Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
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About the Position

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The University at Buffalo (UB), the State University of New York (SUNY), invites nominations and applications for the position of vice president for finance and administration (VPFA). The vice president reports directly to the president and is a key member of the senior leadership team, working closely with the provost/executive vice president and other vice presidents to advance the institution’s overall strategic objectives.

The vice president for finance and administration is a newly formulated position with primary responsibilities that include oversight of strategic financial planning and analysis of resource use and development; partnering in budget planning and oversight of budget implementation; treasury and risk management; accounting, procurement and business services; internal audit; facilities planning, construction and operations; human resource services; employee relations; and environment health and safety services. The vice president also works with various internal and external constituencies, particularly SUNY, the University at Buffalo Foundation, the SUNY Research Foundation, the State University Construction Fund, and regional health care partners and others to improve the overall effectiveness of the university’s financial and business planning and operations. The vice president provides leadership for the institution’s ongoing efforts to pursue innovative business solutions and to develop operating strategies that enhance revenues and efficiency and lead to more cost-effective administrative practices.

UB seeks a collaborative and persuasive financial leader with a distinguished record of outstanding professional service and accomplishment. The ideal candidate will have high-level administrative leadership capacity, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and the ability to lead and implement change in a consensus-driven and proactive manner.

Applicants should possess significant experience as a senior executive in a higher education, foundation, government or business organization of relevant size and complexity with financial, business, capital planning, and project management responsibilities. Applicants should also be familiar with a wide variety of financing and revenue generating techniques including public/ private ventures and partnerships, and a record of significant leadership and involvement in planning and overseeing major construction and development projects in multi-campus locations is desirable. Experience with academic health centers is also desirable in UB’s research intensive environment, as is experience in dealing with local, state, and federal legislative and regulatory processes as they affect public universities.

Founded in 1846, UB is a premier, research-intensive public university and one of the select group of institutions forming the Association of American Universities. The university is the largest, most comprehensive institution in the 64-campus State University of New York system. With more than 29,000 students, the university offers more than 400 degree programs at the bachelor, master’s, doctoral, and professional levels. UB’s annual revenues from all sources, including university affiliates, were $1.2 billion in FY 2010, including $614 million in operating revenues.

For further information about the University at Buffalo, please visit its website.

The Office of Vice President for Finance and Administration

The vice president for finance and administration reports directly to the president and is a key member of the senior leadership team, working in close partnership with the team to plan and implement the university’s overall strategic objectives. The vice president for finance and administration will join a university culture that is both highly collaborative and consensus-driven and one in which the ability to forge strong working relationships and partnerships across divisions is particularly valued.

The vice president for finance and administration is a newly formulated role on the UB campus, created as a result of careful consideration of campus needs, as well as a review of best practices among peer institutions nationwide. The new position will realign several existing units – including business services, facilities, human resources, employee relations and internal audit – under the leadership of this vice president. The vice president will have oversight and responsibility for the offices and departments within those divisions, including accounting, business reporting and systems, procurement and travel services, treasury and risk management, policy and internal control, facilities planning, design, construction and operations, real estate, utilities, and environment health and safety services.

The finance and administration division plays a broad and principle role overall in advancing the university’s mission by providing fiscal leadership, safeguarding financial assets and resources, ensuring regulatory compliance and providing timely delivery of a wide array of business, facilities and other services to internal and external constituents. The vice president is responsible for a budget of approximately $39 million, and close to 800 staff members.

Additional but equally important responsibilities to be assumed by the new vice president involve working closely with various internal and external constituencies and affiliated organizations, including the SUNY system office, the State University Construction Fund, the health system and medical campuses, the State Division of Budget, and other governmental and community organizations related to financial, operational, human resource and capital matters.

The vice president also serves as an ex-officio member of the UB Foundation (UBF) Board and on several UBF Board committees (Finance, Investment, Properties) and is the primary point of contact for the UBF executive director and university leadership.

