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.

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

Get to know Grants and Contracts staff on National Research Administrator Day

September 25, 2019 marks the fifth annual National Research Administrator Day. Last year, we began a tradition of commemorating the event by profiling staff in various research administration units at Miami University. This year, we introduce you to the team in Grants & Contracts, who set up and manage financial aspects of awards made to the university. They have 55 years’ of research administration experience at Miami between them! (To learn more about the research administration profession, check out this post from our archive, by former OARS team member Tricia Callahan.)


Cindy Green

Cindy Green, Senior Staff Accountant

How long have you been a research administrator?
September marks my 18th anniversary in the Grants & Contracts office.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Can be challenging at times

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Different agencies have different policies that must be followed.  We are always busy trying to keep people compliant with their particular grant guidelines, especially knowing that federal, state or agency audits are always a possibility.

What is your research administrator superpower?
My superpower is helping others follow and adhere to agency guidelines.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
I would like to be a travel agent.

Portrait of Kathy Kihm in her office
Kathy Kihm

Kathy Kihm, Staff Accountant II

How long have you been a research administrator?
I have worked in the Grants & Contracts office for five years.

Describe your job in five words or less.
More than a number cruncher

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Awards are like individuals; no two alike. Awards may have the same funding agency, yet still have varying contractual obligations. Each one must be handled on an individual basis. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.

What is your research administrator superpower?
My superpower is an innate willingness to help others. Accounting isn’t in the wheelhouse of most of our PI’s, so to be able to assist them with that aspect of their awards benefits all.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
I would probably be either a docent or a tour guide. It would be fun to share knowledge as well as learn from others. Plus I would probably be in an interesting place amidst people who are vacationing and happy and uplifting!

Linda Manley

Linda Manley, Assistant Controller

How long have you been a research administrator?
This past July marked my 20 years here at Miami in the Grants and Contracts Office.

Describe your job in five words or less.
It is demanding at times

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
We have all types of funding sources; federal, state, private and local, and they each have their own set of rules. The Grants and Contracts Office’s main responsibility is financial compliance. When we ask questions related to your grant expenses we are trying to ensure that we keep Miami out of any audit comments or findings.

What is your research administrator superpower?
Being able to resolve grant issues/problems when they occur.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
I always wanted to be an airline stewardess.

Paula Murray

Paula Murray, Staff Accountant II

How long have you been a research administrator?
I have been a research administrator for 12 of my 19 years with Miami.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Every day brings new adventures!

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
All external funding comes with different expectations of its application. Our job is to be able to validate Miami utilized those funds as expected of us.

What is your research administrator superpower?
My superpower is to lead PI’s through the federal effort certification process.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
You would find me as a Fairy Godmother at the Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.


Puzzle piece photo public domain via Max Pixel. Photos of Grants & Contracts staff by Paula Murray, Grants & Contracts Office, Miami University.

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

Get to know OARS staff on National Research Administrator Day

September 25, 2018 marks the fourth annual National Research Administrator Day. Beginning this year, we will commemorate the event by profiling staff in various research administration units at Miami University. We decided to start right here at home, by introducing you to the team in the Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, Miami’s central pre-award research office. (To learn more about the research administration profession, check out this post from our archive, by former OARS team member Tricia Callahan.)


Amy Hurley Cooper in her office
Amy Hurley Cooper

Amy Hurley Cooper, Assistant Director of Proposal Development

How long have you been a research administrator?
I’ve officially been a research administrator for about a year, but looking back, much of what I’ve done throughout my career was research administration.

Describe your job in five words or less.
No two days the same.

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
The need to track a lot of information for each proposal — to a researcher, it can seem like busy work, but we really need that information, often to ensure we are following sponsor guidelines.

What is your research administrator superpower?
Empathy — I’ve done such a variety of proposal related tasks (planning, writing, editing, submitting on various platforms, managing funded projects) that I can usually relate to issues facing PIs or research team members.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
Editor — I spent many years writing proposals but I really don’t enjoy starting with a blank page. I love helping others to convey ideas clearly and effectively.

