Vice President for Finance and Business/Chief Financial Officer
EARLHAM COLLEGE: THE OPPORTUNITY
Earlham College, a distinguished liberal arts college in Richmond, Indiana, seeks applications and nominations for the position of vice president of Finance and Business/Chief Financial Officer. The College seeks a superb financial administrator who embraces working collegially with the College community to deal with issues and to develop consensus about the direction to take before acting. The new VP must be an experienced leader who is strategic, creative, patient, resilient and has a good sense of humor. The vice president’s portfolio will include finance, facilities, human resources, investments, technology, events, summer programs, food service, post office, and public safety. The new vice president will join a new, forward-thinking, energetic President and a new senior team. S/he must be an outstanding communicator who values transparency, appreciates the liberal arts and Quaker values and is comfortable working in a community with a strong tradition of shared governance. The new vice president, in partnership with the President, the Board of Trustees, other senior colleagues and the Earlham community, will help lead the College in establishing long-term financial equilibrium.
Earlham College Points of Pride
• Forbes’ 2017 “America’s Best Colleges” ranks Earlham in the top 10 nationally for undergraduate teaching quality.
• Earlham graduates from the past five years have earned such prestigious awards as the Fulbright teaching assistantship, the Watson Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the Samuel Huntington Public Service Award, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Fellowship.
• One of Earlham’s seniors in the Class of 2017 was awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and was the first Palestinian student in the history of the Rhodes to win this award.
• Earlham has been consistently ranked among the nation’s top 75 liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings.
• Earlham is one of only 40 colleges in the nation whose students are eligible for the prestigious Watson Fellowship—and one of just 20 eligible for the Bonner Scholars Program.
• Earlham is one of just 10% of colleges and universities nationwide to host a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa national honors society.
• Forbes gave the College an A+ for financial strength and return on investment.
• In its annual rankings, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance includes Earlham in the top 100 of private colleges nationwide that provide high-quality academics at a reasonable cost.
• Earlham’s beautiful 800-acre campus is recognized by the Sierra Club as one of one of America’s greenest colleges.
• The Earlham student body is among the nation’s most diverse, according to a new national ranking by BestColleges.com (July 2016). Earlham is in the top 15% for diversity of the 100 nationally ranked selective liberal arts colleges; the top 15 includes colleges like Pitzer, Pomona, Amherst and Swarthmore.
• U.S. News & World Report (2016) ranked Earlham sixth nationally in international diversity. Approximately 70 different nations are represented among the College’s undergraduate students; almost 20% of the student body consists of non-U.S. citizens.
• Earlham is 5th in the nation for graduates who have served in the Peace Corps.
• Earlham College has been featured in all four editions of the indispensable guidebook Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.
Alan C. Price, Earlham’s 18th President
Alan C. Price became Earlham’s 18th president on July 1, 2017. He most recently served as the Associate Director of Management for the Peace Corps as well as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington, D.C. An expert in change management and leadership development, Price joined Earlham’s Board of Trustees in July 2016.
Price, who is African-American, is the first person of color to serve as Earlham’s president. Although he ran a department at Harvard Business School and has taught on the university level, his career has spanned a broad range of experiences in non-profit, for-profit and government organization that will inform his return to academia. He majored in economics at Earlham and earned his J.D. at Harvard Law School in 1992. In a varied career, he has worked as a consultant to major corporations, but also displayed a passion for education, including serving as an elected member of the Cambridge (Mass.) School Board from 2002-04. He also has a long history of public service, serving in the U.S. Army National Guard from 1983-89 and on the Cambridge (Mass.) Police Review and Advisory Board from 1996-2002, in addition to leadership roles in federal government, to which he was appointed by President Barack Obama.
As an alumnus and board member, Price will have the advantage of deep knowledge of the College, a perspective on its past, and insights into its future possibilities.
As he begins his presidency, Price highlights the ways in which the College prepared him for this role, “Earlham is where I first learned the power and importance of consensus building. Earlham is where I reexamined childhood assumptions about social justice and social responsibility. Earlham is where I learned to speak truth to power — with respect,” he recalled.
