Vice President for Finance & Administration

Vice President for Finance & Administration

Wheaton College

Norton, MA   |   November 15, 2021

About Wheaton College

Wheaton is a private, four-year, residential college in Norton, Massachusetts that consistently ranks among the nation’s best. Offering more than 100 career-connected majors and minors, Wheaton provides guaranteed access to internship funding along with a highly-personalized education in the liberal arts and sciences. The college’s innovative Compass curriculum encourages students to find academic paths that fit their interests and goals, with structured advising and mentorship to help guide that passion to career success.

Located halfway between Boston and Providence, Wheaton draws students and faculty from around the world. The location in southeastern Massachusetts is fortuitous, providing easy access to myriad business, cultural and educational resources that call the greater Boston and Providence areas home. At the intersection of Route 95 and Route 495, central arteries of the Massachusetts high-technology economy, Southeastern Massachusetts has become the fastest growing residential area in a very prosperous state.

Consistently ranked among the most beautiful in New England, the Wheaton campus mixes traditional Georgian-style brick buildings with modern designs, such as the Mars Center for Science and Technology and our newest residence, Pine Hall. Both buildings, in addition to our recently renovated Chase Dining Hall, have won awards for their environmentally-friendly designs. The Evelyn Danzig Haas Athletic Center encompasses 102,000 square feet of space, including a field house, gymnasium and indoor pool. In addition, a new state-of-the-art synthetic turf field opened in 2013.

The original design of the campus, which is organized around a central quadrangle affectionately known as the Dimple, was developed in anticipation of Wheaton’s transition to a four-year college. The beautiful, 400-acre campus is welcoming and walkable and contains many innovative spaces for community members to experiment with—a sculpture studio, maker and fiber spaces, an idea lab, a student-run coffeehouse and much more.

Wheaton’s History

Wheaton College was first founded as a female seminary in 1834 by a U.S. congressman and local community leader to memorialize his beloved daughter. Judge Laban Wheaton opened Wheaton at the urging of his daughter-in-law, Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton, who would nurture the school until her death in 1905. From its very first classes, Wheaton focused on rigorous liberal arts study, placing the institution at the forefront of a movement to offer women an education equal to that provided to men. It was the act of a changemaker, the first of many changemaking acts that the institution would take in the years ahead.

Chartered as a four-year liberal arts college in 1912, Wheaton’s early direction was championed by Eliza Wheaton to ensure a rigorous education with practical benefits and intellectual satisfaction. These institutional traits still hold true today. For example, in 1917, the college hosted the nation’s first conference on professional development for women, an event organized by Catherine Filene Shouse, who was then an undergraduate. When the college established a center to promote experiential learning as central to the liberal arts in 1986, it named the organization the Filene Center for Work and Learning, in Shouse’s honor. Internships, community impact and research continue to play a vital role in Wheaton’s experiential nature today, led by multiple centers on campus, including the since renamed Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services.

The egalitarian impulse that established Wheaton as an educational institution for women has also shaped the college’s development. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the college’s faculty developed the influential Gender Balanced Curriculum Project, bringing scholarship by and about women from the margins to the mainstream of undergraduate education. And when Wheaton chose coeducation in 1987, it also instituted the first of a series of initiatives that has internationalized the college’s curriculum and its student body.

Throughout Wheaton College’s history, its reputation for academic excellence has been a direct result of pioneering leadership. Today, Wheaton shares with past generations the rich academic tradition of the liberal arts and sciences. At the same time, it benefits from a host of curricular initiatives begun during the past few decades—new programs that help students explore ideas and concepts across academic disciplines, link academic study with learning outside the classroom, appreciate and celebrate diversity in all its forms, and see themselves as active members of a global community.

The Wheaton Community

The college currently enrolls approximately 1,700 students, representing 40 states and more than 50 countries. Approximately 6% of Wheaton’s students are international and 27% are self-identified students of color, including Asian, Black and Latinx students. First-generation students account for about 22% of enrolled students. Nearly one third of Wheaton students participate in the college’s 21 NCAA Division III athletic teams. In addition to more than a dozen club sports and seasonal intramurals, Wheaton Athletics also houses one of the world’s oldest-running artistic swimming programs.

Wheaton students take an active role in shaping the life of the campus through their engagement in the community. The college’s approach to education acknowledges that learning in a residential liberal arts college extends beyond the classroom; thus, students are empowered—and expected—to teach as well as learn from each other, in residence halls, on the playing fields, and at meetings of clubs and organizations. This expectation has long been a critical aspect of Wheaton’s culture, and it is reflected in the college’s Honor Code, which was established in 1921 to guide academic and social life on campus. In keeping with the college’s personal character, Wheaton’s admission process is holistic, considering the whole student. The college adopted an optional standardized test policy in 1990, among the first national liberal arts colleges to take this approach.

