Independent Colleges and Universities


The Pappas Consulting Group Inc worked with the Board of Trustees and the President of the University to craft an Arcadia specific planning process and to facilitate that process from inception to conclusion. We ensured that all stakeholders were well informed and engaged in dialogue at appropriate times and in the appropriate venue throughout the strategic planning process.

Specifically, the Pappas Consulting Group was to: staff the Strategic Planning Committee; work in partnership with the Strategic Planning Co-Chairs; draft/update mission, vision, core values, strategic initiatives (goals), action steps (objectives); identify key performance measures; conduct select benchmarking of peers/aspirants; conduct high-level operational review/synthesize findings; conduct SWOT analysis; assist in creation of a Strategic Planning website; staff/participate in Town Hall presentation(s); conduct Strategic Planning Workshops; ensure the final Arcadia University Strategic Plan encompasses input at the direction of the Strategic Planning Committee.


The Pappas Consulting Group Inc. was engaged to conduct a strategic assessment of Beloit College and to recommend a series of action steps for implementation. The review was prompted, in part, by a North Central accreditation but was intended to provide advice on planning/coordination; resource deployment; organization/structure; communication; teaching/scholarship; and assessment/advancement. The consulting team conducted extensive interviews and numerous focus groups. In addition, they reviewed considerable documentation.

While our report focused primarily on some of the major challenges facing Beloit College, we highlighted the following strengths of the College: extraordinarily engaged and articulate students (confirmed both by the student focus group and by a national survey of student engagement, NSSE); talented and dedicated faculty that flourishes in the engaged culture; an administration that is student centered; an attractive and well maintained physical plant; strong student demand; and a balanced, albeit constrained budget.

Our Strategic Assessment Report provided recommendations for direct action and others that addressed processes.


The Pappas Consulting Group conducted a comprehensive review and prioritization of all programs, academic and non-academic. The intent was to identify areas with high potential for cost savings and estimate their dollar value. We first conducted a Moody's Median Financial Analysis. Subsequent to the Moody's Median Financial Analysis, we worked with the College's senior leadership to identify a set of institutional peers and subsequently undertook an IPEDS Peer Analysis study for additional analysis. As these two assessments were being completed, we conducted an APPA Facilities Performance Indicators Survey to determine the efficiency of the facilities operations. Both the Peer and the APPA study, using peers as a benchmark, provided us the opportunity to determine the functions/areas that would likely yield the "greatest return" for cost reduction. We identified considerable savings to be realized in Academic Affairs and through the redesign of the College's business and finance practices. There were further opportunities for cost containment and revenue enhancement with regard to student enrollment, student persistence and student success.

COLLEGE OF IDAHO (formerly known as Albertson College)

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation asked the Pappas Consulting Group to perform a comprehensive assessment of Albertson College of Idaho (ACI). The objective of the assessment study was to gain an extensive understanding of the administrative and academic organization, operation, and outcomes of Albertson College in order to respond to the two fundamental questions posed by the Foundation.

  1. Is Albertson College of Idaho a viable institution worth continued support?
  2. What are the cost parameters and operating expectations that need to be met in order for the College to be on a solid financial footing, able to operate without continued support from the Foundation?

We approached this assessment by working closely with Foundation leaders and College constituents, including trustees, faculty, administrators, staff and students, to gain an understanding of the College's educational activities and operating effectiveness. Our methodology included the review of relevant documents, one-on-one interviews, and focus groups.

We gained a better understanding of the context for the study by examining historical information about major milestones and trends over the past 25-30 years (e.g., College leadership, accreditation status, endowment levels, tuition price levels, enrollment levels, and Albertson Family and Foundation support).

We undertook further analytics to determine the long-term viability of the College under different scenarios.


The Pappas Consulting Group was engaged to: (1) conduct process analyses and reorganization design studies for all financial and administrative functions and activities; (2) create an academic planning model; and (3) perform a revenue diversity study to find ways to increase non-tuition revenues.

The Pappas Consulting Group documented the full range of administrative processes conducted by the business and student services offices of these two, loosely affiliated institutions. As an integral part of that analysis, we identified and analyzed the outputs as well as the staff effort associated with each process. As a result of this particular phase of work, the Pappas Consulting Group recommended ways in which administrative processes could be streamlined and, in some cases, reengineered to more effectively and efficiently meet institutional needs and take advantage of emerging technologies.

We also assisted the institutions to develop an academic planning model to facilitate a more effective planning and budgeting process. During this phase of our work, we analyzed historical and anticipated future revenue requirements.

During this phase, we enabled the institutions to conduct effective, coordinated multi-year planning, using our specifically designed academic planning model. We developed an associated revenue development plan that incorporated significantly diversified revenue streams.


DePauw University engaged the Pappas Consulting Group to determine how best to utilize technology to improve its administrative operations.

The Pappas Consulting Group assessed the following:

  • the overall effectiveness and degree of automation of current business processes
  • the scope of technology services and systems now installed
  • the currency of those technology services and systems
  • the operational difficulties encountered in utilizing these systems
  • the unmet needs for technology services and systems
  • the evaluation by campus personnel of the desirability and effectiveness of potential solutions to the unmet technology needs
  • the hurdles foreseen in effecting change in business processing and technology at the University

The Fielding Graduate Institute, an independent graduate school offering accredited degrees in psychology and related fields via distance learning, engaged the Pappas Consulting Group Inc. to help create a new administrative structure that would support its mission, vision, and values during a new phase of growth. Consultants worked with Institute faculty and staff in teams to design paradigms for enrollment/student services, financial accounting and reporting, payroll and purchasing, and human resource administrative processing and services.

