Anderson adapting to role as VPAT

Matthew Kelly

In October of last year, Washburn President Jerry. Farley announced the appointment of Richard Anderson as Vice President for Administration and Treasurer. The vice president began his new position on Nov. 1 of last year.

This is not Anderson’s first time working with Farley. There was a time when Farley was the vice president for business and finance for Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. At this time, Anderson was the assistant budget director at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

“Early in my career, I was at Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma both,” said Anderson, when asked about his history with Farley. “At the time he was in my role.

He was in the vice president for business and finance role at both of those places, and I got a chance to work with him on the budget side at both of those institutions.”

Anderson has dealt with various issues over the past few months, while becoming familiar with his new position. In fact, some of the issues Anderson addressed were pending upon his arrival here at Washburn. Not the least of which is a request for the outsourcing of all campus facilities.

“Probably the biggest issue that was pending upon my arrival is there was a formal request for proposal related to outsourcing all of campus facilities,” said Anderson. “I had to evaluate that proposal and make a determination as to whether we outsourced that operation or maintained it in house. The direction that we’re going at this time is that I prefer to in-source. In other words, keep that in house.”

Anderson said when determining whether or not to outsource a service, it is always best to consider just how vital that service is to the university’s mission.

Anderson added that keeping those key services in house allows the university’s administration, and students more control over their own destiny.

However, each of the services at Washburn must be examined individually. At times the decision of whether or not to outsource a service is simply a matter of expertise. There will always be some maintenance operations that require outside help.

“Every operation really needs to be looked at on case by case basis,” said Anderson. “For example, we outsource certain elevator maintenance, or some other things that we don’t have competencies for, so there are certain services we will need to outsource for because we wouldn’t necessarily have that expertise in house.”  

One of the upcoming issues that Anderson will face is in hiring a Director of Information Systems and Services. He will be working with Randall Pembrook, the recently appointed vice president of academic affairs on making a recommendation to President Farley.

“Dr. Pembrook and I will be making a recommendation to the president on how to proceed with that search, and how it relates to both the administrative and academic enterprise here at the university,” said Anderson.

Together the vice presidents have set up a number of committee structures to insure that input on how to fill the position is heard throughout the entire campus.

Anderson said that every university has their own culture and that, over the past several months he has been observing the culture here at Washburn, and the issues. He is looking for feedback from every person working under him, and hopes to us this to improve his operation.

“Over time there will be opportunities that I want to look at to improve my operation, and to serve the campus better, and I’ll be constantly looking for those opportunities,” said Anderson. “Each one of the people that work for me will be outlining priorities for the next year that hopefully will improve our service to the campus community.”