Business and Finance Vice Chancellor Search

Business and Finance Vice Chancellor Search

Learn More About the Candidates
Aerial photo of City Campus

The Office of the Chancellor invites nominations and applications for the position of vice chancellor for business and finance.

Torn Notebook sculpture and Van Brunt Visitors Center

The opportunity

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln, a Big Ten Academic Alliance and Carnegie R-1 comprehensive research university, seeks applications and nominations for vice chancellor for business and finance.

The new vice chancellor for business and finance will join the university at a pivotal moment in the institution's 148-year history. Dr. Ronnie D. Green became the university’s 20th chancellor in 2016 and has clearly articulated a vision to build on past successes and further elevate the institution to greater national stature.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is the state’s flagship and only land-grant university. The university welcomed its largest and most diverse incoming class in 2016 and ranked ninth on Springer Nature’s international list of Rising Stars in higher education. The university has approximately 26,000 students and more than 150 undergraduate and 135 graduate degree programs.

The vice chancellor is the university's senior business officer and reports directly to the chancellor. The vice chancellor is responsible for oversight and administration of all budget, financial and administrative services supporting the university’s $1.2 billion operating budget in compliance with University of Nebraska Board of Regents policy and state and federal laws. This individual is also responsible for all activities related to the university's physical facilities and grounds (including capital construction and maintenance), University of Nebraska–Lincoln sites throughout the state, university police, parking and transit services, and human resources. The business and finance unit has approximately 800 employees and an annual operating budget of $64 million.

The vice chancellor will also work closely with the vice chancellors for business at the other three campuses of the University of Nebraska system, and the vice president for business and finance in the NU Central Administration office. Together this group forms the nucleus of the system’s business operations. In addition, the vice chancellor serves as treasurer of the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation and is responsible for the financial oversight of both the corporate and university interests in this development.

The successful candidate will be expected to provide dynamic leadership in further developing and strengthening the university's business, fiscal and management systems, while providing visionary leadership to campus financial operations. Candidates must hold an earned bachelor’s degree; a master’s degree and a CPA is preferred. A record of more than 10 years of leadership experience, including increasing responsibility in a financial role, is required. Experience in an institution of higher education is preferred.

For information regarding candidacies, nominations, or other suggestions, see the section titled “Procedure for candidacy” near the conclusion of this document.

The role of the vice chancellor for business and finance

The vice chancellor is the university's senior business officer and reports directly to the chancellor. The vice chancellor is responsible for oversight and administration of all budget, financial and administrative services supporting the university’s $1.2 billion operating budget in compliance with University of Nebraska Board of Regents policy and state and federal laws. This individual is also responsible for all activities related to the university's physical facilities and grounds (including capital construction and maintenance), University of Nebraska–Lincoln sites throughout the state, university police, parking and transit services, and human resources. The business and finance unit has approximately 800 employees and an annual operating budget of $64 million.

Business and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln includes the following departments:

The vice chancellor will also work closely with the vice chancellors for business at the other three campuses of the University of Nebraska system, and the vice president for business and finance in the NU Central Administration office. Together this group forms the nucleus of the system’s business operations.

Key attractions of the position

Dr. Ronnie Green

Dr. Ronnie D. Green became the university’s 20th chancellor in 2016 and has clearly articulated a vision to build on past successes to further elevate the institution to even greater national stature. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to provide support, additional insight and leadership that will allow the institution to take full advantage of exciting future opportunities. Some of the key attractions to the university and this position include:

  • The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s enrollment is growing and becoming more diverse. Fall 2016 enrollment was 25,897 — the highest and most diverse in the history of the university.
  • The university has nearly doubled its research expenditures over the past decade and has been recognized nationally as one of the fastest growing public research universities.
  • Excellent faculty hires at both the junior and senior levels have transformed most academic units. The university had a record eight faculty named AAAS fellows in 2015, tied for the second-most fellows behind Stanford’s nine.
  • In the last 10 years, approximately $1.3 billion has been invested in significant academic facilities, including new construction and renovations.
  • The university celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019. The rich history and collaborative culture represented today present a significant opportunity to shape and guide the university's future.
  • University of Nebraska–Lincoln enjoys strong public support from the citizens of the state. Nebraskans value higher education and recognize that education is the key to a strong workforce and a vibrant economy. Nebraskans have high regard for the state’s only land-grant university and are vested in its success as an institution of higher learning.
  • Nebraska athletics drives loyalty and positive notoriety for the university. Nebraska athletes have earned more Academic All-American awards and NCAA Top 10 awards, which recognize student-athletes for their success on the field, in the classroom and in the community, than any other Division I institution. Nebraska athletics is completely self-supporting and annually generates significant revenue that is directed to the university’s academic programs.
  • In spring 2017 the university received the Higher Learning Commission “seal of approval for quality, programs and learning experiences at Nebraska” and was notified that the University of Nebraska–Lincoln successfully achieved its 10-year reaccreditation.

