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Business Officer Magazine

Soar in Seattle

The sky is the limit at the NACUBO 2014 Annual Meeting, July 19–22. In this boldly innova-tive Pacific Northwest city, you’ll find uplifting opportunities for professional development and networking.

Linda Daily

*What better place than Seattle to set the bar high? It's in this city, which is set against the majestic backdrop of 14,410-foot Mount Rainier and bucolic Puget Sound that some legendary business icons have found their inspiration and made their mark.

Two decades ago, Jeff Bezos settled in Seattle to create an ambitious enterprise known as Starbucks opened here in 1971 as a single store, inspiring Howard Schultz, current Starbucks chairman, president, and CEO, to eventually create a coffeehouse empire that now encompasses more than 18,000 stores in 62 countries.

The recently opened Bezos Center for Innovation at the Museum of History and Industry invites a closer look at how big ideas come to be. The cutting-edge vibe that characterizes Seattle has also found a unique expression at the EMP Museum—the venue of NACUBO's opening event on Saturday night. The first commercial project in the Pacific Northwest designed by renowned architect Frank O. Gehry, the museum's unique structure seeks to "evoke the rock 'n' roll experience."

Mount Rainier isn't the only reason why Seattle invites visitors to keep their eyes on exciting vistas. While most are familiar with the Space Needle, an iconic hallmark of the city's skyline, a more recent addition is the Seattle Great Wheel, which opened in June 2012. At 175 feet tall and featuring 42 fully enclosed gondolas seating up to eight people each, the observation Ferris wheel is the largest on the West Coast.

At this year's annual meeting, which has the theme of "Scaling New Heights," higher education leaders will have their choice of many treks from which to embark on an adventurous educational climb to reach the summit of professional excellence.

Read an interview with Alison Levine, keynote speaker at the NACUBO 2014 Annual Meeting.

Join in Small Group Expeditions

Check the annual meeting Web site at to see a list of options for targeted learning opportunities in small group meetings.

  • Roundtables and forums. These sessions offer unique opportunities for attendees to identify and share pressing challenges, explore potential solutions, and learn from the experiences of colleagues. Choose from the roundtables for senior leaders at comprehensive or small institutions, or community colleges. Topics include women's issues, sustainability, and ways to serve minorities.
  • Executive exchange for research universities. Designed exclusively for senior business officers at research institutions, these sessions offer an opportunity to engage in executive-level discussions about higher education and the strategic role of the CBO. Chief business officers at research universities will enjoy a lunch and speaker on Monday.

Explore New Learning Horizons

Once again this year, the guidance of NACUBO's four constituent councils has resulted in a collection of concurrent sessions designed to provide insight into focused topics and ideas within the framework of the comprehensive annual meeting program. You can customize your learning experiences by selecting from a rich menu of presentations that target the needs of NACUBO's primary member segments: community colleges, small institutions, research universities, and comprehensive and doctoral institutions.

Here is a brief sampling of the programs:

  • Achieving the Best Debt Financing for Your Institution. Institutions are increasingly using private placement financing and banks loans as financing vehicles. Learn how to evaluate public versus private transactions, understand the trade-offs of public and private market financing, and gain new ideas to evaluate financing proposals.
  • Enrollment Strategies. Discover effective recruitment techniques that provide strong ROI for every dollar invested and increase net tuition revenue. Discuss the findings from an annual national survey and identify the four critical factors that lead to enrollment growth and increased tuition revenue.
  • Communicating Financial Data to Board Members. Learn how to develop easily understandable metrics that satisfy board objectives and provide the tools board members need to evaluate financial performance and resources. Discuss which financial data and ratios to use, ways to find standardized information for comparison, and which benchmarks work best for an institution.
  • Funding Sustainability. An expert panel of sustainability and financial experts will discuss from both broad and specific perspectives ways to broaden leadership and funding mechanisms, and why the business office needs to be a part of this discussion.
  •  Connecting Traditional Space Planning to Capital Allocation Decisions. Examine how a university system comprising 31 institutions and some 70 campuses has struggled to connect traditional space planning approaches to capital allocation decisions. To better inform capital planning, the system formulated an innovative methodology for classifying space and measuring its utilization. Learn new methods, related data management strategies, and the system's results.
  • Protecting the Integrity of Nonfinancial Reporting. Learn about the numerous reporting requirements institutions face; the associated risks, management strategies and internal controls; and examples of  how specific colleges and universities have handled their own situations.
  • Creating a World-Class Administrative Function. Colleges and universities are seeking ways to improve administrative efficiency and effectiveness to decrease complexity, improve service, and lower costs. Learn about the opportunity areas that are most likely to yield real results. Find out how academic institutions and commercial organizations have tackled challenges to achieve meaningful administrative transformation.
  • The Role of Performance Management in State Funding Decisions. As state budgets have tightened, public institutions have encountered increased scrutiny from state legislatures responding to concerns about the rising cost of higher education. In Texas, performance management metrics have been used as a methodology to dictate funding and direct dollars toward measured "outcomes." While this is being implemented in a handful of states, the use of performance measures has been debated nationally. Learn to examine the trends in performance management.
  • Transforming Financial Strategies for Academic Medical Centers. Declining government support for research and graduate medical education scholarships, along with the reality of the Affordable Health Care Act, has compelled universities with academic medical centers to transform the way they finance and plan. Learn how universities can develop long-term financial plans with creative financing strategies and targeted expense reduction.
  • Using Predictive Analytics. Learn how a community college applied marketing theory and statistical techniques to available student data to provide higher-impact interventions to at-risk students while maximizing the impact of available funding for retention-related activities.

