Research Administration

Advisory Board

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Rebecca Claycamp, MS, CRA
Consultant in Research Administration

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Dr. Edward Gabriele
Founder & President, Semper Vi Foundation
Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Health and Human Experience

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Monique Gregory, MRA, CRA
Manager, Contracts and Grants, Pre-Award
College of Sciences
University of Central Florida

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Andra Kiscaden, MRA
Senior Contract & Grant Administrator
University of New Mexico

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Amanda Neese, MRA, CRA
Director of Public Health Grants
Nuvance Health

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Toni Shaklee
Assistant Vice President for Research
Oklahoma State University

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Jennifer Shambrook
Director, Contracts and Grants
UCF Office of Research and Commercialization

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David Smelser, CRA
Assistant Director of Sponsored Programs
University of Tennessee

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Dr. Jo Smith
Valencia College

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Bob Sullivan, MRA, CRA
Associate Director
Pre-Award Administration, Office of Research
Drexel University

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Sikirat Tijani, MRA, CRA
Director, Research Administration
Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin

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Tony Ventimiglia
Director, Proposal Services and Faculty Support
Auburn University

Strategic Plan

Vision of the MRA Program

The Master of Research Administration program will be nationally recognized as the leader in the development of professional research administrators. The program will be a competitive graduate degree program that provides non-traditional students with a quality online education that includes a curriculum of courses that are both relevant and vital to the research enterprise. The program will employ well-qualified and knowledgeable professors to encourage students to grow and thrive in a healthy and diverse environment that utilizes the latest technology and teaching techniques available for distance learning.

Mission of the MRA Program

The MRA program seeks to provide quality graduate education to current and prospective professionals in public, private and nonprofit research organizations. The program is designed to address the local and national need for professionally trained research administrators. The curriculum focuses on a holistic approach towards equipping students with the complex skills to resolve and explore current issues related to the research enterprise.


The MRA program is a part of the UCF School of Public Administration and shares the school’s values. In a spirit of collegiality and collaboration, the school develops effective partnerships with the local community, other college and university departments, and the academic community at large. The school values diversity and multiculturalism with an active outreach and recruitment effort to meet diversity goals. All aspects of the MRA program promote leadership through adherence to democratic principles and the highest standards of ethical conduct.

The Strategic Planning Process

A detailed analysis of the key stakeholders was completed to ensure data was gathered in regards to curriculum content, instructors and student expectations and included within the plan. Key stakeholders for the program include: the program advisory board members, program students, university faculty involved in the program and university staff involved in the program.

The strategic planning group completed a thorough examination of the political, economic, social and technological (PEST) forces and trends that affect the program. The group also performed an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) for the program. The SWOT analysis provided a basis for action needed to ensure the success of the program. After the SWOT analysis was completed, the strategic planning group created a threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths (TOWS) matrix to address the items to be corrected either through internal and external means, items to be addressed in the future and items needed to ensure program survival. Goals and objectives were established for each critical issue as each of these items is integral to the survival and growth of the program. An implementation plan for each goal and objective was then developed to provide a roadmap for the resolution of each of the critical issues.

The MRA program’s current goals include the following:

  • Increase recruitment efforts to improve competitiveness in the recruitment of outstanding graduate students for the MRA program
  • Increase awareness of the program through the use of feedback and testimonials provided by current and previous MRA students
  • Develop a continuing improvement process to analyze the program of study to ensure content relevancy to research administration and that the most effective instructional strategies are implemented online

To achieve these goals the following strategies are currently being implemented:

  • The program is expanding its recruitment of potential graduate students through increasing the number of exhibits at professional research administration conferences.
  • The program director is working with a marketing team to determine and track modifications to their marketing strategies to increase visibility of the program using website analytics.
  • The marketing team is also working on developing an updated informational video that will include testimonies of MRA graduates and current students.

The MRA advisory board is in the process of updating and confirming the curriculum to include new federal regulator revisions and to ensure important issues are integrated for those in research administration. In addition, MRA competencies are being incorporated into the 2014-15 institutional effectiveness plan in order to gather data on student performance as it relates to the achievement of core competencies in research administration.

Projects & Reports

With assistance from former program director Jo Ann Smith (left) and several other partners, MRA alumna Winona Ward (right) crafted and submitted a proposal to The Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to create and staff an entire research office for the organization.

The Petroleum Institute accepted Ward’s proposal and she is now leading a significant international partnership, for which she received the Society of Research Administrators International’s top award for international collaboration.

Ward’s proposal also fulfilled a course requirement in the M.R.A. program, PAD 5850 – Contracts and Grant Management.

Learn more at Research Administration Student Wins International Award for Abu Dhabi Partnership.