Sweet Briar Vice President of Finance and Administration
Sweet Briar College announces a national search for a strategic financial leader to serve as the College’s next Vice President of Finance and Administration. Located in Amherst, Virginia near Lynchburg and Charlottsville, Sweet Briar is a forward-thinking liberal arts college for women focused on developing women of consequence. The new Vice President will join an institution which has an energetic new President, Meredith Woo, and a new senior team of leaders who are working with the faculty and the staff to create a financially sustainable model for small liberal arts colleges across the nation. Sweet Briar has an operating budget of $28 million, an endowment of $73.4 million, 3, 250 acres of land and 900,000 square feet of buildings. It has been named the most beautiful campus in the U.S. by the Princeton Review and a best Southeastern college and a best value college.
The successful candidate will be collaborative, have an entrepreneurial spirit, be an agile decision maker, be able to think outside the box, have a good understanding of higher education and a good political sense. The Vice President will enjoy being part of a small residential college community. The Vice President's portfolio will include finance, facilities, endowment management, human resources, information services, auxiliary programs, public safety and community relations. The Vice President will staff the Board's finance and buildings and grounds committees.
The College’s Transformation
The extraordinary value of a Sweet Briar education was demonstrated to the world in 2015 when an attempt was made to close the College. The alumnae mobilized to form a nonprofit organization, Saving Sweet Briar Inc., which raised a remarkable $21.5 million in pledges in only 110 days; nearly $12 million of these pledges were converted to cash within 90 days. Given this response and despite the closure announcement, the College opened on schedule for the 2015-16 year.
Within less than six months of Dr. Woo’s arrival at the College, it announced two major strategic initiatives.
1. The first modernizes the liberal arts curriculum. A revised core curriculum with a focus on women's leadership;
- The creation of three interdisciplinary “centers of excellence” dedicated to solving contemporary problems in place of traditional academic departments;
- A 3-12-12-3-week academic calendar that incorporates short terms dedicated to experiential learning opportunities such as research, internships and study abroad.
2. The second initiative revises the tuition model to make the true cost transparent and predictable. The tuition reduction represents a 32 percent decrease from equivalent costs in 2017-2018, which resets tuition to a level where it was over a decade ago. At $21,000 for tuition
Challenges and Opportunities
Sweet Briar presents several exciting opportunities and challenges for the next Vice President of Finance and Administration. The new Vice President will find a College that is reinventing and rebuilding itself based on a long history yet understands the need for innovation and change in these challenging times.
- Develop a Plan for Short and Long-term Financial Equilibrium
- Help Increase Net Tuition Revenue
- Be Creative and Facilitate the Growth of Non-tuition Revenues
- Facilitate an Environment that Supports Significant Fundraising Activities and Ensures the Strategic and Appropriate Use of Restricted Funds
- Maintain Efficient, Cost Effective Operation of the College
- Develop an Inclusive Budget Process and a Multi-Year Budget Model
- Provide Leadership to the Division
- Gain Trust and Communicate Effectively with the Campus about Financial Issues
- Work with the College leadership and Board to Create and Execute a Plan to Achieve Financial Sustainability
Qualities and Qualifications
The successful candidate will have the following:
· Bachelors degree required, and an MBA or equivalent advanced degree and/or CPA desirable
· Familiarity with higher education required, and experience working in higher education highly desirable
· At least 10 years of progressively increasing leadership experience in finance and management required
· Experience with Capital Campaigns is highly desirable
· Demonstrated success at overseeing sound budgetary and fiscal planning processes, including identification of innovative strategies that utilize the institution's resources to the fullest
· Excellent interpersonal, political and diplomatic skills
· Comfortable in a fast-paced, change management environment
· Ability to think outside the box and be an agile thinker
· Be an outstanding problem solver
· Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, including the presentation of complex financial data to non-finance people
· Ability to gain the trust of others including the Board of Directors and the faculty by providing accurate and timely data and by being approachable and open to questions
· Demonstrated success at adapting to changes in the work environment, including implementation of new technology needed to streamline processes
· Uncompromising integrity and ability to maintain confidences
Salary and Benefits
The College offers a competitive salary and benefits package. Housing on campus is available with the position. Many faculty and staff live on the Sweet Briar campus, and there is a good quality of campus life.
Nomination and Application Process
Nominations and applications are invited for this position. Review of applications will begin immediately and candidate material received by January 24, 2017 will be assured full consideration although recruitment will continue until an appointment is announced. Applications (including a cover letter which addresses the challenges of the position and a resume) must be uploaded here. Lapovsky Consulting is assisting Sweet Briar College in this search. For nominations, questions, or additional information, please contact:
As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Sweet Briar College is committed to enhancing our community and encourages applications from qualified individuals with varied backgrounds, experiences and ideas who would increase the diversity of the College.