Director, Grants Management and Administration (19394)

Date: Nov 5, 2023

Location: Washington, DC, US, 20016

Company: American University

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Our diverse community of students, faculty, and staff represent every state and more than 150 countries. Our internationally recognized faculty are today's thought leaders in the areas of public policy, law, the arts, communications, international development, and more. Our staff are innovative, service-oriented, and dedicated to moving the university towards achieving its strategic goals. We are committed to an excellent experience for all of our students, faculty and staff and share a passion for creating change through our knowledge and our work. 


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About the Department/Unit

American University's School of Public Affairs (SPA) has an active research faculty and an externally funded grants portfolio that has been growing rapidly over recent years. This position is key to supporting that growth and to encouraging confidence in both faculty and sponsors that their grants will be managed effectively.


The Director, Grants Management and Administration is the main point of contact for all post-award grants and contracts administration for the School of Public Affairs (SPA). Thus, the person in this position will respond to inquiries about grants and contracts in a timely manner. This position approves all expenditures for all granted-funded activity within the School and works with units within the University, Principal Investigators, and academic units overseeing compliance and reporting issues. Provides assistance to departments and Principal Investigators (PIs) on tracking cost share commitments. Develops and maintains databases to track awards, ensuring that accounts are being addressed by the appropriate staff member within the School and in the rest of the university. Interfaces with auditors on projects under review also conducting audits on grants and contracts being worked on within SPA. Works with the Washington Institute of Public Affairs Research (WIPAR) to review pre-award budget proposals as needed for feasibility and consistency and gives recommendations, ensuring that School, University, and appropriate external policies and procedures are being upheld. The Director is responsible for ensuring that SPA programs adhere to the terms, conditions, and budget as specified in the grants and/or contracts. The Director trains staff within SPA on how to properly administer funded projects, and reports and gives analysis on funded projects to the Dean and SPA Leadership team. This position will serve as a backup for the Assistant Dean. This position will have a dotted line to the Director of Research.

Essential Functions

  1. Project Contact Administration: Oversee all SPA externally funded projects, grants, and contracts including with Online Program partners to ensure adherence to terms, conditions, and budget. Approve all grant and contract expenditures in a timely manner to ensure prompt payment and recording. Seek amendments and changes when necessary with the Office of Sponsored Awards and Research Administration (OSARA). Interpret policies, procedures, and contractive instruments. Assist with the preparations of contracts and subcontract documents.
  2. Reporting and Compliance: Ensure project startup meetings are initialized in a timely and efficient manner and that all personnel associated with projects are aware of the relevant policies and procedures required for each externally funded project. Provide compliance with relevant rules, regulations, policies and procedures in conjunction with OSARA.
  3. Project Personnel Administration: Work with Director of Graduate and Faculty Affairs and the Assistant Dean for Finance & Admin to determine requirements for staff and faculty participation and course releases and effort spent on projects, including summer salary payments to faculty. Provide regular reports on faculty effort to be booked to externally funded projects for SPA budgeting and projections. 
  4. Auditing and Account Management: Develop and maintain accounts, assigning individual grants and/or contracts to subordinate position(s) as appropriate. Conduct periodical audits of work being completed on grants and contracts within SPA, ensuring all obligations and terms of the agreements are being met. 
  5. Training and Supervisory Role: Responsible for hiring, training, and directing the work of one full-time Finance and Grants Specialist with intention to expand this team in the near future. 
  6. Other Duties: Other duties as assigned by the Dean or supervisor including filling in for the Assistant Dean as necessary.

Supervisory Responsibility

  • Full time Finance and Grants Specialist (17444) and potentially student workers.
  • A second full time staff position is intended to be added to this remit in the near future.

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

  • Full time, 35 hours/week exempt.
  • Team Leader/Consultant B.
  • Exempt.
  • Eligible for hybrid working. Must be on-campus 3 days per week during the academic year.

Salary Range

  • $100,000-$105,000 annually; Commensurate with experience.

Required Education and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree in business administration, finance, accounting or other relevant field.
  • 8-10 years of relevant experience.
  • Related experience in grant or contract management.

Preferred Education and Experience

  • Master's degree in business administration or closely related field.
  • 10+ years of relevant experience.
  • Experience with academic institutions and familiarity with the various divisions and offices within (and the respective functions of) large organizations.
  • A minimum of five years of recent and progressively responsible leadership roles in budget management, research and sponsored programs, and/or related fields in a university setting.
  • Knowledge of US GAAP.
  • Familiarity/knowledge of CFRs, OMB Circulars including A-133 audit process.

Additional Eligibility Qualifications

  • Knowledge of program administration guidelines of Federal and non-Federal sponsors supporting research and educational activities.
  • Knowledge of personnel, payroll, accounting, contracts, and relatable legal ramifications of contract administration.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Familiarity with financial systems, enterprise reporting, personnel management systems, and managing (import/export) data between systems.
  • Strong time management skills with the ability to organize and plan work to deal with multiple competing priorities and tasks.
  • Excellent managerial, analytical, and computer literacy skills required.
  • Ability to recognize potential problems and address them proactively is required.
  • Must be able to work both independently and as part of a highly collaborative team.
  • Must possess strong oral and written communication skills.


AU offers a competitive benefits package including a 200% matching retirement plan, tuition benefits for full-time staff and their families, several leadership development certificates, and has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a fit-friendly worksite. Click here to learn about American University's unique benefit options.


Other Details

  • Hiring offers for this position are contingent on successful completion of a background check.
  • Employees in staff positions at American University must deliver their services to the university from either the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia, or perform work on-site at the university.
  • Please note this job announcement is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


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