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A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and must appear as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should specifically address the areas of your skills and experience that will make you successful in this position.

Job Summary

The Institute for Social Research (ISR) seeks a Director of Administration to support the administrative activities of three research centers within the Institute.

The Director of Administration will be responsible for all core administrative activities for the three centers, including sponsored research support, financial management, human resources, and facilities.

The position will provide functional and administrative supervision of an Administrative Core consisting of nine or more professional staff members.

Direction for the position is from the Director of each of the three centers, and the position will serve as part of each center’s senior leadership team.

The three research centers to be supported by the position are:

  • The Center for Political Studies (CPS; is a leader around the world in the quantitative study of politics and an innovator in research methods and training. Its scholars investigate the interactions among public opinion, political action, political processes, elections, institutions, political parties, and individuals – themes united by a concern for democratic process. The Center produces datasets used around the world, infrastructure for the social sciences, and offers training programs for students who go on to work in academia and throughout the private sector and government. The Center has 47 associated research faculty, 16 staff, and FY 19 annual operating revenues of $5.2 million.
  • The Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD; has advanced the understanding of human behavior in social contexts since 1948. RCGD conducts experimental studies in both laboratories and natural settings, including schools, businesses, and community groups, shedding light on issues related to social decision-making, prejudice, social relations, attitudes, and emotion. The findings have immediate practical applications to social concerns such as crime, delinquency, and racism. The Center has 64 associated U-M research faculty, 17 staff, and FY 19 annual operating revenues of $3.3 million.
  • Since 1961, the Population Studies Center (PSC; has served as an interdisciplinary community of scholars in population research and training. PSC affiliates pursue independent research in sociology, economics, public health, biostatistics, etc. with support from Center staff and resources. PSC supports a substantial portfolio of domestic and international demographic research in family change; health and mortality trends; human capital, labor and wealth; and population dynamics. In addition, the Center runs a large training program for pre- and post-doctoral scholars interested in population studies and administers (along with SRC) the NIA-sponsored Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging. The Center has 94 associated U-M research faculty, 25 staff, and FY 19 annual operating revenues of $7.1 million.


The principal duties of the position include:

To advise the Directors and leadership teams on key strategic and operational issues, working collaboratively with each Director and leadership team to develop strategic and implementation plans related to the administrative management of each of the Centers.  Maintain administrative meeting structures to facilitate decision-making.  Develop and maintain communicative networks to assure reasonable informative sharing regarding each Center’s mission and objectives.  Guide activities of all Center committees.  Develop and maintain documentation of key administrative and governance decisions.  Collaborate with the Institute and other Centers on areas of mutual concern.  Serve on Institute and University campus committees as requested.  Act as the responsible Center representative in the absence of a Director.

To provide development support and operational oversight of externally sponsored projects. Manage the authorization process of all Center research proposals prior to their submission.  Serve as liaison with the Institutional Review Board and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. This includes support for the development of sponsored research and contract proposals, post-award support of research grants, contracts, and other funding mechanisms used by faculty, and increasing the knowledge and capacity of the research administration staff to support a variety of highly competitive proposals.

To provide operational oversight of the financial management of the Center, in conjunction with the Institute’s Business Office.  Plan, establish, and manage the Centers’ operating budget.  Manage all Center financial overhead expenditures; work with the Finance staff in the Center for Institute Services (CIS) to assure consistency in reporting and internal controls.  Approve travel, contractual, and consultant agreements for primary staff.  Recommend allocation for Center investments to be encumbered for future obligations and liabilities. 

To coordinate human resource activities, in conjunction with the Institute’s Human Resources Department. Plan and direct the human resource and payroll activities of each Center (employment, reclassification, compensation, electronic timekeeping, performance management, and staff training and development). Assist the Directors in research faculty recruitment, equitable salary setting, and promotion review activities. Assist the research faculty in appointment issues, special duty assignments, and management of research support staff. Manage the design and execution of regular, temporary, and contingent employee compensation. Manage the Centers’ diversity activities and initiatives.

To coordinate facility operations, in conjunction with the Institute’s Facilities Department. This includes the allocation and improvement of space and offices for faculty, visitors, and research and administrative programs. Maintaining of inventories and allocation of physical assets – technology, furniture, equipment, supplies, and otherwise. Oversee renovations performed for Centers’ space and implementation of annual space survey.


Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor's degree in business, finance, or a related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience
  • 5-7 years of supervisory experience that includes a demonstrated commitment to develop and support a diverse workforce and inclusive organization.
  • Demonstrated, significant experience in supporting the mission of complex research multi-unit organizations or other similar operations (recruiting, career development, performance management, budget planning and execution, leadership, fostering a collegial environment).
  • Demonstrated ability to be self-directed and productively handle multiple priorities, ambiguity and uncertainty in a complex and fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated problem solving and critical thinking skills as evidenced by tactfully asking questions to understand the rationale behind procedures and policies.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and demonstrated positive influence on organizational culture.
  • Knowledge of administrative policies and practices in a university, non-profit, or government setting
  • Considerable and progressive knowledge of funding agency policies and procedures
  • Demonstrated success in the use of quantitative methods for the identification and solution of operational,  financial, and administrative problems
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and successfully with faculty and staff

Desired Qualifications*

  • Experience in sponsored research administration
  • Master’s Degree in social science, business, or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Knowledge of University of Michigan business practices and financial operations, purchasing and personnel practices

Additional Information

The salary for the position is expected to be $120,000 - $140,000 or more annually, commensurate with experience.

The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to ground our research in varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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