Graduate Program Administrator for Student Services and Retention

Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Boston, MASSACHUSETTS
Deadline: 10 Dec 2021

General Summary: 

The Graduate Program Administrator for Student Services and Retention, within the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, is responsible for facilitating the services that ensure students’ smooth progress through the department’s graduate degree programs, which currently consist of the PhD in Public Policy program and the Master of Public Administration program (including one track).

The incumbent is responsible for coordinating the student experience in all programs from the point of admission through graduation. The incumbent has responsibility for general program administration, which includes duties and responsibilities that support the work of faculty Graduate Program Directors; for admissions tasks focusing on the yield aspect of the admissions process; and for student services that directly impact current students’ experiences in the programs.  The incumbent will also provide data collection and reporting, including gathering and analyzing program data for reporting requirements.

Examples of Duties: 

  • Responsible for the coordination of the student experience in all departmental programs from the point of admission through graduation;
  • Provide MPA Graduate Program Director with timely information about individual student records for accurate advising and implement the Graduate Program Director’s decisions on transfer credits, course waivers and modified academic plans by filing the appropriate forms with the Registrar or the Office of Graduate Studies;
  • Work with MPA Graduate Program Director and the PhD in Public Policy Graduate Program Director to plan and execute student orientation session, including developing the program (PhD student orientation), booking space, ordering refreshments, sending invitations and attending the session to assist with answering student questions about program logistics;
  • Maintain open office for PhD in Public Policy students to drop in an ask questions about their progress in the program or to get details about processes that are relevant to their current goal in the program;
  • Collect PhD student applications for Advanced Standing for the Public Policy Academic Affairs Committee and facilitate the process for assigning advanced standing, including helping the committee to set up a meeting, posting submitted applications to a shared drive, writing decision letters to students, and completing Registrar paperwork to add the credit to student transcripts; discuss with PhD in Public Policy Graduate Program Director and process student requests for transfer credits, and course waivers;
  • Maintain the MPA and PhD Wordpress site, a one-stop password protected portal for current students to get information about course registration, program announcements, administrative forms, job opportunities, and archived student handbooks;
  • Distribute information about fellowships and special opportunities for MPA students and guide students through the necessary paperwork and registration processes to get credit and grades for credit-bearing opportunities;
  • Coordinate the MPA program’s Cohort teaching assistant hiring process, including sending the call for resumes, updating interview questions, scheduling and conducting phone or in-person interviews and making the hire recommendation to the MPA Graduate Program Director;
  • Assist PhD in Public Policy Graduate Program Director with assigning students to graduate assistantship positions; responsibility include reviewing both faculty and student graduate assistantship evaluations and for reviewing the qualifications and interests of incoming first year students, all in the context of whose qualifications can best meet departmental needs;  follow the Office of Graduate Studies procedures for properly adding students to the payroll system, including communicating onboarding requirements to incoming students and making last-minute updates as necessary when assigned students are unable to continue their assistantship assignments;
  • Assist the PhD in Public Policy and MPA Graduate Program Director with the appropriate handling (according to university policy) of student concerns, including those related to medical, disability, academic performance, professionalism, plagiarism, interpersonal issues, etc.;
  • Produce letters upon students’ request to verify program status for loan companies according to standards set by the Registrar and the Office of Financial Aid; produce letters upon students’ request to verify eligibility to return to the United States after travel according to standards set by the International Scholars and Students Office; produce letters requesting to stay in other countries to conduct their research as part of their studies in the program according to standards set by the Provost;
  • Clear MPA and PhD students for graduation in May, August, and December, ensuring that the Registrar has the names and proper degrees and graduation dates for each student in the program, following up to back-fill paperwork as necessary; schedule and advertise PhD in Public Policy students’ dissertation and dissertation proposal defenses, including booking rooms, arranging videoconference calls, arranging for refreshments and facilitating approval paperwork for the committee;
  • Keep track of PhD in Public Policy students who return after long absences to finish terminal degrees, connecting them with the Graduate Program Director and facilitating their progress to graduation by ensuring they are properly registered for program fee, that their statutes of limitations have been properly extended, that they apply for graduation, and that they maintain communication with their advising faculty member(s);
  • Maintain accurate PhD in Public Policy degree plans for students who are still engaged in coursework, providing the Graduate Program Director with transcripts for students who need closer monitoring; track students on academic probation as requested by the PhD in Public Policy and MPA Graduate Program Directors; process student dismissals as requested by the PhD in Public Policy and MPA Graduate Program Directors;
  • Attend monthly meetings of GPDs organized by the Office of Graduate Studies, bringing back relevant points to discuss with the Graduate Program Directors of the MPA and PhD programs regarding necessary adjustments to program operations;  attend monthly Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs faculty meetings to assist with program updates and learn departmental information that may affect the PhD in Public Policy or MPA program operations;  participate in and take notes at both the MPA and PhD program committee meetings;
  • Update in WISER and publish for MPA and PhD students the fall, spring, and summer course schedules, including following up about non-tenure-track faculty access and payment issues, room requests, and technology requests; collaborate with other departments and programs regarding course offerings, publicizing course offerings for other departments in exchange for their publicity of MPA and PhD courses; ensure that scheduled course times meet university policy requirements in order to get appropriate classroom assignments;
  • Respond to MPA and PhD program’s low-course enrollment notifications; ensure that all students are registered in time so that enrollment numbers are accurate, including troubleshooting unexpected student account holds with students and with other departments on campus; advertise low-enrolling courses to other departments and register interested students as quickly as possible to ensure the courses run; communicate recommendations to the McCormack Graduate School (MGS) Dean’s Office about which of the MPA and PhD in Public Policy programs’ courses should be run and which should be canceled due to low enrollment;
  • Produce and distribute MPA program awards (book award, best capstone, cohort award, public service award) including coordinating the annual Carol Torto scholarship award money through the scholarship office; produce and distribute PhD in Public Policy book award, including coordinating the faculty voting process, and helping the Graduate Program Director to schedule an appropriate time and place to present the award to the student;
  • Advertise and publicize MPA student attendance at the annual NASPAA Simulation Competition; distribute call for student applications, collect applications for committee and follow up about receipt collection to reimburse students who are funded by the department;
  • Provide McCormack Graduate School Dean’s Office with information about which students are graduating from the MPA and PhD in Public Policy programs including award winners; maintain an accurate listing of successfully defended dissertations and dissertation proposals;
  • Collaborate with PhD in Public Policy Graduate Program Director to update the Public Policy PhD Student Handbook annually; assist the Chair of the Comprehensive Exam Committee with scheduling the administration of and reviewing the Comprehensive Exam annually;
  • Participate in the admissions committee for all tracks of the MPA program and the Public Policy PhD Program; answer questions as accepted applicants make their decisions; follow-up with accepted students who do not respond to the committee’s offer; assist all incoming students with registration, including connecting them with Financial Aid, the Bursar’s Office and the International Student Services Office, as necessary;
  • Communicate, in conjunction with the Graduate Program Director with applicants regarding GRE waiver requests, transfer credit inquiries, modified academic plans, etc.;
  • Collect and archive MPA program data annually; distribute entrance and exit surveys to students and adding responses to a master survey spreadsheet; update admissions, demographic, financial aid, and graduation data in the MPA program database; complete the annual Networks of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) Data Center report each summer; collaborate with PhD in Public Policy Graduate Program Director and departmental administrative assistant to design and maintain routine data collection systems for the PhD Program;
  • Assist the MPA Graduate Program Director and MPA Program Committee with NASPAA accreditation and re-accreditation process, attending and taking notes/archiving decisions made about the process; collect and organize data for the MPA Graduate Program Director; set up logistics for and attend annual MPA program retreat; assist with coordination of logistics for accreditation and re-accreditation site visits;
  • Assist the PhD in Public Policy Graduate Program Director and PhD Program Committee with AQUAD review process, attending meetings and taking notes/archiving decisions made about the process; collect, organize, and review data for the PhD Graduate Program Director;
  • Assist PhD in Public Policy Graduate Program Director with data gathering for curriculum changes such as pulling description and prerequisite information from the course catalog, reviewing internal approval forms, and gathering appropriate policy language from the Registrar and the Office of Graduate Studies;
  • Provide the Graduate Program Administrator for Outreach and Recruitment with data updates to support the co-creation, assessment and improvement of an alumni engagement strategy for the MPA program and for the PhD in Public Policy program; attend outreach and recruitment events to support the MPA program and the PhD in Public Policy program by answering questions and generally representing the mission of the programs;
  • Collaborate with the Graduate Program Director to design, organize, and execute two social events per semester that build community within the program;
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Qualifications: 

