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Monday, October 19

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

General Session: Navigating the Future Storm

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Concurrent Session

Changing Direction or Directing Change: Innovative Practices in Higher Ed Environments

Ms. Kasia Lundy, Ernst & Young LLP

Dr. Sue Stuebner, Colby-Sawyer College

Higher education institutions are facing greater challenges than ever before with heightened competition for students and funding and a shifting workforce landscape. Innovative revenue-generating strategies and new business models may help provide institutions with a competitive edge, allowing them to scale operations, expand program offerings, broaden geographic reach, and solidify their financial health. How have institutions evaluated new business models or innovative financial and operational opportunities? Even more importantly, how have institutions been able to move from a decision to explore these opportunities to executing a strategy?
In this session, a panel of higher education leaders with first-hand experience transforming their organizations will illustrate what needs to be considered as part of the strategy exploration phase and the strategy execution phase. Panel participants will share how they are responding to the increased pressures in the higher education sector, how they are hoping to transform their institutions and how they engage stakeholders to advance these transformations effectively. The session will begin with a short, high-level, overview of key trends in higher education and then transition into a panel discussion that highlights institutions at various stages of transformation. Leaders will share practical lessons and reflections on which factors contributed to the choices and outcomes each institution is seeking.

Panel Discussion: Diversity

Use Your Endowment Strategically

Mr. John Griffith, Hirtle, Callaghan & Co.

Ms. Audra Jean Kahr, CPA, Cedar Crest College

The uncertainty in higher education has resulted in schools rethinking how their endowment can best support their mission. This panel of CFOs each included their endowment in their strategic planning process, and this changed how they manage their endowment. They have all successfully realigned their endowment strategy to better address their specific financial challenges. Each of these case studies will produce significant interest and questions as the approach they all took was outside the “norm” in endowment management.

Tuesday, October 20

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Concurrent Session

How a Small Institution is Thriving During Turbulent Times

Mr. Mark LaPrade, BerryDunn

Dr. Paula A. Amato, New England College

As institutions address the challenge of financial sustainability, this presentation offers a case study on how a small institution is thriving during turbulent times. Presenters will discuss strategies implemented to improve financial sustainability at New England College, including its recent merger with New Hampshire Institute of Art. They will
discuss the attributes of the various successful strategies to add diversity to their revenue streams, as well as the challenges faced throughout the process.

Panel Discussion: Central Finance & Unit Business Officers

Ms. Romayne L. Botti, CPA, MBA, PMP, Carnegie Mellon University

Even in the best of times, unit business officers and central staff have natural friction points. The panel will describe some of their challenges and successes in cooperating for institutional success.  The panel will include business officers and others who have held a variety of roles within central and colleges or schools within a larger university. The intention is to include business officers from public and private institutions. In part, panelists will discuss the challenges of solid and dotted line reporting relationships, competing demands and priorities, deadlines that do not align, and policies that might work for one college within a university, but not for another, etc.  

Using Financial Strategic Plans to Reach Your Strategic Priorities

Dr. Jim Hundrieser, NACUBO

Ms. Nicole L. Trufant, CPA, University of New England

No institution can thrive without implementing innovative new practices, growing revenues, and maximizing their resources.  While many institutions have strategic plans, few campuses have financial strategic plans.  These plans are essential to realize your strategic priorities.  This session seeks to provide ideas and ways to help business officers link strategic plans and financial plan to meet institutional goals.  This session will also look at ways institutions need to be open to bridging partnership, consolidating resources to allow for investment dollars to implement growth strategies, and develop Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to remain focused on meeting your financial strategic plan goals.  
This session will engage audience members by giving them a self evaluate tool of their current practices and areas where they need to focus their efforts to increase engagement or effectiveness across their institution.  Audience members will engage with each other to find potential models or strategies to customize and use at their institution.

