Sponsored Programs Services (SPS) is an important unit at WSU that is tasked with, among other things, setting up accounts when faculty are awarded grants and contracts, and invoicing expenditures. There have been numerous complaints about SPS service and the backlog of accounts needing attention (exceeding 800 at the beginning of the academic year).
Recent efforts have significantly improved this situation and I want to briefly highlight the successes that benefit all of us. To address the backlog of accounts, WSU partnered with Huron, which is a consulting firm that is also engaged with our efforts to develop a new systems-level budget model. With Huron’s help, and University investment in some new SPS positions, a recent tally of backlog accounts shows that we are down to about 100 while managing an average of 300 new account requests per month.
The next big task is to get the backlog of invoicing cleared, which will be done with the goal of not losing ground on account setup. As you might guess, staff recruitment and retention are ongoing issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. SPS is actively working on a plan to address this issue, as WSU will eventually need to function fully without Huron’s assistance.
I’ve also heard reports that the overall degree of customer satisfaction has turned well into positive territory for SPS. These are all good things that we need to continue tracking, but also acknowledge the hard work involved and celebrate the gains. Thanks for considering these comments.
Douglas Call, Faculty Senate Chair