Careers at UMass Amherst

Director of Computer Systems Administration - Biology Department

Apply now Job no: 514221
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Biology
Union: PSU
Categories: Computer & Information Technology, College of Natural Sciences

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

The Director of Computer Systems Administration (DCSA) is responsible for computer support of research, teaching and administrative work in the Biology department. The DCSA supervises up to three (3) computer support staff responsible for the maintenance of computer hardware, software, and networking for Biology staff and faculty members. This includes supporting computers, UNIX servers, and software needed for staff, for faculty research programs, and for computer-intensive Biology teaching labs in the Morrill Sciences Center, Integrated Science building and other locations. The DCSA advises and supports the Biology department in computing/networking policy decisions and policy implementation, and represents the department in appropriate meetings/projects with college and university IT staff. The DCSA is responsible for overseeing the resolution of client (Biology staff and faculty) issues with Windows, Macintosh and Linux systems.


Essential Functions

  • Oversee the Biology department’s Computer Systems Administration Office and supervise up to 3 staff members in providing support for faculty/staff computing equipment, software, and connectivity.
  • Provide support for Macintosh, Windows and Linux workstations and laptops. Install, configure, and support hardware and software on relevant systems, including biology-specific software. Support networked PC’s and Macs used for office, teaching, and research applications.
  • Coordinate all technology purchases for the department by interfacing with the procurement staff. Facilitate installation of all equipment and ensure necessary operations.
  • Configure and administer security for systems. Install timely security-related upgrades. Monitor networks and scan computer systems to detect incorrectly configured systems or network attacks against systems. Educate students, staff, and faculty about effective security procedures and train them on security tools, procedures and policies. As needed, design and develop clear instructional materials.
  • Respond to requests for assistance with computer problems in Macintosh, Windows, and Linux systems. Diagnose and repair hardware and software issues, or refer the repair to other resources as appropriate. Research approaches to resolving problems using state-of the-art technology. 
  • Provide advanced technical support through configuration and maintenance of the computers in teaching labs. Program and configure systems to allow multiple software programs (often with conflicting needs) to work in sync plus supporting multiple teaching platforms across several labs.
  • Work with UMass IT to maintain connectivity of faculty/staff in Morrill in other buildings (Fernald, ISB, LSL). Maintain network switches and functional network topology, including VLANs. Add new connections and maintain network software as required. 
  • Work cooperatively with CNS and university network technical staff to support and maintain multiple Linux, Windows and Mac servers running various services, including file sharing, LDAP, logging, and databases.
  • Provide technical support for the deployment and migration of new network technologies in an active research environment. As requested, collaborate with research groups, faculty, and administrative personnel on how to incorporate emerging new technologies in order to improve efficiency or resolve ongoing issues.
  • Ensure that the department complies with applicable state and federal laws and regulations, and university policies and procedures. Keep current and make recommendations to the college and UMass OIT for needed resources to maintain compliance.
  • Periodically conduct a needs assessment regarding available information technology, university infrastructure to support technology (wireless and wired access), data security, inventory of technology hardware and software and make recommendations to the Department Head (& CNS as appropriate) regarding maintenance, purchase, and relocation / disposal of equipment. Maintain an electronic inventory of information technology owned by the department, both hardware and software.


Other Functions

  • Complete trainings as required by the college or university and as assigned by supervisor. Participate in additional professional development trainings to upgrade skills and acquire knowledge of new technologies and security issues. Prepare and present findings. Participate in departmental, college and campus IT meetings and cross-train with UMass and college IT team colleagues to provide more flexibility and increased efficiencies.
  • Maintain privacy regarding sensitive and/or not yet public university related information in the performance of the responsibilities of position and exercise care to prevent unnecessary disclosure to others.
  • Perform additional related duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences and the Biology department. This includes but is not limited to: maintaining and negotiating site licenses (e.g., IDL), providing consulting support for various project teams, & coordinating interdepartmental networking issues.


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

  • Bachelor's Degree, preferable in Computer Science or a Life Sciences-related field.
  • Five (5) years of experience supporting computer systems and networks.
  • Demonstrated experience configuring and supporting Windows (all versions) and Macintosh operating systems and managing computers using the Unix/Linux operating systems in a distributed computing environment.
  • Ability to work independently to organize multiple tasks and set priorities for action, take initiative, be creative, achieve goals in a timely manner and operate with self-direction in a fast paced and changing environment.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively and effectively with a diverse population of faculty, staff and students. Ability to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness.
  • Ability to communicate with patience and clarity technical concepts to a non-technical audience, including individuals and cross-functional teams with diverse backgrounds and experience. 
  • Ability to formulate plans, prioritize goals, collaborate, work with and develop deadlines, and implement and manage multiple long and short-term IT projects simultaneously while maintaining high standards of accuracy and quality for the departments and for a multiple customer/user base.
  • Experience with network switches and an understanding of network topology, including VLANs.
  • Working knowledge of computer network protocols such as TCP/IP, Internet-based mail handling software (SMTP, POP); File- Transfer-Protocols (SFTP); Interactive network logins (SSH); Network-based printing services (LPR/LPD), LDAP, Samba and MySQL.
  • Ability to understand responsibilities with respect to conflicts of interest and perform in ways consistent both with law and with university policy.
  • Ability to successfully complete appropriate EH&S safety training.
  • Ability to respond after hours as needed for emergencies (on-call service).


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Office and computer related environment.
  • Ability to lift and manipulate moderately heavy objects such as CPUs and computer monitors.
  • Ability to climb 6'-12' ladders.
  • Willingness to work in teaching and research labs where appropriately handled hazardous material or conditions are present.


Work Schedule

  • Typically: Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
  • Required to work some nights and/or weekends.
  • On-call after-hours duties as needed for emergencies.


Salary Information

Level 29

PSU Salary Ranges


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume, cover letter, a Diversity Statement (see below), and contact information for three (3) professional references. The search will remain open until filled.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations. In addition to application materials above, candidates will need to submit a Statement of Contribution to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Diversity Statement should identify past experiences and future goals. These contributions may result from lived experiences, scholarships, and/or mentoring, teaching, and outreach activities.  (


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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