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Wayne State University seeks nominations and applications for the position of vice president for finance and business operations and treasurer. The vice president is the university’s chief financial and business officer and reports to Wayne State University President Dr. M. Roy Wilson. This is an exciting opportunity for a senior finance and operations executive to make a significant contribution to an institution with an admirable mission in one of the nation’s most dynamic urban environments. The vice president will be a strategic, critical and creative thinker who is skilled at diplomacy, collaboration and consultation, with proven broad-based leadership and management skills.

Wayne State University

Wayne State University, founded in 1868, is a nationally recognized public, urban research university in Detroit. Wayne State is Michigan’s only urban research university, and is known internationally for its contributions to the sciences. Committed to educational opportunity, research and community enrichment, Wayne State serves a critical role in Michigan’s higher education landscape. It holds the highest Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching designations in both research and community engagement. Just as the city of Detroit is undergoing a renaissance, the university itself is in a time of significant transformation, strengthening its ability to serve students from Detroit and around the world.

Wayne State University’s campus, located in the University Cultural Center and Museum District in the heart of Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, encompasses approximately 200 acres. The university enrolls nearly 27,000 students, making it the third largest among Michigan’s 15 public universities. Wayne State boasts the most diverse student body among Michigan’s public universities, with students from nearly every U.S. state and 77 countries.  Fifty-eight percent of Wayne State Students are white, 15 percent are African American, and the balance comprises other race/ethnicity groups. In a recent survey, Wayne State University students ranked diversity highest among a list of campus strengths. Wayne State has 2,515 faculty members — of whom 1,633 are full time — and 5,840 staff members. Approximately two-thirds of faculty and staff are represented by one of the 13 unions on campus. The total operating budget for the university is $675 million. The university’s financial statements can be found at Moody’s has assigned Wayne State’s General Revenue Bond a rating of Aa2.

Wayne State University has an endowment of $388 million and has more than 274,000 alumni — about 75 percent of whom live in Michigan.

The university’s comprehensive academic offerings are divided among 13 schools and colleges: the Mike Ilitch School of Business; the College of Education; the College of Engineering; the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts; the Graduate School; the Law School; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the School of Information Sciences; the School of Medicine; the College of Nursing; the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; the Irvin D. Reid Honors College; and the School of Social Work.

Students attending the School of Medicine and the university’s other health science colleges — the College of Nursing and the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences — have access to a variety of educational resources through more than a dozen affiliate hospitals, including Detroit Medical Center hospitals, Henry Ford Health System and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. Such diverse partnerships enable students in the university’s health-profession schools to gain knowledge and experience in a variety of disciplines.

Wayne State University ranks 99th among public American universities in terms of research expenditures, according to the 2017 National Science Foundation Research rankings; its medical sciences, physics, chemistry, physical science and psychology programs consistently rank in the top 100 nationwide. The university’s annual research expenditures are more than $221.5 million.

Wayne State’s advancement of its research mission is augmented by collaboration with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University in the University Research Corridor, an alliance that brings in 94 percent of all federal research dollars attracted to Michigan each year. Wayne State also has a thriving research and technology park called TechTown and a number of partnerships with government, industry and business.

Wayne State University commits to its urban mission by continuing to provide access and opportunity for students of all backgrounds to pursue an outstanding education in a top research university. This commitment helps nurture the next generation of professionals — many of whom use their education to advance the causes of civil rights and social justice in all threads of society — and helps meet the needs of Detroit, its surrounding communities and far beyond.


Detroit is the largest city in Michigan and a major port on the Detroit River, an international waterway that connects the western Great Lakes to Lake Erie and the Saint Lawrence Seaway, waterways that touch several Midwestern states and Canada. In 2010, the city had a population of 713,777 — the 18th largest in the United States — and the population of the surrounding metropolitan area is more than 5 million. The city’s population is majority African American and is increasingly diverse, with new residents eager to participate in Detroit’s transformation, representing a spectrum of ages, races and cultures. The southwest Detroit area has vibrant and growing Latino/a American communities and the city of Dearborn has the largest Arab American community outside of the Middle East. The combined Detroit–Windsor metropolitan area (Ontario), a critical commercial center on the Canada-U.S. border, has a total population of 5.7 million. Known as the nation’s traditional automotive center, Detroit is synonymous with the American automobile industry and an important source of popular music legacies celebrated in the city's two familiar nicknames, “The Motor City and “Motown.

Detroit’s vibrant Midtown neighborhood is home to Wayne State as well as excellent museums, theatres, libraries, concert halls and professional sports venues. Among the cultural institutions within walking distance of the main campus are the main branch of the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Michigan Science Center, Detroit Children’s Museum, the Motown Museum and the Detroit Historical Museum. A brisk walk or a short ride on Detroit’s QLine takes you to the venues for Detroit’s four major league sports teams — all located within a short walk of each other — and a newly energized Downtown district.

