THE OPPORTUNITY

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University (KSU) is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. KSU offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties, entrepreneurial spirit, and Division I athletics draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Ranked a top choice for students by U.S. News & World Report, Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only six percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status.

The Position

ROLE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT OF FINANCE FOR KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY

The vice president finance (VP) reports directly to the president. The VP is responsible for the administration of all financial operations of the university, including the development of a financial strategy and setting metrics tied to that strategy, ongoing development and monitoring of internal control systems designed to preserve and protect university assets, reporting accurate financial information, monitoring adherence to the budget, and developing long-term financial and operational strategies. This position serves on the president’s cabinet and works collaboratively with all members of the cabinet and other key leaders across the University. The VP also works with officials of the University System of Georgia, other university system institutions, and local, state, and federal government units. Units that report specifically to the vice president finance include accounting, accounts payable, cash management, contracts administration, financial reporting, payroll, procurement, and the budget office.

Additional specific responsibilities of the VP include:

  • Develop and implement a financial vision for the University congruent with the mission and objectives of the campuses and institutes.
  • Prepare and maintain long-term financial forecasts for all of the university’s funds. Monitor both short- and long-term internal and external financial and operational developments to ensure that forecasts are current and accurate.
  • Develop a service-focused culture where the financial and budget functions contribute to the university meeting its strategic objectives by assisting administrators and department heads in conducting financial analyses of current and proposed activities.
  • Monitor the university’s financial condition and provide budget information to budget supervisors. Oversee preparation of monthly financial statements for the university.
  • Report the financial condition of the college to the Board of Regents, other governmental agencies, and the University president and administrators on a regular basis.
  • Oversee preparation of the annual budget such that organizational needs are identified, consensus on priorities is obtained, and the consensus is translated into a financial plan.
  • Develop procedures that integrate business and strategic planning into the annual budget process.
  • Monitor external events and developments to ensure that budget preparation incorporates the most current information.
  • Monitor cash flow. Oversee investment activities to ensure appropriate supply of cash at highest possible yield on idle funds while complying with statutory limitations on types of investments.
  • Coordinate and monitor debt issuance with external financial advisors, bond counsel, etc.
  • Receive and have custody of all monies which come to the University for the purposes of the University and be responsible for the proper handling of such funds in accordance with applicable state statutes and with the policies set by the Board of Regents.
  • Ensure the timely collection of all accounts receivable.
  • Monitor cash reserves to provide maximum practical protection.
  • Provide oversight and advice regarding financial risk.
  • Coordinate the purchasing activities of the university, including contract management.
  • Ensure that the university is in compliance with financial, regulatory, legal, administrative, contractual, procedural, and accounting standards.
  • Remains current and knowledgeable of industry standards, trends, and emerging practices to position the University at the leading edge of higher education management.

HISTORY OF THE POSITION

Julie Peterson has served as chief business officer since June, 2016. Julie previously served as university controller and joined KSU in October 2000. She is leaving KSU to accept a position with the University System of Georgia.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

President Whitten has brought exciting changes to KSU since assuming the position in July 2018, including the appointment of a diverse and talented leadership team. A new provost and a vice president for administration were named in 2019 and searches are currently underway for the university’s next vice president for student affairs and the chief institutional auditor. The new VP will find a strong collegial environment within the cabinet and exciting opportunities to influence the university’s strategic direction.

In addition to strong technical skills, the VP must possess the ability to build, mentor, and support a strong team within the division. It will be critical to engage the approximately 125 staff members of the finance division in the strategy and direction of the organization. Demonstrated experience leading an effective team of finance professionals will be a critical element in the selection of the next VP.

Stakeholders expressed a desire for a collaborative and transparent budget development process that provides insight to faculty and staff regarding the basis for budget decisions. The University’s budget is highly complex, so the new VP will need to possess an ability to translate complex information into more accessible terms.

An entrepreneurial mindset will be critical to success. The VP must be willing to advocate for additional funding when needed but must also have a creative approach to meeting the university’s needs with the available funds.

President Whitten depends on the VP for unfiltered, accurate information that is critical to the operation of the institution. The VP must be committed to providing data and insight to senior colleagues that is frank and un-choreographed.

KSU has assumed a leadership role in the region in the areas of innovation and economic development. It will be essential for the VP to establish strong connections with civic, political, and business leaders. Growth of the campus will continue to impact the local community, so strong relationships are essential.

MEASURES OF SUCCESS

At an appropriate interval after joining KSU, the following items will define success for the new vice president finance:

  • The VP has earned the trust and confidence of the president and the cabinet.
  • A welcoming tone has been established that invites collaboration and encourages members of the division to participate in the financial management and strategic direction of the university.
  • A vision for the division has been articulated and embraced by stakeholders across the University, and the students and larger KSU community find it energizing.
  • A strong collaborative relationship with all aspects of the campus community, including faculty, students, and trustees, has been established.
  • The new VP is a visible and engaged member of the KSU and Kennesaw communities.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS

A bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field and at least ten years of experience in a managerial or leadership role in a complex organization are required. An advanced degree, professional certifications, and experience at a multi-campus university are preferred. The ideal candidate will possess significant knowledge and understanding of higher education; a demonstrated ability to supervise, train, mentor, and motivate professional and administrative staff in a team environment; and experience managing finance (accounting, budgeting, control, and reporting) for a complex nonprofit with multiple funding sources, including government (federal and state) contracts. In addition, candidates must have the ability to operate creatively, collegially, and effectively in a complex academic and business environment; analyze and interpret data to inform and support decisions; and present complex information in a readily understandable format to various audiences.

