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.
The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Program Assistant provides administrative support to the English department's MFA program for Poets and Writers. This position supports the day-to-day operations of the program and provides support to students in the areas of academics, programming, recruitment, and admissions.
- Serve as first point of contact for the MFA program; answer student and faculty inquiries regarding degree requirements and graduate milestones
- Educate graduate students on academic requirements and satisfactory progress towards degree; proactively notify students who have not completed their requirements or are not making appropriate progress; refer students to faculty advisor or thesis chair for further advising; alert MFA Director of any student progress concerns
- At each graduation date (February, May, and September), review graduate student degree eligibility forms to clear students for graduation; notify and advise students who have not completed their degree requirements and graduate milestones
- Assist students with graduate milestones and meeting deadlines; coordinate thesis committee appointment process, track defenses, report thesis defense results to Graduate School degree requirements office
- Assist with planning and facilitating MFA orientation and annual cohort-specific meetings
- In consultation with the MFA Director and MFA Committee, establish procedures relating to academic topics such as registration, independent study courses, degree audits, incomplete grades, and processing student records
- Coordinate with program faculty and department scheduler to prepare teaching schedule for forthcoming semesters
- Compile course descriptions and manage registration for offline courses (workshops, literary arts credits, independent studies)
- Coordinate MFA Awards; confirm judges, collect and organize submissions for review, and process awards in AcademicWorks. Support Associate Director’s donor cultivation by collecting post-award letters from winners and organizing winning submissions
- Assist in recruitment efforts by communicating with prospective students about the program and application process
- Evaluate submitted graduate application materials for compliance and completion, facilitate review of applications by the MFA admissions committees
- Communicate and collaborate with the Writing Program and Graduate School to ensure that all requirements are met
- In consultation with MFA committee, plan and execute annual events including the Visiting Writers Series (VWS) and Juniper Festival
- Plan and execute Writers @ Work professional development programming for MFA students
- Assist students of the Creative Writing Graduate Student Organization with events and activities; track expenses
- Coordinate Admitted Students event
Financial and Personnel Processing
- Administer financial and personnel activities for the MFA program. Track budgets and expenditures in Summit; generate reports as needed
- Perform budgeting and financial tracking for Visiting Writers Series, Juniper Fest, Writers @ Work, and the MFA literary journal, Paperbark
- Support administration of graduate student travel grants, thesis grants, scholarships, prizes, and awards
- Prepare and track graduate student contracts and personnel actions including associateships, assistantships, fellowship appointments, and graduate student hourly positions
- Procure program supplies using BuyWays
- Maintain MFA program website; post information to the program listserv, maintain social media accounts
- Create and distribute weekly program newsletter
- Maintain office files and records; process, file, and retrieve academic records as needed
- Maintain shared MFA program calendar
- Track alumni updates and activity
- Supervise and mentor 2 graduate student employees (Juniper Fellows)
- Maintain Student Academic Hourly Employee Time Sheets and send to Office Manager on a weekly basis
- Work with Enterprise Desktop Support to maintain computer in good working order and seek end-user IT training as needed
- Perform other duties as assigned
Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Three years of administrative experience
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Excellent customer service skills and the ability to work with a diverse group of constituents
- Excellent organization skills; ability to work independently, prioritize action items, think critically on the job, and complete work in a timely manner
- Ability to maintain complete and accurate records
- Ability to exercise discretion when handling confidential information
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Excel
- Experience with mail merges, newsletters, and email management using software such as.
Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)
- Bachelor's Degree
- Experience working in a higher education environment
- Familiarity with image and photo editing with software such as Photoshop; familiarity with file creation and organization on shared platforms such as Google Drive; familiarity with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Experience with Drupal and Mailchimp software systems
- FERPA Certification
Physical Demands/Working Conditions
- Typical office environment
- Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm (37.5 hours/week).
Special Instructions to Applicants
Along with application, please submit a resume, cover letter and contact information for three (3) professional references.
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.