We developed a new model for the organization, operations, and staffing of enrollment/student services. Although the Institute was entrepreneurial in developing the concept of providing graduate education to adults at their residence, the administrative structure was organized in the traditional silos found in most other higher education institutions (e.g., stand-alone admissions office, financial aid, registrar, bursar, etc.). We conducted a diagnostic review and then helped to redesign these processes, with attendant recommendations with a team of Institute faculty and staff.

We worked in partnership with the client who was responsible for implementation. We helped the team document the enrollment process flow, note the problems, delineate the "fixes", and reorganize operations and staff jobs. The new model displayed enrollment as a continuum from pre-admission through graduation. It replaced stand-alone offices with one "front office" for student-related recruitment and retention tasks, and a "back room" for processing. The Enrollment Team presented its recommendations to the Transformation Committee (chaired by the President) and received approval for implementation.


The Graduate Theological Union is a consortium of: nine schools of theology; a Jewish Institute; the Archbishop Athenagoras Institute as well as several other institutes on the study of Buddhism, women, etc. The multiple governing Boards of this consortium required that we design a process to include a multiple of constituents with frequently divergent institutional and consortium perspectives.

As part of the GTU planning process, the Pappas Consulting Group conducted an assessment of the organization structure and staffing of consortial services. The purpose of this diagnostic study was to determine whether the administrative infrastructure in place supported the GTU in the most efficient and effective way possible and to recommend appropriate and necessary changes.

We further conducted a satisfaction survey of GTU consortial services. The purpose of the survey was to evaluate user perceptions of the common services being provided through the GTU Consortium. The specific services included in the survey were: accounting services; common registrar; computer cooperative; faculty aid; institutional research; and library. The surveys helped to measure general overall satisfaction with the services being provided. Satisfaction was judged in terms of the quality, accuracy, timeliness, and customer orientation of the services.

Our expertise and counsel enabled the GTU to resolve and codify such issues as the structure of the planning process, timelines, deliverables, and a communications plan. PCG collated all of the detailed action plans and drafted the final document that became the institution's written strategic plan.


Grinnell College, a small, selective private liberal arts college in Grinnell, Iowa engaged the Pappas Consulting Group over a period of approximately a year and a half to review and make recommendations to strengthen many of its student and administrative operations.

Initially, The Board engaged our services. Subsequently, the Acting President and then the newly appointed President engaged the Pappas Consulting Group to conduct a successive series of diagnostic reviews. Among the divisions examined were: Communications and Public Relations; Enrollment (Admissions and Financial Aid); Development and Alumni Relations; Human Resources; Faculty/Academic Department Support; and Food Service. Each of the reviews resulted in comprehensive and very specific recommendations for improving efficiency and effectiveness, as well as detailed action plans to implement the recommendations. We worked closely with an evolving set of senior administrators during the course of these studies. In each case, recommendations and action plans were presented to the College's President and senior management team for approval.


Hofstra University requested the assistance of the Pappas Consulting Group to:

Review Enrollment and Student Services Processes and Organizational Structure

We reviewed all functional areas related to recruitment, admissions, financial aid, registrar, and student accounts in order to significantly improve "customer service" while creating greater efficiencies in processing and leveraging financial aid.

The result of this study led to one of the early "one stop shops for student services", in which offices and processes were consolidated, streamlined, and redesigned to provide comprehensive service to students and more efficient transaction processing. We reduced the "shuffle" from enrollment office to enrollment office that many students experience, particularly during registration.

Conduct A Comprehensive Assessment of Human Resource Policies and Compensation Program

We performed a review of the University's human resource policies and procedures, as well as its compensation program. The study entailed the examination of job analysis questionnaires given to administrative staff; individual and group interviews, and peer a institution survey.

We provided a new, complete, and codified Compensation Program for administrative employees. This included pertinent policies, pay plan, program tiers, position evaluation criteria, salary bands and ranges, adjustments, administration, and a delineated appeals process. The document also enumerated compensation program procedures.

Undertake a Study of Department Chair Compensation Policies and Practices

We conducted a study and made recommendations with regard to how the University should compensate Department Chairs. Policies and practices differed among the University's schools as well as within departments among the schools. We surveyed existing Department Chair compensation policies and practices of eight peer institutions that were identified by Hofstra.

The results of this study determined actual practices, how those practices were perceived and compared with other institutions, and what changes needed to be made to enable equity and provide incentives. A specific workplan for implementation was provided.

Study Clerical/Support Organization and Staff Loading

We were asked to focus on three issues pertaining to the clerical/support structure of the University:

  • to what extent are administrators, faculty, and secretarial/clerical staff utilizing available technology, and how has, or could, technology change the nature and number of secretarial/clerical positions?
  • what are the major work cycles at Hofstra (peak and reduced work activity periods) and what can be done to smooth work flows and utilize staff more productively?
  • for each position under study, how much of the job is administrative and how much is clerical?

This study resulted in a detailed classification/reclassification plan for all administrative and clerical positions. The plan included factors to evaluate the classification of new or modified positions.