Opportunities and expectations for leadership

The following represent some of the key opportunities that the new vice chancellor for business and finance will want to address during the first two to three years in office. They are presented here in no particular order of priority.

Contribute to the pursuit of a growth and excellence agenda

The university is pursuing an aggressive agenda to become a nationally preeminent and distinctive Big Ten institution by 2025. Specific goals of this agenda include increasing enrollment, significantly growing research expenditures, enhancing student retention and graduation rates, increasing the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty, and increasing the number of faculty receiving national recognition and awards for research and creative activity. The next vice chancellor for business and finance will play a pivotal role in supporting these goals and working with the chancellor, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, and vice chancellor for the Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources in making strategic decisions about resources to achieve the goals.

Participate in planning and developing a strategic resource allocation system

As part of the university’s strategic planning process, the chancellor charged the campus in spring 2017 to conduct a full review of its existing budget system with the goal of developing a set of recommendations to restructure the budgeting model. The intent is to build a new model for dynamic strategic resource allocation. Historically, the university has operated under a modified incremental budget model. The current working recommendation is to implement a modified responsibility-centered management model. The new vice chancellor will work with the executive vice chancellor to lead this restructuring and establish the university’s budget to align with its identified vision and strategic priorities moving forward.

Support and enhance innovation, external relations and public/private alliances

Nebraska Innovation Campus, a dedicated public-private research campus, is attracting new partnerships and tenants with its physical footprint rapidly expanding. The initial phase of this development was completed in 2014 with the opening of a state-of-the-art conference center and companion building. In July 2015 the Food Innovation Center and Greenhouse Innovation Center were completed and occupied. The vice chancellor serves as treasurer of the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation and is responsible for the financial oversight of both the corporate and university interests in this development.

Strive for continuous improvement and support enhanced efficiency measures, including centralization and streamlining initiatives

There have been numerous accomplishments in the business and finance units over the past decade to build efficiencies, reduce costs and enhance university services. "Best practices" have been implemented in functional areas and entrepreneurial approaches to service delivery and cost savings/enhancements have been successful. Additionally, a significant process looking at the centralization and restructuring of business and financial services is currently underway. The university’s system office, in cooperation with the individual campuses, is looking for cost savings opportunities, ways of optimizing and improving service delivery, and ways for campuses in the Nebraska system to partner. The vice chancellor will play a major role in this transition and implementation.

Participate in long-range institutional planning

The University of Nebraska Foundation completed a $1.2 billion capital campaign in 2015 which raised more than $1.8 billion. Priorities for these funds include scholarship support for undergraduates, study abroad scholarships and graduate fellowships; support for endowed professorships, research professorships and chairs; support for targeted and identified academic and research programs; and support for campus facilities and infrastructure. The next major capital campaign is now in the initial stages of development and the vice chancellor for business and finanance is expected to play a major role in priority setting.

Professional qualifications and personal qualities

The vice chancellor for business and finance will be an accomplished professional of the highest integrity who embraces positive change and a team approach. The vice chancellor must be able to work with colleagues in a spirit of partnership, transparency and fiscal responsibility to facilitate the advancement of the university. The successful candidate will be a confident, innovative, entrepreneurial leader with excellent financial credentials and significant managerial experience. The vice chancellor will also understand and respect shared governance and will promote an environment that encourages teamwork, student success, inclusive decision-making and a sense of community.

Key attributes of the vice chancellor for business and finance

While each candidate will have a unique combination of skills and experiences, and no single candidate may bring strength in all areas, the ideal candidate for the vice chancellor for business and finance position will demonstrate many of the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:

  • Successful management of a large, highly complex organization, including responsibility for multiple functions related to finance and administration.

