Senior Business Officer, Department of Computer Science
University of Southern California
Location: Los Angeles, California
Type: Full Time
University of Southern California Senior Business Officer Department of Computer Science Viterbi School of Engineering
Role Specifics Position: Senior Business Officer Organization: University of Southern California (USC) Location: Los Angeles, CA Reporting Relationship: Chair, Department of Computer Science Website:https://www.cs.usc.edu/
Position Summary The University of Southern California is seeking an experienced and engaging leader to serve as Senior Business Officer (SBO) for the Department of Computer Science within the Viterbi School of Engineering. As part of the largest department within one of the leading engineering schools in the United States, the next Senior Business Officer will be joining an innovative, elite, and internationally recognized program. With an interest in attracting the best talent in faculty, students, and staff and providing the environment for them to thrive, the department stimulates and encourages scholarship, leadership, ambition, and character. The Senior Business Officer will be joining a growing Department as it continues advancing the computer science discipline and its overall impact and reach.
Reporting directly to the Chair of the Department of Computer Science with a functional reporting relationship to the Viterbi Vice Dean for Finance & Administration, the Senior Business Officer will provide strategic financial and administrative leadership and oversight for the department, partnering with key stakeholders including the Chair, academic leadership, faculty, and staff in support of key strategic priorities and initiatives. With overarching responsibility for departmental finance and administration, the Senior Business Officer will oversee all facets of operations including finance, human resources, faculty affairs, research administration, and facilities. In doing so, the SBO works closely with central Viterbi business units across the full scope of their responsibilities.
As a key leader within the Department of Computer Science, the Senior Business Officer, with the support of a team of over 30 talented administrative professionals, will advance the department’s strategic priorities, thoughtfully engage its stakeholders, and enhance its overall operation. The ideal SBO will be a seasoned leader with deep expertise in finance and business operations within higher education. In addition, the Senior Business Officer will demonstrate impeccable ethics and collegiality in promoting an inclusive environment that fosters collaborative relationships and upholds USC’s principles.
The Institution The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international business, USC’s diverse curricular offerings provide extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary study and collaboration with leading researchers in highly advanced learning environments.
As the largest private employer in the City of Los Angeles, USC is responsible for $8 billion in economic activity annually. They offer the opportunity to work in a dynamic and diverse environment, in careers that span a broad spectrum of talents and skills across a variety of academic and professional schools and administrative units. With more than 46,000 students, USC is a leading private research university in Los Angeles – a global center for arts, technology, and international business.
Of the 150 universities surveyed in the western U.S., USC ranks No. 3. Among the top 25 schools, USC ranked No. 2 in engagement and No. 5 in environment, a measure of diversity and inclusion. For more information on USC, please feel free to visit their website at University of Southern California (usc.edu).
The Viterbi School of Engineering Founded in 1905, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering is named for Andrew and his late wife Erna Viterbi. Andrew developed the algorithm that now connects all the world. Located in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international business in the heart of the Pacific Rim, USC Viterbi is a hub for thought leadership and innovation and entrepreneurship that connects students from more than 60 countries. With solid financial footing and a rapidly growing study body, its unrestricted annual budget (excluding external research) exceeds $250M. The Viterbi Advancement office has secured more than $500M in gifts and pledges during the university’s most recent campaign.
In the U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) 2020 rankings of graduate programs in engineering, USC Viterbi was ranked #12 overall and #5 among private engineering schools, after MIT, Stanford, Caltech and CMU. A pioneer in offering online programs, USC Viterbi is consistently ranked among the top 5: Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs (ranked #5) and Best Online Information Technology Programs (ranked #2). Under the leadership of Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, the school helped re-imagine the 21st century engineer, pioneering the Grand Challenge Scholars Program in schools across the globe. The School’s mission is to serve California, the nation and the world.
For Fall 2021, the school enrolled 3,340 undergraduate students and 6,300 graduate students. USC Viterbi has the largest number of female graduate students (about 32% of the total USC Viterbi graduate enrollment) nationally and achieved gender parity in the entering fall classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021. It counts about 80,000 living alumni. During this period of time, the school counted 189 full-time, tenure track faculty; 117 full-time, non-tenure track faculty; 76 faculty with joint or other partial appointments; 21 part-time lecturers; more than 100 adjunct faculty; and 118 endowed chairs, professorships or distinctions. Additionally, USC Viterbi faculty includes 91 NSF CAREER recipients, 33 affiliated NAE members, 4 NAS members, 18 National Academy of Inventors Fellows, 13 recipients of the PECASE Award, 3 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), and 18 MIT TR-35 recipients (of whom 9 are women). Two faculty members have won the National Medal of Science and one the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (NMTI).
