Jobs at Western

Executive Director of Internal Audit

Work type: Permanent Full Time
Location: Bellingham, WA
Categories: President

Position Title Executive Director of Internal Audit
About the University

Western Washington University enrolls over sixteen thousand students in more than 160 academic programs at the Bellingham campus and seven satellite locations around the Puget Sound area.  Western, which first opened its doors in 1899, is perennially ranked as the best public, master's granting university in the Pacific Northwest and No. 2 in the West, according to the U.S. News & World Report college rankings.  Kiplinger's ranks Western among the top 100 public colleges and universities in the nation that offer the best quality and affordability.  U.S. News and World Report has named Western one of the most cost-efficient in the country among highly-ranked universities and for several years in a row the Chronicle of Higher Education has recognized Western as a "Great Place to Work."

Western is particularly proud if its position as a leader in multidisciplinary environmental education and sustainable campus operations. Western provides an active student-centered learning environment with a liberal arts and sciences foundation and robust co-curricular, internship, research, creative, and service learning opportunities.  There is a widely shared vision that Western will be a higher education leader in a culturally responsive 21st century learning environment, applying its critical strengths to societal issues as well as creating a welcoming community for a diversity of people, ideas, and programs.  To that end, Western has embraced a stole that is collegial, transparent, and timely in its engagement and communication with on- and off-campus stakeholders.

 The main campus of Western is located on 212 picturesque acres in Bellingham, Washington, a coastal community of 90,000 overlooking Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades Mountain range.  The city lies 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia.

About the Department The Office of the Internal Auditor is committed to assisting Western management and staff in achieving their oversight, operating and management responsibilities through independent reviews designed to evaluate and promote the system of internal controls established by management.  In addition to formal audits and investigations, Internal Audit provides advisory services on university policies and federal and state regulations.  Internal Audit also works proactively as a consultant in areas of cash handling, ethics, compliance and operational internal controls.
About the Position

The Executive Director of Internal Audit fulfills a key role in assisting the University to maintain a high standard of financial and operational effectiveness.  The Executive Director plans, develops, directs and executes a comprehensive University-wide internal audit function to help identify and mitigate risk and identify opportunities to improve controls and operational efficiencies.  The Executive Director serves as a resource to promote effective controls, best industry practices, and adherence to applicable laws and regulations. 

The Executive Director develops and implements internal auditing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with identified objectives, standards and laws.  The Executive Director ensures that the Internal Audit program provides reasonable assurance that the University uses resources efficiently and effectively, maintains appropriate internal control systems and stewardship over assets, and conducts program operations in compliance with University policies and Board of Trustees Rules of Operations. 

The Executive Director is a key strategic business partner and trusted advisor to academic and business unit leaders who have responsibility for programs involving complex financial, operational, compliance, and information systems components.

The Executive Director is responsible for preparing and presenting periodic reports to the University Administration and the Board of Trustees, including plans for proposed internal audits, results of completed audits, and informational briefings on relevant trends and best practices.

The Executive Director of Internal Audit reports functionally to the Board of Trustees Finance, Audit and Enterprise Risk Management Committee to provide an independent audit function through activities that include the Committee's periodic review of Internal Audit Charter and annual review and approval of annual audit plan, and administratively to the President for activities that include evaluation, remuneration and office structure.

Essential Functions

  • Plans, develops, directs, and executes a comprehensive, independent, university-wide program of internal audit, consulting and investigation services, with the objective of adding value by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of University operations, risk management, internal control, governance and compliance.
  • Fosters a culture of compliance at the University through a shared commitment to quality audit programs and customer service in support of the institutional mission and goals.
  • Develops an audit plan that focuses on high risk areas identified through an inclusive risk assessment process.
  • Develops, promotes and maintains productive and collaborative relationships with internal and external stakeholders to provide subject matter expertise and consultation, including participation in University compliance committees and task forces.
  • Provides leadership, supervision, and direction for assigned staff.
  • Serves as the University's Ethics Officer.
  • Acts as Western's liaison for the State Auditor's Office Whistleblower Program.  Maintains an anonymous complaint reporting tool on the Office of the Internal Auditor's web page, and processes all complaints in accordance with protocols.
Required Qualifications

The successful candidate will be a skillful leader and communicator who can effectively balance the need for independence with a spirit of collaboration.  Working with and through others, the successful candidate is expected to demonstrated the following skills and qualifications:

  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.
  • Minimum of seven years of progressively responsible auditing experience.
  • Thorough understanding and practical experience of auditing standards and enterprise risk management, ideally in an academic or complex and distributed organization.
  • Demonstrated leadership/supervisory experience.
  • Strong skills for effective and positive communication with management, faculty and staff across all operational areas within a decentralized environment.
  • Demonstrated experience and judgment to develop effective recommendations in a variety of different and complex situations.
  • Ability and willingness to adopt a high-level, institutional perspective while also working independently in a hands-on, results-oriented fashion.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from the Board of Trustees, management, staff, and the general public.
  • Strong analytical skills including collecting and analyzing complex data, evaluating information systems and drawing conclusions.
  • An appreciation and understanding of the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace and experience promoting diversity and inclusion within an organization.
  • Unwavering integrity, ethics, and professionalism.
Preferred Qualifications
  • Master's degree in accounting, finance, or business.
  • Two years public sector audit experience.
  • Professional Certifications relevant to position, such as Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Fraud Examiner, or Certified Information Systems Auditor.
  • Relevant experience in a public or private college or university, a state or federal agency, an accounting/auditing firm, or within a similarly complex organization. 
Salary Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience; includes an excellent benefits package
Application Instructions

Western Washington University has engaged Opus Partners to support the recruitment of this position.  Katie Dean, Associate Partner, is leading the search.  Inquiries, applications and nominations should be sent by email to Katie (  Applications should include a cover letter, resume and contact information for a minimum of three professional references to be considered.

Closing Date Notes

Position is open until filled; only applications received by April 24, 2020 can be assured full consideration.

Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Office, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay);

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: This report is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act ("The Clery Act"). It includes statistics for the previous three calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Western's campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Western; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report in printed or alternate formats by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at The report can be found at: Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.

Job no: 497773
Advertised: Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close:

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