“I am in love with Earlham, not just as a romantic ideal filtered through my younger eyes, trapped in amber, and preserved like some curio. I am in love with Earlham’s complicated and messy reality, scarred by many of the same human and organizational imperfections that make the larger world so fascinating. Earlham provides both a microcosm of the world as it is and a vision of what the world might be. Although my J.D. from Harvard Law School has opened doors to extraordinary opportunities, it has always been my Earlham education (academic and co-curricular experiences) that brought out the best in me and truly prepared me to bring out the best in other people and organizations.”
Price is the author of Ready to Lead? A story for leaders and their mentors (Jossey Bass 2004) and has served as a consultant to such clients as Fortune 500 companies, major universities, and utility providers.
Earlham College Strategic Plan
Earlham concluded a comprehensive, multi-year strategic planning process, culminating in the approval of the final plan by the Board of Trustees in June of 2015. The Plan aims to provide the answer to “Why Earlham?”
To achieve this goal, Earlham will need to evolve over the next five years into an institution that is significantly more focused (fewer things done better, and with greater depth), more coherent (stronger connections and integration among the fewer things we do), more concrete (clear definitions and boundaries around all the things we do), more consistent (less ability to "opt out"), and more “extrospective” (more of the things we do driven by outside-in considerations) relative to the Earlham of today. If we are successful, among the outcomes we will enjoy will be higher student enrollment, improved retention and graduation rates, reduced tuition discounting, a significantly lower cost per student for delivery of services, and an overall financial structure that is sustainable over the long term.
Earlham’s strategic plan aims to realign and enrich the academic experience, with a focus on providing a personal, experiential and global educational experience. Capitalizing on its small size and dedicated faculty, Earlham can offer a distinctive and intellectually stimulating learning environment through intensive experiential, interdisciplinary and global experiences.
Each student will have an immersion/internship experience that will prepare them for life after college, and each student will be able connect theory to practice in meaningful ways. Earlham students will develop a global lens for viewing the issues facing humanity and will engage with important issues in the world, from climate change to infectious diseases to structural violence and beyond. The College has recently launched a new initiative, the Earlham Plan for Integrative Collaboration (EPIC), the components of which are: the Center for Global Education, the Center for Career and Community Engagement, the Center for Global Health, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Center for Social Justice. EPIC seeks to facilitate the making of connections between the liberal arts and the world outside of campus and promises experiential and collaborative learning opportunities for each Earlham student. The work of EPIC has recently been supported by a generous gift from alumni of $7.5 million.
The College has recently launched a new Center to house these initiatives, along with enhanced opportunities for student-faculty collaborative learning and research. As Earlham looks forward, the structures and ideas set forth in the strategic plan will continue to yield exciting new possibilities for creativity and innovation within the curriculum and co-curriculum.
Earlham’s Quaker Roots
Earlham has its roots in the Great Migration of Quakers from the eastern United States, especially from North Carolina, in the first half of the nineteenth century. This migration created Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends in 1821. By 1850, it was the largest in the world. Its center was Richmond, where the yearly meetinghouse for the Orthodox body was located. Thus, when Indiana Friends decided in 1832 to open a boarding school, they placed it in Richmond. After fifteen years of laborious fund-raising, it opened on June 6, 1847. In 1859, a collegiate department was added and the school became Earlham College, in honor of the home of the eminent English Quaker minister Joseph John Gurney, and early supporter. Earlham was the second Quaker College in the world and the first coeducational one.
Earlham transformed itself after World War II. The student body became national and international. In 1960, to meet a growing demand for leadership in the Society of Friends, the Earlham School of Religion opened as the only accredited Quaker theological seminary in the world.
Earlham has an operating budget of about $50 million. Over the last several years, net tuition revenue has remained relatively constant while expenses have been increasing at about 3% a year. This has resulted in operating deficits for the last several years, which are projected to be in excess of $9 million in FY 2018... From FY 2013 to FY 2017, the accumulated cash-flow deficit totals $36.3 million which has been financed through additional endowment draws and a bank loan. Despite the operating deficits, Earlham has an A stable bond rating from Standard & Poor’s based on its strong asset base and relatively low long-term debt of about $84 million. The College’s endowment has a current market value of about $420 million, very substantial for a small liberal arts college. Thanks to both growing contributions and a bullish market, the endowment has built steadily over the years despite draws well in excess of the spending rate.
The College’s student/faculty ratio has declined from 12.3:1 in FY 2011 to 8.6:1 in FY 2016. This decline in the student/faculty ratio has resulted from both an increase in the number of faculty and a decrease in the number of students. Although the lower ratio has helped improve the learning environment, the decrease is not financially sustainable. The board allocated ten additional faculty positions for high demand fields, which the College needs to “repay” over time.
