Southern Illinois University

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Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Office of Research Development and Administration. | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Office of Research Development and Administration.

Historical Note:

The Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (OSPA) is responsible for managing internally and externally funding research grants awarded to students and faculty at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  But overseeing university research was not always the responsibility of a dedicated office.  The 1950-1951 Statutes of the Board of Trustees, a section of the annual report, established the Graduate School and charged it with supervising all graduate work and organized research of the university.  Willis G. Swartz was the first Graduate School Dean and David T. Kenney was Assistant to the Dean.  Among the Dean’s responsibilities was assisting the development of research programs, with support of the Graduate Council which was required to acquire research funds and grants from outside agencies.  The Dean’s supervisory role was reaffirmed in Board of Trustees 1954-1955 annual report which also described different research categories including patents and copyrights.

While Graduate School administration was responsible for managing university research, no specific office or position is mentioned in the Board of Trustees annual reports until the mid-1950s.  John O. Anderson was appointed Assistant Dean for Research in the Graduate School at the Board’s August 27, 1957 meeting, which took effect on September 1.  By the late 1950s the growth of university research programs expanded to the point where additional resources were needed for their management.  The expanding programs were discussed at the April 21, 1961 Board meeting, which also provided a description of the functions of the Research Office of the Graduate School.  At the September 19, 1961 Board meeting, Anderson was reassigned as Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Coordinator of Research and Projects effective July 1, 1961.  The Office of Research and Projects managed research and grants within the Graduate School.

At the April 25, 1965 Board meeting, Ronald G. Hansen was appointed Associate Coordinator for Research and Projects, effective April 1.  He was later named the office’s acting director effective July 1, 1965, and finally the Associate Dean and Coordinator of Research and Projects effective July 1, 1966 after John Anderson’s resignation.  The Board of Trustees attempted to reorganize the position in the mid-1970s.  The Board debated the establishment of the Vice President for Research and Projects at the February 14, 1974 meeting, outlining the functions of the position as the facilitator of research.  The vote was a tie and the motion was defeated.

The Board of Trustees approved changing the name of Office of Research and Projects to the Office of Research Development and Administration at the December 9, 1976 meeting.  The name changed to the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration for the Fall 2011 semester.  After a July 2013 revision to the university organizational chart, OSPA now reports to the Vice Chancellor for Research.

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