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Vice President of Finance & Administration's Message

Dear faculty colleagues,

Greetings from the Whitworth campus, where the summer months remain busy for the finance and administration team. Some highlights of our activities:

The facilities services team, led by Chris Eichorst, is at the peak of their busiest time of year with summer deep cleaning, painting, floor polishing, window cleaning, sidewalk and parking lot repair, building maintenance, fire protection inspections and updates, and seasonal landscaping activities. Summer projects underway include modernization of the elevator in Dixon, an exciting remodel of the HUB Cafe for a new Qdoba food venue, beginning of the work on a revamped Weyerhaeuser Trading Room and Dornsife Center, construction of the Viren presentation space, and initiation of the formal design process of the new engineering & physics building.

Whitworth’s human resource services team, led by Ariane Mondragón Oglesbee, is completing a team reorganization to enhance and continue providing critical employee support, recruiting for open positions, and assessing ways to improve processes and operations. This summer, the team has implemented a new applicant tracking system that will greatly enhance our ability to recruit new employees. As previously announced, a general compensation increase of 2 percent is scheduled for Jan. 1, 2024, pending final approval by our board in October. The comprehensive review of Whitworth’s compensation philosophy and practices is nearly complete, with important counsel from the Faculty Employee Welfare Committee (FEW) and the Staff Salary & Benefits Committee (SSBC).

The information technology and institutional effectiveness team has been restructured and is now team led by Christina Lott, who is directing our systems/data administration and cybersecurity efforts; Celeste McCormick, who is directing our enterprise systems, application development, and technical and help desk support teams; and Greg Orwig, who has moved from his role in admissions to lead our office of institutional research and strategic innovation. One of the biggest projects this summer includes the transition of our Colleague environment to the Windows operating system that required extensive testing and implementation support from departments across campus. You will experience better performance with this upgrade. Other projects include a new photo submission application for new students, a new travel request system, continued cybersecurity improvements with a training program for students, and the implementation of the Gray and Associates program management and review program.

Whitworth’s finance team, led by Taylor Hoffard, is working diligently to close out the fiscal 2023 financial year and prepare for outside auditors. We continue the implementation and tracking of cost savings measures, working to meet our commitment to have a balanced budget for fiscal 2025 and the alignment of Whitworth’s operations to a smaller projected overall student population. Finance has partnered with academic affairs to contract with a third party to take advantage of newly available funding sources to greatly expand grant opportunities for faculty. Significant efforts are being devoted to resource and support key investments in the future of the university in alignment with the new strategic plan.

It has been a whirlwind first six months in my new role as COO. I continue to be amazed at the hard work and commitment to excellence I see among my staff and the faculty that we serve. It is a pleasure to partner with you in working to achieve our common Whitworth mission and goals. I pray that you are having a wonderful summer of rest, renewal and enjoyment.

Ken Brown