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Director of Graduate Studies

University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, United States
Salary Not specified
Date posted
Jun 12, 2024

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Position Type
Administrative, Student Affairs, Student Activities & Services
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Director of Graduate Studies

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Large Employers in 2023.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title
Director of Graduate Studies

Job Profile Title
Director B, Student Services, Graduate Programs

Job Description Summary
The Annenberg School for Communication (ASC) is a unique place at Penn. Our students receive an education that encourages them to redefine what communication studies can do, and what media expertise entails in the real world. In addition, our faculty, scholars, and students produce rigorous multidisciplinary research that changes the understanding of media institutions and their effects. Our staff supports this work as part of an intimate work environment, wherein faculty, students, staff, and scholars are one interactive community. As the smallest of Penn's 12 schools, Annenberg staff enjoy a small-school environment along with the benefits of working for the larger institution. We think this makes us a truly distinctive employer at Penn.

Our five-year doctoral program has a strong reputation as one of the best in the field and includes roughly 70 active students at various points in the program each year. Reporting to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, the Director directs and supports 1) the coordination of the lifecycle of the school's Ph.D. program, and 2) student success on the path to the Ph.D. Responsibilities include recruitment, admissions, student records and data management, and student support. The Director also supports the Associate Dean and other school leadership as a thought partner in identifying and implementing program improvement strategies and initiatives. The position has the potential to supervise one administrative support position.

Job Description

Leadership & Collaboration:
  • Provide holistic program support to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies on all matters related to the effective management of the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Serve as a member of the school's Academic Advisory Group and lead and contribute to thoughtful conversation, deliberation, and decision-making on topics and initiatives that drive shared goals across both the graduate and undergraduate programs. Work together on annual and per semester academic planning, such as mapping graduate course planning, faculty teaching plans, research and teaching fellowship surveys and assignments, etc.
  • Partner with Graduate Studies Committee members to advise on graduate program issues and topics, including student experience and engagement initiatives to enhance the student journey. Meet with the Committee to discuss academic issues. Prepare agendas, keep minutes, track follow-up, etc.

Recruitment & Admissions:
  • Plan, develop, and execute strategies to increase diversity of applicant pool.
  • Maintain a high volume of professional communications with prospective domestic and international applicants - in person, by telephone, Zoom.
  • Manage the online application and faculty review system to process >250 applications, admitting 20 students, yielding 14-18 students per year. Work with the school's Graduate Studies Committee and Associate Dean to oversee the entire application process from initial inquiry to matriculation, including all related correspondence.
  • Guide and advise applicants and new students in accordance with the established school and university policies and procedures.

Student Success & Program Services:
  • Organize, coordinate, and manage the daily operations of the ASC graduate program. Guide students throughout their entire program of study, according to established program, curricular, school, and university policies and procedures.
  • Track student progress to ensure retention, academic achievement, and progress toward degree. Working with the Graduate Dean, draft progression letters at key milestone points.
  • Manage the Qualifying and Comprehensive Exams process and provide guidance to students and faculty advisors as needed.
  • Continually review and update program forms, email templates, etc. to ensure clarity, consistency, and professionalism.
  • Conduct graduation audits and provide dissertation deposit guidance to students. Provide information to the ASC Associate Director of Events for planning of the annual Ph.D. graduation event.

Student Records & Data Management:
  • Maintain accurate student records and generate admissions, student, and graduation data for internal and external review by an array of constituencies. Provide data analysis and reporting as needed.
  • Maintain student records, online databases, and filing system.
  • Maintain course offerings on Banner and worksheets in Degree Works.
  • Monitor adherence to university dissertation deposit policies and processes.


  • A Bachelor's degree and 3 to 5 years of related experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience is required.
  • Proficient with the MS Office 365 suite and able to adapt to new tools and technologies, including an array of Penn proprietary and third-party systems.
  • Organizational and planning skills that demonstrate the ability to set priorities and work under the pressure of deadlines.
  • Experience taking on new challenges, providing direction, delegating, and removing obstacles to drive results.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to connect with the graduate student community; being supportive, flexible, and sensitive to their needs.
  • Sound professional judgment, initiative, flexibility, and ability to multi-task.
  • Ability to handle confidential information with discretion and integrity with an understanding of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • High attention to detail and excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as a team member.
  • Experience as a supervisor and mentor.

  • A master's degree in higher education, student affairs administration, or a related field.
  • Experience in higher education working directly with students and faculty.
  • Familiarity with Penn student records systems such as Banner, Slate, and Degree Works.
  • Experience with college admissions and recruitment at the graduate level; knowledge of advanced degree programs requiring the completion of a dissertation.
  • Experience with academic guidance/advising and implementing programmatic activities.

For consideration, both a cover letter and resume are required at the time of application. A combined document or multiple documents may be uploaded to the "Resume/CV" section of the application.

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
Annenberg School for Communication

Pay Range
$61,046.00 - $87,000.00 Annual Rate
Salary offers are made based on the candidate's qualifications, experience, skills, and education as they directly relate to the requirements of the position, as well as internal and market factors and grade profile.

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits
  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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