As outgoing University business chief Clifford Stanley prepares to leave the University on Oct. 10, the coordination of Penn's management team will rest -- for the second time since the departure of former Executive Vice President John Fry -- directly with Penn President Judith Rodin.
Stanley's abrupt resignation and the University's decision to abolish the position has called the necessity of the EVP into question -- while the position does not exist at every large research university, many university presidents use EVPs to ease their administrative burden while their fundraising responsibilities steadily increase.
At the University of Washington in Seattle, the position "was created at a time we began a major capital campaign," according to the school's spokesman Bob Roseth.
"The thinking was, if the university president was going to spend a lot of time away from campus doing fundraising, you wanted a designated second in command, someone fully empowered and aware and able to make decisions in his absence."
Indeed, Rodin pointed to Stanley's decisiveness soon after his appointment to the EVP spot in October 2002.
"Cliff Stanley is an implementer," Rodin said at the time. "He's a doer, and he's somebody who really makes things happen."
But now, the middleman -- whose salary eventually broke the half-million dollar mark when Fry played the part from 1995-2002 -- has been eliminated.
The seven vice presidents subordinate to the Office of the EVP -- Audit and Compliance, Business Services, Finance, Facilities Services, Human Resources, Information Systems and Computing and Public Safety -- will report straight to Rodin until her departure next summer.
In fact, promotions from vice president to senior vice president this past June -- before Stanley's resignation -- reflected the high quality of three members of the vice presidential leadership team, including Finance chief Craig Carnaroli and Facilities and Real Estate Services head Omar Blaik.
"We've decided this time to continue to work together as effectively as we have, and are looking forward to resuming that direct reporting relationship," Rodin said on Wednesday. "I'm moving around some elements of my schedule so that I am here and available to them. I look forward to that."
The Office of the EVP, which Rodin described as a means of reducing the number of "direct reporting relationships" between the president and the vice presidents, has evolved since the tenure of former president Martin Meyerson, who stepped down in 1981 after 11 years in office.
Meyerson said that the president generally tends to lean most on the University provost and that, welcome as help managing Penn's corporate side may be, "whether that help should be coordinated by a single person or not really depends on local circumstances and the people."
"We had different figures playing different roles," Meyerson said. "For a time, I had a man named Paul Gaddis... from Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, [responsible for] the managerial side, the financial side and I would say that universities that don't have people as EVPs still have people in related roles."
Meyerson also noted that there is "an added problem at universities such as ours, [as] half or more of our budget is in the health area."
Indeed, the medical system will continue to operate under the supervision of its own EVP Arthur Rubenstein, now in his third year at Penn.
Rubenstein "very eagerly stepped up and will play even a more expanded EVP role... although he will clearly focus most on medical affairs," according to Rodin.
While some institutions including Harvard University do not have an EVP or equivalent officer between senior management and the president, Roseth noted that the administrative structure may change to suit changing institutional needs.
"Certainly, when we had a new president in '95, he had the option of changing the structure, and he chose not to," Roseth said, adding that, as the University of Washington undergoes its own presidential search and is currently under an interim president, "we'll have to see what the new president does."
With a quarter-century in higher education behind him, however, Roseth said that having an EVP seems to make sense.
"I don't think the president would want that many people reporting directly to him," Roseth said. "The job of president at a large research university is so enormous to begin with, you try and get fewer direct reporting relationships rather than more."
Nevertheless, while Washington has had only two EVPs in 15 years, Penn has had six -- four permanent, one interim and one acting -- since then-Senior Vice President Marna Whittington took office as Penn's first EVP in 1991.Comments powered by Disqus
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