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Director of Finance and Administration

  • Requisition no: 521029
  • Work type: Full Time
  • Location: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • School/Department: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Grade: Grade 15
  • Categories: General Administration
  • Job Type: Officer of Administration
  • Bargaining Unit:
  • Regular/Temporary: Regular
  • End Date if Temporary:
  • Hours Per Week: 35
  • Salary Range:

Position Summary

The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University located in Palisades, New York, is seeking a Director of Finance and Administration to serve as the chief financial advisor to the Directorate, and will be expected to help transition the existing role as the Climate School shared services model evolves. Position currently has delegated authority from the Director for campus-wide management of all administrative functional areas of Accounting, Purchasing, Contracts/Grants, Administrative Computing, Human Resources.

Some of these areas of responsibility will be transitioned to a school-wide shared services model and the incumbent will help assure a smooth transition. It is anticipated that the incumbent will always run the day-to-day financial operations of LDEO including managing LDEO’s financial and administrative interests, including an ~$70M annual budget.  The incumbent will represent LDEO’s financial interests to the Directorate and Climate School, lead annual budgeting, and interface with LDEO Associate Directors and the Climate School’s Office of Research, including on matters of fiscal accounting for grants, contracts, gifts, endowment income, consortia and other funding sources.   Incumbent will be LDEO's representative in ensuring the campus receives the best possible service in the core administrative areas.  The incumbent will work with the staff of the Climate School’s Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration, and the University Associate Controller for Restricted Funds, Disbursements and Financial Reporting. The assigned officer will also work with the University Budget Director for budgeting and financial planning and provides information to internal and external audit centers.  Responsible for producing management and financial analyses that serve as the basis for Directorate decision making about matters of broad importance to the Observatory and Campus. Plans and carries out special administrative and related projects at the direction of the Director's office and the Executive Committee of the Observatory.  Maximizes efficiency, cost effectiveness and delivery of services, including monitoring of shared services.   Proactively develop communications between the scientific staff, central administration, the Climate School and Columbia University.  Evaluate program cost, applicability and feasibility and make recommendations to the Directorate.  Work with and supervise managers and administrators to develop and implement new and innovative approaches for administrative service delivery, both centrally and in the divisions.  As requested, report to the Directorate and Executive Committee assessments of management practices throughout the Observatory. 


  • Leads LDEO financial efforts, including the development of the LDEO annual budget, monitoring budget to actual expenditures, sponsored project management, and projects revenue and expenses over time.  Produces variance reports on a quarterly basis to explain variances in excess of $10,000.  Maintains capital projects list and monitors progress toward meeting capital budget goals.  Works with Climate School and University staff to ensure transparent revenue sharing models that are mutually beneficial.  Direct supervision of administrative staff, with recruitment/retention and performance review authority. Develop and maintain training programs for administrative managers and staff across the campus.  Report to the Directorate and Executive Committee on administrative functions related to the entire Observatory.  Responsible for creation of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) between LDEO and the Climate School.
  • Perform data-driven analyses of various aspects of LDEO operations, management, opportunities and risks. Participate in conducting special analyses to determine options for future Observatory directions, organization, and financial structures (e.g., review of cost reimbursement centers, review of factors that determine staffing structures or financial implications of hiring, analyses of aspects of the Lamont Research Professor program.)  Supervise, maintain and develop computer systems for all office related functions.  Provide input for development and maintenance of Accounting Services Web pages.
  • Draft and edit material for the analytical reports on LDEO research management and compliance issues, the LDEO strategic plan, and various trends in campus operation and programs such as infrastructure needs and campus demographics, etc. Conduct process as necessary to ensure receipt of all necessary information from LDEO associate directors and staff. Track progress and follow up as necessary.  Ensure preparation and distribution of periodic (monthly, quarterly, annual etc.) financial reports to the Director, PI's and administrative staff to allow informative planning for the Observatory.  Responsible for accuracy of labor distribution records and monitors effort certification. With CU and Climate School Budget Director and staff, resolve matters of budgeting and financial planning.  Prepare and monitor Trustees Budget and Year End closing.
  • Assess functionality and performance of administrative practices Observatory-wide and take appropriate steps to address problems. Plan, develop, and implement innovative and novel administrative processes and practices for the Observatory in support of scientific and educational goals established by the Observatory’s Directorate, through its governance committees, in response to evolving needs. 
  • Maintains accurate records of recruitment and retention agreements. Produces financial reports for the Director when needed for decision making processes. Similarly, produces decision documents for the Director for bridge funding request and summer salary requests. 
  • Represents the needs of the Observatory at appropriate LDEO committees, as well as with Climate School, Columbia University and Governmental Agencies, as nominated by the Director. Acts as advocate for LDEO needs, particularly with respect to competing demands for resources and systems.  Effectively communicate between these groups and the scientific community at LDEO.  Develop and improve communication within all segments of campus administration.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Business Management or related field and related experience of a minimum of 7-9 years is required.
  • Demonstrated supervisory, organizational and leadership skills, required. 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Knowledge of research administration, sponsored projects management and Columbia University Accounting systems strongly preferred.
  • Interest in Earth and Climate Sciences a plus.  

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity Employer - Race / Gender / Disability / Veteran

The Lamont campus values diversity and inclusion, and encourages applications from members of underrepresented minority groups. 

We accept online applications only.  

Applications open: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close:

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