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Business Administrator Lead

Job Description

How to Apply

A cover letter that includes your approach and experience in creating a diverse and inclusive environment in the workplace is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first pages of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.


Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering (CLaSP) research and education focus on the atmospheres and space environments of the Earth and other solar system objects, as well as the physics of the Sun and the heliosphere. Climate & Space researchers design, develop, operate, and analyze data from ground-based, airborne, and space-based experiments - our department is one of the few places where students can participate in world-class engineering projects on NASA space missions. We develop models for the global atmosphere and its interactions with the biosphere and cryosphere. Our space weather models are used both for research purposes and provided to NOAA for operational space weather forecasts.

Candidates for the role of Unit Administrator will provide leadership and managerial support for all business and administrative areas. Reporting to the Department Chair, you will lead our operations including budget management, finance, human resources, research administration, student services, and information technology, along with facilities by developing and implementing business processes, operational plans, and procedures. As part of the coordination group, you will participate in developing and maintaining a fruitful collaborative relationship with the Space Physics Research Laboratory. You will work alongside the Chair in moving key initiatives forward while ensuring effective stewardship of resources within the Department, building partnerships within the school/college, and strengthening the support functions which serve the academic, research, and service missions of CLaSP.

Who We Are

Michigan Engineers are world-class educators, researchers, students, and staff who strive to build a people-first future. As part of the nation's number one public research institution, Michigan Engineering's mission is to provide scientific and technological leadership to the people of the world, develop intellectually curious and socially conscious minds, create collaborative solutions to societal problems, and promote an inclusive and innovative community of service for the common good.

Our vision, mission, and values are supported by a people-first engineering framework that guides our work. As Michigan Engineers, we strive to apply excellent engineering fundamentals, integrated expertise, and equity-centered values to reimagine what engineering can be, close critical gaps, and elevate all people. Information about our vision, mission, and values can be found at: http://strategicvision.engin.umich.edu/.

The University of Michigan has a storied legacy of commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Michigan Engineering models that are committed to our research, culture, and collaborations. We seek to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of that commitment. Learn more about DEI at Michigan Engineering:

Why Work at Michigan?

In addition to a career filled with purpose and opportunity, The University of Michigan offers a comprehensive benefits package to help you stay well, protect yourself and your family and plan for a secure future. Benefits include:

  • Generous time off
  • A retirement plan that provides two-for-one matching contributions with immediate vesting
  • Many choices for comprehensive health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability coverage
  • Flexible spending accounts for healthcare and dependent care expenses
  • Maternity and Parental Leave


Oversight of operations: Manage daily operation of the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, including the coordination, direction, and policy development including management, internal controls, and continuous improvements in research administration, student services, finances, human resources, communications, information technology, and facilities management. Represent the Department to the College, to other administrators, and to other University units with authority to make commitments regarding finances, administrative policies, and procedures.

Leadership: Guidance to managers on a wide range of complex HR issues, performance improvement plans, and other stages of the disciplinary process. Provide direct supervision of direct reports, including annual performance evaluation. Maintain a supportive working environment that fosters diversity, equity and inclusion, teamwork, professional development, and growth.

Research administration: Broad administrative oversight of the preparation of grants and contracts to ensure compliance with institution funding sources, federal guidelines, and regulations, from proposal preparation through closeout. Facilitate research initiatives and ensure sufficient support services.

Student services: Oversee student services and student well-being, and manage the department's financial support for student activities.

Finances: Broad fiscal and administrative responsibility for the department: Oversee the departmental operating budgets including planning, allocations, authorization of expenditures, and monthly reconciliations. Supervise and monitor all departmental funds (sponsored, gift, designated, equipment, and recharge funds), authorize expenditures, and monitor reconciliation.

Human resources: Supervise staff managers and coordinate their administrative, financial, and operational activities. Duties include hiring employees; setting and adjusting their terms of employment; planning and directing their work; assessing performance for promotions or other employment status changes; handling complaints, grievances, and disciplinary actions. Provide expertise to faculty and staff regarding employee rights, benefits, and responsibilities.

Support services: Oversee communications, IT services, and facilities management.

Assistance to the chair: Provide advice, guidance, reports, and analyses to the chair on administrative and operational issues. Assist in the planning and development of department objectives and strategic plans. Coordinate the administrative and operational activities of the chair's office to ensure effective use of time and resources. Coordinate the formulation, review, revision, and development of policies and procedures. Provide liaison with the University development effort. Advise chair and faculty regarding University and College policies on financial and other operations. Assure compliance with affirmative action and safety programs. Oversee departmental development activities including alumni relations and fundraising.

Perform other job-related duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor's degree with an equivalent combination of education and experience and proven record in administration or finance in a research, nonprofit, or related organization, preferably in higher education.
  • Minimum of five years of supervisory experience in a management/administrative role.
  • Proven expertise working with spreadsheets and databases to financially manage, budget, and project all types of funding sources.
  • Demonstrated excellent organizational, critical thinking, and analytical skills with a proven ability to productively handle ambiguity and uncertainty in a complex and fast-paced environment.
  • Proven ability to communicate well, both orally and in writing, and to work collaboratively and diplomatically with others, with the ability to mentor, supervise, and interact with a diverse workforce.
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise appropriate discretion and confidentiality.
  • Proven ability to work under pressure, make independent decisions, and exercise strategic and critical thinking that impacts an entire organization.
  • Strong background in research administration.
  • Demonstrated commitment, awareness, and implementation of best practices in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Extensive experience in recruiting, mentoring, career development, leadership, and team building.
  • Strong communication skills combined with excellent people skills and experience in building and leading teams and creating relationships.
  • Excellent change management skills to guide administrative and personnel transitions.
  • Demonstrated ability to present and gain acceptance of ideas and proposals.
  • Knowledge of finance, accounting, and professional and technical billing.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Excellent change management skills to guide administrative and personnel transitions.
  • Thorough knowledge of University policies and procedures is highly desired to ensure awareness and compliance, including human resources, sponsored programs, financial management, procurement, travel, facilities, and student services.
  • Commitment to establishing and maintaining a diverse, equitable environment for faculty, staff, and students.

Work Locations

The Michigan Engineering Office of Climate and Space Sciences operates in a hybrid work environment consisting of both in-person and remote work. This position will be classified as a FLEX position within the Michigan Engineering STARR classification matrix, which means working on campus an average of 3 days per week and working remotely the rest of the week. You can find more information here: https://rpm.engin.umich.edu/human-resources/telecommuting/

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks. Background checksare performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. The review and selection process maybegin as early as the eighth day after posting.Thisopening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

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