We enumerated eight different technology initiatives and ranked the importance of implementing each in order to assist the University in setting priorities. We demonstrated how implementation of these technology initiatives would foster opportunities for consolidation of positions in the clerical areas. Further detailed recommendations addressed how to reconfigure staff or reallocate work distribution to even out activity cycles.


The President sought the assistance of the Pappas Consulting Group to review the senior management structure due to the retirement of the Vice President for Administration and Planning and a vacancy in the Vice President for Science and Research position. We were also engaged to review the decision-making structures of the Institute. This overall review included an examination of extensive documentation and a series of individual and focus group meetings.

We provided recommendations to:

  • insure the success of the organization
  • maximize the effectiveness of the President
  • expand collaboration
  • increase accountability
  • reduce administrative cost while increasing administrative flexibility
  • maximize existing talent wherever possible

The Pappas Consulting Group Inc. provided the Trustees, the new President, and the Executive Council with: an assessment of the strengths and limitations of the current executive structure; the identification and evaluation of possible alternative structures and; recommendations to realize operational efficiencies through organizational redesign. We conducted one-on-one interviews and a series of work sessions. We read extensive documentation concerning the organizational paradigms of peer institutions and other documentation to provide us insights into an institution experiencing some executive organizational structure challenges.

Our recommendations were aimed at beginning the journey to transform the environment to make it a better place for faculty, staff, and students and to accelerate the pace of improvement, so that Lewis & Clark could be better recognized and positioned in the higher education marketplace.

In January 2011, the senior leadership of Lewis & Clark engaged the Pappas Consulting Group to conduct an organizational review of its three Registrar Offices at the College, the Graduate School and the Law School to identify more cost-effective methods of administrative operations, including staffing and work efficiencies where they were available. The overall objective of the study was to identify organizational changes that would enable the provision of on-going Registrar services while operating with fewer staff in the future. Finding commonality in Registrar operations which might lead to more shared or consolidated services was difficult, and required some significant operational adjustments in mindset, skill sets and operational processes in order to be realized. This particular study was conducted within the context of the institution-wide organizational assessment the Pappas Group completed in October 2010.

In July 2011, Lewis & Clark engaged the Pappas Consulting Group Inc. to conduct an Institutional Technology Review. The aims of this review were to help Lewis & Clark to: be a better steward of the institution's technology capabilities; ensure that staff, resources and funding are used strategically to maximize institutional efficiencies, remain competitive, and achieve Lewis & Clark's greater goals and objectives; improve the processes for prioritizing IT commitments and projects; resource campus technology and technology users appropriately; and ensure that proper and effective project management skills, processes and methodologies are utilized in order to maximize the probability for project success.

The scope of the review included both information technology providers as well as users in the College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School, Law School and Common Services. This review was an assessment of the organizational structure of technology management on the campus, the differing roles and services provided, and the degree to which technology is utilized at Lewis & Clark.

We also served as an adviser to the CFO as the institution rolled out an early retirement program for staff and faculty.


The Pappas Consulting Group worked closely with this Catholic (Jesuit) institution with an academic health center for a two year period. Our original charge was to assist the outgoing President, through the auspices of the Strategic Coordinating Committee, and the Senior Vice President, to initiate a multi-year business redesign process.

Redesign for Results

Our first phase of work, entitled Redesign for Results, entailed selecting two key processes for redesign which would have an impact on large segments of the Loyola population and demonstrate the benefits of the project. We established two redesign work teams: one to assess, develop an action plan for, and redesign the student billing process; and the other to examine purchasing and roll-out of the new procurement card to selected University administrators, faculty, and staff. These projects were successfully completed. During the course of this phase, we conducted and submitted to the Strategic Coordinating Committee an Environmental Assessment of the institution and its readiness for change. This report became the basis for continuing efforts during a period of senior management transition at the University.

Redesign of Services to Students

During this phase of work, which commenced in the Spring of 2001, we conducted a diagnostic review of enrollment processes and programs/service delivery within the Student Affairs Division. Once again, the objective was to find opportunities for greater productivity/cost reduction while simultaneously enhancing services to students. The diagnostic review led to the implementation of three major action plans:

  • Organizational redesign of the entire Student Affairs Division
  • Redesign of academic support processes (i.e., academic advising, learning assistance, tutorial and career services, and internship services)
  • Redesign of Student Life and the delivery of those services, including staff configuration and staff loading.

The results of this threefold redesign were implemented in the Spring of 2002.

Residence Life

As an outgrowth of the Services to Students Redesign, the Pappas Consulting Group was asked to provide interim leadership for the residence life department for a three month period, pending the hiring of a new Residence Life Director and other key staff in that department. We supervised all operations, established and implemented an action calendar to prepare the residence halls for the start of the Fall term, and administered the roommate match process for the new semester. We trained staff and worked closely with administrators during the new student orientation program in the summer. We additionally developed a long-term plan for facilities and deferred maintenance for Residence Life.

Financial and Budget Processes

Concurrently, we assisted the University in reviewing and redesigning key financial processes. We helped to overhaul the University's Chart of Accounts and worked with the Senior Vice President on the review and redesign of the budget process.


The Pappas Consulting Group assisted Mercy College with pre-accreditation assessments for their Nursing and Physician Assistant programs. This effort helped to focus the efforts of the internal self-study teams. Both programs were successfully accredited.


