Assistant to the Directors-MSE (Hybrid)

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Job Description

Assistant to the Directors-MSE (Hybrid)




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


About the College, School, or Department


The Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at Cornell is a global leader in educating new generations of materials scientists and engineers. Cornell MSE draws upon its world-class faculty, innovative researchers, state-of- the-art facilities and highly collaborative research environment to respond to challenging technological and societal demands both in the present and the future. Our vision is to be a vibrant, supportive community of materials scientists and engineers developing fundamental understanding, enabling advanced technologies, and providing world leadership through education and innovative research.

The Opportunity

The Assistant to Directors 
will provide high level administrative support to the Chair, the Director of Administration (DA), and Faculty of MSE.

In this role, you will:

  • Proactively anticipate and assist with Department programs, reviews, and activities.
  • Demonstrate independent judgment and handle complex and sensitive issues.
  • Use strong attention to detail, communication skills, and organizational abilities.
  • Learn and leverage your understanding of MSE and University support offices for faculty needs and actions.
  • Handle diverse inquiries via in-person, phone, written, and email channels.
  • Compose letters and other correspondence using independent judgment and confidentiality.
  • Coordinate and manage faculty searches, promotions, tenure reviews, and sabbatical leaves.
  • Maintain faculty and staff database and hard files.
  • Prepare data for annual reporting.
  • Act as a communication liaison and redirect administrative issues as needed.
  • Provide backup coverage for the department’s main office reception area.
  • Interact with faculty, students, alumni, government officials, and advisory council members.
  • Support the Chair’s research, teaching activities, and conference arrangements.
  • Support departmental initiatives, annual reports, public relations activities, and alumni communications.
  • Collaborate with MSE administrative staff team and provide short-term backup coverage.


General business hours for our office are Monday through Friday, 8:00AM to 4:30PM. This position and team offers flexibility for start and end times, as long as the office is covered for customers. During the academic year, the hybrid model is 3 days on campus, 2 days remote. During the summer, the hybrid model affords you 3 days remote and 2 days on campus. Throughout the year, we strive to have at least 1 day per week the whole team is on campus together.


Success Factors

We consider you a top candidate if you are:

  • Detail-oriented, highly organized, and a collaborative team player who anticipates your work with follow-through.
  • Excellent at customer service skills, including effective anticipation, prioritization, initiative, and capacity to build relationships with colleagues who can trust you’ll get the job done.
  • Calm under pressure, attuned to building and developing relationships among the broader community, able to multi-task and prioritize, and demonstrate good organizational and communication skills.
  • Adept at maintaining high levels of confidentiality.


What We Need

  • Associate degree and 2 years of related experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience handling complex and sensitive situations and communication while maintaining confidentiality.
  • Strong communication skills and proactive approach to addressing issues.
  • Excellent judgment and decision-making within your role’s scope of influence.
  • Strong attention to details and following through on logistics promptly.
  • Self-motivated and able to break down projects into actionable tasks.
  • Skilled at determining and prioritizing urgent and important tasks.
  • Team player with a positive attitude and ability to work under pressure.
  • Organize and maintain timelines for oneself and others.
  • Build productive relationships and trust with a diverse constituency.
  • Proficient in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Slack, and Teams.
  • Availability for pre-planned occasional evening/weekend events.
  • Experience and commitment to supporting diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and wellbeing.
  • Passionate about working in an organization that values diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and wellbeing.
  • Advocate for individuals of all backgrounds and cultivate inclusive working relationships.
  • Strong writing and proofreading skills.
  • A cover letter and resume outlining your interest and how your experience and goals align with the potential for mutual success in the role are required for consideration.


If you have all those things, great! We have a few more things that we would prefer you to have, but it’s ok if you don’t.

  • Bachelor’s Degree and previous executive administrative experience.
  • Knowledge of Cornell’s policies and practices, particularly those that are academic human resource related.


Rewards and Benefits

  • This position is located in Ithaca, New York. The position will allow for the flexibility to work remotely 2-3 days per week at a location of employee’s choosing within the United States.


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.
  • Our benefits programs include comprehensive health care options, generous retirement contributions, access to wellness programs, and employee discounts with local and national retail brands. We invite you to follow this link to get more information about our benefits:
  • Follow this link to learn more about the Total Rewards of Working at Cornell:
  • Our leave provisions include health and personal leave, three weeks of vacation and 13 holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the day after, and an end of the year winter break from December 25-January 1.
  • Cornell’s impressive educational benefits include tuition-free Extramural Study and Employee Degree Program, tuition aid for external education, and Cornell Children’s Tuition Assistance Program.


No Visa Sponsorship is available for this position.


Familiarize yourself with Cornell’s COVID-19 workplace guidance as well as the university’s COVID-19 services and information.


University Job Title:

Administrative Asst IV

Job Family:




Pay Rate Type:


Pay Range:

$24.01 – $27.91

Remote Option Availability:

Hybrid Remote



Contact Name:

Carolyn Chow


Job Titles and Pay Ranges:


Non-Union Positions

Noted pay ranges reflect the potential pay opportunity for each job profile. The hiring rate of pay for the successful candidate will be determined considering the following criteria:

  • Prior relevant work or industry experience
  • Education level to the extent education is relevant to the position
  • Unique applicable skills
  • Academic Discipline (faculty pay ranges reflects 9-month annual salary)


To learn more about Cornell’s non-union staff job titles and pay ranges, see Career Navigator.


Union Positions

The hiring rate of pay for the successful candidate will be determined in accordance with the rates in the respective collective bargaining agreement. To learn more about Cornell’s union wages, see Union Pay Rates.


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EEO Statement:

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university’s mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.


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