University of Calgary

iS² update

May 21, 2009

iS² Project update

Gary Durbeniuk

Gary Durbeniuk
Effective immediately, Gary Durbeniuk, Vice-President, Development, has been appointed as the Executive Sponsor of the review, which is also known as the iS² (Innovative Support Services) Project. As Executive Sponsor, Gary assumes daily supervision and oversight of the project.  He is the main point of contact among the President/Vice-President (PVP) group, the Deans, the consultants and others instrumental to the success of this program.  He is responsible to ensure that decisions get made with due consultation and in a timely way to make sure that the project stays on track. 

Gary has taken on a significant task as Executive Sponsor, but the skill set and accomplishments he has shown in developing a high performance Development Team, which operates in remarkably effective and innovative ways, and which has exceeded every target the University has set, suggests to us that he is the person to lead us through this significant task.  Gary will meet at minimum once a week with the PVP group to review progress of the iS2 and will report regularly to Deans’ Council. Nick Kirton, a member of the University’s Board of Governors and chair of the Board’s audit committee, and Warren Veale, professor emeritus and the former dean of the faculties of Kinesiology and Graduate Studies, who knows all aspects of the University well and who has served as an internal consultant for this project from its inception, will also attend the weekly review meetings with PVP.  Deans from across campus are engaged throughout the process, and in particular, the project has benefitted from the ongoing involvement of those deans involved in the initial phase of the project: Elizabeth Cannon, Dean of the Schulich School of Engineering, Tom Feasby, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Kevin McQuillan, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science, Sandy Murphree, Dean of the Faculty of Science, and Leonard Waverman, Dean of the Haskayne School of Business.

Many of you across campus have already participated in iS², which encompasses a review of our support services on campus, including Information Technologies, Human Resources, Supply Chain Management, Facilities Management, Finance, Research Accounting, External Relations and elements of the Provost’s portfolio. The core goals of the review are to improve the delivery of support services across campus and also to maximize efficiencies and to help improve the financial sustainability of our organization. Phase 1 was recently concluded, resulting in a series of recommendations to improve support service functions across campus. The recommendations—including a significant overhaul of our business processes (many related to PeopleSoft), payroll efficiencies and trust accounting improvements to single out a few—are now being discussed by PVP to determine which specific projects will be priorities moving forward. We anticipate being able to share the priority projects at a high level within a week.

At a President/Vice-President (PVP) meeting last week, this group agreed to the governance model outlined above as well as the project’s vision, values, foundational principles and goals. These are outlined in detail on the iS² website,

The PVP group has also agreed to a Shared Service model for University support services, which is a necessary foundation for the required improvements. This model will result in clear accountabilities, particularly for those in central administration, who will be held responsible for delivering an agreed-upon standard and timeliness of service to our employees, faculties and other units. For “users” of support services across campus—who indeed have asked for these improvements—this new model will result in improved service levels and a reduction of the frustration that all too often results from our basic business transactions.

Many of the University’s support service staff have been—and continue to be—engaged in meaningful change and improvement within their units. The iS² project in no way diminishes their work to date or the progress they have made within their shops.  In fact, we would not be at this iS2 stage, or have this opportunity, were it not for the successes and advances our staff have made in their operations over the last several years.  We can build on these successes and achieve a new level of service for us all.

Moving forward without significant improvements to our support services is not optional. We are at a point where we need to solve some critical process issues to ensure that our institution is able to make good on our core missions of student success, high-quality research and return to community.

We are both committed to sharing information as this project moves forward.  We will do so through regular emails and also updates on the project website. We look forward to your feedback.

Harvey P. Weingarten                                      

Gary Durbeniuk
Vice-President, Development
iS² Executive Sponsor

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