Job Description Summary
Grinnell College has operated a GNU/Linux local area network, MathLAN, for academic use since 1987. Built around the emerging Computer Science curriculum and to make computer resources readily available to students, MathLAN was designed to offer a homogeneous user experience across all network devices and facilitate interactive use of computer software as part of classes. While the primary users of MathLAN reside in the Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics departments, it is intended to be as a resource for the College community in general.
Today, MathLAN continues to serve a vital role in the learning and research mission of the College, and consists of approximately 200 workstations and network-connected devices running Debian GNU/Linux. Core system services are localized on dedicated MathLAN servers.
The creation of this new Linux Systems Administrator position signifies a change in approach to the support of Linux systems on campus, and an intention to expand the availability of Linux-based expertise even further across the campus. Accordingly, the incumbent will be involved in two ‘phases’ of administration: first, assuming the current roles and function of MathLAN; and then playing a primary role in the thoughtful assessment, consultation, design, implementation, and ultimately ongoing management of the College’s Linux capabilities and network.
A member of the Information Technology Services (ITS) Network Services team, the Linux System Administrator will have primary responsibility for the design, implementation, operational support, maintenance, and ongoing enhancement of a campus-wide Linux environment. The incumbent will also have responsibilities for guiding and assisting, as appropriate, additional Linux-based technologies such as those used in the College’s expanding high performance computing cluster, the Libraries, and other standalone servers in departments, centers, and by individual faculty for their specialized research.
A functioning production Linux environment is critical to the learning experience of students and so the Linux System Administrator will need to work closely and collaboratively with faculty in particular. The incumbent will provide support and expert consultation for, and often leading, projects related to teaching or research that would require the development of IT systems for positive academic outcomes.
A Bachelor’s degree and three years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
- Demonstrated experience operating and supporting Linux servers and workstations in a production environment
- Understanding of server virtualization technologies
- Understanding of network management technologies including Domain Name Service, Network Information Service, Network File Systems, Network Time Protocol and Web servers
- Aptitude and interest in researching new technologies, processes, and solutions
- Extensive experience with Debian GNU/Linux
- Extensive experience with system administration in higher education particularly working closely and collaboratively with faculty
- Extensive experience with security best practices for Linux operating systems
- Experience with Linux server management tools; Puppet, Chef, Ansible
- Experience with server virtualization technologies preferably VMware
- Experience with installing and configuring LAMP
- Experience with Windows server management
- 5+ years of systems administration experience specific to Linux
The Network Services Team
Network Services provides the College with a solid and reliable infrastructure and consulting expertise, primarily to the technical areas and units of campus. Alongside responsibilities for the wired and wireless network infrastructure and data transmission needs of the campus, this group provides expert support and management of virtualized computing, cloud computing resources, network security, the SAN, enterprise authentication, enterprise backup, and the high-performance computing cluster. The expansion of this team represents the institution’s understanding of the importance of these services to the growth of technology at Grinnell College, as well as the importance of expanding our capabilities into emerging technology areas, a key component of the team manager’s strategic view forward.
Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services (ITS) oversees the majority of technology, audio-visual, and telephone services for Grinnell College and provides service and strategic support through its six functional teams: Budget, Analysis, and Planning; Enterprise Systems; Information Security; Network Services; Project Management; and User Services. ITS has an annual operating budget (excluding salaries and asset rotation) of more than $3.5 million and a professional staff of 37. Under new leadership (the Chief Information Technology Officer was appointed in 2015), and with the full support of the visionary president, Dr. Raynard S. Kington, ITS is undergoing a strategic advancement and benefiting from increased investment by the college. The college’s senior leadership team have recognized the benefits of a stronger technology presence on campus and have worked hard to create and promote a collaborative culture at Grinnell College.
The ITS organization comprises a dedicated and talented staff committed to supporting the mission of Grinnell College and who exemplify the college’s position as a learning liberal arts college. As such, professional development is a crucial component to the department’s philosophy, which is demonstrated both financially and by the mentor-style approach to management that the ITS leadership employs.
Those who thrive in Grinnell College’s ITS organization are professionals with a positive approach and attitude who are motivated to deliver practical results and ultimately meaningful learning outcomes. Team players, yet able to work under their own initiative, they are flexible to changing requirements, well organized, and good troubleshooters. Embracing and valuing diversity, they are instinctively collaborative, help others around them, and are not afraid to offer or receive constructive criticism. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential, as is a demonstrated customer service orientation.
Since its founding in 1846, Grinnell College has become one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges, enrolling 1,700 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries. Grinnell’s rigorous academic program emphasizes excellence in education for students in the liberal arts; the college offers the B.A. degree in a range of departments across the humanities, arts, sciences, and social studies. Grinnell has a strong tradition of social responsibility and action, and self-governance and personal responsibility are key components of campus life. More information about Grinnell College is available at www.grinnell.edu.
The Community of Grinnell
Grinnell is a positive and forward-thinking community. A vibrant Iowa college town of just under 10,000 people located midway between Des Moines and Iowa City on Interstate 80, Grinnell is a convenient place to enjoy life in a small community while living a short hour’s drive away from big-city amenities. Living in Grinnell means enjoying an exceptional quality of life where commutes are short, housing is affordable, life is meaningful, and you are part of the community. For more information about Grinnell, please visit the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce Web site (www.grinnellchamber.org).
Grinnell College offers a relocation allowance for employees who must relocate to accept our employment offer.
All offers of employment by the College to candidates for faculty and staff positions are provisional, subject to a satisfactory background check.
Application Process: Interested candidates should apply online by visiting our employment website at https://jobs.grinnell.edu. Candidates will need to upload a cover letter, resume, and provide email addresses for three references. For full consideration, applications must be received by May 15, 2017. While applications may be accepted after this date, it is not guaranteed that they will be considered.