Integrated Departmental Education for Administrators (IDEA) Program

Welcome to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Integrated Departmental Education for Administrators (IDEA) program. IDEA is a comprehensive initiative developed to meet the research administration needs of our campus. There is no fee to participate in the program. By investing in the careers of its research administrators, MUSC seeks to increase their effectiveness and streamline the administrative process related to research administration.

The goals of this program are to:

  • Help ensure compliance to state, federal, and university policies and procedures.
  • Provide staff with training (and tools) for their role in grant administration.
  • Improve research administration service to faculty.

Update, February 14, 2023:

The IDEA Program has paused for Spring 2023. We plan to resume for Fall 2023 and will communicate more information regarding that session in the coming months. In the meantime, please reach out to Brandi Atkins with any questions/inquiries.

Contact: Brandi Atkins  



IDEA Instruction

IDEA classes are taught by a team of subject matter experts that represent the University central offices and various colleges/departments. See below to learn more about the IDEA instructors who are available to help answer your questions and make sure your needs have been met.

Joey Addison

Joey Addison serves as the Business Manager for the College of Pharmacy, where he has worked since 2007. In this role, he is responsible for a variety of duties including human resources, financial management, grants administration, procurement, and personnel. He joined MUSC in 1998, and in his previous position, served as a Grants Administrator in the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting for 4 years. Joey received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the College of Charleston.

Joseph Bennett

Joseph Bennett serves as the Department Manager for the Department of Neurosciences Research in the College of Medicine, ensuring everything runs smoothly. Joseph has been employed at MUSC for 6 years. Previously, Joseph was the Business Manager for the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. He holds an MA from the College of Charleston and a BA from Wake Forest University. He is a board game enthusiast

Debi Cain

Debi Cain is a fiscal analyst for the Department of Orthopaedics. Debi has over 8 years of experience in business and research administration at MUSC. Currently, she provides complete management and financial oversight for Orthopaedic’s research studies, which includes a variety of high-profile grants, including those issued by PCORI and Department of Defense. In addition to these duties, she provides support to the Department’s Administrator with regard to clinical and administrative financial processes. Debi received her B.S. in Marketing from Penn State.

Michelle Forster

Michelle Forster is the Lead Clinical Trials Grants Administrator in the Department of Medicine. She manages both pre-award and post-award activities for a large variety of federal, corporate and foundation clinical trials, including multi-centers.This experience has given her a wide range of knowledge in research administration. Prior to working in the Department of Medicine, Michelle also served as a Grants Coordinator in Radiology and as an Administrative Coordinator in Pharmacology. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Citadel. Michelle loves the summer because she can go on long runs and also go out on the boat. 

Stacey Goretzka

Stacey Goretzka, CIP, serves as the IRB Program Manager in the Office of Research Integrity. Stacey joined the Institutional Review Board in 2003, and was named Program Manager in 2008. She earned her credential as Certified IRB Professional in 2005. Stacey has worked in both the public and private sector since 1995 with the majority of her career being in policy and regulatory, including five years of experience in local and regional government. Prior to employment at MUSC, she worked for a pharmaceutical company. 

Beth Hansell

Beth Hansell currently serves as the Vice Chair for Finance and Administration for the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. She has over 40 years of progressive management experience in Health care finance and administration. While serving the Department of Biometry and Epidemiology she obtained her certification in research administration (CRA) from the Research Administrators Certification Council. Ms. Hansell is currently responsible for both the financial and administrative management for HR, IT, compliance, asset management, and oversight of the departments Clinical, Research and Education missions as well as Strategic Planning. Ms. Hansell is a member of the Medical Group Management Association, National Council of University Research Administrations and the Association of American Medical College Group on Business Affairs, American Pathology Foundation and Association of Pathology Chairs/PDAS, and American Pathology Foundation.

Wanda Pierce

Wanda Pierce serves Assistant Director in the Office of Research Development (ORD) and Research Instructor for the College of Library Sciences and Informatics. In this position, Wanda will explore new funding opportunities through strategic partnerships, coordinate ORD participation in outreach activities, and assist with sustaining and enhancing our core activities. She serves as the administrator for the Integrated Departmental Education for Administrators (IDEA) program. Formerly Director of the University of South Carolina’s Office of Research Development, for the past eleven years Wanda has spearheaded university-wide collaborative faculty teams in the development of multimillion dollar, multidisciplinary federal research proposals that have totaled more than $100 million dollars. In addition, she created the GRANT training program, one of the nation’s most productive and recognized curricula for research university faculty and staff. During her tenure with USC, she attended the USC Masters of Business program and earned her national Certified Research Administrator (CRA) credential from the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC). Prior to joining USC, Ms. Hutto worked nine years with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) where she administered an award-winning water quality grant program. A Summerville native, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Charleston.

