Skip to main content

Strategic Plan for Office of Sponsored Programs

Context For Planning

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is a research-administration and academic-support unit of the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence (CSCE) under the leadership of the Vice Provost for Research Administration. The OSP consists of a director and three grants-and-contracts specialists who serve as the central pre- and non-financial post-award office for the support and advancement of research and other externally sponsored activity at Grand Valley State University. The OSP prides itself on its commitment to service and quality in all of its support services to the academic and administrative professional (AP) community, and, as an extension of that commitment, engages in thoughtful strategic planning that supports and flows naturally from the strategic plans of the organizational hierarchy within which it is nested; namely, the University, the Academic and Student Affairs Division, and the CSCE. Our work encompasses the Sponsored Award Life Cycle for all faculty and AP staff who engage in sponsored activity--primarily extramural grant awards, but also service-agreements, industry-sponsored projects, and unfunded agreements. This Cycle includes the development of fundable ideas; the finding of suitable funding sources; the development and submission of proposals; the receipt, negotiation, and setup of external awards; the non-financial management of awards; and the administrative closeout of awards. We also work closely with the other research-administration units of our Center (the CSCE) to support the work they perform in their areas of specialization and provide faculty and AP staff members with an effective, efficient, and interconnected system of support for their scholarly and creative activities. Our work is complex, fast-moving, and fraught with risk which requires great care, constantly evolving knowledge, and a steadfast professional and personal commitment to quality and ethical conduct in the stewardship of sponsor funding and associated University resources. This Strategic Plan represents the direction and focus of the OSP and provides the focus and framework for the OSP's work through 2021.

Mission

MISSION The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is the central pre- and non-financial post-award office for the support and advancement of research and other externally sponsored activity at Grand Valley State University.

Vision

VISION The OSP is a world-class sponsored-programs development and administration office that is well-known and respected by institutions of higher education in the state, the region, and the nation.

Value Statement

VALUES

Strategic Priorities, outcomes, and key objectives

Strategic Priority Area 1: Actively engage learners at all levels.

Outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 1.D.1

Strengthen knowledge management and address training gaps to establish accountability and mitigate compliance risk.

Baseline

No outreach program was in place.

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
Phase one of this initiative was completed on 9/17/18 with the delivery of the attached example session to the College of Education. While we were at times able to engage personnel from Grants Accounting in the delivery of an expanded variation of the example, in which learners received education regarding post-award financial roles and services provided by Grants Accounting, those personnel were unable to participate in most of the sessions. We delivered educational outreach sessions to a total of 555 attendees across the University; the following groups (dates and attendee numbers are noted in parens): 1. Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies Leadership (1/8/18; 10 attendees) 2. Kirkhof College of Nursing (1/15/18; 60 attendees) 3. Division of Inclusion & Equity (2/14/18; 17 attendees) 4. College of Health Professions Research Committee (2/16/18; 12 attendees) 5. College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office & Unit Heads (2/28/18; 60 attendees) 6. Seidman College of Business Small Business Development Center (3/8/18; 6 attendees) 7. *Office of the Vice Provost for Health (3/14/18; 15 attendees) 8. College of Health Professions Occupational Therapy Department (3/22/18; 10 attendees) 9. *Padnos College of Engineering & Computing—Engineering All-Staff (3/27/2018; 50 attendees) 10. College of Health Professions All-Staff/Faculty Meeting (3/29/18; 70 attendees) 11. College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Department of Anthropology (4/9/18; 10 attendees) 12. Seidman College of Business Faculty Senate (4/13/18; 60 attendees) 13. *Padnos College of Engineering & Computing—Computer/Information Science (4/15/2018; 20 attendees) 14. New Faculty Orientation (08/10/2018; 30 attendees) 15. College of Community & Public Service (8/23/18; 70 attendees) 16. College of Education Faculty Council (9/17/18; 55 attendees) *Co-presented with the office of Grants Accounting (unit of the Controller’s office)

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 1.E.1

Hire a Research Administration Specialist to assist CSCE research-administration units in the “front-door” intake and triaging of new projects, and the development and adoption of necessary database tools, reports, and metrics to benchmark, track, and report on service, volume, and performance of the Research Administration functions at GVSU.

Baseline

Based on the analysis and recommendation of Huron Consulting Group, completed in March 2017, the OSP had need of an AP-level Research Administration Specialist but no budgetary capacity to hire such personnel. The OSP also had a clerical staff person who was underutilized.

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
In July 2017, the underutilized OSP Assistant (C4-level, PSS position) tendered resignation. A short-term replacement was recruited and put in place, but the replacement person tendered resignation and self-terminated effective January 12, 2018. We used this opportunity to re-classify the position to an Administrative Professional position with the title of Research Administration Data Specialist. After several months of recruitment work of a hiring committee chaired by the Director of the OSP, it was decided to revise the position description and repost. The second round of recruitment was very successful. We hired the new Research Administration Specialist on April 4 and she started on April 30.

