DAWG hones sponsored project admin skills

Graduates of the 2014 DAWG program are (sitting, l-r) Christy Bischoff, Janie Taylor, Toni Roberson, Jo McKenzie, Davern Jones, Hannah Burnett, Tan Tsai and Nicole Ivancic; and (standing, l-r) Criss Bell, Mary Dikes, Lorie White, Paula Jones, Casey Watts, Karin Lee, Heather Wainwright, Teresa Stewart and Shlynn Morris. Roslyn Miller is not pictured. PHOTO: Russ Houston | Public Affairs

Eighteen Mississippi State staff members are graduates of a professional development program offered by the university’s Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA).

They were honored at a reception last week.

A unit of the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development, SPA oversees external sponsored programs -- the grants, contracts and similar agreements that help fund research at the land-grant institution.

This year’s edition of the Departmental Administrator Working Group (DAWG) provided participants a nine-month curriculum designed to develop their sponsored project administration skills and foster networking opportunities with their campus peers, according to SPA Director Jennifer Easley.

“We started DAWG to provide a training resource that helps departmental administrators grow professionally and also creates additional connections -- not only between departments, but across campus as well,” she said.

DAWG participants were chosen through a competitive nomination and selection process. Applications for the 2015 class will be available later this summer, Easley said.

DAWG graduates for 2014 are Criss Bell, Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems; Christy Bischoff, Sponsored Programs Administration; Hannah Burnett, Sponsored Programs Administration; Mary Dikes, Coast Research and Extension Center; Nicole Ivancic, Computer Science and Engineering; Davern Jones, Center for Safety and Health; Paula Jones, Sociology; Karin Lee, International Institute; Jo McKenzie, Raspet Flight Research Lab; Roslyn Miller, Research and Curriculum Unit; Shlynn Morris, Graduate School; Toni Roberson, College of Veterinary Medicine Basic Science; Teresa Stewart, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Janie Taylor, Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station; Tan Tsai, International Institute; Heather Wainwright, Plant and Soil Sciences; Casey Watts, Human Sciences; and Lorie White, Dean of Education.

During monthly, two-hour meetings, the departmental administrators were taken through the grant process from start to finish, which game them a better understanding of both pre- and post-award functions, Easley explained.

Topics included how the different administrative offices work together, proposal basics, preparing a budget, cost share and F&A, award process, negotiating and contracting, what happens to a proposal at the agency, research centers and collaborations, and post-award management, she said.

“DAWG graduates also gave a 10-minute presentation about themselves and their departments, which was fun because it gave everyone in the room a chance to see just how many areas Mississippi State University is involved with -- not only locally, but also statewide, nationwide and internationally,” Easley said.

Jim Laird | Public Affairs

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