2017 Society of Research Administrators (SRA) International Conference

It was my first time attending the SRA International Conference which was held in Vancouver, Canada from October 14-18, 2017.   I joined many of the sessions but I would like to share with you information about following three which I found particularly interesting:

  1. “Negotiating Resources to be Successful Leader in Research Administration” attendees were given strategies to negotiate successfully.   During this session, we teamed up with a partner to role play through in-depth case studies, for example, negotiating an operational budget for the Office of Sponsored Programs, negotiating salary increases for staff, and negotiating for more office space for sponsored project staff.  We learned the fundamental elements to a successful negotiation were: a. attitude b. knowledge and c. interpersonal skills. All negotiation is unequivocally affected by possession of these three elements.  One has to be knowledgeable about the issue and also well prepared.  Effective verbal communication skills are not only an important part of one’s overall interpersonal skills, but are necessary during negotiations.

2. The “Effective Management Practices” presentation discussed the difference between management and leadership. Leaders are people who guide, direct and coach others.  Managers are people who manage some/all parts of a department or a particular task.  They also focused on working with different generational labels which made for interesting discussion.  The discussion wasn’t about labeling, it was about diversity amongst generations and about how to manage Traditionalists/Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. The take home message is learn to understand the generational attributes and figure out how to utilize them adequately in managing every person effectively and also work collaboratively.

3. “Detecting Compliance and Ethics Issues in a Complex Research Environment” was another great session about critical thinking. One highlight of this session was that it was given by CUNY’s very own Associate University Provost for Research Administration & Compliance and my Supervisor Farida Lada!  (This fact in and of itself was pretty awesome for me).  Farida divided us into four groups and gave us a complex research compliance issue that we needed to work through as a group. This required the group to think about the issue as it relates to the institution as a whole and not just our day to day role. Frequently, when at the office, an issue may come across my desk that just doesn’t involve my department. To assist in resolving and administratively handling the issue may require contacting other departments/person who may handle other compliance areas at the institution.

I always believe a conference becomes a great experience when you can take away new knowledge. I also particularly enjoy presenters who are interactive and engage their audience. The SRA International Conference sessions provided some really great content, and I came away feeling I had acquired new knowledge.  It was well worth attending.

Written by:
Arita Winter-Potter, MS
Research Compliance Manager
The City University of New York
Office of Research


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