MTSU names co-directors of Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
Gregory Rushton, left, the TN STEM Educator Center director at Middle Tennessee State University and Dawn McCormack, right, the associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies at Middle Tennessee State University, were recently named the co-directors of the university’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. (Rushton photo by Andy Heidt; McCormack photo by Stephanie Barrette)

MTSU’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has named administrators Dawn McCormack and Gregory Rushton as co-directors to lead efforts to support and promote faculty and student research across the Blue Raider campus.

The ORSP oversees everything related to research and sponsored activity at the university. It spans from the numerous research opportunities available to undergraduates through the Undergraduate Research Center to facilitating faculty grants and research projects as well.

McCormack, who remains associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies, has been involved with research since she first arrived at MTSU more than a decade ago.

“From finding ways to fund my archaeological projects in Egypt to working with faculty and students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, I have been involved in research since I came to MTSU in 2008,” McCormack said. “It is an absolute honor to now work in the ORSP to create the most efficient and transparent systems possible to serve our faculty and students in their research endeavors.”

Rushton, meanwhile, began work at the university as the TN STEM Education Center director in August 2018 to promote the academic areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

“I think there’s an excitement and anticipation of what can be accomplished as an ORSP team, building upon what’s been done over the past several years and leveraging our collective energy, ideas and mission,” Rushton said. “I’m honored to work with research faculty across the university to facilitate and grow MTSU into a premier institution from a sponsored programs perspective.”

David Butler, vice provost for research, said the university is on a growth curve with its funded research and creative activity endeavors.

“We are making improvements within the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to help facilitate, and accelerate, this growth trajectory,” Butler said. “Our goal is to serve each faculty member, and graduate student, at MTSU and assist them in finding, applying for and securing external funding for their scholarship. Having secured grants over my research career, I want all people to feel the same excitement I had of having my scholarship chosen to be supported by an outside group.”

McCormack looks forward to supporting that mission in her new role.

“The faculty at MTSU continue to do extraordinary research that impacts our university, local community, Tennessee and beyond. Being a part of this mission is very exciting and something that inspires me to come to work every day,” she said.

Before coming to MTSU, Rushton worked at SUNY Stony Brook as an associate professor of chemistry and associate director in the Institute for STEM Education. He has also directed multiple research projects throughout his career, with external funding totaling near $17 million since 2005.

An active scholar and researcher at MTSU since his arrival, Rushton understands what the school does well at supporting faculty to carry out their research and creative activity goals.

“I’ve also seen how we have opportunities to grow through additional infrastructure, operating efficiencies and being responsive to rapidly changing research environments,” he said. “I look forward to working alongside those with a similar passion and realizing the collective vision we share about where we can move in the coming months.”

To find out more about the ORSP and its opportunities, visit the website.

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