Vanessa Gordon at her desk
Vanessa Gordon

Vanessa Gordon, Assistant to the Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship

How long have you been a research administrator?
I am in my sixth year of research administration.

Describe your job in five words or less.
Interesting, supportive, fun, collaborative, and rewarding

What is your research administrator superpower?
I would have to say that my superpower would be the records gatekeeper. I check and assure all data entered in the Cayuse system is correct for report generation and assure consistency.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
There are so many options out there to chose from, but I am going with being a detective. I love a good mystery and solving puzzles is where I like to shine. I would find that to be a very rewarding job for me.

Heather Beattey Johnston in her office
Heather Beattey Johnston

Heather Beattey Johnston, Associate Director of Research Communications

How long have you been a research administrator?
Just about six years — since I came to Miami in November of 2012.

Describe your job in five words or less.
What humanities programs teach matters.

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Although we might appear to be mere bureaucrats, research administrators really do care about facilitating research. We work hard to protect our institutions and steward sponsor funds because we want to ensure continued access to the resources our researchers need to do their work.

What is your research administrator superpower?
Editing. Concise, clear sentences with active verbs not only make for more authoritative and logical arguments, they also take up less room in a proposal narrative!

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
I think it would be awesome to be a forensic linguist. I have always been a language nerd, and as an undergraduate student I considered becoming an attorney in part because the law is a profession that is, at heart, really about language. I also love to solve puzzles. Forensic linguistics is a field that combines language, the law, and puzzle-solving.

Anne Schauer in her office
Anne Schauer

Anne Schauer, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs

How long have you been a research administrator?
25 years

Describe your job in five words or less.
Multi-tasking on steroids.

What’s something that seems obvious to research administrators, but is often misunderstood by other people?
Guidelines really are meant to be read and followed! While that does seem obvious, a lot of the investigators I have worked with tend to rely more on their expertise and past proposal submission experiences to guide them. In our current highly-competitive funding climate, it is critical for investigators to submit totally complaint and error-free proposals. A lot of the errors I encounter are administrative in nature (i.e. formatting issues, unallowable attachments, etc.) that would not occur if only the submitter took the time to read and follow the proposal guidelines. The notion that their program officer won’t care, or will overlook such minor oversights is false and could produce a very real negative result if that is their guide. So . . . before you start to write a grant proposal . . . please read the guidelines and follow them to the letter!

What is your research administrator superpower?
I really am the knower of all things when it comes to research administration. I actually am not, but I have become quite adept at knowing exactly where to look for the answers to most questions that investigators pose. I have a well catalogued list of resources and browser bookmarks, as well as colleagues at various institutions throughout the U.S. where I can easily turn to get issues resolved in a timely fashion.

If you weren’t a research administrator what job would you have?
Full-time glass artist. Creating stained glass, fused glass and lampwork glass art and jewelry is something I have been doing in my spare time for many years. I totally enjoy the creative process as well as participating with other artists in art shows and interacting with customers.


Puzzle piece photo public domain via Max Pixel. OARS staff photos by Heather Beattey Johnston and Vanessa Gordon, Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, Miami University.

Head-and-shoulders portrait of a woman.

Third annual National Research Administrator Day to be observed Monday

September 25, 2017 marks the third annual National Research Administrator Day. To commemorate the event, we’re re-publishing Tricia Callahan’s overview of the research administration profession.


Research administration is a profession that involves the “development, management, and implementation of research initiatives.” Research administration touches all aspects of planning for research programs, whether they are basic or applied programs, instructional programs, or public service programs. It also involves preparation and submission of proposals to secure funding for research, as well as project management, contract negotiation and management, financial management and oversight, and compliance with federal, state, and entity regulations and policies.

Thousands and thousands of people work in research administration across the globe. They may work in hospitals or institutions of higher education; they may work in not-for-profit agencies or in business and industry; or they may work in municipal, state, or Federal governmental agencies. Possible job titles in the profession include:

  • Vice President/Provost for Research
  • Sponsored Programs Director
  • Research/Proposal Development Coordinator
  • Program Manager/Coordinator
  • Contract Manager
  • Research Compliance Officer/Director
  • Research Integrity Officer
  • Export Controls Officer
  • Technology Transfer Officer/Director
  • Grants Accountant
  • Fiscal Administrator

The profession of research administration is supported by several organizations, including the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA). According to NCURA, Research Administrators Day is “the day that will recognize the significant contributions made by administrators in support of research innovation, inquiry, and discovery.”

