Located in the heart of New England in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University promotes a rigorous liberal arts curriculum within the context of a research experience that addresses social and scientific challenges on a global scale. Clark’s focus is to teach students to become imaginative, engaged citizens of the world and to advance the frontiers of knowledge and understanding. With a total enrollment just over 3000, Clark offers 33 undergraduate majors, 17 master’s programs, 6 certificate, and 9 doctoral programs, as well as approximately 50 study abroad programs. It is one of 40 colleges in the Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) association.

Worcester is the second-largest city in New England and it is now shaping a new legacy around modern-day revolutions in biotech, higher education, health care, and the arts. The city found its footing as a manufacturing giant and has since evolved into a hub for eclectic cultural offerings and dynamic professional opportunities, and it is home to 11 colleges and universities.

The Position

Reporting to the Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid, the Director of Financial Aid is responsible for the overall management and administration of all student financial aid as well as the operation of the Financial Aid Office. The director is responsible for the awarding and disbursement of the annual financial aid expenditures of approximately $60 million, which includes an institutional aid budget of $47 million. Supervising a staff of four who provide service for the undergraduate and graduate financial aid applicants, the director will hire, train, and provide professional development opportunities and mentoring to all financial aid staff members. The director will be expected to work closely with institutional colleagues to meet enrollment and retention goals and to be an effective collaborator, working with partners across campus to develop and implement policies regarding the awarding of institutional aid in a manner that supports and promotes Clark’s enrollment and student success goals.

Responsibilities of the Position

In collaboration with the Vice President, the director is responsible for the development, oversight, and implementation of the financial aid leveraging strategies, financial aid policies, and awarding practices to ensure the efficient and strategic distribution of aid. Additionally, the Director of Financial Aid will demonstrate by example a clear commitment to providing excellent customer service, reinforcing Clark’s commitment to student-centered education and development. They will be a champion for promoting the financial literacy of students and families as it relates to student financial aid.

The Director of Financial Aid will be a key member of the division’s leadership team, alongside the Vice President, the Director of Admissions Operations and Analytics, and the Director of Admissions Outreach. With this team, they will participate in strategic planning, divisional goal setting, and support the continuing improvement and development of the Admissions and Financial Aid division. Specifically, the Director will be expected to:

  • administer a financial aid program that offers personal and quality service to all Clark studentsand their parents;
  • coordinate efforts with the Bursar, Registrar, Information Technology, Admissions, Graduateprograms, and other offices on campus;
  • serve as the Chief Compliance Officer for Title IV federal aid regulations;
  • develop, implement, and manage financial aid strategies, policies, and procedures utilizingindustry best practices and exceptional customer service to serve the University’s goals andensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations and statutes;
  • utilize net tuition revenuemodels to package financial aid; monitor and verify awards against budget recommendations forany needed corrective action;
  • ensure fiscal accountability in fund management, disbursement, and recovery by coordinatingtechnology and information systems for effective administration of student financial aid funds;
  • oversee the verification of specific federal and/or state criteria, authorization of payment process,reconciliation with accounting office(s), and R2T4 in compliance with federal and stateregulations and University policies, while utilizing industry’s best practices;
  • oversee the administration of all student loan programs, including calculations of eligibility,origination of applications, entrance/exit interviews, and serve as liaison to outside agencies; and
  • complete or direct completion of all external financial aid reports and surveys and serve as liaison with college auditors.

Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

A bachelor’s degree and significant documented progressive experience in all areas of student financial aid management and operations as well as staff management within a financial aid office are required. In addition, expert knowledge of general financial aid systems, procedures, and federal and state financial aid regulations, as well as knowledge of basic management skills and counseling techniques will be expected of the director. Sophisticated understanding and demonstrated experience with financial aid leveraging modeling, strong data/analytical skills, and expert utilization of data and current industry technology in support of the division’s goals and responsibilities will be expected of the director. Excellent interpersonal and management skills and exceptional written, verbal, and presentation skills will also be required.

