Careers at UMass Amherst

Political Science - Academic Advisor

Apply now Job no: 503662
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Political Science
Union: PSU
Categories: Academic Advising & Learning Resources, Professional Staff Union (PSU)

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

Under the direct supervision of the Chief Undergraduate Advisor, this position provides entry-level advising for College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) students in various social science majors, double majors, dual degrees, minors, as well as University exploratory track students. The position works closely with other advising personnel to ensure high quality advising and academic services for all students, with particular emphasis on programmatic needs for first-year, transfer, and at-risk students and uses computer-based registration and academic records technology, such as Spire and Navigate. The position is responsive to the widely varied needs of diverse student populations and works in a high volume and fast-paced work environment.


Essential Functions

  • Provides entry-level, individualized and small group advising to a diverse population of students during the academic year, including new student & transfer orientation/registration periods and current student registration periods.
  • Responds to common issues such as registration-related matters including fulfilling University general education requirements, interpreting major and college requirements and providing guidance for dual degrees, double majors, and minors.
  • Assists students with matters that involve goal setting, self-assessment and time management skills, planning and decision-making such as establishing an academic plan, choosing a major within and outside of SBS, selecting courses, and evaluating courses for study-abroad experiences. Conducts one-on-one advising sessions for students with declared majors and/or exploratory-track students who will work toward identification and declaration of a major.
  • Responds to at-risk students experiencing academic and often critical personal difficulties by addressing relevant issues and making appropriate referrals to University agencies.
  • Advises a diverse incoming (first-year and transfer) population in a fast-paced, high-volume, individual advising format during New Student Orientation before the start of each semester. 
  • Responds to inquiries from parents or caregivers in accordance with FERPA and in a highly-professional and respectful manner/tone.
  • Assists with graduation clearance processing, being familiar with changes in degree programs, and helping to determine any curricular exceptions.
  • Regularly holds information sessions for current SBS students, as well as for prospective students and students in other majors wanting to transfer into SBS. Participates in evening and weekend activities including Destination Days (Open Houses), Senior Celebration, Undergraduate Commencement, and other activities and additional events that may be developed.
  • Executes special projects and develops resources as needed to support the mission of the SBS Pathways Center, departments, and the College.


Other Functions

  • Performs related duties as assigned or required to meet Department, Executive Area/Division, and University goals and objectives.
  • Understands responsibilities with respect to Title IX, FERPA, and other compliance requirements.  
  • Demonstrates capacity, skill and willingness to engage students and contribute to student success.
  • Works collaboratively with SBS colleagues and other campus stakeholders to fulfill the mission of Student Affairs and Campus Life, and Student Success.
  • Establishes and continually updates knowledge of faculty teaching, research, and interest areas as well as campus resources to appropriately refer majors for additional consultation, advising, and coursework.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences or related field. Experience not required.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Strong organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • Intermediate level computer proficiency.  Ability to create and maintain organized systems for data/record management; strong administrative skills.
  • Able to take initiative and work independently and collaboratively with various university personnel.
  • Able to manage varied client needs.
  • Understanding of student development and commitment to a “whole student” approach to advising.
  • Ability to work individually on self-directed assignments, with minimum supervision, and collaboratively in groups.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Professional experience in the areas of academic advising, student development, or counseling.
  • Experience serving a large, culturally-diverse population.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Typical office environment.


Work Schedule

  • Monday – Friday, 37.5/hours per week.
  • Required to work some nights and weekends.


Salary Information

Level 25

PSU Salary Ranges


Special Instructions to Applicants

Please submit a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three professional references by the priority deadline of November 25, 2019 to ensure priority consideration. The position may remain open until filled.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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