Administrative Services

Administrative Services supports the mission and strategic objectives of the Division of Student Life by working collaboratively on organizational development/human resources and financial matters. Working with the reporting units enables effective delivery of programs and services to the MIT community, particularly to students.

Administrative Services reports directly to Dean Benedict and is headed by Laura Capone, assistant dean for organizational performance and human resources and Frank Salamone, director of finance. As implementation of shared services continues to evolve in DSL, the guiding principles for organizational performance have been twofold. First, we provide services and information management that enable effective decision–making and efficient utilization of resources to achieve program goals. Second, we continue to establish uniform DSL processes and methods to facilitate efficiency and develop cross–departmental communication. The Administrative Services group is comprised of a team who facilitates and/or provides for the following functions and services to be delivered within DSL: budget, financial reporting, human resources and organizational development, information technology, and space administration.

An organizational development framework and partnership model enabled DSL to implement the following programs and strategies successfully: the Support Staff Reclassification Process, Spot Awards Program design, centralization of personnel administration, and pooling salary and headcount for unfilled positions for division–wide application. (Each of the above listed projects is detailed in the sections that follow.) Furthermore, this framework is applied to DSL's budget and finance systems as new and improved financial processes are developed and implemented throughout the division.

Rather than merely "adapting" to what we think is happening in the world and its implications on the economy and workplace, DSL has opted to cocreate its environment in ways that reflect the organization's values and aspirations. Systems thinking and complex theory emphasize the need to focus on organizational relationships in order to gain the most from shared resources. This fundamental approach hones in on the nature of those relationships and gears them toward mutual benefit, coevolution, and partnership.

In sum, in FY2003 Administrative Services provided the means for significant progress toward sustainable systemic changes and business results.

Evolution of the Administrative Services Organization

In January of 2003, Frank Salamone was appointed as the leader for centralized financial services in DSL. Frank's background spans more than two decades of industry as well as higher education experience and emphasized business planning, analysis, and financial skills. Frank's leadership role was specifically designed to deliver and maintain sustainable and robust financial systems, structures and processes that deliver services and management information across the division and enable DSL to achieve its programmatic objectives.

Subsequently, Financial Services was reorganized. Finance now has assumed central responsibility across all DSL departments. All staff members, some having come from within DSL and others specially hired for the new roles, have expanded and enriched job descriptions. Assistant director positions have both a direct responsibility assignment to support a Department(s) as well as a broader DSL–wide responsibility involving some aspect or their work (e.g. assistant director, Mikel Tsipis' work focuses primarily on DAPER's financial matters, but he is also responsible for DSL Risk Management).

Also noteworthy is the Institute's new overall approach to Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) management and the hire of Mary Jacques in March of 2003 to serve as the DSL coordinator for the EHS Program. The intention of this role is to develop and implement an environmental, health and safety management system within DSL and ensure appropriate EHS practices and standards throughout the organization. The DSL EHS program promotes the Institute's overall EHS management program and works in conjunction with the MIT Environmental Programs Office and EHS Office. By staffing this position within DSL rather than relying upon central resources, the program has better knowledge and understanding of department operations and therefore is better able to most efficiently allocate resources and focus on issues specific to DSL's needs, strengths and weaknesses.

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Budget and Financial Reporting

As implementation of the shared services concept in DSL continues to evolve, supporting work processes such as the annual budget document have been streamlined and organized in a consistent fashion to make the most efficient use of the information as an executive management tool. This year, the information was focused consistently on three primary areas for each reporting unit and for DSL as a whole: presentation of a strategic overview and area objectives for the coming fiscal year, personnel planning and headcount analysis, and a cogent summary of GIB and Funds Budgets.

DSL Administrative Services focuses much of its attention on the facilitation of business outcomes. As an example, both the graduate and undergraduate housing room rates have been revised for FY2004. To accomplish this objective, complex analytical models were constructed to enable "if – then" scenarios that supported decision making. The successful process required a working partnership between DSL Leadership, Housing Management, Student Government, Housemasters, Dean Colbert, and Chancellor Clay. The following objectives were met: rates that reflect relative room values were established and adjusted so that they are closer to 90 percent of fair market value principle. The new rate structure provides a solid rationale for price increases and adjustments to be made in future years.

Another key objective for DSL was met this year as the Administrative Services area led an effort that involved collaboration with MIT's Budget and Finance Steering Committee and others in the Financial Community to research and prepare a total Housing Cost Analysis. This project identified space metrics, estimated profit and loss information for graduate and undergraduate housing, analyzed debt service, and provided the basis for long–term fiscal planning. New information reporting tools were also developed to enable DSL to more effectively manage budgets. These tools require a global perspective and sophisticated use of MIT financial and information systems: BrioQuery/EIS capabilities and the Data Warehouse. AS worked in collaboration with Financial Systems Services (FSS) to build the existing tools, and will continue to work together to enhance and expand DSL's reporting capabilities.

Shared services also enabled DSL to respond more readily to a request from the Office of the Provost regarding identification and analysis of the programs offered by the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation. Administrative Services was able to report on Z–Center revenues and costs as well as analyze program participation levels and costs.