The successful candidate will ideally possess the following qualities and attributes, in no particular order of importance:

  • Be an individual of impeccable integrity and high ethical standards.
  • Knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and knowledge of Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) guidelines.
  • Highly innovative, strategic, and entrepreneurial approach to problem solving and partnership.
  • Ability to lead by influence.
  • Expertise in current financial methodology and regulations.
  • Demonstrated ability to use data to guide business strategy and outcomes.
  • Ability and willingness to delegate effectively and to hold direct reports accountable.
  • Skilled decision-maker with transparency in decision-making and management.
  • Excellent oral, written, and presentation skills.
  • Customer-focused and dedicated to providing optimum service.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills.
  • Have a record of superior communication skills and successful relationship building and collaboration with internal stakeholder groups.
  • Bring strong leadership, visionary, and managerial skills to the position.
  • Be flexible to adapt to changing circumstances and committed to regular assessment and process improvement.
  • An understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to the financial strategies of a publicly funded university.
  • Support staff development and a strong team environment.
  • Advocate an open and transparent management approach.
  • The ability to think strategically and work as a hands-on member of the team when necessary.
  • Be confident, innovative, and high energy.
  • Have a strong understanding of best practices in higher education finance.
  • Demonstrate an unwavering commitment to diversity and the ability to develop inclusive communities at KSU.

THE INSTITUTION DIVISION/DEPARTMENT: AN OVERVIEW

An Overview of the Division of Finance

The Accounting team is part of the Office of Fiscal Services (OFS) and is responsible for compiling and reviewing all financial reporting for the University including the Annual Financial Report (AFR). The team is also responsible for finance and accounting compliance and internal controls, which includes: audit coordination, risk assessment, treasury and cash management, and the following:

  • Agency Accounts
  • Asset Management
  • Bank Wires
  • General Ledger
  • International Services
  • Supplier Registration
  • Compliance

We are committed to providing accurate and timely financial reports and ensuring the University is compliant with federal, state, Board of Regents (BOR), and University policies and procedures.

Institution & Location

INSTITUTION: AN OVERVIEW

Institutional Background/History

Quality Academics

Kennesaw State has been elevated to an R2 classification—a doctoral institution with high research activity—by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning. The university has more than 150 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs.

Top Majors

Programs up to and including doctoral degrees that prepare students for the advancement of professional pursuits are especially attractive and are offered in all colleges of the university. Award-winning academic programs produce the highest number of teachers and nurses in Georgia and the state’s second-largest business school and the state’s second-largest engineering college. Popular majors include:

  • Nursing
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Communications
  • Management
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering

Campus Life

A sprawling institution spread across two campuses, consisting of 130 buildings and facilities for academics, operations, culture, recreation and residential living situated on more than 587 acres.

Chartered in 1963 by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia as a commuter school, Kennesaw State now serves over 37,000 students and has become a destination campus where more than 5,200 students live in eight distinctive residential communities in Kennesaw and Marietta. Students who reside on campus and those who commute have access to a full-range of world-class facilities, resources, and activities.

Engaged Citizenship

Kennesaw State was named among the top 10 percent of institutions nationally by the Carnegie Foundation for its ongoing collaborative efforts with the larger community.

There are more than 250 student organizations encompassing student governance and media, co-curricular clubs, athletics, Greek letter organizations, campus ambassadors, community service, and advocacy.

Economic Impact

Kennesaw State has an economic impact on the local and regional economy of more than $1.4 billion.

Global Reach

Kennesaw State’s Division of Global Affairs leads a comprehensive array of scholarly, educational, and service-related programs on behalf of the entire university, while administering more than 60 international studies programs, offering more than 100 courses, and organizing more than 130 distinct international education events.

The University has partnerships with academic, governmental, and business institutions around the world, including CIFAL, the first United Nations training center to be hosted by a university.

Alumni

KSU has more than 110,000 alumni worldwide.

Growing in Research

The university has seen a rapid rise in funding for research—more than $35 million over the last five years—leading to new knowledge and discoveries by faculty and hands-on opportunities for students. In 2019, the University was elevated to an R2 classification as a doctoral institution with high research activity.

Athletics

Kennesaw State’s NCAA Division I athletics program includes 18 varsity sports teams, with multiple national, regional, and conference championships in baseball, softball, soccer, and men’s basketball.

  • NCAA Division I, Atlantic Sun Conference, and Big South Conference (football only)
  • 8 men’s varsity sports
  • 10 women’s varsity sports

About Kennesaw, Georgia

Kennesaw is a city in Cobb County, Georgia, located in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. Known from its original settlement in the 1830s until 1887 as Big Shanty, it became Kennesaw under its 1887 charter. It had a population of 29,783 according to the 2010 census. Kennesaw has an important place in railroad history. During the Civil War, Kennesaw was the staging ground for the Great Locomotive Chase on April 12, 1862.

