The obstacles that colleges and universities encounter today—concerns about whether student outcomes are meeting expectations, questions from the public about the value of a college degree, and an increasingly complex financial environment—make the role of business officers more crucial than ever. To support their mission-critical efforts, business officers need access to analytics, an effort that is being advanced in one of NACUBO’s five strategic priorities: to “lead higher education’s integration of analytics to achieve institutional strategic goals.”
However, harnessing the power of analytics isn’t something that can be achieved in a silo; it demands campuswide collaboration. The importance of embracing collaboration is one reason NACUBO has partnered with the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) and EDUCAUSE on initiatives to propel the use of analytics in higher education.
In their latest combined effort, the three organizations have released a joint statement to both create a sense of urgency around the use of analytics in higher education and also to provide guidance on how to ignite analytics efforts.
“Analytics has the power to help solve some of higher education’s biggest problems, but progress has faltered,” says NACUBO President and CEO Susan Whealler Johnston. “This new statement can help leaders immediately begin to implement analytics on campus and tap into the mission-critical insights it can provide.”
The statement, Analytics Can Save Higher Education. Really., outlines six principles:
Go big—make an institutional commitment to analytics.
Analytics is a team sport—build your dream team.
Prepare for some detours on the road to success.
Invest what you can—you can’t afford not to.
Analytics has real impact on real people—avoid the pitfalls.
Tick-tock, tick-tock—the time to act is now.
The statement and its associated resources encourage colleges and universities to make a commitment to analytics, to foster a collaborative culture that values data-informed decision making, and to begin making real strides in harnessing analytics for the good of institutions and students.
NACUBO will present its 30-minute Legislative Lunchcast on Thursday, Sept. 19. NACUBO’s Liz Clark, vice president, policy and research, and Sue Menditto, senior director, accounting policy, will focus on new reporting rules announced and implemented in 2019 by the Department of Education related to financial responsibility.
The following is the list of members who will be serving on the NACUBO 2019–20 Board of Directors.
Lynn V. Valenter, chair, NACUBO board; vice chancellor for finance and operations, Washington State University Vancouver
Robert Moore, vice chair, NACUBO board; senior vice president, finance and administration, Colorado College
Wilma Phillips, secretary, NACUBO board; vice president of finance, Faulkner University
Lynne Schaefer, past chair, NACUBO board; vice president for finance and administration, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Susan Whealler Johnston, president and chief executive officer, NACUBO
Archibald Asawa, vice president for finance and administration, chief financial officer, and chief investment officer, Soka University of America
David Bea, executive vice chancellor for finance and administration, Pima Community College
Corey S. Bradford Sr., senior vice president for business affairs, Prairie View A&M University
Teresa Costantinidis, senior vice president for finance and administration, The University of New Mexico
Russ Hannah, senior associate vice chancellor for finance, associate chief financial officer, Arkansas State University
Laura E. Hubbard, vice president for finance and administration, University at Buffalo
Ruth A. Johnston, strategic chief financial officer, New Mexico State University System
Diana Kuhlmann, vice president for administration and finance, Emporia State University
Mary LaGrange, associate vice chancellor for business and finance, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Susan A. Maddux, vice president for finance and administration, Furman University
MaryFrances McCourt, vice president for finance and treasurer, University of Pennsylvania
Keith McIntosh, vice president for information systems and chief information officer, University of Richmond
Elizabeth L. Paul, president, Capital University
Susan Scroggins, senior vice president for finance and treasurer, Valparaiso University
Nicole Trufant, senior vice president for finance and administration, University of New England
Michael D. Volna, associate vice president for finance and assistant chief financial officer, University of Minnesota
Matthew Ward, vice president for enrollment management and marketing, California Lutheran University
Mitchell Wein, senior vice president for administration and finance, Haverford College
2019 NACUBO Awards Recipients
Each year, NACUBO honors individual and institutional excellence through its awards program. This year, the organization recognized award recipients in the categories of excellence in sustainability, service to NACUBO, and distinguished business officer during the annual meeting in Austin at a ceremony supported by Oracle.
NACUBO accounting, endowment management, and student financial services awards were presented at signature workshops throughout the year.
The following are the 2019 NACUBO awards recipients.
Excellence in Sustainability Award
Honoring institutions that have demonstrated excellence and innovation in a full range of sustainability leadership: finance, facilities, operations, environmental, community, and climate.
Two institutions were honored this year.
