Skip to main content

MARTIN, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee has saved several million dollars over the past ten or more years by gradually moving services and functions to outside contractors, UT President Joe Johnson will tell university trustees later this week.

Johnson, who will address the trustees meeting here Thursday and Friday, said outsourcing at UT is a trend he expects to continue and expand in the years ahead.

“We are considering now the possibility of outsourcing the $13 million food service operation at UT-Knoxville,” Johnson said as he looked over a list of UT services and functions that may be contracted to private businesses during the next 18 months.

Food services already are outsourced at UT-Chattanooga, UT-Memphis and UT-Martin.

“But that doesn’t necessarily mean we will do it at Knoxville,” Johnson said. “One thing we have learned over the years is that outsourcing success depends on a variety of factors. What works for UT-Martin may not work for UT-Chattanooga.”

Johnson said UT services and functions are outsourced when the private sector can provide a service of equal or better quality for less money.

“Our primary mission is to provide Tennessee students with a quality education at the lowest possible cost,” Johnson said.

“Anytime we can find a way to provide a better service or a service at less cost, that mission is well served.”

A list of operations currently outsourced by UT’s campuses and units includes, in part, the following:

* UT-Chattanooga: food services and bookstore.

* UT-Knoxville: custodial services, waste collection and disposal, elevator maintenance and painting.

* UT-Martin: food services, telephone registration, maintenance and renovation.

* UT-Memphis: food services and grass mowing.

* UT Space Institute: food services, graphic arts and security services.

* Institute of Agriculture: harvesting at various UT Experiment Stations, custodial services at the College of Vet- erinary Medicine and West Tennessee Center for Agriculture Research, forage testing and other types of laboratory work.

* Institute for Public Service: certain computer programming tasks, legislative tracking, and classroom instruction for the Center for Government Training.

A list for outsourcing consideration during the next 18 months includes the following services or functions:

* UT-Chattanooga: energy management.

* UT-Knoxville: food services and telecommunications cable installation.

* UT-Martin: central stores (office supplies and equipment).

* UT-Memphis: facilities management, including maintenance and energy management.

* University-Wide Administration: procurement card program to reduce the cost of paying UT’s bills.

Other functions and services that will be considered for outsourcing over the next three to five years include:

Signage at UT’s primary campuses, computer training, central stores (office supplies and equipment), bookstores at UT-Knoxville and UT-Martin, grounds maintenance, student housing, motor vehicle management, carpeting, plumbing and electrical services and printing, publication and photographic services.

Contact: Dr. Joe Johnson, 423-974-2421