In order to succeed in this important position, campus stakeholders indicated the new director of financial aid would be:

  • one who is well-versed in the full range of current student financial aid programs, regulations, and leveraging practices;
  • one who has solid financial aid operations and technical competencies;
  • one who values data and data-driven decisions and who will be a partner in establishing and achieving institutional enrollment goals;
  • one who is adept at supporting and managing change and can improve upon existing operations and practices;
  • one who has an innovative approach to financial aid awarding and will work to enhance the communication of financial aid packages so that students can make well-considered decisions;
  • one who has experience working at a tuition-driven institution with finite financial resources;
  • one who is able to be an educator of faculty, staff, and the Board and who is an effective communicator with the public;
  • one who has a sense of humor and can build an enjoyable working environment;
  • one who is sensitive to and educated regarding issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • one who has deep empathy for the student experience and is flexible with staff;
  • a change agent who can both remove barriers and manage change;
  • one who will advocate for the financial aid team to secure the resources, including human, financial, and technological, to provide excellent customer service to all students;
  • one who will take time to understand the Clark University student community, e.g., the large percentage of first-generation, ALANA, and undocumented students who have high financial need and may have family financial responsibilities;
  • one who is a creative and fresh thinker; and
  • one who has emotional intelligence and will mentor and lead the financial aid team.

History of the Position

Mary Ellen Severance, the current Director of Financial Aid, has a long history in the position and has been at Clark University for 19 years. She announced her retirement in late fall of 2018 and has agreed to continue at the University until September 2019, allowing for a potential overlap period to work with the incoming director.

Since the incumbent’s retirement announcement, the senior associate director of financial aid has also retired after 26 years in the position. The University is currently in the process of conducting a search to fill this position. The new senior associate director of financial aid for operations is expected to start in April 2019, and the position has been restructured to focus on elevating the office’s utilization of technology and the financial aid systems (PowerFAIDS and Ellucian/Banner).

Additionally, all of the current student assistants in the Office of Financial Assistance are expected to graduate this year. This turnover will present an opportunity to potentially pursue the utilization of graduate students for the staffing model in the office.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

There are several aspects of the role of director of financial aid in which the new professional will need to be prepared to lead. These include:

  • Build on and increase the Office of Financial Assistance’s commitment to a student-centered approach in delivering services. The new director will be expected to embrace and operationalize Clark’s culture of empathy and appreciation for the student experience.
  • Transform the office into a data-driven entity that uses technology resources and financial aid leveraging practices in a sophisticated and nimble manner.
  • Build a strong, high functioning team that is poised to support one another as the office experiences transition in its two most senior positions.
  • Establish collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships with the Admissions team and faculty leadership in support of the University’s enrollment and retention goals.
  • Strengthen the working relationship with campus partners, including colleagues in Student Affairs, Student Accounts, Multicultural and First Generation Student Support, and School of Professional Studies.
  • Elevate the positioning of the Office of Financial Assistance as an expert student retention resource and not solely a behind-the-scenes transactional operation.

There is a shared sense that Clark’s technology resources are not being utilized to their fullest capacity. This presents an opportunity for a new director who enjoys tackling technology and systems-level challenges.

Also, the new director will have the opportunity to make an assessment of the staffing structure and work with the vice president for admissions and financial aid to develop a proposal for a model that will provide excellent customer service to the students at Clark University. While there is support for growing the number of professional staff in the office, no formal commitment for funding is in place at this time.

Measures of Success for the Position

At appropriate intervals after joining Clark University, the following items will define success for the new Director of Financial Aid. The new director will have:

  • developed positive and productive working relationships with admissions and other key campus partners within the first three to six months;
  • reviewed, observed, and assessed the current staffing structure in the office and provided recommendations for improvements/additional staffing;
  • implemented strategy to develop current institutional technology to increase efficiency and prompt delivery of financial aid to Clark University students; and
  • reviewed and assessed current departmental processes regarding financial aid awarding and delivery to all students and made changes to more efficiently serve constituents, including students and senior administration.

An Overview of the Division or Department

The director of financial aid reports to the vice president for admissions and financial aid, Meredith Twombly, who joined Clark University in 2018. There are four staff positions and a number of student assistants reporting up to the director. The current staffing model of the Office of Financial Assistance is as follows:

  • Director of Financial Aid
    • Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid Operations (currently vacant; search is in process)
      • Student assistants
  • Senior Assistant Director of Financial Aid
  • Assistant Director of Financial Aid
  • Coordinator of Student Employment and Educational Loans

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

Clark University was founded in 1887 as the first all-graduate institution in the country. We’ve come a long way in the intervening years, but one thing has never wavered: Our commitment to meaningful education that leads to positive change for our community and our world.

