The Opportunity

Halifax, NS
Entry Level
Full-time - Permanent

Position: Secretary IV (NSGEU Local 79)

Department: Faculty of Science, Astronomy & Physics & Institute for Computational Astrophysics (ICA)

Annual Salary: $37,797 - $44,769 (Group 6)

Under the supervision of the Chairperson, Department of Astronomy and Physics, the Secretary IV provides secretarial and administrative support to the Chairperson and other members of the Department of Astronomy and Physics - including full and part-time faculty, technicians, graduate students, and other research personnel with links to the departmental activities. Also under the supervision of the Chairperson, the Secretary IV provides secretarial and administrative support to the Institute for Computational Astrophysics (ICA), including the Director of the ICA. Duties are divided between the department (70%) and the ICA (30%) level, although some flexibility, depending upon the urgency of tasks involved, will be granted.

What you'll do


Duties as the Secretary IV include, but are not limited to:

Reception & Communications Support:

  • Acts as the first point of contact for the Department and the Institute for Computational Astrophysics (ICA) Office. Answers the telephone and greets visitors, including: students, faculty, the general public, etc. Responds to inquiries and/or directs visitors to appropriate faculty member or other university contact for further assistance. Provides information in person, by telephone, or through e-mail for both the Department and the ICA.
  • Collects, sorts, and distributes incoming mail and correspondence; delivers outgoing mail to the mailroom and arranges couriers.
  •  Maintains Department and ICA website. Assists in the development and updating of information for the website. Ensures the ICA web site is up-to date and maintained for accuracy and presentation. These revisions include regular updates (i.e. picture of the month initiative, publication listings, visitor information, etc.). Regularly liaises with the ITSS Department to ensure that skills are current.
  • Maintains departmental bulletin boards, SMU Internal telephone directory and email distribution lists.

Clerical and Administrative Support

  • Assists and supports the Chairperson or designates with their responsibilities as outlined in the SMUFU Collective Agreement (e.g. booking meetings, maintaining and preparing files for student advising, curriculum management, appointments). Prepares travel arrangements for the Chairperson, ICA Director, and Department members and maintains the calendars of the Chairperson and ICA Director for scheduling of meetings and appointments.
  • Makes travel and housing arrangements for visitors and provides housing information to newly arriving graduate students and post-doctorate fellows.
  • Prepares contracts (e.g. full-time faculty overload, part-time faculty and student casual employment) and orients new faculty, staff and graduate/honours students to ensure they have appropriate computer access, keys, phones, printers, etc. as appropriate for their position.
  • Assists with document preparation and distribution associated with departmental activities (e.g. reports, memos, tests, quizzes, manuals, assignments, contracts, etc.) for full and part-time faculty, technical staff, post-doctoral fellows/research associates and graduate students/research assistants. Types correspondence, reports, mailing lists, and other documents for the Department and ICA. Obtains appropriate signatures where needed.
  • Assists the Chairperson and faculty members in administrative/clerical matters relating to honours thesis and graduate students including handling application files, preparing and tracking funding forms, maintaining supervisory committee documents and annual reports, and working with FGSR on scheduling and documentation of thesis defences.
  • Creates and maintains the confidential filing system for both the Department and the ICA (i.e. post-doctoral fellow applications). Organizes electronic and paper files and filing systems, and ensures backup and protection of material.
  • Prepares reports as required for the Dean's office, manages journal descriptions and a display of journals, and acts as key operator for the multi-function photocopier/fax machine. Maintains Department/ICA shredder and provides guidance on use of machines.

Event and Conference Coordination

  • Organizes or assists with any conferences, workshops, or other events organized through the Department or the ICA. As required, tasks include booking rooms, co-ordinating attendee accommodations, arranging catering needs, compiling participant packages, arranging transportation, facility/equipment set up, etc.
  • Attends Department meetings. Prepares and distributes colloquia notes, announcements for seminars or meetings, and minutes associated with Department meetings.


  • Prepares expense reports (subject to Tri-council and/or SMU guidelines), cheque requisitions/payment requests, timesheets, and other payroll forms, as requested. Tracks departmental and ICA budget lines as required by the Chairperson. Manages petty cash, if relevant.
  • Monitors office supplies to ensure adequate inventory. Orders office supplies as needed.
  • Maintains accurate records of funds received from grants. Monitors operating funds received from Directors' NSERC Discovery Grant and other funds.

Office Coordination

  • Coordinates and plans office space for post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, ACEnet personnel, and visitors. 
  • Provides basic services (e.g. mail, reception, etc.) in a backup support role for one other Department/Program as required because of vacation, illness, or other leaves. Assignments of Departments/Programs for backup support will be reviewed annually by the Faculty of Science Executive.
  • Other duties as assigned

What you'll need


To be the successful Secretary IV you will possess a one (1) year Community College business course and a minimum of one (1) year related experience. In addition you demonstrate proficiency in computer applications (i.e. Microsoft Office Suite - including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access as well as Word Perfect and Corel, internet and email; demonstrated organizational skills along with the ability to function independently and as part of team; and strong communication (written and verbal) and interpersonal skills. You demonstrate by experience the ability to deal effectively with faculty, staff, students and external contacts and have the ability to maintain and handle confidential materials. Previous work experience in a university environment and website maintenance experience will be considered assets.

A little bit about us

Saint Mary’s University

Founded in 1802, Saint Mary's University is one of Canada's oldest and leading institutions of higher learning and has evolved into a vibrant and engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni from more than 100 countries around the world. Saint Mary's University is home to one of Canada's leading business schools, a Science Faculty widely known for its cutting-edge research, a comprehensive and innovative Arts Faculty and a vibrant Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

Saint Mary's University hires on the basis of merit and is committed to the principles of employment equity. Saint Mary's University encourages applications from qualified women, visible minorities, Aboriginal people, and people with disabilities. Preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada. Visit our web site at

Are you interested?

Work With Us

Apply for this opportunity online by visiting and use our online application system through CareerBeacon. Select the position you are interested in and apply by clicking the "Apply Online Now" button. Please include the names of three professional references. No telephone calls please.

Competition Opens: January 6 2020 Competition Closes: January 17, 2020

Saint Mary's University hires on the basis of merit and is committed to the principles of employment equity. Saint Mary's University encourages applications from qualified women, visible minorities, Aboriginal people, and people with disabilities. Preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.

Saint Mary's University thanks all applicants for applying. Only those selected for interviews will be contacted.

Saint Mary's University promotes a Healthy Campus including a Scent-Free environment and a Smoke-Free Campus