Search begins for permanent vice president

Ben Wolford

Heisler fills role in administration until replacement is found

When David Creamer left his office as vice president for administration, he also left a big hole, said Patricia Book, chair of the committee charged with filling it.

“One of the problems is that he set the bar so high,” Book said. “We’ve got to be fair. We have to be careful we’re not holding everybody to his standard.”

Book leads a 19-member committee she said is “broadly representative of the university,” including people from different academic departments, regional campuses and students.

Creamer left Kent State May 31 for a position as vice president of finance and business services and treasurer at Miami University.

Robert “Yank” Heisler, special assistant to the president for community and business strategies, stepped in as interim June 1.

A former chief financial officer for KeyBank, Heisler is right for the job, said President Lester Lefton.

“It was natural for me to say, ‘While we’re in a search, could you fill in?'” Lefton said. “He is taking an active role and is acting as if he is the vice president for finance and administration.”

Heisler said his familiarity with finance and with Kent State’s community contacts has made his transition to the office nearly seamless.

“You pick up lots of things just being involved here,” he said. “I think Dave (Creamer) had the sense that he and I didn’t need to spend a lot of time on the financial stuff because of my background.”

One of the big projects Heisler said he hopes to keep rolling is the development of the university’s new budget model, Responsibility Center Management, which would give greater financial resource decisions to colleges.

Otherwise, he plans to help the staff who report to the vice president position adjust to the change.

“I bring a fresh perspective,” Heisler said. “It’s a new set of eyes and thoughts and these folks will at least have the benefit of a little different perspective as they lead into the new person.”

Meanwhile, the search for the new person continues “right on schedule,” Book said.

“The president charged us at the end of March and he asked us to identify candidates for on-campus interviews by July,” she said.

Book said they originally had over 120 prospects, of which they received 40 applications. They’re currently narrowing those down to the people they’ll interview, and they hope to make an offer by July or August.

“We’re looking for someone with substantial experience,” Book said. “This is a comprehensive and complex institution, and the role has broad administrative and financial responsibilities.”

Some of the qualities the committee is looking for include at least 10 years of administrative experience, leadership and planning skills and a background in RCM budgeting.

“It’s a very attractive position in the state of Ohio,” Book said. “And it’s an important position, so we’re all working really hard to make sure we get a good person.”

Contact principal reporter Ben Wolford at [email protected].