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Office of Research Builds Expertise with Another Certified Research Administrator on Team


Amy Jones

Research administrator Amy Jones recently earned national certification.

Posted Jan. 17, 2017 – The College of Education’s Office of Research continues to bolster its expertise.

Amy Jones, a research administrator at the college since 2015, earned voluntary national certification in December through the nonprofit Research Administrators Certification Council.

Jones joins a select group of 12 other certified research administrators at the University of Houston, including Lori Armstrong, the College of Education’s research liaison, who first earned certification in 2005 and has recertified every five years as recommended.

Ezemenari Obasi, the college’s interim associate dean for research, congratulated Jones “for achieving a significant milestone.”

“It demonstrates a commitment to professional development and an eagerness of our staff to want to provide the highest level of service to the college,” said Obasi, who also chairs the psychological, health and learning sciences department. “She didn’t have to study all those hours.”

Earning certification requires meeting experience standards and passing a comprehensive exam that covers project development and administration, legal requirements, the grant application systems, financial management, and general management.

Jones estimates that she studied 80 hours in the months leading up to the exam in November.

“It was kind of daunting not to have any rubric or idea of what it was going to look like,” Jones said. “I know very intelligent and experienced administrators who have had to take it twice.”

As a research administrator, Jones describes her job as “the care and feeding of grants.” She ensures principal investigators follow complex grant regulations, spend funding appropriately and otherwise stay on track. She primarily works with the psychological, health and learning sciences department. She previously handled pre-award responsibilities, refining proposals with her eye for detail.

When Jones has questions, she said she turns to her “Yoda,” Lena Mitchell, the college’s other research administrator with post-award duties.

Under Dean Robert McPherson, the College of Education has intensified its focus on high-impact faculty research in recent years. Making significant progress, research expenditures have doubled to $5.6 million since 2011.

Jones said her varied background has served her well as a research administrator.

She went straight to work after graduating high school in 1991, unable to afford college at the time. After 20 years in the workforce – including a stint as an animal control officer – Jones started college at the University of Houston in 2008. Six years later, she had a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the C.T. Bauer College of Business and a master’s in project management from the College of Technology.

Jones worked for three years at the UH College of Technology handling events and research before joining the College of Education.

“I would go to school every day if I could,” Jones said. “I love learning new stuff. It's one of the reasons I joined the team at the College of Education.”