The College has a budget model and routinely does multi-year budget projections based on a variety of assumptions. The Board understands that it will take a few years before the College’s operating budget will be in equilibrium and has authorized the deficit to reach a cumulative total of $60 million.
The College’s FY 2018 tuition and fees will be $45,750 and room and board will be $9,920. Net tuition and fees are far lower than the published price given a high tuition discount rate.
Earlham’s $420 million endowment is managed by the Earlham Foundation, which serves as the investment committee for the Earlham Board of Trustees. The vice president of Finance and Business and Chief Financial Officer serves as a director of the Earlham Foundation. The endowment is managed by the College’s Chief Investment Officer assisted by Prime Buchholz. The endowment is invested in a highly diversified portfolio which includes many alternative investments.
The Academic Program at Earlham
In 2015, the Earlham faculty approved the following Learning Goals developed by the Curricular Policy Committee. Students should be able to:
➢ Communicate effectively and work collaboratively across diverse contexts via multiple media. Effective communication involves both social and expressive skills and the ability to communicate in multiple settings and cultures.
➢ Investigate and analyze information, materials, problems and texts using a variety of techniques. Thoughtful and careful analysis requires the ability to collect, understand, interpret and evaluate multiple pieces of evidence, with systematic understanding and overt application of qualitative, quantitative, analytical and abstract reasoning.
➢ Integrate knowledge, experience, and skills across domains and contexts. Integration involves connecting and developing ideas, as well as synthesizing and transferring learning to new and complex situations.
➢ Diversify personal and cultural experiences, ways of knowing, and social relationships. The practice of diversity involves embracing opportunities to explore outside their interests and typical frame of reference.
➢ Create and innovate across a variety of disciplines. Creativity and innovation require a willingness to take risks, be open to new possibilities, and produce new knowledge and artistic and social forms.
➢ Reflect critically on their learning experiences, ethical and vocational choices, lifestyle, and beliefs in light of multiple understandings of the world. Reflection involves the ability to examine past experiences and apply their lessons to future contexts.
➢ Apply knowledge and skills to real world problems and situations as well as to improve their own mental, spiritual and physical well-being. Applying learning effectively is a key skill of a lifelong learner.
The Vice President for Finance and Business/CFO serves as the chief steward of the College’s financial, physical and human resources. The Vice President, reporting directly to the President, staffs the Board’s Property and Finance, Audit, and Investment committees and works closely with the cabinet. The Vice President also works—via shared governance—with the on-campus Budget Committee and Welfare Committee and all campus constituencies.
The Vice President is responsible for providing the leadership, vision and analytical framework necessary to develop and oversee prudent fiscal strategies that assure the implementation of the board approved financial plan. The vice president’s portfolio will include finance, facilities, human resources, investment, technology, events, summer programs, food service, post office, and public safety.
The Vice President will partner actively and creatively with the College’s other vice presidents, including: the vice president for academic affairs to ensure funding and administrative solutions to support the academic mission of the College; the vice president for Institutional Advancement to support overall fundraising goals and provide the infrastructure necessary to assure donors of the stewardship of their contributions; the vice president of enrollment management to implement enrollment and net tuition goals; and others to move the agenda of the College forward.
The Vice President is expected to engage in a collegial and transparent way with all areas of the College to strengthen the overall effectiveness of the College’s financial operations, to facilitate the growth of revenue, to strategically use all available financial resources from both restricted and unrestricted funds, and to improve the dissemination and use of financial information by all on campus. The Vice President must work collaboratively with the College’s Budget Committee on all issues which affect the College’s budget and the Welfare Committee regarding faculty and staff welfare policies; and is expected to provide Faculty Meeting, the governing body, with timely and complete information, for the purposes of decisions to be taken affecting the curriculum. The Vice President must provide timely and clear information to the foundation and the Board’s property and finance committees so that they can make timely and informed decisions.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
Earlham College is a dynamic institution offering exceptional opportunities for a seasoned finance professional who appreciates the history and traditions of Earlham, embraces collaborative decision-making, understands and respects the liberal arts, is comfortable operating transparently and wants to be a part of a dynamic new team who will return the College to a long-term financial equilibrium. The new vice president will be a key player in this turnaround.
