Four people, each holding an oversized puzzle piece, fit the pieces together.

Get to know Research & Innovation staff on National Research Administrator Day

September 25, 2020, marks the sixth annual National Research Administrator Day. This year, we are commemorating the event by continuing our tradition of profiling staff in various research administration units at Miami University. This year, we introduce you to the team in Research Ethics & Integrity, who provide administrative support to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for research involving humans as subjects, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), and the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Program. We also introduce you to the newest member of Research & Sponsored Programs (a team that was featured in our 2018 National Research Administrator Day post) and the Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation. (To learn more about the research administration profession, check out this post from our archive, by former Research & Sponsored Programs team member Tricia Callahan.)


Mike Crowder

Mike Crowder, Interim Vice President for Research

How long have you been a research administrator?
Almost 2 months.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Learn the position (right now)

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
The VPRI job has many facets to it, and ORI oversees many entities on campus. The VPRI will jump from a meeting with a patent attorney, to a meeting with a state legislator, to a meeting with a research center director, to a meeting with business partners, to a meeting with a faculty member with very narrow research issues, all in one morning.

What is your research administrator superpower?
Juggling, right now! I am trying to keep a lot of balls in the air right now, but learning new things is exciting.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
A professor, teaching my fermentation class and a biochemistry class, and working with my graduate and undergraduate students in the research lab.

Neal Sullivan

Neal Sullivan, Director of Research Ethics & Integrity

How long have you been a research administrator?
12 years.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Ensuring researchers meet ethical norms.

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Sometimes, researchers, particularly those conducting human subjects research, provide much more information on applications than we need to conduct a review. A simple project should require a simple description. Providing unneeded information creates more work for the researcher and more work for the reviewers. We need enough information to understand the project and understand that the researchers respect the subjects, but not much more than that. Sometimes more information is needed and the reviewers will not hesitate to ask questions.

What is your research administrator superpower?
Always remembering and applying the fundamentals. We are reviewing each project to ensure it complies with regulations and ethical principles. Not every project needs to incorporate the same elements to meet that objective. The regulations were written to scale oversight to the degree of risk presented by the project. Low risk, low impact activities may proceed with minimal bureaucratic delay, and that is how we try and run this office.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
Forest ecologist. My education and degrees are in forest ecology and management and I am a researcher by nature. Pondering about and studying the relationships between the elements in an environment is something I have done for as long as I can remember. By spending less time and energy on such projects, we are able to allocate more resources to those projects that require more rigor.

Jennifer Sutton

Jennifer Sutton, Associate Director of Research Ethics & Integrity

How long have you been a research administrator?
I have been a research administrator for nine of my 13 years at Miami.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Lots and lots of reading!

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
The difference between exempted and expedited research. Exempted applications are reviewed and approved without going to the IRB for review and approval, whereas expedited applications go to the IRB for review and approval. To simplify this process, we call it Level 1 (exempted) and Level 2 (expedited) review and approval.

What is your research administrator superpower?
My superpower is being able to help researchers select the correct application (Level 1 or Level 2) that best suits their study.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
You would find me “out to sea” on a cruise ship creating various vlogs for families looking for fun and affordable family vacations! I would have my own travel company that specializes in cruise vacations.

 

CaTia Daniels

CaTia Daniels, Proposal & Contract Specialist

How long have you been a research administrator?
I have been in research administration for 1 year.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Detailed, honesty, integrity, organized, learning.

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Something that is obvious as a research administrator is the details that are needed to pay attention to when in comes to contracts and proposals. When working with a PI who may not have experience in writing proposals, they learn how detailed they need to be in order to increase their chances of receiving funding.

What is your research administrator superpower?
I think my research administrator superpower is relationship building. Everyone I work with, I always try to give them a great experience because I’m here to assist them with their career goals. So far, so good, I think 🙂

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
If I wasn’t in research administration, I’d be in grant writing at a nonprofit. That was actually where I started working right out of college, but the transition to research administration has been great!


Updated 09/24/2020 at 10:35am to include information originally omitted from Jennifer Sutton’s response to Question 3. Exempted applications are reviewed and approved without going to the IRB for review and approval, whereas expedited applications go to the IRB for review and approval.

Puzzle piece photo public domain via Max Pixel.

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