‘Exciting’ Times for Expanding New Auxiliary Services Unit

Andy Plumley named AVP of Auxiliary Services, which now includes Transportation, Parking and Fleet Services

Assistant Vice Chancellor of Auxiliary Services Andy Plumley. Kris Lovekin

Andy Plumley, the former assistant vice chancellor of Housing, Dining and Residential Services, is celebrating 35 years of service at UCR with a new title — assistant vice chancellor of Auxiliary Services — and a heaping plate of new challenges.

“Whenever I feel like I’m ready for a change, something exciting happens and I don’t want to miss it,” said Plumley, who began working in UCR’s dining halls when he was a freshman in 1977.

“This is the most change I’ve ever seen the campus go through,” he said. “Our leadership is taking us in a different direction that’s much needed, and it’s exciting.”

Some of that change is internal — a reorganization within Business and Administrative Services that created the Auxiliary Services unit last September. The new unit is designed to bring together self-supporting campus services to streamline processes and generally make things run more efficiently, using the industry’s best practices.

Auxiliary Services was put under Plumley’s leadership when it was created last fall,with five departments transferred from the the Student Affairs Organization:

  • Housing Services,
  • Dining, Catering and Conference Services
  • Child Development Center
  • Card Operations (R’ Card)
  • Barnes & Noble at UCR

Over the past four months, Vice Chancellor Ron Coley has been assessing what other departments would fit until the Auxiliary Services umbrella, Plumley said, and three more departments —Transportation, Parking and Fleet Services — were added on Jan. 4, at the same time Plumley got his new title.

Most of the changes won’t be visible outside. The departments aren’t physically moving and no layoffs are expected, he said, but where there’s overlap, some job openings might go unfilled. The different departments will start using the same budgeting processes, he said, and building relationships across departments to try to make the unit more efficient.

“It’s all about how we can give the best possible service at the lowest possible cost,” Plumley said. “Customer service is our king, our number one priority, but we’re also looking at how we can get the best possible bang out of our buck.”

Those efficiencies will be particularly important this fall, when UCR and other UC campuses are expected to see a big spike in freshman enrollment. The exact number hasn’t been announced yet, Plumley said, “but there is a large number of additional new freshmen coming in next fall, and not enough spaces in our residence halls to accommodate them, so we are getting creative to ensure there is sufficient housing and dining space for the new students.”

Campus leaders want freshmen to live on campus, he said. “There are lots of studies that show that new students who live on campus have better retention rates and do better academically than those who do not.”

About 35 percent of UCR’s students live in campus housing, he said, and more than 50 percent of those students opt to return to student housing the following year.

“When more than half of the students who use our housing decide to renew, obviously we’re doing something right,” Plumley said. “It’s going to be a wild ride the next three to four years, until we can get some more housing stock, but we’re forming a team to maintain our quality of life and provide the best possible service we can to our campus.”

 

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