Since 1890, the University of North Texas (UNT) has been a catalyst for the transformation of its students and the North Texas region. UNT is dedicated to providing an excellent educational experience to over 38,000 diverse students while fueling the intellectual, economic, and cultural progress of one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic regions in the United States. A student-focused public research university with an emphasis on sustainability, UNT offers 105 bachelor’s, 88 master’s, and 37 doctoral degree programs, many nationally and internationally recognized. Located in Denton, approximately 36 miles north of Dallas and Fort Worth, UNT is one of the region’s largest and most comprehensive universities. It is classified as a Carnegie Tier One research institution, with 3,700 dedicated full-time faculty and staff members focused on helping students succeed, and more than 425 student organizations, 42 fraternities and sororities, and 137 academic and honor societies.

The Position

Position Description

Reporting to the executive director of student financial aid and scholarships (SFAS), the director of operations, financial aid, directs all strategic and day-to-day activities relative to financial aid processing operations, grant and loan operations. The annual financial aid expenditures at UNT exceed $390 million, including $50 million in scholarship funds. The director is responsible for compliance with all applicable federal, state, and institutional regulations and policies. The director is expected to provide vision, leadership and management to the operations team and will supervise assistant directors of processing, grants and loans as well as team members. The director will work continuously to enhance and implement operations to support the goals of the university, division and department, and will evaluate, identify and implement business practices and system processing enhancements to increase efficiency and provide superior customer service to all students. In addition, she/he will direct all aspects of the enterprise information system (Oracle/PeopleSoft) and direct the project portfolio in conjunction with Information Technology Shared Services (ITSS) and SFAS management level staff, including the coordination and testing of relevant Oracle/PeopleSoft updates and the review of set up tables to identify programming changes for new aid year processing. The director is responsible for all functions relative to developing, allocating and monitoring budgets with state and institutional financial aid programs, developing, overseeing and participating in new internal and external initiatives and special projects and will serve in a leadership role within the office, division and university. The director serves as a key liaison to university administrative, academic, and division offices regarding SFAS operations and administration and will represent the office throughout campus and at external events.

Qualifications and Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

A bachelor’s degree (master’s preferred) and substantial documented progressive professional experience in a financial aid office are required. In addition, expert knowledge of general financial aid systems, policies and 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 data reporting/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.

The successful candidate will demonstrate a proven record of developing relationships and building rapport with internal and external academic and administrative constituencies and an unwavering commitment to delivering superior customer service. In addition, the successful candidate will have the experience to manage a dynamic team of three direct reports, and a total of nineteen team members, as well as oversee all training, supervision, professional development, and evaluation of staff to ensure a climate of collaboration and teamwork. Previous experience with the PeopleSoft student information system will be a plus.

This is an excellent opportunity to join a collaborative team of members who work closely together and with their colleagues in the registrar, student financial services, enrollment systems, and student money management center areas. It is also a time of change for the operations area, as the director and the assistant director of processing have both recently left UNT. The assistant director of processing position has recently been filled by an experienced candidate within the financial aid operations department.

In addition to the stated qualifications for the position, stakeholders at UNT indicated that the following characteristics would be sought in the successful director of operations, financial aid position:

  • strong leadership and management skills;
  • student-centered and has the heart and mind for superior customer service;
  • has the acuity for details;
  • excellent technological skills
  • a problem solver who can think outside of the box;
  • flexible and friendly;
  • accessible;
  • a collaborator with a can-do attitude;
  • can adjust priorities and responsibilities quickly without losing an eye for the details;
  • a strategic thinker who enjoys analyzing data to quantify and support decisions;
  • is relatable as well as responsive;
  • will be a bridge builder across all boundaries;
  • will ask questions about existing processes and policies, i.e., request to be involved in orientation activities with new students in order to be proactive;
  • is decisive and responsive and operates with a sense of urgency;
  • a collaborative change agent who is willing to assess current processes and suggest programmatic processing changes;
  • will delegate to the experienced assistant directors as well as empower others to make decisions;
  • is a good listener who will first listen to the requests of students or administrators before responding;
  • is a dynamic leader who is invested in staff development
  • is proactive and comfortable tackling issues that may not be easy;
  • is a training innovator who is willing to spend the time on training;
  • is fair and equitable to students and staff members; and
  • is willing and able to lobby senior administration for resources if/when needed.

History of the Position

The position had been held for approximately 18 years by an individual who recently left UNT to join another institution in the area.

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

University of North Texas (UNT), established in 1890, has become one of the nation’s largest public research universities with over 39,000 students enrolled in Fall 2019. As the university has grown, so has its reach and impact. UNT graduated 8,500 students last year from its 13 colleges and schools and offers 105 bachelor’s, 88 master’s, and 37 doctoral degree programs, many nationally and internationally recognized. A Carnegie-ranked top-tier research university, UNT has 72 academic programs ranked in the Top 100, including 15 U.S. News & World Report rankings in the Top 100. UNT generates an economic impact of $1.65 billion in the North Texas economy annually.

