For Mike Gower, the world of public accounting gave him key insights and new perspectives when approaching financial challenges of his higher ed projects. It is that broad horizon that led him into the role of executive vice president for finance and administration and treasurer for Rutgers University.
Gower faces change, but says driving change across sometimes competing cultures and systems can be much harder than we anticipate.
“As much as we want to bring best practices to people, everyone has to learn those things, and get comfortable with it,” says Gower. “Setting the stage whereby people can be confused, can go through the change in a reasonable fashion, not just expect that it’s going to happen the next day. Telling the truth about that is the most important thing.”
This week on CBO Speaks, Gower shares the story of merging two major research institutions into one, and the obstacles and opportunities that graced the CBO’s office along the way.
“The merger officially took place a little over three years ago. We’re only just now getting through the systems, the business practices, the other changes taking place,” says Gower. “We’re creating a new culture - what I call the NEW Rutgers - transforming what we do in terms of running a university.”