When leadership changes: reflecting on the way forward in research administration.

Author:Molfese, Victoria
Position:Voice of Experience - Dialogue with Philip V. Spina - Interview

Voice of Experience advances the Journal's tradition of academic and professional excellence by considering contemporary issues and horizons in research administration. VOE is a celebrated feature column in each edition of the Journal. It is under the corporate authorship of some of the most distinguished and seasoned members of SRA International who lead research administration efforts around the globe. In this issue, VOE offers an interview with Mr. Philip V. Spina, MA, CRA, who in October completed his leadership as the first President of the Society elected for a two-year term.


Changes in leadership always create moments of reflection. This is as true for organizations or local small local communities as it is for nations and governments. This year, the American people experienced a significant moment of leadership-change that has created a time of critical reflection upon the foundations of American life. More than any political platform, this past election year has been a moment to re-discover the core values and the core meaning of what it means to be a unique people with a unique way of life who are part of a global community. The Society of Research Administrators International has undergone its own change of leadership this year. It is a unique time of reflection and re-discovery. This reflection and re-discovery are not centered upon what it means to be a member of SRA. Rather it is a moment when the women and men of the Society are moved to reflect critically upon the meaning of the profession of research administration itself, and its mission for the act of research within our respective institutions and communities. In this edition of VOE, Philip Spina offers his reflections upon these very issues as he completes his two-year term as SRA International President.

An Interview with Philip V. Spina, MA, CRA: Reflections on The Way Forward


This October, you came to the end of your term as SRA President. This Fall you also begin your thirtieth year in the profession of research administration. What do you believe are the most significant changes you have seen in research administration over the past 30 years?


There are three major changes in the past thirty years that strike me as particularly important.

The first is the definition, or perhaps I should say the emergence of a definition of research administration as a profession. Historically, a profession emerges from an occupation as the members define their profession in terms of education and professional training. The establishment of linkages between our professional organization and various accreditation organizations, certification programs and traditional educational organizations are first steps in a process of establishing and maintaining standards of excellence and expectations that govern our professional affairs. As a profession, we have defined the theoretical...

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