Assistant Director of Academic Programs

Updated: 23 days ago
Location: Chicago, ILLINOIS
Job Type: FullTime


PME Student Affairs

About the Department

The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) was established in May 2019 and evolved from the Institute for Molecular Engineering, which was founded in 2011. The PME integrates science and engineering to address global challenges from the molecular level up. The PME’s rigorous academic and research programs are made possible through the University of Chicago’s unique partnership with Argonne National Laboratory. The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering is the first new school at the University of Chicago in three decades and the first school in the nation dedicated to molecular engineering. In the next phase of growth as a School, the PME will continue to expand its team of world-class faculty researchers and empower students from diverse backgrounds to collaborate with faculty in cutting-edge facilities. The PME aims to bring solutions for urgent societal problems to the forefront, while training the next generation of scientific leaders and entrepreneurs.

Job Summary

The Assistant Director works with the Program Directors in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering to oversee and ensure high-quality program delivery of the academic programs, course administration, records management, and student engagement. This will involve coordinating with administrators in PME’s Dean of Students Office, the University of Chicago Registrar, The College, and the Argonne National Laboratory. The Assistant Director serves as lead on the planning and implementation of key events and meetings, such as recruitment events, open houses, new student orientation, and admitted student weekends, to ensure that they are well organized and executed. They help to coordinate the hiring of instructors and appointment of TAs. Finally, the Assistant Director bring together faculty and student affairs perspectives in joint matters related to undergraduate and graduate student admissions, recruitment, matriculation, funding, and career advancement. This position is eligible for a partially remote work schedule.


  • Supports the work of the Program Directors and implements plans and priorities for the undergraduate and graduate programs.

  • Serves as the primary program administrators for the graduate and undergraduate programs, focused on developing positive and active working relationships with internal and external constituents at varying levels of leadership, including but not limited to: Alumni Relations and Development, Admissions and Career Advancement, the Registrar, the Bursar, University and Divisional Deans' Offices, the College, Argonne National Laboratory, the Physical Sciences Division, the Biological Sciences Divisions, and others to facilitate synergies across departments related to programming, resolution of student questions and concerns, and other matters of common interest.

  • Serves as the primary liaisons between the academic programs and the Office of the Dean of Students, in areas which include: admissions, enrollment, student support, and key recruitment and engagement events, registration, curricular engagement, and communications.

  • Serves as lead on the planning and implementation of key events and meetings, such as recruitment events, open houses, new student orientation, and admitted student weekends.

  • Provides data analysis, updates, and regular reports on admission, enrollment, student academic progress, outcomes, and career trajectory of alumni, and other reports upon request from the Vice Dean and Directors.

  • Oversees the recruitment and assignment of graduate student teaching assistants (TAs) and graders based on course needs, collaborating with human resources to ensure that these positions are hired, onboarded and paid in a timely manner each quarter.

  • Works with the Director of Budget and Accounting to provide financial information for the academic programs, and makes recommendations for efficient allocation of resources.

  • Manages and archives data related to course scheduling and course enrollments; communicates with the Registrar regarding course implementation, including in the initial implementation of the schedule for classes, proofing the class schedule, and updating course enrollment capacities.

  • Assists with the annual review of the course catalog and implements updates for the undergraduate and graduate programs.

  • Monitors course registration and addresses registration issues (both at the student level and at the course level).

  • Coordinates basic academic advising to undergraduate and graduate students about course selection, academic program expectations, and navigating the overall curriculum.

  • Maintains records of faculty membership in assigned academic program(s) and thematic education areas.

  • Supports visiting instructor appointments in coordination with the Directors.

  • Works with the Director of Corporate Engagement and the Director of Career Development to support PME career placement and alumni networking activities for students including career fairs, career development workshops, and alumni events.

  • Maintains student manuals for graduate programs.

  • Supports efforts on new, competing renewal and annual progress reports for training grants.

  • Solves problems in areas such as academic and administrative policy, student admissions, curriculum research and development, and budget development.

  • Recommends process improvements for programs that relate to critical student-life improvement, including emergency management, accommodations for students with disabilities, and/or the administration of health care services and programs for students.

  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 2-5 years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • Degree in higher education, student development, student affairs, physical sciences, or engineering.

  • Master’s degree.


  • Experience working in student affairs administration in a college or university, preferably in a research institution.

  • Proven experience in identifying needs, proposing, and implementing solutions in administrative processes.

  • Experience demonstrating a high level of sensitivity and discretion when dealing with confidential situations.

  • Experience managing large amounts of data and producing data analysis under tight deadlines.

  • Good judgment and capacity to balance competing goals.

  • Knowledge of the University of Chicago's admissions and aid procedures.

  • Familiarity with the academic research enterprise and higher education structures.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Proficiency in Microsoft suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Zoom, Adobe, and Slate.

  • Experience working with large data sets.

  • Familiarity with web-based information management systems.

Preferred Competencies

  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize work in order to take appropriate actions without advanced approval and ensure close attention to detail.

  • Ability to independently and proactively resolve problems.

  • Demonstrated flexibility and ability to multi-task on frequent and constantly changing demands.

  • Ability to effectively communicate with faculty, students, and various administrative offices at all levels of the University.

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills to communicate effectively and cultivate positive working relationships with students, staff, faculty, and the general public.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including outstanding judgment, discretion, a strong ethical approach to decision-making, and a demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality.

  • Demonstrated relationship management skills.

  • Teamwork, collaboration, and conflict management.

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, take direction and achieve consensus.

  • Excellent organizational, project management, and analytical skills.

  • Ability to manage day-to-day duties with efficiency and coordinate multiple long-term projects effectively.

  • Ability to manage and analyze large data sets.

  • Ability to meet deadlines.

Application Documents

  • Resume (Required)

  • Cover letter (Required)

  • List of Professional References – 3 (Required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST  be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Student Affairs & Services

Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

Employees must comply with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements. More information about the requirements can be found on the University of Chicago Vaccination GoForward .
The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.


Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.


We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.


All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history.  A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment.  Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.


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