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Computer Systems Administrator - Physics and Astronomy

University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA, USA
Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2022

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

The Computer Systems Administrator (CSA), will implement and support policy decisions, and represent CNS and both departments in appropriate meetings/projects. The CSA, with a strong ability to prioritize and make decisions for computing facilities of the two departments, is responsible for support of research, teaching and administrative network-attached workstations, stand-alone computers, peripherals, hardware, software and all network connections. In addition, the CSA supports, research operations, programming servers, programming interactive software, project development, and resolution of client issues for Windows, Macintosh and Linux systems.


Essential Functions

  • Support and maintain multiple Linux, Windows and Mac servers running various services, including file sharing, LDAP, logging, and databases. Create and maintain programming support of and documentation for appropriate systems.
  • Develop applications including systems and services as needed for research groups, faculty, and administrative and educational staff in order to meet research, administrative, and teaching needs. Provide programming support to Macintosh, Windows and Linux workstations used for research and teaching activities of faculty and research staff. Design, install, configure, and support hardware and software on relevant systems.
  • Configure and administer security systems. Install timely security-related upgrades. Monitor networks and scan computer systems to detect incorrectly configured systems or network attacks against systems. Educate students, staff, and faculty about effective security procedures and train them on security tools, procedures and policies.
  • Independently analyze and respond to requests for assistance with complex computer problems in Windows, Macintosh and Linux systems. Diagnose and repair hardware and software issues, or refer the repair to other resources as appropriate. Research approaches to resolving problems using state-of the-art technology. Present creative solutions to colleagues, faculty and other clients.
  • Provide advanced technical support through configuration and maintenance of the Computer Resource Center teaching laboratory and other teaching lab laptops. Program and configure systems to allow multiple software programs (often with conflicting needs) to work in sync plus supporting multiple teaching platforms across several labs.
  • Work cooperatively with CNS and University network technical staff. Contribute knowledge of and provide technical support for the deployment and migration of new network technologies in an active research environment.
  • Coordinate all technology purchases for the departments; coordinating with the appropriate procurement staff in the departments. Facilitate installation of all equipment startups and insure necessary operations.
  • Continually investigate new technologies to provide technical support for an active research/teaching environment. Proactively collaborate with research groups, teaching faculty and administrative offices on how to incorporate emerging new technologies in order to improve efficiency or resolve ongoing issues.
  • Ensure that the Departments comply with applicable state and federal laws and regulations, and University policies and procedures. Keeps current and makes recommendations to the College and IT for needed resources to maintain compliance.
  • Provide initial response to information security breaches, implement preventative procedures to mitigate risks.
  • Regularly conduct a needs assessment regarding available information technology, University infrastructure to support technology (wireless and wired access), data security, hardware and software, inventory of technology, hardware and software, and make recommendations to the Department Heads (& CNS as appropriate) regarding maintenance, purchase and relocation / disposal of equipment.
  • Perform additional related duties as required. This includes but is not limited to: maintaining and negotiating site licenses, providing consulting support for various project teams, & coordinating interdepartmental networking issues.
  • Cross-train with IT team colleagues to provide more flexibility and increased efficiencies.
  • Participate in ongoing professional development training to upgrade skills and acquire knowledge of new technologies and security issues. Prepare and present findings. Participate in departmental, college and campus IT meetings.
  • Maintain an electronic inventory of information technology owned by the departments; maintain departmental records regarding, location, configuration, repair and replacement of equipment. Develop and maintain licensing agreement listing.
  • Uses access to sensitive and/or not yet public university related information only in the performance of the responsibilities of position and exercises care to prevent unnecessary disclosure to others.


Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelor’s Degree.
  • One (1) year demonstrated proficiency in LINUX systems management for multiple users in a networked computer environment.
  • Ability to work independently to organize multiple tasks and set priorities for action, take initiative, be creative, achieve goals in a timely manner and operate with self-direction in a fast-paced and changing environment.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to interact effectively, and work productively with a diverse population of faculty, staff and students, with a history of establishing and maintaining positive working relationships.
  • Ability to formulate plans, prioritize goals, collaborate, work with and develop deadlines, and implement and manage multiple long and short-term IT projects simultaneously while maintaining high standards of accuracy and quality for the Departments and for a multiple customer/user base.
  • Demonstrated experience configuring and supporting Windows (all versions) and Macintosh operating systems and managing computers using the Solaris and/or Unix/Linux operating systems.
  • Ability to design and develop clear instructional materials, and to communicate with patience and clarity technical concepts to a non-technical audience, including individuals and cross-functional teams with diverse backgrounds and experience.
  • Experience with network switches and an understanding of network topology, including VLANs.
  • Extensive knowledge of computer network protocols such as TCP/IP. Demonstrated success in implementing TCP/IP-based network applications in support of needs which include but are not limited to: Internet-based mail handling software (SMTP, POP); File- Transfer-Protocols (SFTP); Interactive network logins (SSH); Network-based printing services (LPR/LPD), LDAP, Samba and MySQL.
  • Ability to complete any assigned trainings by their supervisor, Department, College, or University.
  • Understands responsibilities with respect to conflicts of interest and performs in ways consistent both with law and with University policy.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science preferred.
  • Three (3) or more years demonstrated proficiency in LINUX systems management for multiple users in a networked computer environment.
  • Previous experience working in an academic environment.
  • Knowledge of Windows and Mac management solutions like JAMF and KACE.
  • Knowledge of computer and network hardware and cabling.
  • Knowledge of PERL, Python, PHP and/or C programming language is desirable.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Typical office environment.
  • Ability to lift and manipulate moderately heavy objects such as CPUs and computer monitors.
  • Ability to climb 6'-12' ladders.
  • Willingness to work in teaching and research labs where hazardous material or conditions are present. Ability to successfully complete appropriate EH&S safety training.


Work Schedule

  • Typically, Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
  • Required to work some nights and/or weekends.
  • Ability to be on-call as needed for emergencies.


Salary Information

Level 28

PSU Salary Ranges


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume, cover letter, Diversity Statement (see below) and contact information for three (3) professional references. The search will remain open until filled.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations. In addition to application materials above, candidates will need to submit a Statement of Contribution to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Diversity Statement should identify past experiences and future goals. These contributions may result from lived experiences, scholarships, and/or mentoring, teaching, and outreach activities. (


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.