New York Office Reboot Creates Agility, Efficiency

Throughout the past year, AUC examined each function in North America to evaluate how to improve service, as well as enhance and streamline University functions. The outcome is a new and improved configuration of how the University will operate in North America, including a redesign and relocation of the New York office.

AUC functions in the United States include institutional advancement, student and faculty recruitment, finance, government relations, human resources, AUC Press and Board of Trustees support. The new configuration and sale of the current New York office space next month is the result of a yearlong process that included analyzing function by function to create a more flexible, cost-effective and agile model for University operations in North America. Staff members who are representing AUC in the United States will work in an integrated way with AUC’s main service units in Cairo. 

“In Fall 2016, the administration began a review of services provided by the New York office as part of the University’s goal of providing world-class customer service,” explained Jennifer Bayne, director of the New York Office and secretary to the Board of Trustees. “The review showed that many operations are there for obsolete historical reasons and can be streamlined, repatriated to Cairo or provided at other locations in the United States in nicer, less costly space. For example, we currently have a director of government relations person in D.C., an AUC Press officer in California and our investment function is in Arizona. So the goal is to be nimble, flexible and cost-effective, while delivering better customer service in all of our functions.”

This focus on the delivery of high-quality customer service prompted a close examination of which functions needed to be physically delivered in the United States while ensuring that all processes are carried out as efficiently and effectively as possible. For example, free shipment is an important service that AUC provides to faculty members, enabling them to order academic books and have them shipped to Cairo through the New York office. As part of the recent review of functions, AUC will use the services of DHL Global Forwarding for the consolidation of parcels and letters to be forwarded from the United States to Cairo. A contract will be signed between both parties to ensure delivery to Cairo on a semi-monthly basis. 

AUC Press has also relocated from the old New York office to a space near Columbia University, which makes it closer to its publisher in New York. The institutional advancement function, which includes fundraising and alumni relations, will continue to have offices in New York, but will be relocate to a better suited and more cost-effective space.

In addition, the University will hire a U.S.-based recruitment officer to attend recruitment fairs and visit key U.S. campuses. The recruitment officer, whose primarily responsibility requires intensive travel across the United States, is now free to be located in New York or any other city that best serves the function. “This approach helps create a more efficient system, as it should optimize travel costs while maximizing AUC’s presence in the United States,” said Ahmed Tolba, associate provost for strategic enrollment management.

The utilization of technology will continue to be an enabler to ensure that AUC provides quality customer service. “This new configuration signals a commitment to focus on service delivery, change business practices and actually use our resources to the greatest extent possible in delivering high-quality services to students and indeed all members of the AUC community,” said Brian MacDougall, executive vice president for administration and finance. “Our staff in New York and other areas in the United States will work with our main teams in Cairo to meet and exceed service expectations. We will, of course, measure the performance of our various functions and make further adjustments to ensure services are comprehensive and timely.”

MacDougall added that the proceeds from the sale of the New York Office property, which will go to the endowment, mean an additional $.24 million in revenue will be available annually to support AUC’s academic programs.

The University will continue to maintain a business address in Manhattan, where the secretary to the board is currently located.