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Building Connections

By SRAI News posted 07-28-2022 04:14 PM


Building Connections

I’m running for At-Large Board Member to facilitate and support flexible work in our field, help develop a career pipeline for research administration, and hold space and give voice for research administrators not in leadership positions within their organizations. 

Our workspace has been changing around us ever since the Covid lockdown. Institutions that were years away from a flexible work policy implemented one overnight and research administrators, already accustomed to managing their complex workloads in a shifting environment, adapted. Post-lockdown, we’ve watched as words like hybrid, remote, and flexible became standard language in job descriptions and in-person became something to specify, not assume. 

Lockdown made many people re-examine our relationship to work and work re-examine our relationship to policies and procedures, and in some cases, employees left their institutions in search of support they hadn’t realized they were missing or hadn’t had the ability to change previously. Additionally, this new landscape has given rise to the need for new skills as employers and employees discover together how to create functional distant or partially distant teams beyond the required lockdown period. Since some still subscribe to the “butts in seats” mode of thought over quality of life or work, we still need support through this transition and beyond. 

Regarding research administration as a career, I, like many, stumbled into it. Texas Tech University hired me on the strength of my transferrable skills and faith that I had the aptitude and desire to learn. If research administration is to flourish, we need to consider people without prior research administration experience and provide them with training opportunities along with re-thinking where to find them. SRAI’s Education and Professional Development Committee and the educational programs run through SRAI are well-suited to assist in meeting these needs. 

Additionally, members not in leadership positions need a voice. I am not yet in a supervisory role in my organization, and I’ve only been in the field for eight years. To some, this may be a detriment, but I see it as a peculiar sort of strength. Our society ranges from brand new research administrators to those with thirty plus years in the field, and we need more representation for those less established, especially since the nature of our work and profession has shifted and we are trying to attract new people into our field. I want to hold space, be inclusive, and make connections across our units. We are stronger together and we need to collaborate and connect to bring our field forward. 

SRAI is exceptionally positioned to build these connections across institutions and units within research administration due to its international presence, willingness to collaborate, and emphasis on providing educational offerings to meet the needs of our members. I think that the future of SRAI is meeting members where they are and finding ways to build them up. 

Finally, I would like to take a moment to thank SRAI for the positive impact it has had on my life and the opportunity to run for At-Large Board Member. I am so grateful for my many colleagues across the world and the new things I’ve learned from each of them and the ways they have challenged me to be better. It’s been an honor to be a part of SRAI, to serve in leadership at the Section and Committee level, and to run for At-Large Board Member, regardless of the outcome. Thank you.

Authored by Karen Bone, Proposal Administrator
Florida Atlantic University