The Pappas Consulting Group worked with Mills College to examine enrollment, academic support, and  student services at a time when it was undergoing a broadening of direction to focus on "reentry women". The purpose of our study was to redesign these services, as necessary, to meet the needs of nontraditional students. We worked with a team of College faculty and staff to design paradigms for enrollment/student services, financial accounting and reporting, payroll and purchasing, and human resource administrative processing and services.

The Pappas Consulting Group focused on developing a new model for the organization, operations, and staffing of enrollment/student services. Mills organized these services in traditional, stand-alone offices, each responsible for a narrow slice of the full enrollment process. We helped the enrollment team assess their current operations and services and then took them through sessions to redesign these processes in a new organizational and operational structure.

The resulting report of the enrollment team streamlined work steps in enrollment processes and developed a new service delivery system. Ours was a "peer" relationship with the client, who presented the results to the college president. The new model focused on enrollment as a continuum from pre-admission through graduation. It replaced stand-alone offices with one "front office" for student-related recruitment and retention tasks, and then a "back room" for processing. The Pappas Consulting Group wrote the final document containing the diagnostic review and recommendations for restructuring.


The Pappas Group examined the potential impact on Niagara University caused by the location of an adjacent power plant and transmission farm operated by the state of New York. The Study was one part of a multi-part effort to assess the economic consequences of the electric power facility location. The focus was to evaluate and document the effect the power facility had on Niagara University as an educational institution. The Study examined the possible impact of the power facility using Benchmark Analysis and Fixed and Variable Revenue and Cost Analysis.

Six specific criteria were selected and used to estimate the impact on the performance of Niagara University as a higher education institution. The six criteria chosen were: Admissions Statistics: Applications, Offers, Acceptances, New Enrollments; SAT Scores; Enrollment Levels; Retention and Graduation Rates; Alumni Giving Rates; and Endowment Level and Growth. The approach was laid out in four separate phases that systematically built the case for lost income in the past and potential lost future income due to the presence of NPP. The Pappas Group compared Niagara's historic performance to five peer institutions; created alternative scenarios; computed historical and future lost income; and communicated results.


In the fall of 2003, the President and the Trustees of Northeastern University (NEU) committed to converting the institution from a quarter to a semester system.

In order to assess the University's progress in fulfilling that objective, the President and Provost, in consultation with other members of the University's senior management team, appointed a Peer Review Committee of higher education professionals and consultants to assess the University's progress to date and to identify those action steps that need to be undertaken to ensure successful implementation. Dr. Alceste T. Pappas, President and CEO of the Pappas Consulting Group served as the Team's facilitator.

The Peer Review Team submitted a written report to the President and Provost. This report constituted the Team's findings and recommendations. Special consideration was given to all administrative, market, systems, business and logistical aspects of the conversion.

In subsequent efforts, the Pappas Consulting Group has conducted two retreats for its division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

In 2011, the Pappas Consulting Group undertook an organizational assessment for aligning a student's experience at Northeastern University. The challenge was to put in place an organizational structure and leadership that would ensure: the integrity of the Northeastern brand across the world in whatever modality that learning experience was offered; and matriculated students a meaningful experiential learning experience no matter where they were physically enrolled or were engaged in their co-op, internship or other setting. We addressed the potential synergy between the functions resident in EMSA and that of the Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs surrounding Co-op, Co-op Connections, Graduate Admissions, Domestic Market Expansion, and the needs of the Colleges. We provided overarching conclusions and recommendations based on our document review and on-site interviews that integrated Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Enrollment Management. 


The Pappas Consulting Group conducted a study of the classification and wage/salary program for non-faculty positions at the University.

We reviewed all current documentation pertaining to the non-faculty classification and compensation program; conducted a series of interviews and focus groups with stakeholders across the campus; and studied comparable positions.

The result of this consultancy was a complete revision and updating of the classification/ compensation program, including policies. In addition, we developed new position descriptions and an enhanced evaluation plan. The University implemented these PCG products.


Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a highly unusual institution in a number of ways.  Early on it provided professionals the opportunity to be adult learners at their own pace and complete a terminal, professional degree. It pioneered the use of technology in pedagogy. It reached out to students on a national basis through the establishment of education centers. It engrained a sense of entrepreneurship throughout the institution.

Today, Nova Southeastern is the largest independent sector institution in the state of Florida. In order to position itself more aggressively in the Florida, regional and national marketplace, it engaged the Pappas Consulting Group Inc. to determine how best grow its undergraduate student body. To that end, we submitted a series of White Papers to the President and the University's Board of Trustees that encompassed:

  • A Vision for Undergraduate Education
  • The Development of a Comprehensive Strategic Enrollment Plan
  • The Creation of a Quality Enhancement Plan
  • A Need to Build Distinctiveness at the Undergraduate Level
  • An Undergraduate Academic Administration Reorganization Plan

We have subsequently worked at the behest of the Board Chair to conduct an on-going Board Self-Assessment. As part of the Senior Leadership Transition Planning, the Pappas Consulting Group conducted a governance self-assessment workshop to determine the appropriate: Board membership; Board/Chancellor/President partnership; Board/Stakeholder relations; Board organization; fiduciary responsibility; capital planning and asset management; and Mission, Vision and Policy.


The Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology, a free standing private institution dedicated to scientific and technological research and offering the Ph.D. and master degrees, initially engaged the Pappas Consulting Group to review and reengineer all central and departmental administrative processes.

We assembled functional experts in teams to conduct a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the existing organizational structure, operations, staffing, business and administrative processes, and enrollment services of the Institute. We further assessed the core curriculum to ascertain opportunities for the Institute to position itself better and become more attractive to potential students, faculty, donors, and employers. The latter became part of an internal and external scan for the purpose of developing institutional strategic planning.

Each of the consultant teams prepared a diagnostic report of findings and recommendations. These reports were presented to a Steering Committee, comprised of senior administrators, academic deans, and faculty for adoption and implementation.

The initial diagnostic review resulted in a number of recommendations relating to current operations, business practices, and enrollment services that the Institute Steering Committee accepted and slated for implementation. Many of the recommendations were designed to result in administrative cost savings for the Institute.

This preliminary work further led to our facilitation of a strategic planning process which enabled the Institute to assess realistically where it stood-and where it wanted to be-in the higher education marketplace.


Budget System Review

The Pappas Consulting Group reviewed Pace University's budget system with an emphasis on how the University could use its resources to meet its strategic objectives and empower and hold accountable users of the system (deans and vice presidents) to manage their programs.

This study resulted in a confidential memorandum to the newly appointed President. Our recommendations included: maintaining one position control database (integrated with the budget system); taking a more conservative approach to budgeted salary costs by including in each department's budget all approved positions as well as filled positions; elimination of certain reporting forms and renaming/reformatting others; the identification of necessary systems support; and specific training. We further were able to offer University leadership a candid appraisal of the way in which users were accessing and utilizing financial and budgetary information for decision making.

The University adopted the Pappas Consulting Group recommendations.

Enrollment Management Organization Structure Review

The Pappas Consulting Group has conducted a number of budget, financial management and change management studies on behalf of the University. In addition, the President of the University engaged the Pappas Consulting Group to examine the organizational structure the division of Enrollment Management and Student Life to determine the optimal design for both effectiveness and cost efficiency. The review was made more complex by the multi-campus nature of this private University, as well as its mix of traditional and non-traditional students in the 100+ academic programs and 3,000+ courses offered.

The scope of work encompassed the in-depth study of the offices reporting to the Executive Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Life: Admissions; Enrollment Services; Financial Aid; Student Accounts; Registrar Services; Academic Scheduling; Student Information Systems; Athletics; Dean for Students; Compliance; Student Development; Residential Life and Auxiliary Services (food services, housing).


The Pappas Consulting Group was asked to review and restructure the Registrar's Office and operations and review related registration processes at the CDL sites in preparation for the Datatel Colleague 14 system installation. The ultimate goal was to ready the University for radical changes in the way business processes and services were conducted, focusing on customer-service, distribution and sharing of information, and efficient administration.


The President of Saint Mary's College invited the Pappas Group to analyze the existing financial condition of the College and to provide recommendations that would ensure a sustainable business plan. The Pappas Consulting Group worked in partnership with the Financial Planning Advisory Group to: make recommendations concerning the elimination of the College's long-term structural deficit; determine how to reduce staffing levels and identify ways in which to increase institutional effectiveness and efficiency while possibly generating new revenue streams and reducing operating costs; reduce, to the extent possible, the FY 2010-2011 projected operating deficit; and develop a phased action plan outlining recommendations, the timetable for implementation and the responsible party for each recommendation. All functions and activities of the College (academic, administrative, financial, student affairs, enrollment management, college relations, mission etc.) were included in the review. 

Review of Senior Administrative Structure

Saint Mary's College engaged the Pappas Consulting Group to conduct a review of the senior administrative organizational structure of the College; to assess the efficacy of the current structure given the ever-growing demands on the President's time to engage actively in fundraising, development and positioning the College in the external marketplace; and to understand the role and relationship of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in the College's governance and Board structure.

We distributed questionnaires to selected Trustees and members of the campus community and all members of the senior administrative group in preparation for interviews with those who received the questionnaires. Questionnaires were completed and returned, in confidence, to the Pappas Group.

The purpose of these questionnaires and follow-up interviews was: (a) to collect information from interviewees on their perceptions of the senior administrative organizational structure and its effectiveness; (b) to collect information from interviewees on their perceptions of the relationship of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and the College; and (c) to provide findings and recommendations to the President.

Skills Assessment

The Saint Mary's Board of Trustees authorized the Pappas Consulting Group to conduct a study to: (1) identify the skills sets and management style(s) required for the vacant positions of the Chief Fiscal Officer and the Chief Academic Officer; and (2) lay the foundation for a performance evaluation of the President.

The primary objective was to pave the way for an appropriate search for the College's Chief Academic Officer and the College's Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, and to consequently make the Administrative Council a more cohesive, deliberative decision making and implementation body.


The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is remarkable in the annals of American higher education. In just thirty years from the date of its founding, it has served as a major force in the development of a curriculum rich in the arts, design and technology while creatively and painstakingly preserving the historic district in Savannah, Georgia. The College's success has transformed its founding as a single campus institution to a three campus institution (Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong) and a site in Lacoste, France. Further campus development here in the United States and overseas along with its burgeoning enrollment growth pose unique opportunities for the College. The Pappas Consulting Group has had the opportunity to work with SCAD on various assignments over the course of 4 years.

