Internal Bridges

Responsibility Center Management (RCM) was piloted for the first year, with input and feedback from key stakeholders informing future refinement. Significant progress was made in the design and initial implementation of new administrative and academic unit reviews. Numerous new IT initiatives progressed, including Workday Student, a transition from Microsoft Exchange to Office 365 for email, and the implementation of cybersecurity protections. Stevens’ finances continued to improve, with record cash ratios, cash balances, and operating margins. And, the 2.5-year effort to rezone the campus was successfully completed. This effort will enable the construction of a new Student Housing/University Center project expected to house approximately 1,000 students, for which construction will begin in early 2019.


Goal I1

We will develop a new incentive-based budget model, including implementation of an appropriate form of Responsibility Center Management (RCM) for the size and configuration of the Stevens budget. The RCM model will aim to align administrative authority with financial responsibility and accountability at the local level; calibrate resources with priorities by making funding available through the annual budgeting process to achieve the goals of the strategic plan; deploy budget allocations that provide incentives for improved performance above target goals; and spur thoughtful and measured risk-taking.


The inaugural Stevens RCM model was originally developed and successfully implemented in FY18, which represented the first year of a three-year pilot program. The Stevens RCM model was built by the Division of Finance in partnership with the Provost’s Office and with input from the Academic Deans. The Stevens RCM model was reviewed and evaluated by the university’s Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) and presented to the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees and the full Board for their endorsement. In addition, the Budget Office invited two external reviewers (the CFO of a peer RCM institution and a higher education consultant with RCM expertise) to evaluate the Stevens RCM model with reference to usual and customary RCM modeling practices. The Schools received three allocations of the proportional upside in Fall 2017, Spring 2018, and Fall 2019 (for the final calculations). The allocations, which can be rolled over each year, are driving the Schools to plan and save for strategic initiatives. Additionally, SES piloted a similar RCM model for the nine departments to further reinforce the behaviors within the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science.

Goal I2

Periodic external reviews will be conducted for all academic units and programs. High priority will be placed on those units and programs subject to accreditation reviews by MSCHE, ABET and AACSB. Results of reviews will be used to ensure optimal effectiveness and efficient use of university resources.


Significant progress was made towards Goal I2 during Year 6. The Office of Academics revised the Guide to the Academic Unit Review that includes guidelines and a timeline to assist units in completing reviews. Three units (Departments of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Physics, and Mathematical Sciences) submitted their academic unit review reports during AY 17-18 and due to scheduling difficulties, their unit reviews took place in the Fall 2018 semester. Five units are completing their academic unit reviews during AY 18-19, and a schedule has been solidified for the remaining units. The schedule and supporting documents can be found on the Office of Academics Intranet site under Academic Unit Reviews.

Goal I3

A review methodology and quantitative metrics will be established to assess all administrative functions over a five-year period to evaluate their efficiency and effectiveness, with reference to appropriate external resources such as industry benchmark data and independent program reviews conducted by practitioners from best-in-class institutions.


With engagement and input from the President’s Cabinet, in Year 6, the following activities were launched and have been completed:

  1. Research on best practice for administrative unit reviews in higher education

  2. Development of a process for administrative unit reviews that includes

    • a self-study

    • external peer assessment

    • review of findings with the Steering Committee and unit/division leadership

    • development/implementation and monitoring of recommendations and action plans, and,

    • a one-year post-review follow up

  3. Creation of a Steering Committee to guide and oversee the process in its pilot implementation year and to consider the recommendations of peer reviewers. Members of the Steering Committee include: the Provost, the Vice President for Finance, Treasurer, and CFO, the Vice President for Human Resources, and the Vice President for Government and Community Relations/Chief of Staff

  4. Development of a five-year timeline for completing unit reviews for all administrative units

  5. Development of a template for self-study reports and reviewer reports

  6. Selection and launch of the review process of the initial (Year 7) cohort of units (Athletics; Division of Information Technology; Academic Affairs sub-units Undergraduate Academics and the Center for Faculty Engagement and Advancement; and Undergraduate Admissions)

In addition, the central contribution rate used in the Stevens inaugural Responsibility Center Management (RCM) model was initially set at 40.7%. This rate (which is assessed to all responsibility centers to cover the cost of all of the university’s support centers) was reviewed and evaluated with reference to available benchmark data from other RCM institutions, as part of a third party external review of the Stevens RCM model by two financial professionals (the CFO of a peer RCM institution and a higher education consultant with RCM expertise).