Administrative Services developed internal DSL management reporting standards this year. These included departmental forecasting, use of common internal reporting structures, and consistent communication of findings to the Dean. These practices ensure control over–spending versus budget and monitoring of funds balances.

Several new Dining programs and vendors were introduced in FY2003 as well. Responding to the various contractual commercial terms has stressed the importance of improving accounting processes. We have introduced an initiative in collaboration with the Controllers Accounting Office and the Card Office to streamline accounting, leverage our systems capabilities, ensure a high level of financial control, and provide much needed MIS. Completion of this initiative is expected early in FY2004.

Environmental Health and Safety Program

Accomplishments of the program during its first four months include the establishment of an EHS committee with representatives from appropriate DSL departments and the development of an initial, comprehensive EHS training program. The purpose of the EHS committee is to establish and disseminate EHS plans and practices within DSL and to provide a forum for resolving any EHS issues that may surface. The EHS training program was developed to ensure that all DSL employees receive legally required and other appropriate EHS training. In addition, program staff provided support to all DSL areas in conducting environmental investigations, addressing various safety concerns, and obtaining other EHS information and action.

Key elements of the division's EHS program that were planned in FY03 for roll–out during FY2004 include the implementation of the recently developed EHS training program, the development of a comprehensive audit and inspection program for EHS issues, and the registration of all spaces with EHS risks in a central Institute database. In addition to these major projects, the program will continue to provide support to DSL staff and students in addressing any environmental, health, or safety concerns that arise.

Human Resources and Organizational Development

Behavioral Competency Application

As the benefits of DSL's focus on behavioral competence continues to evolve in DSL, feedback from students indicates measurable success using behavioral competency models as a hiring guide–Baker, Trujillo, and Tyrell have been offered as examples of success in the use of behavioral and technical competencies for hires within DSL. Behavioral competency models will also be used as a guide for measuring performance. This year, a behavioral competency model was developed by DAPER coaches for use as performance metrics in FY2004. The model was established as a guide for measuring performance against critical success criteria for all coaches working at MIT and will be integrated into a 360–review process where feedback is collected.

Broad Based Performance Development Program

In FY2003 the newly formed Professional Development Committee took a strategic look at the professional development needs of the organization. This analysis led to the creation of a more broad based professional development program for all DSL staff in FY2004. The program schedule consists of learning opportunities that are built–upon each other and is developed in stages. The program takes less of a managerial approach and offers instead an increasingly broad–based and holistic perspective resulting in division wide impact.

The professional development program schedule for FY2004 encourages staff participation across all levels of the organization and includes a foundations course called "Understanding and Serving MIT Student Constituents." The DSL will also offer a number of opportunities for learning about gender communications issues, "He Said/She Said." Other operational training programs will continue to take place in the DSL.

Headcount Management Process

As further evidence of resource sharing in DSL, the organization established a TBA budget this year to enable efficient management of headcount and salary resources for staff who terminate their employment. This system requires more thoughtful replacement of headcount and allows management and distribution of headcount and salary in areas where the greatest benefit will be derived.

Support Staff Advisory Committee

The mission of the Support Staff Advisory Committee (SSAC) is threefold: To foster a sense of community among the DSL Support Staff, to share resources and strengthen communication in the community, and to provide professional development and growth opportunities whenever possible. As such, the SSAC kicked off with a presentation in the fall of 2001 by MIT Ombudsperson, Toni Robinson on Balancing Work and Life. The following spring Barbara Peacock–Coady, manager of careers planning at MIT, presented a Career Development Workshop. In 2002, The SSAC released a newsletter, The DSL Support Report, addressing issues specific to the DSL support staff. Finally, the SSAC also launched it's web site ( allowing the community to participate and give feedback as appropriate. Since then the SSAC hosted the 2003 fall luncheon at which the recent support staff reclassification process was discussed with featured guests, Laura Avakian, VP of Human Resources, Bob Muti, HR officer, and Rita Geller, compensation specialist. The year concluded with a spring luncheon at which featured guest, Laura Capone, discussed the DSL performance review process.

The committee meets regularly to discuss support staff opportunities ranging from on–campus training to networking events. It also raises any issues common to the support staff. In that vein, when it came time to roll out the reclassification results, it was due to the dialogues in these meetings that DSL was able to insure a smooth transition to the new system.

Information Technology

DSL continued its collaborative working relationship with Student Services Information Technology (SSIT) to meet the technical needs of the organization. An initial scan of DSL end–users indicates that clients of SSIT are very satisfied with the desktop support service that they receive. In terms of new systems capabilities, DSL has advanced its progress with the Association of Student Activities development in the area of Student Life Programs. In addition, DSL and SSIT started the planning for a new systems development project that promises to streamline the Physical Education registration process and NCAA compliance requirements in the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation.

Laura Capone, Assistant Dean for Organizational Performance and Human Resources
Frank Salamone, Director of Finance

More information about Administrative Services can be found on the web at


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