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VP for Academic Budget and Financial Planning - Office of the Provost

Carnegie Mellon University
Job Location:
Pittsburgh, 15213
Administrative Vice Presidents

Carnegie Mellon University is a private, global research university that stands among the world's most renowned education institutions. With ground-breaking brain science, path-breaking performances, creative start-ups, big data, big ambitions, hands-on learning, and a whole lot of robots, CMU doesn't imagine the future, we invent it. If you're passionate about joining a community that challenges the curious to deliver work that matters, your journey starts here!

Reporting to the Provost, the Vice Provost for Academic Budget and Financial Planning (VP) provides strategic direction for managing the overall institutional budget, resource planning and administrative processes for the academic units reporting to the Provost's Office, as well as developing financial models and providing budget guidance for academic strategic initiatives. This role reinforces Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) strategic goals for the university community to focus on efficient, effective, transparent, and agile business practices in order to support the growing needs of an evolving organization.

The VP will act as a liaison and consultant to business and financial officers in the colleges, schools and departments to coordinate academic budgets, resource planning, and to provide financial reporting to the Provost and other university partners. In partnership with university business managers and colleagues in the Finance Division, the VP will work with the Provost, the Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff, the Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Planning, and the leadership of academic units to enhance communication and information sharing while enhancing a budget model that supports the university's education and research mission. They will participate in various planning discussions and committees, bringing a fiscal view to the work being done in support of Provost initiatives and the strategic plan of the university. Together with the departments, schools, and colleges, the VP will assess existing practices and make recommendations for improvement, creating efficiencies, improving policies and processes, maximizing the use of data and analytics, and reducing duplication and costs throughout the university.

The Provost will rely on the VP to encourage fiscal discipline, prioritization, and a data-informed approach in decision making, including a partnership with the Offices of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning, Enrollment Management, Research, and the Division of Finance to research, analyze, interpret, and apply data to decisions regarding sustainable and transparent fiscal and academic planning. The VP will play a crucial role as a convener, thought leader, and change agent, supporting the Provost's strategic and operational objectives through budget and financial planning leadership. This role will require the development of complex forecasting and financial models to assess the financial performance in all academic areas of the university. While the VP will not have direct reports, they will have the opportunity to build and work with a dynamic network of collaborators. The VP will advise the Provost on fiscal matters and provide leadership for improving and implementing the academic budget model and financial stability and acumen of academic units, which helps to realize the campus mission, vision, and strategic and academic priorities.

In collaboration with colleagues in the provost, research, and finance divisions, the VP will enable faculty, students, and staff to support the mission of the university. CMU is seeking someone who will bring a proven track record of building effective relationships, financial modeling in an academic setting, crafting and managing effective budgetary and financial practices and internal controls, and a demonstrated ability to collaborate across a variety of organizations with competing needs and priorities.

As a member of the Provost's leadership team, this high visibility position serves as a strategic partner in creating an environment that promotes and supports strategic budget and resource allocation.

Core Responsibilities:

  • Provide strategic leadership in advancing a premier financial planning and analysis operation by continuing to improve our existing processes and oversight and management of planning and management reporting efforts
  • Enhance the quality of financial analytics and insight generation, including a robust modeling capacity to support financial and capital-related initiatives
  • Manage the process for planning the annual budget for all academic units, including the process for collecting and prioritizing the academic investments for the academic units reporting to the Office of the Provost
  • Develop long range forecasts and scenario planning for academic units as well as major strategic initiatives such as distance education, global engagement, AI and emerging technologies
  • Serve as a primary liaison form the provost's office for the Office of Budget and Financial Planning and as member of the university Budget and Financial Planning Team
  • Proactively model and forecast financial decisions and provide guidance in support of Provost decision-making and educational initiatives
  • Develop clear, consistent and transparent financial reports, extensive and updated process documentation for academic units that include commitments from the Provost
  • Assist academic units with implementing the activity-based budget model and support planning needs of academic units
  • Serve as the liaison and convenor from the provost's office to the academic unit planning process to develop, monitor, and report on academic unit plans that align fiscal, human, and physical resources with strategic academic priorities.
  • Support planning for academic space requirements and work with deans, university registrar and colleagues in campus design and facilities development to accommodate faculty, staff, and instructional needs; serve with the provost on the space committee to assist with resolving space needs; and implement space plans.
  • Advises Provost on oversight and policies concerning the University's budget.
  • Serves as a thought partner on strategic budget planning issues and improvement of budget processes.
  • Analyzes financial information from university systems and provides information in support of decision-making and communication with university constituents.
  • Analyzes funding sources in support of decisions related to specific funding requests and/or other strategic issues as needed.
  • Serve as a primary contact for the Finance Division and as a member of the university Budget Team and liaison with the Faculty Senate Budget & Financial Affairs Council.
  • Coordinate the planning process for the Provost's Office and academic units.
  • On behalf of the provost's office, reviews and authorizes receipt of gifts and makes recommendations on designations of unrestricted gifts to support academic priorities
  • Partner closely with the Office of the Vice President for Research and their and finance staff on the research budgets for each academic unit reporting to the Provost