Research administrators can receive certification in their area of expertise through the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) and can earn their Master of Science in Research Administration through Johns Hopkins University, Rush University, or the University of Central Florida.


Written by Tricia Callahan, Director of Proposal Development, Office for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Video by NCURA via YouTube. Photo of research administrator Linda Manley (Miami University’s Grants & Contracts office) by Miami University Communications & Marketing.

Head-and-shoulders portrait of a woman.

Second annual National Research Administrators Day observed this coming Sunday

September 25, 2016 marks the second annual National Research Administrators Day. To commemorate the event, we’re re-publishing Tricia Callahan’s overview of the research administration profession.


Research administration is a profession that involves the “development, management, and implementation of research initiatives.” Research administration touches all aspects of planning for research programs, whether they are basic or applied programs, instructional programs, or public service programs. It also involves preparation and submission of proposals to secure funding for research, as well as project management, contract negotiation and management, financial management and oversight, and compliance with federal, state, and entity regulations and policies.

Thousands and thousands of people work in research administration across the globe. They may work in hospitals or institutions of higher education; they may work in not-for-profit agencies or in business and industry; or they may work in municipal, state, or Federal governmental agencies. Possible job titles in the profession include:

  • Vice President/Provost for Research
  • Sponsored Programs Director
  • Research/Proposal Development Coordinator
  • Program Manager/Coordinator
  • Contract Manager
  • Research Compliance Officer/Director
  • Research Integrity Officer
  • Export Controls Officer
  • Technology Transfer Officer/Director
  • Grants Accountant
  • Fiscal Administrator

The profession of research administration is supported by several organizations, including the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA). According to NCURA, Research Administrators Day is “the day that will recognize the significant contributions made by administrators in support of research innovation, inquiry, and discovery.”

Research administrators can receive certification in their area of expertise through the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) and can earn their Master of Science in Research Administration through Johns Hopkins University, Rush University, or the University of Central Florida.


Written by Tricia Callahan, Director of Proposal Development, Office for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Video by NCURA via YouTube. Photo of research administrator Linda Manley (Miami University’s Grants & Contracts office) by Miami University Communications & Marketing.

Head-and-shoulders portrait of a woman.

First National Research Administrators Day observed this week

September 25, 2015 marks the first of what is planned to be an annual National Research Administrators Day. But just what is a research administrator and what does he or she do? Research administration of course!

Research administration is a profession that involves the “development, management, and implementation of research initiatives.” Research administration touches all aspects of planning for research programs, whether they are basic or applied programs, instructional programs, or public service programs. It also involves preparation and submission of proposals to secure funding for research, as well as project management, contract negotiation and management, financial management and oversight, and compliance with federal, state, and entity regulations and policies.

Thousands and thousands of people work in research administration across the globe. They may work in hospitals or institutions of higher education; they may work in not-for-profit agencies or in business and industry; or they may work in municipal, state, or Federal governmental agencies. Possible job titles in the profession include:

  • Vice President/Provost for Research
  • Sponsored Programs Director
  • Research/Proposal Development Coordinator
  • Program Manager/Coordinator
  • Contract Manager
  • Research Compliance Officer/Director
  • Research Integrity Officer
  • Export Controls Officer
  • Technology Transfer Officer/Director
  • Grants Accountant
  • Fiscal Administrator

The profession of research administration is supported by several organizations, including the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA). According to NCURA, Research Administrators Day is “the day that will recognize the significant contributions made by administrators in support of research innovation, inquiry, and discovery.”

Research administrators can receive certification in their area of expertise through the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) and can earn their Master of Science in Research Administration through Johns Hopkins University, Rush University, or the University of Central Florida.

Written by Tricia Callahan, Director of Proposal Development, Office for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Video by NCURA via YouTube. Photo of research administrator Linda Manley (Miami University’s Grants & Contracts office) by Miami University Communications & Marketing.