Landon Ellison truly can claim he bleeds Mean Green. While his career at UNT started in 2011, his devotion to the campus dates back to his freshman year in 2006, when also got his first UNT job in the campus bookstore. And seriously, want to talk devotion? Along with his numerous job duties (read about those by clicking the button below), he serves as President of the UNT Black Professional Network, is co-chair of the Division of Enrollment Diversity Council, co-chair for the Dean of Students Committee on Student Conduct and he serves on UNT President Neal Smatresk's Diversity Advisory Council. Those who know him will tell you the size of his is matched only by his dedication to serving students and their families. Get to know Landon.
What do you do in position?
I currently oversee the Office of Outreach. Our primary services in Outreach include a few initiatives, including overseeing the planning and implementation of recruitment initiatives for diverse student populations. We host community education events in English and Spanish to assist students and families in navigating the higher education enrollment process. We partner closely with the Division of Equity and Diversity – particularly the Multicultural Center, to connect students with retention initiatives to help minority student populations persist and complete their degrees. Outreach also has a partnership with the Consulate of Mexico in Dallas -- the Ventanilla de Orientación Educativa. Our services aim to educate the general public, from elementary school students to parents and adult learners about the doors that higher education can open for students. Our 40 G-Force Mentors work in 12 school districts, assisting students with their admissions and financial aid applications. I also lead the Collin County Admissions Recruitment Team, which operates and works closely with the UNT at Frisco campus to increase enrollment. I am fortunate to have a talented team passionate about breaking down barriers that may prevent students from starting and completing their college education at UNT or elsewhere.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
Helping my team grow and develop as professionals and ensuring we are serving students and their families who may not have much knowledge or background in higher education. Some of my office members plan to stay in higher education, and others have other goals and aspirations. Playing even a small part in helping my full-time and student employees harness a skill set or achieve their goals is one of my favorite parts of my position. It's a privilege to lead and to learn from my team every day.
What employee benefit or activity would you like to see added to UNT World?
I believe our employees could serve from more holistic training and overview of higher education culture at UNT when they start working. Many full-time personnel do not plan to have a higher education career but find their way to our family regardless. However, their viewpoint and knowledge set is sometimes limited to their specific area. Due to my experience in several divisions and through my masters and doctoral studies in the UNT Higher Education Department, I have gained a holistic and broad knowledge base in post-secondary education. Not everyone has the same opportunities or interests as myself. Still, I believe my diverse career experiences at UNT have helped me become a better leader for my unit and believe it has made me a better leader. Incorporating multi-day training or online modules ranging from information on financial aid to academic operations or even fraternity and sorority life may spark a passion for our diverse range of employees. Having even a small amount of knowledge in an area of higher education outside of your area may provide you with more tools to help and serve students.
What is your proudest work moment?
It isn't easy to choose one. Anytime I have a student, teammate or employee who has told me I had helped them in any small way makes me proud of my work. I received a very touching card from a team member who left the institution this summer, thanking me for some of the things I did to support our group as the pandemic took shape. Considering I hadn't directly supervised this individual, it made me proud of what our Admissions Team was able to accomplish in a difficult time, and grateful that I could help this individual in a small way.
What is your proudest non-work moment?
Completing my master's degree in 2015. I had a tough time in school growing up and wasn't sure I'd even be able to go to college. UNT gave me a chance as an undergrad, and I had no intention of going to graduate school until I started working full-time. Completing my master's was never something I considered before, so it was a real honor to continue my education and earn my graduate degree.
What is a fact about you that may surprise your work colleagues?
I am a semi-decent artist. I actually picked up drawing again this summer and have learned to do pieces on my iPad.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE...
Book?: Harry Potter Series
Movie?: Black Panther
Inspirational Hero?: My wife and best friend (fellow UNT alum) – Vanessa. The most resilient and compassionate person I have ever met.