Close up of parts of a Galileo thermometer. Tags on two of the globes read 23 degrees and 24 degrees, respectively.

Director of Research & Sponsored Programs shares eSPA survey results

Bar chart showing survey results. About 6% of respondents find it "very easy" to build a Cayuse SP proposal record and submit it for routing. About 35% find it "easy," about 23% find it "neutral," about 20% find it "difficult," about 3% find it "very difficult," and about 13% responded indicated the question was not applicable.
How easy is it to build a Cayuse SP proposal record and submit it for routing?

Thanks to all who completed our eSPA satisfaction survey. We received a total of 133 responses. Twenty percent of respondent had not used the system and no additional data was collected from those respondents. Sixty-five percent of respondents find the Cayuse system easy or “neutral” to use with only 3% saying it is very difficult.

Bar chart showing survey results. About 9% of respondents find it "very easy" to build a proposal in Cayuse 424. About 20% find it "easy," about 21% find it "neutral," about 10% find it "difficult," about 3% find it "very difficult," and about 37% responded indicated the question was not applicable.
How easy is it to build a proposal in Cayuse 424?

In terms of training and support resources, more respondents had participated in group training, but as would be expected, one-on-one training was rated as the most helpful. There was no interest in follow-up training. There was a great deal of positive feedback about the ease of use, ability to track all phases of proposal routing, ability to have all pieces of a proposal in one place, and the speed and ease of paperless routing. About a dozen users felt that the system was too time consuming, difficult and required too much work. Of the handful of respondents expressing frustration about the need to enter budgets on multiple forms, one actually noted that “having to do it both ways has helped me to catch errors, so I should probably get over it!” There was also frustration with the number of compliance questions and seemingly irrelevant questions, particularly in the “Community Benefits” section.

I am still irritated about having to do a budget spreadsheet for OARS’ approval and then re-do the budget in eSPA. HOWEVER, having to do it both ways has helped me to catch errors, so I should probably get over it.    — eSPA survey respondent

In response to your comments, OARS has taken several steps to address some of the concerns expressed. We have reworded the questions in the Community Benefits section to clarify what we are looking for and provided examples for each. For approvers, we eliminated the so-called entity email accounts, which were a great source of frustration, so all automated emails notifications from this system now go to approvers’ personal email addresses. We also continue to work with new eSPA users to provide one-on-one training as time allows and when we have no upcoming group trainings scheduled. However, because of limited staffing, this is not something we can do for every new user on a continuing basis.

Bar graph showing respondents' opinions of the usefulness of each of three training resources. For group training, results are as follows: 15% very helpful, 40% somewhat helpful, 5% helpful, and 40% not applicable. For one-on-one training: 20% very helpful, 8% somewhat helpful, and 72% not applicable. For quick start guide: 10% very helpful, 20% somewhat helpful, 7% not at all helpful, and 63% not applicable.
How helpful were training resources?

Regarding the need to complete OARS’ internal budget spreadsheet and enter a detailed budget on the budget tab in SP, and — in the case of NSF proposals — also enter a detailed budget in Fastlane, let me provide some explanation that might facilitate a better understanding of this requirement. The first point is that our internal business practices have not changed with the initiation of the eSPA system; we previously used the internal budget template as a mechanism for PIs to draft their budgets and for OARS to provide feedback before the final budget is entered into the funding agency’s budget form, so this is not new. What is new is the need to enter the detailed budget on the budget page in Cayuse SP. This is actually one of the Lean outcomes of this system. Cayuse SP is able to interface with our Banner post-award accounting system, so the detailed budget can be transferred from SP to the Banner grant award account, eliminating the need for double entry of the budget. While this does put a slight additional burden on individual PIs at proposal submission, the cumulative time saved at the central office level is significant, and allows both Grants and Contracts and OARS staff to focus on more proactive initiatives and to better serve the needs of our PIs.

Written by Anne Schauer, Director of Research & Sponsored Programs, Office for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Galileo thermometer image by Steve Johnson, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.