Wayne State has played a leading role in the revitalization of Midtown Detroit, participating in significant economic development projects like Hudson-Webber Foundation’s “15x15” project, which surpassed its goal of growing Midtown by 15,000 young professionals. Wayne State also supports the CEOs for Cities initiative, promoting cooperation among Midtown’s three anchor institutions: Wayne State, Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Medical Center. Wayne State has assumed leadership roles in partnerships in the city through collaborations designed to enhance public health, ensure public safety, promote local transportation, boost economic development, and beautify the area. Since 1999, the university has committed more than $850 million to projects on and adjacent to the campus, changing Midtown’s landscape and ambience. This includes the Integrative Biosciences Center, which opened in 2015 and is pushing the frontiers of multidisciplinary health sciences. In answer to surging student demand for more on-campus housing, the second phase of the new Anthony Wayne Apartments opened in fall 2019, adding opportunities for more than 800 new students to live on campus. Other major new campus projects underway include the Gateway Performance Complex, an evolution and expansion of our performing arts venues; the STEM Innovation Learning Center, which will increase opportunities for Wayne State and surrounding high school students; and a new 3,000-seat plus sports arena that represents a joint venture with the Detroit Pistons.

University leadership

M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S., was unanimously elected president of Wayne State University by its Board of Governors on June 5, 2013. He assumed the presidency on Aug. 1, 2013. Prior to joining Wayne State, Wilson served as deputy director for strategic scientific planning and program coordination at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Previously, Wilson was dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for health sciences at Creighton University, president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and, concurrently, chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver, and chair of the board of directors of the University of Colorado Hospital. Immediately prior to joining the NIH, he chaired the board of directors of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and was acting president during part of that time. Under Wilson's leadership, the university regained full institutional accreditation and stabilized its finances. Wilson received his undergraduate degree from Allegheny College; an M.S. in epidemiology from the University of California, Los Angeles; and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He was selected for the list of Best Doctors in America for a consecutive 14 years by Best Doctors Inc. and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Business Journal's Healthcare CEO of the Year in 2011. In 2003, he was elected as a lifetime member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in the field of Medicine. His additional honors include the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Senior Achievement Award, the Distinguished Physician Award from the Minority Health Institute, the Herbert W. Nickens Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges and the NIH Director's Award.

President Wilson was installed as the board chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges in November 2017. He serves on numerous NIH committees, including the Advisory Council to the Director and the Working Group on Diversity. He served as chair of the Executive Committee for the Commission on Information, Measurement, and Analysis with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) from 2016 to 2018. He serves on numerous other medical and civic boards, both locally and nationally.

More information about President Wilson, his cabinet and Wayne State’s five-year strategic plan is available here:

The position

The vice president for finance and business operations is the chief financial and business officer of Wayne State University. Reporting to the president, the vice president is responsible for the university’s overall financial and business affairs, including budget preparation of the general and auxiliary funds, business services, human resources, and facilities management. The vice president works closely with deans, faculty and senior administrators throughout the university to develop strategies to strengthen its business, financial and administrative policies and plans to achieve its goals in support of its academic, research, professional education and service missions. This position is a key strategic and managerial role at Wayne State University.

The vice president serves as the treasurer of the university’s Board of Governors and holds the same position on the board of the university’s foundation. The Foundation Board oversees the capital campaign and investments of the endowment. The vice president also serves on the board of directors of Wayne State University’s Research and Technology Park in the city of Detroit Inc. (TechTown), which oversees the administration of this organization. TechTown’s mission is to stimulate the creation of new businesses and jobs with the help of a community of entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, service providers and corporate partners.

The vice president also serves as a representative of the university on a number of boards in the surrounding community and throughout Southeast Michigan, including the Fund for Medical Research and Education Inc. (FMRE), and as the university’s representative on the business affairs committee of the Michigan Public Universities’ Presidents Council.

As a senior member of the president’s cabinet, the vice president for finance and business operations participates in institutional decision-making by providing an overall administrative and operational perspective on how to best manage and utilize the university’s resources, serving the academic, research and institutional goals of the university. The vice president plays an important role in addressing budgetary issues in consultation with the president. In addition, the vice president serves on several executive-level university committees that set direction in several critical areas, including information technology, strategic planning and space allocation.

The vice president is responsible for general supervision of the collection, custody of and accounting for all moneys belonging to the university, and demands and receives all moneys, when due, from the state treasurer or other such persons. The vice president advises the president on administrative and operational matters in the development of goals and objectives to meet the total institutional needs of the university. The vice president plans, develops and evaluates administrative programs and services to achieve the university’s strategic objectives and assure compliance with university policies and state and federal regulations. The vice president formulates, plans and implements administrative and campus wide policies and procedures. The vice president administers such units of the university as the president may designate and performs other duties as may be assigned by the president.

The vice president oversees a staff of approximately 600. The division comprises six units, including The Office of the Vice President, Planning Assessment and Innovation, Business Services, Finance, Facilities Planning, and Management and Human Resources. The vice president directs the heads of the units in conducting a variety of university wide activities including:

Planning Assessment and Innovation: Provides strategic leadership and support services relative to planning, assessment, technology systems and applications, data analytics, continuous improvement, project management, and innovation within the division.

