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Duke University

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Duke University:

Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.


The PhD program assistant provides a high level of professional administrative and project support, reporting to the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). This position works within the framework of the EcoTeach mission to support graduate and undergraduate education in economics at Duke University.

Work Performed

General Administration and Student Services (30%)

  • Serve as primary point of contact for all current and prospective PhD students and alumni.
  • Track PhD student academic progress; conduct all degree audits.
  • Assist students with registration.
  • Organize PhD milestone exercises and collect associated documents: qualifying exams, MA en-route applications, field exams, field papers, prospectus/preliminary defense, preliminary job market papers, dissertation /final defense.
  • Maintain student information databases in regards to all aspects of the PhD program, and assist Graduate Studies Program Coordinator with preparation of internal and external reports.
  • Maintain PhD program web site, PhD student listservs, and databases (including yearly deadline updates).
  • Assist Graduate Studies Program Coordinator with preparation of marketing materials and implementation of marketing plan for PhD program.
  • Assist with the PhD course evaluation process, which may include organization, distribution, collection, and data analysis for instructors and TAs in both half- and full-semester courses.
  • Support PhD Core Course Faculty with course permission numbers along with Sakai course page for First Year Introduction to Research.
  • Administration of the Dissertation Tracker, including organization, distribution, and data collection for all second and third year students and advisors.

Student Funding Administration (5%)

  • Generate offer and re-appointment letters for PhD students, and collect signed letters prior to the start of each semester, working with Graduate Studies Program Coordinator and Faculty Directors to place students in appropriate work assignments.
  • Disseminate information and collect application materials for outside funding, Graduate School fellowships, and Conference Travel Awards.

Payroll Administration (25%)

  • Initiate payroll iForms and process hires in the applicant tracking and onboarding system for all graduate students in Teaching Assistant, Graduate Assistant, Research Assistant, grader, and other positions. In addition to setting up payments for semester-long duties, process monthly payroll requests for ad-hoc graduate student work (such as tutoring, extra grading assignments, etc.).
  • Process fellowship payments on non-compensatory payroll for all graduate students who receive various department fellowships, Duke fellowships, and external fellowships.
  • As needed, update PhD and MA student jobs and budget spreadsheets to reflect changes to student funding.

PhD Candidate Job Placement Support (20%)

  • Implement PhD job market processes as directed by Program Coordinator and Job Placement Director (e.g. organizing meetings, collecting and uploading recommendation letters, arranging mock interviews, etc.).
  • Maintain PhD job market website with current documents and information.
  • Track job market interviews, fly-outs, and offers.

Admissions Support (15%)

  • Respond to all general admissions questions related to the PhD program in a timely manner.
  • Prepare admission spreadsheets; provide requested admission information to Program Coordinator and Directors of Admissions; generate and collect admission and funding offer letters.
  • Prepare and distribute service requirement letters and welcome information to admitted students.
  • Make all arrangements in conjunction with Program Coordinator for PhD visit days in spring.
  • Help plan and implement orientation activities for the new PhD students.
  • Plan prospective PhD student visits.

Other (5%)

  • Coordinate with Economics Graduate Student Council members to plan all social events.
  • Assist in all aspects of the organization and running of yearly graduation ceremony.
  • Provide administrative support to Graduate Program Coordinator, Senior Program Coordinator, and Director of Graduate Studies, as needed.

Perform other related duties incidental to the work described herein.

Preferred Skills
  • Familiarity with Duke Payroll, Duke Accounts Payable, and database management (i.e. Filemaker Pro).
  • Ability to prioritize work assignments
  • Capable of making decisions and exercising good judgment
  • Excellent communication, oral and written
  • Quick learner
  • Exceptional organizational skills

The intent of this job description is to provide a representative and level of the types of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title and shall not be construed as a declaration of the total of the specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position. Employees may be directed to perform job-related tasks other than those specifically presented in this description.

Essential Physical Job Functions

Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essential job functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.

Minimum Qualifications


Work requires a broad knowledge of clerical and accounting principles and practices normally acquired through two years of post-secondary education in secretarial science ora related business field.


Work generally requires four years of related secretarial/clerical experience to acquire skills necessary to administer complex office functions related to office management, communications, and budgetary/accounting activities. OR AN EQUIVALENT COMBINATION OF RELEVANT EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE

Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.


Read our Diversity Profile History

Duke University was created in 1924 by James Buchanan Duke as a memorial to his father, Washington Duke. The Dukes, a Durham family that built a worldwide financial empire in the manufacture of tobacco products and developed electricity production in the Carolinas, long had been interested in Trinity College. Trinity traced its roots to 1838 in nearby Randolph County when local Methodist and Quaker communities opened Union Institute. The school, then named Trinity College, moved to Durham in 1892, where Benjamin Newton Duke served as a primary benefactor and link with the Duke family until his death in 1929. In December 1924, the provisions of indenture by Benjamin’s brother, James B. Duke, created the family philanthropic foundation, The Duke Endowment, which provided for the expansion of Trinity College into Duke University.Duke Campus

As a result of the Duke gift, Trinity underwent both physical and academic expansion. The original Durham campus became known as East Campus when it was rebuilt in stately Georgian architecture. West Campus, Gothic in style and dominated by the soaring 210-foot tower of Duke Chapel, opened in 1930. East Campus served as home of the Woman's College of Duke University until 1972, when the men's and women's undergraduate colleges merged. Both men and women undergraduates now enroll in either the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences or the Pratt School of Engineering. In 1995, East Campus became the home for all first-year students.

Duke maintains a historic affiliation with the United Methodist Church.

Home of the Blue Devils, Duke University has about 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-class faculty helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both near its North Carolina campus and around the world.

Mission Statement

Duke Science"James B. Duke's founding Indenture of Duke University directed the members of the University to 'provide real leadership in the educational world' by choosing individuals of 'outstanding character, ability, and vision' to serve as its officers, trustees and faculty; by carefully selecting students of 'character, determination and application;' and by pursuing those areas of teaching and scholarship that would 'most help to develop our resources, increase our wisdom, and promote human happiness.'

“To these ends, the mission of Duke University is to provide a superior liberal education to undergraduate students, attending not only to their intellectual growth but also to their development as adults committed to high ethical standards and full participation as leaders in their communities; to prepare future members of the learned professions for lives of skilled and ethical service by providing excellent graduate and professional education; to advance the frontiers of knowledge and contribute boldly to the international community of scholarship; to promote an intellectual environment built on a commitment to free and open inquiry; to help those who suffer, cure disease, and promote health, through sophisticated medical research and thoughtful patient care; to provide wide ranging educational opportunities, on and beyond our campuses, for traditional students, active professionals and life-long learners using the power of information technologies; and to promote a deep appreciation for the range of human difference and potential, a sense of the obligations and rewards of citizenship, and a commitment to learning, freedom and truth.Duke Meeting

 “By pursuing these objectives with vision and integrity, Duke University seeks to engage the mind, elevate the spirit, and stimulate the best effort of all who are associated with the University; to contribute in diverse ways to the local community, the state, the nation and the world; and to attain and maintain a place of real leadership in all that we do.”

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