Goal I4

We will have a state-of-the-art information technology enterprise. The IT and networking infrastructure will be an enabler to advance our academic, research, and administrative functions, providing the tools, technology, and capabilities to lead in our academic focus areas and to maximize the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of administrative operations.


The Workday Student project, a collaborative effort across four divisions at Stevens, has made significant progress including: assessment, validation, and enhancement of the university’s data and policies to enable a solid foundation for the Workday Student system. The project is progressing and is on schedule for a 2020 full deployment to the campus. The Academic Foundation component launched on September 26, 2018. New capabilities have also been implemented concerning business intelligence, including the launch of SAS statistical software.

In addition, Stevens is exploring the possibility of extending the relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to expand the use of the high-performance computer to additional researchers at Stevens. The Division of IT is also working closely with Dean Zu of SES to launch a new computational cluster made possible by a grant of servers from Yahoo, supplemented by storage and other necessary outfitting by Stevens.

All of Stevens’ classrooms and teaching spaces have now been outfitted with new, state-of-the-art technology to support teaching and learning, a project completed in summer 2018. In addition, Kaltura was implemented to strengthen digital media and video capabilities on Canvas. Through a close collaboration between the Division of IT and the Division of Human Resources, was launched to provide online training courses and modules to support skills development for Stevens faculty, staff, and students.

Cybersecurity protections have been enhanced dramatically in response to escalating hacking attempts and social engineering attacks. An upgraded single sign-on system, Duo two-factor authentication, and the Fischer identity management system have all been implemented as part of the recently-deployed Identity & Access Management (IdMS) system. The Division of IT has also led a migration from on-premises Exchange email for faculty and staff to Office 365 email in order to strengthen institutional resiliency and utilize cyber protections afforded by Microsoft through its cloud services. Student email accounts were subsequently moved successfully prior to the start of the Fall 2018 semester. This deployment and concerted outreach and communication by the Chief Information Security Officer have resulted in the elimination of successful phishing/social engineering-related compromises of core systems such as Workday in over a year.

Goal I5 

Stevens’ finances will continue to improve and strengthen, including enhancing the liquidity profile of the university from a baseline of 0.2 in 2012 to a target of a minimum of 1.0 by 2022 (the equivalent of approximately three months of operating expenses, and based on fiscal year-end audited financial statements).


Stevens’ finances continued to improve in FY18. 

The liquidity index measures whether the university has sufficient cash and liquid assets to cover a portion of its annual total operating expenses. A threshold value of 1.0 indicates that the university could cover approximately three months of its annual operating expenses. At its highest value in 2018, the historical June 30th balances for this metric are:

2012: 0.20
2013: 0.36
2014: 0.55 
2015: 0.83
2016: 0.91
2017: 1.17
2018: 1.41

Additional indices related to the university's financial health include:

The net operating revenue ratio indicates whether the university is living within its means. Two percent is considered a reasonable amount to achieve on an annual basis, and the 2018 ratio is 10.81%. The historical June 30th balances for this metric are:

2012: 0.93%
2013: 2.00%
2014: 4.98%
2015: 5.04%
2016: 4.77%
2017: 9.57%
2018: 10.81%

The return on net assets percentage indicates if the university is financially better off than the previous year. Four percent is considered a reasonable amount to achieve on an annual basis, and the FY18 figure is 18.67%. The historical June 30th balances for this metric are:

2012: 1.54%
2013: 18.72%
2014: 15.10%
2015: 8.82%
2016: 1.83%
2017: 18.85%
2018: 18.67%

The viability ratio measures the availability of the university's expendable net assets to cover its long-term debt. The recommended threshold value is 2.0 times the institution's debt in expendable net assets. The historical June 30th balances for this metric are:

2012: 0.63
2013: 0.80
2014: 1.00
2015: 1.07
2016: 0.99
2017: 0.72
2018: 0.95

The primary reserve ratio measures whether the university has sufficient expendable net assets to cover a portion of its annual total operating expense. The threshold value is to be able to cover 0.4 of annual total operating expense with existing expendable net assets. The historical June 30th balances for this metric have improved:

2012: 0.28
2013: 0.34
2014: 0.39
2015: 0.36
2016: 0.34
2017: 0.44
2018: 0.56t

The composite financial index is a weighted calculation of the first four metrics into a single measure of overall financial health. A threshold value of 3.0 is to be considered as the minimal acceptable financial health. Indicating a positive trend, the historical June 30th  balances for this metric are:

2012: 1.55
2013: 3.71
2014: 4.10
2015: 3.45
2016: 2.60
2017: 4.65
2018: 5.14


Goal I6

Stevens will construct a University Center that will function as the heart of the university and a hub of student, faculty, staff and visitor interactions. In addition, a significant inventory of student housing will be added to our campus through development of new residence halls and modernization of existing dormitories.


The 2.5 year effort to rezone the campus, consistent with the City of Hoboken’s Master Plan and Land Use Element, was completed with a 7-1 vote of approval of the Hoboken City Council on August 15, 2018. This paved the way to file a fully-conforming site plan application for the Student Housing/University Center project with the Hoboken Planning Board. The application for two dormitory towers containing approximately 1,000 beds at 21- and 19-stories respectively, atop a university center with modern spaces for students and the Stevens community, received unanimous approval from the Hoboken Planning Board in December 2018.

With these approvals, intense efforts are underway to complete the project team, complete design and construction documents, fine-tune budgets, and pursue value-engineering to maximize project cost efficiencies. Site logistics for construction have been developed and approved by multiple City of Hoboken agencies (Police, Fire, Emergency Management, etc.). Demolition of Jacobus Hall is expected to commence in early 2019.

Goal I7

We will implement plans to create a world-class physical environment for students, faculty and staff. We will expand and modernize the physical infrastructure to accommodate planned growth and upgrade existing space for instructional, research, student life, residential, and administrative needs, including completion of a state-of-the-art academic center, the North Building, the Babbio Garage expansion, and a University Center and Student Housing project, along with ongoing renovations of classrooms, study spaces, student life spaces and the campus itself. In addition, Stevens will be a model of sustainability, through innovative energy initiatives, policies and programs to promote use of biodegradable materials and recycling, and smart transportation initiatives to reduce use of cars.


Implementation of this goal has been an ongoing process with space additions and renovations completed each year of the Strategic Plan. During Year 6:

  • A $2 million enabling project to make way for construction of the Gianforte Family Academic Center was completed, along with the demolition of the Lieb Building and the high pressure steam plant.

  • Construction of the Gianforte Family Academic Center commenced, and the project is on schedule for use in the Fall 2019 semester.

  • The Babbio Garage Expansion project was completed, adding 266 vehicular and 60 bicycle parking spaces and a new riverfront plaza space.

  • The Student Housing/University Center project has received all necessary approvals, and efforts are underway to begin demolition in early 2019 (see Goal I6 for further details).

  • The lot on the corner of 8th and Hudson Streets has been transformed into a rain garden with a new wrought iron fence surround, solving a critical storm water runoff problem while also beautifying this high profile corner at the periphery of campus.

  • Every classroom on campus has received an overhaul of its AV/IT capabilities, as well as new finishes and furniture.

  • The Lore-El Center, a living-learning experience fostering leadership in young women and encouraging them to pursue STEM careers, has received an interior upgrade, returning the house to its original layout. Phase 2, a major exterior upgrade has been designed and will be completed pending identification of funding.

  • A Master Plan was created to examine Stevens’ Athletics facilities. The first projects under that plan have been included as requests in the FY20 Capital Plan and are pending approval. The CAL Master Plan study has been awarded and is expected to be completed by the end of calendar year 2018.

  • Additional sustainability elements were introduced to the campus including the installation of additional occupancy and vacancy sensors in all new or renovation projects; and the acquisition of the first Physical Plant electric service vehicle, replacing a gas-fueled vehicle and representing the start of a phased replacement program. A hybrid-fueled police vehicle has also been ordered. A search for a Transportation Demand Management Manager is also underway. This position will spearhead all parking and transportation efforts with the goal of reducing parking demand as the campus community grows.