Northwest University - Chief Financial Officer Opportunity Profile
Chief Financial Officer
Presented by The Dingman Company
Northwest University is a comprehensive master’s-level university in the Christian liberal arts tradition.
Founded in Seattle by the Assemblies of God in 1934 as Northwest Bible Institute, the school began by offering de- grees only in Bible. In the school’s 50th year, NU added degrees outside the area of church ministry. Twenty-five years later, Northwest launched its first doctoral program, the Doctor of Psychology degree. Today, the university currently offers over 50 undergraduate degree programs, eleven master’s degrees, and three doctoral programs (PhD, EdD, and PsyD) in nine colleges (Business; Education; Nursing; Ministry; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts and Sciences; Creatio Center for Technology, Media, and Design; Center for Leadership Studies; and Adult and Professional Studies).
Northwest University serves a wide variety of Christians in our undergraduate degree programs. Approximately 30% of its students are from churches affiliated with the General Council of the Assemblies of God, but many come to NU from other denominations. The school remains deeply committed to the Spirit-filled academic and professional life, and the university requires that members of the Office of the President (president and senior administrators) be members of Assemblies of God churches. All students admitted to traditional undergraduate programs must be confessing Christians and provide a pastoral reference attesting to their testimony.
In contrast, graduate programs and all degrees in the College of Adult and Professional Studies are open to students of all faith backgrounds, including students who may be unbelievers but are willing to study in a community committed to Christian values, morality, and faith.
Northwest University is a multigenerational and international community composed of over 10,000 alumni, around 2,400 current students, 68 full-time faculty members, over 200 full-time employees, over 1,000 regional churches, 23 board members (Board of Directors), and thousands of constituents of other kinds.
We, the people of Northwest University, carry the call of God by continually building a learning community dedicated to spiritual vitality, academic excellence, and empowered engagement with human need.
Founded in Seattle by the Assemblies of God in 1934 as Northwest Bible Institute, the founding statement of purposes envisioned the current status of the school as a full-fledged institution of higher learning, offering academic and professional training at all degree levels across such fields as ministry, education, nursing, business, technology, and others. The school began offering degrees only in Bible, but in the 50th year of operation, added degrees outside the area of church ministry, and in the 75th year, launched the first doctoral program, the Doctor of Psychology degree.
Northwest University has stayed the course set forth by its founders. Supported by nine AG districts in the Northwestern United States (Northwest, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, Southern Idaho, Wyoming, Hawaii, Northwest Hispanic, and Central Pacific), the university educates and equips students to use their gifts for the Kingdom of God.
In recent years, U.S. News and World Report has consistently ranked Northwest University in the top 50 Regional Universities in the West. The university has experienced significant growth in the past twenty years, and despite a recent downturn in undergraduate admission (especially due to the loss of international students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic), the school expects to see growth in the years ahead that will ensure an exciting future for the community.
Vision for the Future
The next 13 years promise to be some of the most exciting chapters in NU’s story as it finishes “the Northwest Century” and actualizes the full potential of its founders’ vision.
Expansion of Degree Offerings and Online Opportunity
The nominal transition from college to university in 2005 set in motion a new season of growth at the university. After a season of limited campus expansion due to residenctial hall capacity, the university diversified its offerings in 2007 through graduate programs, adult education options, extension sites, and distance education/online programs. In 2010, the university adopted a new model which prioritized these nontraditional offerings and expanded online programs the following year.
As of Fall 2020, traditional undergraduate enrollment made up 35% of total enrollment, down from 71% in 2007. As online and graduate enrollments increase in the next five years, the university anticipates the number of nontraditional students will exceed 75% of the total enrollment.
Given the university’s close proximity to the regional technology hub in the Seattle area, NU is preparing for a significant increase in the number of undergraduate and graduate programs in technology. Recent additions include computer science, user experience design, data science, video production, and audio production. These programs are all housed in the Creatio Center for Technology, Media, and Design. Upcoming studies in game development and cybersecurity will continue to set Northwest University apart as the premier Christian university for computer science-related fields.
Continued investment in the College of Business will shape majors to fit the needs of businesses and industries in Seattle. Northwest University is located in the midst of some of the world’s most powerful and transformative businesses and in one of the hottest entrepreneurial climates on the globe. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and T-Mobile are close neighbors who employ thousands, and this proximity offers students a vibrant culture and opportunity to enter the tech industry.
