• Department Administrator

    Job ID
    Location : Location
    US-MA-Woods Hole
  • Job Summary

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society. In pursuit of this mission are some of the most world’s most talented ocean scientists and engineers who are pushing the boundaries of knowledge about the ocean to reveal its impact on our planet and our lives. If you would like to support the people who go to impossible places to do impossible things, you can be part of making a difference by joining an incredible team.


    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is searching for a new Department Administrator to join our Geology & Geophysics Department.  This position reports to, advises, and works closely with the Department Chair in handling department strategic planning and operational matters. The Department Administrator is responsible for leadership and management related to daily operations for the department, advocating for the mission of WHOI, and using the best practices in administrative and business management.  The successful candidate will supervise research administration support staff and recommend, interpret, and implement management policies and operating practices.  Uses good judgment and experience to prioritize a varied workload that involves developing solutions to emergent issues, time-sensitive and/or confidential projects, and complex problems.  Applies advanced knowledge, skills, methods, and practices to conduct analysis and problem-solving.  Serves as a primary interface between the research department and administration departments, funding agencies and clients both internal and external to the Institution.  This is a full-time, regular, exempt position and is eligible for benefits.  

    Essential Functions

    • Responsible for administrative oversight of the department. Plans, develops, and executes organizational, operational and principal processes and procedures
    • Collaborates with the Department Chair and scientific/senior technical staff on strategic planning initiatives, financial planning, reporting and fiscal control to effectively support departmental research
    • Manages a team of administrative support staff. Hires, trains, supervises, and mentors department administrative staff. Understands the abilities of staff and utilizes their talents and delegates effectively. Provides staff with growth opportunities, professional training, periodic performance evaluations, and the tools required for them to work effectively
    • Manages the departmental proposal process, ensuring that government agency requirements are met and appropriate documentation is provided. Together with the Department Chair is responsible for the approval and final departmental review of proposals prior to submission to Grant & Contract Services for institution review, and participates in the negotiation process with large contracts to ensure the goals and objectives of each project can be properly met within institutional and governmental guidelines
    • Advises scientific/ technical staff on WHOI procedures and governmental policy. Understands and implements compliance and regulatory activities associated with proposals, awards and department operating budgets
    • Serves as the primary point of contact for human resources related matters within the department, ensuring smooth workflow of personnel activities. In collaboration with HR, provides guidance for hiring all levels of staff and to the Chair regarding recommended compensation. Works closely with department supervisors when dealing with performance issues. Exercises discretion and discernment in the positive resolution of problematic and sensitive personnel issues
    • In consultation with the Chair, is responsible for departmental financial oversight which includes but is not limited to:
      • Department overhead and capital budget(s) – develops and implements an annual operating budget that includes expense budgeting.  Provides ongoing decision support and analytics for the department.
      • Participation in annual audit process, defending and providing documentation for department operating budgets
      • Monitoring of grant and contract awards, working closely with principal investigators to ensure compliance with expenditures, award requirements, policies and reporting
      • Serves as final approval for all purchase requisitions, expense reimbursements, and department time reports; tracking funding and initiating Institutional support as needed
    • Collaborates with the Chair in assessing department space and equipment requirements including but not limited to necessary renovations, equipment purchases, maintenance and repairs.
    • Provides oversight to departmental websites to ensure information is up to date.
    • Acts as a definitive point of contact and resource within the department for institutional policies and procedures and for guidance and advice in non-scientific or technical matters.

    Education & Experience

    • Bachelor's degree preferred in an area related to the technical or administrative work of the department; master's degree is desirable
    • 5+ years of directly related experience at the Institution or similar organization
    • Strong organizational skills, general financial management and personnel supervisory experience is required
    • Must possess the ability to handle confidential matters discretely
    • Specialized technical knowledge required to manage the administrative services of the divisions and have demonstrated knowledge of computer processing and modern computer administrative techniques is highly desired
    • Knowledge of budget preparation, grants management and proposal preparation is essential.
    • Must have strong written and oral communication skills and interpersonal skills. 
    • High interpersonal and organizational skills as well as effective delegation and the ability to address problems and/or coordinate resolution with the appropriate Institution resources are essential
    • Must have strong numerical and analytical skills and have a high degree of computer literacy, including advanced skills in Microsoft products and Adobe Acrobat.  

    Physical Requirements

    Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to: occasional standing and/or walking along with being mostly and continuously sedentary.  Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Physical duties are subject to change.


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