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Open forum held Thursday

Vice President of Finance and Administration candidate fields questions

On Thursday, Ohio University Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA) candidate Stephen Golding met and spoke with OHIO faculty, staff and students during an open forum.

Golding discussed his professional past and career motivations for the first half of the forum. Afterward he was asked to discuss matters ranging from how he dealt with budget cuts at other institutions to student involvement with the VPFA office.

"It's important for members of the university community to have a chance to go beyond a candidate's C.V.," said Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Beniot, who is chairing the VPFA search committee. "The open forums are designed to do that. They provide a time for the candidate to share management and fiscal philosophies. Community members have a chance to ask questions and also to help the candidate understand why Ohio University is an exceptional academic institution."

In her introduction Benoit related Golding's extensive experience, travels and professional qualifications.

He said that he has maintained a passion for higher education throughout his career. "I can't think of a profession that I would rather work in than the field of higher education administration. I don't think there's any more complex business model that one has to deal with than the higher education business model."

Of his management style, Golding said that he sees himself as more of a mentor than a manager, allowing people to put their work into the broader context of what the university is trying to achieve.

"The mission of a major college or university is something that from my perspective gives me the satisfaction to get up in the morning and look in the mirror and say that I'm doing something good with my talents and my skills," Golding said. "I feel good about it on a day-by-day basis."

His business philosophy, as he stated in his cover letter to the search committee, emphasized accessing the full potential of research and facilities at universities. He said institutions must do a better job seeing that emerging technologies are capitalized on.

"I am a fundamental believer that this country cannot succeed economically unless we find a way to better leverage our institutions of higher education," Golding said.

The first question was posed by Richard Beebee, dean of the Chillicothe campus, who asked about Colorado's funding reduction to University of Colorado in respect to Golding's time of employment there. 

"When I arrived the university was down to about 10 percent [state funding], and I talked to Betsy Hoffman, the president at the time, and she said we just need to think of some way to tell the story."

Golding said his answer was to work to create a document that would indicate that if funding continued to be restricted as it was under state laws, with a few years the funding would be zero. 

Further questions probed Golding's professional experience and strategies for working with students in light of his teaching experience, to how he has worked with health sciences in institutions in the past.

In response to a question about the tone his office would set, he said, "One is a sense of humor. Two; I think you have to understand the importance of the role that you play within the institution as it relates to fiduciary responsibility, stewardship and realizing that the resources that are available are precious. And, the third area that I would approach is that I think no individual has all the answers, so you have to be open and transparent."

Golding is the managing partner of the 1782 Group, LLP and the senior consultant to the president at Cornell University.

The forum was streamed live via the President's website. Anyone who attended or viewed the forum online or interacted with Golding during his visit is invited by the search committee to fill out the candidate evaluation form, found here, by June 1.