Furthermore, Northwest University intends to convert current tracks in business administration, education, and ministry into self-standing PhD, DM, and EdD programs, as well as adding a PhD in Educational Psychology. Accomplishing these goals over the next 10 years, the university will achieve doctoral university status in the Carnegie Classification, as projected in the president’s career goals since 2007.
Currently, Northwest University is working on adding a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program, as well as a physician’s assistant program. These two new programs will bring additional graduate students into the university and will continue the process of revenue diversification that the university has been working toward since 2007.
In November 2019, Northwest University’s 20-year master plan was approved by the City of Kirkland and the Houghton Community Council. This master plan outlines the major building additions and replacements for the next 20 years, including two new academic buildings and a new residence hall. NU is also preparing to replace the Pecota Student Center with a welcome center and new cafeteria. The Brodin Pavilion (gymnasium) and Ness Academic Building will also be replaced. Lastly, the master plan includes a proposal to expand the current Chapel and make improvements to the athletic fields.
Efforts are already underway for several of these projects, and the new chief financial officer will be heavily involved
at every level. Architects and contractors are already committed to this work. NU plans to begin the Chapel remodel and addition in the summer of 2022. The team hopes to submit for permits by the fall of 2021. NU is also working to remodel and update the current residence halls and has plans for a new academic building for the College of Business and the Creatio Center for Technology, Media, and Design.
President Dr. Joseph Castleberry
The university elected its sixth president, Dr. Joseph L. Castleberry, in May 2007. As an ordained Assemblies of God minister, Dr. Castleberry served as a missionary to Latin America for 20 years, working with residential teams in El Salvador, Texas (Global University), and Ecuador. He spent the last
five years of his missionary appointment on loan to the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, where he served as academic dean and continued to manage overseas projects, traveling frequently to Latin America and Europe. He has maintained professional involvement simultaneously in the church and the academy during his whole career, and he preaches frequently in churches and in conferences around the world.
Dr. Castleberry has been continuously involved in higher education since 1978. He is also an active scholar, writer, and captivating speaker. Dr. Castleberry plans to remain as president at least until he finishes his 25th year in 2032.
Chief Financial Officer
Under the direction of the president, the chief financial officer administers and supervises the business affairs of Northwest University and the personnel involved in it. The CFO is responsible to become thoroughly familiar with the purposes, functions, and internal and external relationships of the department; to assign and instruct departmental personnel in their duties and confer with them as needed, offering guidance, holding them accountable, and developing them in their respective job functions; to report to the President as stipulated, to interact with the Office of the President as need requires about the ongoing work of the department and its personnel, and submit proposals for its furtherance and development as requested.
The CFO will report directly to President Dr. Joseph Castleberry. The CFO also serves as an associate member of the Faculty Council, as a full member of the Foundation Board of Trustees, and as a resource to the Board of Directors attending meetings fully with voice but without vote.
Essential Functions and Duties
- Direct operations in accounting.
- Serve as purchasing agent with power to delegate responsibility to subordinate personnel but retaining budgetary control over designated areas.
- Maintain and safeguard all records relating to Northwest University, including legal documents such as titles, mortgages, etc.
- Carry general responsibility for fire prevention and supervise the insurance programs.
- Assist the Office of the President in the preparation of the annual budget and provide progress reports to the president on budgetary income and expenditures.
- Maintain a beneficial relationship with the university’s bank(s) and investment manager(s).
- Serve on committees whose functions are related to the business management of the university.
- Maintain continuous communications and rapport on matters of policy and serve as a colleague to members of the Office of the President.
- Submit semi-annual reports to the president, including reports from directors serving under the CFO’s direction.
- Chair committees as assigned. Record, keep, and distribute the minutes of the committee meetings.
- Evaluate employees under the CFO’s direction in accordance with the Personnel Evaluation Policy of the university.
- Review these responsibilities annually in self-evaluation of performance, commenting appropriately on this evaluation in the annual report to the president.
- Supervise the maintenance and upkeep of campus facilities, including buildings, grounds, and equipment, and manage external vendor relationships for such services. Work with appropriate personnel to plan for security enhancements and improvements for students, faculty, and staff.
- Manage all new construction projects on the university campus.
- Supervise the Information Technology department and all computer facilities on campus and at extension sites.
- Supervise the Human Resources department and direct the department toward the achievement of stated goals and objectives.
- Work in conjunction with other vice presidents to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of university operations. Work on defining projects and/or departments to focus on and review work toward established goals for this work.
- Manage the external vendor relationship with Pioneer College Caterers for the provision of food services on the Kirkland campus.
