Department Administrator

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is searching for a new Department Administrator to join our Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry 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 Department Administrator serves as a primary interface between the research department and administration departments, funding agencies and clients both internal and external to the Institution. 


The successful candidate will have demonstrated the ability to supervise research administrative professionals and recommend, interpret, and implement management policies and operating practices.  This is a full-time, regular, exempt position and is eligible for benefits.


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.


Diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral to WHOI’s academic excellence and leadership in the global scientific community.  WHOI stands committed to a sustained Institution-wide effort to advance inclusion and belonging throughout all levels of the Institution.  We strive for a diverse and inclusive workforce, and particularly encourage women, minorities, veterans, those with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups to apply.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

Essential Functions

  • Provides administrative oversight of the department - Plans, develops, and executes organizational, operational and principal policies 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 professionals - Hires, trains, supervises, and mentors department administrative professionals; provides staff with training and professional development opportunities and access to tools required for them to work effectively; oversees periodic performance evaluations
  • Manages the departmental proposal process - ensures that government agency and foundation requirements are met and appropriate documentation is provided; works with Department Chair to conduct final departmental review of proposals prior to submission to Grant & Contract Services for institution review; 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 and 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 (HR)-related matters within the department; Collaborates with HR to provide guidance for hiring all levels of staff; conducts research and provides compensation recommendations to the Chair; works closely with Chair and scientific/senior technical staff to address performance issues; exercises good judgment and discretion in the positive resolution of problematic and sensitive personnel issues
  • Together 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 revenue and expense budgeting.  Provides ongoing decision support and analytics for the department, including several forecasts during the fiscal year
    • Participates in annual audit process, providing justification and documentation for department operating budgets
    • Monitors 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 and managing department space and equipment requirements, including but not limited to necessary renovations, equipment purchases, maintenance and repairs
  • Maintains accurate overview and management of funding portfolios of principal investigators, and proactively helps grow their funding portfolios as part of their career development
  • 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 a similar organization
  • General financial management and personnel supervisory experience is required
  • Strong organizational, written and oral communication skills
  • Specialized technical knowledge and experience with managing the administrative operations of a scientific/technical organization, including:
    • Budget preparation, grants management and proposal preparation
    • Computer processing and modern computer administrative techniques, including advanced skills in Microsoft products and Adobe Acrobat
    • Strong numerical and analytical skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated capacity to:
    • Work in collaborative teams
    • Navigate and resolve conflict
    • Maintain confidentiality and exercise discretion as needed
    • Delegate effectively, making optimal use of staff talents and skills
    • Address problems or needs of department members in a timely manner with appropriate use of Institution resources

Physical Requirements

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