Strategic Planning

In order to be optimally prepared for its SACS accreditation site visit, the Savannah College of Art and Design engaged the Pappas Consulting Group to facilitate the institution's first-ever formal strategic planning process in the fall of 2006. The emerging plan was presented at the June 2007 Board meeting in order to implement the articulated goals for the 2007-2008 academic year and set the course for the 2007-2008 operating budget. The SCAD Strategic Plan was released in September of 2007.

The Pappas Consulting Group developed and conducted a series of planning workshops/retreats as part of this planning process. We reached out to undergraduate as well as graduate students, faculty, staff and selected alumni as well as employers to glean their perceptions of SCAD. Interviews, focus groups and electronic surveys were utilized throughout. We also identified strategic initiatives and goals for the College that will drive the service requirements for SCAD Group Inc., the for-profit arm of the College currently in formation.

Administrative and Academic Redesign

As an outgrowth of the SCAD Strategic Plan, the College embarked upon a significant Administrative Redesign (ARD) initiative. This initiative continues with the review of administrative processes throughout the College to enhance services, improve efficiencies, and to accommodate the existing campuses and address future expansion plans. We are currently providing project management, design, and implementation assistance to SCAD's ARD project teams in the areas of Enrollment Management, Academic Support Services, Information Technology and Budget Development.

The processes we have put in place have enabled SCAD to design student enrollment and related processes in their Hong Kong campus that will start to enroll students in 2010.

As a result of our efforts, SunGard Higher Education announced SCAD as the 2010 winner of the SunGard Higher Education Award for Institutional Performance for outstanding results from its academic process redesign initiative. In addition to the award, SCAD will receive $10,000 for student aid and scholarship.

 SCAD was honored for its successful redesign of 15 academic processes that had proven outdated for students and departments across campus. Previously, students who wanted to process requests such as withdrawing from courses, applying for internships, requesting prerequisite waivers, declaring or changing majors, requesting transcripts, or applying for graduation had to manually walk paper forms through a progression of requirements, obtaining necessary hand-written signatures and other approvals from offices across a multi-building urban campus. The redesign transformed the tasks into an online environment of efficient, automated and easily accessible transactions.

 The SunGard Higher Education Award for Institutional Performance recognizes one institution of higher education for measurable institutional performance improvements supported through SunGard Higher Education technologies and/or services. Final judging is done by a panel of peer institutions.

Information Technology

We developed an approach for measuring the tradeoffs of the relative merits of technology investments for the Savannah College of Art and Design. The existing budget process did not enable the assessment of competing needs for information technology and capital expenditures. The Vice President for Information Technology sought a systematic way to evaluate IT and capital projects and had asked that the institution's Chief Operating Officer be used as a test case. The Pappas Group developed budget decision packages that enabled the evaluation of the relative benefits, risks, and costs and rank ordered them in relationship to their relative strategic value to SCAD.

Reputation Building

SCAD has placed a high priority on having all its academic programs achieve a number one ranking. At the same time, SCAD had asked that the Pappas Group assist SCAD in increasing its overall reputation within the general higher education marketplace. We believe that academic program rankings and general higher education marketplace reputation are highly interrelated and complementary projects. We have proposed strategies very much in line with the principles that will guide the program rankings project and will complement those efforts.

Self-Assessment and Board Development

The highest performing boards regularly conduct a performance self-assessment with the assistance of an external facilitator. The Pappas Consulting Group conducted a self-assessment workshop with the SCAD Board of Trustees. We developed an interview instrument intended to be a teaching/learning tool, as well as a diagnostic one, to assess the Board's present performance in the following categories: Board Functioning (Board materials, Board meetings, Board Committees, Executive Committee, Board development and evaluation); Board Roles and Responsibilities (planning, policy development, financial oversight, institutional reputation and Board giving, President communication, evaluation, and support); and Board Member Satisfaction and; Overall Board Performance. 


Seton Hall University, a Catholic University in South Orange, New Jersey, engaged the Pappas Consulting Group to conduct a comprehensive analysis and redesign of administrative processes and services. The University excluded the academic processes of teaching and research.

Our functional experts reviewed the processes, organization, staffing, and infrastructure support of:

  • student and enrollment services;
  • finance and accounting;
  • human resources; and
  • University affairs.

In conducting this diagnostic, we also examined basic organization and staffing, planning, policies and regulations, technology, and physical infrastructure in place to support operations. This approach led our consultants to the assessment of nearly every organizational unit in the institution, outside of the classroom. Our methodology included, in addition to the traditional document review, a desk audit of certain processes, and interviews, process mapping and a proprietary work measurement tool called SPANS (Structured Productivity Analysis System).

Another key feature of this project was the close working relationship we developed with assigned "co-consultants" from Seton Hall staff. These staff literally became our working partners in collecting, analyzing, and presenting data for the formulation of findings and recommendations.

Our assessment resulted in a comprehensive report on administrative operations, with focus on critical processes. We were able to help the institution select five priority processes for redesign, including undergraduate student enrollment management, procurement, human resources, graduate admissions, and registration.


The Pappas Consulting Group completed a diagnostic review of Smith College's faculty budget process. In recent years, Smith College has experienced challenges integrating decisions about the faculty budget within the overall budget process for the College. We assessed the structural, process, and communication issues that had led to challenges in planning and managing the faculty compensation budget. Dr. Pappas personally assumed responsibility for the conduct of all the analysis and site work, and developed recommendations that will ensure that faculty compensation planning is integrated within the College's financial planning processes. 


