Director, Benefit Services and Administration


Ithaca, NY

Job Type


Job Description

What is Cornell University and Human Resources?:

Cornell University, unique among peers, is the federal land-grant institution of New York State, a private endowed university, and a member of the Ivy League. Cornell's human resources division collectively support an environment of inclusive excellence in scholarship -- learning, discovery, and engagement -- where students, staff, faculty, and retirees of Cornell learn, work, and live as a community. The divisional priorities include:

  • Offer competitive programs, services, pay, and benefits to attract and retain diverse, high-caliber faculty and staff.
  • Support university leadership in creating a climate of innovation and educational excellence.
  • Cultivate an inclusive and welcoming environment on all Cornell campuses and in their local communities.
  • Foster a forward-thinking, solution-oriented work environment.
  • Advance processes that balance required compliance with the primary goal of excellence in scholarship -- learning, discovery, and engagement


What you will do:
As Director of Benefit Services Administration, reporting to the Sr. Director, Benefit Services and Administration (BSA), you will provide strategic direction and leadership.  This role provides input into the strategic direction and design of Cornell's benefit programs as well as drives changes necessary to implement best practices and improved processes. Individually and as part of the team, the Director develops policies and practices for internal use and external application; develops group, individual and web-based communications and customer service practices; maintains financial recordkeeping for benefit plans; represents BSA on university committees; and reviews, modifies and implements technology solutions to enhance efficiencies and unit performance.

The Director is specifically responsible for leadership and oversight of the university's health and welfare programs, retirement programs and financial education, life insurance and disability programs, and educational and voluntary plans, and ensures that program offerings are aligned with Cornell's overall strategies, enabling Cornell to attract and retain a talented and diverse workforce. The Director provides managerial direction to a team of Associate Directors who are responsible for the implementation, administration and communication of these benefit programs and plans. The Director monitors legislation to keep abreast of changes and ensures compliance with all federal, state and local regulations. The Director also serves as a representative of BSA throughout the University and with vendors, and serves as back-up for the Sr. Director BSA, as appropriate.

What we need:
We need a nimble, candid, forward thinking collaborative leader who thrives on putting strategy into action. Ideally, you will have spent time working in agile environment where you thrived on tackling challenges through collaborative partnerships, policy and leading change. 

Additionally, you will have:

  • Demonstrated experience inspiring and implementing a shared HR vision, mission, and initiatives, utilizing a model of participatory management and staff teamwork.
  • Proven people management experience including staffing, training, setting performance standards and goals, recognizing performance, supporting and guiding employee development, holding staff accountable, mentoring and motivating staff to achieve excellence, delegating where appropriate, and facilitating the success of individuals and team members
  • Bachelor's degree with 7-10 years of progressive experience in benefits, in a comprehensive, research-based university, or similarly complex organization including 3-5 years in a supervisory/leadership role in benefits administration, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience delivering strategic leadership and direction.
  • In depth knowledge of all applicable federal, state and regulatory issues related to benefit program administration including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, the Internal Revenue Code, etc., and demonstrated experience applying compliance, regulatory and policy requirements that affect areas of responsibility in a way that considers the operational requirements of our various benefits programs.
  • Ability to synthesize large amounts of data to produce succinct summaries that support main objectives and communicate effectively to leadership
  • Ability to operate in a changing environment.


Rewards & Benefits:

  • Work with a progressive leadership team and an ambitious division.
  • Cornell provides great benefits that include educational benefits, access to a plethora of wellness programs, employee discounts with local and national retail brands, health care options to choose from, generous paid leave provisions: 3 weeks of vacation, 12 holidays (including end of year winter break through New Year's Day) and superior retirement contributions.
  • Cornell has also been nationally recognized as an award-winning workplace for our health, wellbeing, sustainability, and diversity initiatives.


Cornell University - HR, Benefit Services and Administration

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