Wheaton faculty are celebrated artists, renowned researchers, and gifted instructors who take their experiences into the classroom and ask students to apply their own experiences to the world. Wheaton’s student-faculty ratio is approximately 11 to 1 and the average class size is 15 to 20 students. Faculty members take an engaged and active interest in the Wheaton community, serving as formal advisors and informal mentors for students and as professional partners to staff, building relationships that last a lifetime. Faculty collaborate with their students on research projects and work with one another to build truly interdisciplinary courses and programs, with the aid, resources and support provided by the Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning and the Madeleine Clark Wallace Library, among others.

Staff members play a vital role in delivering the college’s educational programs, contributing directly to student learning in their capacity as academic advisors, global study counselors, co-curricular programming directors, formal and informal mentors and so much more. Staff members across the college also help sustain the vibrant living-learning environment by providing internship supervision for the 50% of students who have on-campus jobs.

For more information on Wheaton College, please visit website.

Leadership

Michaele Whelan, Incoming President

Michaele Whelan will join Wheaton College as its ninth president in January 2022. Michaele joins Wheaton from a successful tenure at Emerson College where she served as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Throughout her career as an academic administrator, Michaele has demonstrated the ability to collaboratively develop programs that address evolving curricular and student needs while strategically advancing the institution and ensuring academic and inclusive excellence. Most recently, she played a critical role in advancing the new Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies—a result of Emerson’s alliance with Marlboro College—thereby enhancing liberal arts offerings at Emerson and contributing to Emerson’s financial strength. She also oversaw development of a portfolio of global programs offered in partnership with institutions in Australia, China, France, Spain, and Switzerland.

Prior to joining Emerson, Michaele worked with school deans, faculty, students, staff and trustees to shape an academic vision and academic priorities for Brandeis University and Tufts University. During her tenure at Brandeis, where she served as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Michaele played a leadership role in launching and managing academic initiatives and accreditation, creating programs in graduate professional studies, working with colleagues on diversity, and fundraising with the Brandeis National Committee. At Tufts she served as Associate Dean of Academic Planning and Innovation in the Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. She also served as Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of English and American Literature at Harvard.

In addition to administrative leadership, Michaele has been an active teacher and scholar. Her area of expertise is modern and postmodern American literature with a focus on gendered narratology. She has taught at The Pennsylvania State University, Harvard University, Tufts University and Brandeis University, receiving teaching awards from Harvard and Penn State.

Michaele has a B.A., summa cum laude, from Cornell University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Harvard University. She is the recipient of teaching awards, has published in her field, and is a member of the academic honor societies Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.

The Opportunity

Serving as both the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the College, the Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPF&A) provides dynamic leadership and vision in the management of the College’s financial resources. The VPF&A joins the College at an exciting time of transition and opportunity as Wheaton welcomes its ninth president, Michaele Whelan. As a member of the President’s Council, an equity-minded senior team, the VPF&A will be a valued collaborator providing financial insight, operational expertise, and creative thinking about financial and administrative systems as Wheaton works to develop a strategy to support, sustain, and grow its campus community. Following recent investments in new academic programs and facilities, the VPF&A will serve as a thought partner and strategic leader in identifying opportunities for Wheaton’s continued growth and success as it looks toward the future.

In overseeing a broad portfolio across the College’s $110M budget, the VPF&A will act as a change agent, collaborator, and skilled communicator and remain flexible in adapting to the emerging and developing needs of a small, liberal arts institution. Working in partnership with the President and the President’s Council, the VPF&A will cultivate strong working relationships across campus to develop and implement clear, action-oriented, and innovative strategies to grow organizational capacity, identify revenue generating opportunities, and improve service across a variety of functions within the College.

The VPF&A is responsible for a comprehensive portfolio of administrative functions, including fiscal planning, financial records and reporting, investment strategy, cash management and management of institutional debt, as well as primary responsibility for budgeting, risk management, and other key functions within the College. Additionally, the VPF&A oversees the College’s administrative services including information technology, facilities management, auxiliary services, campus safety and human resources. As a critical partner in the leadership of the College, the Vice President serves as the Treasurer of the Board and serves as the liaison to the Board of Trustees’ Finance and Facilities Committee and Investment Committee and co-liaison to the Audit Committee.

Responsibilities of the VPF&A include but are not limited to:

Strategic Planning and Leadership:

  • Reporting directly to the President and as a member of the President’s Council; participates in decision-making, strategic and financial planning and policy formulation at the institutional level.
  • Collaborates and supports the President in developing multiyear operating and capital budgets that support the college’s strategic plan and its academic mission.
  • In partnership with the President and the President’s Council, leads the planning, development and implementation of programs to increase growth, enrollment and retention while managing financial aid costs.
  • In partnership with the President, Provost and other members of the President’s Council, works to identify, develop and build new academic programs and initiatives to increase growth and revenue and enhance reach and reputation.
  • In partnership with the Vice President of Enrollment develops the College’s financial aid strategy and ensures appropriate custody and disbursement of all funds for student financial assistance and for all aspects of accounting, collecting, and reporting therein.

