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Portrait Gallery: Mona Hicks, dean of students

Mona HicksMona Hicks, dean of students, enjoys interacting with students as they grow, learn and develop academic and personal skills to be successful.

Why is the Office of the Dean of Students important?

We expect students to be diligent, go to class without hand-holding, actively prepare for their classes, wear green on Fridays, recycle, get involved, learn about different cultures, try new things, get involved, utilize all of the resources available to them and have fun. That is what we expect. But, in college, like in life, learning about problem-solving is student development, adult development.  We teach students how to solve problems. Sometimes those problems are daunting and sometimes they are simple and we help students find solutions.

How does the dean’s office enhance the college experience?

I am determined to help my team shift to creativity and innovation in every aspect of what we do. We must be fresh. We must be relevant. We must meet students where they are and help them be successful. It is my job to be a creative, compassionate and empowering leader for both my staff and my students. I believe it is my destiny to help students find theirs. I cannot say it enough times. I am truly blessed.

What’s the typical UNT student?

Actually, there is no such thing. UNT students are so diverse and unique, but they are all kind, creative and each has a great destiny.

What is your vision to meet student needs  and interests?

We created the new mission: Dean of Students: Supporting a culture of lifelong learning  by providing innovative educational and support services which enhance the student experience. We have such a great synergy to help us focus on social integration, discovery, involvement and lifelong learning. Again, I am really blessed.

Were you inspired by a mentor?

Dr. Sandra Pacheco is still serving as dean of students at St. Edward's University. We met early in my college career. I was a precocious 17-year old freshman with too much free time. She is a dear mentor and sent me congratulations when I became dean of students here. Right, Hicks and Scrappy.

Mona Hicks and ScrappyWhat is your academic background?

I earned a bachelor's degree  in biology from St. Edward's University in Austin, my master’s of science in college student personnel from Western Illinois University and my doctorate in leadership, policy and higher education from Vanderbilt University.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love to cook, so I like trying new recipes. I also like watching sports and movies, and listening to NPR. I enjoy art and culture in all forms.

What’s the trickiest recipe or dish you’ve cooked?

Risotto – it requires a lot of care, attention, patience and love.

What is your favorite recent movie?

I loved Iron Man II and The Karate Kid ... Shrek Ever After, The Last Airbender and Ramona and Beezus — a childhood favorite. Cicely Tyson is my all-time favorite actor and Taraji P. Henson is a current favorite.

(Interview by Khashan Poitier, student assistant, University Relations, Communications and Marketing)

Owning Excellence

Faculty and staff members have roles in transforming UNT into a nationally prominent university. Share your ideas on how you can help UNT to own excellence, keep students on track and improve graduation education.

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