Northeastern University — Dean of Student Financial Services

Northeastern University is seeking an experienced leader and collaborative financial aid and student account professional with an innovative spirit, an appetite for complexity, and a willingness to embrace a dynamic work environment to serve as the Dean of Student Financial Services (SFS). The Dean will report to the Chief Enrollment Management Officer and will work collaboratively with the Enrollment Management leadership team, assisting with broad leadership within Northeastern, providing the vision, strategy, and technical and operational direction to enhance the university’s current and future enrollment.  Northeastern has put forward a revolutionary vision for learning and discovery in which it seeks to become the indispensable university for learners and innovators who want to see their work make a direct impact on the world.  This vision includes the continued expansion of its global university campus system and engaging students across the entire lifelong learning spectrum in a meaningful way.  The institution is looking for a leader within the Student Financial Services area that embraces this boldness and will ensure that all learners across the Northeastern network are supported and set up for success.  

The Dean is the key collaborator to the Chief Enrollment Management Officer, handling a wide range of matters of institutional importance including budget and personnel administration, cultivating and maintaining strong professional relationships with critical partners across the university, and providing world class customer service to Northeastern students and their families.

The Dean partners with the Chief Enrollment Management Officer and key stakeholders from other enrollment management areas such as Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions, Opportunity Scholarships and Outreach Programs, the Enrollment Management Contact Center, the Dolce Center for the Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers, the Office of Global Services, Enrollment Research and Analytics, Enrollment Technology and Systems, and Pre-college Programs. This position will be based in Boston with significant on campus, in person representation in various offices of student financial services.  

The Position

Student Financial Services is made up of three primary functional areas: Financial Aid; Student Accounts; and The Office of Student Employment, Graduate Assistantships & Fellowships. The Dean of Student Financial Services will be responsible for leading and managing all aspects of functional operations of these areas, which includes the application and awarding processes for institutional, federal, state and private aid, all student and third party billing and payment collection activities, various work study programs, ensuring compliance with institutional, federal and state policies/regulations, and delivering the highest level of student and parent financial counseling services. The Dean has the following direct reports: the Senior Director of Financial Aid and the Senior Director of Student Accounts (and their staffs).

To achieve the University’s enrollment goals, the Dean plays a key leadership role in developing institutional financial services operational strategy in partnership with other leaders within Enrollment Management. They will also advise senior administration of Northeastern University on the impact of proposed legislation/regulation and recommend institutional response. 

Qualifications

The Dean will be a consummate professional who embraces a team environment and works with colleagues in a spirit of partnership, transparency, and fiscal responsibility.  They will have a track record of successful leadership and demonstrated accomplishment developing and attaining strategic goals and objectives.

Candidates for this position should possess substantial experience in higher education enrollment management and preferably a master’s degree or higher.   The position requires knowledge of current thinking and practices in student recruitment, financial aid, and retention; decision-making in complex organizations; demonstrated capacity to lead and supervise a large and diverse portfolio of human and fiscal resources; a proven commitment to the value of diversity and mission of a national, urban research university; and the ability to manage change in a complex educational institution.  

The Dean should possess the following professional and personal qualities and characteristics:

  • Commitment to fulfilling the mission of Northeastern University.
  • Proven effectiveness in enrollment management: a documented record of enrollment success, including the ability to move an institution to greater enrollment strength; significant professional experience managing the complex interplay of marketing and recruiting strategies, enrollment goals, yield and financial aid; providing consistent, excellent customer service to students and families; and genuine enjoyment in leading and managing an enrollment function that supports an institution’s mission, goals and objectives.
  • Demonstrated ability in creatively marketing an institution so as to achieve superior levels of enrollment performance: proven success in innovation and risk- taking combined with excellent execution of both complex and routine marketing strategies; a record of taking programs to new levels of success; ability to carry out marketing functions with close attention to the needs of the university and the match between it and its potential students; and ability to think innovatively and to leverage technology with a sensitivity to and understanding of the human/cultural impact.
  • The sophistication to understand the potential value of technological innovations and to lead the process of harnessing emerging technologies and leveraging technology investments that can support the processes within enrollment to attract and enroll a large and increasingly diverse applicant pool and entering class.
  • An ability to manage both big picture and operational details: evidence of ability to focus and lead an organization to achieve the elements of a strategic plan and to continuously refine the organizational plan, structure, and operations as it evolves.
  • The capacity to understand the complex issues facing higher education and the ability to develop recruitment and enrollment strategies that support the institution’s academic and student-centered agendas.
  • An open and collaborative leadership style that promotes partnerships and builds trust and strong relationships across constituencies; an appreciation for the central role of deans and faculty at the university, with the ability to mobilize their participation.
  • Experience in or a demonstrated commitment to working with diverse student populations and/or in a culturally diverse work and educational environment.
  • A strong record as a self-starter with high standards for personal and professional excellence, achievement, honesty, and integrity.
  • The ability to lead change, engaging all constituents and levels of the organization in the implementation of new strategies and methodologies.
  • The ability to build relationships, to work through issues in a calm and professional manner and to share and communicate in an open and honest fashion.
  • The ability to lead and the talent to delegate responsibility.

Progressive experience in administration and functional/operational management of financial aid programs and/or student billing services is key. Extensive knowledge of federal regulations, experience with awarding strategies, complex billing processes, and familiarity with state/federal regulations is required. The position requires an experienced administrator with strong interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills, strong technological systems background (Banner, Flywire, and CampusLogic, Financial Force or other international payment platforms highly preferred), as well as demonstrated creative and analytical abilities. An ability to simultaneously work with students and campus constituents at all levels of graduate and professional study, undergraduate, online, in person, and hybrid delivery of Northeastern’s global education is critical.  

Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities

The Dean of Student Financial Services will join a dynamic set of people in offices that are intent on designing and developing an array of operational financial services programs to help students access funds from internal and external sources. They will provide strategic leadership and oversight for the undergraduate and graduate enrollment efforts of all the university’s colleges and all specialized entry programs.

In concert with the academic areas, the Dean will develop enrollment strategies to meet objectives for incoming first-year and transfer students, as well as graduate and professional students, consistent with the strategic plan and position of the university, and juggle the many and sometimes conflicting objectives that will emerge because of the university’s resource-centered management. They will engage in continuous, reflective, analytically rigorous, and technically sophisticated dialogues about enrollment realities and possibilities.  It will be incumbent on the Dean to produce forward-looking, transparent strategic plans and budgets that link expenditures to outcomes; produce regular and systematic comparative reports that detail month-to-month as well as annual progress toward enrollment goals.

The Dean will be responsible for creating innovation in the student billing and payment processing area, ensuring that students, families, and corporate partners have an accurate and seamless experience with Northeastern.  Additionally, as Northeastern continues to expand its presence in countries beyond the United States, the Dean will work to identify and evaluate payment platforms and vendors that allow students to receive billing statements—and make financial transactions— in local currencies.  

The Dean will routinely analyze data to shape strategic directions; regularly assess effectiveness of the university’s enrollment offices and programs and make appropriate adjustments to lead an effort that is continuously proactive and responsive to market forces and university needs.  They will develop strong, collaborative relationships with members of the campus community; work in partnership with other individuals and offices regarding recruitment and retention of students; communicate strategies and outcomes clearly and concisely to unite and inspire administrators, faculty, staff, and students to join with the enrollment effort.

In addition, the Dean will promote collaborative partnerships with the current students, parents, alumni, and members of the high school counseling community locally, nationally, and globally so they can best understand and communicate the university’s academic programs and quality of student life. They will foster personal interactions with prospective students and their families by actively involving members of the university community.

Finally, the Dean will oversee the preparation and implementation of the division’s budget as well as oversee and manage an efficient and timely customer service experience to current students and families, prospective students and families, both domestic and international, across all the campuses within the Northeastern network.  