Bachelor's Degree and a minimum of three-five (3-5) years of progressively responsible administrative experience in an academic, government or non-profit setting required.  Must have flexibility to work occasional evenings or weekends to attend specific program-related events.

Preferred Qualifications :

  • Graduate study or Master’s degree in public administration or a closely related field preferred.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities :

  • Knowledge of administrative software programs, including database, student account programs such as WISER, word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; willingness to learn new programs as necessary;
  • Knowledge of standard higher education administrative, personnel, and operational procedures; 
  • Demonstrated ability to understand and apply university policies and procedures;
  • Demonstrated ability to manage and improve operating systems and procedures to organize all major administrative functions;
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain a harmonious working relationship with a variety of professional, students, and community persons from different racial, ethnic, cultural, and/or economic backgrounds as well as persons with disabilities;
  • Ability to work independently within the department and with other central administrative units of the university;
  • Ability to maintain accurate records and to prepare summary reports;
  • Ability to act with discretion and judgment and maintenance of confidentiality;
  • Ability to exercise independent judgment when emergency or discretionary decisions must be made in the absence of the director;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Strong organizational and problem-solving skills;
  • Strong commitment to student service.

Application Instructions: 

Please apply online with your resume, cover letter and list of three professional references.

Review of candidates will begin following the application closing date. 

Only Internal candidates in the Professional Staff Bargaining Unit will be considered during the first 10 business days of the posting.  All other candidates will be considered after that period. 

Salary Ranges for the appropriate Pay Grade can be found at the following link: 

Grade: 30

Salary Ranges

This is an exempt union position.


All official salary offers must be approved by Human Resources.

UMass Boston requires all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to confirm proof of their vaccination status. Exemptions from the vaccine requirement will be permitted only for qualifying religious or medical reasons. Regardless of vaccination status, you must wear a face covering in public indoor spaces on campus.


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