An Interview with the Director

Q1: For people who don't know what the Risk Management is, what is it and what are some of your responsibilities as the Director?

In simple terms Risk Management is identifying risks to which the University is exposed, analyzing the potential impacts on the University, and deciding what action can be taken to avoid or manage the risk.

Some of the things that I will be doing to accomplish this are:

  • Developing University-wide policies and procedures for identifying and managing risk.
  • Determining the best mechanism for financing risk including the placement and administration of the University's insurance programs.
  • Providing leadership in working with the campus community to develop risk management programs.
  • Developing training seminars for the campus community on risk management and insurance topics.
  • Coordinating University-wide loss prevention efforts.
  • Managing claims including employment practices, malpractice, auto, general liability and property claims.

Q2: What was your position at GVSU before this new title?

I have been Director of Business Services since 1986. This position encompassed a broad span of responsibility including Campus Dining, University Bookstores, copy services, vending and risk management and insurance. As the University and its mission and activities grew so did every one of the responsibilities I had until it was clear that Risk Management needed to be treated as a full time function.

Q3: What ideals and thoughts do you have that will help you be a successful Risk Management Director?

The underlying ideal is simply to support the mission of the University - Educating students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies.

That being said it takes a genuine concern for the safety of our students and everyone associated with GVSU including visitors to be successful. Making sure that we do what we do in a responsible and safe manner is paramount to the success of the University in meeting its mission.

My job is not to be an obstructionist and say "no" every time a risky activity is proposed on campus. But rather I see my role as working toward "yes". I want to work with people to successfully accomplish their goals and manage their activities in a safe and responsible way.

Q4: Are there any immediate changes that you would like to see within the University?

We are already embarking on an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) project. The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) has simply defined ERM "linking institutional governance, risk management, and the strategic goals of the institution. Simply put, it is a way to more effectively manage all of the risks that exist on a college or university campus."

The first phase is risk assessment and we are now interviewing key University administrators, faculty and staff to identify risks that they see as threatening to accomplishing their specific goals and ultimately the mission of the University.

Once ERM is implemented it will allow the University to better understand, articulate and manage risks organization-wide.

Q5: Who do you now report to and who made the decision to make you Director?

I am located in the University Counsel Office in the Central Administration Division and I report to the University Counsel, Tom Butcher. The decision to bring Risk Management into the University Counsel Office was made by President Haas.

Page last modified July 31, 2014