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UCM Board Appoints Best as Interim University President

By Jeff Murphy, July 3, 2018

Roger BestWARRENSBURG, MO – The University of Central Missouri’s Board of Governors is turning to an experienced academic and administrative leader on campus to serve as the university’s interim president.

Roger Best, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer, is being tapped to temporarily fill a position that has been held for the past eight years by Charles “Chuck” Ambrose. The longtime UCM leader announced last week that he has accepted a new leadership position as CEO and president of KnowledgeWorks, a nonprofit organization in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ambrose officially begins his new duties at KnowledgeWorks Sept. 1, and will serve the university through July. Best begins his interim responsibilities Aug. 1. The board will conduct a national search to permanently fill this position.

John Collier, who became board president July 1, noted, “The board is grateful for Dr. Ambrose’s years of outstanding service to UCM and the excellent progress that has been made during his leadership. While we wish him well as he begins his new responsibilities, we are excited that Dr. Roger Best has accepted the interim role as president. He is a proven leader with experiences in areas such as finance, administration, and academics at UCM that make him a great choice for this temporary role. As a board, we look forward to our continued work with Dr. Best and have the utmost confidence in his ability to help UCM maintain its momentum over the next year.”

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; associate dean of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies in 2008; and dean of the college in 2010. Ambrose named Best Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration in August 2017, and he was promoted to his current position following administrative restructuring in January 2018. In this capacity, he has been responsible for implementing a three-year budget planning cycle for the university, revising university fiscal policies, and leading efforts to provide more robust reporting for budget managers. With board oversight, he helped formalize the university’s contingency reserves guidelines.

Best said he is grateful to the UCM Board of Governors for the opportunity to serve and lead the “incredible students, faculty and staff of UCM.”

“We are especially indebted to Dr. Ambrose for his unparalleled leadership over the last eight years, and wish him well in his new venture. Despite some significant challenges over the last 18 months, we are a strong institution with a deep focus on student success,” he noted. “I have tremendous confidence in my exceptional UCM colleagues, and know that together we will continue to grow our national reputation for academic excellence and innovation.”

Throughout his tenure at UCM, Best has shared his financial and administrative expertise to the benefit of the university. As an example, to further advance the institution at a time when state appropriations were near the year 2000 level, UCM’s Board of Governors during the 2014-2015 academic year authorized the university administration to begin development of the Strategic Resource Allocation Model (SRAM), which continues to play an important role in FY19 budgeting. Best was instrumental in providing leadership by chairing a team that considered how the budget process could further enhance transparency and accountability while optimally allocating resources. It also ensured 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.

While serving the Harmon College, Best played a key role in the college’s reaccreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business - International (AACSB). He currently serves on the AACSB Continuous Improvement Review Committee, which plays an instrumental role in the global accreditation process. Best also serves on AACSB peer review teams, which has taken him to six different states with regard to the accreditation of other university business programs.

Additionally as dean, he oversaw the creation of the Donn G. Forbes Center for Financial Studies, funded through a private gift to the university, and facilitated a partnership with the UCM Alumni Foundation to create the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMF) with a $500,000 allocation.

His tenure at UCM includes a strong record of participation in department, college and university committees that have given him a broad and well-rounded knowledge of the campus community, having served on organizations such as the Faculty Senate and a number of senate committees.

Additionally, Best 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, Midwest Finance Association, and Southern Finance Association. His professional service has included election as a board member and officer of the MidAmerican and Southwestern Business Deans Associations.

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

He and his wife, Robin, reside in Warrensburg and are active members of the community. Previously, Best served as treasurer and board member of Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County, and served as a Business Visit team member for Johnson County Economic Development Corporation.


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