Vice-President, Finance and Administration

Vice-President, Finance and Administration{

Saint Mary’s University 

The opportunity


Saint Mary's University acknowledges that the University is located on the traditional land of the Mi’kmaq Nation. This territory is covered by the "Treaties of Peace and Friendship" which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. 

On its 42-acre campus in the south end of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Saint Mary’s University (SMU) is a modern, secular, and metropolitan university with strong traditions of accessibility and community engagement. SMU has a well-established commitment to cultural diversity and encourages and supports the development of global perspectives, developed on campus in the student body, the curriculum, and in teaching, research, and staff communities. Home to more than 6,400 students from over 115 countries who are enrolled across the Faculties of Science, Arts, Business, and Graduate Studies & Research, and with over 55,000 alumni worldwide, SMU is the second-largest university in Nova Scotia. SMU offers undergraduate degrees, Masters, and PhD programs in its areas of strengths in the natural sciences, humanities, business, and social sciences. The university is ranked highly in Canada for research, receiving over $10M annually from external funding sources and is home to eight Canada Research Chairs.  

It is within this context that Saint Mary’s University invites applications and nominations for the position of Vice-President, Finance and Administration commencing July 1, 2024, or soon after.  

Reporting to the President and Vice-Chancellor, the Vice President, Finance and Administration (“VPFA”) is the University’s senior administrative officer responsible for oversight of all non-academic affairs including the financial, operational, business and investment interests of the University. The departments in this portfolio include: People & Culture; Financial Services; Enterprise Information Technology; Athletics & Recreation, and Facilities Management. Working as a critical member of the Executive Management Group, the VPFA leads and oversees short-term and long-term financial and campus planning, playing an integral role in ensuring the University achieves its vision and mission. The VPFA also works externally, liaising with all levels of government, key institutional, business, and private partners, and representing the University locally, regionally, and nationally as appropriate and requested.  

In addition to acting as a key advisor to the President, the VPFA also works closely with the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research (P-VPAR) on university-wide planning and budgeting processes to ensure fiscal accountability and stewardship, alignment with the University’s objectives and strategic priorities, and jointly exercises responsibility for budget control procedures approved by the Board. As an extension of this, the VPFA serves as an executive resource to the University’s Board of Governors and, working with the President and P-VPAR, provides information, advice, and support to the Board as a whole and to key committees of the Board.  

As the ideal candidate, you are a seasoned executive with experience overseeing a broad range of administrative and financial functions, including budgeting, strategic and financial planning, economic forecasting and resource allocation, capital development, facilities management, information technology, risk planning, housing, human resource management, and athletics and recreation. Experience gained working in a large and complex organization with unionized staff is considered an asset, as is knowledge of broader public sector purchasing guidelines and directives. The successful candidate must appreciate and understand the multi-faceted, dynamic and collegial environment of university funding and will need to make budgetary decisions in a timely, transparent manner. You are adept at managing competing priorities and achieving resolutions within a collegial, collaborative framework. Your data-informed decisions allow you to make financial and planning decisions in a holistic manner, centered on ensuring an excellent student experience. Peers describe you as highly collaborative, a problem solver, a superb communicator, and as a senior leader with sound judgement and empathy. You value coaching and mentoring your team, embrace all aspects of diversity and will foster a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility and reconciliation. Candidates must hold a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university, coupled with significant relevant senior leadership experience. A professional accounting designation is considered an asset. Candidates must be committed to the highest standards of ethics, transparency, and honesty, and be prepared to make principled, and sometimes, difficult decisions.  

To apply or explore this academic leadership position at Saint Mary’s University further, please submit a curriculum vitae along with a cover letter in confidence to Jane Griffith ( and/or Caroline McLean ( 

At Saint Mary’s University, equity and diversity are integral to excellence and enrich our community. As an institution committed to fostering an environment of inclusion and respect, we welcome applications from women, Indigenous peoples, racialized persons/visible minorities, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, and others who might contribute to the growth and enrichment of our community. If you require accommodations during the recruitment process, please contact Human Resources at  

Candidates are encouraged to voluntarily self-identify by completing a Self-Identification Questionnaire that will be provided at the time of application. This form is provided to SMU, and all information collected is confidential. 

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.  

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