Department Assistant 3 - Astronomy

Job description

Job Title: Department Assistant 3 - Astronomy
Location: Case Main Campus
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
Job ID: 8814

Working under general direction, the Department Assistant 3 will assist the chair with all aspects of the administration of the Department of Astronomy, (particularly budgeting and forecasting). This position will assist the department chair with the daily routine of the department and work to create an atmosphere of helpfulness and cooperation. The Department of Astronomy operates a remote research facility, the Burrell Schmidt telescope, which is located on the Tohono O’odham reservation 56 miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona.


    Financial: In collaboration with the department chair, prepare and monitor the annual departmental operating budget. Monitor expenditures and update forecasts for the annual budget. Provide quarterly budget forecasts to the dean's office. Frequently maintain and summarize data file for all departmental operating, discretionary and endowment expenditures (currently there are 11 endowments in addition to faculty research grants and operating budget). Ensure expenditures in key categories are tracked frequently. Provide reports for longer term strategic planning. Administer and reconcile departmental operating, endowment, grant and discretionary accounts, correct or make accounting adjustments as appropriate. Distribute expense statements and salary analysis reports to principal investigators. Ensure compliance with federal and non-federal guidelines for grants, reminding faculty of deadlines for reports. Make deposits and record departmental income from donors, occasional telescope users, and other sources. Review online effort reporting data prior to faculty certification and process adjustments as needed. Monitor and reconcile P-card charges for faculty. Maintain records of receipts for audits. Work with faculty/staff and auditors to retrieve information for regular audits. Advise department members on financial, administrative, and HR policies and procedures. Prepare and process payment requests for reimbursements. Process invoice payments for departmental and telescope expenditures. Keep up-to-date list of smaller departmental equipment covered by “floaters insurance”, such as laptops. Assist faculty in grant proposal submission; provide faculty with salary information and current agency and university regulations and procedures, review for compliance issues, route for approvals via eURF system, liaise with dean's office, other departments, and sponsored project administration as required by grant deadlines. (60%)Telescope: The astronomy department owns and operates the Burrell Schmidt telescope, its primary research instrument, located on a remote site outside Tucson, Arizona. Astronomers use the telescope (for observing or engineering runs) for about nine out of twelve months in a year; runs are generally of two-week duration. Arrange and monitor time-critical shipping between campus labs and telescope in Arizona for both normal observing runs and major engineering upgrades. Arrange telescope-related purchasing via both Pcard and traditional orders; follow up orders to make sure they are delivered to campus or telescope in a timely fashion, liaise with the Tucson-based contractors who take deliveries and organize transport to the Kitt Peak Mountain site. Organize and administer contracts for telescope maintenance and support from ACE (Tucson-based company) and other contractors as needed. In consultation with the observatory director, check and process monthly statements from AURA/ KPNO (these are complex and obscure). (10%)General Office Management: Has overall responsibility for smooth functioning of the department. Maintain calendar of deadlines for both financial and student-related administrative needs and keep department chair advised. Perform general administrative duties for department faculty and staff as needed; maintain files, collect and disseminate material. Update department website of events such as colloquia and public lectures of academic programs. Maintain calendar of faculty and staff absences and departmental events. Plan and organize meetings both within department and between department members and other faculty and administrators. Maintain necessary correspondence with attendees. Facilitate communications between department and the university. Maintain files, update web pages, collect and disseminate material. Coordinate workflow between departments as needed. Manage inventory for office and computer supplies. Facilitate building maintenance requests and follow-up as needed. Manage mail and priority shipping as required. (10%)


    Personnel: Oversee compilation of materials for faculty, adjunct faculty and postdoctoral research associate appointments, annual reviews, and faculty tenure and promotion files; ensure that confidentiality is maintained, and procedures followed. Oversee compilation of visa and other work permit materials in collaboration with the office of Immigration and HR Services. Distribute monthly effort for faculty, exempt staff, and graduate students. Oversee time approval of staff and undergraduate students. The department employs 2-3 students during semester and a similar number during the summer. Manage graduate student tuition waivers and stipends and assist graduate students with queries. (5%)Visitor program: Organize travel, accommodation, reimbursement, and other administrative support needs for: colloquium speakers (around 15 per year); Frontiers public lecture program distinguished speakers (around 5 per year); Longer-term visitors such as sabbatical and student visitors (1-2 per year); and scientific meetings held in or organized by the department (~1 per year). Prepare and distribute seminar communication (i.e., Physics "robot"). (5%)Alumni and Development: Keep alumni and donor information up to date. Coordinate production of department newsletter in collaboration with the chair. Organize alumni visits to telescope for development purposes. Coordinate public speaking engagements for astronomy faculty and staff. (5%)Student-related duties: Answer queries from prospective graduate students and prepare and process all paperwork related to graduate student admissions. Regularly check Hobson for online applications, communicate with applicants regarding the status of their applications, and prepare files for faculty review. Ensure that confidentiality is maintained. Inform applicants and graduate school of decisions. (The major workload for this is around Jan-March, but there are occasional requests monthly). Compile and distribute course-related materials such as grade sheets and grade changes. Update the student information system ‘Schedule of Classes’ course schedule/turnaround documents for upcoming semester. Update the General Bulletin once a year with the help of the department. Maintain list of current graduate students, undergraduate majors and minors and post to departmental Wiki website. Coordinate with bookstore and faculty for textbook ordering. (5%)Perform other duties as assigned (<1%)


Department: Daily contacts with the department chair, faculty, staff to exchange information and maintain workflow.

University: Weekly contact with the dean’s office, and the finance office at the College of Arts and Sciences and various departments, including: Accounts Payable, Payroll, Purchasing, Foreign Faculty and Scholars, ORA, Access Services, Printing Services, Library, University Registrar, Graduate Studies and Service departments to exchange information or address an issue.

External: Frequent contact with vendors, contractors, members of the general public to exchange information.

Students: Graduate and undergraduate students: daily. Prospective graduate students: weekly in recruiting season.


Supervise work/study student for general office duties.


Experience: 5 or more years of experience required; extensive experience in an educational environment with strong office background preferred.

Education/licensing: High school education required. College preferred.


    Must exhibit a high-level of initiative and possess the ability to work independently with minimum supervision and to be able to maintain a high degree of confidentiality, as well as the ability to “get along” and work with a highly diversified group of individuals daily. Strong communication skills are required, both verbal and written. Ability to interact with colleagues, supervisor, and customers face to face. Strong interpersonal, organization and management skills are also needed. Prefer university CAPS certification. Must be computer literate and familiar with standard Microsoft Office software, including Excel spreadsheets. Must have ability (or willingness to learn) new computer programs such as simple web design, PeopleSoft, the university’s OSR Spiderweb eURF program, SPARTA and P-card Works program.Ability to meet consistent attendance.


Typical office environment. The employee will perform repetitive motion using computer mouse and keyboard to type.

Diversity Statement

In employment, as in education, Case Western Reserve University is committed to Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Women, veterans, members of underrepresented minority groups, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.


Reasonable Accommodations

Case Western Reserve University provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the Office of Equity at 216-368-3066 to request a reasonable accommodation. Determinations as to granting reasonable accommodations for any applicant will be made on a case-by-case basis.





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Job No:
Posted: 4/28/2021
Application Due: 7/27/2021
Work Type: Full Time