Dear University Community,
On March 30, 2011, the State of Illinois' Office of the Auditor General released the Summary Report Digest of its Financial Audit, Compliance Examination and Single Audit of Chicago State University for the period of July 1, 2009—June 30, 2010. This report indicated 41 findings, 11 of which were repeated from the previous year's audit.
From the beginning of my tenure at Chicago State, my team has worked to focus on providing a quality education and a supportive environment to boost success on this campus, while at the same time, identifying and addressing the issues related to Chicago State's fiscal operations, processes and protocols.
The audit period (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010) was well underway when I arrived on campus in October 2009. However, during my entrance conference with the external auditors for this audit period, I requested that the audit be as comprehensive as possible in order to assist my administration in its efforts to effectively and efficiently improve the University's finances and business operations. The majority of the findings in the recent audit report include historic problems that were not uncovered or addressed in the past. Upon learning of these issues, my team and I immediately began taking the necessary steps to rectify them.
Indeed, we have already implemented the vast majority of the recommendations set forth in the audit report—many while the audit was still underway – and have a comprehensive corrective action plan to resolve all of the findings. Some of the modifications that have already been implemented include:
- The installation of a new management team in the Office of Grants and Research, including a new manager of the department and a new position focused on compliance, which has resulted in:
- The implementation of a system of internal controls to ensure that all expenditures and reports are in compliance with the applicable federal, state and university guidelines;
- The facilitation of routine monitoring and the timely processing of financial transactions.
- A change in management of the procurement office, and the automation of procurement and contracting processes to improve efficiency, reduce inaccuracies, and ensure that all University policies and procedures are followed and requirements are met;
- A change in the management of the Jones Convocation Center from an external company to in-house staff in order to ensure that proper processes and procedures are followed;
- A change in the management of the Bursar's office to correct the problem of bills not being sent to students;
- We added three full-time staff positions to the CSU internal audit team – taking it from one person to four - which will enable us to monitor the adherence and effectiveness of our administrative and fiscal controls.
Other audit findings, including a number of complex, ongoing and historic issues, some of which are faced by many public universities, will take additional time and effort to resolve, but we are committed to doing so in a timely and thorough manner.
We are currently creating a University Audit Task Force made up of faculty, students and staff who will report to the VP of Finance and Administration, which will provide an additional avenue for findings and continued refinement of important policies throughout the year.
The administration of Chicago State University is committed to fulfilling our role as a responsible steward for the fiscal integrity and academic quality of the institution and ensuring transparency. We strongly believe that the problems of the past are an opportunity to make positive changes at Chicago State University and we look forward to working together to ensure a bright future for it and our students.
Wayne D. Watson
Chicago State University