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Best Assumes Role as Interim Senior VP for Finance and Administration

By Jeff Murphy, July 20, 2017

WARRENSBURG, MO – Having been part of the team effort to develop the University of Central Missouri’s Strategic Resource Allocation Model (SRAM), Roger Best, current dean of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, will employ his professional leadership skills for an assignment as Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration. His appointment was announced today following a special closed meeting of the UCM Board of Governors.

Best, who has served as dean of the Harmon College since July 2010, begins his interim assignment Aug. 1. His appointment comes as the university faces budget challenges posed by declining state support, issues that impact international and domestic student enrollment, and increasing mandatory expenses. Betsy Kreisel, associate dean of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, will serve as interim dean while Best assumes duties as the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to benefit from Dr. Best’s leadership, knowledge and experience at a critical time for UCM, requiring a campus wide focus on resource allocation and the development of new revenue,” said Charles Ambrose, UCM president. “Addressing the financial challenges we face today requires someone who has a strong acumen in finance, but who also has a strong working knowledge of our Strategic Resource Allocation Model (SRAM) and deeply understands the campus community. This is exactly what Dr. Best brings to this key position. I am grateful he has accepted the challenge, and I have the utmost confidence in his ability to provide his talents and leadership to move the university forward.”

To further advance the institution at a time when state appropriations were near the 2000 level, UCM’s Board of Governors during the 2014-2015 academic year authorized the university administration to begin development of the SRAM, which continues to play an important role in FY18 budgeting and beyond. SRAM provides an opportunity to take both a tactical and strategic approach in considering how the campus operates to meet strategic priorities, and is a way to achieve positive and effective change in the resource allocation process by incentivizing innovation, new sources of funding, and revenue generation in support of the university mission.

Ambrose said Best played an integral leadership role in SRAM and the work of the Budget Working Group as the university works to reset the FY 18 budget and meet long-term financial challenges. He was instrumental in development of the SRAM process by chairing one of three teams that were essential to establishing strategic targets or deliverables. Known as Team 2, the group led by Best considered how the budget process could further enhance transparency and accountability, and ensure budget resources are directly connected to strategy and to key performance indicators (KPIs), which are metrics used to measure student success, growth with quality, and sustainability and efficiency.

In talking about his new role, Best said he is honored to serve the university in this capacity and humbled by the confidence in him that has been shown by President Ambrose and the Board of Governors.

“As we further implement SRAM, and seek innovative approaches to address the financial challenges facing higher education, I look forward to working with the president’s Strategic Leadership Team, the great team we have in Finance and Administration, and all campus stakeholders,” he remarked.

Best  added, “During my career at UCM, I have been impressed consistently by the strong commitment from faculty and staff to our students and the institution, and I anticipate much assistance throughout this appointment.
Dr. Kreisel’s assumption of leadership of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies during this assignment is indicative of such commitment, and I appreciate her willingness to do so.”

The Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration will report directly to Ambrose and serve as a senior administrative officer with Associate Vice Presidents reporting to the position for Finance, Human Resources, and Facilities Planning and Operations.

Best joined UCM in August 1995 as an assistant professor of finance, and climbed the faculty ranks to become a professor in 2005. He was named chair of the Department of Economics and Finance in 2003, and became associate dean of the Harmon College in 2008.  For the past seven years as dean, he has been instrumental in helping the college to continue to maintain its accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) – International.

In addition to his service to the Harmon College, Best has a strong record of participation in department, college and university committees, and has previous service on the Faculty Senate and a number of senate committees. He also has a solid record of scholarly research. Such accomplishments have included publishing numerous articles in refereed journals and making presentations at professional conferences for groups such as the Financial Management Association, International Academy of Business and Economics, Midwest Finance Association, and Southern Finance Association, just to name a few.

Best began his higher education at Georgia College in Milledgeville, now Georgia College and State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Management degree. Additional study led to a Ph.D. in finance at The Florida State University in Tallahassee.


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