Ohio Wesleyan University seeks an individual with exceptional financial, strategic and interpersonal skills to join the senior leadership team as Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer (VPFA). Reporting to President Rock Jones, the VPFA will be the institution’s senior finance and administrative leader and will partner with the president, provost and senior leaders to provide strategic fiscal and comprehensive operational leadership across the university to ensure that planning, operational, and budget activities support institutional goals. The VPFA will steward the long-term financial sustainability of the university’s mission to continue providing a premier liberal arts education for many years to come.
About Ohio Wesleyan University
Ohio Wesleyan University is a private, coed, undergraduate, independent, liberal arts college located in Delaware, Ohio. Founded in 1842 by support of the community and the Methodist Episcopal Church, OWU lives up to the spirit of this heritage and embraces students of all faiths and cultures. The University is a community of teachers and students devoted to the pursuit of truth. The Colleges That Change Lives guidebook states that Ohio Wesleyan University “is a shining beacon of what happens when a campus embraces collaboration in the context of liberal learning. All types of students are engaged. Professors are invigorated.” OWU is a member of the Five Colleges of Ohio, and of the Great Lakes Colleges Association.
Ohio Wesleyan is a liberal arts university that provides outstanding academic programs in the sciences, arts, and humanities, and include programs that lead to various professional forms of certification. Academics at Ohio Wesleyan are made more powerful today by The OWU Connection. This signature program, developed by OWU faculty, provides an opportunity for every student to work with a mentor to create their own unique academic pathway leading to their goals for a career or graduate school. The OWU Connection helps students to “think big, go global, and get real.”
At Ohio Wesleyan, with more than 90 majors from which to choose, approximately 1500 students thrive in their small classes with faculty members who are outstanding scholars and researchers — and passionate teachers. They push, challenge, inspire, and work with students on research and creative projects. Students consistently rank the faculty highly for quality of teaching, excitement about their academic disciplines, mentoring, commitment, and accessibility. Students compete in 25 NCAA Division III men’s and women’s varsity sports and are committed to serving the community, both at home and abroad.
Ohio Wesleyan University is lauded by a multitude of respected national publications which have taken note of OWU’s success. US News & World Report ranks OWU among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” and “Best Value Schools,” as well as ranking it among the “Top Schools in Social Mobility.” Forbes Magazine ranks Ohio Wesleyan No. 17 “Most Entrepreneurial Colleges” making it No. 1 among Ohio-based schools. Money Magazine calls OWU one of the nation’s “Best Colleges for Your Money” based on “educational quality, affordability, and alumni success.” The Princeton Review ranks OWU as one of the “Best 385 Colleges,” “Best Midwestern,” and “Best Value” colleges in the United States.
Ohio Wesleyan is a residential campus with nearly 90% of students living in its combination of traditional residence halls, fraternity houses, honors housing, and specialty thematic dwellings known as Small Living Units that allow small groups of students with similar interests to live and learn together. The University typically attracts students from nearly every U.S. state and 30-40 countries, adding an international flavor to campus that includes an annual Culture Fest celebration.
Ohio Wesleyan strives to create an embracing, learning, living, and working community that engages individuals of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and identities and helps them connect with their community and the world. This is why OWU’s work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion endeavors to allow students, faculty, and staff to connect in ways that enhance their inclusivity and cultural awareness, knowledge, experience, and empathetic understanding to achieve exceptional results. Ohio Wesleyan is committed to creating an environment where underrepresented populations have equal access to resources and opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally.
Alumni remain connected to their University—mentoring and sharing career insights with students, creating internship opportunities, and providing philanthropic support to aid students with financial need. Generous gifts from alumni also help to create and enhance academic and extracurricular programs, build and renovate campus facilities, provide significant unrestricted gifts in support of annual operations and bring stability and strategic leverage to the University’s financial planning. With financial support from both the City of Delaware and Delaware County, the University opened the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at Ohio Wesleyan University on campus in October 2018. It is the first-of-its-kind liberal arts business accelerator and city, county, and educational institute partnership.
