Staff Assistant - Nicholas Institute Administrative Team

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.

About the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability

The Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability (NIEES) at Duke University accelerates solutions to critical energy and environmental challenges, advancing a more just, resilient and sustainable world. The Nicholas Institute conducts and supports actionable research and undertakes sustained engagement with policymakers, businesses, and communities—in addition to delivering transformative educational experiences to empower future leaders.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values of the Nicholas 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

The staff assistant on the admin team will perform advanced, diversified and confidential administrative duties of a complex and confidential nature in support of major departmental or divisional activities to relieve the supervisor of various clerical and administrative responsibilities and to maintain efficiency in organizational operations.

Work Performed

  • Serve as point person for purchasing needs, submitting designated employees travel expense reports and reimbursements. Maintaining expense records and submitting expense reports for assigned employees using Concur.
  • Review expense reports received for supervisor; check and compare with source documents and bring significant items, changes, errors or omissions to the attention of the supervisor.
  • Provide Director level calendar management support for one or more individuals, schedule and coordinate arrangements for seminars and conferences, appointments, meetings, lectures, classes and speaking engagements; attend meetings to provide information and serve as a resource person; answer questions concerning departmental or divisional activities and transmit instructions and/or information to and from staff members.
  • Independently monitor and purchase office supplies and other items needed in the day-to-day operations through Buy@Duke.
  • Serve as the point of contact with Duke Facilities and Housekeeping, submitting work orders for services in space areas.
  • Oversee and manage access request for any new hires, students or current staff members. Activate and deactivate access upon request. Also, manage and arrange parking passes for adjunct faculty and visitors.
  • Schedule and coordinate arrangements for seminars and conferences and establish appointments, meetings and speaking engagements; attend meetings to provide information and serve as a resource person.
  • Serve as secondary scheduler for NIEES space. Schedule space and room reservations for facilities utilizing 25Live and Outlook. Correspond with requestors; confirm reservations, alert facilities and parking of special events.
  • Organize and maintain files of records, reports and correspondence required for reference and efficient operation; maintain up-to-date management and procedural manuals, directives and related records; interpret new directives, policies and regulations and inform appropriate personnel of changes.
  • Compose letters and statements independently requiring interpretation and application of departmental policies, procedures, rules and regulations. Receive, welcome, and host visitors, students, staff and faculty to NIEES; assist with general inquiries and needs.
  • Answer main phone, take messages, and relay information appropriately. Screen and route mail, e-mail, and other documents; determine which to respond to or which to bring to supervisor's attention based on content of communication and broad knowledge of departmental programs and activities.
  • Perform other related duties incidental to the work described herein. Position may encompass some or all of the duties mentioned above. Duties will be defined by the current needs of the department.


Work requires a broad knowledge of clerical and accounting principles and practices acquired through two years of post-secondary education in secretarial science or a related business field.


Work generally requires 4 years of related secretarial/clerical experience to acquire skills necessary to administer complex office functions related to office management, communications, and budgetary activities


Preferred Skills

  • Knowledge of Duke Concur system and managing expense reports
  • Buy@Duke policies and procedures for purchasing
  • Independent thinker with a strong work ethic
  • Good organizational and implementation skills along with problem solving and attention detailed required.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills are necessary.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of a range of technological tools to perform various tasks. Examples include MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Zoom, Qualtrics, Outlook, and Box.

To Apply

Apply at:

The intent of this job description is to provide a representative and level of the types of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title and shall not be construed as a declaration of the total of the specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position. 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 aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas-an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

View all open positions at the Nicholas Institute