Finance & Administration (F&A) provides the human, physical, financial, and informational resources that enable RIT to accomplish its mission of providing a broad range of career-oriented educational programs with the goal of producing innovative, creative graduates who are well-prepared for their chosen careers in a global society. We exist to serve the greater good of the university. We serve a wide range of customers including the students who attend classes at RIT, the faculty and administrative staff that support those students every day, and the members of the community who use our services.
Early in spring of 2014, the division began defining our direction in support of the university’s 2015-2025 strategic plan. In consultation with senior management, the division adopted “daring greatly” as the theme for our strategic direction. This theme was inspired by a quote Dr. Watters came across from Theodore Roosevelt, 26th U.S. President:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Dr. Watters feels this is the kind of uplifting vision needed to empower people to think boldly and bring more ideas to the table. Early discussion has led to four key goals:
- Global: Provide superior integrated services that transform the experiences of those at all of our campuses.
- Mobile Services: Create a demand-based portfolio of mobile solutions that exceeds the expectations of those who utilize our services.
- Technology: Employ smart technology that demonstrates our commitment to sustainability and inspires innovation for the future.
- Data Analytics: Lead the university’s use of analytics to inform decision making, planning and resource allocation.
As the strategic direction planning schedule unfolds, we will involve all 750 members of the division in planning our future.
F&A Leadership Priorities
At F&A we serve a wide range of customers. Our customers are not only the students who attend classes at RIT, but the faculty and administrative staff that support those students every day, and the members of the community who use our services. We work to constantly improve the customer experience by focusing on three key areas: making F&A the employer of choice, providing exceptional customer service, and by adopting leading business operations and processes. While our customers and businesses vary, continuous effort guided by this strategic direction drives F&A to provide best in class service.
Making F&A the employer of choice
Placing a strong emphasis on employee satisfaction allows us to recruit and retain the most talented and dedicated professionals in higher education so that we can best meet our customers’ needs. F&A has researched businesses that consistently rank in the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For such as Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., and we have found that they consistently stress the importance of developing leaders and creating a positive manager-employee environment. A values-based leadership model will guide us in the long-term. Our F&A leadership values are:
- Fiscal Responsibility
- Open Communication
Providing exceptional customer service
Our students, faculty, staff, and community members expect to find leading edge equipment, facilities, and accommodations when they walk on the campus. Our service has a direct impact on our customers’ perceptions of RIT and at F&A we make a point to go out of our way to ensure each experience is a positive one. We constantly solicit customer feedback to ensure our services are up to the customers’ standards and identify areas for improvement. Whenever you are assisted by an F&A employee, you will receive swift, friendly, top-quality service.
Adopting leading business operations and processes
F&A leadership annually evaluates all F&A business operations to determine where they fit in the business lifecycle. Our business operations fall into one of three main categories:
- Businesses that are not delivering on their stated objectives and the future for business is in a state of decline. These are businesses where it is unlikely that markets will exist in the future to support them. When we identify these businesses, we look to develop an orderly process to de-establish the business and integrate the employees with new opportunities. For example, several years ago we identified the RIT bookstore as a business that fell within this category, so we pursued an opportunity for a partnership with Barnes & Noble.
- Mature businesses that are profitable and operating in a steady state, but do not offer opportunity for high margins or rapid growth. These businesses are still very important, so we examine how we can provide exceptional value and continuous improvement. The Café and Market at Crossroads is an example of a mature business. This is a well-established business with very steady traffic, so we look at things such as how we can alter the product mix to improve the experience.
- New ventures where we can explore emerging concepts, ideas, and businesses to see if they are applicable and viable at RIT. We aggressively create business plans for such ventures every year and after multiple tests and screenings, we filter these potential businesses to a small number. Guided by sophisticated business plans, F&A will take a calculated risk on the businesses with the greatest opportunity for success. Recent examples of such new business ventures include the Artesano Bakery & Café and our strategic partnerships with Nathan’s Soup and Salad.
Values Based Leadership Model
The Division of Finance and Administration (F&A) has committed to executing their assigned responsibilities while exhibiting the highest degree of ethical behavior. Fashioned after the corporate model of Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., a perennial Best Places To Work For national winner, F&A has created a holistic approach to values based leadership.
Each member of management must complete behavioral style inventories and participate in the individual professional development series. Each member of management is required to exhibit adherence to the agreed upon values of the division through their actions and decisions.