Blogs

Note from the Editor | Peak Grant Season & Fall Colors In my part of the world, Canada, when October rolls around we’re in high gear, whether it’s helping researchers through the peak granting season or celebrating turkey (or tofu) Thanksgiving traditions. Even the beautiful fall colors are in high gear!  This month’s edition reflects this same mood of activity and anticipation. In our feature article, SRAI Division chairs discuss hot topics for their members during COVID. (Hint, expect to hear more from the Divisions in future editions.)  In her View from the Top , Debra Schaller-Demers reminds us of the many great learning and connecting opportunities ...
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View from the Top | Annual Meeting Pre-Game Tips It is amazing, we are finally only days away from the 2021 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA (October 23-27)!  After so many canceled events—both personal and professional—since March 2020, I have to say I feel almost giddy at the prospect of finally being able to gather in person. I realize that the conditions may not be ideal, and I respect everyone’s feelings on the subject, but I truly believe that this will be a joyous reunion and, as always, a fabulous professional development experience.  For those of you attending, we are diligently working to ensure a safe and engaging environment for the Annual ...
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SRAI Divisions – Connecting SRAI with its Members During COVID The SRAI Professional Divisions is one way that the Society helps to ensure its programs meet the diverse needs of its members. Four divisions, Commercial, Education, Government and Non-Profit, connect with their respective members to promote the exchange of information, to develop and promote professional standards and to support relationships. (Education has two sub-groups: Large Universities and Predominantly Undergraduate Universities.) We caught up with the Division Chairs this month to learn more about the major issues, challenges and opportunities that members of their Division have been ...
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Things to Do Personally and Professionally The 2021 SRAI Annual Meeting is just a few short weeks away!  Annual Meetings bring a wealth of learning experiences to our members. We are presented a wide array of sessions and workshops, discuss hot topics, are provided useful take-aways, and leave with valuable knowledge that will help us in our careers.  This year’s meeting plan has been challenging - add to the regular plan a global pandemic and a major hurricane making landfall very near our meeting site. But our members will not be outdone! The 2021 Annual Meeting will provide plenty of workshops and sessions (with a few quick talks sprinkled in) that ...
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Training & Education Compilation We at the Catalyst would like to invite you to submit a short paragraph (2-3 sentences) about the training and education program at your institution. Our intent is to showcase how different institutions manage to educate and improve their staff, providing inspiration for others and possible connections for moving forward within your own institutions.  To kick us off, Marianne Achenbach from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania tells us how they’ve used SRAI’s LevelUP Micro-credentialing Program with their new training and onboarding:  We hired 4 individuals that we named Research Administration ...
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The Secret Life of a Research Administrator | Sandra Justice “The Secret Life of a Research Administrator” column is meant to facilitate more personal connections between SRAI members through the Catalyst newsletter. If you would like to share with the community or know of someone who will, please submit your article here .   As campus came back to life and we gathered again – so came the intros to new colleagues.  The Catalyst’s Tyler Tulloch caught up with Sandra (Sandy) Justice, Associate Director of Research at the University of South Florida, to learn about writing comedy with a local theater group for this month’s Secret Life of a Research Administrator. ...
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SRAI Odyssey Program – Start Your Mentoring Journey “Colleagues are a wonderful thing – but mentors, that’s where the real work gets done.” – Junot Diaz   Have you wanted a mentor? Have you wanted to be a mentor? Are you not sure how to arrange a great mentor/mentee partnership? SRAI has a terrific opportunity if you have been asking these questions.  Throughout time, the term mentor has become synonymous with someone who is trusted, wise, and able to guide us through a professional and even personal period of growth in our lives. “Mentor” was an actual Greek counsellor in Homer’s poem The Odyssey. Mentor was trusted to oversee and teach Telemachus, ...
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Inaugural Virtual International Convention for Research Administrators – Connecting Continents, Consolidating Innovative Practices What sets VICRA apart? VICRA is designed to be a live online experience, aimed at early to mid-career research administrators. It boasts a truly international character with a reach around half the globe. As all presenters are invited experts, the convention is laden with an educational overtone, while targeting research offices of universities in countries without a research management association. An online meeting allows us to get in contact with people over half the globe, without them spending money or time for travel ...
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Monthly Poll | Efficiency at the Office Last month we asked you to share something that you thought you needed for efficiency before the pandemic that you find you can work well without now.  The resounding answer was paper!  I’m in that boat too!  I’ve moved the vast majority of my note-taking and task reminding to digital platforms like Trello, One Note and Google Drive.  So many of us have quit printing documents and reports in favor of reviewing them electronically.  Most of the documents we approve and sign have also received an extra push towards e-sign options since the pandemic.  At the September 29 Coffee Talk – Betwixt and Between: Office Operations ...
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Note from the Editor | Summer to Autumn Transitions have been on my mind a lot lately and the articles within this month’s Catalyst appear to reflect the same trend. For instance, if you are a looking for a new job for yourself or hiring someone new, Angela Behrend and Trevor Johnson share with us interview etiquette , particularly for those doing so virtually. Additionally, we are excited to share with you the 2021 SRAI Award Winners and the SRAI Election results . I’m also happy to introduce another article about RA Career Paths by Carolyn Mazzella . I never tire of hearing of the various ways our fellow colleagues found themselves in the field of ...
