Staff Assistant

Duke University

Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.

The Newly Merged Institute

Duke University is heightening its commitment to accelerate sustainable and equitable solutions to the climate crisis and develop a new generation of climate-literate thought leaders. An ambitious university-wide strategy will build on decades of successful energy and environmental research, education, and external engagement efforts. As part of this endeavor, the university is merging two of its signature interdisciplinary units: the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Duke University Energy Initiative. Working closely with Duke University schools and other units, the newly merged institute (NMI) will advance the university’s climate strategy by developing transformative educational experiences; galvanizing and conducting impactful research; and engaging with decision makers at the global, national, state, and local levels.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are core values of the newly merged institute. We believe that the educational environment is enhanced when diverse groups of people with diverse ideas come together to learn. Applicants with a demonstrated commitment to issues of diversity in higher education are particularly encouraged to apply.

Occupational Summary

Perform a variety of administrative duties to support the Director and assist with administrative duties for the staff of the Newly Merged Institute (NMI). This full-time, in-person position will report to the Program Coordinator, Sr. (Office Manager) for daily operations and coordination of activities as part of the administrative team.

Work Performed

This position will be located at the NMI Gross Hall offices and will be responsible for welcoming and hosting visitors, students, staff and faculty.

Oversee the calendar for the Director including but not limited to; scheduling meetings, preparing materials and providing instructions/assistance to those in attendance.  Assist in the management of NMI events including coordination with co-sponsoring departments, faculty, staff and students.  Responsible for all travel reservations and expenses for domestic and international travel of the Director. Receive and answer correspondence in draft and final form on behalf of the Director.

Study emails, meeting requests, documents received; check and compare with previous reports and other data and bring to the attention of the Director significant items, changes, errors or omissions; coordinate with the administrative team the maintenance of office files, keeping correspondence and reports available for reference and ensuring efficient operation of the office. Manage electronic and paper file directories and organization of current documents for reference. Document contacts, maintain current contact information, and email distribution lists for all activities of the Director, within Duke and external to Duke.

Prepare expense reports for the Director and submit for approvals, following all Duke University policies and procedures. Prepare meeting summaries, notes from conference calls and provide recommendations for next steps as appropriate.

Plan and coordinate day-to-day administrative duties, for Director and other NMI staff, under the direction of the Program Coordinator, Sr. (Office Manager) as part of the admin team within the NMI. Review completed work for adherence to instructions and for correctness, as needed. Provide backup support to the Program Coordinator, Sr. and Staff Assistant as needed.

Recommend activities and support any team functions as part of the admin team including webinars, workshops and department retreat activities.

Required Qualifications at this Level

Education/Training: Bachelor’s degree in a related area or an equivalent combination of relevant education and professional experience and working knowledge of administrative processes in higher education.

Experience: Knowledge generally acquired through a minimum of five years of executive secretarial/administrative experience of increasing variety and or complexity. Including expenses, accounting systems and administrative systems.

Skills: Organization; attention to detail; good oral and written communication; proofreading and editing; flexible; team oriented.


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The intent of this job description is to provide a representation of the types and level of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title. It shall not be construed as a declaration of all specific duties and responsibilities of the particular position, as employees may be directed to perform job-related tasks other than those specifically presented in this description.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Duke also makes good faith efforts to recruit, hire, and promote qualified women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.