The College has several different levels of staff employment and department chairs should be familiar with these employment categories as well as pertinent information in the Staff and Administrators Handbooks. Most full-time staff at the College work in established positions of 35 hours per week (not 40 hours), anywhere from 9 to 12 months and receive benefits. These employees also have exempt or non-exempt status. Exempt staff are paid on a salary basis and do not trigger overtime pay; exempt staff work as much as needed to accomplish position responsibilities. In contrast, non-exempt employees are paid on an hourly basis and should only work the number of approved hours for the position. Non-exempt hours worked beyond the limit trigger mandatory overtime pay and that is not factored into the College's operating budget. Administrative assistants in the College are non-exempt staff members and should not be asked to work evenings and weekends. In the case of special events, department chairs should work with support staff to plan ahead or, in rare cases, balance non-standard hours worked with standard hours so that overtime is not triggered. Under no circumstances should department chair supervisors ever approve extensive overtime hours for staff without specific authorization from the Dean.

In March, all staff will receive from Human Resources their performance self-appraisal forms. Administrative Office Assistants report to the Assistant Dean of Academic Finance and Resources, who will complete their Performance Assessments. Some administrative positions (such as lab technicians) report to chairs, and those chairs thus fill out Performance Assessments for them. These are normally due by the end of April.


The Academic Office Assistant plays a crucial role in the smooth operation of every department. Department chairs should be aware of what kinds of work may be assigned to the AOA, and what it is inappropriate for them to be doing. Administrative Office Assistants depend on the support of the Department Chairs to help them fulfill the requirements of their jobs.

AOA responsibilities and priorities include:

  • Running the office
    • Greeting visitors to the department

    • Supplies - Inventory and ordering

    • Mail - distribution

    • Offices - assisting with assignments, and office moves; arranging for phone set up, work orders etc.

    • Student workers – supervising and helping to track time worked

    • Providing direct support for Dept Chairs – may include calendar, meetings, schedules, deliverables

    • Being familiar with a variety of office software applications, including word processing, email, file management, Interfolio

    • Operating office equipment such as printers and copiers.

    • Serving as liaison with service and vendor personnel.

    • Reporting issues relating to building maintenance.

    Departmental initiatives and projects
    • Employment searches - setting up Interfolio, handling on-campus interview arrangements

    • Senior presentations and projects

    • Course scheduling assistance (with department chair and registrar)

    • May include planning and budgets

    • Scheduling meetings

    • Arranging guest speakers—travel, advertising, room reservations, catering

    • Field trip planning assistance

  • Only after the above priorities are addressed will the AOA have the capacity to assist with individual faculty needs and requests. Such requests may include

    • Work related to faculty committee work and deliverables

    • Reimbursements for work related travel

    • Purchasing/POs

Chairs should recognize that the demands placed on the AOAs often exceed the work hours that they have available in their day. However, the AOA will work with individual faculty members to suggest ways that faculty members might fill unmet needs (for example, using print shop for copying, leveraging other on-campus services, etc.)  The AOAs are a rich resource for all faculty and are knowledgeable about the College’s resources.

Areas that are not within the scope of the AOAs role include:
  • Administrative support for individual scholarship

  • Administrative support for Emeriti unless it is in support of Hamilton related needs (e.g. employment recommendations for former students)

  • Any manipulation or reproduction of artwork or text that violates copyright laws

  • Running errands or performing tasks of a personal nature

  • Consistent with Hamilton’s employment policies, any activity that causes general discomfort on personal, ethical, or legal grounds, as determined by the individual AOA.

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