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Administrative Assistant



Effective Date:

1 November, 2004

Grade: USG 7 Reports to: Chair

General Accountability

The Administrative Assistant reports directly to the Chair of the Department of Earth Sciences and is responsible for the effective and efficient day-to-day operation of the department; monitors the overall activities of the department and must always maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality and trust with all members of the Department.

Nature and Scope

Statistical Data

Full time faculty:                                           19

Research faculty:                                           9

Adjunct Professors:                                       37

Staff:                                                         ~45

Research Associates:                                     8

Post-doctoral Fellows:                                    6

Graduate Students:                                       ~100

Undergraduate Earth Sciences majors:         100 (including GeoEng)

Earth Sciences Operating Budget (2004/2005):

            Salary:             $2,299,620

            Non-salary:     $54,055

Research Funding (Active Research Projects):

            Sept. 2004:      $9,743,269

Specific Accountabilities

  1. Manages the day-to-day department operations to ensure efficient services to all departmental faculty, staff and students.
  2. Assist the Chair, Executive Committee and financial advisor on departmental logistical and budget issues, as required. 
  3. Help facilitate administrative continuity as Chair and Executive Committee change as a result of new appointments.
  4. In consultation with the Chair, responsible for assigning space and for the day-to-day operation of space within the Earth Sciences Department.  Oversee and co-ordinate all building renovations, organize moves, and plan for necessary furniture*, telephone, equipment and computer services for all faculty members, staff, students and visitors.  Maintain space inventory and liaise with the office of Space Information and Planning.  (*Please note: solely responsible for furniture ordering, organizing, coordinating for departmental move to EIT building.  This included faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students.)
  5. Provide overall supervision, hiring, assignment of duties, classification of position and performance evaluations for two administrative support staff (Graduate Coordinator and Undergraduate Secretary).
  6. Thorough knowledge of University policies and procedures and be able to interpret them as necessary to act as a resource to students, staff and faculty.
  7. Signing authority on Departmental accounts and some research accounts.  Complete travel and settlement claims, process request for payments, casual earnings forms, complete work requests, handle faculty requests.  Provide back-up assistance to the Financial Officer.
  8. Coordinate, collect, organize and compile all data for faculty promotion and tenure, annual faculty evaluations (prepare materials, policies and procedures information) and maintain information.
  9. Responsible for activities pertaining to hiring new faculty.  This involves: correspondence to applicants, referees, advertisement placement, coordinating all applications received for positions, contacting referees for letters of reference, organizing documents for Search Committee, travel arrangements for candidates, organizing interviews of applicants with faculty members and arranging seminar, follow-up letters to applicants with respect to final decision, and lastly, preparing dossiers for potential new faculty members (tenure and UARC).
  10. Maintain accurate files on all faculty members as well as research positions (i.e. post-doctoral fellows, research associates, adjunct professors, cross-appointments, visiting faculty).  Prepare contracts for new faculty hires, sessional appointments.
  11. Maintain files on staff members in Earth Sciences with respect to vacation allowances, performance evaluations, and all other documentation.
  12. Bring staff concerns to attention of the Chair and provide advice on solutions to problems.
  13. Responsible for maintaining and updating the Department of Earth Sciences web site ( and preparing a bimonthly newsletter to update alumni and friends of the department with activities and items of interest.
  14. Responsible for organization two large (100+ participants) lecture series held every year (Adrian Smith and Farvolden Lecture Series).  Manage accounts and provide organizing committee with financial reports of the accounts and financial statements.  Liaise with Graduate Office and Office of Development with regard to endowments.  Organization includes all advertisement, travel and accommodation arrangements for speaker, reception and dinner arrangements.
  15. Conference Co-ordinator for GQ2004 Conference hosted by Earth Sciences Department (250 participants from many different countries).  Duties include managing and overseeing conference accounts, create and maintain conference webpage, main contact for all participants, creating database of participants, their submitted abstracts and papers.  Involved in all aspects of conference including booking of rooms, social program and conference schedule.
  16. Responsible for all other departmental functions: seminars, Christmas events, receptions, dinners, departmental retreats and any special departmental event.  Coordinate with Chair on expenses and budgets for these events.
  17. Grants Co-ordinator for faculty:  assist faculty with preparation of grant proposals, informing of updates/changes.  Liaise with Office of Research.
  18. Prepare Agenda and take minutes for monthly department meetings, minute-taking for other committees, as required.  Active member of Adrian Smith Lecture, Farvolden Lecture, GQ2004 Local Organizing and Waterloo Institute for Groundwater Research Committees.
  19. Handling of money/cheques to be deposited in departmental accounts and maintain record of money deposited.  Responsible for Petty Cash fund.
  20. Responsible for departmental vehicles: purchase, maintenance, rental, etc.  Currently the department holds 4 vehicles.
  21. Responsible for key permits for faculty, staff and students and laboratory breakage cards.
  22. Distribution of departmental field equipment for students’ use in field courses or for field work.


  1. Supervisory experience.
  2. Thorough knowledge of University policies and procedures
  3. Ability to interact with faculty, staff and students and maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality and trust.
  4. Proven oral and written communication skills.
  5. Computer skills: Webpage programs (i.e. Webweaver, Dreamweaver), Microsoft Windows programs (i.e. Word, Powerpoint,  Excel, Outlook).

Working Conditions