- Manage the nonresidential income producing assets of the university, achieving the highest amount of income possible, given current market conditions.
- Be responsible for the Emergency Crisis Management Plan and the Emergency Crisis Management Team.
- Performs other work-related duties as assigned.
- Recognize, understand, and agree to live by the moral and ethical standards of Northwest University, as outlined in
- the Assemblies of God Statement of Faith, the Northwest University Community Affirmation, and Northwest University Statement of Principles. (northwestu.edu/about/mission.)
- Candidates should have a bachelor’s or equivalent degree. A master’s degree and/or doctorate is beneficial.
- An active CPA license is strongly encouraged.
- Strong working knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and nonprofit tax.
- A proven and successful track record as a senior financial officer, either at the CFO or controller level.
- Member of and regular attender of an Assemblies of God church or willing to join one.
- Demonstrate a commitment to maintaining a safe work environment free of harassment, violence, and unlawful discrimination.
- Ability to communicate effectively, get along well with co-workers, and deal effectively and professionally with colleagues.
- The functions are usually performed while sitting, but may involve some amount of time standing, stooping, kneeling, bending, crouching, lifting (max. of 40 lbs.), walking, carrying, reaching, stretching, climbing, performing repetitive motions of the hands or wrists, and other movements. The abilities of seeing, hearing, and speaking are also required.
Northwest University is located in the heart of the Houghton neighborhood
of Kirkland, Washington. Money magazine recently named Kirkland the Fifth Best Place to Live in the United States, and the city is widely lauded as a well- run, beautiful, neighborly city. It is one of America’s safest cities from a crime perspective, and it enjoys an incredible job market and robust local economy.
James Wellman, a religion scholar at the University of Washington, dubbed Kirkland “the Bible Belt of the Pacific Northwest” because of the large number of mega churches within a ten-mile radius of Kirkland. Despite the relatively large Christian population, the city is unquestionably a mission field that shares the post-ecclesial culture of the Pacific Northwest.
The Kirkland Civic Orchestra partners with the Northwest University Concert Choir for an annual Christmas concert at Seattle’s world-famous Benaroya Hall.
Located on the shores of Lake Washington, a freshwater lake just one mile away from the saltwater Puget Sound, Kirkland is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and volcanoes, especially Mt. Rainier to the south. Free public parks line the waterfront, and public trails make Kirkland an ideal home for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and runners and bikers. Just two blocks south of the Northwest University campus, Watershed Park offers wooded trails and inspirational views for employees taking an exercise break.
More information about our location (with photos) is available at: northwestu.edu/admissions/location.
Statement of Faith
Northwest University aligns with the Assemblies of God Statement of Faith as well as the Northwest University Community Affirmation and Northwest University Statement of Principles.
More information about our statement of faith is available at: northwestu.edu/about/faith.
Anticipated Search Calendar
It is anticipated that the top four CFO candidates will be interviewed by the Interviewing Committee in late January 2022.
Search and Selection Process
The president of Northwest University along with the interviewing committee is charged with vetting candidates for the position and is assisted by Bruce Dingman of the Dingman Company.
The Dingman Company will explore a broad network to suggest potential candidates. This thorough search will include consideration of many names and subsequent review of resumés. When appropriate, candidates will be asked to provide a thorough resume, complete Northwest University’s application, respond to a questionnaire, and have a video interview with Bruce Dingman. Those holding the most promise will then be interviewed in person. Next, references and backgrounds will be checked, degrees verified, and an extensive candidate profile will be prepared for the interviewing committee.
The interviewing committee will initially interview the top four candidates. When the preferred candidate is identified, the candidate (and if applicable, their spouse) will participate in a final interview.
At this time they will meet the university staff and leadership team. Interviews will most likely take place in the later part of January 2022.
The Dingman Company, Inc. is a retained executive search firm devoted exclusively to serving clients in matters of executive search. While some of our assignments are in the corporate sector, due to our faith, we primarily serve nonprofit organizations run by followers of Jesus Christ. As a faith-based religious institution, our client complies with all applicable laws pertaining to nondiscrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and any other applicable legally protected category. As a religious institution, our client has the right to, and does, require its employees to hold beliefs consistent with its statement of faith.
We fully respect the need for confidentiality of information supplied by interested parties and assure them that their backgrounds and interests will not be discussed with anyone, including our client, without the applicant’s prior consent, nor will reference contacts generally be made until mutual interest has been established. Reference checking will involve the candidate’s permission to access third parties. The search consultants will be cautious and sensitive as needed in preserving each candidate’s anonymity.