Carleton College, a private, undergraduate liberal arts college in Northfield, Minn., with 2,000 students, is addressing new campus construction, an aging utility infrastructure, and the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 by integrating sustainability objectives with campus utility upgrades.
Building on previous strategic plans, Carleton identified three long-term objectives: replace the aging and outdated central plant facilities to address deferred maintenance, provide for future utility loads for new construction, and reduce operating costs and carbon emissions significantly.
The current major initiative involves transitioning the 100-year-old steam system to a 21st-century system: hot water heating supported primarily by a centralized ground-source geothermal heat pump system. The geothermal system will serve 70 percent of the campus’s annual heating and cooling needs, with peak demands supplemented by high-efficiency condensing boilers in winter and some of the campus’s existing electric chillers in summer.
This shift to electricity integrates easily with renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar, and takes advantage of a rapidly greening public grid for further carbon reductions. Carleton anticipates a 40 percent reduction in campus energy use and a sizable reduction in carbon emissions, along with a 68 percent reduction in operations cost, in the first full year of operation.
Swarthmore College, an independent liberal arts college in Swarthmore, Pa., with 1,600 students, established its internal Carbon Charge Program in 2016 to help slow down global warming.
The Carbon Charge Program creates an internal price on emissions, including both a shadow price in life-cycle cost analysis and a carbon fee charged to all departments and offices. The shadow price integrates the cost of emissions into financial analysis for construction, renovation, and campus utility projects. The carbon fee is a direct levy assessed from the school’s total greenhouse gas inventory, shared among departments in proportion to their operating budget size. Programs are also encouraged to reflect on their own emissions and make additional voluntary contributions.
The Carbon Charge Committee allocates the revenue from the direct carbon charge—approximately $340,000 annually—to the Green Revolving Loan Fund, as well as to campus utility planning, renewable energy, metering upgrades, and educational programming. The Carbon Charge Program has enabled the launch of a 10-year effort to convert steam distribution to a more efficient hot-water system. Swarthmore’s 2019 Roadmap to Zero process will chart its full pathway to carbon neutrality by 2035, using such methods as ground-source heat pumps, energy storage technologies, and on- and off-site renewable energy generation.
Service to NACUBO Award
Recognizing an individual who has made contributions to NACUBO’s professional development activities, as well as to the association’s publications programs.
Edward A. Kania, vice president for business and finance and treasurer, Rollins College, Winter Park, Fla. Kania currently manages the college’s operating budget of $141 million, assists in management of the $367 million endowment, oversees the college’s $150 million portfolio of income-producing commercial real estate properties, and leads a team of 192 employees.
Previously, Kania was controller and director of business services at Davidson College, Davidson, N.C., for 20 years, in addition to serving as treasurer and then president of the Davidson College Development Corp.
Later, as Davidson’s vice president for finance and administration, he used design thinking to effectively reallocate resources, created a representative capital budget planning process, and successfully guided the college through two bond offerings totaling $81 million while minimizing the debt service burden on the operating budget.
An active NACUBO volunteer, Kania is a past chair of EACUBO’s Small College Committee, a member of SACUBO’s Small Institutions Constituent Committee, and a past member of the NACUBO Small Constituents Council. Kania has also made presentations at EACUBO and SACUBO annual meetings, and he was a presenter at the 2019 Endowment and Debt Management Forum.
He has contributed to several articles in Business Officer magazine and has been interviewed on the podcast CBO Speaks. Since 2014, Kania has been a faculty member for NACUBO’s Future Business Officers Program, and he serves asa peer mentor for new business officers.
Distinguished Business Officer Award
NACUBO’s most prestigious award honors and recognizes chief business officers who have made outstanding contributions to business and financial management in higher education.
The 2019 recipients are:
Bob Brown, senior vice president for finance and administration, University of North Texas, Denton. After three decades as a chief business officer for public community colleges, state universities, and system offices, Brown returned to the University of North Texas (UNT), Denton, to be senior vice president for finance and administration at the institution that previously granted him multiple degrees in business administration.
At UNT, he is responsible for the university’s budget and finances as well as safety and risk management, facilities and local construction, police, parking and transportation, information technology, and policy development.
For eight years, Brown was vice president for business and administration at Texas A&M University–Commerce, where he played a lead role during the Texas budget crisis, delivering dozens of presentations to faculty and staff regarding the university’s finances. Brown provided support for legislative testimony by the institution’s president, and he developed a presentation on maximizing state formula funding that is now used by the Texas A&M System’s governmental relations staff.