Ohio Wesleyan boasts a campus that combines the beauty of historic 19th-century academic halls in a 200-acre, park-like setting with ultra-modern laboratory and learning spaces. Ten sites are listed on the National Historic Register, including the University’s original building, Elliott Hall, from 1833; iconic University Hall, with beautifully restored Gray Chapel; and recently renovated Stuyvesant Hall, OWU’s oldest residence hall.
The campus has been enhanced substantially in the past few years, almost completely funded by gifts from alumni. Merrick Hall, built in 1873, was completely re-imagined, renovated, and reopened in 2015, housing The OWU Connection on the first floor, state-of-the-art classrooms on the second floor, and a stunning gathering space on the third floor. Also opening in 2015 were the restored Edwards Gymnasium and the new Simpson Querrey Fitness Center, providing headquarters and facilities for OWU’s athletic programs and student recreation. A re-imagined walkway (the JAYwalk) links the academic and residential sides of campus and provides a lively gathering area between the library and student center.
OWU also is making significant investments to enhance residential living spaces for students (almost 90 percent of students live on campus), including nearly $30 million invested in the last decade. Since 2016, the University has opened three newly constructed Small Living Units, a new Honors House, and a rebuilt House of Black Culture. With an additional $47 million construction project, more major renovations are underway, including the complete renovation of the University’s largest residence hall as the center for first-year student life and the construction of the first building in an apartment village for senior students. Planning is also in process for construction projects to include a $12 million renovation of historic Slocum Hall and a $4 million renovation of the Branch Rickey Arena. These new renovation and construction projects will be a major focus in the University’s facility and financial planning. A key task for the VPFA will be developing a program to fund depreciation and deferred maintenance of OWU facilities.
For more about Ohio Wesleyan University, please visit https://www.owu.edu.
Rock Jones, Ph.D., was inaugurated as Ohio Wesleyan’s 16th president in October 2008, and his energetic leadership has been helping to move the University forward ever since with innovative academic programs, new and rejuvenated campus facilities, and a strong sense of engagement with alumni and the community.
Jones holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas-Austin, a Master of Divinity magna cum laude from the Duke University Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Hendrix College. Prior to joining Ohio Wesleyan, he worked for Hendrix, serving in roles that included Executive Vice President and Dean of Advancement, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, and Chaplain.
Locally, he serves on the boards of the Strand Theatre and the Delaware County Foundation, where he chairs the Investment Committee. Jones also is president of the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Wesley Theological Seminary.
In recognition of his work to advance the quality of student life at Ohio Wesleyan, Jones received the 2014 “Outstanding Performance as a College or University President Award” from Region IV-East of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
Ohio Wesleyan University is located in Delaware, Ohio, a place filled with friendly people, fun shopping and dining, and plenty of cozy coffee shops. A town of nearly 40,000 residents and one of the top 20 fastest growing areas in the country, Delaware is a thriving small town with more than 20 restaurants within walking distance of campus, the Strand movie theater (the oldest, longest-running theater in Ohio), community celebrations on First Fridays, a bustling nightlife, and art, music, and shops in the historic downtown. Delaware has much to offer – arts and culture, locally-owned restaurants, breweries & wineries, indoor and outdoor sports, shopping and history – there’s something for everyone. The John Glenn International Airport, with non-stop access to major cities coast to coast, is a convenient 35 minutes from Delaware.
Just a 30-minute drive from Delaware is Columbus, Ohio, the 14th largest and third fastest growing city in America, with its own great art scene, nightlife, sports, music, shopping, and student internship opportunities. The New York Times named Ohio’s capital city one of its 52 Places to Go in 2019 noting innovative urban transportation and revitalization of the Scioto Mile for festivals, watersports, and art. Columbus is booming, and not just in population. From COSI, a nationally esteemed science center to a new 36,000 square feet LEGOLAND Discovery Center to a brand new National Veterans Memorial and Museum, there’s an energy and excitement in the city. In addition, Columbus has an incredible culinary scene, nationally acclaimed distilleries, black box stages, music halls, and more to deliver unforgettable nightlife. Neighborhoods on all sides of downtown are bursting with new places to eat and shop, and artists are shaping new areas of the city into dynamic spaces to explore. Combined, Delaware and Columbus offer small-town amenities and friendliness coupled with a rich cultural life, professional sports, fine dining and shopping, and housing options.