  • Proven experience relative to strategic business planning, including operational and capital budget development.

  • Demonstrated experiences related to re-engineering, continuous business improvements and the implementation of "best practices" to improve operational functioning, reduce costs and increase stakeholder satisfaction.

  • Effective leadership, in partnership with the vice chancellor for information technology, in the use of technology, including major systems conversions and technology enhancements.

  • Positive external relations/constituency management capabilities as it relates to financial and administrative operations, ideally including working with broad constituencies that may include legislators, state and local government leaders, and business and civic communities.

  • In addition to these related career experiences, it will be equally important that candidates exhibit particular skills and competencies that they will bring to the position. These include, but may not be limited to:
    • Leadership — Create climate of collaboration, engagement and alignment.
    • Strategic visionary thinking — Able to conceptualize "big picture" and interpret the vision for others. Maintains a broadly based, long-term perspective.
    • Participatory management skills — Respects input from others, builds effective teams and respects process; draws information from others.
    • Human relations abilities — Builds relationships, values inclusiveness, develops people; exhibits equal treatment at all levels. Is equally effective as a team player and as a team-builder.
    • Communication ability — Articulate, clear and candid; encourages free exchange of information; presents own ideas in a way that achieves clarity, buy-in and commitment.
    • Entrepreneurial/innovative abilities — Thinks about problem-solving in new ways; encourages innovation throughout the organization; challenges existing bias.
    • Political acumen — Able to read and work effectively within a variety of diverse political environments, both internally and externally, with the ability to be equally effective working up, down and across the organization.
    • Constituency management abilities — Able to deal effectively with broad, diverse constituents, often those with competing priorities.

Finally, the vice chancellor will have a record of unquestionable integrity, combined with energy and intelligence.

Education

Candidates must hold an earned bachelor’s degree; a master’s degree and a CPA is preferred. A record of more than 10 years of leadership experience, including increasing responsibility in a financial role, is required. Experience in an institution of higher education is preferred.

Search Committee

Donde Plowman

Donde Plowman

Search chair

Executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer

Mike Boehm

Mike Boehm

Co-chair

Vice president and vice chancellor for Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Jeff Bassford, assistant vice chancellor, IANR finance and personnel
  • Rik Barrera, associate dean of student services and chief operating officer, College of Business
  • Laurie Bellows, interim vice chancellor for student affairs
  • Phil Berlie, director, budgeting and business operations
  • Bruce Currin, assistant vice chancellor, human resources
  • Miki Esposito, public works and utilities director, City of Lincoln
  • Steve Goddard, interim vice chancellor for research and economic development
  • Don Ham, external stakeholder
  • John Jentz, executive associate athletics director/chief financial officer, athletics
  • Mary Klucas, University of Nebraska Office Professionals Association representative
  • Brad Korell, NUTech Ventures board member
  • Amy Lanham, president, University Association for Administrative Development
  • Bill Nunez, associate to the chancellor
  • Stacia Palser, associate general counsel, University of Nebraska
  • Lance Pérez, interim dean, College of Engineering
  • Wes Peterson, faculty senate executive committee representative
  • Troy Wilhelm, chief financial officer, University of Nebraska Foundation
  • Owen Yardley, assistant vice chancellor and chief of police
  • Joe Zach, president, Association of Students of the University of Nebraska

Procedure for candidacy

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. Review of applications is underway and will continue until the position is filled. Candidates should provide a resume and a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in this leadership profile. These materials should be sent electronically (two separate Word or PDF files preferred) to the consultants, Jane Courson and Robert W. Luke, at UNL-VCBF@wittkieffer.com. For fullest consideration, materials should be submitted before Sept. 25, 2017. The consultants may be reached by telephone via the desk of Cara Drew at 781-564-2626.

All candidate information will be held in strict confidence until the final stage of the search, at which time the express permission of finalists will be obtained before making their candidacy public. Candidates are urged to review all information and documents posted on the search web site.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln actively encourages applications from and nominations of women and other protected group members.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive work and learning environment free from discrimination and harassment. The university is dedicated to creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected and included. The University of Nebraska does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities and employment. The University of Nebraska complies with all local, state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination, including Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Learn more at http://www.unl.edu/equity/notice-nondiscrimination.