Senior Director, Office for Contract & Grant Accounting

In June 2019, the Office for Research & Economic Development (ORED) launched a five-year strategic plan for research at The University of Alabama (UA). The plan – emanating from UA’s goal to, “increase the University’s productivity and innovation in research, scholarship, and creative activities that impact economic and societal development,” – focuses on six strategic themes: (1) Research Environment, (2) Alabama Research Institutes, (3) Transformative Initiatives, (4) Translating Intellectual Property, (5) Economic and Business Engagement, and (6) Assessing Progress and Impact.

For the ninth straight fiscal year, UA sponsored awards were at an all-time high and new sponsored awards more than doubled to $211.4 million in FY22. The overall doubling of support for sponsored projects clears the strategic plan’s five-year goal ahead of schedule. This growth rate strengthens UA’s position as one of the fastest growing research institutions in the nation and is attributed to successful investments in infrastructure and world-class faculty and the establishment of signature research institutes representing cyber, life research, transportation, and water. Together, ORED, the four Alabama Research Institutes, and the Alabama Analytical Research Center are developing and leading major transformational research initiatives with local, state, national, and international impact, as well as pursuing lasting economic development projects.

ORED is at the helm of unprecedented research growth and now seeks a Senior Director for the Office for Contract & Grant Accounting (CGA). CGA manages all post-award accounting and financial administration of externally sponsored projects, including award set-up and management in the University’s accounting systems, cash management, general accounting functions, sponsor invoicing, reporting, audit activities, effort reporting, and compliance with federal, state, local, private, sponsor, and University rules and regulations. In close alignment and collaboration with the Assistant Vice President for Research Administration, the Senior Director directs and executes all activities related to the leadership and management of CGA.

Reporting directly to the Assistant Vice President for Research Administration, the Senior Director has the following major responsibilities:

• Plan, organize, direct, and coordinate the operational and strategic activities of CGA. Provide oversight of day-to-day operations for sponsored grants and contracts with a focus on promoting a culture of strong ethics and compliance while providing exemplary customer service to faculty and other key stakeholders.

• Hire, train, develop, and manage the performance of CGA personnel. Ensure post-award processes are coordinated appropriately by the CGA team to maintain industry and professional standards.

• Manage risk to the University by monitoring compliance with applicable federal and non-federal policies, regulations and laws related to post-award grant and contract accounting activities, cost accounting standards, and general accounting policies and procedures.

• Serve as an authorized University representative in support of financial matters related to sponsored projects. Direct the processes for delivering sponsor invoices and financial reports, institutional metrics and reporting, national reports and surveys, as well as successful management and completion of all internal and external audits.

• Develop, implement, and maintain policies and procedures for compliance with rules and regulations governing the accounting of sponsored projects. Develop University-wide financial training and professional development programs. Provide ongoing guidance, facilitation, and expertise on all grant and contract accounting matters.

• Collaborate with campus and external partners to facilitate continuous quality improvement, assess the effectiveness of internal controls, enhance technology applications, and ensure compliance of all University, sponsor, state, and federal rules and regulations.

Required Minimum Qualifications: Bachelors degree in Accounting, Finance, or Business and twelve (12) years of research administration, finance, or accounting experience, to include some supervisory experience; OR Masters degree in Accounting, Finance, or Business and ten (10) years of research administration, finance, or accounting experience, to include some supervisory experience.

Additional Required Department Minimum Qualifications: Experience at a research-intensive university in grant and contract accounting, audits, and compliance.

Skills and Knowledge: Expert knowledge of accounting principles and practices, including knowledge of budget planning, development, and internal controls. Comprehensive knowledge of and experience in applying Proven Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR 200), Federal Acquisition Regulations, and other accepted contracting and subcontracting principles and practices. Demonstrated knowledge of regulatory, legislative, and governing bodies impacting research administration. Thorough understanding and knowledge of audit requirements, government accounting methods and procedures, financial practices, fund accounting, budgeting, and compliance with policies and regulations. Ability to provide highly valued customer service to all stakeholders, to serve a diverse customer base, and the ability to establish effective working relationships. Experience providing leadership, with extensive supervisory responsibilities, including effective and professional communication, assessment, performance management, and training. Experience in assessing challenges and solutions, setting goals, tracking progress, and reporting on progress toward achieving goals. Exceptional written and verbal communication skills and critical thinking skills.

Preferred Qualifications: CPA and/or master’s degree in accounting or finance preferred. Designation as a Certified Research Administrator (CRA) or Certified Financial Research Administrator (CFRA). Experience creating and communicating specifications for new systems and applications to be used by staff and internal stakeholders.

The planned start date is April 1, 2023, but is negotiable. Only applicants currently legally eligible to work in the United States will be considered. This is an open, national, and rolling search. Review of applications will begin immediately as they are received. Candidates meeting all the required qualifications may be contacted immediately for inquiry and interview. It is possible that a preferred candidate may be selected as other applications are still being received. Therefore, the most serious and qualified candidates are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible. To receive the fullest and timely consideration, submit applications prior to February 28, 2023; however, the position will remain open until filled. Applications submitted after February 28, 2023 will be reviewed and considered if the position remains unfilled.

Application materials should include: 1) a full and updated resume, 2) cover letter summarizing interest in the position and how the minimum qualifications and any preferred qualifications are met, and 3) a list of three references with full contact information. However, references will only be contacted after written consent of the candidate.

Background Investigation Statement: Prior to hiring, the final candidate(s) must successfully pass a pre-employment background investigation and information obtained from social media and other internet sources. A prior conviction reported as a result of the background investigation DOES NOT automatically disqualify a candidate from consideration for this position. A candidate with a prior conviction or negative behavioral red flags will receive an individualized review of the prior conviction or negative behavioral red flags before a hiring decision is made.

Equal Employment Opportunity: The University of Alabama is an Equal Employment/Equal Educational Opportunity Institution. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment or volunteer status without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, age, genetic or family medical history information, disability, protected veteran status, or any other legally protected basis, and will not be discriminated against because of their protected status. Applicants and employees of this institution are protected under Federal law from discrimination on several bases.

Contact Information

The University of Alabama



Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487


Background Information

4-Year Degree


  • College/University
  • Research Administrator/Manager
  • Grants and Contracts
  • Finance, Operations

U.S. Citizen


Target Job Information


  • Full Time