 

Mission and Vision Statements

Mission

At Kennesaw State, we serve as a powerful example of the impact a student-centered, research-driven university education can deliver. We help students succeed through exploration, collaboration, and rigor, uniting a diverse spectrum of backgrounds and talents. At KSU, students become the individuals who people want as colleagues and leaders.

Vision

Kennesaw State will exemplify the power and promise of a student-centered, research-driven university. Authentically diverse, uniquely attainable, and endlessly impactful, we will unleash the potential in every student we serve.

Foundational Pillars

Kennesaw State delivers each and every day on five, foundational pillars.

  • Student centered success
  • Research with relevance
  • Learning through engagement
  • Future ready graduates
  • Power of perspectives

Strategic Plan

Kennesaw State University, as a member of the University System of Georgia, is a comprehensive, Carnegie R2, institution. We offer over 150 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees to more than 37,000 students in 13 colleges. While most of our students are from the state of Georgia, our diverse student body also represents much of the United States and nearly 100 countries. We place a high value on both excellent teaching and insightful, pragmatic research. We nurture strong relationships in our civic, academic, and economic communities. Our faculty and staff are committed to the success of Kennesaw State University and its students.

To read about the 2018-23 Kennesaw State University strategic plan:

https://planning.kennesaw.edu/index.php

Leadership

Dr. Pamela S. Whitten – President

Pamela S. Whitten was named Kennesaw State University’s fifth president on June 12, 2018, by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, following a nationwide search. Whitten began her tenure on July 16, 2018. As president, she has made improving the student education and experience her top priority, by enhancing the availability of in-demand courses, growing summer enrollment, initiating new faculty and advisor hiring, creating scholarships, and strengthening the research capacity of the university.

Previously, Whitten served as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Georgia (UGA) from February 2014 to June 2018. As the chief academic officer, she was responsible for overseeing instruction, research, public service and outreach, student affairs, and information technology.

Prior to serving as provost at UGA, Whitten was director for telemedicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center before she joined Michigan State University, where she worked her way through the faculty ranks and eventually served as dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

An internationally recognized expert in the field of telemedicine—the remote delivery of health care services and information—Whitten has conducted research with funding from multiple state and federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has published two books and more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters.

Whitten holds a PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas, a Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Kentucky, and a Bachelor of Science in Management from Tulane University.

Academic Programs and Faculty

Kennesaw State University’s mission is to provide educational programs that serve a diverse student body, which includes young adults who enroll as freshmen or undergraduate transfers and a large number of older adults who return or transfer to the university at different stages in their lives for undergraduate or graduate study. Evening and weekend programs are designed to accommodate experienced professionals seeking academic advancement. Faculty, staff, and administrators are committed to providing a challenging and facilitative collegiate environment that fosters high-quality academic preparation, critical thinking, global and multicultural perspectives, effective communication and interpersonal skills, leadership development, social responsibility, and lifelong learning.

The foundation for all undergraduate majors is a comprehensive and coherent general education program that promotes internationalized and connected learning in the liberal arts tradition. Kennesaw State offers more than 100 accredited disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and professional undergraduate, baccalaureate degree programs in the arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, natural sciences, accounting, business fields, architecture, engineering, teacher education specialties, computing and information systems, and nursing. An expanding array of graduate degrees exists in education specialties, accounting, business fields, public administration, professional writing, conflict management, and nursing. We also offer a number of applied undergraduate and graduate certificate programs, as well as numerous minors.

Kennesaw State University offers over 70 fully online degree programs, certificate programs, hybrid online programs, and more than 400 courses in online and mixed-model versions. Designed and taught by KSU faculty, online learning at Kennesaw State offers high quality degree options with online learning convenience and flexibility. Online courses and degrees at Kennesaw State University are fully accredited and held to the same learning standards, rigors, and expectations of quality that our on-campus courses and programs require.

The College of Professional Education serves students seeking professional development opportunities and skills for high-demand careers. The college offers more than 40 in-person and hybrid certificate programs and more than 350 online courses. Subjects range from culinary, HR, and paralegal to technology, management, healthcare, and beyond. Community programs include summer camps for rising 1st through 12th grades, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) for adults 50 and older, and personal enrichment classes. CPE also partners with colleges on campus to help bring their prestigious non-credit programs to a wider audience. The college is housed in KSU Center, a comprehensive venue for conferences and employee training.

The Student Body

Enrollment, fall 2019: Preliminary 37,760 students; 49% female; 51% male

Benefits Overview

Kennesaw State University offers a wide variety of benefits for employees, including:

  • Medical plans
  • Dental and vision plans
  • Life and AD&D insurance
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Health savings account
  • Accident and critical illness plans
  • Employee assistance program
  • Disability plans
  • Retirement plans
  • Leave provisions
  • Tuition assistance program

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Mark Hall at mah@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Kennesaw State University website at www.kennesaw.edu.

Kennesaw State University is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.