Utah State University

Executive Director of the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO)

City Logan Campus
Posted Date 5 months ago(11/4/2022 10:15 AM)
Requisition ID
# of Openings
Job Locations
Category (Portal Searching)
Position Type
Benefited Full-Time
Job Classification
Percent of Time or Hours per Week
Sponsored Programs
Advertised Salary
Commensurate with experience, plus excellent benefits
Telework Eligible


The Executive Director of the Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) at Utah State University (USU) reports to the Vice President for Research (VPR) and leads the operations and management of SPO, including oversight of administrative processes for pre-award activities, award management, closeout, and compliance with Federal and other relevant regulations for sponsored research, grants and contractual agreements. Working arrangement options include full time in-office, full or part-time telework, or flexible telework.


  • Hire, train, assign duties, supervise, and evaluate SPO staff. Communicate appropriate metrics that enable the monitoring and adjustment of office workload and workflow.
  • Manage the SPO budget, including operational costs and salaries of SPO staff. Identify budgetary opportunities and efficiencies to align SPO operations with the strategic goals of the Office of Research and the University more broadly.
  • Develop and improve SPO processes and systems to support the University in the submission of extramural proposals, as well as execution and processing of contractual agreements.
  • Develop and administer University policies and procedures related to sponsored projects and ensure all phases of research administration are clear and carried out effectively.
  • Analyze and interpret policies and procedures related to research administration; identify, develop, and disseminate research administration-related information campus wide.
  • Oversee the internal review of proposal packages for external funding, the submission of proposal packages on behalf of the University, the preparation and dissemination of award notices, and the maintenance of essential records and files relating to contracts and grants. Verify compliance with USU’s institutional policies, applicable laws, regulations, and certifications.
  • Oversee the initiation and completion of award transfers, amendments, and other contractual matters from funding agencies. Ensure oversight of sponsored project sub-recipients.
  • Develop and maintain access to up-to-date institutional information for use in proposal submissions. Maintain registrations with and serve as the E-Business Point of Contact (EBiz POC) in submission portals including SAM.gov, Grants.gov, Research.gov, Justice Grants System (Justgrants), and GrantSolutions.
  • Participate in the negotiation/navigation of complex contractual and compliance issues arising from sponsored projects, proposals, and contractual agreements.
  • Provide direction for the interpretation of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance, as well as the Code of Federal Regulations for sponsored awards.
  • Monitor sponsored project regulations and compliance requirements via membership in relevant professional societies (e.g., NCURA, COGR, SRAI, etc.) and attendance and presentation at meetings and conferences. Stay current in relation to changing grant standards and proposal guidelines and communicate relevant information to stakeholders.
  • Serve as an Institutional Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) for submitting proposals and administering grants and contractual agreements with Federal agencies.
  • Provide periodic reports on sponsored project activity. Respond to requests for information and data regarding sponsored project activity.
  • Coordinate with the Institutional Research Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and Research Integrity and Compliance (RIC) on ensuring compliance with regulations regarding human subjects, animal research, conflict of interest, and other areas as necessary.
  • Coordinate with other appropriate USU offices, including Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA).
  • Assist in maintaining the Kuali system for application and award processes, compliance matters, and other sponsored project-related information, including reports. Oversee training opportunities provided to stakeholders on the Kuali system and other research administration-related information.
  • Serve on committees and advise senior leadership on issues important to sponsored project administration.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Vice President for Research.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Four years experience in grant and contract preparation, and pre-award/award management activities or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Understanding of Federal regulations and agency guidelines for the conduct and management of sponsored research, including NSF, DHHS, NIH, USDA, US Dept. of Education, DOD, NEA, and NEH.  Knowledge of OMB Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
  • Knowledge of and experience with Grants.gov, NSF FastLane/Research.gov, ERA Commons/ASSIST, and other electronic proposal submission and reporting mechanisms.
  • Experience leading a team.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s, PhD, or JD degree.
  • More than 5 years sponsored project research administration at a Carnegie R1 or R2 college/university.
  • Certified Research Administrator (CRA), NCURA, or SRAI certifications.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities:

