January 2023 Newsletter

  • RACC Highlights from SRAI, Las Vegas, NV
  • Changes to Certification Term and Required Contact Hours
  • Managing Chaos with Microsoft Tasks, Sheets, and Notes
  • New Certificants
  • Spotlight on a RACC Board Member
  • Spotlight on a RACC Volunteer
  • Take us with you when you move
  • Believe it or Not!
  • Exam Schedules and Body of Knowledge Review Sessions
  • Ready to Recertify?
  • Contact Hours Opportunities
  • Employment Opportunities
  • Sign Me Up or Let Me Go
RACC Highlights from
SRAI in Las Vegas, NV
Cira Mathis, CRA, PMP, Maleka Bin Tarsh, Aseela Al Dhaheri; Representing: Khalifa University
Internal Funding Programs: Successes & Lessons Learned

Shelly Berry Hebb, CPRA at the RACC Booth
Debbie Schaller-Demers and Jenifer Hoffman, CPRA, CRA

Congratulations to Stormy Staley, CRA! SRAI Future of the Field recipient

Changes to Certification Term and Required Contact Hours
Beginning with exams taken in 2023, certifications earned through CRA®, CPRA®, or CFRA exams will have a valid term of three years. In addition, recertification for an individual credential will require 42 contact hours, earned over the three-year period. The Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) conducted a survey on certificants’ perceived barriers to recertification. These changes stem from the survey. The results indicated that the required number of contact hours (80) was too arduous. It was difficult to obtain and track documentation over a five-year term. As a result, the RACC Board investigated certification terms and recertification requirements of other organizations adjacent to Research Administration. RACC determined that its certification term and number of required contact hours for recertification significantly exceeded the average among nine other peer organizations.

This change brings RACC's certification standards to closely align with peer organizations. We are confident these changes will address a significant barrier to Research Administrators maintaining their earned certifications.

For any questions on these changes, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or email info@cra-cert.org
Managing Chaos with Microsoft Tasks, Sheets, and Notes
Carolyn Mazzella, MPA, CRA
Whether you are new to research administration or a seasoned veteran, the one thing we can all agree on is the high volume of work in our field. This article can’t fix the volume of work, but it can provide a few tips and maybe a bit of inspiration to help manage the chaos. 

If you type into Google “tools to manage workflow” numerous articles will appear in your search. Many of those articles will direct you to cloud-based platforms such as Basecamp, Trello, and the like for managing projects/flow. For me, these options, did not help my day-to-day processes of sorting, reviewing, approving, and filing digital documents/emails. Nor did they help for tracking grant status or capturing faculty notes. The following four items, available free (for Microsoft users) did. Full Story
Let’s us celebrate our new RACC Certificants!
Spotlight on a RACC Board Member
Sheleza Mohamed,
National Director of Government Grants Administration
American Heart Association

Where has the time gone?! I joined the RACC Board of Directors in October 2021 and feel incredibly honored for the opportunity to serve the research administration community by volunteering as a Body of Knowledge (BOK) presenter and a member of the RACC communications team. I enjoy being a part of the journey for future certificate holders and find participating in the BOK sessions extremely rewarding. I earned my RACC CRA designation in 2010 and this was the single most instrumental catalyst to a passion filled career. The two additional certifications followed.

I am also extremely humbled to serve as chair of RACC’s inaugural DE&I committee. I have witnessed the repercussions of a failed system and structure. I have consistently led as an inclusion champion and am committed to having the courageous conversations, building bridges and fostering a sense of belonging. Conversely, I have been subjected to repercussions of a failed system and structure. I am committed to launching our DE&I initiatives. More to come soon.

My 20 year journey to RACC includes progressive experience in research administration ranging from the university’s effort certification compliance coordinator, central office preaward specialist, variety of departmental postaward roles, department administrator overseeing a U.S. News & World Report ranked department with a robust research portfolio and 7 service centers to now serving as the inaugural national director of government grants administration at American Heart Association to help address health disparities for a better outcome.

