Texas A&M releases consultant report for 2021

Table of Contents

One of the biggest strengths listed was the university’s ability they can change for better when necessary and it can be adaptable.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M has received a report from a consulting firm it hired earlier this year, outlining areas needed for significant improvement. MGT Consulting and Martin+Crumpton Group (M+CG) listed several recommendations in its finished report.

Now, the university is asking for input into the recommendations. The university community is being asked to review the report over the next two weeks. In a written statement, President Banks said “all perspectives are important and will be considered.”

While the findings identified are notable, a few of them stand out, especially in regards to cultural diversity on campus and Aggie traditions. While Texas A&M is famous for its strong dedication to traditions, the consulting firm’s report outlines many at the university consider this to also be a weakness.

One of the items listed in the report is as follows:

• The Aggie culture impinges upon the potential for change within the university. The notion of an all-male, military component of the school impinges upon the culture of higher education.

In the report, it also recommends the university invest in focusing on its diversity and retaining diversity not only in its student body, but in its hiring practices as well. In a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis towards the end of the report, it listed poor retention of diverse faculty members as a threat.

The analysis said the university climate was not always welcoming and enrollment of diverse students is low. It stated Student and faculty populations do not reflect the state population and that this has negatively impacted the student body.

One of the biggest strengths listed was the university’s ability they can change for better when necessary and it can be adaptable.

Why did the university ask for a report?

As one of her first projects in office, Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks asked for an outside consultant firm to review the university’s administrative functions and structure. The university hired MGT Consulting and Martin+Crumpton Group (M+CG)  in June of 2021 to review the major functioning areas across Texas A&M and make recommendations for improvement.

Banks said she reviewed several strategic plans across the university’s departments and wanted to be able to understand the opportunities and ideas from former students, current students, faculty, staff and key stakeholders.

Input from the university community

President Banks is asking for input on the recommendations listed in the report. You will be asked your name, UIN and connection to the university. While that information will not be provided to the university in the actual analysis, it will provide the firm the status of representation for the campus.

You can get started on the survey by clicking here. President Banks said they will be conducting the survey for the next two weeks and expect to make a decision by December as to what recommendations the university plans on moving forward with. Oversight committees and working groups will then be formed and people will have an opportunity to serve on these groups through a nomination process.

The report

MGT Consulting and Martin+Crumpton Group (M+CG) conducted interviews with people in leadership positions at Texas A&M, including faculty senate leadership. They also talked with faculty, staff, students and former students and asked them for input on what would contribute to the university’s overall success. The consulting group said nearly 500,000 members of the university community were invited to participate in surveys within the last three months.

The firm said 58 deans and vice presidents, 1,775 current students, 3,654 faculty and staff members and 16,500 former students responded to the call. Through analysis of the interviews, survey and research, the firm was then able to give its findings and establish recommendations based upon those findings.

The report is 133 pages long and includes an assessment of the feedback given by the university community. It also lists the reasons behind its recommendations, as well as what it calls “anticipated outcomes.”

Findings, or critical issues

The following is a list of the consulting firm’s findings:

  • The university’s operational structure is decentralized, resulting in ineffective use of talent and resources
  • Inconsistent transparency and a lack of strong operational analytics and performance metrics across units, colleges and campuses creates operational inefficiencies as well as unclear responsibility and accountability necessary for operational success
  • Marketing and communication efforts across the university are often uncoordinated, resulting in unclear communication and inconsistent efforts that do not further the university’s mission or allow for two-way communication with its key audiences
  • Faculty and staff talent management is a critical issue
  • Large portions of the interview and survey audiences were conflicted about the university’s culture and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts
  • A coherent, strategic academic organization centralization and targeted realignment of academic units would greatly enhance operations and unit focus

Recommendations for the university

Provost Office: Pages 10-16

  1. Reorganize the Office of the Provost to allow greater focus on student academic success
  2. Centralize undergraduate academic advising
  3. Elevate the Higher Education Center at McAllen

Faculty Affairs: Pages 17-18

  1. Create a new Vice President of Faculty Affairs Position

Academic and Strategic Collaborations: Pages 19-23

  1. Continue to incorporate other campus units that fit the mission of Academic and Strategic Collaborations
  2. Create an office focused on improving recruitment and retention of undergraduate students
  3. Sunset community focused programs that do not adequately serve the needs of the community and establish new programs to best support the shared mission of TAMU and the State of Texas
  4. Invest in cultural centers, including a performing arts center, a museum and hospitality center and campus gardens

