Academic administration positions

5/11/2018 12:46:43 PM

Do you enjoy working in an academic environment, but not so excited about the prospect of running your own lab or teaching? Do you have a passion for helping students and early-career scientists be successful in their academic training and beyond? If so, you may want to consider a career in academic administration. This refers to the professional staff who are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of academic programs. While some academic admin positions (e.g., dean) require experience as a faculty member, most positions do not and only require direct experience working with science trainees in a programmatic capacity.  

Academic administrators wear a lot of different hats, from the planning and administration of programs (e.g., recruitment and retention efforts) to providing support services for trainees (e.g., academic and career counseling). These positions also play a critical role in developing and ensuring compliance with policies that impact the success of students and promote a diverse and inclusive environment. As an example, check out the recent essays in the ASBMB Today that advocate for GRE scores to be removed from graduate admissions criteria. Such policies can be changed and academic admins have the influence to make this happen. (FYI, see this list of biology and biomedical graduate programs dropping the GRE requirement, which is maintained by Joshua Hall of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill).

This week’s jobs roundup features academic-administration positions working with programs at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral training levels. I have focused on jobs that involve some type of management responsibilities vs. a support role. Job searches were done via several generic and academic job boards using keywords related to “student affairs”, “education administration” and “program manager” combined with the word “science” and the training level (as indicated above). Also, be sure to check out this previous post on careers to support diversity in science efforts for more ideas on nonfaculty academic jobs. 

Weekly jobs roundup  

  • The University of California–Los Angeles is searching for an assistant director of the Undergraduate Research Center-Sciences to manage several undergrad research programs, including programming and services targeted to retain underrepresented students as science majors. Minimum qualifications include a Ph.D. in the sciences, postdoctoral research experience and university teaching experience. The application deadline is May 29.  
  • The Department of Bioengineering at the University of Colorado–Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus is hiring both a pre-bioengineering program manager and graduate program manager to oversee operations of the respective academic programs, which includes student advising, program operations and strategic-planning efforts. Minimum qualifications for both positions include a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and experience managing student programs. The application deadlines are May 23.  
  • The Biological Sciences Division at The University of Chicago is looking to fill multiple positions for graduate education administrators (search for this position title to see all related postings). These positions will oversee all administrative aspects of the specific graduate programs, including recruitment, retention and professional-development activities for grad students. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree (advanced degree in the life science preferred) and two years of experience in student affairs. The jobs were listed in late April, and postings expire on or before various dates in October. (H/t to Briana Konnick for sharing these postings with the ASBMB via the Graduate Career Consortium message board.)

  • Additionally, the Molecular Biosciences cluster within BSD at The University of Chicago is hiring a director of graduate education to provide overall management and oversight of its graduate programs. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree (advanced degree preferred) and five years of administrative experience. The job posting expires on or before Sept. 14. Note: The position was posted in March, so you may want to reach out to the division to check on the status of the position.  
  • The Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, Mo.) is recruiting an executive director of graduate education within the Department of Biology and Biomedical Sciences to manage the operational and administrative aspects of its graduate programs. This includes planning curriculum needs, implementing policy directives and evaluating program effectiveness. Minimum qualifications include a master’s degree (Ph.D. preferred) and five years of administrative experience. No application deadline is provided.  
  • The Graduate School at Northwestern University is seeking an assistant director of postdoctoral affairs to support the needs and priorities of the postdoc community across the Chicago and Evanston campuses. Tasks include advising on and monitoring compliance with postdoc policies and providing direct support services (e.g., onboarding, career counseling). Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree (Ph.D. preferred) and four years of program administration experience. No application deadline is provided.  
  • The California Institute of Technology is hiring a postdoctoral and visitor programs manager to manage the appointments of nontenured faculty and postdoctoral scholars within the Biology and Biological Engineering Division, including onboarding, compliance and financial aspects. Other responsibilities include coordinating professional-development events (e.g., postdoc summer seminars). Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree and five years of administrative experience. No application deadline is provided.    

Bonus job 

The American Society for Microbiology is hiring for several positions in the area of science education and training. These positions include a program coordinator to oversee the ASM’s fellowship programs and an education specialist to coordinate yearlong professional development and mentoring activities for the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students community. See the job postings for details on qualifications. No application deadlines are provided. 

Author's note

And if you know of an undergraduate student who could use some financial support, be sure to let them know that the deadline to apply for the Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates is June 1. This scholarship is open to ASBMB student members who are full-time students at the junior level or higher with at least a 3.0 GPA. Students whose social, educational or economic background adds to the diversity of the biomedical workforce or who show commitment to enhancing academic success of underrepresented students are especially encouraged to apply. Students with DACA status also are eligible.