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Summer 2005

Pilot Group Seeks Progress on PI Reports

Grants administrators have come up with a multitude of shadow systems to provide faculty with grant balances that were difficult to derive from the Integrated System. ISDS subsequently created a manual encumbrance subsystem as a standardized alternative to those shadow systems. While a number of administrators are using the subsystem successfully, it is still not widely used. Those interviewed attribute this to the fact that many grants administrators have created their own reports to meet the exact needs of their PIs, and the subsystem may not meet those needs. The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and ISDS would like to change that.

“We think everyone would benefit from a standardized and effective method for entering and retrieving data that does not require double entry and where the report data comes directly from the Integrated System,” says Mike Glasgow, Assistant Vice President for Research Administration. To that end, OSP and ISDS are partnering to:

  • Determine exactly what information grants administrators are currently providing for PIs,
  • Provide training and one-on-one support for grants administrators to encourage use of the standardized subsystem,
  • Identify gaps in the current subsystem and develop recommendations for improvements, and
  • Create common format(s) for PI reporting that can be systematically produced by merging Integrated System and Encumbrance subsystem data.

Glasgow has invited a group of grants administrators to participate in a pilot of the UVA Manual Encumbrance Subsystem. The group will work with OSP Grants Administrator Kristen Sellers and ISDS Director of System Usability Rose Chisholm to explain how they currently report to PIs, make recommendations and evaluate suggested alternatives for improving the subsystem, and test new reports that are created as a result of their input.

“We need to have a common solution that interfaces directly with the Integrated System,” says Glasgow. “If the information is in the system database, we should be able to create reports that show it in formats that will meet the needs of the PIs.”

Meanwhile, ISDS is also working with the office of HR Development and Training, who will soon announce workshops in which grants administrators can bring their own data and receive one-on-one help using the subsystem, according to Chisholm. She also directs people to a presentation that was given before the Fiscal Administrators meeting in April that explains the “whats, whys, and hows” of the Manual Encumbrance Subsystem. (Click here to see this presentation.)

“ It is our goal to make the Integrated System work for the University,” says Chisholm, “Grants administrators have been struggling with reports for their PIs since we went live with the finance applications. We are hopeful that, with the help of the pilot group and encouraging more people to use the manual encumbrance subsystem, we may be close to making the system work better for them.”