SRU’s financial leadership to change as Mercer appointed State System CFO
Nov. 13, 2020
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University today announced that Molly Mercer, chief financial officer, has resigned her position at SRU to accept the CFO role with Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. Mercer's final day at SRU will be Nov. 25 and she will begin as PASSHE's CFO Dec. 7. Mercer's duties at SRU will be assumed by Carrie Birckbichler, chief data officer, whose title will be chief financial and data officer, effective Dec. 5.
"Molly has been a tremendous asset to SRU for more than eight years, ensuring our financial sustainability and guiding us with her sound judgment that will benefit the University for even more years to come," said SRU President William Behre. "We're grateful for her service to SRU and know she will be an incredible success at the State System level. Between Molly laying the groundwork and Carrie applying her expertise and institutional knowledge, we anticipate a seamless transition for the leadership of our Finance Office."
In her role as CFO at SRU, Mercer developed the University's annual fiscal budget and long-range planning for resource allocation decisions. She also advised the president on the financial direction of the institution related to policy, internal control standards and compliance with state and regulatory requirements. She oversaw areas that included the Controllers Office, budget and planning, accounting services, accounts payable, student accounts, purchasing and contracts, and administrative/financial systems. Those areas will now report to Birckbichler.
"Along with the leadership team at SRU, I am proud of our collective work to successfully navigate challenging financial circumstances to become one of the top performing and financially strong universities in the State System," Mercer said. "I've had the privilege to lead a team that is among the best teams I've encountered throughout my career. Their capabilities and dedication to the University is exceptional and together we have focused on improving departmental operations by increasing transparency, clarity and supporting key decisions."
Mercer's newly created role with PASSHE, as part of Chancellor Daniel Greenstein's leadership team, will be to help guide the State System redesign efforts. The PASSHE CFO position was created by combining a number of functions within the Chancellor's Office and candidates were identified within PASSHE institutions who have a deep understanding of the State System's financial challenges and operations.
Birckbichler joined SRU in 1985 and has worked in the areas of finance, information technology, academic affairs and institutional research, including three years as director of academic budget and planning. Since 2014, she has led the Office of Planning, Resource Management and Assessment, providing executive leadership for building a data informed culture among administrators, faculty and staff focused on the effective use of data and analysis to improve the quality of institutional decision-making and stewardship of institutional resources.
"I am honored to assume this important role for SRU during this time of unprecedented changes in the State System and with the challenges facing higher education," Birckbichler said. "Our institution's finances, programs and leadership team are strong, and together we will continue to provide our students the highest possible quality education at an affordable price."
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