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Distance Learning
Distance Learning

OD: Collaborating to Create Efficient Financial Structures and Drive Complex Change in Higher Education

Recorded on: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 1:00 PM ET


Virginia Commonwealth University is a public research university with an academic medical center, serving 32,000 students, 11,000 faculty and staff (19,000 with the University Health System) with combined annual revenues of nearly $2.8 billion.The University is governed by a Board of Visitors, and is affiliated with the VCU Health system, six foundations, two associations and one corporation. The VCU Health System has six affiliated entities. The University, VCU Health System and their affiliated entities had not previously coordinated in their investment activities, leading to separate contracts with financial institutions, higher fees and pricing, and lower yields on investments.
In October, 2011 the Financial Structure Task Force (FSTF) was charged by the President of the University and the CEO of the VCU Health system.The FSTF included 17 members with representation from VCU, the VCU Health System and each of the affiliated University foundations.The FSTF had the following goals and objectives:
  • Focus on the institutional community – across all VCU entities
  • Consider short and long-term strategic needs
  • Develop a robust “needs” assessment for VCU areas of opportunity
  • Develop ways for VCU entities to collaborate in a holistic manner
  • Focus on long-term horizon for sustainable VCU success
  • Brainstorm streamlining resources, operations and management
  • Streamline management practices, structures, fees, and policies
  • Seek input and advice from internal/external experts
  • Be creative; consider implementing best practices across VCU
  • Develop concrete recommendations for Board of Visitors (May 2012)
The FSTF was immediately able to have some successes – saving 7-8 basis points in cost from collective negotiations for investment management (roughly $800M assets under management), sharing treasury related resources, knowledge and expertise, and implementing consistent best practice for policies and procedures.
Based on the recommendations of the FSTF, the University, VCU Health System and University affiliated foundations have moved forward with a combined national competitive financial services procurement. The services include enterprise-wide investment and asset management and financial advisory services. This approach will allow the entities to optimize the management and investment of cash and long-term assets while reducing fees significantly.

What You will learn

  • Examine this case study at VCU to align financial structures and complex fiduciary duties with industry best practices to better steward VCU’s resources while simultaneously driving cultural change.
  • Gain a stronger understanding that assessing the organization and what change initiatives are required are the easy parts of change within a higher education organization. Change happens or fails in the implementation phase.
  • Explore the change imperative at VCU; diminishing state and federal resources coupled with legacy financial structures and systems were putting transformational change required by the strategic plan at risk.
  • Learn that driving change in higher education organizations is as much about building trust and relationships as it is about hiring external partners and creating formal processes.

Meet the Presenters

  • David Hanson, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Thomas Burke, Executive Director, Virginia Commonwealth University Foundation
  • Pamela Currey, Associate Vice President, Virginia Commonwealth University

Who Should Attend?

  • Trustees
  • Presidents
  • Chief Business Officers
  • Chief Academic Officers
  • Controllers
  • Budget Officers

Course Information

  • Length: 100 minutes


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Non-Member Site Registration Fee: $219.00


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