Tilburg University will radically reorganize their supporting services. All activities will be brought together under one service. During this reorganization, 58 fte’s will disappear. In anticipation of that, the board has announced a stop hiring freeze in supporting staff. Compulsory redundancies might be necessary.
The operation must yield a saving worth 5.5 million euros. This money is re-invested in education and research, and around 90 fte’s will become available for assistant professors, teachers and PhD students, chairman Koen Becking says.
The board wants to save the 58 fte’s by working more efficiently and by expanding less activities. “We have to make choices,” Becking says. Supporting Services at Tilburg University is good for 663 fte’s at the moment. The new service gets four divisions; finance, human resources, academic support and facility services.
Job cuts and an efficiency drive should yield 3.5 million euros. On top of that, the board will save 1.5 million on the implementation of the current housing plans. Finally, 0.5 million is saved on internal funding (the Nexus Institute).
The board will inform the staff about their plans today. Yesterday, the university council and the unions have been briefed. In the upcoming months, they have to give advice and react to the plans, to improve the university’s services.
It is not clear how much the reorganization will cost. The university has to make a social plan, and if possible, employees must be assisted to find a new job, inside the university or outside of it. Because of the new one-service-policy, some management jobs will also disappear, the chairman says. “Less management is one of our goals.”
Becking foresees that the measures will draw heavily on the staff. “This will be demanding for all of us, but we will implement this neatly and carefully. We will make a solid social plan, but we cannot rule out compulsory redundancies.”
The board has appointed two forerunners, former faculty dean Hans Dieteren and program maker Marc Bosma. Starting on the 1st of January, they will start implementing the plans. They are being controlled by a steering committee that still has to fill in and work out a huge part of the plans. The steering group will be led by professor Bas Werker, who is also the chairman of the steering committee that wrote the reorganization proposal. The project must be finished by the 1st of January 2017. Becking will be representing the board in this project.
The reorganization in supporting services is the second fase in the BEST-project at Tilburg University, ‘Building Excellent Support’. In the first fase, the proposal was written, based on input from 13 groups that screened existing services. The steering committee also screened the way that other universities manage their services.
The proposal was more invasive then the final plans. The committee wanted to exterminate 70 fte’s in supporting services. “We think that is too ambitious,” Becking says. When the reorganization is finished, Tilburg University wants to have a better relationship between teaching staff and supporting staff. Werker: “Compared to other universities, we are in the lowest regions, our plan focuses on getting into the top three. The board chooses for a slightly safer implementation and with that, we will certainly end up in the upper half.”