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View from the Top | SRAI = Amazing People Sharing, Caring, and Learning Together! As we are now a little more than a month away from the 2021 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA (October 23-27), it is time to reflect on what makes SRAI so special. I attended my first SRAI Annual Meeting in October 2003 in Pittsburgh, PA. At the time I was a Research Education Coordinator at Weill Cornell Medical College (WCM). As of August 1, 2021, I am the Vice President of Research Outreach and Compliance at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). As I reflect back, and many of you have heard me say this through the years, I owe a huge part of my success and ability ...
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RA Career Paths | Carolyn Mazzella Many who find themselves in a career in research administration didn’t start out in this field. This series will focus on the unique, and often winding, paths that led to a career in research administration. Do you have an interesting story about how you got into your career in research administration? Share it with us by submitting an article here ! After celebrating 11 years working in research, I finally embraced the role of research administrator. Starting out as a student-turned-staff member during the end of the late 2000s financial crisis, I counted my lucky stars to not be like so many of my graduating peers who ...
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Interview Etiquette During COVID Virtual Interviews during COVID has presented a new set of unique challenges for both job seekers and employers. Two SRAI members share their thoughts from both perspectives during this unique year. From the standpoint of the Interviewer: For better or worse, I have had the duty and privilege of conducting a flurry of Zoom interviews recently. The good news is that with any luck our new colleague will be starting their job very soon. Conducting a productive Zoom interview takes preparation and coordination between all the parties. In order to keep the process fair, all candidates should be asked approximately the same ...
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Value of Meeting In-Person Do you miss in-person learning and the ability to have face-to-face conversations with speakers and participants? Are you ready to travel to an exciting city rich in history and culture? Does networking with colleagues sound appealing? Are you a new member of SRA International interested in meeting your colleagues and furthering your professional development? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the 2021 SRAI Annual in-person Meeting in New Orleans is for you ! The annual meeting offers a fantastic line up of workshops , sessions , educational certificates and tracks , newcomers’ session, keynote presentations ...
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2021 SRAI Election Results Each year, SRA International holds elections for positions on the Board of Directors, a comprehensive group of our members who devote time and effort throughout the year to enhance the organization through the service of governance. In accordance with the Bylaws of the Society Article 5.35, the candidates for the positions of President-Elect, Treasurer, and At-Large members for the Board of Directors have been informed of the election results. On behalf of the Board of Director’s Nominations Committee, it is my pleasure to officially announce the election results. Gloria Greene was elected President-Elect, Dominic Esposito was re-elected ...
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The Secret Life of a Research Administrator | Kevin Titus “The Secret Life of a Research Administrator” column is meant to facilitate more personal connections between SRAI members through the Catalyst newsletter. If you would like to share with the community or know of someone who will, please submit your article here . Many times, our personal life experiences prepare us for our work lives and vice versa. Research Administration and SCUBA have both done that for me. Of course, swimming with sharks certainly comes to mind on both fronts. I’ve been SCUBA diving for more than 30 years, though, like many hobbies, there was a long hiatus when our kids ...
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Tiny Victories | Katrina Akioka and Tasha Gilson-Durham In this year of so many challenges, tiny victories can almost seem like major accomplishments. The Catalyst wants to highlight your tiny victories in research administration and how you are using them to get through everything life has recently thrown at us. Through sharing our tiny victories, we believe it will give us hope in this year and beyond. We have two victories for September that celebrate successes with the CRA exam. Join us as we congratulate Katrina Akioka and Tasha Gilson-Durham on their recent Tiny Victories! Share your tiny victories with us and give everyone a chance to congratulate ...
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A Summary of the EPDC Leadership & Professional Development Working Group “People put a high value on education—up to a point. You go to school all through your childhood, then—complete undergraduate and, in some instances, a Master's and/or Ph.D. degrees.  However, many people stop actively seeking to learn, develop, and grow different areas of their lives and interests when they graduate and move into the workforce.” 1 As professionals, we must never stop learning and I don’t just mean continuing education. Self-improvement and personal growth are essential and precious parts of your career and life in general. The pandemic gave us all time to pause ...
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2021 SRAI Award Winners Let’s come together to recognize this year’s SRAI award winners! SRAI acknowledges individuals who inspire others and serve as a model for the profession of research administration. The Awards Subcommittee was excited to have so many worthy nominations this year, and the winners are truly top of their field. Being recognized by your peers is a great honor. Read below to see this year’s winners and what this honor means to them. Please plan to join us in New Orleans at the 2021 Annual Meeting and clap loudly for these distinguished research administrators! The Herbert B. Chermside Award for Distinguished Contribution to Research Administration ...
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Note from the Editor | Renewed Focus We hope your summer was all you wished for and that you are preparing for the upcoming school year with renewed focus and energy. This month’s Catalyst is chockful of news and ideas to re-start your professional focus and to stir your creative juices. As part of our new series on RA Career Paths , Simon Kerridge and colleagues reveal that the upcoming international survey of research administrators, RAAAP-3 HIBARMA, will focus on this important topic. Stephanie Blackmore, with Mark Lucas, describes her professional development journey while Mir Asghar Ali Kahn reminds us of the excellent SRAI professional development ...
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