University & College Staff
Recommended if… you love the academic environment and prefer administrative, program development and outreach work. Staff positions vary widely within universities, and most focus on enhancing the student experience. Some positions allow for teaching and research, but these aspects are not required (nor facilitated) for most university staff members.
Requirements… Vary by position, but a degree and experience in administrative work, project or program development, community and non-profit sector are all extremely useful for working in administrative staff positions. Coordinator positions require a minimum of an undergraduate degree, while director positions require at least a master’s degree. Depending on the staff position, other skills are useful: business administration, human resources, and financial management, and program or project coordination experience.
University staff may come to their jobs with a variety of experience and educational backgrounds, but this career can be especially well-suited to history graduates. Coordinators and directors of programs at universities are responsible for bridging communities and universities, a relatively new and growing focus. Part of this mandate in many universities is to increase access to post-secondary education, through both degree and non-degree continuing education programs, for prospective students who have been socially or systematically excluded in the past. Community-university engagement work requires the knowledge and competencies one gains from a history degree, such as critical thinking, a research, and writing skills, and the capacity to situate social issues in their political, cultural, social and historical contexts.
Types of staff positions
Among the positions one may consider within universities are:
- Centres for specific research and studies
- Institutional planning and policy management
- Departmental administration
- Continuing education
- Distance education
- Co-operative education
- Scholarship and funding programs
- Public relations and outreach
- International student and exchange programs
The duties of university staff usually require them to work regular hours year-round, for example, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. There can be work outside of these hours as required by specific duties (for example, community outreach projects). Holiday offerings may vary, but public holidays and the legal requirement of annual paid vacations can be expected anywhere.
If you are interested in university staffing positions, check institutions’ job listings to get a better idea of the requirements for each position. Again, developing practical skills that benefit these positions alongside one’s post-secondary education is essential to gaining employment as a university staff member, coordinator, or director.
Some starting points
Job postings are generally available on specific university and college websites, whether listed in specific departments or as part of human resources. Because the field of work is so diverse, you may wish to speak to existing staff members who are doing the type of work you are interested in. The individual job postings will provide the best insights into what is required for each position.