Brown has a long record of service and leadership in NACUBO and SACUBO. He received the SACUBO Distinguished Service Award in 2008; the Innovation of the Year member award from the League for Innovation in the Community College in 2003; and the Nation’s Outstanding Chief Business Officer award from the Community College Business Officers in 1996.
Michael T. “Mike” Unebasami, associate vice president for administrative affairs, University of Hawaii Community College System. Unebasami has dedicated nearly 50 years of service to the University of Hawaii, and he has spent 26 of those years as associate vice president for administrative affairs of the multicampus University of Hawaii Community College (UHCC) System. In this role, Unebasami has overseen nearly $800 million in capital improvements and grew the community college system’s approximate operating budget from $90.8 million to $248 million.
Unebasami negotiated a performance contract that implements multiple conservation measures expected to create a combined energy savings of $171 million over the 20-year life of the contract. He established three new offices to streamline services and pool resources as well as execute a system approach to planning and fiscal management, and he introduced a well-received electronic tenure and promotion process.
Unebasami also has a long record of service to NACUBO and WACUBO, spanning about 35 years. (Read also “Leader’s Edge.”)
Presentations Throughout the Year
The following individuals were recognized recently at signature workshops for their outstanding efforts and contributions to their respective fields.
Daniel D. Robinson Accounting Award Presented at the 2019 Endowment and Debt Management Forum in New York City
Peggy Arrivas, associate vice president and systemwide controller, University of California System. As a member of both the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council and Accounting Principles Council, Arrivas has advised the Governmental Accounting Standards Board on technical issues that affect higher education and has successfully advocated on behalf of NACUBO on topics that impact public colleges and universities. Exceedingly respected in her field, Arrivas is responsible for the development and implementation of accounting and financial policies for the University of California and its 10 campuses, medical centers, retirement system, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and campus foundations.
Rodney H. Adams Endowment Management Award Presented at the 2019 Endowment and Debt Management Forum in New York City
Elizabeth P. “Libby”George, director of investments, North Carolina State University, Raleigh. Among her many accomplishments, George developed the North Carolina State Foundations’ Sustainable Responsible Impact Fund in 2014. In conjunction with this initiative, she has created and delivered numerous conference and workshop sessions on the integration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) best practices—including a session at the 2018 NACUBO Endowment and Debt Management Forum. In addition to her work on socially responsible investing, George manages and directs more than $1.2 billion of university investment portfolios in charitable giving, short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term endowments.
Student Financial Services Award Presented at the 2019 Student Financial Services Conference in New Orleans
Doug Schantz, director of the office of student financial services, Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio. Schantz oversees an approximately $41 million annual student receivables portfolio and a Perkins and institutional loan portfolio of nearly $6 million. He has delivered presentations to a variety of higher education stakeholders through the years, including at NACUBO’s annual meeting and student financial services conference. Schantz also regularly gives presentations at Springfield-area high schools, providing counseling to future college students on completing the FAFSA and paying for college. He was a four-year member of NACUBO’s Student Financial Services Council and was chair for the 2016–17 term.
NACUBO Welcomes the 2019-20 Cohort of Fellows
The fourth cohort of NACUBO Fellows made its debut at the NACUBO 2019 Annual Meeting in Austin. This year’s group comprises 14 professionals, and follows the 11 professionals who participated in 2018–19 and the 15 professionals who participated in 2017–18. The 12-month leadership development program is designed specifically for individuals who are preparing to become chief business officers in their next role.
As the new Fellows begin their yearlong experience, they paused to share what attracted them to the program and what they hope to gain from it.
LINDA CAMPOS, assistant vice president for finance/controller, University of Idaho, Moscow
Through this program, I’m seeking to strengthen my skills in strategic planning, leadership, and executive-level communication. We’re undergoing changes to our budget and financial model, and I’m excited to expand my network of peers in higher education in order to identify best practices for tackling these projects with my colleagues here at the University of Idaho. I’ve worked in many organizations and roles in the not-for-profit sector where I felt connected to the mission of supporting higher education and K–12, and I have enjoyed close ties to peers across the country. I’m most fulfilled in my work when I not only have a strong belief in the mission, but also have close connections to the customers we serve; this is why I love working on a college campus.
FUN FACT: I’m a thrill-seeker—I enjoy roller coasters, zip lines, and the like. The higher and faster, the better!
