An official search is underway to find a new Vice President of Finance and Administration. The position has been empty since the retirement of Marcia Bromberg in the spring of 2005.
According to Vice President and Secretary of the University Peter Patton, the new vice president would need to address the University’s comparatively higher percentage of spending it draws from its endowment each year.
“While we can now raise money like our peer group, we want to drive spending down,” Patton said.
He said that many faculty and administrators feel there is a need to build up endowment funds for future projects. The new vice president would be in charge of lowering the university endowment draw from 7.4 percent to 5.5 percent, the rate recommended by the Board of Trustees to the Administration in a meeting last month.
This person would also implement updated software systems in the finances department. He or she would supervise the financial aspects of the continuous construction on campus, particularly the need to address student residential issues like the maintenance or replacement of aging woodframe houses. The position entails reporting directly to President Doug Bennet.
The national search committee to find a new vice president is comprised of faculty members, trustee board members, and students. The committee has already completed its first goal of defining the lengthy job description and necessary qualifications, which is now publicized on the University’s website.
“Everyone on the committee took student input very seriously in crafting the job description, and I expect [student] suggestions to be an important factor throughout the [selection] process,” said Gabe Tabak ’06, interim Chair of the WSA Finance and Facilities Committee. “The new VP will need to be committed to Wesleyan’s ideals as an institution, including fair labor practices and environmental stewardship.”
Tabak and President of the WSA Jesse Watson ’06 are the two students aiding in the search.
Professor of Economics Joyce Jacobsen, another member of the committee who has served on several search boards for Dean’s office personnel, expressed the committee’s desire to find someone who understands the ideals of the University.
“It is not obvious from looking at resumes which person will function best in those jobs, as many people can fulfill the requirements on paper, but it is the personal characteristics that really matter more,” Jacobsen said. “This particular search is even more demanding because it has higher technical requirements, as well as needing someone with a good character.”
The committee recommends that candidates submit their applications before early December, so the list can be narrowed to eight to twelve candidates by the February board meeting.
“From [the February meeting], a second round of interviews will help narrow the list down to three or four people who will be recommended to President Bennett for the final decision-making,” Patton said.
The goal is to appoint a new vice president by May, officially filling the position by July 1, 2006.
To assume the role left vacant, Patton has been Interim Vice President of Administration, assisting the facilities and auxiliary offices. Vice President for Information Technology John Meerts has overseen the offices of finance, human resources, legal projects, and project coordination. Director of Investments Tom Kannam also took over some of the remaining responsibilities.