Paused due to COVID-19.

Planned to resume November 1, 2020.

South Dakota State University invites applications and nominations for the next Vice President for Finance and Administration. 

About the University and Brookings Community

Ranked as the No. 2 best place to work in South Dakota by Forbes, South Dakota State University is the state’s largest, most comprehensive university with more than 200 programs and an enrollment of approximately 11,500 students.

SDSU offers a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through inspired, student-centered education, creative activities and research, innovation and engagement that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation and the world. Its employees embrace the university’s core values of being people-centered, expanding knowledge through creativity, embracing organizational and personal integrity, commitment to diversity, and excellence through continuous improvement.

As the state’s 1862 Morrill Act land-grant institution, the work of the university is carried out on its main resident campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City, and Aberdeen, and through Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across South Dakota.

Jackrabbits Athletics competes as an NCAA Division I member with membership in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the Summit League and the Big XII for wrestling.

Brookings, SD is located just 48 miles north of Sioux Falls is home to approximately 24,000 residents and is 200 miles west of Minneapolis. rates Brookings as an ideal community for families, students, young professionals and retirees. It considers Brookings among the safest and most vibrant cities in South Dakota.

Brookings is a progressive and growing community with numerous industry partners and is the 4th largest city in South Dakota.  The Brookings Public School District educates approximately 3,300 K-12 students and ranks among the state’s highest academic achieving school districts. The district includes three elementary schools, an intermediate school for fourth and fifth grade, one middle school and a high school.

The city also boasts an abundance of attractions and activities, including the Children’s Museum of South Dakota, Dakota Nature Park, South Dakota Art Museum, McCrory Gardens, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, Outdoor Adventure Center and the Brookings Summer Arts Festival

South Dakota State University (SDSU) is dedicated to exceptional teaching and learning, scholarship, research, creative activity, and transference of knowledge through Extension programming for the benefit of students, and the citizens of South Dakota and beyond.  With almost 600 faculty, serving nearly 11,500 students, SDSU offers a diverse number of academic colleges including: College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, College of Education and Human Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College and the Graduate School. 

SDSU is defined as a “Doctoral University, High Research Activity” within the Carnegie Classification and in 2014 was designated an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.  As the state’s 1862 land-grant university, SDSU plays a key leadership role in the state and the region in conducting research, disseminating knowledge, supporting innovation and business incubation, forming partnerships with industry, and advocating for economic growth and development.  SDSU awards graduate degrees through 15 Ph.D. and 33 Master’s programs and has the most active university research program in the state with more than $67 million in annual research activity.    


South Dakota State University offers a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through inspired, student-centered education, creative activities and research, innovation and engagement that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation, and the world.


South Dakota State University will be a premier land-grant university recognized for high value, innovation and bold impact.  SDSU champions the public good through engaged learning, bold and innovative research and creative activities, and stewardship within a global society.   The University’s strategic plan, Imagine 2023, is the five-year strategic plan that enhances the future of South Dakota and its citizens while meeting the challenges of an increasingly global, complex and interconnected society.  The plan draws on the university’s strengths and commitment to excellence, creating a pathway to the future as a high-performing institution that delivers exceptional value to students and stakeholders.  The plan’s goals focus on excellence through transformative education, strengthening community engagement, fostering innovation and increase in research, scholarship and creative activity to become a growing, high-performing and healthy university.  For more information, visit

South Dakota Board of Regents

SDSU is one of six universities in an integrated system of higher education in South Dakota governed by a single board of regents.  The BOR, appointed by the Governor, has constitutional authority to govern the system of public higher education in the state.  The BOR provides leadership and sets policies for the programs and services delivered through its six universities and two special schools. 

About the Position

The Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA) provides strategic and operational direction with accountability and integrity for the University’s financial and administrative operations.  The VPFA will direct and coordinate the development and implementation of a comprehensive and integrated program of administration for all aspects of financial and administrative affairs within a complex unit with a varied and diverse composition.  The VPFA serves as a key strategic advisor to the President and works collaboratively with the senior leadership team and other leaders to assure a successful and stable future for the University. 

The Office of the VPFA and its units includes a broad portfolio of administrative units that directly serve and support all aspects of the University to include, the Offices of Finance and Budget, Facilities and Services, Human Resources, Business Services, Financial Services, Internal Audit and Continuous Improvement. 

