Position: President and CEO

Job Summary/Objective

The AICU President and CEO is a higher education leader who can professionally represent the Arkansas independent colleges and be the face of the independent higher education sector to diverse stakeholders. The President is the chief spokesperson for the public value of private education in Arkansas. The President will foster a collaborative and forward-looking environment for the presidents and the board of directors and is responsible for providing leadership for all aspects of the AICU. The President is the chief executive officer of the corporation and provides professional leadership, and, with the support of the Board of Directors, executes the mission of AICU. The President and CEO serves as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors. The President oversees all employees, contracts for administrative, statistical and other services, and provides for all necessary assistance for the corporation’s Board of Directors.

Organizational Summary

The council of Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities was founded in March 1954 as the Arkansas foundation of Associated Colleges. The AICU began as an organization to provide funding for the state’s private colleges and universities, but has evolved to provide public policy advocacy to support legislative policy for the independent sector. Current membership consists of eleven colleges and universities accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The President, in collaboration with the Board, will be tasked with crafting and articulating the direction of the AICU.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Coordinates and advocates on matters related to public policy and the public interests of private colleges and universities before the Arkansas legislature and other state agencies;
  • Develops and executes both long and short-term fundraising strategies in support of AICU members;
  • Seeks, writes, and submits grants on behalf of the AICU and in collaboration with member institutions;
  • Aggregates information related to outcomes, personnel, operations, and budgeting across AICU members and benchmarks against best practices, and proposes cost­-savings opportunities as appropriate;
  • Formulates and manages the annual operating budget and monthly/year-to-date/year-­end reporting;
  • Generates an annual report that summarizes the achievements and challenges from the year as well as identification of priority strategies and initiatives for the coming year;
  • Initiates and expands partnerships with businesses, foundations and other educational agencies and institutions, both public and private;
  • Monitors and interprets to relevant campus personnel and the Board of Directors the evolving changes in higher education public policy and finance;
  • Coordinates activities of AICU and its member colleges and universities related to federal policy issues through the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU);
  • Actively participates in the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities State Executives (NAICUSE) and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC);
  • When appropriate, engages presidents and board members to communicate with federal legislators to interpret the impact of proposed changes in federal policy;
  • Facilitates partnerships between and among AICU campuses, stakeholders and constituents that support the member colleges’ missions to improve educational programs, and administrative and financial performance;
  • Establishes services as practical and necessary to achieve cost savings and cost avoidance for member institutions.


The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated record of administrative leadership experience in higher education, preferably in a non-profit setting, either at an institution or an association of such institutions. The ability to develop and implement a collective, overall strategy that assertively advances the mission and purposes of the AICU is essential. Strong technical skills, an independent entrepreneurial approach, and excellent communication and analytical abilities are necessary as are exceptional personal and relational abilities.

A bachelor’s degree is required with a doctoral degree preferred. A minimum of ten years of work experience within the higher education arena or comparable not-for-profit advocacy is required.

Skills and Abilities

  • Results/outcomes oriented with ability to establish and execute business strategies and deliver on organizational objectives;
  • Ability to create an inclusive, trusting culture with presidents, board members, state legislators, business leaders, and partners;
  • Ability to assemble and work through teams – presidents, board members, state legislators, business leaders, partners, vendors, and institutional staff;
  • Entrepreneurial mindset/spirit and ability to innovate; willing to take calculated risks in order to identify opportunities;
  • Excellent communication and public speaking skills;
  • Problem solving skills and solution orientation with focus on growth and long-term success;
  • Good understanding of higher education business, operations (e.g. marketing, public relations, finance, HR) and fundraising especially as it relates to student need, financial aid policies, and the role of scholarships;
  • Analytic skills including understanding of budget development, monitoring, and financial reports.

Preferred Qualities and Qualifications

  • President must be able to communicate effectively with a wide variety of college, public policy and corporate officials;
  • Successful experience working with elected and other public officials;
  • Successful candidate will demonstrate knowledge of, or direct experience with Arkansas;
  • Successful experience in managing and developing high-performance teams from member institutions, as well as set and achieve strategic objectives;
  • A demonstrated record of managing successfully a small staff of professionals and providing an office culture of effective performance and positive reinforcement;
  • Capacity to work directly with campus personnel on issues of common interests (e.g. Provosts, Chief Financial Officers, etc.);
  • Extensive knowledge of the private institutions’ financial, academic and campus cultures;
  • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people and the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures.

Other Information

  • Although the Board expects the President to be present for the Arkansas legislative session, the President will be given great latitude on city of residence.
  • For the right candidate, the Board will consider secondary employment.
  • The current President has a home office.

Instructions to Apply

  • Review of candidate materials will begin April 1, 2019 and continue until the appointment. Anticipated start date on, or before, August 1, 2019.
  • A complete application will include a letter of interest, a résumé and contact information for three to five professional references.
  • Inquiries, nominations, referrals and applications (including résumés and letters of interest) may be sent electronically: c/o Office of the President, University of the Ozarks at president@ozarks.edu.
  • For full consideration, all applications should be completed and filed by May 1, 2019.