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

General Session: John O'Brien, President and CEO, EDUCAUSE

Monday, October 26

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Concurrent Session

Collaborating for Financial Sustainability

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (the System) consists of 14 universities across the Commonwealth, each with unique missions, but with a shared focus of providing accessible, affordable and high quality education to students in Pennsylvania. Given demographic trends within the Commonwealth and changes in the higher education marketplace in general, System universities are experiencing varying levels of financial challenges, primarily related to declining enrollments. To address these challenges, the universities and the Office of the Chancellor are engaged in an ongoing System Redesign process, where various interdisciplinary and inter-university design teams are tackling specific elements of overall System Redesign within a newly instituted System-wide governance structure. One such team is the Investment Team, which was charged with the development of an open, transparent and collaborative process to determine the financial sustainability status of universities by utilizing a streamlined review of financial indicators allowing for declines in financial health to be identified early enough to make course corrections. As part of this work, the team created a process for universities to draft individual five-year sustainability plans which includes inter-university collaborative feedback and information sharing. Draft plans are then revised through a collective peer-review process focused on enhancing resource sharing and financial sustainability for the System as a whole. This team’s work also became integrated with another System Redesign team, the Budget Team, which is focused on refining the university budget processes as well as the allocation of Commonwealth appropriation funds to support university financial sustainability efforts.
Audience members will be engaged in how the teams created ways to transform a culture from competition to sharing and will develop an understanding of how four financial indicators and methodologies were used to promote open and honest conversations among stakeholders in a complex university system.

Considering a Tuition Reset at Small, Liberal Arts Colleges

Research on the long‐term efficacy of tuition resets is limited and the factors of success in a reset are largely anecdotal. There are gaps in the knowledge about what a college identified as their goals when undergoing a reset and what eventually happened post reset. This presentation will look at three colleges who reset their tuition under different circumstances and will examine the outcomes and success based on their identification of success metrics.

Impact of COVID-19 and How We Plan

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Accounting Update

Tuesday, October 27

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

General Session: Higher Education: From the Outside Looking In

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Concurrent Session

Advancing Women's Leadership in Today's Institutions

Ms. Becca Constantine, Smith College

Women continue to enter higher education finance at high rates, yet many struggle to navigate the unwritten rules of leadership present in every workplace. Academic research finds that bias can impact every element of work from hiring to presentations to promotion decisions.

Optimizing Operationsal Effectiveness: Improving Institutional Efficiency and Revenue Generation

The dynamic higher education climate has compelled colleges and universities to develop innovative solutions for varying challenges affecting their campuses for quite some time. Through organizational “bundling” or restructuring, as well as the development and refinement of internal processes, institutions are improving overall operational effectiveness while discovering opportunities for new revenue. The bundling trend is a creative solution in the face of the intractable challenges that virtually all institutions now face—price inelasticity, lower levels of public funding, significant fixed expenses, accumulated deferred maintenance, increased competition between schools, and so on.

This session will host a panel of university representatives from a range of institutional types in the Eastern region. All have undergone extensive evaluations of their campus operations and facilities with the goal of optimizing service quality and operational efficiency, and increasing revenue generation. The panelists will discuss their individual processes of analysis and problem-solving, each based on the unique challenges facing their campuses. One school, for example, is exploring the potential of reorganizing all of their Auxiliary units under a single leadership model to optimize economies of scale, establish uniformity in service delivery levels, and increase operating efficiencies. Thus, adding value to the University by increasing its ability to invest in strategic initiatives that enhance the student experience - both physically and operationally.
This session will also cover scenarios where public-private partnerships (P3s) have been explored, which could also drive efficiencies, contain costs, generate revenue, and even increase the quality of service delivered. Among other topics, the panelists will discuss when outsourcing may be a good option in addition to assessing and implementing shifts to internal structuring. The panelists will also share tools and methods essential to successful engagement with the private sector. The audience should walk away from the session equipped with ideas and tools to deploy their budgets more strategically.

Telling the Story: Communicating to Stakeholder Groups

Mr. Edward J. Steinmetz, The University of Scranton

Mr. Dennis Morrone, Grant Thornton LLP

In higher education now more than ever, financial leaders must effectively communicate with a wide range of constituents with varying needs for and interests in important financial and management information. Such communications must be understandable, transparent and timely so that the campus community feels their perspective is heard and valued and their need for relevant information for decision making is met. This presentation will share examples of effective and ineffective communications so attendees can learn new ideas to effectively communicate with their institutional stakeholders. Attendees will also be encouraged to share stories and examples from their own campuses.