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Washington University of St. Louis Senior Department Administrator - Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering - 49655 in St. Louis, Missouri

Job Type/Schedule

This position is full-time and works approximately 37.5 hours per week.

Department Name/Job Location

This position is in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering. This position is for the Danforth Campus in the School of Engineering.

Essential Functions


The Senior Department Administrator (DA) is responsible for the effective management of the finances and operations of a large, research-intensive department and complex research centers. The DA acts as the Chair’s primary advisor for financial and operational matters in the department and advises Chair on large purchases and long-term strategic planning. Primary contact for faculty and a resource for system implementation and policy and process development. The DA supports faculty, center directors and staff throughout the life cycle of a sponsored project(s) that includes award management, compliance, and fund closeout. Manage the day-to-day accounting, including transaction processing, reporting, budgeting and analysis. Responsible for internal controls and compliance with federal, agency, sponsors, university, school and departmental policies and procedures. Liaison between the Chair, Faculty, Staff, and Dean’s office. Participate in efforts to improve operations and research administration including serving on University committees, attending and presenting at internal forums, and staying current on federal and university developments, complex regulations, and new systems development and training (e.g., WorkDay).


  1. Department Finances and Fiscal Responsibilities:
  2. Manage the department’s financial affairs and operations. Conduct in-depth, proactive reporting analyses to consult with the Chair on trends and make strategic recommendations on overall management of finances and personnel. Prepare and analyze financial statements and ad-hoc reports. Prepare the annual budget and forecasts. Analyze and complete annual space audit for department, laboratories and centers. Create and run monthly reports for an in-depth, proactive financial analysis to ensure appropriate stewardship and management of funds. Make recommendations and proactively identify potential areas of concern with regard to sponsored and non-sponsored fund management. Work closely with Department Chair in making financial decisions by producing reports and financial summaries. Track departmental commitments, including arrangements and special project funding. Troubleshoot finance or related issues, devise solutions, and interact with Chair/School and CFU to implement solutions. Identify accounts/vendors, for unexpected/unplanned expenses/issues to ensure fiscal/best solutions are utilized. Administer and analyze Sales and Services accounts. Properly allocate department revenues, via invoicing and depositing into various departmental accounts, as well as gifts received for various labs, departments and centers. Coordinate year-end closing of the accounting records for the department.
  3. Supervise the purchasing/accounting functions, ensuring maximum utilization of departmental/grant/center funds. Serve as the final approver and sole responsibility for all payroll costing allocations in new WorkDay system. Implement new processes to control and monitor transactions in new WorkDay system, ensuring that funds are not overdrawn, particularly sponsored funds.
  4. Department Research Administration:
  5. Review grant and award guidelines; manage large research portfolio of grants and contracts in excess of $7 million spread across multiple governmental agencies, including NIH, NSF, DOE, DOD, EPA, NASA, USDA and private agencies. Administer awards for grants, gifts, and contracts that involve multiple investigators, complex task budgets and/or multiple sub-awards. Monitor and approve financial transactions to ensure compliance with federal government guidelines/regulations, university policies and procedures. Coordinate and manage grant or contract closeouts and transfers. Audit subcontracts for appropriate allocation of funding. Oversee a portfolio of sponsored project, contract, sales & service, gift, start-up, school, and discretionary funds. Serve as a resource for faculty members/staff providing guidance and advanced support during the life cycle of a sponsored project, including reporting, managing and monitoring the faculty sponsored accounts. Run core set of reports on a monthly basis for all PIs to monitor spending, including burn rate, and manage personnel sourced to sponsored projects. Ensure compliance/spending and reporting are meeting agency requirements and follows university guidelines/procedures. Administer/monitor start up accounts for faculty. Manage transfer of funds/laboratory closeout when faculty depart. Ability to handle large grant portfolios, (over $7 million in awards, over 40 individual funds) prioritize and streamline processes for maximum efficiency.
  6. Monitor compliance of faculty and staff with internal and external policies and procedures in the appropriate conduct of research. Serve as the primary contact with internal/external auditors, ensuring compliance.
  7. Coordinate closely with the new Pre-Award unit in the Dean’s Office. Have open and constant communication on pre- and post-award activities to ensure the highest level of customer service to faculty.
  8. Payroll and Human Resources:
  9. Administer, process and approve departmental payroll for full-time and adjunct faculty, full and part-time staff, postdocs, graduate research assistants and undergraduate students. Administer, process and approve non-employee payroll transactions for visiting faculty and research scholars. Supervise, administer and process foreign national H-1B, J-1 and student intern visa paperwork. Serve as the primary contact for external attorneys on permanent residency applications for faculty. Supervise, administer, analyze and report on financial assistance for graduate research assistants. Supervise staff assigned to process biweekly and graduate student payroll. Work closely with faculty on recruitment of staff, postdocs and research staff, including drafting and posting job descriptions, hiring, and addressing performance issues and terminations.
  10. Manage daily operations and staffing of department activities. Hire, train, supervise, delegate and prioritize work for staff in departmental office. Perform annual performance reviews and recommend raises for office staff.
  11. Leadership and Communication:
  12. Participate in development of school level and university level curriculum for research and grant related training; working with the Director of Research Development & Administration in the Dean’s office on development and presentation of McKelvey School of Engineering training for faculty and staff; Assist University personnel in developing curriculum for University grant training in the STAR program.
  13. Assist in development of school wide operating procedures in coordination with the Dean’s Office.
  14. Represent department/School of Engineering interests in research, financial and personnel matters and issues within and outside the university. Serve on university wide committees regarding research administration and attend/participate in cross-campus forums. Assist/serve on committees in designing new or changes in on-line systems, policies and procedures.
  15. Organize, present and attend chair meetings/committees at departmental/school and University levels. Attend/present at conferences on a regional or national level. Attend regional and/or national conferences to ensure continuing education in a complex field.
  16. Perform other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications

  • Undergraduate degree in accounting, finance or business administration.
  • Seven to ten years of professional experience, preferably in a complex university environment.
  • Knowledge of major federal and non-federal sponsors, Uniform Guidance, and typical award terms and conditions.
  • Experience with electronic grants administration systems.
  • Budgeting and forecasting experience.
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Ability to work with a variety of PC-based software applications, database management and mainframe systems.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Competency in Washington University’s Administration Information System, including Human Resource Management System, Financial Information System and Student Information System.
  • Familiarity with WorkDay FDM and HCM.
  • Familiarity with Foreign National requirements and documentation.
  • Designation of Certified Research Administrator (CRA) and/or Certified Financial Research Administrator (CFRA).
  • Self-directed, proactive, possesses good judgement and the ability to multi-task and think critically.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Service-oriented communicator who is accessible and a team player with the ability to forge relationships and bring groups together on difficult accounting issues.
  • Ability to participate as a team member on various types of teams and projects to achieve the goals of the McKelvey School of Engineering.
  • Ability to explain agency and University requirements to Principal Investigators.
  • Self-motivated individual driven by challenge with the ability to work independently with a high degree of reliability, accuracy and productivity.
  • Analytical mind with a high degree of intelligence and the ability to “think on their feet.”
  • Ability to meet deadlines with varying degrees of pressure, and be comfortable in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment
  • Knowledge of internal controls and various accounting system applications.
  • Ability to research and report upon accounting and other technical issues.
  • Ability to streamline/automate transaction processing and recording.
  • Experience working with personal computers.
  • Proficiency in word processing, spreadsheet and data base management software applications.
  • Ability to handle confidential information responsibly.
  • Ability to identify and bring resolution to workflow priority issues.
  • Capacity to coordinate with Human Resources, Payroll, Office of Sponsored Research Services, Sponsored Projects Accounting, Engineering Administration and other areas in successful resolution of various issues for department, laboratories and centers.

Salary Range

The hiring range for this position is $60,801 - $79,092 annually.

Pre-Employment Screening

All external candidates receiving an offer for employment will be required to submit to pre-employment screening for this position. Current employees applying for a new position within the university may be subject to this requirement. The screenings will include a criminal background check and, as applicable for the position, other background checks, drug screen, employment and education or licensure/certification verification, physical examination, certain vaccinations and/or governmental registry checks. All offers are contingent upon successful completion of required screening.


This position is eligible for full-time benefits. Please click the following link to view a summary of benefits: https://wustl.box.com/s/8wkhs25yssf0775x9d6nd6vqa7obpth7.

EOE Statement

Washington University is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.

Job Title: Senior Department Administrator - Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering - 49655

Job ID: 49655

Location: Danforth - Main Campus

Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Regular/Temporary: Regular