My commitment to Research Administration continues with my active participation in NCURA Region V and content development for Compliance Corner with Sheleza on LinkedIn. When I am not working (insert hysterical laughter here), I enjoy watching old Bollywood movies, eating Guyanese food, practicing being an amateur artist, supporting Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation in combating domestic violence, reading rom-coms, and learning to play pickleball with my husband.

If you are considering a career change to Research Administration or fine tuning your skillset, don’t hesitate. I read this profound quote that resonated with me that I will leave you with “A year from now you may wish you started today.” I cordially invite you to participate in RACC activities, for more information on BOK sessions or volunteer opportunities, visit https://www.cra-cert.org/

Spotlight on a Volunteer
Lauren Zajac, MPA, CRA
Associate Vice President, Research Administration
University of Arizona Health Sciences

Lauren Zajac never knew that she wanted to be a research administrator when she grew up. But she did know that she does her best work at the last minute and under strict deadlines and feels lucky to have found her “perfect fit” when she started her first position in research administration 25 years ago. Since then, she has enjoyed her work in the field and has held a variety of research administration roles including pre-award, post-award, contracts negotiation, clinical trial budgeting and coverage analysis. She loves the biomedical sciences and loves the fact that many of the clinical trials and grants that she worked on many years ago are now standard treatment therapies today. She also loves to lead and mentor others, interpret guidance, partner with faculty and leadership to stay solution-focused, and using strategic planning to achieve long term goals. 

Since 2014, Lauren has worked at the University of Arizona Health Sciences where she currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Research Administration. This position is by far her favorite, as she loves serving as a resource and strategist for health sciences faculty and leadership and leading her team of 54 FTEs who are the “best in the business” supporting the research administration needs for the five health sciences colleges at the University of Arizona. Lauren earned her CRA in 2011 and has presented at several professional conferences and contributed to the NCURA magazine. Lauren has also loved volunteering as a member of the RACC newsletter committee. In her free time Lauren likes to read, take walks, try new restaurants, and spend time with family and friends. 
Take us with you
If you plan to move to another job and still want to receive the RACC Newsletter, please let us know your new email address. We will ensure that you still receive the same great service and reading material. Thanks!
Believe it or Not!
We submitted a proposal that was jointly owned by two funding agencies. The first one was not funded but the second was funded but at a vastly reduced budget. They requested a revised grant submission using their own systems and it was due within one week’s timeframe. We tried to get more time to gather all the necessary documentation together but had no response from the sponsor. Therefore, we had to quickly figure out how the new sponsor worked as we had never worked with them before, revise the budget and grant documents, get paperwork for 5 subawards collated, and submit electronically before the 5pm deadline within a week. It took a village of colleagues to make this all happen (and of course some much-needed evening and weekend work) but we did it with 30 seconds left to spare! We were amazed and appreciative of our team effort.

Submitted by Katrina J. Akioka, CRA, Research Administrator, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
A PI was leaving another institution to take a position at ours and intended to transfer a grant and its equipment with him. I tried to contact him to discuss the necessary steps for the equipment transfer approval process. “Don’t worry about it, Bill,” he replied by voice mail. “I’ve got it all in a U-Haul and I’m on my way!”

Submitted by Bill Sharp, Ph.D. (Retired!)
I cannot remember the PI and what we were discussing, but whatever it was, he didn't like the solutions I was providing. I will never forget how he very seriously looked at me and said, "well, can we just lie?" totally straight faced. He was 100% serious. My response. "No."

Submitted by Kris Keays-Gant, CRA, University of Alaska Anchorage
Please share your story!
Use the "Believe it or Not" button and send us your story. This is the one place where research administrators from all over can laugh, cry, and sympathize. We have all been there!
Exam Schedules and Body of Knowledge Review Sessions

Exam schedules and Body of Knowledge Review sessions can be found HERE.
To host a review session contact
Michelle Breton, Review Session Coordinator
Ready to Recertify?

Keep track of your contact hours and supporting documentation. If you have any questions on our recertification process, please contact Susanne MacDonald.
Go to the RACC Website for vital information regarding recertification.

Check out our social media pages for upcoming contact hour opportunities!
Contact Hour Opportunities
Employment Opportunities
Contact us to post employment
opportunities on the RACC website.
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