Executive Director of Finance and Operations

$115,000 - $145,000 yearly
  • George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government
  • Arlington, VA, USA
  • Mar 29, 2022
Full time Business/Financial Affairs/Financial Aid Deans & Directors

Job Description


Executive Director of Finance and Operations

The Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University, seeks an Executive Director of Finance and Operations who will take a leadership role to grow the funding streams of the school such that Schar has the necessary resources to continue to invest in its future.

George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.

About the Position:

This position will (1) seek out creative and effective ways to allocate resources and make spending decisions that most enable the Schar School to achieve its growth objectives, (2) oversee all E&G, grant, and GMU Foundation (GMUF) accounts, and (3) ensure that faculty and staff throughout the school have the financial data and wherewithal to make effective decisions. Part of the role will be helping senior leadership to conceptualize and realize a strategic vision for allocating personnel and building a team for the future. The position will need to balance strategy, day-to-day fiscal management and oversight, and training responsibilities. This position reports to Doug Goldstein, the Senior Associate Dean for Administration, will have a senior leadership role within the dean’s offices, and will work closely with the Dean and with a wide group of faculty and staff throughout the Schar School and Mason more broadly. The three direct reports to the position are the Director of Human Resources & Planning, Senior Research Administrator, and Fiscal Specialist.

The Schar School and George Mason University:

The Schar School is a dynamic, fast-growing institution. Strengths include daily media hits by faculty in the nation’s top newspapers, $9 million in annual grant expenditures, and over $1 million in annual funding for PhD students. Enrollments of incoming master’s students increased by 60% in Fall 20; enrollments of incoming undergraduates increased by 22% in Fall 21. Our 62 tenure-line faculty currently serve over 2,000 students on the Arlington and Fairfax campuses. Much of the work of the school is interdisciplinary, and area strengths include immigration policy; illicit trafficking and trade; healthcare within the criminal justice system; AI equity and policy; and national intelligence and security.

George Mason University was named the top young university in the United States in the Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings. Mason is Virginia’s largest public research university, the largest producer of tech talent in the State, and the 25th most diverse public university in the country.


1. Strategic Planning

  • Work closely with the Sr. Associate Dean for Administration and serve as a member of the leadership team of the Schar School in conceptualizing, developing, implementing and tracking long-term goals and plans, including growth projections and financial objectives to meet larger strategic goals;
  • Propose ways to allocate funds and investments so as to maximize growth opportunities for the School; and
  • Help to design the workforce for the future, including determining hiring needs, fostering inter-office collaboration, providing team members with growth opportunities and pathways, and promoting collaboration and community in a hybrid work environment.

2. Oversight and management of E&G, grants, and GMU Foundation Accounts

Oversee day-to-day management of the Schar School’s budgets, including but not limited to:


  • Develop, manage, and track E&G annual operating budgets at the School level and for various units/faculty within the School;
  • Prepare detailed analysis of budget, including variances and projections, at various points throughout the year;
  • Ensure that all Schar units/employees are effectively using, managing, and reconciling their own budgets;
  • Ability to discuss aspects of the budget, with a wide variety of people within the Dean’s Office, the Schar School, and Mason, in a clear and comprehensible manner;
  • Develop and maintain appropriate internal controls for Schar School finances and fiscal policies;
  • Ensure compliance with Federal, State, and University policies and procedures; and
  • Responsible for oversight and management of workflow for all fiscal activities.

Pre- and Post-Award Research Administration

  • Provide necessary inputs to OSP and faculty members when they develop budgets for proposals to be submitted. Assist others in a timely and proactive way, enabling them to oversee and manage the pre-award process;
  • Create processes and policies to ensure most effective use of grant funding;
  • Provide oversight and support of research grants and financial management for compliance with sponsor, university, state, and federal guidelines;
  • Set up accounts for awards and coordinate with OSP to arrange subawards and make necessary payments to subcontractors and consultants;
  • Review and approve funding for personnel reallocations and track project cost-share and PI effort requirements;
  • Review awards that are projected to be overspent and work with PI to mitigate financial risk; and
  • Manage reconciliations for PI review and approval. Ensure annual payroll certifications are reviewed, verified by PI, and submitted to OSP.

GMU Foundation

  • Track and ensure that GMUF accounts are being spent appropriately, as to maximize their impact and to facilitate future gifts while also complying with gift agreements and all university and foundation rules and policies.


  • Review all proposed contracts prior to submission to central procurement.

3. Professional Development of Schar Community

  • Through ongoing consultation and support, ensure that senior leadership of the School fully understands the budget, how it can be used most effectively, potential financial risks facing the school, costs and benefits of various initiatives, and creative ways (from a financial perspective) of approaching and addressing challenges; and
  • Provide staff and faculty throughout the Schar School with an understanding of the budget enabling them to maximize growth opportunities and do their jobs effectively and efficiently. This will require many one-on-one conversations as well as joint training sessions.

4. Communication and Collaboration

  • Effectively communicate short- and long-term fiscal data, objectives, challenges and opportunities with wide range of stake-holders within Schar and within the broader Mason community, including Fiscal Services, Budget and Planning and the Provosts Office; and
  • Collaborate with offices within Schar and within the broader Mason community to respond effectively to challenges, take advantage of opportunities, and achieve short- and long-term fiscal goals.

Preferred and Required Qualifications

Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in finance, accounting, or related field, or equivalent work experience;
  • Experience with managing budgets and finances in a university setting;
  • Demonstrated experience in preparing, monitoring, reconciling, and analyzing past, current, and future budgets;
  • Understanding of or experience with revenue and cost allocation models;
  • Knowledge of accounting principles; and
  • Deep understanding of federal and university grants management accounting politics and procedures.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with Elucian Higher Education Banner and Microstrategy software; and
  • Advanced financial/accounting degree preferred.

Application Details

For full consideration, applicants must apply at https://jobs.gmu.edu/postings/53281; complete and submit the online application; and upload a cover letter, resume, and a list of three professional references with contact information.

For full consideration, apply by April 25, 2022.

George Mason University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, committed to promoting inclusion and equity in its community. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or veteran status, or any characteristic protected by law.

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Application Deadline

Full consideration deadline - April 25, 2022