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Survey Results (mailing services) John A. Finley 25 Jul 1997 10:00 EST

Wow!  Thanks, kind colleagues, for all of your thoughtful
and quick responses.  I was already plowing through the RESADM-L
archives when your e-mail started pouring in.

Incidentally, if you've ever got a few minutes, a dip into the early
archives of our list is pretty interesting.  Some of the issues which
came up then (IRIS vs. SPIN vs. Dialog, etc.) are still around, and
we're still asking, from time to time, about where to find this or
that electronic forms and who has a decent computerized grants
management package. Whether or not to post job openings was an issue
in the first year, and I think only one Web site was cited in the
entire year. (READM-L started in November 1993.)

Now on to the question of whether sponsored programs offices
take the responsibility for mailing their faculty's grant proposals
in time to meet the deadlines.

I received 35 responses, and I was surprised to find that only 9
offices (of the 35) do NOT mail grant proposals.  We don't either,
at present.  We are reevaluating that position, and that was the
reason for the survey.  We handle about 1,000 proposals a year with
5 FTE in pre-award.

I thought we'd find that offices which handled large volumes of
proposals would NOT take responsibility for mailing them, but five
offices with volumes of more than 1,000 proposals per year DO mail
proposals.  One of them which reports handling 2,500 proposals a
year, and another mailed 2,000 proposals plus 800 research reports
last year. Both of those offices have three people devoted solely
to processing the proposals--copying, packing, mailing and tracking.

There were 21 offices handling fewer than 1,000 proposals a year
(some as few as 60 to 75) which DO mail proposals.

Of the nine offices which do NOT mail proposals, one has a volume of
2,000 a year.  Two others are at universities where the mailings are
a departmental responsibility, as opposed to an individual faculty
grant writer's responsibility.  And two others which ordinarily do
NOT mail proposals WILL mail them in emergency cases.

Which leads to the next point:  We're all pushovers for a hard-luck
story.  Lead times of up to a week were the policy at most places.
Many required that proposals be brought in 4 or 5 days before a
deadline; some required lead times as low as 24 to 48 hours.  But
EVERYONE confessed to accepting (and mailing) proposals a few
minutes before the last possible express mail pick-up.

The information about how many people work in the offices is not as
useful because I didn't ask the question well.  I couldn't tell from
most of the e-mail responses how much "person power" actually went
into the work of copying and mailing grant proposals.

And actually, I didn't specifically ask whether making copies of the
grant proposals was a part of the mailing service.  I got the
impression from the answers that it is a part of the service at most

Very few of the sponsored programs offices had the duty of mailing
grant proposals imposed upon them by administration fiat. Far from
looking upon the service as an onerous burden, a majority of the
offices responding sees copying and mailing as a service they are
happy to provide in order to relieve the faculty of the chore and to
encourage grant-writing.

I'm uncomfortable with naming names and assigning numbers without
the express permission of the people who so generously wrote to me,
but I will be happy to answer other questions you might have about my
informal survey.

Thanks again for your help.

John Finley
Office of Sponsored Programs Development
University of Louisville
Louisville, Ky. 40292
Tele: 502 852-6512 FAX: 502 852-8361