Sarah Jackson

Sarah Jackson is a Grants Administrator at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Research Services. Sarah provides direct support to the ACOS, Dr. Rita Young and also VA Investigators. She manages a range of activities for the Charleston R&D Service line such as: Responsible for Merit Award submission for Biomedical Laboratory/Clinical Trials Rehabilitation Research/Health Service Research & Development, Just-in-Time for VA funded Merits, Research Career Scientist mid-term progress reports and also applications, VA Non-Clinician Eligibility, RR&D Letter of Intent (LOI) and HSR&D Intent to Submit (ITS), CDA1 and CDA2 Letter Of Intents, Clinical Trial Progress Reports, and MOUs. 

Cyndi Rosenblatt

Cyndi Rosenblatt, MPA, CPIA, is the IACUC Program Manager in the Office of Research Integrity. She joined the IACUC office in 2006, and stepped up as the Program Manager in 2008. She earned her credential as a Certified Professional in IACUC Administration (CPIA) in 2008. Cyndi has been very active in promoting educational and collaborative opportunities for the basic scientists on campus and works closely with investigators and laboratory staff to ensure the highest standards in animal care and use are maintained. In her spare time she is an avid bibliophile, an accomplished line dancer, and occasionally gets the opportunity to serve as a birth assistant for a local midwife. 

Chad Swiler

Chad Swiler is the Lead Grants Administrator for the Department of Medicine where his main responsibilities including submitting federal and foundation grants, progress reports, MOUs, VA Personnel Services Contracts, Just-In-Time requests and budget revisions based on post submission changes. Chad has been employed at MUSC for 8 years. Prior to working for the Department of Medicine, Chad spent five years as a Community Liaison with the Institute of Psychiatry and a year and a half as a Grants Administrator with the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery. He has a BS in Financial Management from Clemson University and a Masters in Health Administration from MUSC. He is a big Clemson fan. Go Tigers.

Alyssa Snell

Alyssa Snell is the Accountant Fiscal Manager for the Pulmonary Clinical Research Program. She manages pre-award and post award for federal, foundation, and corporate research. Alyssa has been with this program since 2011 which has quadrupled in size since she started in Pulmonary. She financially manages 16 research staff members, 13 PIs, and multiple departments in the program.  She has a passion in corporate clinical trials and presents at national conferences “The Business of Clinical Trials”. Alyssa’s background is a MBA in Accounting.

Sarah Brewer

Sarah Brewer has approximately 10 years of research coordination and project management experience. Most recently, she was a lead coordinator with the Research Coordination and Management (RCM) Program, serving as a mentor to RCM staff, a regulatory subject matter expert and internal quality assurance monitor for the RCM Program. She also coordinated a number of institutional research projects. As a PRA Manager with the OCR, she will work with study teams to complete the PRA process, including performing coverage analyses, developing billing calendars, supporting budget development and study start-up, and maintaining compliant billing practices.

Wayne Singleton

Wayne M. Singleton is a native of Charleston, SC. Wayne has been employed at MUSC since 1993 and was hired as the business manager for the Department of Comparative Medicine and Division of Laboratory Animals in July 2016. Wayne holds an MBA degree from Strayer University, B.S. degree from Voorhees College, and an Associate Degree from Trident Technical College. Wayne also earned his Master of Arts degree in Music and Worship from Liberty University in 2016 and is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Worship Studies program, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.

Erica Ellington

Erica Ellington is the Research Compliance Manager for University Compliance.  She manages the research auditing and compliance programs. Prior to working in University Compliance, Erica also worked as a program manager and grants administrator at MUSC. She has over 20 years of research administration, program management, and finance experience.  Erica received a Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting from the University of South Carolina.  She is also a Certified Research Administrator (CRA) and is Certified in Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC).  

