Dean's Assistant and Project Manager

California, United States
07 Dec 2018
End of advertisement period
07 Feb 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

Dean’s Assistant and Project Manager 

The Dean’s Assistant and Project Manager (“DA”) to the Vice Provost and Dean of Research provides a broad range of advice, counsel and support to the VPDoR. The Dean’s Assistant represents the VPDoR to individuals and organizations both within and outside the University.  At the direction of the VPDoR, the DA serves as a deputy responsible for confidential and sensitive matters.

Responsibilities include:

  1. Advise and counsel (and seek counsel for) the VPDoR on policy issues; participate as a member of the VPDoR senior staff in regular policy discussions; review and provide briefings on specific policies and practices when requested by the VPDoR, including input from multiple stakeholders;
  2. Handle specific policy issues assigned by the VPDoR including gathering information, recommending action or resolving the issue as required;
  3. Working with financial staff, manage the review and disposition of requests for Dean’s Commitments that historically have amounted to around $10M annually; 
  4. Working with financial and HR staff, advise and gather background information on specific budget requests, coordinating input from stakeholders; 
  5. Serve as troubleshooter for VPDoR on a wide range of conflicts before they escalate to a level requiring attention from VPDoR or other members of the University Cabinet; 
  6. Serve as a surrogate for the VPDoR in meetings with distinguished visitors and members of the campus community;
  7. Serve as deputy/surrogate for the VPDoR on confidential and sensitive matters throughout the University and beyond;
  8. Organize and serve on standing and special committees;
  9. Oversee and/or participate in ad hoc special projects as needed.

Minimum Requirements:

Education & Experience:

Bachelor’s degree and eight years of relevant experience, or combination of education and relevant experience.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  1. Exceptionally strong organizational skills, judgement and time-management abilities as evidenced by the following:
    • A strong record of effectiveness in handling/managing complex situations and transactions with limited supervision and direction and a high level of pressure and visibility;
    • Demonstrated ability to coordinate and integrate complex activities and to remain calm and adjust thinking in emergency situations;
    • A record of thoroughness, production and follow-up in high transaction/high volume situations.
  2. Highly effective and persuasive written and oral communications skills; ability to write and speak clearly and concisely; ability to communicate with candor combined with tact and diplomacy.
  3. Highly developed interpersonal skills and ability to interact with many constituents in an effective manner; ability to maintain good relations with faculty, staff, students, external constituents, and high-level dignitaries in a variety of settings
  4. Demonstrated awareness of and appreciation for the contributions of others and ability to contribute to a team spirit within the DoR organization and beyond.
  5. Flexibility and ability to adapt to and accept change.
  6. Ability to maintain confidences, to ensure the confidentiality of information flowing through the office and to demonstrate good judgement in the release of information; management experience in which confidential tasks or situations were key components and where evidence of sensitivity and discretion can be proven.
  7. Deep knowledge of Stanford at the leadership and operational levels over a broad spectrum of institutional activity.
  8. Experience in higher education with a resulting understanding of the general and specific missions of research universities.
  9. Ability to direct the work of others.

Supervisory Responsibilities

The DA has supervisory responsibility for the VPDoR’s Executive Assistant.


  • Budget: Track and advise on requests to make new one-time or recurring one-time financial commitments, to renew previous ones, to add base budget, or to add headcount in units. Each of these requires tracking and follow-up, often with multiple conversations to elicit needed information. Examples: increasing percent time or HR classification levels for existing administrative or academic staff; support for staff scientists in shared facilities; funds for instruments; matching funds for grants. Actions needed by DA: track requests; coordinate with HR and finance as appropriate; meet with requesters; ask them for the additional information needed to evaluate the request, which may include the total budget of the unit or project, a breakdown of other sources of budget, an analysis of the user or participant base, and a path to a sustainable plan; diplomatically and supportively coach requesters in preparing this information; reply directly to requestors or advise/draft reply for VPDoR.
  • Administration: Track and advise on requests to prepare and sign documents. Examples include requests for letters to assist with visas; letters in support of grants; letters in response to queries by governmental entities, other external organizations, and review boards.
  • Specific policy issues: When reviewing whether a specific activity is acceptable under existing policies and practices arises, it’s often necessary to reach out to multiple stakeholders to ascertain policy and practice. These stakeholders include Dean’s office staff (COI, export, financial compliance), OSR, OGC, OTL, and sometimes other stakeholders. Tracking and organizing this input takes many hours each week and it’s important to stay in touch with the original requestors about timeline expectations during this process.
  • Coordinate review of individual units (including institutes and centers) as needed. 
  • Meeting preparation: review the dean’s calendar to identify high-stakes meetings and ensure that relevant background information is sufficient and accessible to the dean during the meeting.