Academic Advisor — Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Apply now Job no: 499621
Work type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Amherst
Department: Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
Pay Grade: 25
Categories: Academic Advising & Learning Resources

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 BMB Professional Academic Advisor will provide academic guidance and counseling for undergraduate BMB majors and assist with the planning and implementation of BMB Department programs and services that enhance the success of undergraduate BMB majors.

About the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB): BMB has 19 instructional faculty; 14 tenure track (TT) and 5 non-TT. BMB has the highest Advising Load (ratio of undergraduate majors to faculty; 37:1) in the College of Natural Sciences (CNS), and the third highest Advising Load on campus (as of 2018 data from the Office of Institutional Research). BMB currently has over 700 undergraduate majors and an annual increase in declared majors of approximately 20%. With the elimination of the "PreMed" major, we anticipate a increase in BMB majors above the typical 20% per year. In addition to annual increases in first year BMB majors, many students add or change into the BMB major in their first, second or third year. BMB has 19 instructional faculty; 14 tenure track (TT) and 5 non-TT. This flux of students into the BMB major represents a large and critical advising load for the BMB Department.

Essential Functions

  • Provide comprehensive, individualized advising to BMB undergraduate students:
    • Advise students about BMB, College, and University academic regulations, requirements, and guidelines.
    • Advise students about course selection during registration periods.
    • Provide advice and guidance to students having difficult academic problems, and provide appropriate campus referrals to resources for academic and personal assistance.
    • Advise students from a wide array of personal and academic backgrounds with sensitivity to the needs of non-traditional and underrepresented student populations.
    • Orient new students in summer and winter New Student Orientation sessions with particular emphasis on course selection for a successful start at the University.
    • Coordinate and oversee the department's peer advising program with the Chief Undergraduate Advisor, including group advising sessions and other advising activities.
    • Work with students in academic jeopardy to identify and address factors affecting their academic performance.
    • Assist in development and implementation of programs for life science students for enhancing student retention, success, and satisfaction.
    • Maintain records of confidential advising sessions regarding academic progress to ensure advising continuity and to facilitate graduation clearance.
    • Learn and use advising platforms such as the Student Success Collaborative and other platforms as required.
  • Collaborate with student support and outreach offices and personnel across campus to enhance the success of BMB students.
    • Collaborate with life science departments and their advising teams to coordinate the advising of life science students and their transitions Collaborate with the College of Natural Sciences Advising Office and its staff, including the academic deans, Exploratory
    • Track advisors, life science advisors, health professions advisors, career advisors, and Director of Student Success and
    • Develop a relationship with various offices on campus including but not limited to: Advising counterparts in other Colleges, Undergraduate Registrar, New Student Orientation, Disability Services, Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, Learning Resource Center, Campus Career Services, International Programs Office, Domestic Exchange, Five College
      Interchange, Residential Academic Programs, Student Athlete Academic Services, etc.
    • Meet regularly with Chief Undergraduate Advisor and other members of the advising team, and attend other campus meetings as required. Participate in recruitment activities, such as Fall and Spring Open Houses.
    • Clear students for graduation at the end of each term as appropriate.
    • Attend all CNS Chief Undergraduate Advisors meetings and attend other campus meetings as required.

Other Functions

  • Develop and maintain “generalist” knowledge of majors both within and outside of CNS in order to facilitate advising students as they transition to majors both within and outside of the college.
  • Perform related duties as assigned or required to meet Department goals and objectives, including but not limited to assisting with management of the BMB course and classroom schedule.
  • Demonstrate capacity, skill and willingness to engage students and contribute to student success.

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

  • Bachelor's degree in any major with a minimum of 1 year experience in academic advising, student services in higher education, or teaching at the college level.
  • Ability to collaborate and interact with faculty, staff, students, and parents in a friendly and professional manner.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently to organize multiple tasks and set priorities for action, in a fast- paced office environment. Ability to stay abreast with a high volume and wide array of complex curricular information and academic policies and procedures.
  • Ability to collaborate with others and to identify and achieve shared goals. Ability to work with a large, culturally diverse faculty and undergraduate population.
  • Demonstrated capacity, skill, and willingness to engage students and contribute to student success.
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills.
  • Computer proficiency with word processing, spreadsheet and database programs.

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

  • Bachelor's degree in science, education, or counseling with a minimum of 1 year experience in academic advising, student services in higher education, or teaching at the college level.
  • Experience working with students with a range of academic abilities (including honors level and academically at-risk).

Work Schedule

Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm.  Required to work some evenings and weekends.

Salary Information


PSU Salary Schedule

Special Instructions to Applicants

Submit a letter of application, resume, contact information for three professional references, and a Statement of Diversity (please see below).  Apply by May 6, 2019 in order to ensure priority consideration.  Search may remain open until a suitable candidate pool has been identified.  

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, the College of Natural Sciences and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seek an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations.  In addition to application materials listed above, candidates need to submit a Statement of 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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The University of Massachusetts is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, Title IX employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age over 40, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, or other protected class.