  • Strong leadership, management, and team building skills.
  • Ability to effectively manage fully remote and hybrid staff, in addition to in-person staff.
  • Knowledge of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance and Federal agency guidelines as they relate to sponsored projects.
  • Knowledge of Federal, state, and/or private funding sources and mechanisms.
  • Proven ability to negotiate contracts effectively.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to develop relationships with a diverse range of internal and external partners. Strong customer service skills and ability to effectively collaborate with multiple stakeholders.
  • Knowledge and understanding of proposal writing procedures and requirements.
  • Excellent written communication, editing, and proofreading skills, and the ability to communicate complex guidelines and regulations to a variety of constituents.
  • Strong computer skills and experience with electronic research administration systems.
  • Ability to make administrative/procedural decisions and judgements.
  • Ability to handle multiple priorities and meet deadlines.

Required Documents

Along with the online application, please attach:

  1. Resume/CV to be uploaded at the beginning of your application in the Candidate Profile under “Resume/CV”
  2. Cover Letter to be typed/pasted at the end of your application

**Document size may not exceed 10 MB.**

Advertised Salary

Commensurate with experience, plus excellent benefits


Employees work indoors and are protected from weather and/or contaminants, but not, necessarily, occasional temperature changes.  The employee is regularly required to sit and often uses repetitive hand motions.

College/Department Highlights

Utah State University has a strong research portfolio that crosses many disciplines (Agriculture, Education, Science, Engineering, Social Sciences, among others). We value diversity, equal opportunity, and inclusion as central to our pursuit of research excellence.

Summary of 2021 Research Activities

  • Total number of sponsored awards received: 1942
  • Total amount of USU sponsored awards: $368.5 M
  • Total number of USU proposals: 1545
  • Total amount of USU proposals: $2.0 B

For more information regarding Research at Utah State University, see the latest research annual report at https://research.usu.edu/annual-report.

University Highlights

Utah State University (USU) was founded in 1888 and is Utah’s land-grant and space-grant university. USU is one of only 146 research institutions in the U.S. classified as R1 “very high research activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. As one of the two premier research institutions in Utah, USU provides a high-quality education at an affordable price. With its main campus in Logan, the university serves approximately 27,500 students, including 24,255 undergraduates and 3,171 graduate students. USU Online has served students from all 50 states and 55 countries for 25 years.


USU’s statewide system features three residential campuses, 30 total campus locations, and 23 Extension education centers. The university employs 903 full-time faculty members, 124 executive administrators, and 1,649 full-time support staff. USU offers 115 undergraduate majors, as well as 91 master’s and 42 doctoral degrees. Learn more about USU.


A core characteristic of USU is engagement with communities and people in economic development, improvements to quality of life, and human capital. Through the practical application of knowledge, the University and its faculty engage and share expertise with the state, nation, and world, preserving the historical land-grant tradition of partnering with communities to address critical societal issues in the interest of the public good.


The USU main campus is located in beautiful Logan, Utah, a city of about 50,000 situated in a picturesque mountain valley about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City. Outstanding recreational opportunities abound in the nearby mountains and proximate region.


USU is sensitive to the needs of dual career couples and provides a Dual Career Assistance program to support careers for partners who are also seeking employment.


USU endeavors to provide reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access in all aspects of employment to qualified persons with disabilities. To request a reasonable accommodation for a disability, please contact the university’s ADA Coordinator in the Human Resource office at 435-797-0122 or submit a request at hr@usu.edu.


USU Land Acknowledgment

Please visit our website to learn about Utah State’s land acknowledgment of the eight tribes of Utah.


Notice of Non-discrimination

In its programs and activities, including in admissions and employment, Utah State University does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination, including harassment, based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, status as a protected veteran, or any other status protected by University policy, Title IX, or any other federal, state, or local law.

The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations and/or USU’s non-discrimination policies:


Executive Director of the Office of Equity Matthew Pinner, discrimination@usu.edu, Distance Education Rm. 401, 435-797-1266

Title IX Coordinator Matthew Pinner, titleix@usu.edu, Distance Education Rm. 404, 435-797-1266

Mailing address: 5100 Old Main Hill, Logan, Ut 84322

For further information regarding non-discrimination, please visit https://equity.usu.edu/, or contact:

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 800-421-3481, OCR@ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education, Denver Regional Office, 303-844-5695, OCR.Denver@ed.gov


*updated 11/2022


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