Responsibility Centered Management

Have other universities done this, and what have they learned?

Many universities, both private (e.g., Harvard, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse) and public (e.g., the University of Michigan, University of Delaware, University of New Hampshire) use some form of RCM. The UA adapted RCM to fit our distinctive qualities, culture, organizational elements and mix of mission-related goals.

RCM was developed and has evolved over some 35 years with the University of Pennsylvania being the first higher education institution to implement RCM in 1974. A 2011 Inside Higher Ed survey indicated “interest in responsibility center management among public universities is soaring, with more than 21 percent of public doctoral institutions reporting that they use the RCM model."

Lessons learned, from which we benefited, included:

  • Making the transition to RCM can be challenging, but it is considered the best approach and solution for collaborative and responsible financial management going forward.
  • Implementing RCM requires ongoing conversations between academic and administrative units to manage changes, take advantage of opportunities, and ensure commitment to core mission and values.
  • While the general intent of RCM implementation is to empower academic units, the institutions that have derived the greatest benefits have also learned that they require trust, collaboration and a common sense of purpose among all units in order to be successful.