LENORA CHAPMAN, associate vice president, finance and operations, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas
I like that the program brings participants and administrators, who serve diverse student populations, from across the country to draw on different experiences and challenges. I’ve spent my entire career in higher education across a variety of institutions while managing many types of professional teams responsible for accounting and financial reporting, budget and planning, disbursement and travel services, payroll, purchasing and distribution services, treasury, bursar, and financial information systems. I’m excited to engage with experienced administrators, exchange ideas, discuss real cases, and understand how others are solving the challenges that face higher education. I would like to expand my network of professionals so that I can discuss institutional challenges with them, such as changes that I’m making to our budget process to better align resources with the strategic initiatives of the university by using data.
FUN FACT: My father was in the military, and we moved quite a bit. My favorite place to live was Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines.
JOHN COPPOLA, associate vice president for finance, Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore
I look forward to building relationships with my colleagues in the program and learning from chief business officers who have paved the way before us. I began my career at Loyola University Maryland three years ago, after spending 10 years in public accounting and seven years as the CFO of an independent school. I’m excited for the opportunity to learn and grow with my cohort, as I further strengthen my leadership qualities and prepare for an executive finance role in higher education. The timing is perfect since we are working on a significant reorganization within the finance division, which will allow me to take on leadership and oversight of new areas.
FUN FACT: I’ve been coaching soccer for more than 20 years. I’m a USSF National C License coach, and I spent 10 years coaching in one of the top private school leagues in the country.
ERICA D. DALEY, associate dean, finance and operations, School of Law, University of Oregon, Eugene
Supporting the University of Oregon’s priorities of student access, academic excellence, and student success is both important and rewarding to me. I am part of a talented team of professionals at the University of Oregon who collaborate to develop sustainable financial and operational solutions in support of the university’s teaching and research goals. Currently, we are determining how to better centralize key enterprise functions while maintaining appropriate leadership and support at the unit level. This includes building a transparent budgeting, forecasting, and reporting system to help balance central oversight with local control. I look forward to learning more from the Fellows in my cohort and other university leaders about the challenges they face and how they are setting a positive course for the future at their institutions.
FUN FACT: I love riding motorcycles. I won the Youngest Rider award on my first Harley ride when I was just 14 years old.
TOM DWYER,director of financial planning and assistant treasurer, Amherst College, Amherst, Mass.
Since my transition from investment banking to higher education, I have worked at small private colleges, and I value the perspectives of Fellows who may have had different career paths and who serve in other segments of the higher education landscape. I would like to gain greater insight into the challenges CFOs face and how they handle them, and I would like to further develop my change management skills. The Amherst College administration is implementing a new ERP system as part of a broader initiative to modernize administrative business systems and processes. Some of the other Fellows may have recently participated in a similar implementation, and I would be glad to learn from their experiences.
FUN FACT: I have lived in Germany, speak the language, and have more relatives in Germany than in the United States.
KEVIN EDELBLUTE, assistant vice president, controller, and treasurer, Mississippi State University
I’m most excited about exploring new perspectives, relationships, and opportunities to develop my skills for becoming a CBO. I have spent most of my professional career in roles that helped functional and technical teams work together to implement and support ERP systems, train end users, and improve business processes, and I’d like to build on that knowledge by learning more about the art and science of allocating finite resources across infinite needs. I am specifically interested in learning how others use data analytics, reporting tools, and intuition to make strategic decisions. Additionally, I’d like to use my experiences from the Fellows program to improve our own succession planning efforts, ensuring that we are adequately prepared for upcoming changes in leadership in my office at MSU.
FUN FACT: I am a Buckeye by birth, a Bulldog by marriage, and a finance professional by choice.
JAMES GORMAN,senior director, finance strategic projects, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
The most exciting part of this program for me is the chance to interact with colleagues from across the country. I am eager to learn about the commonalities and differences in the challenges that business officers face as they develop and run business models for institutions of different sizes and structures. I’m presently leading a team on a multiyear effort to transform finance at UVA, which includes implementing a new cloud-based enterprise financial system and improving business processes. The foundation of this transformation will involve new ways of thinking about and doing our work, and I’m confident I’ll be able to apply what I learn in the Fellows program to this initiative.
FUN FACT: I have played drums since childhood, and I’ve performed in numerous bands since I was a teenager living in Austin.
RICH KELLEY,associate vice president of finance, University of New England, Biddeford, Maine
I’m excited to meet my cohort of business officers and soak in everything there is to learn from them and from the Fellows program, including details about the different divisions of higher education administration as well as what life is like at other types of institutions. I know of no other profession that offers so many areas for professional and personal enrichment; as business officers, we facilitate similarly transformative experiences for thousands of people. At the University of New England, I’m currently chairing a committee charged with conducting an intensive food services proposal and selection process. I hope to share this experience with my peers by designing a conference presentation, which will give me an opportunity to practice my presentation skills.
