Barb Miller Honored with Research Administrator Award

Barb Miller, Research Administrator for the College of Arts & Letters, has received the Fall 2019 Unit Research Administrator Spotlight Award in recognition of her professional contributions and quality of service. Recipients of the award play an integral role in advancing MSU’s research mission and lead by example.

Miller has worked for MSU for 10 years, of which the past seven and a half years have been with the College of Arts & Letters where she leads the pre-award research effort.

“I enjoy helping our faculty and students find funding for their research, scholarly, and creative activities,” Miller said. “I also love the people I work with. You can do the same work anywhere, but it’s the people that make all the difference. Arts & Letters has provided me with flexibility in my work schedule, and my Research Associate Dean and administrative supervisor have encouraged me in my professional development. In addition, we’ve added a post-award research administrator to our team, which has helped in many ways. These things contribute to a very happy work environment.”

In her current role, Miller works closely with individual faculty members preparing grant proposals and coordinating with the post-award research administrator to ensure the success of those who have won external support. She also works with Bill Hart-Davidson, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, to coordinate the research enhancement programs in the College of Arts & Letters more broadly.

I also love the people I work with. You can do the same work anywhere, but it’s the people that make all the difference. Arts & Letters has provided me with flexibility in my work schedule, and my Research Associate Dean and administrative supervisor have encouraged me in my professional development.

Barb Miller

“Barb is a master at helping faculty, many of whom are navigating the choppy seas of grant seeking for the first time, arrive at their intended destinations on time and with a minimum amount of drama and turmoil,” said Hart-Davidson, who nominated Miller for the Unit Research Administrator Spotlight Award. “She has become an integral part of the research mission in the College, helping faculty to advance their careers, to seek external support for research, and to create unique research-based learning opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students.”

As the funded proposal rate has grown in the College of Arts & Letters, Miller also has helped the College as a whole submit more competitive proposals than ever before.

“So not only are proposals getting out the door, but they are leaving with a much better chance of being funded than in previous years,” Hart-Davison said. “Much of that is due to Barb’s effort to work with faculty, with fiscal officers in the units, and with her colleagues in the Office of Sponsored Programs to make everything run as smoothly as possible.

“I have rarely had the pleasure of working with someone who displays the kind of energy, professionalism, and courtesy that are Barb’s signature qualities. She is absolutely and unfailingly good at the technical aspects of her work. She is knowledgeable and technically savvy, for instance, in multiple complex systems required for grant seeking such as EBS, the Kuali Coeus Research Administration System, KFS and of course the external systems such as Grants.gov. But beyond her skills and technical abilities, it is Barb’s relationship building acumen that makes her truly invaluable as a contributor to the College.”

I have seen the way that she makes our programs and the College a more dynamic and effective place to carry out our research mission.

Bill Hart-Davidson, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education

In his nomination letter, Hart-Davidson called Miller an “extraordinary leader.”

“She is not a leader because of her research administrator title, but rather because she knows where and how best to proceed and so people follow her example,” Hart-Davidson said. “I have seen the way that she makes our programs and the College a more dynamic and effective place to carry out our research mission. Through her outreach and professional example, she also makes her colleagues better.”

Prior to the College of Arts & Letters, Miller worked for the Kuali Coeus system project team at MSU for two and a half years.

Overall, Miller has 24 years of experience in research administration. Prior to coming to MSU, she worked at the University of Michigan as a research administrator in various positions, and after that she did fundraising for the Tibbits Opera House, an historic theatre in Coldwater, Michigan.

Miller’s nomination for the Unit Research Administrator Spotlight Award was supported by several faculty and staff. MSU’s research administration offices, sponsored programs administration, Office of Sponsored Programs, and contract and grant administration, sponsor the award, which was established in the fall of 2017.

Along with this honor, Miller was recognized with a plaque and a financial token of appreciation.