Business Services: Provides a variety of centralized services to the campus community including Procurement and Strategic Sourcing; Disbursements; OneCard management; Mail and Receiving; and contract services including vending, pouring rights and student print services.

Finance:  Finance includes the areas of Budget, Treasury, Fiscal Operations, Bursar, and Risk Management. The Budget office is responsible for facilitating the annual budget processes including the budget hearings and the preparation of the annual General Fund and Auxiliary Fund budgets for recommendation to the president. Treasury is responsible for managing the university’s leverage position and debt activities; managing the assets of the cash pool; and serving as the liaison to the banking relationships, financial advisor, and the outside chief investment officer of the endowment investment portfolio. Fiscal Operations provides fiscal management and analysis, accounting and reporting, and assures that the university’s fiscal practices comply with relevant policies, rules and regulations. The Bursar manages the student billing process, administers university student loan programs, and manages the collection of student accounts and loans. Risk Management is responsible for managing the insurance programs of the university, workers’ compensation, fire safety, and property loss prevention.    

Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M): Provides a safe and well-maintained campus by maintaining and repairing all of the university’s buildings and grounds, manages its deferred maintenance, and manages its utility utilization and conservation programs and budgets. Oversees the renovation and construction of buildings and plans capital projects.  FP&M also includes Parking and Transportation services, which manages more than 13,000 parking spaces in 44 surface lots and eight parking structures, as well as Real Estate and Asset Management, which acquires and sells university property, oversees the leasing of space for and by the university, and maintains a complete database of all university property in close collaboration with the vice president for economic development.

Human Resources: Oversees the university’s human resources programs, including a hiring system, new employee orientation, employee records, leave management and administration, employee classification, compensation and benefit administration, employee wellness program, performance management, training, and the employee assistance program. Human Resources also includes Employee and Labor Relations, which negotiates all non-academic contracts and is responsible for contract interpretation, grievance administration, management training and representation in arbitration, mediation, fact-finding, and other labor-based hearings.

The vice president is an important leader in the achievement of Wayne State’s 2016-21 strategic plan goals through key projects within the Finance and Business Operations division.  Recent achievements include approval of a revised cash pool asset allocation to increase return on cash and ongoing development of a culture of continuous quality improvement within the division. The vice president will also play a vital role in leading the implementation of the recently approved Campus Master Plan, the RCM-based budget model to go live in fiscal year 2021, and a revised chart of accounts as Wayne State looks to continue to grow enrollment; improve the physical environment – and, consequently, the student experience and research enterprise – through renovations and new construction; elevate its research profile and funding; generate revenue through strategic, creative and innovative use of Wayne State assets; and continue to transform human resources.


The best candidates for this position will bring strategic, critical and creative thinking abilities to the financial and operational areas of Wayne State. She/he will be skilled at diplomacy, collaboration and consultation, and have proven broad-based leadership and management skills. The best candidates will be motivated by the opportunity to have an impact and will have a history of making significant organizational improvements in their institutions. She/he will also have the following experiences or attributes:

  • A seasoned executive with an extensive financial and business background, including financial and investment management, general administration, facilities management, contract negotiations and administration, short/long term operational planning, and strategic planning. Strong knowledge of higher education is an important consideration.
  • Experience in collaborating with and managing large, complex and decentralized organizations; institutions of higher education; government; health care; or similar nonprofit organization is highly desirable.
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of generally accepted accounting principles, policies and processes; internal controls; and business ethics.
  • Knowledge of building construction; plant operations; utilities; and sustainability practices, including recycling, green building practices and energy conservation.
  • Excellent communication skills, including written, verbal, presentation and listening skills.
  • Proven leadership and interpersonal skills on different levels, including interaction with governing boards and committees.
  • A trusted decision-maker and strategic thinker with sound business, professional and ethical judgment.
  • Confidence, influence, humility, sense of humor, pragmatism and innovative thinking.
  • Demonstrated ability to work proactively and effectively to manage all business operations of the university.
  • Ability to foster an environment that promotes strong customer service, organizational growth, and the ability to mentor and develop others.
  • Proven record of achieving institutional cost savings in a decisive yet collaborative and professional manner.
  • An understanding of and respect for the mission of Wayne State University and a desire to contribute to the ongoing efforts to achieve its goals.
  • Ability to build strong and collaborative working relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • An advanced degree, preferably an M.B.A. or a C.P.A., is required.

Application Process

The Search Committee invites nominations, applications (a letter of interest, comprehensive curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information of five or more references), or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting Wayne State University (electronic submissions preferred). Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. The Search Committee prefers that all nominations and applications be submitted to the search firm by February 1, 2020 to:

Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2900
Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: (770) 804-1996 ext. 109 ||

Wayne State University is an affirmative action/equal employment opportunity employer that complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. Wayne State University is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

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