Janet Williams joined Elon’s faculty in April to serve as the vice president for finance and administration. Her role at the university includes having an executive oversight for a broad range of financial, business, and support operations and planning. Williams said she plans to utilize her first full-year at Elon to build relationships with stakeholders across campus and the community.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
What does your role at Elon entail?
“I report directly to the president and serve as a member of the senior staff. [My] responsibilities include oversight for finance and administration operations, including controller functions, auditing, budget, cash... human resources, food services, auxiliary services and enterprises... I serve as staff to the Financial Affairs, Investment, and Audit committees of the Board of Trustees. I also serve as treasurer of the Board of Trustees.”
How has your transition to campus been, especially coming during the pandemic?
“I started at Elon on April 15. I am very appreciative of all the help the Elon community has provided to help me come up to speed in a very short period. Elon is not a big institution, but it is a busy institution focused on helping students achieve academically in leadership and character.”
What are you most looking forward to this year?
“I am looking forward to building relationships with stakeholders across campus and the community. I also hope to accomplish important projects to advance the strategic initiatives of Boldly Elon – Learning, Thriving, Connecting and Rising. By working with talented people I hope to assure that Elon has the administrative infrastructure and business intelligence to support the university’s goal with excellence from prospective students through student success and alumni engagement.”
What challenges or worries do you have heading into the semester?
“We are not out of the woods with the pandemic, so we need to follow the campus policies and keep healthy and safe. Elon is excited about getting back to normal and we can do this when we take care of ourselves and each other.”
What would your advice be for freshmen?
“Enjoy your college years and take advantage of as many campus resources as you can. Elon is a great private university that is focused on being student centered. Make connections with faculty, staff and other students. I was a first-generation student, and I did not know anything about college life when I arrived on campus. One of my techniques in the first few weeks of class was to meet at least one new person in each class or in the dining halls. This expanded my network of friends and was a crucial resource.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“Take advantage of your network of new diverse friends and professors, have fun while learning as much as you can, and get the most out of your college experience.”