Director of Academic Operations - Office of Academic Services - Penn Engineering

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • Apr 18, 2024
Full time Deans & Directors

Job Description


Director of Academic Operations - Office of Academic Services - Penn Engineering

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Large Employers in 2023.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title
Director of Academic Operations - Office of Academic Services - Penn Engineering

Job Profile Title
Director B, Student Services

Job Description Summary
Penn Engineering's world-acclaimed faculty, state-of-the-art research laboratories and highly interdisciplinary curricula offer an experience that is unparalleled. Innovation and technology drive every program and transform the fundamentals of what future engineers are learning.

Reporting to the Managing Director of the Office of Academic Services, the Director of Academic Operations is a collaborative and results-oriented position to oversee operations and elevate the student experience serving Penn Engineering's undergraduate and graduate communities. In this multifaceted role, the Director will wear multiple hats: project manager, team developer, and technology strategist. The Director will partner with key groups across Penn Engineering to streamline processes, ensure seamless service delivery, and implement best practices in data and knowledge management. They will manage and develop a high-performing Operations team, guiding them and the entire OAS staff in leveraging technology to automate workflows and revolutionize student success efforts. The Director will also take point on a selection of major OAS events like commencements and orientations, providing an opportunity to showcase leadership and organizational skills in high-impact environments.

Job Description

Job Responsibilities

Project Management

  • Partner with functional areas within the school to refine processes, procedures, workflows, and metrics to support the academic and student engagement needs of OAS teams. Ensure regular and clear updates are communicated with stakeholders. Constituents may include: Online, Financial Services (PEFS), Computing and Educational Technology Services (CETS), Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), and Planning | Design | Construction, with the OAS Managing Director and other OAS leadership.
  • Routinely monitor and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery and the quality of academic services in partnership with the Managing Director, Director of Student Success & Advising, and other team leadership.
  • Oversee major cross-cutting OAS events, including commencements, student awards ceremonies, and new student orientations. Collaborate closely with event officials at the School and University. Create and implement a mechanism for consistent event evaluation.

Operations Team Management and Development

  • Manage and guide the development of a robust Operations team, including student records, data analytics, and office management.
  • Oversee the strategic office management, including decisions on space and technology.
  • Day-to-day management of vendor relationships and contracts.
  • Support the professional development of the Operations team members in partnership with the OAS leadership team to support equitable access to professional growth opportunities for the entire OAS staff.

Systems Infrastructure

  • Incorporate best practices in data privacy, security and knowledge management within OAS
  • Coordinate with the Director of Advising & Student Success to support a technology strategy that automates and streamlines academic affairs processes; specifically, investigate the leading technologies for ticketing systems, student success CRMs, and project management, and recommend the best path forward to leadership.
  • Foster a culture of learning across staff and departmental/programmatic partners to incorporate new tools and technologies into workflows.
  • Coordinate with the Student Success team to build routine data analysis and reporting to inform decisions made by the Student Success team.

Financial Operations

  • Oversee and/or process a variety of financial transactions and reports; produce, monitor, and reconcile budget statements; research, identify, and resolve discrepancies.
  • Manage all major office purchases, invoices, and expenses; ensure accurate record-keeping and filing of all financial/purchasing documents and approvals.
  • Serve as the unit expert on financial policies and practices in partnership with Financial Services (PEFS).

Special Projects

  • As a member of the Office of Academic Services leadership team, provide support to the Managing Director and other Directors on a variety of high-level projects, initiatives, and strategic planning.
  • Represent the Operations team in strategic, high-level committees and meetings.


  • Bachelor's degree and 5-7 years of related experience in higher education working directly with undergraduate and graduate students or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Demonstrated experience bringing operational excellence to an organization. Takes on new opportunities and challenges with a sense of urgency, providing direction, delegating, and removing obstacles to drive results.
  • Outstanding people management skills, including experience managing up - i.e., supporting a principal, candidate, organizational leader, and/or board - as well as experience directly supervising, coaching, and mentoring staff.
  • Strong project management experience, and ability to triage and prioritize activities.
  • Experience leading teams.
  • Proficient with Google Workspace, MS Office 365, communication tools (e.g., Slack, Teams), and able to adapt to new tools and technologies.
  • Demonstrated ability to forge relationships with various internal and external stakeholders within an organization to create collaboration and move strategic projects forward.
  • The ability to multi-task is essential, as well as the ability to build and manage new programs.
  • Exceptional writing and analysis skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as a team member.


  • Master's degree in higher education, organizational behavior, data analytics, or a related field is strongly preferred.
  • Experience using technology to streamline student communication through ticketing systems, CRM, and/or project management tools such as Asana and Airtable.
  • Experience working directly with School-level offices such as EOS and University-level offices such as Public Safety is preferred.
  • Experience using problem-solving skills to identify and document patterns of student academic needs; and to develop strategies and programs to successfully meet those needs, as well as the organizational and planning skills to set work priorities under the pressure of deadlines.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the diverse student populations in STEM.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement strategic initiatives based on assessment data that improve student success and retention outcomes.
  • Demonstrated record of personal and professional initiative, flexibility, and excellent oral and written communication skills.

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
School of Engineering and Applied Science

Pay Range
$61,046.00 - $98,000.00 Annual Rate
Salary offers are made based on the candidate's qualifications, experience, skills, and education as they directly relate to the requirements of the position, as well as internal and market factors and grade profile.

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits

  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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