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Ode to Research Administration and Adam West OR I am Batman

By SRAI News posted 09-11-2019 07:15 PM

Authored by Derrick Gilmore 
Deputy Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs
Kentucky State University

The path is never clear a word here, a comma there. Blank pages filled with hopes and dreams, creation and clarity, imperfect diatribes of gall. Confidence fueled by sleepless nights and days of ritualistic obedience.

The PI, the PI, the PI, oh the PI, chants, and mantras of concept and collaboration, loud yet silently insecure. The links that bind department, vision, and mission fleeting yet necessary, allusive to independence and freedom of the academy. Sternness from training and school of thought yet pliable to the deities that give lifelike lightning bolts and resonate through tenure and promotion. It’s due, deadline looms, the costs of business, the costs of time, the costs of being, no room for error, 2 CFR 200.430, Boom!

A percentage has one direction, a proposal has one answer, more! How many, how much, route to include, route to know, no, route to guard the gift that comes and goes in less than a 4-year student cohort. Are you interdisciplinary, can you get me into the system, track my expenditures, where is the PO? IDC you better see me, transmittal confirmed, 2 CFR 200.412, Bang!

The States’ slide, the drip dry, yet feed us your too tired to be educated, your too poor to pay, huddled masses of STEM graduates, yearning for Silicon Valley. Performance is funding and funding is performance, rank ahead of the HERD and herd those who have no rankings. The email of congratulatory relief, no funding from me, 2 CFR 200.317 – 200.326, Bang!

The fate of three, Tesla’ish in their tasks, review and score as if the SF 424 is the core. The forms have life, lobbying, and conflict of interest, out a damn spot that ensures I’m reviewed. The Program Officer of which advocacy we seek, yet the pen of the panel to be kind we seek, Executive Order 13563, Ka-Pow!

Yet, there is no villain only heroes who champion change and toll over words, commas facts, and figures that translate to swag surfing at graduations, tears that fill arenas, polished resumes and innovation that change shape the definition of evolution. In isolation I wait, I await your words, formulas, theories, as only a sidekick could do, Holy Higher Education Batman, research administration is amazing!