Staff Roles and Responsibilities

Departmental Leadership

Department Chairperson, Jed Sparks:

Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), Alex Flecker: 

Director of Undergradute Studies (DUS), Andre Kessler:

Administrative Manager, Jennifer Holleran: / (607) 254-4200

  • Oversight: Responsible for oversight of all day to day operations related to finance, human resources, student services, course support and other general business management matters 
  • Hiring: Approve all HR hiring actions (exempt and non-exempt staff, graduate students, visitors, interns, REU)
  • Student Support: Administer all student tuition, health and stipend payments (TA, GRA); Initiate non-salary student disbursements (REU and Intern allowances, departmental awards)
  • Budgeting: Manage departmental financial budgeting and resources
  • Grant Proposals: Review and approve budget content of grant proposal submissions

Facilities Manager, Chad Westmiller: / (607) 254-4395

  • Oversight: Responsible for oversight of all day to day matters including facility operations, maintenance, renovation, safety, security and space planning
  • Administration of shops, animal rooms and other facility resources shared with NB&B and other Cornell affiliated units
  • IT and Communications: Responsible for supervising all departmental computing, networking and telecommunication activities

Departmental Administration

Chairperson Assistant, Elizabeth Smith: / (607) 254-4201

  • Administrative Support: Provide administrative support for both the Chair and Administrative Manager
  • Non-Academic Hiring: Collaborate with supervisors and HR on all non-academic (undergrad students, temps, regular, visitors, interns) hiring actions including hiring, extensions and terminations
  • Payroll Representative: Department payroll representative responsible for all aspects of timekeeping including training, assisting with entering time, tracking submission and approval completions, processing approvals, reviewing for compliance, submitting retro-corrections, etc.
  • Grant Proposals: Support faculty and graduate students with all aspects of grant proposal submissions including forms, compliance, sponsor tools (FastLane,, etc.)
  • Department Email: Manage department email account and department listservs

Graduate Field Assistant (GFA),  Patty Jordan: 

  • Academic Hiring: Responsible for all academic (professorial and non-professorial) hiring activities including recruitment and searches, and all tenure, promotion and other formal review processes. Support all academic appointees in required annual reporting activities
  • Course and Class Coordination: Administer, advise and support all course related matters; Input changes for Courses of Study and University Course database describing courses and requirements. Provide information on instructors, class meetings, and schedule classrooms.  Provide support to the Curriculum Committee
  • Graduate Student Records: Maintain files for all graduate students including financial support, examinations, courses and progress toward degree;  Primary resource for graduate students regarding their funding packages, procedures, and deadlines  
  • Graduate Field Contact: Prepare informational reports for Graduate School, DGS, Administrative Manager;  Annual Field review of all graduate students.  Ensure departmental compliance with various rules and regulations pertaining to graduate admissions
  • Admissions: Oversee and coordinate the graduate admissions process. Coordinate recruiting weekend including itineraries, activities and orientation materials.
  • Graduate Field Webpage: Support the maintenance of the graduate specific page on the department web site

Department Administrative Assistant: Catie Perry  / (607) 254-4210

  • Colloquium:  Provide support to the faculty lead in areas related to announcements, scheduling, budget tracking, supplies, speaker reimbursements, etc.
  • Course Support: Assist with course budget monitoring, course copying, field trip requirements, placing library reserve materials, supplies ordering, text book ordering, etc.
  • Mail: Provide support for all incoming and outgoing mail and packages, postage needs, departmental mailbox labeling, etc… 
  • Supplies Ordering: Responsible for tracking, maintaining and ordering department administrative supplies
  • Website: Provide content management support for the department website
  • Department Keys: Responsible for issuing, returning, ordering, tracking department keys

Departmental Accounting

Account Representatives, Angela Kern (607)254-4203 and Christine Chouinard (607)254-4202 : 

  • Accounting Support: Provide all aspects of accounting support for faculty, student and departmental accounts including account set-up, financial monitoring and forecasting, compliance review and guidance and financial closeout
  • Account Review and Reconciliation: Perform monthly as required by University policy
  • Purchasing Support: Provide guidance and/or support for all internal and external purchasing needs 
  • Travel Reimbursements: Process all business travel reimbursement requests
  • Equipment Inventory: Collaborate with all faculty and staff to ensure accurate, timely and compliant equipment inventory records

Department IT / Computing Consultants

Tim Larkin: / (607) 254-4292

  • Department Server support and computing back-up systems
  • Department computing facility (PCF) support
  • General computer assistance
  • Specialized software assistance
  • Web page development support for faculty and labs

Brian Mlodzinski: / (607) 254-4390

  • Computer hardware troubleshooting
  • Network connection installation
  • Software system upgrades
  • Web page development support for faculty and labs