$48m in grants move back to campus

Individuals go through courses, tests at own pace.
(July 9, 2004 - By Lisa Aleman-Padilla | From The Fresno Bee)

Welty says handling the funds will be easier on site.

By Jim Steinberg, The Fresno Bee

(Published Monday, November 17, 2003)

University President John Welty is moving Fresno State’s administration of $48 million in grants and contracts from the off-campus auxiliary services to the university itself.

The move from California State University, Fresno Foundation south of Shaw Avenue to the campus has been under study for more than a year.

The grants and contracts provide funds for faculty members’ research, Welty said. Moving the operation on campus will make it easier for faculty seeking research money, he said.

In his written statement, Welty said that grants and contracts administration should be a responsibility of the associate vice president for research, grants and contracts, reporting to the provost. The associate vice president is Thomas McClanahan.

Welty appointed interim Provost Jeronima L. Echeverria to serve as chairwoman of a transition team for the changed grants operation.

Welty had appointed a task force in fall 2002 to review the most recent audit of campus operations for the California State University system and to determine whether Fresno State was in compliance with its recommendations.

The audit found that Fresno State needed greater oversight of grants and contracts, and it recommended that the president’s office set clear direction.

Welty also ordered a review to determine the most effective way to run the grants and contracts program.

Fresno State reported last year that it had tripled the amount of grant and contract dollars it received, growing in five years from $13 million to more than $38 million. Welty said Thursday that the total has since climbed an additional $10 million.

Welty hopes to increase the total.

"It would be great if we could reach $75 million to $80 million within a few years," he said.

Most grant and contract money arrives for specific purposes as proposed by faculty members.

"It becomes important because this is an avenue that allows the faculty’s scholarly and research activity, which we typically would not be able to support from our general operating budget," Welty said.

The administration of grants and contracts operated on campus until about 20 years ago, McClanahan said. The increase in grant and contract money, the number of staff administering it and the number of faculty applications for the money has made the campus-foundation divide more burdensome. Fresno State received 400-500 grants last year.

Moving the operation also should prove more convenient for federal, state and private agencies providing grant money.

If Fresno State could raise its grant and contracts receipts to $80 million, it would rank second in the CSU system, behind San Diego State. Fresno State now ranks behind the San Diego, Long Beach and Sacramento campuses.

The reporter can be reached at jsteinberg@fresnobee.com or 441-6311.

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