Role and Responsibilities

The VPFA will serve as an advisor on the development of financial and budget policies based upon best practices in a decentralized budget model and in support of the University’s goals and objectives.  The VPFA will co-chair with the Vice President for Academic Affairs the University Budget Oversight Committee (UBOC) and provide timely insight for the direction of budgets and operational forecasts.  The VPFA will also work to strengthen the financial stability of the University by identifying opportunities for cost containment and risk mitigation while ensuring compliance with policies.  Other responsibilities include:

  • Overseeing the management of operating budgets and financial reporting and developing forecasts for the University that accurately anticipate risks and opportunities including return on investment and opportunity cost analyses for new and current academic programs, other institutional initiatives and other revenue sources;
  • Oversee the administrative affairs of the university and provide leadership to the offices of human resources, financial services, facilities services and internal audit and continuous improvement;
  • Representing the University at South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) Business Affairs Council and other system-wide committees and initiatives and informing University leadership of items impacting the University;
  • Overseeing the VPFA Office and unit staff in preparing and presenting transparent and informative annual and quarterly budget updates and reviewing the updates with all University leadership;
  • Ensuring University wide compliance with financially related laws, rules, regulations, and policies and developing and maintaining systems of internal control to safeguard the financial integrity of the University;
  • Ensuring that University financial records are properly prepared and maintained in accordance with state, federal, and applicable accounting guidelines;  
  • Ensuring the timely, accurate, and reconciled accounting for University business transactions and reporting of financial results in accordance with SDBOR provisions and state and federal regulatory requirements;
  • Developing content, overseeing the preparation of financial analyses, modeling, and metrics necessary to support strategic decisions, and routinely disseminating this information to University leadership to ensure transparency;
  • Serving in a primary advisory role for University contracts as delegated by the President and/or SDBOR, working with senior leadership to ensure compliance with SDBOR and University provisions, and state and federal regulations;
  • Proactively advising and educating the President and University leadership on all issues and developments that could materially affect the University’s financial and administrative operations;
  • Maintaining continuous lines of communication, keeping the President and senior leadership informed of all critical financial and administrative matters;
  • Providing strategic counsel and advice to the President and executive leadership on areas that have broad financial and strategic impacts across the University;
  • Developing, implementing, and updating the VPFA units’ strategic plans and related initiatives for areas reporting to this position ensuring alignment with University strategic plans and goals and communicating as appropriate with the President;
  • Ensuring accountability and a positive and supportive work environment to create a culture of high performance through the implementation of regular reporting on key performance indicators within direct report areas of responsibility;
  • Leading and overseeing broad organizational practices to ensure maximum effectiveness, risk containment, fiscal controls, and efficiency;
  • Thinking creatively and strategically to develop and improve operational systems in order to meet current and future challenges and communicating these to members of University leadership;
  • Overseeing and ensuring that all areas reporting to this position are operating efficiently and effectively, are accessible and user-friendly operations with open and effective channels of communication with faculty, students, and other administrative units, and serving their customers with a high level of customer service;
  • Establishing and maintaining a collaborative working relationship with the appropriate faculty, staff, governance groups, and committees in program and policy development.


The successful candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree; a CPA or Master’s degree is preferred and a record of progressive leadership experience in a broad variety of management areas (budgeting, human resources, finance, facilities management, etc.) preferably in an institution of higher education and will maintain the highest ethical standards, and operate with sound judgement and integrity.  Other preferred qualifications include:

  • Clear and affirming commitment to the mission, vision, and core values of South Dakota State University;
  • Ability to contribute and gain trust effectively to an educational community that operates on transparent decision making and widespread dissemination of information;
  • Record of significant leadership and accomplishment in planning, managing, and implementing major business and financial operations, human resources, and a familiarity with major construction, renovation and maintenance programs, facilities management, capital construction, and campus master planning;
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills to effectively articulate the University’s financial and administrative vision, strengths, goals, and requirements to a wide range of audiences, both internal and external;
  • A successful record of managing diverse operations, broad intellectual interests and a personal commitment to sustaining and strengthening the distinctive identity and mission of South Dakota State University;
  • A collaborative, transparent leader and team member and skilled communicator with impeccable integrity;
  • Demonstrated experience in overseeing an entity’s financial and budget planning processes with expertise in the preparation of complex, detailed financial, and budgetary analyses to provide a complete picture of operations;
  • Ability to effectively foster change and convert challenges into innovative solutions that will advance the future of the institution;
  • Demonstrated history of creating and supporting a workplace committed to collaboration, teamwork, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Application Process

The Search Committee invites nominations, applications (a letter of interest, resume, and the names and contact information of five or more references) or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting South Dakota State University.  Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted to the search firm prior to April 6, 2020. 

Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Erin Raines, Principal
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2900
Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: 770-804-1996 x117 |  

South Dakota State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and has a strong institutional commitment to diversity.  Women, minorities, persons with disabilities and veterans are encouraged to apply.  SDSU’s policies, programs and activities comply with federal and state laws and South Dakota Board of Regents regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, gender, gender identity and/or expression of sexual orientation.

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