Director of Contracts and Compliance

Baltimore, Maryland
Jun 22, 2022
Jul 27, 2022
Executive, Director
Full Time

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a non-profit organization whose role is to establish, build, nurture, and promote outstanding astronomical observatories and facilities that advance science and innovative research. AURA carries out the work through astronomical Centers, located in five states and two countries (USA and Chile), and staffed by 1,500 employees.   Primary funding for AURA’s activities comes from the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  AURA engages with the broader astronomical community through its Member Institutions: 46 US universities and research institutes, as well as 4 international affiliates.

We are looking for a Director of Contracts and Compliance to be responsible for overseeing the overall planning, direction, administration and control of sponsored projects, procurement, compliance, property and logistic services within Central Administrative Services (CAS) -which supports the ground-based telescope activities. 

Key Responsibilities:

  • Provide administrative leadership and oversee the activities of the Central Administrative Services (CAS) Procurement Manager and Sponsored Programs Manager, in order to ensure effective and efficient delivery of services related to sponsored awards, subcontracts and purchase orders, compliance policies, property management and logistics services.
  • Review and improve processes, procedures, and internal controls to ensure compliance with AURA policies, Federal Uniform Guidance, Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), applicable laws, regulation, and industry best practice, while enabling efficient and effective operations.
  • Maintain the CAS risk and controls matrix.
  • Lead the CAS team in the analysis of new laws, regulations, and terms and conditions changes from the NSF and other funding agencies, to assess the impacts on AURA’s ground- based telescope programs and operations.
  • Prepare and present analyses and recommendations to CFO/VP of Operations, AURA’s Sponsor Agencies, HQ leadership and Center Directors.
  • Effectively communicate the introduction of new policies and procedures to internal stakeholders, ensuring the “what”, “why” and “how” are clearly understood.
  • Continuously analyze and evaluate the services provided by CAS to ensure activities achieve or surpass agreed upon levels of service aligned with industry best practices. Lead the development of KPIs and metrics to ensure internal control and customer delivery objectives are measured and met.
  • Ensures successful coordination of the Deltek Costpoint ERP implementation, as well as that of other business systems, within CAS and AURA’s ground-based telescope Centers.
  • Coordinates with the leadership of the CAS Accounting, IT, and Financial Planning & Analysis functions to ensure consistency in reporting methodology and data across the organization.

Experience and Qualifications:

Bachelors degree in Business Administration, Accounting, Finance, or related field.  A minimum of ten years of management/leadership experience with an established record of technical expertise and experience in sponsored research, procurement, contracts, and administrative functions.

  • Broad knowledge of accounting, procurement, and information technology functions.
  • Experience with Government contracts and/or Federal assistance awards.
  • Experience in six sigma or ISO 9001 preferred
  • Team builder who can effectively identify areas to improve processes, build consensus, and implement solutions.
  • Strategic leader who is well versed leading through change and experienced in a complex matrix environment.
  • Proven record of strong collaboration with a wide variety of administrative, technical and scientific personnel in the accomplishment of organizational goals.
  • Effective written, verbal and listening communication skills. 

The position offers competitive compensation, comprehensive benefits package, relocation assistance and outstanding retirementAURA sponsors hybrid work in Baltimore, MD.

To apply, use the link below to complete on-line application. Please upload a resume and a cover letter highlighting your interest in this role.

Direct Link to Apply:

 Applications received by July 15, 2022 will receive priority consideration

COVID-19 Policy Update: AURA has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy that requires all employees to be vaccinated, unless qualified for an exemption based on medical or religious reasons. 

Veterans, disabled individuals, or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at

 As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

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