Experience Ascendant Leadership

This year's general session speakers will share insights on how to be effective leaders and seize opportunities, while facing complex challenges. Bestselling author and famed mountaineer Alison Levine will talk about leadership lessons that she has learned from her success with leadership experts. Two other general session speakers will be announced soon. Keep an eye on your e-mail or visit for details.

Famed mountaineer and bestselling author. Alison Levine, a history-making polar explorer and mountaineer, and author of On the Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership (Grand Central Publishing, 2014) will speak on Sunday, July 20.

Levine is an adjunct instructor at the United States Military Academy at West Point in the department of behavioral sciences and leadership, and a strategic adviser for the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point. She not only served as team captain of the first American Women's Everest Expedition, but also climbed the highest peak on each continent and skied to both the North and South Poles-a feat known as the Adventure Grand Slam, which fewer than 40 people in the world have achieved.

In January 2008, she made history as the first American to complete a 600-mile traverse from west Antarctica to the South Pole, following the route of legendary explorer Reinhold Messner. Levine's success in extreme environments is noteworthy, given that she has had three heart surgeries and suffers from Raynaud's disease, which causes the arteries that feed her fingers and toes to collapse in cold weather-leaving her at extreme risk for frostbite.

Levine has also spent more than two decades climbing the corporate ladder. She worked in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, earned an MBA from Duke University, and worked at Goldman Sachs, which she left in 2003 to serve as deputy finance director for Arnold Schwarzenegger in his successful bid to become governor of California.

In 2005, Levine founded the Climb High Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of jobless women in Africa by training them to be trekking guides and porters.

Levine currently serves on the board of the Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics at Duke University. She has addressed audiences ranging from Fortune 500 companies to professional sports teams to the World Economic Forum at Davos, and she has appeared on the CNBC program, The Future of Leadership.

Carve Out Time for Festivities, Recreation

As you reach exciting new peaks of learning, don't forget to take time to participate in the special entertainment, fitness, and networking opportunities NACUBO has planned to help you make the most of your stay. Here's a look at what's in store for attendees.

  • Golf tournament. Join your colleagues on Saturday morning, July 19, at Harbor Pointe Golf Club for a challenging experience with two distinctly unique nines. The front nine, designed by Arthur Hills, winds through wetlands with water in play on every hole, while the back nine is set among rolling hills, framed by evergreen trees with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
  • A rockin' opening celebration. Catch up with old friends and meet new colleagues at the exciting opening event at the EMP Museum, a nonprofit museum dedicated to contemporary popular culture. The unique museum is home to exhibits, interactive activity stations, sound sculpture, and various educational resources.
  • NACUBO Fitness and 5K. Keep up your exercise routine with fitness options each day of the annual meeting. On Tuesday morning, July 22, participate in the 5K fun run at Myrtle Edwards Park.
  • First-Timer Attendees Breakfast. First-time attendees are invited to this special breakfast on Sunday, July 20, where they will learn how to navigate the many happenings at the annual meeting and get to know their colleagues and NACUBO leaders.
  • Community College Lunch and Educational Session. Join your colleagues from community colleges across the country on Sunday to share experiences and examine solutions.
  • Happy Hour in the Expo.  Take time to join vendors and attendees for refreshments in the exhibit hall on Sunday evening, July 20. Tour the exhibits and take advantage of this additional time to connect with representatives from companies that offer products and services to campuses.
  • Awards reception. Award recipients and their guests are invited to this reception on Sunday, July 20-honoring individual and institutional excellence. Attendance is by invitation only.
  • Primary Representatives' Meeting. The primary representatives of eligible NACUBO member institutions are invited to a meeting on Monday, July 21, to discuss the important business and financial matters facing NACUBO and higher education. Attendance is by invitation only.
  • Constituent Networking Opportunities. Meet individuals at similar institutions to share your unique challenges and opportunities. In addition, sessions will be held throughout the program designated to be of special interest to constituent groups.
  • Campus tour. On Tuesday afternoon, July 22, take a tour of the University of Washington, Seattle. Founded in 1861 by a private gift of 10 acres in what is now the heart of downtown Seattle, UW is one of the oldest public universities on the West Coast.