Work with the College leadership and Board to create and execute a plan to achieve financial sustainability.
The new vice president needs to understand how to most effectively use the College’s human, physical and financial resources including both restricted and unrestricted funds. S/he must be able to assess risks and understand the return on investment (ROI) in various alternative programs and ventures to foster the College’s progress towards financial equilibrium. S/he needs to accomplish this in partnership with all college constituencies and must be comfortable sharing information widely.
Develop a transparent, inclusive multi-year, non-incremental budgeting process and clearly and effectively communicate financial information in a way that inspires trust.
The new vice president must implement the appropriate tools to allow for robust budget modeling so that the College can forecast various future outcomes. In addition, the reporting of financial information must be significantly improved so that all decision-makers on campus can access the data that they need in a timely fashion and use it effectively to manage their budgets. The new vice president must be able communicate clear and concise financial information to all college constituents in a way that inspires understanding and trust in the information and motivates them to partner with the administration in solving the financial issues facing Earlham.
Embrace collaborative decision-making.
The new vice president must be comfortable and enjoy working in an environment where collaborative decision-making is the culture, where it is expected that information is shared prior to decisions being made and that feedback and evaluation are provided after decisions are made. The new vice president must be empathetic with the College’s challenges and be patient and respectful of the process and all involved in decision-making.
Be creative and facilitate the growth of revenues.
The new vice president must create an environment that motivates revenue growth in all areas of the College. All the revenue producing operations on the campus including the auxiliary operations, events and summer camps must be reviewed and repositioned to produce more revenue in mission appropriate ways.
The vice president needs to be a partner with the vice president for Enrollment Management to help in the maximization of net tuition revenue by increasing enrollment and reducing the tuition discount rate. S/he needs to ensure the proper systems and incentives to encourage the growth of fundraising and grant activities by both the development office and the faculty.
Provide leadership to the business affairs vision.
The next vice president must have excellent management skills to lead the areas that are in his/her division. The new VP must be able to develop people to their full potential. The VP should be able to assess all the processes in his/her division to ensure that they are all efficient, effective and supportive of the College’s needs.
QUALITIES AND QUALIFICATIONS
The successful candidate will be an outstanding communicator, a good listener, be resilient and possess strong and effective interpersonal skills that engender trust and cultivate collaboration. S/he will be an exceptional financial and administrative leader with superior analytical and management skills as well as being a creative strategic thinker and an expert modeler and scenario builder. S/he will understand the higher education landscape and the challenges that higher education is currently facing including an understanding of the sustainability issues that it is facing. The successful candidate will be comfortable growing out of the current deficit rather than retrenching and will be comfortable presenting alternatives to the community and collaborate with them on the reaching a decision. S/he will want to attend campus events and be involved in the Earlham community. The new vice president will inspire trust, have unquestioned integrity and a sense of humor.
The new vice president will be well versed in higher education finance and will be knowledgeable about the critical areas in the portfolio. S/he will have at least ten years of progressively increasing experience managing a large staff with diverse responsibilities. The new vice president will have worked in organizations that have multiple revenue streams and will be adept in projecting revenues and assessing the risks associated with them. A bachelor’s degree is required and a masters or other advanced degree is preferred. Experience in higher education, non-profits and mission-driven organizations is highly desirable. For additional information about the College, please go to www.earlham.edu.
PROCEDURE FOR CANDIDACY
Nominations and applications are invited for this position. Review of applications will begin immediately and candidate material received by October 12, 2017 will be assured full consideration although recruitment will continue until an appointment is announced. Applications (including a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information of four references) must be uploaded to: http://lapovsky.hiringthing.com This search is supported by Haley Associates Higher Education Executive Search and Consulting and Lapovsky Consulting. Confidential inquiries and questions concerning this search may be directed to Dr. Lucie Lapovsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-690-1958 or Dr. Katherine Haley at email@example.com or 603-748-4399.
Earlham is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer
Earlham College continues to build a community that reflects the gender and racial diversity of the society at large, and, therefore, we are particularly interested in inviting and encouraging applications from African Americans, other ethnic minorities, and women. Earlham also is eager to solicit applications from members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
The material presented in this position specification should be relied on for informational purposes only. This material has been copied, compiled, or quoted in part from Earlham documents and personal interviews and is believed to be reliable. Naturally, while every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, the original source documents and factual situations govern.