Cathy Carroll

Cathy Carroll serves as a Senior Grants Administrator for the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting.  In this role, Cathy is responsible for post-award administration of sponsored grants and contracts awarded to the University.  These responsibilities include financial reporting, applying cost accounting standards to project expenditures, invoicing, administration and cash management. She is also a liaison between the sponsor and the University. Cathy has almost 20 year experience as a grant’s administrator.

Jennifer Hutson

Jennifer Hutson serves as a Senior Grants Administrator for the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting.  She is the financial services and training coordinator as well as the University's Activity Reporting Coordinator.  Jennifer received her Bachelors of Science in Finance from College of Charleston and her Master’s in Business Administration from the Citadel.  Jennifer has almost 20 year experience in grants administration.

Heather Ferguson

Heather serves as a Grants & Contracts Administrator in the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP), where she has worked since 2016.  In her current role she oversees submissions & sponsored awards for her assigned departments, interprets policies & procedures, and acts as the University’s official liaison for funding agencies.  Prior to joining ORSP, she worked as a Grants Administrator in the Department of Public Health Sciences.  Heather became employed by MUSC in 2006 after graduating from The University of Alabama with a BA in Communications and Political Science, her first positions at the University were in the Office of Research Development (ORD) where she spent 9 years.

Elizabeth Swan

Elizabeth Swan is an Administrative Manager for the Division of Endocrinology in the Department of Medicine.  She oversees all  clinical, research and education activities of Endocrinology. Since joining MUSC in 2014, Elizabeth has also worked for the Department of Medicine Administration as an Accountant/Fiscal Analyst. She graduated from the College of Charleston with a B.S. in International Business and Global Logistics.

Jenny Rumble

Jenny Rumble currently serves as the Grants Coordinator for the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. She has been working at MUSC for over 3 years, including previous positions in the Department of Neurosciences. Her primary responsibilities include financial reconciliation and monitoring, assistance with grant awards, and preparing department reports. Jenny received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the College of Charleston.  

LuAnne O'Connor

LuAnne O’Connor is a Grants Administrator in the College of Health Professions (CHP) where she is part of an eight-member team that manages all of the research for the College. She has been employed at MUSC since 1998 and has nearly 20 years experience in Grants Administration. Her grants management experience includes R grants (R01, R03, R21, K99/R01, R41), Training Grants, Conference grants, Program Project (P01) and Center Grants (COBRE). She is a member of NCURA and SRA and received Certified Research Administrator (CRA) status in 2015.

Erica Brown

Erica Brown is the Director, Research Administration in the Department of Pediatrics.  She oversees all that is research in the department which includes managing the 4 Grant Administrators for Pediatrics 20 subspecialty divisions. She has been employed at MUSC for 17 years next week.  She just boomeranged back to Pediatrics after working in Department of Public Health Sciences for 4 years.  Prior to DPHS, she worked in Pediatrics as a Grants Coordinator and Program Coordinator for 12 years.  She has a MA from College of Charleston and BA from UNC Charlotte both in Communications.  Erica obtained her CRA (Certified Research Administrator) in January of 2012.

Administrative Pipeline

MUSC research administrators have one location that contains a comprehensive set of policies and procedures, tips and tricks, templates and contacts, and other pertinent information required to prepare proposals, obtain sponsor funding, and manage successful awards. This landing page is a bookmarkable site that assists administrators and researchers in the never-ending quest for funding and features key support services to guide university research administrators through the award life cycle. The Pipeline for Research Administrators provides details on how to find funding, the proposal development and pre-award processes, budget development and associated cost principles, post-award management, research integrity, project closeout, discovery and innovation, best practices, key research resources, national professional organizations, and the MUSC research support offices.

How to Find Funding

DOD Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)
Foundation Center
Grant Forward

Proposal Development

Resources and Scientific Environment
ORSP Proposal Preparation
ORSP Contract Administrators Contacts List
NIH Standard Due Dates
NIH Grants and Funding FAQs
Proposal Submission


Checklist to Determine Subrecipient or Contractor Classification
Expenditures for Subagreements to a Sponsored Project Policy
Compliance Requirements for Subrecipients Monitoring Policy
FDP Clearinghouse
Letter of Intent
External Investigator Listing Form
External Investigator FCOI Policy Certification Form

Financial Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest Form
Conflict of Interest Policy

Veteran's Affairs

VA Position Descriptions for Statements of Work
MUSC VA Personnel Services Request
MUSC VA Personnel Services Worksheet



Laura Lane and Brandi Atkins