Williams College announces a national search for their next Director of Financial Aid.
About the College
Williams is a coeducational liberal arts institution located in the Berkshires of northwestern Massachusetts with access to Albany, Burlington (VT), Boston, New York City, and Montreal. Distinguished by a reputation for outstanding, inclusive teaching and scholarship, academic excellence, and exceptional alumni loyalty, the college is committed to building and supporting a diverse learning community of approximately 2,100 undergraduates, plus about 50 Master’s students in economics and art history.
Recruited and chosen through a highly selective admission process, undergraduates come to Williams from around the world and a wide variety of backgrounds. About 16 percent are first-generation college students, 20 percent are Pell Grant recipients, and 40 percent are U.S. students of color. Eight percent are international. The college is deeply committed to access. Half of all students receive financial aid and among aided families, the average cost is about $16,000. Many pay nothing at all, and indebtedness rates at graduation are among the nation’s lowest. The college’s financial aid packages are distinguished by the Williams Book Grant, which covers the actual cost of all required text books, course packets, and studio art and lab fees.
Situated in one of the most culturally saturated rural areas in the nation, Williams is home to the widely respected Williams College Museum of Art and Tony-Award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival, and is within easy driving distance of the Clark Art Institute, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and Tanglewood. The school is home to 32 intervarsity teams that compete via the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Williamstown is a quintessential college community and is a destination for hiking, camping, skiing, biking and other outdoor activities.
About the Position
Williams College seeks a dynamic, innovative, and strategic leader to serve as its Director of Financial Aid. Reporting to the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, the director will lead a team of six financial aid professionals and manage a comprehensive financial aid program that awards more than $60 million annually in support of the college’s need-blind admission policy and need-based financial aid policy. This position presents a significant opportunity to help shape the vision for the future of financial aid at one of the country’s most generous institutions.
The Director will work closely with the Provost, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, and campus leadership to establish and enhance financial aid policies and practices that enable the college to ensure an intellectually vibrant, equitable, and inclusive education. This includes partnering with the Offices of Admission and Communications to craft communication strategies that make families aware of Williams’ affordability and simplify the process to seek and qualify for aid, for both prospective and returning families. These strategies should also help position Williams in the forefront of national discussions about college access, affordability, and success. The director will collaborate with campus colleagues to provide exceptional service to current and prospective Williams families as they navigate the college process and experience.
- Provide strategic and operational leadership of the college’s financial aid program.
- Create an open and welcoming environment in financial aid that actively supports prospective and current students and their families.
- Manage an operating budget as well as a $60 million financial aid budget.
- Lead, mentor, and provide opportunities for professional growth for a team of six financial aid professionals.
- Monitor and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations and institutional policies, including the A-133 annual financial aid audit.
- Oversee reporting to internal and external constituencies including the federal government (FISAP, IPEDS, etc.), professional organizations (COFHE, College Board, Common Data Set, etc.), and the Williams Office of Institutional Research.
- Ensure effectiveness and efficiency of computer applications to secure receipt and transfer of financial aid information electronically.
- Develop and administer departmental standard operating procedures.
- Represent Williams at state, regional, and national conference and policy meetings.
- Actively participate in the 568 Presidents Group and College Board’s Need Analysis Round Table.
- Participate in all aspects of the general financial aid process, including: counseling prospective and current Williams families; need analysis and packaging; and committee discussions.
- Act as a leading campus advocate for the value of financial aid.
- Strong understanding of the nature and aims of a selective liberal arts college.
- A minimum of eight years of progressively responsible experience in financial aid management, preferably at an institution with a robust need-based program, is required.
- Strong team building skills and a record of success hiring, mentoring, managing, and supervising staff.
- Significant experience with Institutional Methodology (IM).
- Expertise with compliance and regulatory policies in financial aid.
- Strong interpersonal skills. Enthusiasm for and demonstrated commitment to supporting a student body that is broadly diverse with regard to gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and religion, among other factors.
- Knowledge of online financial aid management systems; experience with PeopleSoft and Slate is preferred.
- Exceptional oral and written communication skills and the ability to communicate complex issues with clarity.
- Evidence of creativity and innovation in problem solving and strategy implementation.
- Demonstrated aptitude for counseling students and families through the financial aid process.
- Strong organizational and project management skills, and an ability to multi-task in a fast-paced, high-volume environment.
- A willingness to work extended and weekend hours during peak periods.
- Leadership skills: Highly collaborative, dynamic, empathetic, patient, and fun.
- A bachelor’s degree is required. Advanced degree is preferred.
Employment at Williams is contingent upon the verification of background information submitted by the applicant, including the completion of a criminal record check, and education when applicable.
How to Apply
Interested candidates should send a cover letter describing their interest in and qualifications for the position and a resume electronically to WCDFA@wspelman.com. The subject line in the email should be WCDFA. Confidential inquiries may be made by contacting Mike Geffen by email to Mike@wspelman.com or by telephone at 951-201-8800 or Megan Spelman by email to Megan@wspelman.com or by telephone at 585-366-4329.
For full consideration, all application material should be submitted by February 19, 2018.
Beyond meeting fully its legal obligations for non-discrimination, Williams College is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community where members from all backgrounds can live, learn and thrive.