FUN FACT: I’m trying to run a marathon in every state. To date, I’ve done 28 marathons in 22 states, and I hope to run three more marathons this year in two more states.
MATTHEW MOTYKA, associate treasurer and controller, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.
Prioritizing both fiscal and staffing resources across institutional commitments—everything from modernizing administrative processes to improving risk mitigation to facilitating environmental stewardship—can be challenging. I appreciate the opportunity to access the opinions of Fellows on how they balance the many important priority initiatives that compete for the same limited resources. Building on the skills that I’ve gained in public and nonprofit accounting, in addition to higher education, I hope to complete the program with an assessment of my readiness for a chief business officer role and a formal plan to master the skills necessary to excel in it.
FUN FACT: I was a nanny for 18-month-old triplet boys in college, which taught me the importance of time management and working with sleep deprivation.
WILLIAM NELSON, associate dean for administration and finance, University of the District of Columbia
The 2019–20 NACUBO Fellows year will be a great opportunity to spend some intensive time understanding best practices and how other institutions and individuals are solving the financial challenges of higher education. My plan is to focus on enhancing my strategic decision-making skills—understanding not only how financial resources impact the outcomes of students and the institution’s mission, but also how financial resources can be used to prepare for the changes ahead. At my institution, my team is currently working on integrating a forecasting model into the budget development process. As a low-resource institution, the historical focus has been on addressing current operational needs, so implementing a budget development process that looks three to five years out is a real growth opportunity for the institution and for me.
FUN FACT: My hobbies include golfing, fishing, and cooking. Also, I am a season ticket holder for NASCAR racing in Richmond, Va., and I have completed the NASCAR driving experience.
ADRIAN PETWAY, budget director, Virginia State University, Petersburg
As a first-generation college graduate who was inspired by strong female educational leaders and mentors growing up, I learned early on the value of the higher education industry. Additionally, my love for mathematics and accounting stemmed from helping my mother run businesses in our community as a teenager. My roots run deep in the Southern part of the United States, and my life’s passion currently resides on the campus of Virginia State University. I am excited about learning and growing with my diverse group of Fellows. I would like to discover new techniques to allocate resources and change business models.
FUN FACT: My superpower is teaching. I feel like I can leap over tall buildings when I am teaching and mentoring.
ALICE TURBIVILLE,assistant vice president for finance and controller, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa.
I view being a NACUBO Fellow as an opportunity to give back. I was fortunate to find a perfect fit for my expertise and interests at Swarthmore College when I transitioned out of public accounting and into the college’s business office. I work at a small liberal arts college, so I have to wear a lot of hats. I think being exposed to this talented cohort of Fellows and comparing their skill sets to mine will help me better understand which areas I should develop. Swarthmore is currently moving from purely an Excel model to a forecasting system. As we revamp our long-range budget, I am keenly interested in best practices for forecasting, especially from schools that already use these types of systems.
FUN FACT: Last year, my husband and I took our two kids on a big backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe. It was unforgettable.
VALARIE VAN VLACK,treasurer, Texas State University, San Marcos
I’m excited to diversify my skill set by learning through other leadership roles, building on my network of colleagues, and improving my fiscal stewardship through the Fellows program. I have been in the finance area of higher education for more than 24 years and have worked at both private and public universities. Recently, I’ve been working with enrollment management, focusing on policies to enhance the student experience and improve student retention. Although many aspects of my role as treasurer touch multiple offices, I would like to “lift the hood” to better understand the mechanics and the interrelations behind university departments outside my current responsibility.
FUN FACT: I competed in the NASTAR (NAtional STAndard Race) program when I was 15 years old and placed ninth in the national for my age category in snow skiing.
RICK WERNOSKI,senior vice provost for business operations, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
I am most excited to learn from others’ experiences and share best practices, as well as learn about what has not worked at their institutions. For us to be successful in our current and future roles, we must be lifelong learners, and this program puts structure around that mindset. As I lead Operational Excellence—a universitywide program to create a high-functioning administrative operation that supports the university’s mission of teaching, learning, and research—I hope to further develop my skill set, from evaluating business cases of potential opportunities to allocating resources with analytic rigor and strategic insight.
FUN FACT: I have never had a cup of coffee or used an emoji in any form of communication.