Founded over 125 years ago, Ithaca College began as a music conservatory. In the decades since, Ithaca College has grown into a residential, liberal arts college with five schools and over 100 degree programs, enrolling 5700 undergraduates and more than 400 graduate students. As a nationally-ranked college, Ithaca College offers students opportunities for personalized attention in every academic program and engagement in a wide variety of campus activities. Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes in one of America’s top college towns, Ithaca College has set a date of October 5, 2020, to begin full in-person instruction for the 2020-21 academic year, with a staggered approach to students returning throughout September and a combination of remote and in-person instruction beginning September 8.
Ithaca College is seeking a seasoned, strategic, innovative, and collaborative student financial services professional to lead a dedicated team carrying out the College’s financial aid and student accounts functions.
Reporting to the Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Strategy, the Executive Director of Student Financial Services provides positive, inspiring leadership for a staff of approximately twenty. The Executive Director supports undergraduate and graduate enrollment and retention while ensuring appropriate budgetary oversight and compliance. Student Financial Services has responsibility for administering the College's scholarship, grant, and student billing and loan programs, which includes an institutional aid budget of more than $130m and billing and collecting over $270m in tuition receivable.
The Executive Director will serve as a key member of the Marketing and Enrollment Strategy Leadership Team, and will collaborate closely with the Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Strategy to provide a student-centered, customer service-oriented, and strategic approach to student financial services in order to meet the College’s goals.
They will be expected to analyze data and utilize evidence-based practices to make constant assessments and improvements to take student success and operational effectiveness to a level of excellence. The Executive Director will serve as a key strategist in refining the organizational structure to ensure compliance and enhance service delivery.
They will strategically identify and apply new and evolving technologies and implement processes to continuously improve the operation and the student experience and ensure that processes and services are effective, consistent, equitable and in compliance. The College currently uses Banner for its student information system and has recently rolled out an AI chat bot in student financial services.
The Executive Director will develop positive and productive working relationships with key partners to coordinate and integrate related policies, processes and procedures and ensure the proper execution of shared goals including but not limited to members of the following offices: Admissions, Registrar, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Analytics and Institutional Research, Athletics, Health Services, State Grants, Philanthropy and Engagement, Information Technology and Finance and Administration.
The Executive Director will exercise a high level of independent judgment and self-direction to identify and lead new initiatives that focus on unit objectives and their alignment with the College's bold and forward-looking strategic plan, Ithaca Forever.
The Executive Director will:
· Provide leadership that is collaborative, service-oriented, and informed by robust inquiry as well as strategic and effective management of the College's financial aid and student accounts functions. Interpret and communicate federal, state, local, donor, and college regulations, policies and procedures; implement new programs and regulatory changes as required; and document and maintain internal policies and procedures to ensure college-wide compliance.
· Serve as an innovative, strategic, and collaborative partner with the Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Strategy, the Marketing and Enrollment Strategy (MES) leadership team, and multiple campus partners to provide and support a connected, comprehensive, and student-centered approach to the student experience. Advise the Vice President and campus leadership on various matters of policy pertaining to financial aid, student financial services, and enrollment.
· Provide strong leadership for, support, empower, and inspire staff. Create a unified team that fosters collaboration and provides seamless services to students, families, and college stakeholders. Set expectations, provide clear direction and feedback, and create and support a culture of continuous improvement that cultivates the professional growth and development of staff members. Ensure that appropriate and on-going training is provided to all staff members. Evaluate and implement the optimal organizational structure to accomplish unit and institutional goals in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
· Analyze quantitative and qualitative data and prepare a variety of statistical reports and analyses for appropriate state and federal agencies and for college and other officials. Based on the data, identify and lead new initiatives that focus on key objectives and ensure they are aligned with and support the College's short- and long-term goals. Assess the effectiveness of Ithaca College policies around financial aid programs and practices, and make appropriate adjustments to lead an effort that is proactive and responsive to market forces and college needs. Maintain awareness of the competitive environment of admission and financial aid and of current and prospective student trends and pressures.
· Formulate and execute plans to ensure that Student Financial Services is providing quality service and exhibiting operational effectiveness. Continually evaluate processes and implement plans to optimize service and performance. Facilitate a comprehensive strategy around technology and innovation to enhance operational and service effectiveness. Enhance communication around financial aid, verification, scholarship and loan procedures, and financial literacy.
· Monitor budget and aid leveraging strategies. Provide oversight of operational institutional budgets, and facilitate and work with key leadership on the approach to packaging and strategic leveraging of aid to meet College goals.
· Represent Student Financial Services and the College publicly as an expert in student financial services, and maintain excellent relationships in state and national conversations, and at professional meetings and consortia, on student financial aid needs and the changing post-secondary education environment.
· Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with eight years of related leadership experience in higher education, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Master's degree preferred.
· Comprehensive knowledge of enrollment management and student financial services. In depth knowledge of federal and state financial aid programs, regulations, policies and procedures.
· Demonstrated leadership in administering financial aid programs in a compliant, audit-worthy manner. Deep knowledge of the detailed work of most or all facets of a financial aid operation
· Evidence of leadership in the development and execution of innovative technological strategies optimizing institutional resources including transforming operations and procedures.
· Ability to prioritize and concurrently manage multiple tasks.
· Ability to manage and motivate an enthusiastic and dynamic professional staff, set clear direction and articulate goals and expectations for excellence and success.
· Experience successfully leading change and leading people with and through change; the ability to understand different perspectives, opinions and priorities and to see the bigger picture.
· Knowledge of customer service standards and procedures and a demonstrated commitment to enhancing customer service for internal and external constituents.
· Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills, as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
· Proven experience in managing complex budgets and experience in the assessment of effectiveness of financial aid funding models.
· Demonstrated leadership in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion; a champion of diversity who recognizes the essential link between inclusivity and excellence.
· A clear track record of positive and productive collaboration with campus leaders, faculty, staff, and students across a variety of units.
· Analytical skills and proficiency with report writing, data analysis, querying, and other reporting tools.
· ERP experience preferably with Ellucian Banner and/or related product.
· Experience participating in national professional associations preferred.
Sage Search Partners is assisting Ithaca College with this search. Confidential inquiries, applications (cover letter and resume) can be directed to Paula Fazli, Managing Partner. firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the names and contact information for three professional references. No references will be contacted without prior permission.
Visa sponsorship may be considered for this position.
Internal Number: 124
To provide a foundation for a lifetime of learning, Ithaca College is dedicated to fostering intellectual growth, aesthetic appreciation, and character development in our students. The Ithaca College community thrives on the principles that knowledge is acquired through discipline, competence is established when knowledge is tempered by experience, and character is developed when competence is exercised for the benefit of others. A comprehensive college that since its founding has recognized the value of combining theory and performance, Ithaca provides a rigorous education blending liberal arts and professional programs of study. Our teaching and scholarship are motivated by the need to be informed by, and to contribute to, the world's scientific and humanistic enterprises. Learning at Ithaca extends beyond the classroom to encompass a broad range of residential, professional, and extracurricular opportunities. Our undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni all contribute to the learning process. Ithaca College is committed to attracting a diverse body of students, faculty, and staff. All members of the College community are encouraged to achieve excellence in... their chosen fields and to share the responsibilities of citizenship and service in the global community.