Reporting to the President, the VPFA is the chief fiscal and fiduciary officer, working in partnership with senior leadership and the Board of Trustees on business and financial management, strategic planning, investments, financial planning, financial systems, risk management, human resources, facilities management, construction and design, dining, and bookstore operations. The selected candidate will lead, manage, and build a dynamic, strategic, and integrated finance and administration team that encourages collaboration, fosters innovation, and provides leadership in the development and execution of strategies, approaches, and solutions to address both short and long-term complex, multi-factor, and intricate financial and operational issues of the institution.
OWU seeks an individual with strong strategic communication and leadership capabilities who has the vision and capability to anticipate and respond to the current financial challenges and opportunities in higher education in general and small liberal arts institutions in particular. The VPFA will operate with the highest levels of integrity, honesty, and transparency, and create strong and enduring collaborative relationships with leaders across the college as well as with faculty, staff, and external constituencies. As Treasurer to an engaged and expert Board of Trustees, the VPFA will work closely with the Finance Committee and the Facilities, Investment, and Audit Subcommittees.
The financial picture of the University is stable, highlighted by an excellent debt-to-endowment ratio of approximately $48.4M in debt to $239.4M in endowment. The annual operating budget is $59.6M for 2019-20. Ohio Wesleyan’s ongoing 7-year Connect Today, Create Tomorrow comprehensive campaign began its leadership phase in July 2014, launched its public phase in October 2017, and met its original $200M goal in October 2019. The campaign’s revised goal is $225M before it concludes in June 2021. The campaign focuses primarily on building the endowment; other goals include providing funds for new programs and faculty innovation, supporting student scholarships, and enhancing academic, residential, and athletic facilities. S&P Global ratings graded its 2019 construction bonds A-minus. The bonds are issued through the Ohio Higher Educational Facilities Commission.
In recent years a variety of factors have put pressure on the University’s enrollment and operating margin, and it is in the midst of taking careful actions to restore balanced operating performance, including both academic and administrative program reviews. These reviews reflect a board mandate to realign the organizational structure of the university in ways that secure long-term financial viability and preserve the institution’s historic mission. Staff reductions were made in a number of areas and additional cost containment strategies will need to be applied over the next 12-18 months in order to meet the goal of balanced operating results.
The incoming VPFA will have the opportunity to re-conceptualize budgeting methodology in response to dynamically changing academic and administrative needs. The VPFA will develop and implement new analytical tools to harness and utilize the growing body of data available to academic and administrative leaders on campus. A major commitment has been made to address issues related to enrollment sustainability, retention, and academic program mix. The VPFA will provide significant leadership related to financial analysis and decision support as plans evolve to accomplish enrollment and programmatic sustainability. The development of a strategic financial plan to support the long-term goals of the University will be a primary opportunity for the new VPFA and make this an excellent time to create an impact on the long-term financial health of the university.
As a senior leader and thought partner, the VPFA will be a strategically focused, solutions-oriented financial executive who is invigorated by the mission of Ohio Wesleyan.
Key priorities include:
- Advising the president and Board of Trustees (as appropriate) on institution-wide strategic and financial policy, frameworks, parameters, risks, and direction; working with the president and other leaders on the development and implementation of strategy, goals, desired solutions, and outcomes;
- Serving as the institution’s chief financial officer on financial matters and guiding the financial positioning of the institution and all of its components;
- Working closely with the committee chairs of the Board of Trustees, serving as the primary liaison to the finance committees, and the audit, investment, and facilities subcommittees to set agendas, recommend improvements and implement changes;
- Providing management and oversight of care for the physical campus;
- Partnering closely with the Committee on University Governance (UGC), a faculty committee charged with working with the administration on fiscal planning and budgeting, providing counsel on the size of the faculty and the administration and serving as a liaison on matters of faculty welfare.
