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Mead among 15 chief financial officers participating in program in Germany

Ann Mead, WKU’s vice president for Finance and Administration, is one of 15 chief financial officers traveling to Germany next month to study lean management in higher education.

Ann Mead

“Do More with Less—Implementing Change in Higher Education Management in Germany” is a program sponsored by the Institute of International Education and the German-American Fulbright Commission. It will enable the CFOs to compare lean management at U.S. and German universities and identify best practices in both systems.

“There are differences between American and European colleges and universities,” Mead said. “We hope to exchange ideas as to how to increase efficiency and ‘do more with less.’  I will be sharing information collected with my colleagues at other Kentucky universities and with our education doctoral students.”

Mead said her experience was one reason for her selection.

“I bring to the program a unique experience mix,” she said. “I have worked at a doctoral institution, higher education coordinating board and a comprehensive university.”

Being selected was an honor, she said, adding “I trust I will be a good ambassador and another example of WKU’s commitment to international reach.”

The goal of the study visit is to introduce the U.S. administrators to the ways that German universities have responded to major financial reform pressures over the last decade and the results they have achieved, and to explore how this might be relevant to the current U.S. context.

From Oct. 7-13, the U.S. delegation will participate in workshops, expert meetings and panel discussions, and will visit a range of German universities in Berlin, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg.

With escalating financial pressures at U.S. institutions, senior administrators are facing unique challenges that are forcing them to react and restructure to maximize resources. Public higher education institutions are challenged further by state funding cuts that translate into budget crunches and force them to prioritize their programs. The study tour will address these issues by examining financial strategies and efficiencies in the German model.

Questions that will be addressed during the study tour include: How do German university leaders reshape their institutions, and shift them from traditional state-government driven ‘alma maters’ to modern, efficient and highly competitive knowledge providers? How do they slim down and professionalize their civil-service-based administration – at no extra cost, and with the support of faculty? How do they adjust their higher education contracts with the state governments, secure quality in teaching and research and yield expected outcome-based results in student learning? How does change management affect faculty and students, and how do institutions in a severely underfinanced environment balance reform, lean administration, quality and market pressures? How do they motivate all stakeholders alike to support the process?

The seminar is specifically designed for U.S. university leaders in charge of the administrative processes, management structures, and the financial resources of their institutions. Other institutions represented include: American University; Arizona University System; California State University Long Beach; George Mason University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Massachusetts College of Art and Design; Simmons College; State University of New York-System; The Ohio State University; University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Massachusetts, Lowell; University of Minnesota; University of North Texas; and University of West Florida.

This delegation is part of a series of “Higher Education Experts” seminars that IIE has implemented on behalf of the German-American Fulbright Commission and other organizations since 2002. Previous study seminars have focused on topics such as graduate education, accreditation and quality assurance, and technology transfer.

German-American Fulbright Commission: The German-American Fulbright Program implements Sen. J. William Fulbright’s visionary concept: The promotion of mutual understanding between our two countries through academic and bicultural exchange. The largest and most varied of the Fulbright programs worldwide, the German-American Fulbright Program has sponsored over 40,000 Germans and Americans since its inception in 1952. The defining characteristic of the program is student exchange. This core program is complemented by academic year programs for professors, teachers, teaching assistants and journalists; summer internship programs for students; and seminars for experts in university administration and German and American Studies.

Institute of International Education: The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 18 offices worldwide and more than 1,000 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.

Contact: Ann Mead, (270) 745-2434.

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