August 28, 2012

Provost office to contract efficiency corporation to cut costs

By Rae Hodge–

In response to the statewide 6.4 percent budget cut to higher education, the University of Louisville has developed an Efficiency Subgroup, made up of university faculty and staff, whose goal is to work with Scott Nostaja, CEO of efficiency corporation Excell Core.

Dr. Tracy Eells, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, announced at U of L’s July 11 Faculty Senate meeting that “a draft report has been submitted to the Provost,” and that the Provost’s office “is planning to offer a personal services contract to Scott Nostaja to implement some or all of his recommendations.”

Eells says that the Provost will soon supply more details on what that group is recommending, although Eells offered that some of the questions raised in an attempt to find cost-saving measures were “Would it make sense to contract as a single vendor for office supplies? And are there ways the administration can be restructured?”

Senate Faculty Chair Robert Staat said that the Efficiency Subgroup will be made up of the following persons: Ann Coffey, Precilla Hancock, Neville Pinto, Enid Hines, David Martin, Maurice Snook, Ann Rademaker, Mike Martis and David James.

Excell Core has worked with multiple universities and private entities in the past with the purpose of finding ways to cut costs, with mixed results. At University at Buffalo Nostaja operated a similar company under the name AVCOR. UB campus newspaper, The Spectator, reported that some faculty were wary of AVCOR and the firm’s history, along with what they claimed was a level of secrecy around the firm’s role.

In 2005, the UB Foundation, an entity similar in operation to the U of L Foundation, employed Nostaja and AVCOR to consult on the “UB2020” planning process. Although the University at Buffalo was attempting to hire a consulting firm, the position was not open to multiple bidders, and UB would not disclose the financial terms of the consultation contract.

In 2010, after the retirement of John Simpson, Nostaja was appointed interim UB President in a heavily contested process and eventually withdrew his name.

Eells says that a draft report of recommended cuts has been submitted to the Provost for consideration, but The Louisville Cardinal was unable to obtain a copy of this report. The Office of the Provost has not responded to questions from The Louisville Cardinal regarding U of L’s relationship with Excell Core.

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