Chris Uggen's Blog: seeking a new <i>assistant to</i>

Thursday, July 12, 2007

seeking a new assistant to

visitors to our fair department quickly pick up on the quality and professionalism of our terrific staff. in fact, i'm commissioning a sign for the reception area, celebrating this culture of professionalism and performance:


our chief-of-staff and assistant-to-the-chair, carol rachac, deserves much of the credit for fostering such a productive work environment. she's certainly been a wonderful partner for me during my first year in the chair's chair. after next week, however, carol will move on to an associate program director position at the minnversity.

although nobody could replace carol, we are seeking a new assistant to the chair. in the interim, we've got good people working hard to keep things humming along to our normal tight standards. still, i'll rest a whole lot easier once were back to full strength.

the job is posted here, but i'll note a few highlights:

Position Title: Assistant to the Chair
Job Code: 9353
Requisition Number: 149321

Salary depends on experience, but the average "assistant to" earns about $65,200 in the college.

This is a 100% time position and reports to the Chair of the Department of Sociology. We seek a key administrator who supports and enhances the mission of the Department of Sociology. The department's budget is over four million dollars annually. Our community consists of 32 faculty, approximately 75 graduate students, and over 600 undergraduate majors. During our 100 plus year history, we have established a tradition of internationalism, interdisciplinarity and civic-mindedness.

25% Assist the Chair of Sociology with strategic planning to achieve the best use of department resources (operational budget, human resources, and space) to meet instructional, research and administrative needs. Coordinate the development of operational budget with Chair, Executive Committee, and senior accountant. Serve as Chief of Staff, coordinating all aspects of department management.

25% Prepare and schedule the department's curriculum offerings, course assignments and teaching assistant assignments for academic year and summer session. Submit recommendations on graduate curricular offerings to the department's Curriculum Committee. Mediate employment related disputes.

15% Manage personnel in department. Includes full supervisory authority for developing job descriptions and performance standards; coordinating searches; hiring; training; orienting; assigning, monitoring and adjusting workloads; problem-solving; disciplining; terminating and settling grievances. Serve as department contact for concerns of all employee groups (civil service, bargaining unit, P/A and faculty). Guide and coach graduate instructors and teaching assistants with issues related to employment.

15% Understand, communicate and interpret policies. Serve as the primary department resource for chair, faculty and staff on University and College administrative policies and procedures such as promotion and tenure; faculty searches; sabbaticals; annual review of probationary faculty; annual report of outside professional activities and business procedures. Interpret, develop and implement department policy and procedure as needed.

10% Direct budget activities through coordinated effort with the College, the University Foundation, the Office of Research Administration and Technology and other units on campus. Monitor monthly statements, reports for consistency in spending plans and advise chair on the budget process. Oversee grant administration through close communication with the senior accountant. Support faculty research activities. Provide consultation and assign resources for the conduct of research.

5% Coordinate department development and outreach activities with the College Office of External Relations, Development, and University Relations. Identify stories with potential for regional and national media outreach. Coordinate production of annual development magazine. Monitor and update department web presentation. Support the Volunteer Advisory Board meetings and activities. Oversee the presentation of events that involve alumni and donors.

5% Serve as a liaison on behalf of Chair, faculty, staff, and students with other University units and outside agencies. Work with Chair and faculty to establish and maintain important external relationships with professional academic organizations. Coordinate data collection for responding to external surveys.

Required Qualifications:
- Bachelors degree required.
- Minimum of five years human resource and financial management experience, including supervision, in higher education or complex organization setting with expanding responsibilities
-Strong computer skills with word processing, spreadsheets, on-line data manipulations and reporting, and databases.
-Two years of non-student supervisory experience
-Knowledge of at least one of the following: academic searches, promotion and tenure, curriculum scheduling, or graduate programs administration
-Demonstrated commitment to diversity
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively with diverse individuals and constituencies

Preferred Qualifications:
- Advanced degree preferred in higher education administration, management, social science or a related field.
- Experience working with faculty, staff and students in a higher education setting.
- Outstanding management, interpersonal and organizational skills.
-Experience with complex human resource and organizational issues and ability to maintain confidentiality.
-Proven track record of mentoring and developing staff in their efforts to maximize their professional potential.
-Progressive experience supporting administration in an academic setting.
-Proven financial, administrative and operations leadership skills with a collaborative management style and the ability to work effectively with senior administrators, faculty and staff.
- Demonstrated ability to take initiative and work independently.
- Ability to manage multiple complex tasks simultaneously while maintaining accuracy, appropriate attention to detail, and timely completion of projects.
- High degree of professionalism.
- Demonstrated leadership skills.

A complete application includes a cover letter, resume, statement of equal opportunity accomplishments (one page maximum), and contact information for three professional references. Send questions regarding this position to Yoonie Helbig at The Department of Sociology strives to provide a productive work environment for women and men from varying racial, ethnic, social, and national backgrounds. Applications from people of color are strongly encouraged. For additional information, please visit the Department of Sociology website, at


At 11:30 AM, Blogger Belle Reve said...

"Salary depends on experience, but the average "assistant to" earns about $65,200 in the college."
The Assistant-to-the-Piece-of-Furniture at Wisconsin earns less than half of that.
No secret. Public information.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger christopher uggen said...

right, belle. the "assistant to" is a position of great responsibility here (and, i presume, there). i can assure you that our "assistant to's" and all our staff earn every penny and more.

given the differential you mention, i rechecked our salary reports. across the minnversity, the mean is actually a bit higher here (due largely to higher med school salaries). that said, the range is great and a few outliers can be found at both ends of the distribution -- from the low forties to low nineties in the college of liberal arts, and from the mid-thirties to the 120s in the university.

once we bring forward a candidate in sociology, i'll work with our human resources department to set the salary. my point in posting average salaries now (which are public information here as well) is to signal that this is a good job with a career line. and, truth be told, to try to attract good candidates from colleges and universities that might pay less for positions of similar responsibility.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Belle Reve said...

Chris! I'm thrilled you posted this. Thank you.
Of course you should let folks know what minnversity offers, and more importantly, DOES, for their staff.
Why should Wisconsin faculty be the only ones to flee for better jobs?! Let CNN cover that one!

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Belle Reve said...

And the Gopher State becomes the Go For State.


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