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A cover letter and resume are required for consideration for this position.  Candidates with extensive experience and exceptional qualifications may be considered for the Project Manager Senior classification.   

Job Summary

The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy invites applications for our Special Assistant to the Dean.  The Special Assistant to the Dean works closely with the Dean, Associate Deans and senior staff on high-level administrative projects, serves as a liaison for the Dean, and manages the Dean’s involvement with a range of Ford School initiatives.  The Special Assistant to the Dean supervises the Assistant to the Dean and also conducts research and provides regular briefings to the Dean.


Plan, manage, and execute administrative matters of school-wide importance on behalf of the Dean, including special projects, special events, interdepartmental projects, and Ford School initiatives as assigned by the Dean.

Regularly collaborate with the Ford School’s Development, Alumni Relations, and our Communications & Outreach staff on behalf of the Dean on various Ford School advancement initiatives.  

Liaise with high profile policy practitioners, government officials, and distinguished Ford School guests; collaborate with Ford School administrative departments and research centers to host meetings, events and other activities involving these guests.

Prepare regular briefings for the Dean, Associate Deans and/or senior staff on assigned projects and events.

Initiate and draft detailed and complex correspondence and reports for the dean.  Collaborate with content expert staff from the Ford School and/or University on complex correspondence as required.      

Prepare senior staff meeting agendas and all-staff meeting agendas, organize materials for distribution at meetings, prepare and distribute meeting notes.  Provide essential support to the Dean in all areas of meeting management, including preparation, conducting assigned follow-up research and coordinating the completion of action items as identified. 

Supervise the Assistant to the Dean and oversee their management of the calendar of the Dean.

Assist Ford School faculty with planning and promoting faculty conferences and events.

Serve on various staff committees.

Other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications*

A comprehensive understanding of Public Policy and/or higher education administration, typically acquired through a bachelor’s degree in a related field and/or relevant work experience.

A minimum of two to five years’ experience managing multiple complex projects and/or events that require the involvement of executive level staff and collaboration of multiple departments and/or organizations. 

Proven ability to exercise initiative, independent judgment, diplomacy, confidentiality and a high level of discretion when dealing with highly sensitive information. 

Ability to effectively interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds, including the ability to work cooperatively with faculty and staff throughout the Ford School and the greater U of M community.

Ability to communicate and work with all levels of constituents effectively, while operating in a fast-paced, customer-service oriented environment.

Ability to work independently and as a team member, set priorities and to adapt as priorities shift, to handle multiple assignments and deadlines, and to display excellent judgment, while operating in a flexible and professional manner. 

Ability to manage a large and diverse workload with attention to detail and the ability to meet deadlines in a timely manner. 

Excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Demonstrated editing, proof-reading, and writing experience. 

Extensive experience with technical tools including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, UM Google Mail, UM Google Drive, and/or similar business related software. 

Desired Qualifications*

A Master’s degree in Public Policy or related field.

Prior experience working within the University of Michigan or higher education.

Mission Statement

The Ford School is one of the nation’s foremost policy schools, housed at one of the world’s great public universities. We lead research that illuminates public policy challenges and opportunities. We prepare future policy leaders and analysts for dynamic careers in the public and private sectors here in the U.S. and around the world. We work with policymakers to inform and improve local, state, national, and international policies. We foster dialogue and understanding about the most pressing policy challenges and opportunities of today.

The Ford School has earned a reputation for academic rigor and excellence; a strong and growing commitment to diversity; and a collegial, welcoming, and stimulating interdisciplinary community.  We are housed in Joan and Sanford Weill Hall, a celebrated facility in the heart of the University of Michigan’s central campus in Ann Arbor. To learn more about the Ford School’s mission and activities—including our academic programs and research —please visit

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.