Moving forward with PRASE: A summary of key findings

Patrick Monahan, vice-president academic & provost, and Gary Brewer, vice-president finance & administration, issued this update today on the Process Re-engineering & Service Enhancement (PRASE) review.

In late February, after two community information sessions, 77 workshops involving more than 300 participants, representing eight different administrative business functions and 23 subject areas, we received the results of Phase 1 of the PRASE administrative process review from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

As you are aware, last fall York engaged PwC to help the University identify, develop and implement more effective administrative processes and procedures to help maximize our human and financial resources and better support York’s mission of academic excellence, student success and community engagement.

Since receiving the report, we have been studying PwC’s findings and proposed recommendations very carefully and have held a number of in-depth consultation sessions with York’s senior management, including the deans, vice-presidents and senior managers. These meetings concluded successfully last week and we are pleased to announce that PwC’s PRASE – Phase 1 report is now available on the PRASE website. There is a summary report that highlights the findings and opportunities, and there is a longer report that includes greater detail also posted on the website.

While we urge you to take the time to read the full report, here are a few of the key highlights.

What did we learn?

York currently provides a mix of fully centralized, fully decentralized and some shared responsibilities to deliver core administrative services to students, staff and faculty. The PRASE review found this service model approach provides:

  • inconsistent service levels and customer satisfaction;
  • higher than necessary costs;
  • duplication of effort; and,
  • unclear responsibilities and accountabilities.

All of which contribute to a limited capacity to manage, grow and support York’s strategic academic goals now and in the future.

These results are not unique to York. PwC has consistently found the same issues in the work they have done for other Canadian universities. They found that York is doing a lot of things well from an administrative point of view, but it is clear that we have a number of key areas where we need to design and implement more efficient and effective administrative processes and procedures.

The York community generally agrees that there is a clear and compelling need for change. Some quotes from those participating included: “Doing nothing is not an option”, and that “York needs to get out of the 80s and 90s.” However, the community is also somewhat skeptical about the level of the change that needs to occur and what will actually occur.

Where do we go from here?

As a result of this intensive nine-week review process, York has:

  • a fact-based view of what, where and how York’s administrative services are being provided and the associated costs;
  • a comprehensive and quantified range of potential service improvement opportunities; and,
  • a potential service delivery operating model that more clearly focuses the University’s limited financial and human resources on supporting its academic priorities.

The PRASE – Phase 1 report outlines a wide range of possible service improvements, and highlights areas of opportunity where significant benefits can be achieved. It should be noted that many of the recommendations for service improvements suggested in the report came from the York community who actively participated in the PRASE workshops. A special thanks to everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to participate in this important review process.

With the release of the report today, we are now entering a 30-day consultation period to listen to your suggestions, address your concerns and to give us the time to decide what opportunities we will move forward with, and how York will proceed with implementing the service improvements recommended in the report.

We would like to encourage everyone to attend the community information sessions being held on Tuesday, March 22, from 1 to 2:30pm, in the Robert McEwen Auditorium, Seymour Schulich Building, and then again on Friday, March 25, from 10am to 12pm, in the Moot Court Room, Osgoode Hall Law School. We will present a summary of the report and provide an opportunity for discussion and questions. If you can’t attend the information sessions in person, we are taping the session(s) to post on the PRASE website. You can also ask any questions you have online, by going to

Going forward, once we have received and assessed the feedback from the York community, we will communicate how we intend to start work on Phase 2, identifying some of the key service improvements that we can move on quickly to maximize our human and financial resources to support York’s core mission of academic excellence, student success and community engagement.

We are committed to continuing open and ongoing consultation and dialogue with the York community as we proceed with the design and implementation of PRASE. You will receive regular progress updates going forward, and we urge you to continue to be involved or become involved in the community consultation process. That way we can hear and address your suggestions, opinions and concerns as part of the PRASE implementation process.

So, please go to the PRASE website and read the PRASE – Phase 1 report.

Thank you in advance for your continued participation.