Selected other responsibilities:

  • Represents the Provost in meetings and in correspondence related to budget and finance with leaders of academic units as liaison from the Provost's Office to the academic unit planning process to develop, monitor, and report on academic unit plans that align fiscal, human, and physical resources with strategic academic priorities.
  • Serve as liaison from the Provost's Office to model financial decisions and provide guidance as it relates to student initiatives.
  • Support planning for academic space requirements and work with deans, university registrar and colleagues in campus design and facilities development to accommodate faculty, staff, and instructional needs; serve with the Provost on the Space Committee to assist with resolving space needs; and implement space plans.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role:

  • The university's budget is highly complex and many of the stakeholders in the budget and planning processes have limited fiscal management experience. The new VP will need to possess an ability to translate complex information into more accessible terms.
  • The office of the provost is strongly committed to data collection and analysis. Major decisions made within the university must be data-informed.
  • Building trust and credibility with a large number of people and departments across the institution is critical for success in the VP role.

Measures of Success:

At an appropriate interval after joining CMU, the following items will define success for the new vice provost for academic budget:

  • The VP has earned the trust and confidence of the provost and senior colleagues in the office of the provost.
  • A welcoming tone has been established that invites collaboration and encourages members of the campus community to share in the responsibility of creating a strong organization and seamless learning environment.
  • A vision for academic budgeting has been articulated and embraced by stakeholders across the division.
  • A strong collaborative relationship with all aspects of the campus community, including deans, faculty, administrative colleagues, and other stakeholders has been established.


A bachelor's degree in business, finance, or accounting and at least ten years of progressively responsible budget/finance experience in a higher education environment are required, with fifteen years being strongly preferred. A master's degree and academic unit/department level experience are strongly preferred. The ideal candidate will possess a strong financial systems background with proven experience with financial reporting systems; and an understanding and demonstrated working knowledge of the Financial Accounting Standards Board's (FASB) accounting standards, and regulations and cost accounting standards related to higher education.

  • In addition, campus stakeholders identified the following characteristics, skills, and abilities as important for the next vice provost:
    • Emotional intelligence to work with many professionals and offices toward a common mission of enhancing higher education opportunities;
    • A willingness to ask questions, seek help when needed, and build a collaborative network of key stakeholders
    • Possess a record of superior communication skills, successful relationship building, and collaboration with internal stakeholder groups;
    • An exceptional listener and communicator;
    • A patient and measured approach, and the ability to maintain professionalism in difficult situations;
    • The ability to think strategically and work as a hands-on member of the team;
    • Be confident, innovative, and energetic;
    • A commitment to data-based decision making and the ability to effectively collect and analyze relevant data in close collaboration with data partners;
    • A creative, entrepreneurial approach;
    • A willingness to accept input from peers and colleagues, admit mistakes, and identify alternatives.


  • Successful background check


Ferra Executive Search has been retained to manage the search. If you have any inquiries or nominations, please send an email to:

Kevin Ferra, Founding Partner

Ferra Executive Search

Please use 'VP for Academic Budget and Financial Planning' as the subject line when you contact Kevin.

Joining the CMU team opens the door to an array of exceptional benefits available to eligible employees.

Those employees who are benefits eligible have the opportunity to experience the full spectrum of advantages from comprehensive medical, prescription, dental, and vision insurance to an enticing retirement savings program offering a generous employer contribution. You can also unlock your potential with tuition benefits and take well-deserved breaks with ample paid time off and observed holidays. Finally, rest easy knowing you are covered by life and accidental death and disability insurance.

Other perks include a free Pittsburgh Regional Transit bus pass, our Family Concierge Team to help navigate childcare needs, fitness center access, and so much more!

For a comprehensive overview of the benefits that may be awaiting you, explore our Benefits page.

At Carnegie Mellon, we value the whole package when extending offers of employment. Beyond just credentials, we consider the role and responsibilities, your invaluable work experience, and the knowledge gained through education and training. We acknowledge and appreciate your unique skills and the diverse perspective you bring. Your journey with us is about more than just a job; it's about finding the perfect fit for your professional growth and personal aspirations.

Are you interested in an exciting opportunity with an exceptional organization?! Apply today!


Pittsburgh, PA

Job Function

Financial Planning, Analysis, Accounting and Reporting

Position Type

Staff - Regular

Full Time/Part time

Full time

Pay Basis


More Information:

  • Please visit "Why Carnegie Mellon" to learn more about becoming part of an institution inspiring innovations that change the world.

  • Click here to view a listing of employee benefits

  • Carnegie Mellon University is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Veteran.

  • Statement of Assurance

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