Western Kentucky University (www.wku.edu) invites applications and nominations for Executive Vice President for Strategy, Operations, and Finance. The position is responsible for the underlying infrastructure of Western Kentucky University in full support of the university’s mission and vision as the university seeks to fulfill its strategic plan “Climbing to Greater Heights 2018-2028.”


The mission of Western Kentucky University (WKU) is to prepare students of all backgrounds to be productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen-leaders of a global society. The University provides research, service, and lifelong learning opportunities for its students, faculty, and other constituents. The University enriches the quality of life for those within its reach. 

Western Kentucky University was founded in 1906,and is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, an ethnically and racially diverse city of 61,500 people, about 110 miles south of Louisville and 65 miles north of Nashville. More than 50 different languages are spoken in and around Bowling Green and people from 35 nationalities call the area home. We seek to attract research- and teaching-active faculty, as well as staff members, from academically and culturally diverse backgrounds. The university's population of approximately 20,000 students includes 35% first generation university/college, 15% underrepresented minority and 6% international students. A regional comprehensive university, WKU is student-centered and focuses on applied research that expands knowledge; improves learning; and serves the region, state and nation. SACSCOC reaffirmed the University's accreditation for 10 years in 2015. The next scheduled reaffirmation is 2025.

The EVP reports directly to the President and is a member of the President’s executive cabinet. This newly created position will provide leadership for the strategic, operational and financial functions of the University.  WKU seeks a dynamic leader who has strong personnel management experience and is committed to excellence. A minimum of 5-7 years in senior level administration and a graduate degree is required.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with the President and Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs in setting and driving the organizational vision and operational strategies;
  • Create an environment fueled by innovation, discovery and discipline, while ensuring the financial and operational stability of the university;
  • Partner with the Provost regarding revenue management to budget for sufficient capital to achieve institutional targets;
  • Partner with the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs on the strategic management of ongoing activities and processes that WKU uses to systematically coordinate and align resources and actions with the mission and vision set forth in the strategic plan;
  • Advise the President, senior management and members of the Board of Regents on issues relating to the financial status of the University, short-term and long-term financial objectives, policies and actions, and regulatory action affecting the University;
  • Provide vision and leverage technology to create business solutions that align with the university’s short and long-term goals;
  • Collaborate across the university to drive enrollment growth while leveraging tuition discounting to create a sustainable fiscal model in a challenging economic environment;
  • Manage all aspects of the university’s operating budget and planning process and the related Responsibility Centered Management budget model, ensuring the use of funds advances the university’s overall goals ensuring decisions are informed, strategic, and transparent;
  • Translate strategic vision in to actionable plans to meet the university performance and growth goals;
  • Lead processes for organization-wide goal setting, performance management, and annual operating planning;
  • Provide leadership and help lead a new vision for the institution's efforts to pursue innovative business solutions, enhance its use of technology, and generate new revenue streams;
  • Develop operating strategies enhancing revenues and efficiency and leading to more cost-effective operational practices and related business matters;
  • Provide leadership, oversight and stewardship for all aspects of the university's financial resources, assuring integrity and fiduciary compliance;
  • Articulate knowledge and experience with strategic planning and alignment of resources to strategy;
  • Ensure the recruiting, onboarding, professional development, performance management, and retention of a diverse and inclusive staff;
  • Charged with identifying strategic options, selecting the most promising and deciding how resources will be allocated across the organization to achieve objectives;
  • Provide guidance to the President on deploying university resources, including the skills and knowledge of its people as well as financial and material assets, in order to achieve the university mission or overall objectives and its vision.

Preferred Qualifications

The EVP should possess the following knowledge and skills:

  • Demonstrated personnel management experience;
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and financial planning skill;
  • Demonstrated ability to manage change through innovation;
  • A strong record of participation in working across a Universities budget;
  • Experience with shifting a university culture amongst economic challenges;
  • Strong strategic budgeting and financial planning experience, preferably with an RCM and Performance Based Funding model;
  • Success collaborating across organizational lines to ensure strong working relationships between academic and administrative functions;
  • A strong communicator;
  • A commitment to a first generation student body;
  • Knowledge of and experience with a KPIs to implement goals for the future;
  • A strong record of being a successful steward of finances.

Nomination and Application Process

Parker Executive Search is assisting Western Kentucky University in this search. Initial screening of applications will begin immediately and will continue until an appointment is made.  Interested parties are encouraged to submit their materials by March 4, 2019, to receive optimal consideration. Inquiries, applications and nominations are strongly encouraged and will be considered in confidence. Application materials should include a letter addressing how the candidate’s experiences match the position requirements, a curriculum vitae and contact information for at least five references.  Confidential inquiries, nominations, and application materials should be directed to:

Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Erin Raines, Principal
pwilliams@parkersearch.com || eraines@parkersearch.com  
Phone: 770-804-1996 ext. 117 Fax: 770-804-1917

Applications will be considered in confidence, but the name and curriculum vitae of finalists will be released prior to on-campus meetings with key constituency groups as part of the final interview process.

University policy and state law require a thorough background investigation of finalists.

Western Kentucky University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, age, uniformed services, veteran status, or physical or mental disability in admission to career and technical education programs and/or activities, or employment practices in accordance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Revised 1992, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Persons with disabilities, who need reasonable accommodations to participate in the application and/or selection process, should notify the office of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action/University ADA Services (EEO) at (270) 745- 5121, a minimum of five working days in advance.

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