Financial Management and Administrative Leadership:

  • Responsible for oversight, control and planning of the College’s annual budget and college spending; the preparation, analysis, and presentation of fiscal and statistical reports pertaining to finance, and financial planning and forecasting.
  • Administer and manage endowment funds, ensuring compliance with all conditions, restrictions, and designations imposed by the donors, the President, and the Board of Trustees.
  • Ensure proper receipt, disbursement, recording, and reporting of all funds that belong to the College and all funds placed in its custody.
  • Implement decisions relative to investments, arrange for short-term working capital and for long-term capital borrowing.
  • Serve as a key member and resource to three committees of the Board of Trustees: Finance and Facilities, Investments and Audit.
  • Work collaboratively with faculty-staff and faculty committees including Budget and Planning, Faculty Workload and Economic Status.
  • Represent the College through leadership in professional national and regional associations.
  • Build and foster positive relationships with local and community leaders and others; represent the College at town events and meetings as appropriate.

Supervision and Management:

  • Provides professional leadership in recruitment, development, coaching, evaluation, and mentoring within an equity, diversity, and inclusion framework of Finance and Administration staff.
  • Leads strategic and long-range planning efforts in the Finance and Administration division; provides strategic oversight and management of budgets and coordinates the evaluation and allocation of funds to support divisional goals and objectives.

The VPF&A will directly supervise the following positions: Controller, Director of Budget and Planning, Director of Campus Safety, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology, Assistant Vice President for Business Services and Physical Plant, and the Associate Vice President for Human Resources.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have a record of successful and progressively responsible financial management and administrative roles within growing and resourceful organizations. As a successful leader, creative thinker, and skilled communicator, the VPF&A will bring a demonstrated record of success in building relationships and communicating with clarity to a variety of constituents, including administration, staff, faculty, students, and external partners. Valuing equity, diversity, and inclusion, the candidate will have a collegial hands-on approach to building relationships across campus and possess the emotional intelligence necessary to build trust.

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Strategic and Results-Driven Problem Solving

Both pragmatic and innovative, the ideal candidate will possess sound judgment and business acumen with the ability to make practical, realistic, data driven, and timely decisions. This individual will address complex problems with creative, sophisticated, and sustainable solutions and implement new strategies to ‘get things done.’ This leader will be nimble, strategic, and collaborative at incorporating perspectives while informing decisions based on best practices of a shared governance model. The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience generating creative solutions to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of constrained resources to better assess, prioritize and operationalize organizational growth.

Financial Expertise and Administrative Management

The ideal candidate will utilize broad knowledge of financial planning, analysis, and management to develop and implement strategies, policies, and business practices that improve measurable outcomes and align with broader organizational strategy. In assessing potential opportunities, risks, and challenges, this leader will draw upon well-honed quantitative reasoning and analysis skills as well as data evidence and model-generation to offer thoughtful insight on financial and administrative initiatives and provide a focused and pragmatic institution-wide strategy.

Collaborative, Inclusive, and Decisive Leadership

The effective candidate will be able to quickly garner respect, trust, and credibility among leaders and constituents alike to accomplish set goals. Leading with clear and concise communication, the ideal candidate will appreciate the opportunity to engage in inclusive dialogue and effectively facilitate discussion among internal and external constituents, providing information relevant to the College’s financial and administrative health and moving the community forward. A leader with a strong sense of ethics and personal and organizational accountability, the candidate will draw upon their experience and judgment, along with input from collaborators, to successfully execute an established plan. Informed by strategic vision and the ability to engage with ideas of others, this leader will effectively manage cross-functional teams to collaboratively reach common goals across the College.

Passion for the Mission

The ideal candidate will have a passion and commitment for Wheaton’s mission as a residential liberal arts institution committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and draw inspiration from the Wheaton community. This leader will be able to clearly envision how their role contributes to the College’s greater mission of cultivating and sustaining a positive experience for students, faculty, staff, and fellow leaders. The successful leader will have integrity and ethics and inspire others to lead with respect and empathy in a collective effort to enhance the experience of every member of the Wheaton community.

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • Demonstrated expertise in strategic financial planning, financial analysis, investment management, debt financing and the key financial issues facing colleges and universities today.
  • Demonstrated problem-solver, creative thinker, strategic planner, and inclusive collaborator with proven effectiveness in change management in related areas.
  • Excellent written and oral communication, time management, and project management skills.
  • Strong management and supervision skills and the ability to simultaneously mentor, support, and motivate staff while demonstrating the highest standards of excellence.
  • Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion with a record of substantiated action and recognition of the value of Wheaton’s distinctive approach to experiential education in the liberal arts and sciences.

An undergraduate degree and relevant financial leadership and management experience is required; an advanced degree such as an MBA, and certification in the fields of accounting (e.g., CPA), business, finance, or management is preferred. Previous experience in higher education is preferred, however, finance and business leaders with a variety of experiences with a passion for Wheaton’s mission and values are encouraged to apply.

Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

Contact

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Tom Phillips and Marisa Chock of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

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Wheaton College is committed to providing equal opportunities to all employees and applicants as defined under federal and state law. Wheaton does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, mental or physical disability, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, age, religion, gender or sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital or familial status, veteran or military status, membership in the Uniformed Services, or any other characteristic protected by law.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of 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.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com