A new course is taking a “TEAM” approach to instructing City of Hope personnel in key areas of research operations. Training & Education of Administrative Managers (TEAM) aims to provide staff and faculty members with the basic tools they need to properly manage grants, contracts, protocols and other aspects of research administration. The main purpose of TEAM is to give all campus administrators access to the skills required to perform their jobs.
"There is a broad range of experience among the various departmental administrators," said Karen Feintuch, technical coordinator in Research Operations at City of Hope. She and several colleagues recognized a need to "bring a level of consistency to our efforts."
They formed a committee and began searching for existing instructional programs they could adopt for use at City of Hope. They found a model in the Research Administration Management Program (RAMP) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
"Gail [Herndon] and I contacted UCI, who invited us to sit in on one of their classes," Feintuch said. "When it was over, we asked if we could buy the curriculum. They said, ‘Absolutely not.’ Then we asked if they would give it to us.” Apparently that was the better question, because the university did just that. She and Herndon, who is the administrative director of the Division of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, returned with the materials. A committee representing a cross-section of City of Hope campus personnel then developed the outline for TEAM.
Eight required courses form the core TEAM curriculum. These include instruction in topics such as proposal preparation, human subject’s protection and conflict of interest, among others. Optional courses in five subjects further support the training, as do numerous "mini-courses." Feintuch is quick to point out that, while the classes cost nothing to attend, they are not just a formality. "There is a test after each class and students must pass it to get credit. The exams can be challenging," she said.
Once they have successfully passed the core curriculum and two optional courses, students receive a certificate of completion. "At UCI, that RAMP certificate holds strong cachet," said Feintuch. "It means something to employers." She is confident City of Hope’s program will have equal value.
TEAM is entirely an in-house operation, spearheaded by Tom Wilson, director, Office of Sponsored Projects. City of Hope employees who are familiar with each topic teach the corresponding course, and classes are open to any faculty or staff who would benefit from the program. This includes, but is not limited to, administrators, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and principal investigators.
Students may take any class when offered; however, they must pass the "Principles of Research Administration" (C-1) course before taking any others.
Feedback from students has been positive. "Although my job doesn’t involve my working directly with grants, the information I have learned helps me sort through some of the problems and issues that are brought to this office," said Cindy Palmer, executive assistant in Research Operations. "I feel I can do my job better by better understanding the grant process and others' roles within that process."
Those interested in learning more about TEAM classes may contact Feintuch or Wilson.