Today, Clark promotes a rigorous liberal arts curriculum within the context of a research experience that addresses social and scientific challenges on a global scale. Here in Worcester, Massachusetts—in the heart of New England—we teach students to become imaginative, engaged citizens of the world, and to advance the frontiers of knowledge and understanding. Clark is privately funded, coeducational, and nonsectarian, and offers bachelor’s, master’s, certificate, and doctoral degree programs in a wide range of academic disciplines.

Clark is a national leader in cultivating an educational environment characterized by collaboration, creativity, and intellectual daring. We work in the world to bring about real, transformative global change.

Learning at Clark reflects our knowledge of the enduring value of a liberal arts education. By connecting exceptional faculty members with bright students through collaborative work in the classroom, laboratory, and community, Clark has created a uniquely interconnected, interactive, and interdisciplinary culture. Our students learn from— and alongside—community leaders, professional practitioners, and influential thinkers, all of whom drive positive change at home and abroad. We break down the silos that exist between academia and society, and link our students’ learning to the profound changes taking place in the world today.

We don’t shy away from the complex, the challenging, or the controversial. Instead, we engage with important issues that shape national dialogues. We develop new ideas and solutions that lead to a more just and prosperous future. This approach is exemplified in LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice), which combines the liberal arts with experiential opportunities.

A Clark education begins in the classroom, but it doesn’t stay there. We show students that they have the power to effect positive change in the world — and that their connections to others drive this change. This ethos permeates our graduate and undergraduate curriculum and powers our approach to research, where hands-on discovery transforms into world-changing impact.

Our faculty, students, and alumni conduct research that opens new avenues of thought, improves lives, and informs the way people understand our world—and one another. We seek opportunities to learn “with” rather than learn “from,” and pursue innovative projects that transcend disciplinary boundaries, resulting in research that makes a difference.

Clark creates an environment where alumni, faculty, students, and community and business leaders come together around causes that matter to them—channeling their passions into action. On and off campus, we form partnerships of mutual respect and shared responsibility, reinforcing our students’ understanding that true learning extends far beyond the classroom.

We are thinkers, dreamers, and doers–all at the same time. At Clark, you’ll defy the status quo and discover what it takes to change our world for the better.

About Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester is a city and the county seat of, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city’s population was 181,045, making it the second most populous city in New England after Boston. Worcester is located approximately 40 miles (64 km) west of Boston, 50 miles (80 km) east of Springfield and 40 miles (64 km) north of Providence. Due to its location in Central Massachusetts, Worcester is known as the “Heart of the Commonwealth”, thus, a heart is the official symbol of the city. However, the heart symbol may also have its provenance in lore that the Valentine’s Day card, although not invented in the city, was mass-produced and popularized by Esther Howland, who resided in Worcester.

Worcester was considered its own distinct region apart from Boston until the 1970s. Since then, Boston’s suburbs have been moving out further westward, especially after the construction of Interstate 495 and Interstate 290. The Worcester region now marks the western periphery of the Boston-Worcester-Providence U.S. Census Combined Statistical Area, or Greater Boston. The city features many examples of Victorian-era mill architecture.

Mission

Clark University’s mission is to educate undergraduate and graduate students to be imaginative and contributing citizens of the world, and to advance the frontiers of knowledge and understanding through rigorous scholarship and creative effort.

The University seeks to prepare students to meet the challenges of a complex and rapidly changing society. In students and faculty, Clark fosters a commitment to excellence in studying traditional academic disciplines, as well as innovation in exploring questions that cross disciplinary boundaries. The free pursuit of inquiry and the free exchange of ideas are central to that commitment. The focus of Clark’s academic program is a liberal-arts education enriched by interactions among undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty, and is closely linked to a select number of professional programs. Clark also serves students who wish to continue formal education throughout their lives.

The intellectual and personal growth of students is enhanced by a wide variety of educational programs and extracurricular activities. Clark believes that intellectual growth must be accompanied by the development of values, the cultivation of responsible independence, and the appreciation of a range of perspectives.

Clark’s academic community has long been distinguished by the pursuit of scientific inquiry and humanistic studies, enlivened by a concern for significant social issues. Among many other scholarly endeavors, Clark contributes to understanding human development, assessing relationships between people and the environment, and managing risk in a technological society.

Clark is dedicated to being a dynamic community of learners able to thrive in today’s increasingly interrelated societies. The University maintains a national and international character, attracting high-caliber students and faculty from all quarters of the globe. As a university residing in an urban context, Clark also strives to address the needs and opportunities of contemporary urban life.

