Academic journal article Journal of Research Administration

The Role of "Development" in a Research Administration Office

Academic journal article Journal of Research Administration

The Role of "Development" in a Research Administration Office

Article excerpt


This paper will essentially examine the demands for U.S. institutions of higher education to develop externally sponsored programs as an answer to the increasing challenges placed before them and the methods these institutions are using to do so. An institution of higher education will be defined in this paper as an organization that provides associates, bachelors, masters, and/or doctorate prepared degrees to qualified individuals.

State and private institutions of higher learning will be examined. Although there are some philosophical and funding differences between state and private institutions of higher education, they are still faced with many similar problems in creating innovative services and programs for society. Both state and private institutions also solicit and receive funding from common sources, including: (a) federal and state agencies, (b) private and corporate foundations, and (c) industries. Since both state and private institutions of higher education are facing these similar challenges, both will be examined and included in the definition of an "institution of higher education".

As society has become more complex in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, there have been increasing demands for institutions of higher education to offer new services, and become more adaptable to the world's changing needs. With the evolution towards globalization, higher education institutions are challenged to transform their way of doing business while at the same time facing many roadblocks.

The United States (U.S.) has changed rapidly since the end of World War II, from 1945 to 2005. Institutions of higher education have played a highly significant role in not only preparing the U.S. population for the technological changes taking place, but also bringing many innovative technologies and policy changes to U.S. society in those 60 years. Consequently, state and federal legislators, who have been pivotal in funding many of the innovative research and service programs to institutions of higher education during that time demand that the education sector continue to develop and create opportunities for the ever-changing U.S. and international society--be it innovative curriculums, community service, or new technologies. The challenge of doing so is only compounded by the limitations of resources--the most limiting being lack of funding.

The downturn in the U.S. economy has effected all institutions of higher education institutions. State institution's budgets are most directly affected through reductions in their government appropriated dollars. However, all institutions of higher education have had to respond to the limitation on dollars available from external funding sources, and the burden of increasing external funding is often placed on the sponsored programs offices. To do so, though, requires an expansion of the role of such an office. If we expand our view of Sponsored Programs Offices as facilitators to also include development, we see great possibilities in providing the needed resources to assist institutions of higher education in meeting some of the challenges they face today.

Traditionally, the role of development is defined as assisting institutions of higher education in developing strategies and creating relationships specifically tied to fundraising activities with the target audience being individuals or corporations providing gifts to such institutions. As we discuss development here, our definition differs from the traditional definition of development, above, to include state or federal government or corporate entities providing funds through contracts or grants.

The duties and tasks of Sponsored Programs Offices are varied. Every research office is organized differently according to each organization's structure and mission. However, the goal of all Sponsored Programs Offices should be to facilitate the procurement of funding for sponsored programs, and the administration of the programs brought to fruition. …

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