Vice President for Finance and Administration and
The Vice President for Finance and Administration (and
Treasurer) (hereinafter, “VP”) is the Chief Financial Officer of
the College, a key member of President Valerie Smith’s senior
staff, and is directly responsible for all financial and business
affairs of the College. This position plays a critical role in
supporting the strategic vision of the College and holds direct
responsibility for managing several, critical operational functions
for the College. The successful candidate will be a highly
collaborative leader, partnering closely with the senior leadership
team to support excellence at Swarthmore. They will have a deep
appreciation for liberal arts education and an unwavering
commitment to fulfilling the College’s mission, and supporting
faculty, staff, and students in their pursuits.
Swarthmore has significant financial resources to support its
academic mission. Its endowment has a current market value of
approximately $2.9 billion, generating more than half the
institution’s annual operating budget each year. Swarthmore ranks
11 in the nation in endowment-per-student. The new VP will join a
strong and collaborative team of senior leaders during an exciting
time at the College. A comprehensive and inclusive strategic
planning process is underway, along with a continued and
demonstrated commitment to sustainability. The Board of
Managers recently approved $69 million towards the
implementation of the Roadmap
to Zero Carbon, committing to a carbon neutral campus by
The VP has fiduciary responsibility for all College resources
and will interact with the faculty and all departments of the
College to ensure strong stewardship of those resources. They will
continually assess economic, demographic, competitive, and other
trends to inform strategic decision-making, and the VP will provide
input on financial impacts and other implications for the future
strategic and economic health of the College. The VP will partner
closely with and support the Swarthmore Board of Managers and five
separate Board committees, including the Admissions and Financial
Aid, Audit and Risk Management, Finance, Investments and Property
Overseeing an annual operating budget of $180 million, this
position manages a staff of approximately 350, with supervisory
responsibility for eight direct reports in the following areas:
Finance and Risk Management
Facilities and Capital Planning
Senior Finance and Administrative
Ten-plus years of experience in financial and operational
leadership roles. Prior experience managing significant financial
resources within higher education, preferably within a liberal arts
environment, is preferred.
A strategic orientation with the ability to serve as a partner
and trusted advisor to the President, Provost, and other members of
the College’s leadership team, as well as collaborate with other
members of the senior leadership and members of the Board of
Leading a Talented Team
A collaborative leader with experience in management roles
providing operational leadership and mentorship to a talented team,
including best-in-class professional development opportunities for
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and
Commitment to, track record of, and impact in the area of
diversity, equity, and inclusion. Experience building and leading
in an inclusive environment.
Partnership with Board
Ability to collaborate and partner closely with the Board of
Managers, including five separate Board committees.
Commitment to Sustainability
Commitment to and the ability to uphold the College commitment
to carbon neutrality by 2035, as outlined in the Roadmap to Zero
Carbon, through the continued reduction of environmental harm while
promoting just and sustainable systems.
Faculty and Staff Collaboration
A commitment to collaboration, dialogue, and creative problem
solving with faculty, staff leaders and partners.
Technical and Analytical Acumen
Strong analytical skills and technical capability, including
expertise with enterprise-wide systems.
Outstanding Communication Skills
Ability to communicate complex financial information clearly to
diverse audiences, both orally and in writing.
Strong academic credentials required, including a preference for
an M.B.A. and/or related graduate degree(s).
CRITICAL LEADERSHIP CAPABILITIES
In an academic institution with a tradition of excellence, this
individual will partner closely with the President, Provost and
Vice President of Human Resources, working collaboratively with the
leadership team to develop and optimize the financial and
administrative assets to support the strategic priorities of the
Hiring, developing, and mentoring a diverse team of finance and
operational leaders; setting high standards and modeling a culture
of service, integrity, and demonstrated commitment to diversity,
equity and inclusion.
- Demsonstrating sound business judgement, balancing mission
objectives with long-term financial and operational
- Bringing analytical rigor, creativity, and transparency to
setting priorities and making investments to maximize the College’s
financial, intellectual, cultural, and physical assets.
- Applying leadership and strategic thinking to innovative
investments and solutions that support and positively impact the
College, including investments in academic programming, deferred
maintenance, financial aid, benefits, etc.
- In partnership with the Advancement team, develop long-term,
strategic fundraising initiatives that align and leverage the
strengths and objectives of the advancement and finance
- Communicating complex information to a range of audiences,
including faculty, staff, alumni and students, and the Board,
ensuring clarity around financial and programmatic practices,
priorities and tradeoffs.
- Leading and investing in the professional development of an
existing team of direct reports.
Operational and Financial Acumen
The VP will provide strong financial and operational leadership
and analysis that will support and enhance the mission of the
- Monitoring of financial performance to ensure intergenerational
equity of the College’s finances and budgets, including multi-year
forecasting, as well as monitoring of internal and external
- Developing and improving operational systems with a focus on
efficiency, effectiveness, compliance, and continuous
- Acting as a conceptual thinker, both analytically and
financially astute, with the ability to evaluate performance and
progress against long-term goals.
- Bringing a sophisticated understanding of change management,
strong analytical skills, and the ability to understand human, as
well as financial, dynamics.
- In collaboration with other key members of the senior
leadership team, ensure the continued work on a comprehensive plan
for critical facilities and programs, keeping an eye focused on the
evolving needs of students and faculty.
- Incorporating principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion
into the work of all departments.
Forge a strong partnership with the Provost and other senior
staff colleagues, and productive relationships across the College
and throughout the broader Swarthmore community that are essential
to effective leadership by:
- Listening and being a visible and accessible leader who builds
coalitions, solicits a diverse set of views, and then implements
strategies that clearly support the priorities of the College.
- Serving as a compassionate, approachable and visible leader who
fosters a deep sense of community and togetherness throughout the
- Developing an open and transparent relationship with Swarthmore
faculty, with emphasis on those serving as senior officers,
department, and program chairs within the College.
- Promoting and fostering an inclusive community with exceptional
standards for and demonstrated commitments to diversity, inclusion,
accessibility, collegiality and professionalism. Nurturing
productive, collaborative relationships with a wide range of
internal and external constituencies – being both empathetic and
motivating. Being a problem solver, engaging constructively with a
focus on identifying solutions and clearing obstacles.
- Bringing exceptional interpersonal, presentation, and
communication skills. Displaying a demonstrated ability to engage
openly and transparently across a diverse and complex
THE SEARCH PROCESS
Swarthmore College has retained Spencer Stuart to support the
search. If you wish to submit your own application materials or
nominate someone to serve as the next Vice President for Finance
and Administration (and Treasurer) for Swarthmore College, please
send an e-mail message with supporting materials to SwarthmoreCFO@spencerstuart.com.
Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications
from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those
with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and
world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women
and minorities are encouraged to apply.