New Master of Research Administration Director Wants To Expand Program
Angela White-Jones is the new director for the Master of Research Administration program in the School of Public Administration. A graduate of the Doctoral Program in Public Affairs, White-Jones sat down with communications coordinator Drexler B. James about the program and her visions for the future.
Drexler James: What is the Master of Research Administration program?
White-Jones: It is a program designed to give skills and train highly professional and ethical research administrators to manage and support research goals and ensure sponsors’ or funders’ requirements are followed. Being in the School of Public Administration, we pride ourselves in training administrators that have high ethical standards. Research administrators are essential; they are the bridge between investigators and people who will fund those particular projects, the connector between scholarship and sponsorship.
James: Is this a new program or a previously established program?
White-Jones: It’s a newer program; the degree was originally established here in fall 2011. So I am the second program director. The original program director was so wonderful, setting the tone for such a necessary educational offering, and getting it off the ground. I look to continue to build on that. As a graduate of the PAF program here at UCF, I will always have a connection to UCF. I took this as an opportunity to help grow and groom this next generation of research administrators and really hone their skills and talents.
James: What goals or visions do you have for this program?
White-Jones: While our program has done very well, I want to see the number of students in our master’s program, and our graduate certificate program, continue to grow. I also want to see us grow in national and international recognition for the scholarship we produce, for the activity and visibility of our alumni and for the expertise of our faculty in the program. My personal project is to grow our courses offerings, especially in the areas of responsible conduct of research administration legal frameworks, global research administration and clinical trials.
James: What benefit does this degree offer potential students?
White-Jones: It is a multidisciplinary program that is fully online. So you can take courses as your continue other commitments professionally and personally. You also get the unique chance to interface with your fellow students that are in difference cities, states and countries – it is such a treat to develop those networks. There is a tremendous set of skills that they can take with them in a variety of roles in research administration and management in academic settings, hospitals, nonprofits, government and even private sector industry. I myself came to UCF from the nonprofit sector. I like to say that, though the MRA degree seems like a “niche” degree, it’s really a unique degree that prepares you for a specific profession, but can also take you in a variety of directions.
James: What types of students are you looking for?
White-Jones: Any major can apply. I do not want people to think that they cannot be successful because they do not have a degree in public administration or political science or history or something similar. We are looking for students who are self-starters, self-motivated, pay attention to detail and flexible. The skill sets we teach can be transferred, but the students have to be prepared to do the work. And we find that they certainly are.
James: What words of advice would you give to potential students?
White-Jones: I would say come see me or call me so we can have a conversation about what your needs are and how our program can meet those needs. I’d also say that research administration is a growing field that directly contributes to enhancing the scholarship that changes how we view the world. This degree is a chance to get high-quality training and, much like anything related to public service, be a part of a culture that is often bigger than oneself.
To learn more, contact Program Director White-Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-823-5786.
Written by Drexler B. James, ‘13