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Associate Vice President, Financial Planning & Strategic Analysis

Apply now Job no: 492657
Work type: Full-time exempt
Location: Chester
Categories: Administrative (Exempt)

Widener University is currently seeking an Associate Vice President, Financial Planning & Strategic Analysis (AVP, FP&SA).  Reporting to the Vice President of Administration & Finance, the AVP will be responsible for oversight of the university’s long-term strategic financial planning, annual operating and capital budget processes, as well as analytic reviews of the university’s schools as well as new strategic programs and initiatives under consideration. A critical member of the A&F leadership team, the AVP will be involved in supporting presentations to the board of trustee finance and administration committee and will collaborate with leaders across the university.

Widener University has a strategic commitment to building an inclusive university community whose diversity enriches the lives of all members and where our students are prepared for living in a pluralistic and ever-changing world.  As a leading metropolitan university, Widener strives to embody the values that are inherent in our mission: civic engagement, access, inclusion, academic excellence, innovation and leadership. The Administrative and Finance Division is a department committed to inclusive practices and welcomes candidates who bring a broad spectrum of thoughts and approaches.

The AVP, FP&SA will lead all aspects of the university’s $150 million operational and $10 million annual capital budgets, ensuring that the systems and procedures in place to support effective financial management and decision-making.  

The AVP, FP&SA requires a change agent with demonstrated ability to conceptualize and implement new policies, processes, systems, and procedures.  The successful candidate will possess the vision to assess potential opportunities to create agility within the budget and planning operations of the university and then demonstrate the courage to implement that vision. The role will identify and implement best practices for the department and to evaluate and manage performance, as well as bring innovation and focus on emerging trends to the University. We seek a leader who views budget through a collaborative lens and will partner throughout the University to deliver exceptional customer service.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES (including, but not limited to):


  • Budget Process: Redesign university budget process grounded in data that responds to strategic needs of an agile university.  Provide strategic direction regarding all aspects of the Budget function.
  • Strategic Financial Planning: Develop processes and scenario-driven financial models for: an annual periodic forecast and long-term outlooks for both operational and capital planning.  Partner with AVP & University Controller to inform the accompanying statement of position and cash flow projections.
  • General Ledger & Data/ Analytics Reporting Restructuring: In partnership with the AVP & University Controller and Information Technology partners, restructure the university’s Chart of Accounts with consideration of financial/management reporting needs and needed system improvements. Develop a project plan and execute to integrate other university data universes to budget and financial models for more accurate projections and data-driven decision-making.
  • Programmatic Analytics & Strategic Projects: reimagine existing financial review to assess school and college performance to marry with other (non-financial) data, develop models to assess programs, both new and potentially sunsetting, and provide high-level analytical support to the university leadership and conceptualize and implement of value-add strategic projects aimed at enhancing the financial and operational health of the university. 
  • Donor-restricted and Discretionary Fund Projections: Partner with the AVP & University Controller and University Advancement to assess existing fund balances, work with departments develop spending plan for funds while assessing university impact of these plans, and restructure accounting/chart of accounts structure for these types of funds to ensure accurate stewardship reporting and projecting impact on university margin.
  • Value-Add Projects: Direct and develop new ideas, approaches and initiatives that will enhance business performance and create strategic efficiencies and cost savings in support of the University’s long-range strategic and financial goals.

 Team Leadership

  • Lead, develop and supervise day-to-day functions of the Budget Team by assessing strengths, clarifying roles and defining position of the current team member’s responsibilities.
  • Develop and implement training programs in order to maximize and reach optimal individual and organizational goals.
  • Prepare staffing plans, ensure quality hires, training of personnel to departmental standards, assign work and evaluate employees’ performance.
  • Provide leadership in strengthening internal communications with staff at all levels throughout the organization.
  • Create and promote a positive, inclusive and supportive work environment.
  • Demonstrate leadership and expertise through training, service delivery and excellence. Identify opportunities for improving budget operational policies, practices and procedures; implement improvements.