OARS leader awarded Benjamin Harrison Medallion

Head-and-shoulders portrait of a grey-haired, bespectacled man, wearing a black jacket, white shirt, and black tie
Jim Oris

Jim Oris, associate provost for research and scholarship and dean of the Graduate School, will receive Miami University’s prestigious Benjamin Harrison Medallion during the May 16 commencement ceremony.

Oris is known internationally for his research on the ecological toxicology of organic chemicals in aquatic systems. He was awarded the title of University Distinguished Professor of Biology by Miami University’s board of trustees in 2013.

The Benjamin Harrison Medallion Award is one of the most significant recognitions Miami offers faculty for contributions attesting to qualities of teaching, research and/or service. It is named for Benjamin Harrison, the 1852 Miami graduate and 23rd president of the United States, serving from 1889-1893.

Oris, who received his doctorate from Michigan State University, joined Miami in 1986 as an assistant professor of zoology.

He was appointed associate dean for research and scholarship in 2008. That same year he was selected as a Miami University Distinguished Scholar.

At that time, he became the chief advocate for research expansion at Miami, which eventually led to his current position as associate provost for research and scholarship and dean of the Graduate School in 2012. In that dual role, he oversees the office for the advancement of research and scholarship.

Last year he led the initiative to form the office of research for undergraduates in King Library to coordinate research activity by undergraduate students across the university and market programs to current and prospective students.

An environmental toxicologist and a leading authority on phototoxicity, his research has a primary focus on the effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (formed when oil burns with gasoline in engines) in freshwater systems.

His research has led California to ban certain watercraft in Lake Tahoe. He also has provided scientific leadership on the assessment of clarifying the effects of the oil spill in Prince William Sound by the Exxon Valdez and studied the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, particularly the photo-enhanced toxicity of the oil to fish and zooplankton in the Gulf of Mexico.

Two nominators for this award said, “In addition to his work on the impacts of fossil fuels in the aquatic environment, he has collaborated on research addressing experimental design and statistical analysis of aquatic toxicity tests. More than a dozen of his peer-reviewed articles address important issues related to aquatic toxicity testing and have resulted in widely accepted methodological approaches in chemical safety and ecological risk assessments.”

Oris’ work has been supported by more than $4 million in external research funding and has resulted in more than 100 papers, review articles and invited book chapters.

He has served as editor of two professional journals, including Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and on the editorial boards of three others.

His administrative contributions at Miami include 10 years as director of graduate studies in zoology; a member of the University Senate and chair of the Senate Executive Committee; and service on numerous committees, including as chairman of the Regional Campuses Process Committee.

Oris served as president for two years on his discipline’s leading organization, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, North America, and also has been a member of the U.S. EPA’s Science Advisory Board.

Written by Margo Kissell, Miami University News & Communications.  Originally appeared as a University News Top Story.

A European-style building made of two different kinds of stone. The building has many windows with decorative trim. Stone stairs lead to a heavy wood door in the center of the building.

Tricia Callahan named NCURA Global Fellow

A map of Europe, showing Ireland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, France, Switerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro. The country of Luxembourg is highlighted.

Tricia Callahan, OARS’ Director of Proposal Development, was recently named a 2015 Global Fellow by the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA).

As an NCURA Global Fellow, Callahan will travel to the University of Luxembourg for a two-week period sometime during 2015. While there, she will engage in an exchange of knowledge about research administration operations and practices.

“Miami is among the top universities nationally for study abroad. Many of our faculty members teach and conduct research internationally, and the number of international constituents at Miami – both faculty and students – is on the rise,” Callahan says. “So it’s imperative that we keep abreast of the latest rules and regulations pertaining to travel, study, and research abroad.”

According to NCURA, the Global Fellowship Program “hopes to create a pool of individuals who are able to interpret a multitude of various sponsor requirements and to assist their institution with administrative compliance – from application submission through financial reporting and closeout.”