The Pappas Consulting Group Inc. provided Suffolk University with organizational consulting services for the strategic transformation of administrative services and the design of a methodology to assess faculty productivity and instructional cost.

  • Achieved cost reductions through more effective use of the University's infrastructure;

  • Identified opportunities to reduce costs, generate new revenue streams, and/or improve service to further the mission;

  • Evaluated the delivery of the full range of administrative and support services;

  • Examined opportunities for redesigning the institution's organizational structure in a substantially more effective and financially sustainable manner while assessing the competency of management and staff;

  • Provided a roadmap to transforming the University to meet projected future demands given the financial constraints projected over the next decade; and

  • Developed a methodology that enabled the assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency of the academic core (i.e., faculty productivity and the cost of instruction) of the University in consultation with the Deans, Chairs and faculty of the three mission-differentiated Colleges and the New England College of Art and Design.

The following are in-depth descriptors of the detailed work performed on behalf of the University.Transformation of Administrative Services:

Central Administration

The focus of this review was on the central administration of the University and included the following functions: Information Technology Services; University Communications; Human Resources; General Counsel; Student Affairs; Advancement; Finance & Treasury; Accounting and Finance; Budget & Risk Management; Procurement; Business Services; Bursar's Office; Research and Sponsored Programs; External Affairs; Facilities Planning and Management; Enrollment Management and International Programs; and the Police.

We provided short and long-term recommendations concerning organizational restructuring, process redesign, facilities utilization, and non-personnel expenditures (e.g., events, print materials, freelance consultants, travel, procurement, health and retirement benefits, etc.). $6M savings in personnel for both the short and long-term were identified. $7M in annualized savings in non-personnel costs were identified for a grand total of $13M.

Administrative Services Review (Academic Units)

The Pappas Consulting Group subsequently engaged in a review of the academic administration of the University including the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Law School, and the Sawyer Business School. Throughout this phase, the consultant team worked with the Acting President/Provost and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of the Law School and the Dean of the Sawyer Business School to review and discuss administrative restructuring options to improve operating efficiency and service to students.

A number of the recommendations transformed the University's siloed operating culture; addressed the University's troublesome student retention and graduation rates; ensured that there were University-wide policies and practices in place that were consistently applied across all three academic units; determined whether the University's current $4M investment in study abroad was warranted, given the demography of Suffolk University undergraduates; created shared services models to improve services to students and reduce operating costs and; conducted select restructuring and process redesign efforts for each of the three academic units. $6M savings in personnel for both the short and long-term were identified. Over $3M in annualized savings were identified.

Fall Budget Process

The Pappas Consulting Group provided assistance to the Acting Vice President/Treasurer and the Director of Financial Planning, Real Estate & Strategic Operations throughout the FY 11-12 fall budget-revision process. A best practices FY 12-13 operating budget process was developed and a FY 12-13 capital budget was instituted.

We provided a 5-year history of key financial elements (i.e., revenue and expense trends; enrollment, net tuition, and financial aid trends; salary and benefit trends; and outstanding debt and debt service trends) and presented steps to take to reduce the 2011-2012 budget deficit (i.e., eliminate functions; reduce administrative and support staff; streamline administrative processes; and make strategic investments).

Faculty Early Retirement Plan

The Pappas Consulting Group provided an approach for a Phased Retirement Plan for Suffolk tenured full-time faculty.

Office of University Institutional Planning and Research

The Pappas Consulting Group created an Office of University Institutional Planning and Research at Suffolk University to satisfy the demand for accountability and provide consistent, reliable and comprehensive data within one centralized office. The functions of the office include research on academic issues and faculty, fiscal issues, enrollment management (the flow of students from admissions to alumni), and students, as well as support for strategic planning and institutional effectiveness.

Peer Study

When the Pappas Consulting Group Inc. was engaged to undertake Organizational Consulting Services for the Strategic Transformation of Administrative Services, one of the first steps we undertook was to identify comparator peers. We conducted a very thorough analysis to determine 7-11 institutions similar to Suffolk on a set of observable characteristics, such as mission, size, control, and mix of programs in order to provide a meaningful comparison group for benchmarking purposes for a multi-year period. The result was a confidential report informing key strategic, policy and accreditation decisions.

Information Technology System Vectors of Change

The Pappas Consulting Group prepared background and briefing documents relating to the use of Help Desks and ITIL or Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) for information technology. Help Desks are acknowledged as the window of service into the entire information technology organization. The key emphasis of the ITIL approach is to have staff in the IT organization focus on delivery of service not the delivery of technology. When successfully implemented, the benefits and transformational nature of organizational learning that can occur can be dazzling.

Academic Quality, Faculty Productivity, and Curriculum Efficiency

The Pappas Consulting Group created a model to provide the Acting President and Provost, and the Acting Vice President/Treasurer with a tool to assess the efficient use of faculty resources through the examination of faculty productivity and curriculum efficiency. This review, and subsequent recommendations, of academic policies, practices and data enabled increased accountability and improved academic efficiency and effectiveness.

Strategic Planning

We recently facilitated the development of the institution's first University-wide strategic plan for AY 12-13-AY 17-18 at the request of the institution's new President.