In addition, the vice president works with the University Planning Board to help develop the formulation and implementation of UB’s capital development plans, in conjunction with a Capital Planning office which reports to the provost/EVP. The VPFA is the primary university financial liaison to the SUNY Research Foundation and provides operational guidance to the campus Research Foundation Operations Manager (vice president for research).

Opportunities and Expectations for Leadership

Within the broad and demanding array of responsibilities associated with this position, the new vice president will want to give particular attention to the following leadership challenges and opportunities:

Develop a Strategic Partnership with the President and Provost

As UB prepares to launch its far-reaching and forward-looking comprehensive strategic plan, UB 2020, the need for strong financial planning in support of the institution’s strategic initiatives has become increasingly clear. The constraints and uncertainties of the current economic climate have also contributed to the sense that greater financial strength and acumen is needed on the senior leadership team. The president and provost/EVP would welcome the financial expertise of the VPFA to support and assist their efforts to analyze, evaluate and prioritize the viability of the various long and short range strategic initiatives under consideration. More importantly, once specific initiatives have been selected, the university will rely on its senior financial leader to create and develop innovative funding options in identifying potential revenue sources and how best to leverage them, including consideration of public-private partnerships and alliances with other academic institutions, governmental agencies or non-profit organizations.

Provide Financial Expertise

The VPFA will play a central role in advancing the university’s financial initiatives through the careful identification, use and stewardship of resources. As state support continues to be constrained and the ability to significantly grow research revenues becomes more challenging, the vice president will need to work closely and collaboratively with the provost/EVP throughout the budget development process, offering advice and analysis as various budget scenarios are considered. The vice president will be expected to play a key role in monitoring the university’s decentralized budget and supporting the provost/EVP and other senior leaders and deans in setting budget priorities, identifying and allocating resources, and working to develop entrepreneurial alternatives that optimize funding options in support of the university’s academic mission, research agenda and ambitious aspirations.

Participate in UB 2020 Implementation and School of Medicine Relocation

The vice president will have a central and critical role in the implementation of the university’s long-range strategic vision—UB 2020—that will make strategic investments that support faculty and the entire educational enterprise. UB 2020 is entering the first phase of implementation with its plan to relocate the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to the downtown Buffalo campus, aided by $35 million in state capital funds. The implementation of phase I of the UB 2020 plan became a reality in June 2011 with the New York State legislature’s passage of the pioneering NYSUNY 2020 legislation which established a 5-year tuition plan that ensures predictable tuition revenues over that period. The medical school relocation phase of the UB 2020 plan (approximately $375 million), is part of an overall program that will result in a $655 million integrated Kaleida Health System/ UB facilities when completed. The VPFA will be among the key group of senior leaders from the university, state, health system, governmental and affiliated organizations who will be identifying the financing options and developing the resources and revenue streams in support of this exciting and critically important endeavor.

Advocate Proactively with Internal and External Constituents

The vice president plays an essential role in the creation and on-going cultivation of internal collaborations with counterparts across the university and its affiliated organizations that enhance UB’s ability to maximize resources and achieve objectives of mutual interest. Similarly, the vice president is also the key contact responsible for engaging many external constituents whose organizations are crucial to the success of the university’s endeavors. Working with financial leaders in other academic institutions, state, local and non-profit agencies and organizations, the vice president will be expected to model best practices and to pursue strategic alliances that enhance and expand the collaborative partnerships that allow UB to thrive.

Enhance Business Operations, Service Quality, Revenues and Efficiency

A key and on-going expectation for the vice president is to create and foster an organizational culture and infrastructure that supports operational excellence, delivers quality customer service and promotes optimal efficiency. He or she will analyze current administrative practices in an effort to develop and implement more effective and efficient procedures to enhance delivery of services, as defined by current best practices and supported by measurable standards, and to develop additional revenue to support the campus. The VPFA will also take a leadership role in UB’s efforts towards SUNY campus administrative alliances to share some services and achieve greater operational efficiencies.