National Institute on Aging

Ferris State University — Vice President for Administration and Finance


Ferris State University (Ferris), a public university in Big Rapids, Michigan with a tradition of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, and commitment to innovative educational opportunities, invites applications and nominations for the position of Vice President for Administration and Finance (VPAF). Reporting to the president, the university seeks a visionary, strategic financial leader to serve as the chief financial officer of the university. The VPAF serves as chief advisor to the president on financial and administrative matters and will be an important resource and fiscal counselor to the board of trustees.

Serving as the chief financial officer for the university and treasurer of The Ferris Foundation, the VPAF currently oversees campus-wide finance and administrative operating units including: Auxiliary Enterprises, Finance, Budget, Human Resources, Information Technology Services, Facilities Management (including planning, design, and construction), and Public Safety.

The ideal candidate will have extensive experience managing financial operations of large, similarly complex organizations, institutions of higher education, government, health care, or similar not-for-profit organizations and work collaboratively and transparently to achieve the university’s financial and strategic goals. In concert with fellow university leaders, deans, faculty, staff, and students, the VPAF will support and inspire a culture of innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, calculated investment, and risk tolerance; strengthen and lead a team in administration and finance to support a complex, multi-faceted institution; cultivate a strategic vision and priorities for finance and administration; and foster a campus culture of shared governance, communication, transparency, and respect.

The next VPAF will be an effective and innovative leader and communicator, relationship builder and an accomplished manager of people, processes, projects, and systems. The ideal candidate will be well versed in higher education trends, best practices in budget models, governance, risk management, internal controls, debt management/issuance, cash management, and associated operational areas. The VPAF will have strategic and long-term financial planning skills, excellent staff and project management skills, an understanding of accreditation for academic programs and associated resources, and a collegial working style.
More information may be found at:


• Master’s degree, with a preference for an MBA or other related degree;
• At least ten years of experience managing finance and operations in large, similarly complex organizations,
institutions of higher education, government, health care, or not-for-profit organization;
• Demonstrated strong analytical and technical skills as well as experience with financial analysis, budgeting, and auditing processes;
• Strong knowledge and understanding of generally accepted accounting principles, policies, and processes; internal controls; debt management/issuance; cash management; management of financing mechanisms such as leases; management of invested assets; working with banks and other financial institutions;
• Knowledge of building construction, plant operations, utilities, and sustainability practices, including recycling, green building practices and energy conservation;
• Ability to work closely with diverse internal and external administrative leadership, represent the university both internally and externally in a variety of venues and settings, and interact with the board of trustees and local government officials;
• Ability to foster an environment promoting strong customer service, organizational growth, and the ability to mentor and develop others;
• Excellent communication skills, including written, verbal, presentation, and listening skills;
• Proven leadership and interpersonal skills on different levels, including interaction with governing boards and
• Management style balancing personal accountability with the delegation of authority necessary for operational efficiency;
• Record of building and managing effective teams and providing leadership and professional development support for growth and long-term success;
• Certified Public Accountant designation is preferred.


Founded in 1884 by Woodbridge and Helen Ferris as the privately-owned Big Rapids Industrial School, Ferris State University today is a mid-sized, public institution known for its quality of instruction, large selection of academic programs, and mission of preparing students for successful careers, responsible citizenship, and lifelong learning. With its main campus located on 930 acres near the historic district of the scenic city of Big Rapids, Michigan, approximately one hour north of Grand Rapids, the University enrolls over 10,000 students (fall 2022) from 44 states and 34 countries through seven degree-granting colleges. Ferris offers more than 180 undergraduate and graduate majors, including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and professional degrees; sustains a student-faculty ratio of 16:1; houses 25 percent of its students in university-owned, -operated, or -affiliated residences; sponsors over 200 registered student clubs and organizations; and maintains 17 varsity sports teams (the ice hockey team competes in NCAA Division I, all others are NCAA Division II).

For more information about Ferris State University, visit


Applications should include a letter of interest and curriculum vitae. All applicants must also complete a full application on the Ferris website at Confidential review of materials and screening of candidates will begin the week of May 22nd. Applications and nominations will be accepted until the position is filled. Harris Search Associates is assisting Ferris State University for this search.

Please contact Jeffrey Harris, Managing Partner or Eric Christ, Senior Consultant for further details.

Jeffrey Harris, Managing Partner
Tel: 614-798-8500
Cell: 614-354-2100

Eric Christ, Senior Consultant
Tel: 614-798-8500
Cell: 614-800-9974

Ferris State University, an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, is committed to enhancing equity, inclusion, and diversity within its community. Ferris offers employment opportunities to qualified candidates seeking careers in a student-focused environment that values opportunity, collaboration, diversity, and educational excellence. The University actively seeks applications from women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and other underrepresented groups.

Ferris commits to being an inclusive university community that respects the dignity of the individual and promotes the acceptance of others.