Vice President for Finance and Administration

Bennington, Bennington County / Woodford, Bennington County
Mar 22, 2014
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Bennington College in Vermont invites applications and nominations for the position of vice president for finance and administration. The new vice president will join Mariko Silver who was appointed president in July 2013 to help lead the College into the next era. Founded in 1932 and situated on 440 breathtaking acres in Bennington, Vermont, the College currently enrolls 731 students (613 undergraduate and 118 graduate) and offers an enviable student to faculty ratio of 8:1. Most of the undergraduate students live on campus. Bennington has 107 faculty (undergraduate and graduate combined) and 189 full-time and 52 part-time staff, an operating budget of $32.7 million and an endowment of $17.3 million.

In addition to the Bachelor of Arts degree, Bennington offers several limited residency masters programs. Bennington holds a distinguished place among American colleges and universities. It was the first to include the visual and performing arts in a liberal arts education, and it is the only college to require that students spend a term—every year—at work in the world. Rooted in an abiding faith in the talent, imagination, and responsibility of the individual, Bennington invites students to pursue and shape their own intellectual inquiries, and in doing so to discover the interconnection of things. Bennington is distinguished among liberal arts colleges for its plan process and its required field work term which is a seven week term in January and February which all students must take each year which links their curriculum to real world work.

The vice president reports directly to the president and is a key member of the senior staff. The position is the College’s chief financial officer and is responsible for ensuring the College’s fiscal integrity and operational efficiency through effective administration and direction of its financial, human, technology and physical resources. The vice president supports three committees of the Board of Trustees: finance and audit, investment and campus building and renewal. Reporting directly to the vice president will be the controller, associate vice president for facilities management and planning, the director of human resources, and the technology director. The portfolio also includes the post office and bookstore.

The successful candidate must understand and be supportive of the mission of the college and be comfortable working transparently in partnership with an energetic new president, a talented management team, a thoughtful, creative and dedicated faculty and a lively and committed support staff.

This position is responsible for preparing short-and long-range financial models and plans for the College based on strategic objectives and priorities. The vice president will work closely with the president and senior team to develop financial planning assumptions and projections and will be responsible for the development of the annual capital and operating budget. The vice president will work to Implement policies and practices to help assure the long-term financial strength of the institution and to assure that sound fiscal management and audit practices are followed. The vice president will help develop proposals to fund initiatives in support of College objectives and will proactively identify creative and fiscally-sound methods for staffing and funding projects.

The key challenges that the new vice president will face are:

  • Helping the College attain a long-term financial equilibrium in part through growth and new programs.
  • Gaining the trust and communicating effectively with the campus about budget and financial issues.
  • Implementing a new data system.
  • Maintaining efficient, cost effective operations of the College.
  • Providing leadership to the finance and administration division

The successful candidate will be a collaborative, confident, innovative, entrepreneurial, energetic, and self-assured financial leader with a demonstrated commitment to collegiality and transparency. He or she will be an exceptional financial strategist with superior analytical, communication, and interpersonal skills. He or she will be culturally and contextually astute with an appreciation of aesthetics and a knowledge of the higher education landscape and a broad portfolio of leadership accomplishments in progressively more senior management roles, preferably in higher education.

Experience must include demonstrated expertise in financial planning and operations, budgeting and budget modeling. Experience in facilities and facilities planning, debt financing, gift and endowment management, tuition pricing and discounting, technology and human resources is desirable. He or she will be pragmatic and wise and be known as a trusted leader. The new vice president will be prudent but willing to take measured risks.

The vice president must possess unquestioned integrity, intelligence, confidence, energy, sound judgment, creativity, decisiveness, fortitude, tact, and force of personality necessary to establish credibility to motivate people and to command respect both within and outside of the College. The vice president must have outstanding communications skills, including the ability to present himself or herself well to groups large and small, and the ability to listen actively and openly. The vice president must be comfortable operating transparently and must be able to gain the trust of all the College’s constituencies. In addition, the personal qualities of openness, accessibility, kindness, flexibility, and a sense of humor are very important in this position.

The next vice president must have at least ten years of leadership accomplishments in progressively more senior financial management roles. It is highly desirable if at least some of this experience is at a college or university or other major non-profit. A bachelor’s degree is required and a CPA, MBA or other advanced degree is preferred. For additional information about the College and the position, please refer to the position specification.

Nominations and applications are invited for this position. Review of applications will begin immediately and candidate material received by May 1st 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 here. Lapovsky Consulting is assisting Bennington College in this search. For nominations, questions, or additional information, please contact:

Lucie Lapovsky

[email protected]


Bennington College is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity.