Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration

California, United States
Salary Not specified
Sep 30, 2020
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

CalArts is a highly regarded, nationally ranked independent multidisciplinary arts institution in Valencia, Calif., that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide range of métiers. The Institute had an enrollment of 1523 undergraduate and graduate students and a budget of more than $70 million in FY 2019. The Institute invites applications and nominations for the position of Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration (SVPFA). More information about the Institute and the position can be found in the position profile.

The Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration is an executive leadership position, reporting directly to the President. The SVPFA is an integral member of the Institute’s leadership team who provides strategic and operational leadership, and execution in finance, investments and human resources. Reporting to the SVPFA is budget, accounting, procurement, audit/internal control, investments/partnerships and earned revenue, human resources, and the bursary function. The Institute is currently restructuring its leadership to better accommodate the priorities defined in the Strategic Framework, and the SVPFA will participate in those discussions. As the designated Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the SVPFA serves through the President’s Office as the senior staff liaison to the finance, audit, and investment committees, and assists with the building & grounds committee of the Board.

Key Responsibilities
• Provide oversight of the finance area, including budget, procurement, internal controls, accounting standards, audit, and related policies;
• Contribute to the oversight of capital facility planning and real property management;
• Provide oversight of the Human Resources area, including personnel, payroll, and benefits.
• Provide analytical support to the Institute, including development of internal management reporting capabilities;
• Contribute to the Strategic Framework’s initial deployment and the successful attainment of the goals and objectives outlined within it, especially related to finance and administration;
• Maintain continuous lines of communication, keeping the President informed of all critical issues;
• Mentor and develop staff in the sector using a supportive and collaborative approach: assign accountabilities; set objectives; establish priorities; monitor and evaluate results; conduct annual performance appraisals, and evaluate and change structures;
• Chair the Assembly Budget Committee;
• Partner with and support all other sectors of the Institute and the senior and executive leadership operationally, strategically, and by providing data and information, as well as strengthening processes to advance their sector’s agendas;
• Clearly and transparently communicate the Institute's finances to all constituencies (Trustees, faculty, staff, and students) through governance, as appropriate; and
• Assume additional responsibilities as required.

Key Opportunities and Challenges
• Creatively and collaboratively help rethink the business model to return to a new financial equilibrium following COVID-19.
• Improve operational processes and budgetary management throughout the Institute which is highly decentralized in its operations.
• Build the practices, processes, and tools for data- and research-informed decision making across CalArts.
• Increase transparency and expand the understanding of budgetary spending across administrative departments, schools, and programs.
• Reevaluate and revise, where necessary, the chart of accounts and reporting systems to ensure the delivery of appropriate data to make informed decision.
• Ensure that enough distributed staff, and training for those staff, exists to ensure financial data integrity.
• Provide support to increase fundraising and for a comprehensive campaign.
• Partner and support the Provost, the VP of Advancement, the VP of Enrollment, the VP of Students, the VP of Operations, and other senior team members strategically and with data and information to advance their sector’s agendas.
• Renew CalArts’ campus to respond to current needs and future vision as well as strengthen its commitment to environmental sustainability.
• Contribute to a successful comprehensive master planning process.
• Foster an environment which motivates and encourages innovation and entrepreneurial activities.
• Partner with the President and other Institute colleagues to research and develop structures that expand possibilities of earned revenue through new partnerships, entity creation activities, and creative new endeavors which follow from the mission.


The ideal candidate will be comfortable working collaboratively and transparently in a shared governance environment where faculty, staff, and students are significantly involved in deliberation. The new SVPFA will be an outstanding manager who demonstrates financial, administrative, planning, and analytical acumen; be a deft and patient communicator; be able to work well both independently and collaboratively; and be genuinely enthusiastic about, and committed to, the mission of CalArts. The new SVPFA will take the time to learn the culture of CalArts and will come to appreciate and value the magical things that happen at the Institute.
The next SVPFA will have the following attributes:
• Superb financial, analytical, research, and problem-solving skills;
• The ability to inspire trust, communicate effectively, and build relationships across all Institute constituencies;
• A demeanor that inspires, embodies, and supports a culture of professional excellence;
• Exceptional interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills;
• The ability to prioritize and handle a significant and varied workload
• An open, approachable interpersonal style with experience building consensus among peers, subordinates, and others throughout an organization;
• Confidence and the ability to take initiative;
• The ability to promote others above self;
• Respect for shared governance, with strong interpersonal and listening skills and the gravitas and ability to effectively communicate and establish credibility with a wide range of constituency groups, ranging from faculty and staff to students, alumnx, donors, trustees, and external partners;
• Strong judgment and the ability to be both a confidant and a politically astute diplomat;
• Discretion and the ability to handle confidential and sensitive matters appropriately;
• A commitment to and appreciation for the importance of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in higher education;
• An appreciation of and support for a diverse faculty and staff; and
• The highest standard of personal ethics and integrity, great patience, high energy, and a sense of humor.


• Experience teaching and presenting to, and communicating with, varied audiences and constituents both through writing and verbal in-person presentations using digital media;
• Experience participating in the deployment of strategic plans, including ongoing tracking and assessment;
• Scenario planning and forecasting experience;
• Experience analyzing data and creating systems of business intelligence

All candidates are required to possess the following:
• An undergraduate degree; relevant graduate degree strongly preferred;
• At least 10 years of progressively increasing experience in the finance area managing a large staff with diverse responsibilities;
• Significant experience in an education, government, or nonprofit organization with comparable complexity, at least some higher education experience strongly preferred;
• Experience working as part of a team and possessing the emotional intelligence to make the teamwork stronger together when compared to the sum of all individual members’ work;
• Deft computer skills demonstrating comfort with standard office software packages (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), database input/output, queries and analysis of data, ERP systems, etc.
• An understanding of the mission of CalArts and a respect for generative creativity.

How to Apply

Applications, Inquiries and Nominations
CalArts is being assisted by Lapovsky Consulting in this search. A cover letter and resume should be uploaded to: Nominations, confidential inquiries, and questions concerning this search may be directed to Lucie Lapovsky at or 917-690-1958.
Review of applications will begin immediately, and candidate material received by Oct. 22, 2020, will be assured full consideration although recruitment will continue until an appointment is announced.