWhite_squareJune 24, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

As I mentioned in my last message to the university community on May 13, the seven Marshall 20/20 teams have finished their initial work and I am pleased to report the outcomes to you.

At a wrap-up meeting of all the team members on June 11, each team’s leader presented a summary of recommendations and the amount of money each initiative is expected to save the university for the fiscal year that begins in just a couple of weeks on July 1.

The results are simply outstanding. These teams met the challenge to leave no stone unturned in looking for ways to cut costs and gain efficiencies, and have identified a total of $3.4M in net savings for the coming year alone.

If we are indeed able to capture all those projected savings in FY2016, we will empower ourselves to:

  • Minimize the financial burden on our students and their families;
  • Balance our FY2016 budget, which had preliminarily shown a deficit due to the ongoing reductions in state funding;
  • Avoid layoffs and/or furloughs this year; and
  • Provide raises for faculty and staff.

Marshall2020LogoThank you to the all the team members for a difficult job very well done. They have displayed remarkable leadership and poise throughout this process, and their work will make a critical difference to our students and to the bottom line of our university.

Also at last Thursday’s meeting, we announced that a parallel effort by the steering team to conduct a “Spans and Layers” analysis of our management structure and lines of reporting will result in a savings of more than $2.7M by the year 2020. These savings will be realized primarily through:

  • Attrition and retirements;
  • Reassignment of jobs and/or responsibilities; and
  • Efficiency improvements.

We have set up tracking systems that will allow us to monitor the savings from all these 20/20 initiatives, and I look forward to reporting to you with regular updates over the coming months.

Combined with our new zero-based budgeting model and our simplified tuition and fee structure, these proactive efforts are allowing us to be at the cutting edge of higher education in the state and the nation. As a university community, we collectively have recognized the changing nature of public higher education funding and have taken charge of our own destiny. Congratulations!

My closing message is simple.

We are at a critical stage. The steering team members and I have reviewed each and every one of these plans. The recommendation phase is over. We must now get these plans implemented and get it done as quickly as possible to realize the necessary savings for FY2016.

Secondly, the hard work is not done. The 20/20 process necessarily will become part of the university’s ongoing continuous improvement efforts. We will have to find at least $4.6M in savings for FY2017, and similar amounts in the years to come. We have to constantly look for ways to become more efficient by doing what we do better, easier, cheaper and faster so we have funds to invest in strategic university priorities.

We will be looking for representatives from across the university to serve on future teams, so please let us know if you are interested.

Remember to visit the Marshall 20/20 website for regular updates and more information. As individual initiatives are launched, we will be sharing details at campus meetings and in the “We Are Marshall” newsletter. We also have an online feedback form to allow members of the university community to provide input and ask questions, and you can always e-mail me directly at

Have a great summer!



Gary G. White Interim President