University of Wisconsin System Administration — Vice President for Finance


Madison, WI

The University of Wisconsin System is one of the largest systems of public higher education in the country and employs more than 40,000 faculty and staff statewide. The UW System institutions’ combined headcount enrollment exceeds 180,000, and it confers approximately 36,000 degrees each year. The UW System is comprised of 13 four-year universities, 13 freshman-sophomore UW colleges, and a statewide UW-Extension. Two of the universities (UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee) are doctoral degree-granting institutions and 11 are master’s degree-granting comprehensive institutions. The UW System is governed by a single Board of Regents comprised of 18 members. The UW System head is the President of the System. Together, these institutions are a tremendous academic, cultural, and economic resource for Wisconsin, the nation, and the world.

The Office of Finance is responsible for conducting all financial affairs of the University of Wisconsin System (UWS). The major functions of the Office of Finance include UWS strategic financial planning and projections, financial analysis and modeling, establishing and maintaining financial best practices, financial control, trust funds investing, and financial reporting. For administrative purposes, the finance area is organized in the following offices:

  • Office of the Vice President
  • Budget and Planning
  • Financial Administration
  • Trust Funds

Major Responsibilities:

Reporting to the President of the UW System, the Vice President for Finance is responsible for the conduct of all financial affairs of the University of Wisconsin System (UWS). The Vice President serves as the chief financial officer (CFO) for the UW System, working with the Board of Regents, President, Chancellors and their staffs on all matters of financial policy and planning, providing assurance of the fiscal integrity of the UWS.

The Vice President leads the budget planning process for the UW System and is an active participant in annual and biennial budgetary decisions, long and short-range policy decisions, and in the development and implementation of appropriate UWS and institutional policies and procedures. The Vice President serves as Trust Officer of the Board of Regents and is responsible for the investment policies, practices, and performance of all funds held in trust by the board.

The Vice President manages complex matters involving the planning and budgeting for the UW System’s $6.1 billion annual operating budget. The position requires sensitivity to the multiple missions of the UW System institutions, flexibility and skill in managing in periods of change and limited resources, and communicating with diverse constituencies including the academic community, the Board of Regents, state and federal government agencies, and legislators.

In all of these activities, the Vice President for Finance works closely with the UW System President, UW System Vice President for Administration, UW System Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, UW System Vice President for University Relations, UW System staff, and with the Chancellors, Provosts/Vice Chancellors, and Vice Chancellors for Administration and Finance at the UW institutions. The Vice President supervises five direct reports, including three unit heads, a special assistant, and an executive assistant.

Below are the major responsibilities of this position:

  • Provide innovative and creative solutions to complex problems in order to maintain UWS’s position as a premier public higher education system in the United States;
  • Provide strategic financial information to the UW System President, the Board of Regents, and the President’s leadership team using forward-looking, predictive models and activity-based financial analyses along with best practice business intelligence tools to provide insight into the System’s operations and business processes;
  • Assess organizational performance against both the annual budget and the organization’s long- term strategy; develop tools and systems to provide critical financial and operational information to the UWS President, and make actionable recommendations;
  • Work directly with the Board of Regents Business and Finance Committee in developing Board of Regent policy on financial matters, supporting the fiduciary responsibilities of the Regents, in consultation with the UW System institutions;
  • Provide leadership and guidance in the areas of budgeting and forecasting, fund accounting, financial reporting and analysis, policy development, investment management, internal control, and general accounting, ensuring the highest quality work and compliance with the appropriate GAPP and regulatory requirements;
  • Work collaboratively with UW System institutions, develop and implement the highest quality financial management and reporting strategies across the UW System; foster an organizational culture that supports operational excellence, delivers quality customer service, and promotes optimal efficiency;
  • Provide leadership to the finance organization, fostering a shared vision, acting as a role model, and demonstrating the organization’s values of teamwork, superior customer service, and excellent financial management.