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the mission of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, which strives to enhance diversity in all sections of the engineering pipeline. For engineering to remain society’s engine of innovation, the School recognizes they must change the narrative about “what we do, who we are, and what we look like”. USC Viterbi believes that changing “the conversation about engineering” is a necessity. The School is increasing their capacity through the diversity of thought and ideas by engaging the whole society in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It led the 2015 ASEE diversity initiative, now adopted by more than 230 engineering schools in the nation.
With a strong global reach, the School has multiple partnerships with a number of overseas institutions, including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, the Technical University of Aachen, the University of Sao Paolo, and many others. Its unique educational technology platform, iPodia, offers joint courses with a number of these schools. USC Viterbi has two overseas offices, in Shanghai, China and Bangalore, India. It is advised by several advisory boards, including the Board of Councilors, an Emerging Leaders Board, the Corporate Board, a China and East Asia Board, and an India Board.
Department of Computer Science The USC Department of Computer Science is committed to extending the frontiers of knowledge, developing technology for good, and advancing education with real-world impact. Established in 1968, the department has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years. Their student population has tripled since 2011, and now boasts more than 80 faculty members, 300 doctoral students, 2,500 master’s students and 1,300 undergraduates. The operating budget for the department is over $37M and the research portfolio exceeds $10M in annual funding.
With this tremendous expansion, the department will soon have a new state-of-the-art home—a 116,000-square-foot structure on campus, thanks to a lead gift from dedicated USC supporters, Charlotte and Allen Ginsburg. This groundbreaking new facility will bring together computer science students, researchers and experts from disciplines across the university, as they collaborate on pressing issues like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, human trafficking and homelessness.
An excellent measure of the quality of any department is its ability to recruit outstanding junior faculty. In the past two years, Department of Computer Science has hired six new tenure-track assistant professors. A testament to the quality of the new faculty members and their contributions, during the past decade, nearly every new assistant professor has won the highly prestigious NSF CAREER Award. An equally good measure is the national recognition of its faculty. The department now boasts 5 National Academy of Engineering members, 17 IEEE Fellows, 15 AAAI Fellows, a Simons Fellow, and a Turing Award winner, in addition to many other recognitions bestowed on our faculty.
The department’s commitment to innovative research and teaching has paid off with recognition as one of the country’s leading computer science departments. For nine consecutive years, they have ranked among the top five in the U.S. News & World Report rankings for best online master’s programs in information technology. The USC Games program, offered in collaboration with USC’s School of Cinematics Arts, has been recognized by Princeton Review as North America’s top game design program for undergraduates. Finally, this year, computer science at USC was ranked 10 in the world and 9 in the nation by Guide2Reasearch.
Connecting with industry is also a key driver for the department. The Computer Science (CS) Department Industry Affiliate Program (IAP), which was launched in fall 2018, provides engagement opportunities with our exceptionally talented students, world-class faculty, and innovative researchers in an array of disciplines. Current members include Google, Lyft, DiDi and Microsoft.
With a strong belief that computer science is key to finding innovative solutions to the most complex problems facing society today, accelerating breakthroughs and forging new advances and ideas that will benefit humanity, the Department takes pride in their community for collaborating, innovating and delivering impactful research during such extraordinary times. In the past year, their professors and students have modeled and predicted the toll of COVID-19, developed privacy-first contact-tracing technology and identified vaccine misinformation on social media—to name just a few.
Key Responsibilities As a critical member of the Computer Science Department, the Senior Business Officer for Computer Science will provide strategic oversight and leadership as it relates to financial management, human resources, research administration, and facilities management. In doing so, the SBO must develop and maintain robust internal systems to ensure overall efficiency and effectiveness across all operational areas and school-wide strategic planning efforts. As the department’s senior administrator, the SBO oversees CS’s administrative operations, research administration, workforce strategy, and student services activities across the department. The SBO is also responsible for maintaining internal controls in all areas to ensure compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations, as well as university financial policies and procedures.
