Program Administrator

Position Overview:

Professor Muriel Medard is the Cecil H. Green Professor of Electrical Engineering in the department of EECS at MIT.

The Program Administrator (PA) will be responsible for a variety of cross-functional operational activities including project management, financial, communications, and other administrative activities involved in overseeing multiple on-going research projects ensuring effective operational efficiency of assigned research groups. Their focus will be on helping Professor Medard and her research group meet project commitments, timelines, and deliverables. The PA will serve as the key communications contact with project sponsors and internal stakeholders to ensure timely delivery of milestone reports, and effective collaboration with the PI and their group members. With minimal supervision the PA will execute complex and independent oversight of several projects.  The position requires extensive management of a broad range of administrative activities to ensure progression of project deliverables and effective administrative operations within the research groups while simultaneously providing expert coordination with external sponsors.  The PA will also facilitate community building as required.

Complete position description can be found here: …

Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions**):

Program Management (70%):

  • Work with PI and group members to design, develop, and optimize methods for monitoring and reporting on the progress of funded research projects.
  • Establish project timelines.
  • Ensure adhering to milestones, including accountability for communicating key milestone targets and obtaining consensus about meeting those milestones.
  • Support PI and group members in meeting milestone commitments by identifying barriers and proposing and implementing solutions to eliminate them.
  • Manage sponsor relations including DARPA, NSF, Intel, Wellcome Trust, etc and maintain productive working relationships with existing and/or potential sponsors.
  • On behalf of PI, set and continually communicate and manage expectations with project sponsors, PI/group members, department leadership, and other stakeholders.
  • Serve as a contact with internal and external partner teams.
  • As requested by PI, prepare and present oral and written reports on progress (including analysis of risks, blocking issues, and solutions) of various projects to sponsors, stakeholders, and/or appropriate levels of management within the department. This includes identifying risks, analyzing their potential impact, designing solutions to mitigate risks, and implement risk mitigation plans.
  • Attend group meetings as needed to maintain current content knowledge on status of projects and to understand group members’ immediate needs for optimal performance.
  • Assist in other special assignments, as required, including the design and development of tools such as Work Breakdown Structure, Dashboards and Workflow Diagrams.
  • Develop, document, and communicate standard operating procedures for project management, metrics and requirements tracking, proactive issue resolution, and personnel logistics.
  • Maintain project plans/schedules/deliverables for multiple projects for principal investigator while also managing competing priorities for multiple programs or projects.  Determine and track key project metrics and deliverables as required by sponsors.
  • Develop and manage project timelines. Collaborate with PI to develop broader milestone delivery plan for major research efforts, split into monthly or bi-monthly deliverables and key major milestones.
  • Update progress on milestone delivery plans weekly with PI and communicate with PI issues that need addressing prior to engagement with sponsors including proposing strategic recommendations.
  • Develop documentation that facilitates communication with sponsors on project status and enables sponsors to track progress and engage (on a bi-monthly basis).
  • Support researchers by organizing, compiling, reviewing, and analyzing complex data and findings. Design and develop reports for management and project sponsors on project success and provide recommendations on next steps. Communicate key successes with sponsors to increase sponsor engagement including tracking and compiling IP, publications, and leveraged funding.
  • Manage, optimize and coordinate interface with sponsors, and implement schedule ensuring sufficient PI-sponsor meetings and engagements as needed for the different projects
  • Plan, organize, prioritize and track status of project activities. Monitor project scope and schedule.  Perform follow-up as needed, coordinate resources and escalate issues to PIs as needed. Make recommendations to ensure achievement of deliverables.
  • Organize and complete special projects as needed.

Administrative Operations (30%):

  • Management of PI’s hectic schedule, which has grown increasingly busy due to the huge volume of additional appointments and travel related to her exceptional work in the Communication Networks field.
  • Support to professor includes managing complex, multi-country travel arrangements, managing contacts, complex calendar management, frequently updating professor’s CV and MIT website, preparing course material, preparing documents, guiding travel and other reimbursements, and monitoring deadlines.
  • Manage recommendation letter process and submission for large volume of recommendation requests.
  • Event management, production and coordination in support of faculty involvement as the Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. Specifically, manage high-level MIT events that involve VIP visitors from major communications companies including an annual roundtable. Organize and assist in events in varying degrees of size and complexity relating to multi-year DARPA  GRAND project. Manage temporary event staff; all vendors, freelancers, AV, AMPS, videography, photography, to ensure smooth and efficient run of day. Also, includes set up, break downs, and financial reconciliation.
  • Works with PIs and DLC administrative staff to manage job searches and other personnel matters.
  • Handle sensitive and confidential information with discretion.
  • Draft and edit correspondence, communications, presentations and other documents.  Prepares required project documentation and reports.
  • Oversee group website updates and manage social networking presence in collaboration with communications staff.
  • Create and edit spreadsheets and documents in support of program management activities.
  • Manage logistics and schedule diverse and complex appointments, group meetings, seminars, events, and conferences as needed.
  • Collaborate with research groups on purchasing decisions ensuring B2P and P‑Card purchase orders are executed in support of research activities, reimbursements are timely, and FRC is executed monthly as needed.
  • Execute onboarding for incoming students, affiliates, and staff.
  • Assist with grant proposal preparation in concert with PI and other administrative staff.
  • Advise PIs on establishing priorities and managing inquires to optimize workflow.
  • Collaborate with PI-assigned Fiscal Officer to ensure timely budget information is communicated to project participants maximizing resource allocation.
  • Make travel arrangements and execute timely travel expense reports.
  • May monitor and communicate established work plans with research associates and postdocs.
  • May assist department’s event staff during conferences, seminars, meetings, luncheon/dinners, and other special events.
  • Serve as first point of contact for PIs, greeting and directing visitors, faculty staff and students as appropriate.
  • Perform other duties as needed or required.


Supervision Received:

Supervision is provided by Muriel Medard.  Position requires ability to work independently and perform with minimal supervision.


Supervision Exercised:

No direct reports. May monitor and coordinate the work of temps.


Qualifications & Skills:


  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • A minimum of 3 years’ of administrative or project/program management experience required.
  • Proven experience successfully organizing single or multiple projects
  • Exceptional organizational, time management, and project management skills
  • Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Aptitude for analysis and working with data
  • Ability to interact effectively across all levels, both internally at MIT and externally with sponsors and partners
  • Good judgment, tact, and discretion and ability to handle confidential information
  • Ability to function effectively both independently and as a team member
  • MS Office software skills needed
  • Familiarity with web site editing and ability and willingness to learn new programs
  • Attention to detail
  • Aptitude for organizing and multitasking
  • Will be a high level contributor, will take ownership for work, following up on all action items, and will deliver high quality results meeting deadlines
  • Early mornings or late nights may be required at times



  • MIT experience preferred