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Auburn University’s Compass certification course is intended to guide employees who work with sponsored projects administration through the complexities of those duties. Started in 2012, the program helps participants learn more about sources of extramural research funding, proposal budget preparation and post-award financial management of contracts and grants. Robert Holm, associate director of Proposal Services and Faculty Support and coordinator of the program since its inception, said the course has evolved from lecture-based training to a more experiential learning environment in which class members focus on case studies to gain hands-on knowledge of sponsored projects administration. With a prerequisite introductory class followed by weekly certification class meetings that span two semesters, the course is open to all Auburn employees.

“We have had auditors, we have had faculty. The majority of those who have taken the class are contract administrators, accountants and research administrators,” Holm said.

In addition to course offerings, the Compass program includes an optional mentoring component that allows interested participants to be paired with an alumnus of the program who can share relevant experience and knowledge. Jennifer Morris, an accountant in the Department of Physics, who took the course in 2012 and has since been a part of the Compass leadership team, said the course of study was “definitely worth the time commitment” and added that it provides a “good overview and lots of hands-on experience from beginning to end in the life of a grant.”

Those interested in learning more can visit the Compass webpage, and Auburn University employees can register for the course through Human Resources Fast Train system starting Aug. 1, for the 2017-2018 course, which begins with an orientation session on Sept. 13 and runs through April 2018. For additional details, contact Robert Holm at 844-5877 or