Academic Realignment: Pages 24-39

  1. Combine the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science and the College of Geosciences to create a new College of Arts and Sciences
  2. Establish a School of Visual and Performing Arts with new departments in music, performing arts and fine arts, and relocated the Department of Visualization to anchor this new school
  3. Establish a Department of Journalism
  4. Elevate and expand the Bush School of Government and Public Service to be a highly visible and accessible part of the university portfolio through significant investment and a merger with the Department of Political Science
  5. Create the new Institute of Biological Life Sciences which will contain the Department of Biology and the Biomedical Sciences Program
  6. Merge the University Libraries into the newly created College of Arts and Sciences and create a new Department of Library Sciences
  7. Implement recommendations from the Texas A&M Health Administrative Organization Structure and Budget Assessment
  8. Improve research organization at TAMU-Health
  9. Reassign the University Studies degree program exclusively to the College of Arts and Sciences
  10. Refocus the College of Veterinary Medicine on the core mission of graduate education and invest in the construction of a new small animal hospital
  11. Refocus the College of Architecture on the core mission of Architecture and Landscape Architecture/Urban Planning
  12. Consolidate the Department of Health and Kinesiology in the School of Public Health, including clinical research associated with the Department of Health and Kinesiology. Move the Technology Management Degree Program to the Department of Engineering Technology

Student Affairs: Pages 40-48

  1. Reorganize Student Affairs and expand student “High Impact Practice (HIP) services
  2. Align student organization management practices to ensure transparency and accountability
  3. Integrate Student Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services into Texas A&M Health and establish a dedicated unit to focus on providing wholistic student health
  1. Restructure of Facilities and Operations/Safety and Security to include all facilities services under a new centralized management structure in Facilities Management
  2. Create a new division of Facilities Planning and Construction (FPC) that allows for an expanded strategic planning and construction unit
  3. Create a Division of Facility Information Systems to maintain information in support of TAMU operations

Finance and Business Administration: Pages 57-64

  1. Centralize financial/business services under the Chief Financial Officer
  2. Identify inefficiencies within internal workflow processes
  3. Implement a matrix management structure to leverage Financial Services by integrating Academic Affairs’ Business Services, Data and Research Services, and Enrollment Management
  4. Establish a new centralized system and processes for shared oversight of endowment funded expenditures and stewardship-related activities with the Texas A&M Foundation
  5. Shift the research administrative management of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences research grants and facilities to AgriLife exclusively rather than the current duplicative system including both AgriLife and TAMU

Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness: Pages 65-71

  1. Reorganize Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness and implement a one-stop human resources service center
  2. Provide cross-training for employees
  3. Eliminate the Human Resources Liaison Network
  4. Invest in succession planning and talent management
  5. Invest in a voluntary phased separation (VSP) program for eligible tenured faculty members

Information Technology: Pages 72-76

  1. Consolidate Information Technology across campus
  2. Establish a university-wide Help Desk and ticketing system
  3. Prioritize cybersecurity to ensure campus services are not compromised
  4. Utilize project managers

Marketing & Communications: Pages 77-83

  1. Centralize marketing and communications across the university
  2. Clarify university marketing and branding guidelines, training processes and a mechanism for enforcement of those guidelines
  3. Streamline digital presence and contracts

SWOT Analysis: Pages 109-117

A SWOT Analysis is an opportunity for organizations to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to an organization. MGT Consulting and Martin+Crumpton Group (M+CG) said this was completed by 58 individuals made up of 16 deans, 15 vice presidents, 27 associate and assistant vice presidents and provosts.

Some of the strengths listed included dedication to the university’s mission, keeping Aggie traditions and culture going strong and providing a top notch education.

Some of the weaknesses listed included limited financial resources for recruitment of faculty and staff and that they are not competitive with the marketplace. Another weakness also listed the Aggie tradition because members thought this may provide a roadblock for change. They also listed there is a lack of investment in other TAMU branches and locations.

The consultant firm showed the survey identified the division of Student Affairs is unorganized and does not oversee the correct functions. This was also listed as a weakness in the High Level SWOT analysis. One of the opportunities listed by the Student Affairs SWOT is to create a “well-rounded student experience from orientation through graduation” (pg. 111).

Again, to read the full report, click here. We will continue to update this article.