Additionally, the Dean will:

  • Develop enrollment management budget scenarios and create systems for effective implementation and monitoring.
  • Lead, engage and motivate employees and actively support a positive team culture.
  • Analyze data related to strategic directions and proactively assess the effectiveness of programs and offices to reach university objectives.
  • Plan, implement, and manage change and work with the team to identify and remove obstacles to change.
  • Significantly contribute to the development of an innovative and strategic enrollment management plan.

Northeastern University

Founded in 1898 in Boston, Northeastern is a global, experiential, research university built on a tradition of engagement with the world, creating a distinctive approach to education and research. The university offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in nine colleges and schools, and select advanced degrees at graduate campuses in Burlington; Charlotte, NC; London; Nahant, MA; Portland, ME; Arlington, VA; San Francisco; Seattle;  Silicon Valley; Toronto; and Vancouver.

Northeastern started with an innovative idea: that education is about engaging with the world to solve problems and lead change. That distinctive approach, founded in cooperative education, has created an academic culture that infuses both undergraduate and graduate studies. Undergraduates are empowered to chart their own academic path, through more than ninety majors and concentrations and global experiential learning opportunities in 148 countries. Northeastern’s 158 graduate programs prepare students for emerging new fields; students can take courses on campus, online, or in hybrid formats, creating the educational experience that best meets their needs. During 2020-21, Northeastern earned $181.2 million in external research awards.

The university is committed to the educational success of its students, offering need-based aid and a range of scholarships to reward the outstanding achievements of students from all walks of life. In fact, the pride and support of the institution is partially measured by the $194.4 million in gifts and pledges in 2020-21. Experiential learning, anchored by a renowned cooperative education program, lies at the heart of academic life at Northeastern. The integration of study with professional work, research, and service in countries around the world gives students real-world opportunities and responsibilities. Students explore their path, acquire a deeper grasp of their studies, and develop an understanding essential to lifelong achievement: how to learn and grow outside the comfort-zone of the classroom.

As a university where teaching and research are grounded in global engagement, Northeastern’s impact is being felt in all corners of the world. Students shape the world through experiential learning opportunities with nearly 2,900 partners on seven continents; and through the common pursuit of knowledge on a dynamic campus that connects students from 140 countries. Northeastern faculty members collaborate on research with colleagues on campus and on the other side of the world, with a focus on global challenges in health, security, and sustainability. Northeastern alumni, prepared to be engaged citizens of the world before they graduate, are making a difference in 186 countries. Learn more about Northeastern University’s exceptional programs at http://www.northeastern.edu.

Location

The Dean will be based on Northeastern’s Boston campus which is located on seventy-three acres in the venerable college town of Boston. Northeastern has its own stop on Boston’s subway system, commonly called the T. The city, home to myriad colleges, is steeped in American history and full of activities for students, staff and faculty. Over four million people live in the greater Boston area which prides itself on being one of the most livable cities in America. Twenty-one diverse neighborhoods offer more than 600,000 city residents the opportunity to taste, touch, and experience things from all over the world. Neighbors benefit from exceptional medical facilities, vibrant neighborhood business districts, and a solid network of parks, community centers, and libraries.  For more about life in Boston, see some of the following links: https://www.bostonusa.com/; http://bostonchamber.com/; and http://www.cityofboston.gov/.  The Dean will be required to travel on a frequent basis to the current—and future—campuses that make up the Northeastern University global campus network.  

To Apply: Napier Executive Search is assisting Northeastern University identify the 

Dean of Student Financial Services. For more information, or to nominate someone for this role, contact Mary Napier (mary.napier@napiersearch.com), or Laura Robinson (laura.robinson@napiersearch.com) or Thom Golden (thom.golden@napiersearch.com). Interested candidates should submit a résumé, along with a letter of interest describing their unique qualifications and background for the position. Candidates should also provide the names and contact information of at least three professional references. For confidentiality, references will not be contacted without permission. For best consideration, all application materials should be submitted electronically to northeastern@napiersearch.com by August 26, 2022 and credentials will be reviewed as they are received. The search will continue until the position is filled.

Northeastern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Educational Institution and Employer, Title IX University. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by the law. Northeastern University is an E-Verify Employer.

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