REDE Offices Merging to Enhance Faculty Support

As East Carolina University continues to expand its research and sponsored program portfolio, the Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement has undertaken the following initiatives to enhance faculty research support.

The offices of Grants and Contracts and Sponsored Programs are combining into one unified office – the Office of Research Administration (ORA). Consistent with trends at other universities, the pre- and post-award offices at ECU are being combined to provide more seamless, comprehensive and efficient delivery of research administration services to the campus. The new office will serve as a “one-stop shop” and provide new project management support tools, reports and advice for faculty and research administrators.

Sponsored Programs Director Barbara Gray, whose service to ECU over the past several years has enabled OSP to significantly improve its pre-award services, will assume a leadership role overseeing the implementation of a new and much improved proposal development and submission system.  ECU is currently engaged in discussions with sister UNC institutions that are moving from RAMSeS to this new, nationally regarded vendor. Gray plans a much-deserved retirement at the end of the year and this merger provides a smooth transition for Grants and Contracts and Sponsored Programs staff.

Julie Cole will serve as the Director of ORA and continue her work in developing the ECU research administration support structure. Rick Smiley has transitioned to a new role as the Professional Education Officer focused on developing a comprehensive training and professional development initiative for ECU research administrators and related staff.

Shelly Carpenter has joined the ORA team and will serve as the Compliance Monitoring Officer charged with developing policies, procedures and related guidance designed to greatly facilitate proposal submission and award management.

Suhail Guzman will serve as the primary point of contact for the development of improved grant management reporting and facilitating data generation and management.

Financial analysts from the ORA will be deployed into existing and emerging Research Administration Hubs across campus, where they can better serve faculty. These financial analysts constitute a pool of Grants and Contracts Administrators (GCAs) that can better adapt to changes in activity across the institution.

The GCAs will report through ORA, but will be physically located in the Research Administration Hubs where they can better provide post-award management services.  The GCAs will be deployed as teams, with Janice McGowan, Steve Ayers, Ella Arnett-Barrett and Barbara Revell serving as team leaders, with the working title of Grants and Contracts Manager to indicate their leadership role in supporting their respective teams.

This central office restructuring, along with hub establishment, is intended to address concerns raised in two Federal Demonstration Partnership national studies in 2005 and 2012.  In both studies, faculty reported spending 42 percent of their research time associated with federally-funded projects on meeting project-related requirements rather than on active research. The new ECU research administration model seeks to reduce this administrative burden to allow faculty to spend more time directly on research.

For more information on REDE’s vision for research administration support and service, please contact Mike Van Scott, Julie Cole or Barbara Gray.