Slippery Rock University President William Behre has restructured his cabinet.
“The president’s cabinet serves as my leadership team and provides advice, develops and implements university-wide initiatives, and oversees operation of the University,” Behre said. “Throughout the past 10 months as I’ve assessed SRU’s strengths, the challenges we face and what we will need to do to continue to operate at the highest levels, it became apparent that a restructuring of the cabinet was in order.”
The biggest change was a new role for Amir Mohammadi, who will now be known at the university’s chief innovation officer and serve as the senior vice president for administration and economic development. His prior title was vice president for finance and administration.
“Dr. Mohammadi has agreed to accept this new challenge as the university’s chief innovation officer,” Behre said. “This is a critical position that will help identify new sources of revenue and promote a culture of innovation that positions SRU squarely within broader entrepreneurial ecosystems. He will work to expand the University’s partnerships regionally and beyond to promote economic growth and develop strategies to link programs to workforce needs. He’ll also provide leadership for large-scale international partnerships and serve as the institution’s chief contract negotiator across all segments of the university.”
Behre said he also felt it important to flatten reporting lines, so he has direct access to information critical to successfully achieving the school’s strategic initiatives.
“This will entail having enrollment services, human resources and institutional research join the cabinet and report directly to me,” he said.
Mohammadi was in the spotlight last year when he formally filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was discriminated against when he threw his hat in the race to be SRU’s next president in 2017. He alleges his Iranian origin, Muslim faith and race blocked his promotion to president, despite a three-decade career at Slippery Rock.
As a result of these changes, cabinet membership will include:
William Behre, president. As the chief executive officer, Behre provides leadership and oversight for all aspects of the University, including academics, finance, planning, student affairs, enrollment, advancement, human resources, athletics and other key areas. The president works closely with the cabinet to ensure that the strategic direction and policies of the University are aligned with its mission. As the chief executive officer, the president has principal responsibility for the planning, development, implementation, assessment and improvement of all programs and policies.
Philip Way, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs. As the chief academic and student life officer, Way is responsible for the creation and implementation of the academic priorities for the institution as well as ensuring the quality of its educational programs. He also is responsible for fostering the University’s commitment to student success by actively developing, implementing and maintaining undergraduate and graduate programs that enrich student learning, build and maintain a strong sense of community, and promote growth through engagement in the life of the University. Way oversees the academic deans, athletics, police, global engagement, information and administrative technology, student success and transformational experiences.
Amir Mohammadi, senior vice president for administration and economic development. As the chief innovation officer, Mohammadi provides leadership for expanding the University’s partnerships regionally and beyond to promote economic growth and developing strategies that link programs to workforce needs. He also provides leadership for large-scale international partnerships and serves as the institution’s chief contract negotiator across all segments of the University. He is responsible for directing a broad range of University administrative matters, including campus construction, sustainability, facility maintenance and “systemness” partnerships. Mohammadi oversees the assistant vice president for facilities planning and environmental safety, director of sustainability and the director of auxiliary operations. He collaborates with the chief financial officer in the areas of purchasing, bond financing, changes brought about as a result of the current “systemness” discussion that is emerging from the Chancellor’s Office and staying apprised of key financial metrics.
Rita Abent, chief communication and public affairs officer. Abent conceives, implements, evaluates and refines strategic communications to support and advance the institution’s goals and priorities. She stewards the public face of the institution, oversees constituent-based communications and advises the president, senior officers, faculty and other members of the University community on communication strategy and opportunities. Her portfolio includes: content strategy and strategic communications; crisis communication; news and media relations; web and digital communications, social media, graphic communication, The ROCK Magazine, athletic communications, University Licensing and commencement. Abent serves as the official University spokesperson and is the agency’s Right To Know Officer.
Carrie Birckbichler, chief data officer. Birckbichler provides executive leadership for building a data informed culture among administrators, faculty and staff focused on the effective use of data and analysis to improve the quality of institutional decision-making and stewardship of institutional resources. Her position is responsible for data governance functions and advocates for issues related to data analysis, standards and data integrity. She serves as the official source of statistical information and institutional analysis for SRU and oversees University reporting for institutional compliance with State System, commonwealth and national requirements. Birckbichler’s portfolio includes: academic resources; academic affiliation agreements; accreditation and assessment; compliance; grants, contracts and sponsored research; institutional research; state authorization; student information reporting; student services; and summer school.
Molly Mercer, chief financial officer. Mercer provides leadership and direction for all financial-related matters throughout the institution in support of education, research and strategic goals of the University. Mercer advises the president and provides vision and strategy to lead the financial direction of the institution. She oversees the development of the annual fiscal budget and long range planning for use in resource allocation decisions. As CFO she is responsible for policy development that reflect the appropriate application of accounting principles, internal control standards and compliance with applicable board of governors or regulatory requirements. Mercer’s portfolio includes: Controllers Office, budget and planning, accounting services, accounts payable, student accounts, purchasing and contracts, and administrative/financial systems.
Tina Moser, chief of staff. Moser provides overall support for the operation of the President’s Office and serves as an adviser to the president. She reports directly to the president and helps to facilitate strategic management processes, provide expertise and program management for specific strategic initiatives out of the President’s Office that are critical in meeting the institution’s goals. She builds and nurtures relationships to serve as a resource for the president and point of contact as designated for key constituents to resolve complex issues and help move forward institutional priorities. Moser provides oversight for: alumni relations; special events; and the President’s Commissions on disability; racial and ethnic diversity; women; gender identity and expression and sexual orientation; wellness; sustainability; mental health and veterans and military affairs. She serves as the administrative liaison to the council of trustees.
Lynne Motyl, chief human resources officer. Motyl provides vision and strategy for human capital development in support of the University’s overall mission, vision, values and strategic plan. She provides leadership for developing human capital strategies, decision support and administration, planning and management of human resources-related matters campuswide. Her portfolio includes: talent acquisition and development; human resources information systems; professional and leadership development; legal and regulatory compliance, compensation and performance management; employee engagement and relations; benefits; immigration; diversity; Title IX and labor and employee relations.
Amanda Yale, chief enrollment management officer. Yale provides strategic and operational guidance for both the vision and results of integrated recruitment, financial aid and recruitment marketing initiatives in connection with the University’s mission and strategic plan; advises enrollment policy; helps lead the institution toward innovative domestic enrollment partnerships; and plays a pivotal role in ensuring the University’s continuing excellence. She advises and advocates for continual enhancement of best practice enrollment management tactics, including but not limited to recruitment events, recruitment marketing and communication flow, financial leveraging and literacy, segmented academic campaigns, funnel management, and contact and outreach campaigns. Her portfolio includes: academic records and registration; financial aid and scholarships; undergraduate and graduate admissions; and orientation.
Edward Bucha, executive director of the SRU Foundation, Inc., will continue to attend cabinet as an ad hoc member.
“While the leadership team will begin transition activities immediately, these changes will officially take place July 1,” Behre said. “It’s also important to note that this restructuring was achieved within the current complement of FTEs, we did not add any new lines to the budget.
Within the next few months, the university will begin advertising for an additional cabinet member, a vice president for advancement and chief development officer. The vice president for advancement will fill the position vacated by the retirement of Barbara Ender.