What I Wish I Knew When I Started in Research Administration | Fran Stephens
Members of SRAI’s Distinguished Faculty were recently asked, “What do you wish you knew when you started in Research Administration?” Over the next few months we will share their insights and observations.
In the vague distant past, I seem to recall shock at learning about the existence of the ResearchAdmin (RESADM-L) listserv. It’s a wonderful networking tool, bubbling with all kinds of questions and topics for discussion. I can remember not long after I heard about it, I went there with a question and got several responses from across the nation – including leaders in our field. It’s saved my bacon a few times over the years when dealing with an unfamiliar sponsor or having an issue on conflicting/missing guidance for a submission.
Another practice I wished I’d known was ‘don’t be shy about asking questions,’ especially to volunteers in professional organizations like SRAI. When I first started, I might hesitate to approach someone because I had no connection or introduction to them. Maybe they were so experienced on a topic that my question might sound very basic. What I came to find out is that the people who are speaking, leading, and planning things are doing it because they believe in the research administration profession, and they want to help people understand how things operate or share their knowledge. Of course, they also rope you into getting involved and volunteering...lol, but that has also greatly benefited my networking and professional development.
Authored by M. Fran Stephens, CRA, MSgt (USAF, Ret.), Director, Pre-Award Services
The University of Oklahoma
SRAI Distinguished Faculty Co-chair