Division of Student Success

We worked with University leaders to implement a Division for Student Success for undergraduate and graduate students at Suffolk University. The study resulted in a report that contained: a functional table of organization with clear reporting lines and responsibilities; major functions for each position within the table of organization that the Office of Human Resources could convert into official University position descriptions; the objectives of the new Division and its role and relationship to functions performed in Student Affairs, Enrollment Services, and the Sawyer Business School that need to interface with Student Success; and recommendations concerning which administrative processes need redesign once the final organizational alignment of the Division is complete


The University recently asked the Pappas Consulting Group to develop a five-year financial plan for the Suffolk University Law School to position the Law School at the forefront of a movement changing law school education in this country. We participated in work sessions to build the assumptions, strategies, and modeling scenarios leading to the development of the five-year plan. 


The purpose of this consulting engagement was to identify administrative process redesign opportunities to result in at least $8 million in cost savings after the University had already initiated a $2 million reduction in the administrative structure. A further objective was to identify means of improving service to students, faculty, staff, and other University constituents.

We reviewed financial, human resource, purchasing/accounts payable, enrollment, academic support, auxiliary, and development (fund raising) policies, processes, and structures in the College, the division and in the President's Office.

The recommendations called for the provision of these administrative and support services at the originating unit, with responsibility assigned to professionals who would perform in accordance with documented practices and be held accountable. This resulted in the reduction or elimination of detailed processing in the Central Comptroller's Office and the establishment of Local Transaction Centers (LTC) at the Colleges.

The outcome was the identification of $12-$15 million in potential savings in procurement, finance, facilities, student services, auxiliaries, and development. We assisted in the implementation of these recommendations and LTCs during a second phase of work.


The Pappas Consulting Group worked with the University of Hartford to develop a strategic plan for the Hartford College of Women (The College) within the broader context of the University of Hartford and its enterprise-wide strategic planning efforts.

The objective of this consultation was to work with a Strategic Planning Committee comprised of College Trustees, members of the Board of Regents, alumnae, students and staff to determine the optimal strategic direction for the College. Our consultancy enabled the University, the College Board of Trustees as well as the Board of Regents to make strategic allocation decisions for the 2004-2005 academic year.


The Pappas Consulting Group was engaged to perform an overall comprehensive diagnostic review of IT planning, operations and deployment at the University of New Haven. The deliverable was an assessment that provided senior leadership with a structured basis for determining the strategies and services appropriate for, and integrated with, the overall environment and directions of the University.

We evaluated:

  • scope and state of currently installed technologies
  • expectations of users for IT support and services
  • positioning of IT within executive priorities and planning
  • adequacy of University and IT plans to address user expectations
  • evaluation of current plans for IT acquisition/development/deployment
  • evaluation of current significant IT projects with respect to project controls, quality assurance and risk, and strategic integration
  • service model in place for the delivery of centralized and distributed IT services
  • staffing, skill sets, and training needs for both central and distributed IT staff
  • general evaluation of IT skill levels and usage in user community
  • governance structures in place for establishing IT directions and prioritizing project commitments

In parallel with this diagnostic assessment, the Pappas Consulting Group was engaged to analyze and restructure the University's project for replacing its student system with the Sunguard-SCT Matrix ERP system. We provided assistance in:

  • Guiding the operational system design for the Matrix implementation
  • Facilitating the establishment of an Executive Steering Committee for the project
  • Developing project plans and timelines for all phases of the remaining project, and monitoring results
  • Assisting technical staff and operational users with the development of formal test plans
  • Providing a post-project implementation review report

The Pappas Consulting Group was subsequently asked to develop appropriate planning steps for advancing information technology at UNH, and enhancing the required support structures necessary to maintain such technology. These activities were based upon the findings in the IT Assessment Report:

  • Assist user directors with developing an Operational Vision
  • Begin the formulation of an IT Service Model for UNH
  • Guided the priority planning for longer-term major IT projects
  • Provide general IT consulting services to the Vice President of Finance upon request
  • Provide ongoing general advising and consulting services to the CIO

Dr. Pappas conducted a Planning and Budget Committee Workshop to discuss the future of higher education and the "UT Educational Experience".  She engaged workgroups to develop a strong market position for UT as a model medium-sized comprehensive independent university with an unusually rich, high quality, residentially-based educational experience.


Visioning Retreat
The Pappas Consulting Group facilitated a Visioning Retreat for the Board of Regents with the purpose of developing the basis for a plan that builds upon the strategic plan, Pacific Rising: 2008-2015, with some refinement of the mission statement, the addition of a vision statement, and identification of new priorities to guide the University in the coming years. There was also discussion of core values.

Follow-up to Visioning Retreat (Strategic Planning)

The Board expressed its need to develop 5-6 priorities for action in a time of rapid financial and demographic change for which it could hold the President and itself accountable. The Board articulated five priorities within the context of the twenty strategies and ninety-six actions of the Pacific Rising: 2008-2015.

The Board asked the Pappas Consulting Group to refine further the above referenced 5-6 priorities for action. The Board recognized that 3-5-10-20 year time horizons needed to be determined as those priorities developed into strategic initiatives with specific action steps and performance metrics. The Board expected that the ultimate articulation of strategic initiatives and action steps be developed in time to inform the Academic Year 2011-2012 Budget Process.