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Associate Director, Federal Awards - Sponsored Programs Administration

University of Illinois Research Park

University of Illinois Research Park

Champaign, IL, USA
Posted on Friday, May 5, 2023

Job Summary

Provide professional senior leadership and management of the Federal Award Management team in Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA). Research, interpret and ensure compliance with internal procedures, institutional policies and procedures, state and/or federal laws, and contractual obligations of award management of the sponsored project portfolio.

Duties and Responsibilities Management and Leadership:

  • Function as an integral part of SPA executive leadership team with responsibility for developing strategies to effectively manage the Federal Award Management team and intersect successfully within the sponsored project lifecycle.
  • Provide daily management of the Federal Award Management team providing oversight as well as delegation of critical activities to ensure that related services are effectively and efficiently being provided to principal investigators and University departments. Proactively identify and implement processes to improve operations and customer service. Assess award portfolio allocation and resource needs
  • Manage the recruitment, hiring, orientation, mentoring and professional development of assigned staff, including day to day supervision, workload assignments, performance evaluation and leave/travel approvals.
  • Work in close collaboration with the other SPA teams to facilitate the award process and institutional compliance across the entire project lifecycle.
  • Develop and implement effective training initiatives. Plan, design, coordinate and conduct general and specialized training, educational programs, and presentations for internal and external training needs. Establish instructional materials and develop standards for all existing and future training materials. Support the ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of all training materials to ensure continuing development and consistency between the training program and training objectives. Conduct follow-up to determine impact of training program and recommend changes as needed.
  • Serve as a subject matter expert of sponsored projects and provide authoritative, professional guidance on university policies and sponsor regulations to internal and external parties. Lead in researching and in conflict management of award management issues as they arise.
  • Serve as SPA representative and liaison to sponsors, faculty, legal counsel, and campus units. Coordinate outreach initiatives and promotion of SPA’s mission and objectives. Establish and maintain effective working relationships supporting a professional, collegial environment.
  • Promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment across award management.

Policy and Regulation Interpretation and Application:

  • Research, interpret, and autonomously apply all relevant federal and state regulations and laws, University and sponsor policies, and sponsoring agency terms and conditions.
  • Keep abreast of issues and developments in current/emerging issues in research administration and compliance. Continuously monitor updated regulations and policies.
  • Advise University faculty and staff on how to best maintain compliance.
  • Collaborate with SPA leadership to develop and implement SPA policies, procedures, and objectives. Provide recommendations for changes to internal policies to improve efficiencies in current processes and procedures.

Liaison and Outreach Engagement:

  • Actively engage in the campus community, serve as expert, liaison, advisor, resource and SPA delegate to university business staff, faculty, and sponsoring agencies.
  • Oversee conflict resolution of award issues and work to reduce the risk of future occurrences.
  • Conduct outreach initiatives to promote SPA and overall University objectives, including the development and delivery of presentations as a SME at SPaRC, national conferences, and other training opportunities.
  • Analyze and provide data to support studies by the Office of Government Costing.

Electronic Systems Application:

  • Evaluate SPA and University system data for consistency with award terms and conditions.
  • Develop, utilize, and maintain numerous award management records and databases and analyze associated data.
  • Access and maintain a working knowledge of multiple sponsor electronic systems and advise faculty and staff on the use of these systems, as needed.
  • On behalf of the University Board of Trustees, exercise independent judgement to oversee electronically submitted letter of credit cash draws, reports, and requests for award modifications. Serve as signature authority as delegated by the Board of Trustees.
  • Collaborate with Data and Systems Team to expand and enhance existing processes and procedures in data systems and applications.
  • Business Operations Contributions:
  • Act as resource and back-up to the Director, Post-Award.
  • Independently seek opportunities for professional development.
  • Participate in strategic planning, establish, and implement short and long-range goals, objectives and evaluate operational effectiveness in award management.
  • Lead process analysis and seek to streamline efficiencies and improve customer service.
  • Occasional travel is required.
  • Assume other duties as assigned by the Director, SPA Post-Award that are appropriate for an Associate Director, Federal Awards.

Additional Physical Demands:

Occasional travel is required.

Minimum Qualifications:

Bachelor’s degree, with a concentration in Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, or field related to the position. Alternate degree fields will be considered/accepted depending on depth and breadth of experience as it relates to this position. At least five to seven years of demonstrated experience in a research administration setting within a large, complex compliance environment, including post-award, financial management, leadership, and facilitation. Experience with understanding and following related Federal and State regulations and policies for the conduct of sponsored research/other programs, cost share types and proper tracking processes.

Preferred Qualifications:

Advanced degree in a related field. Advanced experience in sponsored research/other program post-award financial management within a university post-award research administration office. In depth experience with and knowledge of/respect for University of Illinois policies and procedures and a knowledge of the University of Illinois.

Certification in research administration (CRA). Certification in research administration at the University of Illinois (Illini CRA).

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:


A proven leader with highly developed communication skills, analytical, problem solving and organizational skills including the ability to initiate challenging conversations in a constructive manner. Attention to detail and accuracy skills. Ability to work in an integrated team with SPA and act as a strong role model, manager, and coach. Demonstrated ability to lead and mentor staff toward performance improvement, set goals, and oversee a functional area. Strong interpersonal skills that reflect courtesy, diplomacy, and a collaborative approach to develop and maintain effective work relationships. Ability to negotiate and resolve complex issues with a professional demeanor and ability to use personal judgment to make sound decisions. Ability to perform complex tasks and to prioritize multiple projects with skills in organizing resources and establishing priorities to resolve complex problems in a timely and collaborative manner.


Ability to work well with all levels of management, both internally and externally. Knowledge of external sponsor systems. Excellent computer skills including a comprehensive knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access) and experience with electronic database systems. Solid understanding of the framework of Uniform Guidance 2 CFR Part 200. Knowledge and understanding of related Federal regulations and policies for the conduct of sponsored programs. Familiar with State of Illinois regulations, policies, and procedures for the conduct of sponsored programs. Knowledge of the University of Illinois policies and procedures.

Appointment Information

This is a 100% full-time Academic Professional position, appointed on a 12-month basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after the close date. Salary is commensurate with experience. This position may be eligible for a hybrid or remote work arrangement dependent on unit operational needs.

Application Procedures & Deadline Information

Applications must be received by 6:00 pm (CDT) on Friday, April 28, 2023. Applications not submitted through this website will not be considered. Applications not submitted through will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, please contact Leslie Lewin Reinhart ( For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and employment eligibility review through

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations, or by contacting the Accessibility & Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity at 217-333-0885, or by emailing

University of Illinois Research Park is an equal opportunity employer.