Administrative Business Specialist



Under the general direction of Chairs of two academic departments, this position provides administrative and secretarial support for the two Department Chairs. In addition to typing, filing, scheduling, the administrative business specialist performs duties such as coordination of meetings and conferences, obtaining supplies, coordinating direct mailings, working on special projects. The incumbent also answers non-routine correspondence and assembles highly confidential and sensitive information, deals with a diverse group of important external callers and visitors as well as internal contacts at all levels of the university. Independent judgment is required to plan, prioritize, and organize diversified workload amongst both the departments.

Reports to: Two Academic Chairs

Major Activities & Essential Functions

Business Travels/ Student Field Trips

  • Processes and completes all paperwork associated with professional development, business, research, and academic travels such as Chrome River pre-approvals, business expensses reimbursement, etc. for department chairs/directors, faculty, staff, students, and visiting/guests faculty, students, and speakers/lecturers as well as coordinates student field trips, professional development and research trips for directors/chairs, faculty, and staff, business trips for visiting/guests lecturers, speakers, and other business trips with the HR team for flights, accommodation, visas, and transportation needs.

  • Responsible for overseeing all air, rail, hotel, and car service reservations, entry fees, travel insurance, and visa documentation and application as well as creates a travel booklet for student field trips and prepares a travel package for travelers and creates travel budget proposals by providing travel cost for budget requirements and to ensure compliance with university policies and procedures.

  • Provides advice/recommendation related to travel budget and reviews travel policy to ensure compliance and apply cost saving to VCUQ wherever possible and monitors faculty expenditure on travels and use of PD fund and provides a report/feedback and researches field study destinations and makes initial contact with embassies, universities and/or design schools, design studios/designers, museums, and other sites of importance that may be visited during the field study; and arranges timing for subsequent visits.

Departmental Events

  • Arranges and coordinates departmental events such as public lectures, workshops, students’ presentations and assists with big University events such as fashion shows, international conferences, etc. as well as liaises with departments/lead personnel to ascertain precise event requirement and performs budget review to ensure appropriate fund for the event.

  • Arranges the schedule and books a suitable venue/location and coordinates venue management, layouts, IT/AV requirements, caterers, program, invitations, etc. with Facilities department and takes care of menu selection and oversees the venue set-up and manages guest list and sends out invitations via email, delivery, or by post as well as liaises with communications department if the event requires publicity and stays onsite on the day of the event to troubleshoot issues that may arise.

  • Provides assistance with major University events such as Fashion Show, Commencement, and Tasmeem.

Budget, PR, & Banner

  • Performs budget tracking, reconciliation, and analysis and assists in the preparation of budget proposals by providing budget report from previous expenditure and prepares departmental budget summary and proposals as well as reconciles encumbrances and actual expenditure and provides feedback in relation to the departments' expenses and any potential variances in the budgeted costs.

  • Generates purchase order requisitions and processes personnel reimbursements such as petty cash, direct deposit, etc., and processes ICAs for visiting lecturers and other contracted guests and researches purchase options and/or payment information in order to purchase necessary supplies and equipment, and obtain quotations from different suppliers/vendors as well as communicates company’s payment policies & procedure to outside suppliers/vendors.  Disseminates new procurement standards and procedures to faculty and other staff for compliance.

  • Reviews contracts, purchase orders, and other procurement documents to ensure compliance with applicable policies and regulations and receives invoices in Banner for timely payment of vendors and suppliers and tracks unpaid EPOs/invoices in banner as well as liaises with faculty and bookstore for procuring of materials and supplies for each department and prepares the department’s lists of textbooks and supplies for annual procurement.

  • Communicates with department faculty regarding textbook and supply requirements for their courses and conducts research as required for ISBN’s, publishers, etc. and works with faculty for FRG budget proposals and works Research department to maintain inventory of FRG expenditure.

Communication & Customer Service

  • Serves as liaison point with internal departments, external collaborators, outside offices, external contacts, visitors, other organizations, and groups; and manages guest relations, including invitations, email contacts, and phone calls to facilitate official travels and event participation and generates professional correspondence to external contacts, stakeholders, and vendors and obtains client feedback and addressing any issues or concerns through liaison with concerned departments or provision of required information as well as handles effectively incoming inquiries from visitors by e-mail and phone; quickly identified and ensured that they were received by the appropriate staff and faculty members in the department and communicates new administrative procedures and systems to faculty and other staff.

Administrative Tasks

  • Establishes and maintains an organized filing system for the departments. Responsible for record keeping of (1) annual faculty and staff reviews/evaluations, IWPs, (2) student agreement forms, (3) syllabi, (4) faculty promotion dossier, (5) JAB reports, (6) class schedules, (7) policy documents, (8) surveys, etc. and rrranges and attends retreats for the departments in fall and spring semesters, weekly department meetings, student meetings, and other special meetings as required; and takes minutes of the meetings.

  • Co-ordinates between the departments and determines the need to handle projects simultaneously across each department and organizes and prioritizes large volumes of information and call and handles confidential and non-routine information as well as assists the Chairs in the management of their schedules and maintains departmental calendar and maintains the department’s community calendar listings and posts departmental announcements on the Internet as required.

  • Works independently and within a team on special and nonrecurring and ongoing projects. Follows up on projects for the Chairs and ensures that the project deadline is met, at the request of the Chairs, which may include planning and coordinating multiple presentations, disseminating information, and organizing department wide events and types and designs general correspondences, memos, charts, tables, graphs, lecture materials, etc. and composes, formats and types routine correspondence, reports and other documents like e-mails, e-vites and surveys; and creates visual presentations for the Chairs.

  • Schedules participation of students for department activities by coordinating with Student Affairs and the Assistant Dean for Enrollment & Registration and works with academic advisers by providing assistance and support in the academic advising events and portfolio review process to determine students’ choice of majors, such as gathering and preparing assessment reports, transcripts, registration, curriculum list, etc. and oversees department requests to FM as required for maintenance of studios, classrooms, and equipment and performs other job related duties as assigned by the Chairs.


  • Three to five years of experience in an administrative assistant capacity OR any equivalent combination of education, training and experience that demonstrates the ability to perform the duties of the position OR Bachelor's degree in related field of study.

  • Must have high level of interpersonal skills to handle sensitive and confidential situations. Position continually requires demonstrated poise, tact and diplomacy.

  • A strong public service orientation to interact and communicate with a diverse team in a fast-paced environment.

  • Must have knowledge of a variety of computer software applications in word processing, spreadsheets, database and presentation software (MSWord, Excel, Access, PowerPoint)

  • Work requires continual attention to detail in composing, typing and proofing materials, establishing priorities and meeting deadlines. Must be able to work in a fast-paced environment with demonstrated ability to juggle multiple competing tasks and demands.

  • Willingness to work within a cooperative structure, be flexible and be able to handle last minute tasks.

Skills & Experience

  • Excellent time management skills, ability to multitask and work to tight deadlines.
  • Positive attitude and desire to be in a customer service oriented environment.

  • Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff and student environment or commitment to do so as a staff member at VCUarts Qatar.

  • Enthusiasm and the ability to thrive in an atmosphere of constant change.

  • Skill in organizing resources and establishing priorities.

Application Process

Apply for this job online

Review of applicants will begin immediately.