Phillips to manage NIU's $400M budget

DeKALB – Alan Phillips is poised to take over as Northern Illinois University’s vice president of administration and finance at a time when enrollment and state aid declines are both stiff headwinds.

Phillips, 59, will report directly to President Douglas D. Baker, and oversee the university’s day-to-day financial operations and $400 million annual budget.

“The question is how to sustain the university,” Phillips said. “You have to address the enrollment issues.

“With the current budget, there’s not a lot of help from the state. You have to work on retention, you have to make the institution more competitive.”

Phillips has served on the Illinois State Board of Higher Education since 2011.

He will begin his new role March 1, pending approval of his hire by NIU's Board of Trustees.
His salary will be $245,000 a year.

Phillips is currently the executive deputy director and chief financial officer for Illinois’ higher education board, which oversees the state’s $2 billion public higher education system, as well as private institutions, according to a news release.

Phillips said his current job helped him forge relationships at NIU.

“In every case they were professional, dedicated, intelligent, knowledgeable and focused on helping to ensure student success,” he said. “I knew these individuals and their goals to further the university.

"They are a group of very high-quality individuals that I would very much like to work with."
Baker said the university is "delighted" to have Phillips join them.

“Al is a strong collaborator with a track record of effectively directing the academic and business operations for complex academic organizations during challenging fiscal times,” Baker said in a news release.

In addition to IBHE, Phillips has been CFO and vice president of Administrative Services at Kaskaskia College in Centralia, a Harvard University fellow, and has years of federal government service.

He earned his bachelor’s degree at the U.S. Military Academy and later earned his MBA at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

He later earned his Doctor of Education in higher education administration from George Washington University, according to a news release.

“Dr. Phillips brings with him a strong background and proven track record of both higher education and also in government, addressing fiscal challenges,” NIU spokesman Paul Palian said.

“He’s a strategic thinker and has had varying roles in both academic and public sectors, as well as private business,” Palian added.

Name: Alan Phillips

Age: 59

Hometown: Salem, Ill.

Education: Bachelor's degree from U.S. Military Academy, MBA from College of William and Mary, Ph.D from George Washington University

Previous Employer: executive deputy director of the Illinois State Board of Higher Education