Professor to Oversee Campus Initiative


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The realization of more than $75 million in expected campus savings now rests in the hands of UC Berkeley professor and acting dean of the College of Engineering Albert Pisano, after his appointment by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau Thursday to oversee an ambitious cost-saving project.

Pisano begins his role Tuesday as head of the program office for Operational Excellence, a controversial campus initiative aimed at streamlining the organization and efficiency of the campus administration, which hired consulting firm Bain & Company to prepare recommendations.

Pisano will devote most of his time to the project and will receive a $45,000 annual stipend on top of his regular salary over the next three years. Khira Griscavage, special adviser to the vice chancellor of administration, will serve as interim director of the office and as Pisano's second-in-command while the campus searches for a permanent director.

"This is an important project and I'm looking forward to working with all my colleagues, faculty, staff and students across the campus," Pisano said in an e-mail. "I've got the full support of the chancellor who personally has reminded me that 'failure is not an option.'"

Claire Holmes, associate vice chancellor of communications and public affairs, said Pisano was chosen for the position because of his "passion" for the project as well as his background in other administrative roles.

Pisano has been a member of campus faculty for 27 years, was appointed chair of the department of mechanical engineering in 2004, has started seven small companies and has served in administrative roles at many different research centers.

"He has a tremendous amount of experience both here at Berkeley and elsewhere and in general in running large projects," Holmes said.

The program office, which according to Holmes will be more like a small-staffed "virtual" office, will oversee each of the project's teams that will begin to form in coming weeks.

Two teams will address organizational challenges, and five teams will focus on specific areas within campus operations that could be consolidated or reorganized: procurement of supplies, structure of student services, energy management, organization of information technology and structure of supervisory roles.

Once team leaders are selected, they will look for volunteers and nominations to fill positions. The teams will then make decisions on ways to implement changes within their areas. Pisano is charged with coordinating and overseeing the efforts of all teams and said he will make sure faculty, staff and students are all represented in crafting solutions.

"I'm looking forward to getting (the office) up and running this summer, so that we are moving forward as quickly as possible," he said in an e-mail. "I cannot do this alone, so I'll be working this summer to enlist the help of people across the campus in this endeavor."

Emma Anderson is an assistant news editor.Contact her at [email protected]

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