Finance, university services divisions merge for efficiency

The divisions of finance and university services have been reorganized into a single division of operations and finance, effective March 1. President Wendy Wintersteen directed interim senior vice president Pam Cain, who oversaw both divisions, to propose a new structure, and university human resources approved it. Cain will serve as interim senior vice president for operations and finance, pending a Wintersteen decision about a search.

"The new structure aligns related functions under senior leaders to strengthen interaction among those functions and make better use of our university resources," Cain said. "I believe this new structure will be responsive and help us serve the university community more efficiently and effectively."

In July 2016, former President Steven Leath split the division of business and finance into the two divisions, finance and university services. Cain said some components of the new division may resemble the pre-2016 structure. In other cases, she reconfigured alignments to reflect best practices and create efficiencies. For example, five units previously either in facilities planning and management or with a direct report to a senior vice president -- postal services, golf course, museums, public radio and Reiman Gardens -- join six units from the former business services group to assemble a new unit, specialty business services and cultural arts.

The leadership team for the new division includes five associate and three assistant vice presidents, who will report to Cain. Leadership team members are:

  • Associate VP for facilities planning and management (FPM), Paul Fuligni
  • Associate VP for finance and support services, Heather Paris
  • Associate VP for finance and treasurer, Joan Piscitello
  • Associate VP for institutional financial strategy, Ellen Rasmussen (interim)
  • Associate VP for public safety and chief of police, Michael Newton
  • Assistant VP for environmental health and safety, David Inyang
  • Assistant VP for payroll, benefits and tax, Tim Ashley (interim)
  • Assistant VP for specialty business services and cultural arts, Norm Hill (interim)

Three are new positions.

  • The associate VP for institutional financial strategy reflects Wintersteen's decision to keep overall institutional budget responsibility within this division. The Institutional Budget Management Team, whose members represent all divisions, will work with the associate VP.
  • The associate VP for finance and support services position provides oversight as the university implements Workday, including improved service delivery. Divisionwide responsibility for communications, marketing, development, diversity/inclusion support and staff training also will reside here.
  • The assistant VP for payroll, benefits and tax consolidates core employee payroll, benefits and tax compliance functions.

Cain said she'll fill the three positions held by interim leaders through external searches over the next 15 months. Funding for the new leadership structure will come from vacancies left over from the two-division structure, including the senior vice president for university services, chief financial officer, associate vice president for finance, and a budget director post in the finance division.

Central staff in the division includes assistant to the senior VP Pat Strah, executive assistant Madeline Burkhart and office manager Lauren Schalinske.

Cain noted the division structure changes the reporting line for nine unit leaders with the intent of aligning similar units for greater synergy and efficiency.

  • Veenker golf course and postal and parcel services will move July 1 from FPM to specialty business services and cultural arts. University Museums, WOI Radio and Reiman Gardens, which reported directly to the interim senior VP for university services, moved to the new unit March 1.
  • Procurement services, formerly within the business services umbrella, and the controller's office, formerly reporting directly to the senior VP for finance, are aligned with the treasurer's, ISU Card and accounts receivable offices as core finance functions.
  • The payroll office moved from the controller's umbrella to join the employee benefits accounting and tax compliance functions in an expanded unit.
  • Risk management moved from business services to public safety. The two share responsibility for campus activities and issues such as investigations, vehicle record checks and reviews of campus events or alcohol service. This change creates options for consolidating administrative processes and communication and developing new services and outreach. Cain said many universities of Iowa State's size and complexity use this alignment.

Cain said the process of creating a single division took nearly a year. The new structure reflects revisions driven by input from across campus. She shared drafts with senior leaders; deans or their representatives; director-level staff in the finance and university services divisions; and student, faculty and professional and scientific governance leaders.