For nearly 130 years, UNT has endeavored to create leaders and visionaries. Its students and alumni embody creativity, curiosity, and something else that distinguishes them and makes them successful — grit. These qualities are in UNT’s DNA, borne of an independent spirit that sets it apart. From admitting women on its opening day in the late 1800s, to pioneering water quality research for the region, establishing the nation’s first jazz studies program, and becoming one of the first universities in Texas to desegregate, UNT leads by taking the road less traveled on its path to excellence. Learn more about UNT’s history at https://traditions.unt.edu/history/history-unt.

About Denton, Texas

Denton is a growing, thriving community situated to the north—almost equidistant from both Dallas and Fort Worth. The estimated population of the city of Denton in 2018 was 138,541. However, the city also serves as the county seat of Denton County, one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. The current population of Denton County is 859,064.

A Texas land grant led to the formation of Denton County in 1846, and the city was incorporated in 1866. Both were named after pioneer and Texas militia captain John B. Denton. The arrival of a railroad line in the city in 1881 spurred population, and the establishment of the University of North Texas in 1890 and Texas Woman’s University in 1901 distinguished the city from neighboring regions. The construction of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in 1974 fueled the growth of the city and county.

Denton is known for its active music life—the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo, Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, and 35 Denton Music Festival attract over 300,000 people to the city each year. The city has a moderate climate with hot summers, but relatively short, mild winters and few extreme weather events. Its diverse citizenry is represented by a nonpartisan city council, and numerous county and state departments have offices in the city. With over 50,000 students enrolled at the two universities located within its city limits, Denton is often characterized as a college town. It has been ranked among the top college towns by two different surveys over the last four years. As a result of the two universities’ growth, educational services play a large role in the city’s economy. Residents are served by the Denton County Transportation Authority, which provides commuter rail and bus service to the area.

Leadership of the Division of Enrollment

Shannon Goodman – Vice President for Enrollment

Shannon Goodman began as the founding vice president of the Division of Enrollment in February 2015. Mr. Goodman is responsible for building an effective enrollment management operation and ensuring UNT achieves sustainable enrollment growth while balancing both quality and accessibility. Mr. Goodman has more than 25 years of experience in higher education and most recently served as associate vice president of enrollment and student services at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Mr. Goodman joined UNLV in 2008 as executive director for student systems, overseeing the day-to-day management, planning, organizing and directing of the staff and operations and UNLV’s adoption of new information systems for admissions, recruitment, records, advising, financial aid and student accounts. Prior to joining UNLV, Goodman was managing partner for STK Consulting, working with higher education clients adopting new technical solutions including enterprise resource planning software.

Education:

  • MS in Educational Leadership, Northern Arizona University
  • BS in Advertising, Arizona State University

Zelma DeLeon, Executive Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Zelma DeLeon began her career at an entry level position and advanced through multiple positions in SFAS.  Years of departmental success and growth coupled with major technological developments led to her current position. With a career spanning over 34 years in SFAS, Zelma has gained knowledge and experience in many different areas of helping students meet their educational needs and goals through financial assistance and scholarship programs.

In 2011, Zelma became the Executive Director of SFAS where she oversees the administration of federal, state and institutional financial aid and scholarships in excess of $390 million.  As Executive Director, she leads 48 staff members of SFAS to ensure compliance is met while overseeing and organizing fiscal resources in support of priorities and workload demands.  Under her leadership, SFAS has received Outstanding Department for Service Awards.  Zelma has also received various individual awards from UNT including outstanding employee awards.

Over the years, Zelma has served in the following professional organizations: Texas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (TAFSAA – current Board Member at Large), TASFAA Legislative Issues Committee (past chair), Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Financial Aid Advisory Committee (past chair), National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), Higher Education User Group (HEUG).

In addition, she has served on many UNT campus committees.

Financial Aid Office Organization Chart

Benefits Overview

As an employee of the University of North Texas, the following benefits are available to you:

  • health insurance
  • dental insurance
  • vision insurance
  • retirement plans
  • supplemental retirement options
  • flexible spending accounts
  • life and ADD insurance
  • leave options
  • tuition benefits
  • employee assistance programs
  • discounts

Of note, the State of Texas does not have a personal income tax, so candidates should make note of how this benefit can potentially impact income positively.

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin December 4, 2019 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 University of North Texas website at www.unt.edu

The University of North Texas System and its component institutions are committed to equal opportunity and comply with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of North Texas System and its component institutions do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status in its application and admission processes, educational programs and activities, and employment practices.