The implementation of facilities services outsourcing at the University of Pennsylvania

Jerel Philip Wohl, University of Pennsylvania


Privatization or outsourcing refers to the decision to contract with an external organization to provide a traditional campus function or service. The privatization decision is one in which an institution decides between performing a service for the university community itself or relies on an outside organization to perform that task on behalf of the university. The decision to privatize is usually based on the institution's perception of how to increase the level and quality of customer service, economize on the service, or undertake a capital improvement as part of the agreement. The University of Pennsylvania began the process of looking at all facets of its administrative functions in 1995, weighing their privatizing possibilities. In 1997, Penn became the first Ivy League university to outsource its facilities management, to be followed by becoming the first Ivy League university to outsource its campus foodservice operations, while also contracting out its emergency communications systems (similar to “911” in many cities) and its bookstore operations. This study examined the first year of Penn's Facilities Services (TCHES) outsourcing, what led to its formation, and how the process evolved. It also investigated the change Penn made to its facilities management contract a year after its initiation. Outsourcing's effects on students, faculty, and staff were examined, as well as the impact of this arrangement on other outsourcing opportunities at the university. Changes to Penn's facilities and the processes within that service component were examined for quality changes, and how TCHES and Penn are measuring these quality changes.

Subject Area

Higher education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Wohl, Jerel Philip, "The implementation of facilities services outsourcing at the University of Pennsylvania" (2001). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3008900.