William Woods welcomed a new Chief Financial Officer/Vice President of Administration in May of this year, when Steve Mansdoerfer joined the University with more than 30 years of experience in finance and budget analysis, forecasting, strategic planning, multi-site operational leadership, client and vendor relations, facilities management, and project coordination. He recently sat down to answer Five Questions for The Woods Today, as told to John Fougere:
1.) What should we know about your background, personal information and higher education career prior to joining William Woods? My foundational background was in the active duty U.S. Air Force as an Accounting and Finance Officer in a few different locations. From the time I got out of active duty, I spent the remainder of my years in the Air Force Reserves as a Finance Officer/Analyst and retired as a Major. My civilian background includes a beginning in retail accounting management and then I have spent more than 25 years in both private non-profit and for-profit higher education. My last full-time higher education position was at the University of the Rockies in Denver where I had the privilege of working with both President Moreland and Dr. Blashak. Great to be back with them as part of the team here at The Woods! With my background in working with Development, I am very motivated to work with the WWU Development department to connect with Alumni. Looking forward to more of that in the future.
2.) What attracted you to join a university such as William Woods? In all my years of working with higher education, I have never been part of a traditional campus setting. William Woods has a great foundation with this team of faculty and staff and of course the students. I started here this last summer and it has been a blast watching the campus come alive! I am a sports fanatic and to be a supporter of the Owls is huge!
3.) As the University’s new Chief Financial Officer, what are your most important tasks at WWU? There are so many exciting things happening here at The Woods! My primary task is to ensure that WWU has the resources to provide for all of our students here along with our faculty and staff. Financial forecasts, budgets, financial reporting, strategic initiative implementation. And more…
4.) What are the biggest challenges from a financial standpoint for private higher education institutions like William Woods? Institutions similar in size to WWU have struggled with declining enrollment trends over the last number of years. Of course, that translates out to declining revenue and ultimately less resources for operations. The declining pool of traditional high school graduates has created a big part of this. And ultimately, of course, how do we continue to create affordability and value for WWU students and ultimately graduates. We are still feeling the effects of two years of COVID challenges which also hasn’t helped. But, there are opportunities or, as I say, “low hanging fruit” that can help WWU grow. And we are seeing that happen now with the current campus enrollment growth this Fall.
5.) What are some of your passions/hobbies? I love being with my wife, Luanne, and our family including our grandkids, some of who are in Colorado. Luanne and I really want to get back into some travel again now that things have settled down. Finally, I love sports. Particularly now back in football season. I am a big California Bay Area sports fan along with teams in Colorado. And then throw in following cross country/track, or PGA golf tournaments while relaxing on a Saturday afternoon. GO OWLS!