Director of Research Development
University of South Carolina, College of Engineering & Computing – Columbia, SC
Nominee for Regionally-Elected Board Member
I look to serve NCURA Region III as your Regionally Elected Board Member from my deep desire to represent our membership’s interests and well-being at the National level. Our Profession is going through a lot of change, and it is critical to strategically support the navigation and progress for success of our individuals and institutional members during these challenging times. It is important to ensure the inclusivity of diverse membership as we experience the hurdles in higher education, especially how we can continue to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion to recruit and retain Research Administrators for the future of our Profession.
I currently serve as Director of Research Development in the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) at the University of South Carolina (UofSC). I earned my Certified Research Administrator Certification from the Research Administrators Certificate Council, and I represent a diverse background of experience in our Profession, from levels at both the Local and State levels, a PUI, Carnegie R2, and now at a Carnegie R1 institution. My service to Region III has been in multiple capacities, including Region III Chair-Elect, Chair, and Immediate Past Chair, meeting Chair in 2019, and annual program and planning committees each year starting from 2015 to forward. I have also actively served at the National level on the PUI Committee Working Group, the PRA program committee, and currently on the Professional Development Committee’s Publication Subcommittee, as well as authoring multiple articles and manuscripts across the NCURA publications. Service to Region III through leadership has been at the core of my being, as it stems from my passion to include and grow others in their professional paths in Research Administration, helping them realize that they fit in and contribute in much needed ways for the Profession. My goal has always been to provide an inclusive environment, such as bringing in others to co-present that did not feel confident in presenting before, co-authoring on articles and manuscripts with those who expressed hesitation for such a leap, and helping others to be involved in volunteering where their talents blossom in both their career and in the Region. I also teach graduate courses in grant writing and research administration and have chaired theses committees and served as intern advisors for those entering our Profession. Research Administration’s future depends on us as we recruit, include, and mentor, as only through these initiatives will we retain and sustain our Profession and its valuable knowledge and contribution to research in our communities.
Personally, DEI has shaped me through fellow colleagues and experiences in NCURA along both my professional and personal paths. One such way was the realization of the differences in need across the diversity of institutional missions for research administration while taking a deep dive into my dissertation research on social equity and sponsored funding review practices. Research Administration and the researchers it serves is diverse with special needs. It varies by institutional mission, focus, location, and its history (both positive and negative). The most impactful DEI moment in my path was during the 2019 Regional meeting in which members voiced that they did not attend a session on DEI because they didn’t “fit”. The voice of the membership during this meeting proved we had to do something as a Region to change this mentality. As Chair of the Region, my goal moving forward was to establish a Region III DEI committee, and I could not be any prouder of the leadership that took this committee and made it into what it is today. As a Region, we have been more inclusive in membership, new and active volunteerism, active listening, accommodations and incorporated diverse perspectives in our regional offerings and opportunities, and we have grown our leadership with new members representing different identities, institutional missions, and backgrounds. One DEI initiative that I would like to see through is a creation of representation or seats across committees and opportunities to include diverse institutional missions, including but not limited to, community and technical colleges, HBCUs, MSIs, and each Carnegie institutional classification. Only through intentionally bringing in those who may have not served or had a leadership opportunity before is how we can learn how to best support our membership in what is needed for their growth and for our Profession to thrive.