Objective 1.E.2

Undertake a cross-functional business process-improvement (BPI) initiative to address operational inefficiencies, reduce waste and rework, close gaps in communication, reduce risk of non-compliance with federal regulations, and improve service levels.

Baseline

No formal process-improvement history or culture in research administration or accounting offices at GVSU. Huron Consulting Group was engaged in 2017 to provide an enterprise-wide research-administration assessment, which was completed in March of 2017. The beginning of the initiative that forms this Objective began with the assessment itself and has continued, informally and as time has allowed, since it ended. This is an intensive, formal activity that will require extended and in-depth involvement from all administrative units involved (including OSP) and the assistance of an outside consultant with expertise in process-improvement facilitation.

Progress

2018 Status
Minimal Progress
This is an intensive formal activity that will require extended and in-depth involvement from as many relevant administrative units and other stakeholders (including OSP) as possible and the assistance of an outside consultant with expertise in process-improvement facilitation. Progress highlights include the following: 1. Two potential consultants have been identified: Huron Consulting Group (which would be a continuation of the original 2017 engagement to implement phase II of the original engagement proposal) and Maury Cotter (private consultant, former long-time Director of the Office of Quality Improvement and Administrative Process Redesign (now the Office of Strategic Consulting) at the University of Wisconsin. 2. We are working to identify a third option and a scope of work for the engagement to issue formal bid requests.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 2.E.1

Strengthen knowledge management and address training gaps to establish accountability and mitigate compliance risk.

Baseline

No OSP personnel were CRA certified at the beginning of the FY17-18 planning period. No OSP personnel had completed any of the five applicable Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training modules offered by the Office of Research Compliance & Integrity through the Epigeum Impact Series program.

Progress

2018 Status
Achieved
1. On May 24, 2018, all three OSP team members who were eligible to take the Research Administration Certification Council (RACC) Certified Research Administrator (CRA) examination took and passed this extremely rigorous four-hour exam. The pass rate for the exam is approximately 65-70%. 2. Because the remaining team member did not meet the RACC’s minimum length-of-service criterion at the time the rest of the team applied for clearance from the certifying body to take the exam, the member could not take the exam this year; however, the member has committed to doing so in the next planning cycle (2019). The Objective for FY18-19 will be updated accordingly. 3. All four members have completed all five Epigeum Responsible Conduct of Research training modules for RCR, Human Subjects Protections, Humane Use of Animals in Research, IP, Export Controls.

Strategic Priority Area 3: Ensure the alignment of institutional structures and functions.

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 3.E.1

Create and institutionalize policies that enforce standards and document responsibilities across the sponsored-programs/research enterprise.

Baseline

Huron Research recommended a total of 17 policies as part of its enterprise-wide research-administration assessment. Of those 17 policies, eight policies were fully within the purview of the OSP's pre-award, non-financial scope of responsibility to initiate, develop, and finalize for review and adoption or rejection by the President's Cabinet: (1) Authorized Organizational Representative Policy, (2) Principal Investigator Eligibility Policy, (3) Service & Consulting Agreements Policy, (4) Cost-Sharing Policy, (5) Allowable and Unlike Costs Policy, (6) Proposal Submission Deadlines Policy, (7) Subrecipient vs. Contractor Policy, and (8) Award Closeout Policy. Of these policies, only 1 had an analogous precursor policy in place (the “Sponsored Programs Delegation of Authority Policy” which was last revised on 4/3/13 and which Huron identified as insufficient and in need of clarification and improvement). The remaining nine Huron-recommended policies were deemed outside of the authority of the OSP to initiate, develop, and finalize (these are firmly in the purview of the Controller’s office in the post-award, financial areas of the award life cycle), and were designated as opportunities for advocacy and partnership with the Controller’s office to encourage development and adoption for these policies.

Progress

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
a. Recruited, organized, and convened Policy Review Working Group (Pat Smith, University Counsel; Brenda Lindberg, Controller’s Office; Deborah Herrington, CLAS, Chemistry Unit Head; Casey Thelenwood, COE; Bob Smart, VPRA; Michael Gouin-Hart, Director, OSP/AOR) b. Drafted, reviewed, and finalized four policies recommended as most urgent by Huron Consulting Group as part of the Research Administration Assessment performed in March 2017 (Externally Sponsored Programs Policy [revision of 2013 policy]; Principal Investigator Eligibility Policy; Service and Consulting Agreements Policy; and Cost-Sharing Policy); all four to go before the President’s Cabinet at date TBD by VPRA and Provost. c. Drafted and finalized additional policies as follows: Research Data Policy d. Reviewed, revised, and forwarded for finalization additional policies drafted by the VPRA, as follows: Service Centers (now with the Controller for review); Extra Compensation Policy (with University Counsel and Budget Office for further review).

Strategic Priority Area 4: Enhance the institution's image and reputation.

Back to list