Mississippi Public Universities
2006 Finance, Business and Administration Winners
First Place: The University of Southern Mississippi
"Relocation, Recovery and Rebirth: Successfully Moving a University Campus"
Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, just two days after fall classes began at the University of Southern Mississippi - Gulf Park Campus. A Management Team representing administration, faculty and staff from every campus division started working immediately after the storm and provided leadership for every aspect of the relocation. The university Research Foundation had acquired a vacated hospital facility prior to Katrina and was in the process of renovating it. The hospital and some additional modular units were quickly transformed into classrooms, faculty offices, an activity center, and a conference center. Bottled water was brought in, since water fountains were not operable, and portable toilets were stationed outside. Ultimately, the original 300,000 square foot campus was compressed into a space of 50,000 square feet. Enough furniture and equipment was salvaged by Physical Plant to furnish the makeshift classrooms and offices. Directional diagrams were posted to help students navigate the new building. Library books were shipped from the old library to their new "satellite" location, and fifteen wireless computers were set up in the hallways for students to use. The fall semester academic schedule was completely redesigned, and the original 18-week schedule was converted into the traditional summer 10-week schedule with fewer, longer class meetings. To overcome the scheduling problems posed by limited space, classes were scheduled at all times of the day and on Saturdays. During September 2005, students were contacted and three advisement and registration sessions were handled. Despite destruction of the campus and 1/3 of the homes of faculty and staff, wise planning, teamwork, and effort enabled the university to resume classes in just six weeks and retain 78 percent of the original fall classes and 65% of fall enrollment.
Second Place: Jackson State University
"iServiceDesk Automation"
The Department of Facilities and Construction Management (FCM) is responsible for fulfilling routine work maintenance requests for each of the 52 academic and housing facilities on campus. FCM receives approximately 29,000 requests annually. To improve service, FCM designated a Facility Manager for each building to serve as the single point of contact between building occupants and FCM. The Facility Managers use a new software program, called iServiceDesk, to submit all requests and work orders. Once an order is placed via the online system, the manager receives an automatic email confirmation with an assigned work order number, which the manager can use to retrieve status updates. FCM management is now able to review work requests immediately and assign each work order to a Technician. Once successfully deployed for faculty and staff, iServiceDesk was extended to students in housing facilities. As an extension of iServiceDesk, field technicians have been equipped with handheld PDAs and mobileTMA, a software application used to remotely complete various work order processes. Technicians can remotely retrieve new work orders, generate new work orders, receive emergency alerts, track time, order needed materials, and provide ongoing status updates to management. An attached barcode scanner on each PDA improves order accuracy and directly contributes to data integrity in the system. Since the inception of iServiceDesk and mobileTMA, approximately 91 percent of all new requests are now entered online, initial response times have been reduced from 1-2 business days to 30-45 minutes, and customer satisfaction has improved by 40 percent. Additionally, average productivity from March to September increased by 47.43 percent over the same period a year ago. FCM also reports improved employee morale.