Financial Management and Budget Administration
Ensures that financial resources are aligned to meet the Department's goals and strategic objectives.
Manages financial activity, internal controls, and budgets.
Develops and monitors departmental budget of $37M along with sub-budgets for compensation, instruction, and expenses.
Provides regular and special financial reports, including annual budget forecast and monthly budget activity reports to Chair and VBA leadership.
Provides projections and forecasts as well as analyzes financial impacts and monitors and responds to budget variances.
Takes corrective action, as needed.
Administers internal financial policies and procedures. Develops, enhances, and maintains information systems to support financial operations.
Ensures that departmental systems complement and align with both School- and University-wide systems.
Human Resource and Faculty Affairs
Promotes the School's values and embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as fosters strong, collaborative relationships.
Administers the personnel and payroll functions for the department's faculty, staff, and student employees. Ensures timely and accurate processing of payroll.
Manages departmental workforce planning and employee relations.
Oversees staff recruitment, performance, development, and compensation in partnership with Viterbi Human Resources.
Recruits, screens, hires, and trains staff. Evaluates employee performance and provides guidance and feedback to assigned staff.
Counsels and disciplines employees as required.
Supports faculty recruitment, appointments, and promotions in partnership with departmental leadership and Viterbi Faculty Affairs.
Directly and indirectly supervises assigned subordinate staff, including over 30 staff positions in the areas of payroll, administration, finance, research administration, and student services.
Research Administration and Contracts & Grants Compliance
Oversees the contracts and grants research program in partnership with Viterbi Research Administration.
Ensures appropriate oversight and compliance with internal and external policies and procedures (including all applicable laws and regulations) across all contract and grant activity.
Advises faculty and staff on external agency requirements and guidelines; interacts with school and university contracts and grants departments to resolve problems and clarify policies; and develops internal procedures for monitoring and tracking of research awards for compliance.
Manages staff/faculty assignments and ensures balanced portfolio of effort across all research staff.
Solicits, captures, and analyzes data/metrics related to research administration for a research portfolio of over $10M.
Coordinates annual survey of research space and equipment, and on-site visits.
Facilities and Space Planning
Manages the department's facilities and space consisting of faculty, staff and student offices; conference rooms; and labs, both instructional and research.
Responsible for space allocation, building maintenance and renovations, safety and emergency procedures, including purchasing of new equipment, as well as maintenance and repair of existing facilities and equipment.
Develops and implements security related procedures such as office opening and closing routines, recognition of duress signals and key controls.
Coordinates security activities with other university departments.
Ensures dissemination of security related information to department personnel.
Special Projects/Other Duties
Coordinates department's projects and programs as assigned, including the annual Faculty Merit Review process and Annual Faculty Record providing statistical reports and materials for peer review.
Plans and coordinates special events, conferences and seminars as scheduled including the annual Distinguished Lecture Series, Advisory Board on-campus meeting, and PhD scholarship recruitment campus visits.
Manages departmental business continuity plan.
Professional Qualifications The Senior Business Officer must be an ambitious, strategic, and agile leader with a passion for higher education coupled with demonstrated success working at a senior level of an academic unit or complex organization to set and achieve aspirational goals. The ideal candidate will bring a proven track record of senior level expertise in finance and administration coupled with proactive leadership, team building skills, and outstanding communication and interpersonal skills.
The ideal candidate must have exceptional relationship skills along with an ability to collaborate and partner with academic leadership, colleagues across campus, and other key stakeholders. The Senior Business Officer must be able to provide strategic oversight as well as day-to-day execution along with the ability to be response to the competing needs and interests of other divisions, departments, and units.
Other desired qualifications and leadership characteristics include:
Minimum a 5 years' experience in departmental administration with proven financial leadership experience preferably in higher education.
Advanced knowledge of institutional finance in a complex research-intensive environment.
Demonstrated leadership skills with the ability to oversee and motivate a group of a broad and varied group of finance and administrative professionals to achieve departmental goals.
Strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a foundational value central to the School’s mission.
Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills coupled with the ability to relate to colleagues, faculty, staff, and administration.
An ability to work in a hectic and results-oriented department that is poised for growth.
Detail oriented and strong organizational and analytical skills along with the ability to demonstrate initiative, tact, diplomacy, and creativity.
Education An undergraduate degree is required. Preference will be given to candidates with an advanced degree and relevant certifications.
Compensation Compensation and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.