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Cornell University
Research and Innovation
Posted: 09/28/2023
Senior Director of Administration

Overview of This Opportunity
Cornell Research & Innovation announces its search for a Senior Director of Administration for the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education (CLASSE) and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS).

This senior management role is in Ithaca, New York, on the campus of Cornell University and offers an option of hybrid remote work up to two days per week. As a university founded to be a place where “…any person can find instruction in any study,” diversity and inclusion are at the core of Cornell’s values and mission. We strive to be a welcoming, caring, healthy, and equitable community where students, faculty, and staff with different backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn, innovate, and work in an environment of respect, and feel empowered to engage in any community conversation.

Who We Are
The Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education (CLASSE) is a leading-edge research facility at Cornell University. We harness the power of X-Rays, high-energy electrons, and proton beams and detectors to explore our world and universe. Our mission is to push the boundaries of beam science, develop technology for ultra-bright, high-power beams, and drive advancements in fundamental research, medicine, and industry.

The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) is a national user facility that provides synchrotron x-ray capabilities for investigators in all fields of science and engineering. Beneath Cornell University’s Alumni Field, you’ll find our remarkable 768-meter Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR). CESR powers the world-class synchrotron light source known as CHESS. CHESS is one of only five facilities worldwide capable of generating high-energy X-rays essential for solid-state physics, biology, material science, and art history research. Over 1,000 scientists from across the globe visit us annually to conduct groundbreaking research, contributing to multiple Nobel Prizes.

Diverse Research, Global Impact
CLASSE’s ongoing research programs span multiple buildings on Cornell’s Ithaca campus. We support a wide range of scientific investigations, from exploring the earliest moments in the universe to biomedical protein structures to developing super-tough materials for aircraft turbine engines. Our research is conducted by Cornell faculty, scientists, and visiting researchers from around the world, significantly impacting the global scientific community. CHESS is a major attractor, recruiting new faculty, post-docs, and graduate students to Cornell and supporting sponsored research proposals from across the Cornell campus.

What You Will Do
As Senior Director of Administration, you will act as the lead administrator for our large accelerator complex, oversee a budget of approximately $50 million, and serve an interdisciplinary team of over 300 faculty, staff, and graduate students. You will oversee administrative operations and be responsible for the day-to-day direction of approximately 8 direct reports in these areas: Administration, Budget, Faculty Support, Finance, Human Resources, Space Allocations, and Research Administration.

As a member of CLASSE’s leadership team, you will contribute to strategic planning and executive decision-making in a complex matrix organization that requires thoughtful navigation, collaboration, and management. You will report to the CLASSE director and the CHESS director and serve as the primary advisor on administrative matters. You will engage regularly and work closely with colleagues in units of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and across Cornell, including Facilities and Campus Services, the Office of Risk Management and Insurance, the Office of General Counsel, and the Division of Budget and Planning.


  • Contributing your administrative and operational expertise to help advance scientific frontiers and educate future scientists
  • Fostering a culture of belonging and a psychologically healthy work environment that ensures your colleagues and our students can thrive
  • Partnering with other directors and administrators to develop an operational infrastructure that facilitates complex, collaborative work and enables strategic business decisions
  • Helping to shape the future of CLASSE’s ambitious interdisciplinary programs and facilities

Duties Include:

  • Participating in and supporting long-term planning and executive decision-making processes, including development of financial reporting systems and models
  • Representing CLASSE on all financial, HR, and administrative matters within the university
  • Working with the Finance Director to direct and manage financial resources and developing and administering the annual $50M budget
  • Directing HR functions serving faculty, academic and non-academic staff, and students
  • Overseeing talent acquisition and talent management and developing effective and aligned HR strategies
  • Providing leadership in sponsored research administration (pre-award and post-award) and ensuring compliance with regulations, policies, and sponsor requirements
  • Representing CLASSE on university committees and in discussions and advocating for CLASSE issues and needs

What We Need
We ask you to submit a cover letter and resume outlining your interest in this position and explaining how your experience and qualifications match the position requirements.

When reviewing your materials and evaluating your candidacy, we will look for evidence of the following:

  • Master’s degree and 5+ years of experience at a senior level in administrative or management roles with substantial financial responsibility; or an equivalent combination of education and experience in senior management positions
  • Proven success in financial management and planning, strategic planning, and organizational development
  • Ability to express thoughts, ideas, and perspectives clearly and coherently, to share relevant information, to listen actively to others, and to ask questions as needed for clarification or deeper understanding
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively lead and manage a wide variety of responsibilities in multiple functional areas
  • Demonstrated success in problem-solving, utilizing analytical approaches to decision-making, data management reporting, and planning
  • Demonstrated integrity and sound judgment, representing units professionally and ethically with tact, diplomacy, and advocacy
  • Demonstrated success in meeting organizational objectives through negotiation and consensus building with a wide, varied, and diverse constituency
  • Experience in and/or demonstrated commitment to supporting diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and wellbeing

What We Prefer
Additionally, we would like to see evidence of:

  • MBA degree
  • 5+ years of experience managing a large, complex unit, preferably a research unit or facility
  • Demonstrated success with increasing responsibilities in a university setting
  • Experience in academic research administration, including grant and contract management
  • Experience in related fields of science, engineering, or technology or a strong interest in these areas

Rewards and Benefits
This position is located in Ithaca, New York. The position will allow for the flexibility to work remotely 1-2 days per week. The New York Convenience of Employer guidelines require New York State individual tax reporting and withholdings for this position. Additional individual state income tax filings may also be required if working temporarily outside New York State.

Cornell receives national recognition as an award-winning workplace for our health, wellbeing, sustainability, and diversity initiatives. We invite you to follow to get more information about our benefits (https://hr.cornell.edu/benefits-pay) and the impressive Total Rewards of Working at Cornell (https://hr.cornell.edu/jobs/your-total-rewards).

Take Note When Applying
The search committee will review applications as received and will conduct interviews on a rolling basis. Relocation assistance is available for this position. Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, and we do not tolerate discrimination based on any protected characteristic, including race, ethnic or national origin, citizenship and immigration status, color, sex/gender, pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, age, creed, religion, actual or perceived disability (including persons associated with such a person), arrest and/or conviction record, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender expression and/or identity, an individual’s genetic information, domestic violence victim status, familial status, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations in accordance with applicable law.

Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff to all identities and backgrounds. We encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.