As the new Vice President for Administration and Finance, Randy J. Harris has spent the last couple of weeks working 13 to 14 hours a day, making sure he is armed with as much knowledge as possible, in order to make the right decisions.
New to the job as of April 2, his job entails making sure the university uses funds appropriately in order to move the education process forward.
His first major duty has been reviewing the upcoming year’s budget. He is reviewing what funds are available and where they will be allocated.
Although new to the position, Harris’ background has always been in finance and administration.
Harris came to CSUN from his last position as director of financial operations at Brigham Young University in Utah.
Prior to BYU, he lived in Central America and was the president of the Guatemala City North Mission.
Harris was also the VP for Administration and Finance for the University of Houston.
Harris decided to apply for VP at CSUN because he prefers working for a public school system. Throughout his career, he has had the chance to work for both public and private schools.
Harris said the public school system seems to be able to help students faster. He said public universities are also faster in resolving issues and meeting the needs of the students.
In just a few weeks at CSUN, Harris said that he is very impressed with everyone.
“I have never met a more dedicated group of people at any other university,” he said.
Harris has had his eye on CSUN for quite some time now, and has monitored its success.
He said that after the 1994 earthquake in Northridge, he was impressed to see how the university recovered in the face of adversity.
Another reason why Harris was interested in working for CSUN is President Jolene Koester.
“We have a stellar president,” he said.
He said Koester’s great reputation has been evident not only in the region, but across the country.
He said that he is impressed by her knowledge, and her ability to see and understand problems ahead of time.
Since he is new to the job, Harris doesn’t have any specific concerns yet, but said that his priority is to make sure Koester’s goals are met.
Harris said that one major challenge as VP is to be able to focus on all the important issues at once and to apply the resources to each one.
“VP for Administration and Finance has a lot of responsibilities under his direction,” said presidential Chief of Staff, Barbara Gross.
She said his division is diverse and the VP is responsible for everything from public safety to athletics.
Gross has already met with Harris and considers him a very qualified person for the job. She said he comes from a background of major financial responsibilities from several schools.
Harris said his travels have taught him to embrace and enjoy diversity. He enjoys his job because of the people and the students.
Harris has made sure to attend commencement ceremonies at past universities he has worked at. He said that although most students don’t even know him, he knows how important graduation is for each student and for their families.
He said that each student has the talent and the ability to obtain a good education.
Harris replaces Jim Sullivan who served as an interim VP while the university searched for a permanent replacement.
“Sullivan did a wonderful job during his time here,” Gross said. She added that he stayed longer than usual until the new VP was found.