- Leading, overseeing and mentoring a team of leaders responsible for finance and accounting, endowment, facilities, human resources, and auxiliary services including the bookstore and dining services;
- Providing leadership, direction, and strategic advice regarding the execution of strategies for the capital needs of the institution, and in providing the financial strategies to support the full realization of the plan’s objectives; and seek efficiencies through innovation and technology that improve administrative processes and allow for the strategic reallocation of financial resources.
The Vice President of Finance and Administration and Treasurer will be a focused, innovative individual who is deeply invested in Ohio Wesleyan University’s mission and success and will be a trusted partner of the president, senior leadership team, Board of Trustees and University Governance Committee of the faculty to develop and advance the University’s strategic priorities. Adaptable, resilient, and ready to lead and guide change, the incoming VPFA will be a natural collaborator and trusted advisor of considerable skill and experience.
The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:
Subject Matter Expertise
The VPFA will have knowledge and an understanding of financial and operational complexities within higher education or a similarly complex organization. This individual will have demonstrated experience in developing and implementing effective and efficient business processes and policies using sound business judgement and an approach that encourages feedback. The ideal candidate will have a strong record of accomplishment in budget modeling, financial planning and analysis with functional knowledge of and demonstrated success in deploying information technology tools and solutions, and in facilities management and building renovations.
Leadership, Partnership, Team Management, and Collaboration
The VPFA will possess strong capacities as a leader, with a record of initiating and executing change in partnership and collaboration with appropriate bodies. This will be demonstrated in the ability to build and sustain excellent relationships with the president, administrative leadership, Board of Trustees, University Governance Committee of the faculty, faculty and staff, as well as with external stakeholders. A natural collaborator, the ideal candidate will be an approachable team player and will be seen as a trusted advisor and supportive and empowering leader. This individual will successfully develop partnerships in the community and in associations and consortia representing OWU to advance the University’s strategic priorities.
The VPFA will have a deep appreciation for transparency with all members of the university community. They will possess strong interpersonal skills and be able to articulate and convey OWU’s financial priorities and strategies to a range of constituents, in both individual meetings and in group settings. This individual will be seen as an expert and will express their opinions thoughtfully, helping to inform and guide key stakeholders and decision makers to consensus. They will have strength of character to work effectively with other strong leaders in positive partnership.
Critical Thinking and Innovative Problem Solving
The VPFA will have the ability to proactively identify the trends and issues and forecast future impact and opportunities for the university. They will develop creative and forward-thinking strategies and plans to improve the likelihood of success. The ideal candidate will have the perseverance and expert credibility to champion change in a complex environment. They will demonstrate an ability to think quickly and strategically to identify intelligent, out-of-the-box solutions to shared concerns and common budgetary barriers.
Integrity and Trust
The VPFA will have a deep appreciation for and embody the mission and values of Ohio Wesleyan in academic rigor and service to students. They will possess a collegial and participative style and keen desire to be a visible member of the OWU community, spending time getting to know individuals across campus and regularly attending campus events. The selected candidate will have a passion for higher education and the liberal arts and will manifest a commitment to transparency in the communication of financial information to non-financial audiences. They will lead with honesty, inspire confidence, demonstrate respect, and motivate others to be their best. The ideal candidate is an individual of sound business judgement, integrity and the highest ethical standards.
The ideal candidate will have at least ten years of progressively responsible financial leadership and management within higher education or a similarly complex non-profit or business enterprise, and a proven record of accomplishment and leadership in financial operations, budgeting and forecasting, risk management, fund accounting, investments, and administrative systems. The VPFA will also bring a demonstrated ability to develop and oversee multiple capital and construction projects. Preference will be given to individuals having an MBA or equivalent advanced degree. A CPA is preferred, but not required.
Beth Schaefer, Amy Sugin and Malissa Brennan of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
OHIO WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY, a private liberal arts college located 20 miles north of Columbus, in Delaware, Ohio, promotes and celebrates an inclusive environment free from constraints in areas of culture, race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, religion, family relationship, or economic barriers. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups are encouraged as OWU is an equal opportunity institution and has a strong commitment to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion.
About Koya Leadership Partners
Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.
For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.