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Highlands University names budget director

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By David Giuliani

Highlands University has hired a budget director, a position that officials say will help the school through troubled economic times.

The director, Eileen Bentley, brings a wealth of university budget management experience to her new position, including 18 years at Rutgers University, the state university of New Jersey, according to a Highlands press release.

“Eileen brings extensive experience and a set of eyes that will be focused 100 percent of the time on the university’s budget to help us maintain our excellent fiscal situation,” said Bill Taylor, vice president for finance and administration at Highlands. “She will help direct the university’s resources in a way that’s consistent with our core mission of providing a first-rate education to our students.”

During her tenure at Rutgers University, Bentley gained expertise in every aspect of university budget planning and management, including information technology applications for university budgets. Her last position at Rutgers was assistant director for the office of budget and resource studies, where she managed budget systems development.

Before that position, she was Rutgers’ associate director for business affairs for its health policy and aging research institute, managing fiscal operations with $40 million in annual funding. In this position, she supervised preparation and administration of federal, state and private foundation contracts, along with advising faculty during grant proposal development.

Also at Rutgers, Bentley served as resource allocation officer, overseeing and monitoring state funding for a $550 million budget and 6,617 positions.

She also held the position of budget and facilities planning associate in the Rutgers’ Office of the Provost.

Before accepting the Highlands’ position, Bentley worked for six years as an accounting systems improvement analyst at a Santa Fe property management company. Before that, she worked as a grants and contracts administrator for an Española security company.

“A university budget director must be fiscally responsible and prudent while fully understanding the needs of the university community,” Bentley said. “Especially during tough economic times, it’s important to work closely with the campus community to help ensure that we maximize our resources through thoughtful budget planning.”

Bentley said she is glad to be working again in a university environment.

“It’s exciting to be at Highlands now when there’s so much forward-looking planning and new initiatives under way,” Bentley said. “The campus community seems energized by President (Jim) Fries’ leadership. It’s good to be back in a university environment where intellect and community service is valued.”

Bentley earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.

She has broad-based advanced training in strategic budget management processes and budget management software applications.