Being the Campus-Wide Point Person for Research Support

  • September 25, 2019

(As shared by Penn State University)

As more units have adopted InfoReady at your institution, you may have felt the strain of being the main contact for other administrators. In a recent webinar, Michelle Hutnik (Director of Research Analytics) and Communications) and Jill Selfe (Administrative Coordinator) from Penn State University shared their strategies for initiating and collaborating with new administrators. The number of units and types of use cases managed through InfoReady has continued to expand at Penn State and they have done a wonderful job facilitating the growth and scaling up operations.

Penn State currently has several units using InfoReady including the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), the Office of Foundation Relations, the Office of Undergraduate Education, and the Graduate School. Each unit is using the system for several types of programs and processes (found below) and have their own unique needs.

Original intended uses for the system included:

  •  Limited submissions
  • Seed funding
  • Fellowships
  • Travel grants 

Over time, use has expanded to:

  • Awards: faculty, graduate, and undergraduate
  • Manuscript reviews
  • Judging registration
  • Program evaluations
  • Poster exhibitions and competitions
To facilitate growth over time, Jill and Michelle recommend these tips:
  • Define (or recall) your goals. What was your primary reason for purchasing the software? Reducing administrative burden? Centralizing opportunities? Share these messages broadly and repeatedly when introducing the system to potential stakeholders.
  • Aim for consistency. Use templates to keep application and review processes similar across opportunities. This builds a sense of familiarity and comfort among all users, and may even lead to increased use. It’s not uncommon for an applicant for one opportunity asking to use the system for a process they manage. The increased consistency also has the added benefit of standardizing data across competitions for future reporting needs.
  • Assess new administrator knowledge. Has the interested administrator ever run a competition in InfoReady? If not, start with a demo of the site using a current or test competition. If they’ve already used the system and are interested in using it for a new process, discuss the procedures and how they may or may not fit with the current format. Feel free to direct administrators to InfoReady support resources that can help fill the knowledge gaps.
  • Streamline your communications. Map out desired touch points, from initial announcement to sharing awardees widely. Many of these will be sent from within InfoReady, but could also include postings on external websites or calendars. Keep message language and frequency similar for all opportunities so users know what to expect over time.
  • Connect in person. With a large campus and the ease of technology, administrators can become siloed, even while using the same platform. Create a user group that meets periodically to share best practices, potential use cases, and overall feedback to improve. Share your findings with our Support Team at We’d love to hear them!
We want to thank Jill and Michelle for sharing their journey with InfoReady thus far during the webinar. Their consistent approach and openness to change have been key to their success as usage of InfoReady expands throughout the main campus at University Park and the other PSU campuses. 
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