Kathryn Symank appointed chief operations officer

Kathryn Symank has been appointed chief operations officer of Northwestern University in Qatar, effective January 1, 2014. Symank is associate vice president for human resources and administrative services at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She has extensive administrative experience over two decades crossing such operational fields as finance, human resources, student services and related areas.

Symank is known for fostering a continuous improvement initiative that strengthens individual and organizational capacity.  She has actively participated in strategic, communication and organizational issues in several posts she has held at Texas A&M including chief of staff for the vice president for finance and CFO, director of student business services and senior associate director for administrative for student programs.

A graduate of Texas A&M with a BS in psychology and a minor in history, she also completed an MBA at the University of Phoenix. She took part in the Governor’s Executive Development Program at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas which emphasized organizational strategy, infrastructure management, resource management and personal effectiveness. She was selected for special leadership institute and management seminar programs, the latter at the Center for Executive Development.  She began her career as a senior staff accountant at TAMU, followed by stints as a controller for a home building firm and as an accountant in charge of financial reporting and payroll at Wilsonart International, part of a Fortune 500 company.

At NU-Q, the chief operations officer reports to the dean/CEO and oversees all operational functions. The COO works with the dean in developing overall institutional strategies and is charged with facilitating these efforts across all departments and programs. The COO provides the leadership, management and vision necessary to assure that NU-Q has operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures and people systems in place to assure its growth and development. Departments reporting to the COO are IT, production, facilities, community outreach, HSSE (emergency planning) and the Qatar Support Office as well as additional oversight in concert with the dean of HR, business and finance, student affairs as well as strategic media and marketing.

Symank will succeed David Carr, who is returning to the Northwestern Evanston campus where he has been appointed as associate vice president of cyberinfrastructure.