Corporate Showcases Enhance the Overall Program

Eight corporate showcases offer new solutions to a variety of issues. Focused on a number of topics, these sessions will be integrated with the rest of the conference so that attendees can catch several throughout the annual meeting. Advance sign-up is not necessary. A schedule of the following showcases will be included in the on-site program.

  • Ellucian—Actionable Metrics: KPIs for Your Institutions.
  • Xerox Corp.—A New Way of Thinking: Document Life Cycle Strategies.
  • Deloitte Consulting LLP—Successful Transformation to a World-Class Administrative Operation.
  • TIAA-CREF—The Next Generation of Retirement Plan Success Metrics.
  • Witt/Kieffer—The Great Communicator: The Evolution of the CFO.
  • J.P. Morgan Asset Management—Managing Complexity: Governance and Fiduciary Responsibility.
  • Attain LLC—An Examination of Financial Health Using Powerful Analytics.
  • Russell Investments—Drawing the Line: Managing the Role of Your Investment Committee When Working With an Outsourced Investment Provider.

Scaling New Heights

For more information and to register for the NACUBO 2014 Annual Meeting, visit

LINDA DAILY, Falls Church, Virginia, is a contributing editor for Business Officer


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Special Programs Help Guide New, Future Business Officers

The annual meeting preconference this year will offer attendees opportunities to hone their leadership skills.

The New Business Officers program (NBO), offered exclusively to those new to the chief business officer role within a higher education setting, is a workshop designed to provide essential resources, information, and guidance. To be held July 18–19, the program will help participants examine the current complexities of their role and learn from experienced chief business officers, presidents, provosts, NACUBO experts, and other pivotal higher education representatives. Key issues for the success of every new business officer will be covered, from developing board relationships to communicating effectively with all types of institutional constituents. An optional session for novice CBOs who are also new to the field of higher education administration will be offered on Thursday afternoon, July 17.

An inaugural Future Business Officers Program (FBO), to be held July 19, is designed for business office staff who are ready to gain the leadership skills and organizational perspectives necessary to become chief business officers. The workshop will focus on topics such as understanding the complex role and responsibilities of the chief business officer, building relationships in the higher education environment, and communicating more effectively.

Attendees at either program will earn CPE credits and do not need to register for the annual meeting to attend the workshops. To find out about the program schedule and for more information, visit

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Annual Meeting Goes Online

NACUBO is pleased to offer a virtual component to the annual meeting this year. Several sessions that will be held on Sunday, July 20; Monday, July 21; and Tuesday, July 22, will be recorded and available online beginning Friday, August 1, and available for six months (ending on Feb. 1, 2015).

What's even better is that NACUBO is offering your entire team access to the videos for one price. When one person on your campus registers at the full price, other staff can register for free. Each additional attendee must complete the online registration process to have full access to the event.

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Take a Community Service Trek

Roll up your sleeves on Saturday morning, July 19, for the 7th Annual NACUBO "Serving the Community" project at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School. Attendees and guests will work together to make improvements to the school from morning to early afternoon and "give back" to the annual meeting host city.

Since 2007, member volunteers have replanted a university campus devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and refurbished elementary and middle schools in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington, D.C. Participation in this activity is a great way to make new friends while helping some of our most challenged educational institutions. There is no charge to participate; spouses and children 18 years and older can also participate. Plan to arrive in Seattle by Friday evening because transportation departs from the conference hotel early Saturday morning. Advance sign-up is required.

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Constituent Programming

NACUBO recognizes that there are differences among institutions. We have developed a customized learning experience at the annual meeting to meet the unique needs of all four of our segments: community colleges (two-year public institutions), small institutions (enrollment under 4,000 or specialized institutions), research universities (public or independent research universities and medical schools/centers), and comprehensive/doctoral institutions (four-year institutions with enrollment above 4,000).

For details, visit and keep an eye on your e-mail.

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Earn CPE Credits

Participants of the 2014 NACUBO Annual Meeting will be able to earn up to an estimated 15 CPE credits in various fields of study including:

  • Accounting.
  • Business management and organization.
  • Communications.
  • Finance.
  • Personal development.
  • Specialized knowledge and applications.
  • Taxes.

Additional CPEs can be earned by attending either the New Business Officers Program or the Future Business Officers Program preconference.

NACUBO is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE sponsors.

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