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Released April 19, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- The Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs will soon be working together under a new name at The University of Southern Mississippi. The new name, to become effective in May, has yet to be decided. "We are letting everyone who will be working together in this new department decide what their name should be," said Connie Wyldmon, who will serve as director of the department. Employees from the two departments submitted suggestions for a new department name. The winner of the contest will receive $200, which will be added to his or her June paycheck.

Merging these two offices will allow faculty and staff to operate easier and more efficiently on a daily basis. "By combining these offices, we are bringing like-functions together, allowing for easier access and better communication for those working in these areas and those accessing these areas," said Wyldmon.

"We hope to have everyone located together in one building, which will create an ease of access for faculty and staff from the submission of the grant to closing out the grant." The Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting is currently located in College Hall, while the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is located in Bond Hall.

The accounting functions currently performed in the Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting will be moved into the finance area of the university. "Our finance department will be able to function very effectively by absorbing these functions and should actually be able to operate even better with this setup," said Gregg Lassen, chief financial officer for Southern Miss.

The merger is taking place in coordination with the infusion of PeopleSoft upgrades, which, when complete, will allow principal investigators-- the main people directing the contracts or grants--to view the status and progress of their proposals online. Information will be entered from one location and will ensure accuracy and consistency. "I am enthusiastic about the merger of (Contracts and Grants) and ORSP," said Frank Moore, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and principal investigator on several grants, including two from the National Science Foundation. "Aside from the anticipated ease with which researchers will be able to track grant activity, merging the offices most closely tied to grantsmanship will surely help us increase research activity across campus."

The new department should be fully functional by July 1, 2004. "We hope our new name will reflect the spirit of our collaborative and energized efforts to work with faculty, staff and students from the proposal submission stage through the award closeout," said Wyldmon. "We have had some good names so far and look forward to announcing the winner."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM