Preparing for the Future - A note from Dean Greg Sterling

We recently announced a restructuring of the Divinity School. Many have written to express their sadness for those whose positions were eliminated, but support in recognizing the need to do this. Thank you for your responses. You may be interested in how the process of reorganizing the YDS administration will begin.

The current staff will be with us throughout the summer. The layoffs will take effect on August 16th allowing us time to prepare for the reorganization of most staff units.

In July, I will meet with each department to work through the plans. This will give everyone more than a month to work out the details of their new responsibilities. The plans include a number of measures to increase efficiency. For example, we will replace as many paper transactions with digital platforms as possible. These will include, for example, course evaluations and hiring processes.

The restructuring plan will then launch on August 19th, beginning with a staff retreat designed to help the entire administration to begin to develop a new sense of partnership.

In a town hall meeting in March, I outlined four principles to guide the restructuring. First, YDS will centralize work that is done diffusely whenever possible. For example, expense reports that represented a percentage of the workload in each department will now be consolidated. Second, YDS will develop a team-support model rather than individual support. Teams of administrators will serve multiple departments, forming a more cohesive and interdependent community. Third, YDS will identify and eliminate shadow administrative systems, by streamlining workflows and decision-making. Finally, YDS will restrict services to what is necessary, rather than desirable, to its core mission. While we hope that we can eventually include some desirable functions that are not essential, we must simply reduce for the time being.

With these principles in place, YDS can also begin to plan for limited growth with a firm financial footing. Our restructuring will help us develop a more nimble and efficient administrative team to meet our future needs in service to our core mission to prepare leaders for service in the church and in the world.

Date Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 6:16pm