Careers at UMass Amherst

Strategic Communication & Program Manager (Hybrid Opportunity)

Apply now Job no: 523790
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Chemistry
Union: PSU
Categories: Public Relations, Marketing, Communications, Program Administration/Management, College of Natural Sciences, PSU A

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

As a member of the Program Leadership team, the Strategic Communication and Program Manager will direct all program management activities including program operations, grant renewals, budget management, program assessments, recruiting, and processing appointments. In collaboration with College of Natural Sciences (CNS) Communication staff, this role will be responsible for integrated communication initiatives and event planning to promote the program at the campus, regional, and national level.  


Essential Functions

  • Program Leadership, Vision, and Culture
    • Implement the programs' missions among faculty, staff, and students; support the training of ethics to students; organize opportunities for students to learn scientific presentation skills, and track the training of faculty mentors.
    • Strategically support the development and growth of program educational initiatives including, establishing mutually beneficial relationships with industrial partners in order to identify industrial internships for students, coordinate industrial visits, and engage industrial partners in course designs. Coordinate internship opportunities with off-campus partners and on-campus entities.
  • Program Administration, Oversight, and Growth
    • Administer two independent, large and complex graduate training grants.
    • Research and develop policy and solutions for existing and emerging program needs.
    • Report financial data to the Controller’s Office.
    • Create, manage, and monitor annual budgets. Perform financial administrative tasks including, but not limited to, request carryover funds into new fiscal years, account reconciliation, maintain accurate financial records for grant expenditures, ensure charges are properly allocated per grant guidelines.
    • Track, compile, and prepare data for annual reports and for five-year renewals. Prepare and provide periodic reports such as trainee payment reports and unliquidated obligations reports.
    • Maintain accurate records of grant expenditures, purchase orders and other fund transfer mechanisms.
  • Program Assessment
    • Collaborate in the strategic planning, development, and execution of the program assessments.
    • Administer, collect, and archive the annual assessments, maintaining confidentially, for all program trainees and faculty.
    • Interface with partners in the execution and evaluation of program assessments, and publication of findings.
  • Strategic Communications
    • Organize and initiate publicity including brochure updates, and new opportunities.
    • Prepare, generate, and coordinate distribution of publicity materials for program events.
    • Serve as webmaster, maintaining and updating, program websites and news. Oversee the posting of content.
    • Monitor trainee publications in compliance with Public Access Policy systems.
    • Identify compelling stories of students’ success in real-world problem solving, to maximize program visibility.
    • Oversee production of various communications such as press releases, podcasts, and social media, to tell stories of program and student success. Coordinate with college dean’s office and campus public relations to share and promote communication products to enhance visibility and reputation of program on-campus, regionally, and nationally.
  • Student Interactions
    • Participate in the selection and matriculation of trainees. Accept and organize applications for program membership, travel grants and fellowships. Compile travel grant applications and prepare reimbursements.
    • Coordinate and process appointments for graduate students. Prepare paperwork, electronic appointments, additional documentation to appoint graduate students with the graduate school (working and nonworking fellowships and PAFs).
    • Calculate student stipends, per current university, state, and federal policies, for complex appointments funded by a combination of training grants and individual research grants.
    • Advise students through curriculum; including monitoring and tracking student progress through program requirements using university systems.
  • Events Planning
    • Plan and host events to achieve programs' goals including grant renewal.
    • Organize events such as courses, mentoring luncheons and annual symposia/retreats.
    • Coordinate visits of industrial speakers.


Other Functions

  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of programs.
  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the program community and across campus to support program priorities and goals.


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

  • Associate's degree and three (3) years of program management or other office management experience. A bachelor's degree may be substituted for two (2) years of the required work experience. 


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

  • Master’s degree in business, social sciences, or STEM field.
  • Experience working in an academic setting.
  • Excellent facilitation skills with high-level attention to detail and strong follow-through.
  • Excellent organizational skills, able to prioritize workload under variable time constraints.
  • Experience with strategic communications and/or social media promotion.
  • Knowledge and experience with university financial systems and grant administration.
  • Excellent record keeping, able to maintain clear computer files for all tasks such that others can collaborate effectively and/or continue tasks.
  • Excellent communication skills including written, verbal and interpersonal; able to work collaboratively with all internal and external stakeholders and team members. 
  • Ability to exercise and maintain discretion in handling confidential information.
  • Ability to perform mathematical computations as well as make and use budgets accurately.
  • Ability to demonstrate initiative and independent decision making.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Typical office environment.


Work Schedule

  • Monday - Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
  • Required to work occasional evenings, nights and weekends to support events.
  • This position has the opportunity for a hybrid work schedule, which is defined by the University as an arrangement where an employee’s work is regularly performed at a location other than the campus workspace for a portion of the week. As this position falls within the Professional Staff Union, it is subject to the terms and conditions of the Professional Staff Union collective bargaining agreement.


Salary Information

Level 25

PSU Salary Ranges


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume and cover letter. References will be checked at the finalist stage. Please be prepared to provide contact information for three (3) professional references. Applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis until the position is filled. Early submissions are encouraged.

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.  (


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, caste, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, political belief or affiliation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related condition(s), veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, natural and protective hairstyle and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination 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 UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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