Clark’s intimate academic setting and tradition of “elbow teaching” provide many opportunities for students to pursue knowledge through participation. High expectations, as well as easy access to the scholar-teacher faculty, encourage students to become autonomous learners.

Clark’s international and interdisciplinary orientation is combined with a tradition of strong self-direction among students and faculty. These attributes enhance the University’s ability to contribute to the development of new modes of thought and to the advancement of society through the creation and transmission of knowledge.

Leadership

David P. Angel, President

David Angel, PhD, earned his BA degree from Cambridge University and his PhD from UCLA in 1989. He joined the Clark faculty in September 1987 and holds an academic appointment as Professor of Geography, specializing in economic geography.

He served as Clark’s provost from 2003 t0 2010, overseeing all undergraduate and graduate academic programs, then was selected by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees to assume the presidency of Clark in July 2010.

President Angel’s research focuses upon issues of technological and industrial change. He is the recipient of numerous major grants from the MacArthur Foundation, National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

President Angel is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including an Abe Fellowship from the Center for Global Partnership in conjunction with the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies.

His research includes work conducted for the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Asian Development Bank, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

He has consulted widely for public and private organizations around the world and published a number of books, including Asia’s Clean Revolution: Industry, Growth and the Environment (with Michael T. Rock, 2000, Greenleaf Publishers); Effective Environmental Regulation: Learning form Poland’s Experience (with Halina Brown and Patrick Derr, 2000, Praeger Press); and Industrial Development in the Developing World (with Michael T. Rock, 2005, Oxford University Press).

President Angel is a member of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, as well as the Association of American Colleges and Universities LEAP President’s Trust. He is a Board Member of the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, and the Institute for Energy and Sustainability, and serves as chair of the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts.

President Angel resides in Worcester with his wife, Jocelyne Bauduy; they have two children.

Hiring Authority

Meredith Twombly, Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid

Meredith Twombly joined Clark in 2018 as the inaugural Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid. Prior to Clark, she was Dean of Enrollment and Retention at Hampshire College where she and her team developed and introduced the concept of “mission driven admissions”, aligning admissions practices with the mission and values of the College. In 2018 she was recognized with an Ashoka Innovation Award and is currently working on a book chapter which further explores the approach.

Meredith’s career has encompassed leadership positions in admissions, financial aid, and institutional research, and she has written and presented widely on using mixed methods research to inform innovative approaches to college admissions and student success.

Meredith earned a BA in sociology from Framingham State University and an MS in sociology from Portland State University. A lapsed artist, Meredith enjoys all kinds of creative projects in her free time. She lives with her husband Mike, daughter Grace, and Tessa the rescue dog in the hills of Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Academic Program

  • Accreditations: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; American Psychological Association (clinical psychology doctoral program)
  • Undergraduate majors, College of Arts and Sciences: 33
  • Most popular declared majors (includes double-majors; 5-year average)
    • Psychology: 15%
    • Management and Political Science: 9% each,
    • Biology 8%
  • Average undergraduate class size: 20
  • Study abroad programs (20+ countries): ≅50
  • Approximate percentage of Clark undergraduates who study abroad: 30%
  • Undergraduate majors, Summer and Evening Division: 6
  • Accelerated BA/master’s degrees (fifth year tuition-free): 14
  • Certificate programs: 6
  • Master’s degrees: 17 (includes 2 dual degrees)
  • Doctoral degrees: 9

The Student Body

  • First-year undergraduates (day college) living in campus housing: 98%
  • Percentage of all undergraduates who live on campus: 67%
  • Percentage of all graduate students who live on campus: 1%
  • Student clubs and organizations: ≅130
  • Varsity sports (NCAA Division III): 17
  • Student newspaper: The Scarlet
  • Student online radio: ROCU

Undergraduate

  • Tuition: $45,380 (per year)
  • Percentage who receive some form of financial aid: 85%
  • Room and board “lifestyle” packages: $8,570–$11,470 (per year)
  • Meal plans only: $1,920–$4,460 (per year)

Graduate

  • Tuition: varies by program
  • Housing on campus, per year: $8,300

Benefits Overview

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • University Retirement Plan
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Tuition Programs
  • Sabbatical Leaves

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Kendra E. Dane at ked@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Clark University website at www.clarku.edu

It is the policy of Clark University that each individual regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age as defined by law, disability, or veteran status, shall have equal opportunity in education, employment, or services of Clark University.