North Central ends new VP search

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VP of business and finance leaving North Central

North Central recently ended a national hiring process for a vice president of business and finance, a hire that will affect the growth and direction of the institution for years to come. As a position that oversees approximately $6.3 million, which is between one-fourth and one-third of the entire institutional budget, there will be significant impact to both students and staff alike.

Joy Brathwaite, who was working in a similar position at Malone University was hired on Jan. 1. There will be about a three month overlap as Cheryl Book, the current vice president of business and finance, helps Brathwaite gain knowledge about the university. While Brathwaite doesn’t officially start until February 2015, Book and Brathwaite have been communicating and meeting to help speed along the transition process.

The search began a few months after Book, the current vice president announced in May 2015 that she would be leaving for Phoenix, to be closer to family.

A number of candidates had shown interest for the position but, only four individuals were interviewed. The school was looking for a candidate with experience in higher education and finance, who had a good understanding of forecasting future needs and market regulations, as well as the ability to think of new ways of doing education, President Gordon Anderson said. The new hire will face challenges that include declining enrollment and deficits that have exceeded $1 million from the past few years.

The decision to hire Joy Brathwaite was decided by Anderson with the help and guidance of a hiring committee and the Board of Regents. The role’s responsibility includes supervising finances, but also consists of the oversight of many departments, including the bookstore, mailing services, information technology, facilities management, student accounts, security, the cafeteria, and human resources and accounting. Those departments consist of 34 full-time employees as well as additional part-time employees.

During the time when Book announced her departure to the time the initial hiring search began, the position of the vice president of business and finance was being reviewed to fine-tune the responsibilities and job duties. North Central enlisted the help of outside consultants including business owners and auditing firms to help with this review. “A time of change is a time to make changes,” Anderson said. According to human resources director David Harrison, institutions and businesses often revise positions that have been held for long periods in order to determine strategic focus for the future.

North Central has been focusing on other strategic projects such as the restructuring of Advancement, Marketing and University Relations.

On May 27, Cheryl’s resignation was announced in an email, which said she would only serve until this past September. Initially, Anderson said the position might be filled within “a few months.” If the position was still open after a few months, Anderson said an interim hire would be made, extending the search in order to find the most qualified person. “We are not in a rush,” Anderson had wrote. “Finding the right person is more important than meeting a deadline.”

Book’s departure will be a major loss for the university, according to administration and faculty. and many other projects.

“She has worked tirelessly to keep NCU in strong financial health and has given wonderful oversight to the many improvement projects,” Anderson said.

Anderson also pointed to exceptionally high ratings by North Central’s auditors as evidence of Book’s positive legacy.

“She has been a great worker/colleague, she has done her job with excellence … she is a legend in her own time,” Anderson said.

Book declined an interview, saying in an email that anything done during her time had been “due to a host of people doing their jobs, going beyond the call of duty and being totally committed to the ministry of North Central.”