Minimum Qualifications:

The Vice President for Finance will be a consummate professional with the highest integrity who embraces a team environment and works with colleagues in a spirit of partnership, transparency, and fiscal responsibility.  He or she will be an innovative leader with excellent financial credentials and significant managerial experience.

In order to be considered for this position, applicants must have:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an advanced degree in business administration, finance, accounting or a related field.
  • Ten years of experience in a financial administration capacity in a highly complex organization.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the operation and administration of a multi-billion dollar, highly complex organization; knowledge of GAAP and current financial principles.
  • Ability to express oneself clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing, both in small groups, meetings, and in public.
  • Thorough knowledge of complex university or corporate budget preparation.
  • Significant experience in accounting, policy analysis, data analysis, program evaluation and cost- benefit analysis.
  • Experience in preparing policy analysis and detailed reports.
  • Knowledge of current literature and financial challenges facing higher education institutions.
  • Knowledge of and experience with investments, cash/treasury management, and capital markets, both in theory and practice.
  • Ability to plan, direct, and supervise the work of personnel in a manner conducive to full performance and high morale.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects independently with little supervision.

Preferred Qualifications:

Well qualified applicants will also have a substantial amount of experience, knowledge or background in the following:

  • Designation as a Certified Public Accountant or a Certified Management Accountant.
  • Experience with the State of Wisconsin budget process.
  • Ability to provide inspiring and visionary leadership that can advance the position of the UW System and its multiple institutions as a national leader in public higher education in the 21st century.
  • Evidence of an entrepreneurial orientation with an eye to new opportunities and emerging challenges.
  • Ability to work effectively with a high performing and highly engaged Board of Regents.
  • A proven team member and leader able to lead effectively across units, using collaboration and persuasion to guide decision-making and influence critical operations.
  • Experience in business process re-engineering, reviewing and realigning systems, policies and personnel to improve service delivery and productivity.
  • Ability to build trust and develop strong working relationships across the UW System and member institutions in an open, collaborative process.
  • Experience with strategic planning and multi-year financial planning with the ability to apply critical, conceptual and strategic thinking to important financial, academic and administrative issues across the UW System.
  • Ability to engage in constant strategic analysis of opportunities and challenges; to produce forward-looking, transparent strategic plans and budgets and to employ information on national and international trends in higher education effectively in planning.
  • Experience in comprehensive, multi-year capital and operating development and implementation.
  • Understanding and use of a wide variety of financing techniques, financial forecasting, and ratio analysis, business intelligence, policy analysis, data analysis, program evaluation and cost-benefit analysis.

Conditions of Employment: This is a full-time, salaried (exempt) limited position. The successful candidate can expect to make between $176,252 to $220,315 on an annual basis commensurate with the candidate’s qualifications and experience.  UW System employees receive an excellent benefit package:  Summary – UW System Executive Staff. Please see this link for total compensation information: UW  System Total Compensation Estimator. Special Note: The UW System conducts criminal background checks for final candidate(s).

To ensure full consideration, a cover letter and completed application materials as outlined below must be received by Friday, December 2, 2016.

However, applications may be accepted until the position has been filled. To apply, submit:

  1. A cover letter specifically addressing how your education and experience relate to the position and qualifications described above, with an emphasis on the areas outlined under “Minimum Qualifications”;
  2. a comprehensive resumé; (3) the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers for at least five professional references (including supervisory). Your application materials also need to include a statement of whether you wish to have your application held in confidence or made available to the public upon request. Please note that in the absence of any statement regarding confidentiality, we will assume you do not wish to have your application held in confidence. Application and nomination materials should be submitted electronically to Lori Fuller at

The University of Wisconsin System will not reveal the identities of applicants who request confidentiality in writing, except that the identity of the successful candidate will be released. See Wis. Stat. sec. 19.36(7).

Questions may be addressed to: Lori Fuller, Office of Human Resources and Workforce Diversity, at or at (608) 263-0847.

The University of Wisconsin System Administration is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and actively seeks and encourages applications from women, minorities, and person with disabilities.