  • Direct the university's five-year strategic planning process, work with major divisions and revenue producing units to develop inputs, roll up revenue and expense at a fund and School level, project operating margins and monitor cash management to fund base operations as well as technology and capital investments.
  • Plan and execute the university’s annual budget process, including the development and communication of university parameters and preparing tuition increase information for approval by the Board of Trustees.
  • Train constituents across university on budget development, ongoing budget monitoring, analyze requests for resources and act as liaison with deans, department chairs and division heads. 
  • Present a summary of the annual operating margin reviewing key assumptions, changes from the previous year, and cash management forecasts to various stakeholders including the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees.
  • Work with divisional leadership to develop, monitor, and analyze the University’s capital investments and develop the annual and five year capital plans.
  • Collaborate with leaders across the university to develop annual strategic narratives for use in the annual report, appendix A, and other documents.
  • Partner with VP in developing presentation materials, reports, and financial analysis for various University meetings, including meetings. 
  • Partner closely with peers to provide transparent insight to the components of the budget and advise on budget variance analyses during monthly and annual close process. Monitor and analyze university performance and achievement of strategic and financial goals.
  • Review all requests for new staff positions with University leadership. Work with the requesting department to understand the impact on its operating budget and long term strategic and financial success.
  • Work closely with university management to identify and analyze various financial and budgetary issues, evaluate budget requests, strategic and financial planning efforts.

Secondary Responsibilities:

  • Participate in various university committees.
  • Participate in process improvement projects or strategic initiatives as assigned. 
  • All other duties as assigned by the Vice President for Administration & Finance.

 MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS (education/training and experience required):


  • Master’s Degree or a combination of Bachelor's degree in Finance or related field required with eight (8) + years’ experience in progressive, leadership roles overseeing professional team in a high-level, complex, fiscal affairs environment. 
  • Experience should be in finance, accounting, consulting or related field with deep knowledge of financial modeling, budget methodology, and strategical finance planning.
  • Proven ability to create and foster an inclusive environment that demonstrates the university’s commitment to diversity.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the importance of diversity of staff and ability to work collaboratively with a diverse faculty, staff and student body.
  • Demonstrated experience with complex financial systems, including experience designing and implementing new processes or procedures to enhance accuracy, efficiency or customer service.
  • Experience managing teams and coordinating large projects while successfully championing an integrated approach to message and design.
  • Proven history as a strategic thinker with sound technical skills, analytical ability, and a strong operations and systems focus.  Creative in ability to think differently in processes and assumptions.  Open to new ways of performing accounting operational functions and departmental alignment, arrangement, responsibilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to utilize data and identify risks to analyze strategic issues and inform decisions.
  • Established record of accomplishment as collaborator in the workplace, within the immediate department and within the larger institution.
  • Outstanding communication skills; a team player who can relate to a variety of constituencies. Able to explain complex financial information in understandable terms to financial and non-financial audiences.
  • Demonstrated people management with commitment to professional development, technical training and enhancing team climate.  Foresight and ability to delegate accordingly.


  • Master's degree with a preference for MBA or a master’s in finance, statistics, business analytics, or related field
  • Ten+(10) years progressive, senior leadership experience in higher education management or non-profit highly preferred


  • Ability to work at computer for long periods of time working on detailed documents.  Typical work environment with some ability to navigate campus buildings, walkways and common areas.
  • This position may require evening and weekend hours.

 Qualified candidates must submit resume and cover letter for consideration.  Incomplete applications will not be considered. Only those selected to interview will be contacted. 

Widener has a strategic commitment to building an inclusive university community whose diversity enriches the lives of all members and where our students are prepared for living in a pluralistic and ever-changing world. As a leading metropolitan university, Widener strives to embody the values that are inherent in our mission: civic engagement, access, inclusion, academic excellence, innovation and leadership.

Widener University, an independent, metropolitan, doctoral-intensive university, connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention and experiential learning are key components of the Widener Experience. Located in Chester, PA, Widener's main campus is nestled between Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE, with Law Schools located in both Harrisburg and Wilmington. For more information about the university, please visit our website at


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