Ursinus College, a national residential liberal arts institution located 25 miles from downtown Philadelphia well known for a pioneering curricular philosophy that fuses the academic and residential experience, invites inquiries and applications for its next vice president of finance and administration (VPFA). The College seeks a bold, collaborative, creative, student-centered, business-minded leader to serve as a strategic partner to the president, the board of trustees, and the leadership team. Guided by the Quest for Success Strategic Framework, Ursinus College’s next VPFA will have a vital role as the college “navigates the future to serve students and provide the world with the thinkers, doers, and leaders who will shape the world anew and aright.” The VPFA’s direct reports will include the following positions: AVP for Finance and Administration, AVP for Finance/Controller, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Budgets, Director of Facilities, Chief Information Officer, Campus Planner, and Director of Budget Planning. The VPFA will support the Finance and Facilities Committee and the Investment Sub-committee of the board.
Ursinus, with an enrollment of 1473 students, sits on a 170-acre campus in the town of Collegeville, Pennsylvania. The campus is designed like an academic village with interdisciplinary neighborhoods, an Innovation and Discovery Center for research, and venues that support a storied athletic culture that has always promoted a holistic experience for student-athletes. The College has an endowment of $127M, debt of $64.5M and a BBB rating from Standard and Poor’s with a stable outlook. As of June 30, 2023 (unaudited numbers), cash and investments were $173.5 million, equal to 105.5 percent of operating expenses. Cash flow remains stable, with liquid reserves of approximately $21 million.
The VPFA will be challenged to:
- Work aggressively toward securing and strengthening the college’s fiscal health and building a stable and robust immediate and long-term financial sustainability plan that aligns with the strategic framework
- Communicate clearly and foster a culture of trust, collaboration, and transparency
- Drive process and policy improvements to enhance efficiencies within the administrative units
- Develop a zero-based budgeting process and work collaboratively with the college and the budget and long-range planning committee (BLRP) in the creation of the budget
- Optimize the impact of physical resources and college real estate holdings to support the strategic framework and the college’s financial health
- Manage the completion of the complex system integration of the Oracle Cloud Project Implementation (Human Capital Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Enterprise Performance Management Modules) in an accelerated timeline
- Be committed to Wellness, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (WIDE)
- Leadership, direction, oversight, and functional responsibility for accounting, finance, budget, human resources, employee benefits, information technology, facilities operations, housekeeping, distribution (mail) services, purchasing, and leasing and management of college-owned real estate.
- Primary liaison to the Finance and Facilities committee and investment subcommittee of the board of trustees and attends all meetings of the entire board of trustees. Attends and prepares reports as needed for the Audit Committee under the leadership of General Counsel.
- Non-voting chair of BLRP which supports informed decision-making and ensures appropriate allocation of resources in support of the college’s mission and priorities.
- Responsible for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating college-wide functions, processes, and practices to ensure fiduciary and fiscal compliance.
- Fostering a best practices approach across all functional areas.
- Preparing long-range operating and capital budget forecasts for the college to provide a framework for decision-making and to ensure long-term financial sustainability.
- Works closely with the vice president for advancement on comprehensive fundraising campaign matters related to budgeting, forecasting, and finance matters.
- Administration, coordination, development, and implementation of procedures, systems, and budgets.
- Motivating and leading a high-performance management team.
- Mentoring direct reports to cultivate skills and increase consciousness of the interrelationship among the departments within and outside the VPFA portfolio.
- Promoting a high-performance and continuous improvement culture that aligns with the college’s mission and values while providing a commitment to quality to the campus community.
- Establishing and maintaining relationships with members of the staff, faculty, external stakeholders, and board of trustees.
- Maintaining professional development to ensure knowledge of current practices and trends in higher education finance and administration.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by the incumbent; they do not purport to describe all functions.
Additional information about the College and the position can be found in the profile.
Requirements and Qualifications
Strong candidacies will require a substantial track record of financial, administrative, and organizational achievements, experience in successful financial and strategic planning, and the courage to make and effectively communicate informed decisions.
The successful Ursinus College vice president for finance and administration will also:
- Have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. A master’s in business administration or a business-related field is preferred.
- Have a minimum of ten years of progressive professional experience, including a minimum of five years of supervisory experience. Previous experience in higher education, particularly private institutions, is required.
- Live in the vicinity of Ursinus College or be willing to relocate to the area.
- Be a nimble and creative thinker who can transparently and collaboratively address immediate financial and operating concerns/issues while also setting the stage for success for the long-term financial future of the college.
- Be willing to think unconventionally about our business model and generating revenue.
- Exhibit a deeply collaborative leadership and supervisory style, opting for transparency and flexibility to navigate serious challenges.
- Enthusiastically support our community values and champion our effort to become an even more inclusive and welcoming community, accepting of all members and individuals.
- Understand and advocate for the mission of the liberal arts college with zest.
- Be a data-driven decision-maker who enlists thoughtful, rational, investigative, and credible work in making decisions.
- Exhibit an analytical process-mindedness that does not lose sight of the people who are the foundation of the process.
- Be a skilled communicator with experience conveying complex issues in understandable terms with various stakeholders.
- Be accessible and engaged on campus and in the community.
- Be an empathetic listener who strives to build meaningful, actionable relationships with colleagues.
- Be able to make difficult decisions and act upon them while showing grace and humility.
- Be a person who is not afraid to speak the truth and is willing and able to accept difficult feedback.
- Hold themselves and others accountable for goal attainment.
- Maintain exceptional leadership and management skills, courage, and strength as a skilled change agent.
- Be approachable, open, and positive.
- Have the highest level of integrity.
- Demonstrate an innovative, entrepreneurial approach to the work.
Nominations and applications are invited for this position. Review of applications will begin immediately, and candidate material received by November 10, 2023, will be assured full consideration. Applications (including a cover letter, resume and the names, email addresses and telephone numbers of five references) should be uploaded to: http://lapovsky.hiringthing.com. References will not be contacted without first securing the permission of the candidate.
Ursinus College is committed to creating a diverse community. In furtherance of that commitment, the college encourages candidates who bring a diversity of experiences and perspectives, and who are from diverse backgrounds, underrepresented groups, and have had experience working with and/or interacting with individuals from diverse populations to apply. Lapovsky Consulting is assisting Ursinus in this search. For nominations, questions, or additional information, please contact:
Ursinus is an EO/AA employer. Ursinus College does not discriminate on grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, age, creed, ancestry, veteran status, marital status, disability, or other classification protected by applicable law in the administration of any of its educational programs or activities or with respect to employment.