Director, Data and Systems

Job Level
Senior position
Job Category
  • Technology
  • Systems / Operations
Job Status
Areas of Responsibility
  • Systems / Operations
  • Data / Database

The Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA),, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign invites nominations and applications for the position of Director to direct a professional staff dedicated to the support of research administration software and systems, data management including retrieval and analysis, cash management activities supporting the campuses and Systems offices, and training and outreach activities. 

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit To learn more about the University’s commitment to diversity, please visit



  • Manage and direct a professional staff dedicated to supporting the University of Illinois’ electronic research administrative needs. Monitor the progress of goals and objectives; determine the effectiveness of the organizational structure; review responsibilities assigned to professional and support staff to ensure overall operational needs are efficiently being met; develop strategies to improve overall operations and services.

  • Develop, monitor, and maintain software and electronic system solutions to be compliant across the life cycle of sponsored projects ensuring alignment with institution, state, federal, and sponsor requirements. Work in close collaboration with the SPA functional teams to facilitate efficient business and system processes and ensure institutional compliance across the entire sponsored project lifecycle including the review and recommendation of software and hardware to improve operational and data management efficiencies.

  • Serve as the executive lead in the strategic development and implementation of electronic research administration software and systems for the University at large, with a focus on training and operational impacts. Direct the development and implementation of training sessions/programs related to system processes to ensure appropriate University officials/staff are kept informed on system functions. Manage and oversee system user security and permissions for systems, distribution groups, directories, etc. Oversee documentation and maintenance of user accesses and perform annual security reviews.

  • Coordinate the collection, interpretation and analysis of data to improve quality and efficiencies and to share this data with strategic decision-makers to further goals and objectives of the SPA and the OVCR. Establish, formulate and communicate sponsored project policies and procedures related to areas of system processes, data retrieval and analysis, billing and cash management.

  • Coordinate and manage queries to capture daily, month-end, quarter-end and fiscal year-end close of sponsored project data for all campuses. Develop and manage queries to generate ad hoc data for special projects to meet the need of the Sponsored Program offices, numerous campus units and external sponsors and audit activities.

  • Oversee and participate in University fiscal year-end activities, including testing and data verification during the yearend roll, participating in project team meetings, data analysis and problem resolution and coordinating and communicating fiscal year-end deadlines and information to SPA staff.

  • Maintain an awareness of technological advancement and innovation in information technology and develop an active and ongoing relationship with the University of Illinois information technology community.

  • Serve as the SPA technical representative at relevant national, regional, and institutional meetings. Provide leadership and direction with other duties appropriate for the position of Director, Data and Systems.




Bachelor’s degree in information technology or alternate degree field with training and work experience at a level equivalent to a degree in this or a related field.

A minimum of ten years of experience, including demonstrated leadership, organizational and administrative skills related to the development, implementation, and management of electronic systems in a complex academic research institution. A minimum of five years of supervisory experience or equivalent experience demonstrating the ability to lead teams and individuals to develop and accomplish shared goals. Experience in developing electronic research management systems to remain compliant with federal, state, and institutional policies and procedures.  Demonstrated participation in relevant systems working groups focused on electronic research administration.

A basic understanding of the sponsored project lifecycle from proposal submission to award closeout and an introductory understanding of current external regulations, laws, and sponsor policies related to other areas of research administration including financial and non-financial management of sponsored projects. Demonstrate effective administrative and technical skills and ability to exercise a wide range of independent judgment and discretion in discharging the duties and responsibilities of the position.



Master’s degree preferred but a bachelor of science will be considered/accepted if accompanied by equivalent experience in electronic research administration. 

Demonstrate understanding and leadership in the development and enhancement of automated workflow/processes and systems that support the operation of sponsored programs administration. General knowledge of sponsored accounting principles and general financial management practices.


Proposed Start Date:  Negotiable


Salary:  Commensurate with qualifications and experience.


Appointment Status:  Regular 100%-time Academic Professional appointment, 12-month service basis. Eligible for full University benefits package.


For full consideration, please submit application by December 20, 2018. To apply, submit on online profile through  Qualified candidates must upload: a cover letter that details qualifications noted above, resume, and the names and contact information for three professional references. All requested information must be submitted for your application to be considered complete. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.


For further information, please contact Susan Key, OVCR Human Resources, at


The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.