I am writing with exciting news regarding an innovative initiative that I believe will strengthen Le Moyne’s ability to deliver our undergraduate and graduate students an excellent education in the Jesuit tradition.
As many of you know, for a number of years I have pursued collaborative relationships with a variety of higher education institutions. During my time as Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Syracuse University, I studied how the higher education sector can better deliver educational excellence through collaborative relationships. As a way to advance collaboration among regional higher education institutions, Le Moyne belongs to a number of academic consortia and is a founding member of the Upstate New York College Collaborative. Given the importance of potential strategic alliances within higher education, Le Moyne formed a Strategic Alliance Ad Hoc Committee of the Board of Trustees. For over three years this committee has explored several strategic alliance models and potential opportunities.
As an outcome of these efforts, I’m pleased to announce today that Le Moyne has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hobart and William Smith Colleges to define and develop a Shared Services Organization (SSO). In the run up to entering this MOU, a number of Le Moyne staff and administrators have established relationships of trust with their Hobart and William Smith counterparts, providing an essential foundation for the work to come. Once the SSO is up and running, other colleges and universities could join us, pooling our collective talent and resources further.
Like Le Moyne, Hobart and William Smith have a deep commitment to liberal arts education. Located in Geneva, N.Y., Hobart and William Smith Colleges are private residential liberal arts institutions that place a premium on excellent instruction supported by accomplished faculty and a rich and engaging campus life experience. Through this SSO, Le Moyne and Hobart and William Smith intend to improve how we deliver a number of campus services related to finance, business, human resources and information technology. Our Memorandum of Understanding is rooted in well-developed professional relationships with our counterparts at Hobart and William Smith.
This Shared Service Organization will support and enable the objectives of both our institutions by providing excellence and economies of scale in service delivery. We expect campus operations to run better than they do today with the improved resources and new capabilities from this collaboration. As an initial example of shared services, both institutions are seeking new technology options to replace their current enterprise systems and will work together to ensure an optimal outcome.
This model is still relatively rare among colleges and universities, but similar initiatives, including The Claremont Colleges Services and Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium, have demonstrated the benefits and advantages of this type of collaboration among local partners. We intend to learn from the best of what other shared service organizations have been able to accomplish and adopt their best practices where applicable.
While I’m excited about what this new organization means for Le Moyne, I also want to be very clear about what this is not. This is not a merger in any way, and both institutions will remain separate and independent. The SSO will not impact our curriculum or what happens in the classroom. The SSO will not lead to layoffs or a decrease in pay or benefits. Instead, we seek to optimize our existing talent and resources to advance the missions of both institutions. We have prepared some initial frequently asked questions you can view here.
Leading the initiative for Le Moyne are Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, and Treasurer Roger Stackpoole and Senior Director of Information Technology Shaun Black. The lead individuals for Hobart and William Smith Colleges are Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Chief Information Officer Fred Damiano and Vice President for Finance and Administration/Chief Financial Officer Carolee White.
In the weeks ahead, colleagues from both campuses will work together to finalize an SSO agreement that will be submitted for approval to both Presidents and Boards of Trustees. I am thankful to all who are working on this innovative initiative, and I look forward to updating the campus community during the spring semester.
Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D.