Advising group recommends dining reform, other upgrades

Anna Bielawski, Reporter

Ashland University Administration recently partnered with AlixPartners, a financial consulting group, for $450,000. AlixPartners claims a return of four to five times the initial investment, with both revenue generation and cost control measures contributing to that final outcome. 

The consultants offered nine official recommendations, targeting various areas of university spending. 

The University recently revealed the list of recommendations from the consulting firm:

  1. Healthcare and Rx Sourcing
  2. Auxiliary Services
  3. Purchasing and Spend Control
  4. Student Housing
  5. Marketing
  6. Admissions and Enrollment
  7. Advising and Student Success
  8. Academic Productivity
  9. Data Management

According to the official announcement from the president’s office, “Work in these nine areas is ongoing and will be part of our overall strategic processes for several years. AU’s executive leadership team will share results from these activities as they are achieved.”

The timeline for the changes will vary based upon the individual recommendations, but some of the projects have already begun. A change in geomarketing to target students differently has already been implemented, and administration is currently working to streamline academic efficiency, looking to “reduce the amount of courses that are offered on a carousel to maximize class sizes,” University President Dr. Carlos Campo stated. 

Another area of improvement that has already begun has been the closing of Jacobs Hall for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

“You have this many students, you have this many beds,” said Rick Ewing, Vice President of Operations and Planning, regarding the recommendation. “To be more efficient in your use of space and labor and all sorts of things [you] look to consolidate. ”

Dr. Campo went on to detail a few of the plans for change, highlighting a shift in health coverage for faculty and staff, new marketing strategies, and dining services on campus. 

“We’re hearing from students that, depending on the time of day, you can generally find something healthy to eat. But there are some pockets where it feels like there is just either fried food or pizza. I think that’s one of the things we’re going to try to focus on–that there’s some kind of nutritious station or healthy choice at all times, no matter what.” 

The cost saving measures will not decrease fees for students, but they will help maintain current tuition prices. 

“I don’t think a tuition reduction is coming, but if we can keep it low and not increase it, that’s a big win,” Campo said.

When asked about the benefit of having an outside group coming in to offer advice, Dr. Campo noted that, “I think it’s always good to have an outside, objective eye. And this is a group that has a tremendous reputation nationally. They work with higher [education], and from our perspective, it’s another attempt on our part to be as effective as we can be.”