Breaking news: Major organizational review planned

This morning, Sifting and Winnowing received an email containing the following message:

Sifting and Winnowing,

You may want to check into RFP 11-5289 for hiring a consulting firm for benchmarking, effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility study at UW-Madison.  It is rumored that Bain and Company is the favored source for this.  The following blog of what has happened and is happening at UC-Berkeley is quite frightening.

Blog commentary on Bain at UC Berkeley:


Prompted by this message, we were able to quickly find a reference to the RFP in question in an index maintained by UW-Madison Business Services:

  • Agent: CDH
  • Bid number: 11-5289
  • # MBE Vendors Solicited: 58
  • Street date: 8/20/10

In addition, we found this legal notice submitted to the Wisconsin State Journal, which indicates that the due date for bids is September 23, or a week from today.

At this point, Sifting and Winnowing has no additional information, and we cannot yet independently confirm the concerns raised by the anonymous email. Nevertheless, it is clear that this is an important breaking story, and we will do everything in our power to quickly find out more, including the full text of the RFP and the associated budget.

One thing that does seem clear is that this initiative has been flying under the radar.  We can find no reference to a major organizational review in any public document issued by the Administration.  The release date of the RFP was during the Summer break.  Certainly there was no direct mention of anything this sweeping in the chancellor’s year-end letter to the campus community.

The favored status of Bain & Co. alleged in the email is made considerably more plausible by the evident involvement of Bain in very recent  similar review at at Cornell, Chancellor “Biddy” Martin’s previous university.

Stay tuned.

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