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.

Spring 2024 IDEA Program:

 Registration is currently closed.

Spring 2024 Program Dates:

Tuesdays and Thursdays, April - May 2024

Coordinator Contact Information:

Brandi Atkins & Kelly Harley


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.

Amy Bradshaw

Amy Bradshaw is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology. In addition to running her own laboratory, she also serves as the Research Integrity Officer for MUSC. This position is charged with addressing any and all concerns related to allegations of Research Misconduct as MUSC including inquiries and investigations. The position is also tasked with providing education to faculty, staff, trainees, and students on federal standards and definitions of Research Misconduct.

Erica Brown

Erica Brown is the Director of Research Administration for the Department of Pediatrics and Darby Children’s Research Institute. She oversees all that is research in the department which includes twenty subspecialty divisions. Her teams include Grant Administration, Pediatrics Research Group (study coordination) and Darby Children’s Research Institute Administration. She has been employed at MUSC for over 21 years. She has worked in Pediatrics and the Department of Public Health Sciences as a Grants Coordinator and Program Coordinator. 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.

Megan Cleary

Megan Cleary is a West Coast native having lived in CA, OR, WA, and Alaska, just to name a few. Megan has been employed at MUSC since 2015 and started with University Risk Management’s Insurance Department before transferring over to ORSP in 2021 as a Grants Administrator. Megan holds 2 MBA degrees from Purdue University and Leibniz University (in Hannover, Germany), a B.A. degree in French from Portland State University and a more fun degree of “patisserie” earned from the Ritz-Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomie in Paris, France.

Erica Ellington

Erica Ellington serves as the Deputy Director of Compliance and Research Compliance Officer for MUSC. She directs the research auditing and research compliance programs. Prior to working in University Compliance, Erica also worked as a research program manager and grants administrator at MUSC. She has over 25 years of research administration, program management, and finance experience. Erica received a Bachelor 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).

Leila Forney

Leila Forney DNP, RN; CCRP, serves as the Office of Clinical Research (OCR) Prospective Reimbursement Analysis, Associate Director & SCTR Institute Digital Operations Technology (DOT) Team Lead. Dr. Forney has over 10 years of hospital nursing experience and completed a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) at MUSC. Her research knowledge has been garnered through 6 years in private practice as a research coordinator and 9 years with SCTR building research infrastructure and processes at MUSC. She currently leads the Digital Operations Technology (DOT) Team which includes SPARCRequest, Research Master ID and Tableau Reporting. She also led MUSC’s Epic research implementation. Dr. Forney supports the development and operational activities of systems used for research at MUSC. She currently also holds a key role in the Office of Clinical Research managing the Prospective Reimbursement Analysis team maintaining research billing compliance for MUSC; the PRA team supports digitalization of studies and creates coverage analysis determinations for all prospectively enrolling studies. Dr. Forney is Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) and is Certified in Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC).

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. Stacey also serves as ambassador for SMART IRB.

Kelly Hickman

Kelly is the Communications, Instructional Design, and Training Program Manager in the Office of Clinical Research (OCR), where she has worked since 2019. Kelly received her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational and Strategic Communication from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), and she has a professional background in marketing and finance. Kelly is happy to assist with any general OCR questions or inquiries related to the OCR Collective newsletter, the OCR website, and OCR training/resources.

Caroline Hider

Caroline began her career at MUSC in 2019. She is currently a Grants Administrator II in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). She oversees Federal/Foundation submissions & sponsored awards for her assigned departments, interprets policies & procedures, and acts as the University’s official liaison for funding agencies. Caroline also works as part of ORSP’s outgoing Subawards team. Caroline graduated from Presbyterian College with her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and from the College of Charleston with her MBA.

Christine Hudson

Christine serves as the ClinCard by Greenphire Program Manager and the Clinical Research Sponsor Budgeting Analyst Manager in the Office of Clinical Research (OCR). Prior to her role at the OCR, she worked as a research coordinator in the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery as well as the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research (SCTR) Institute’s Research and Coordination Management (RCM) group. Her current responsibilities include managing the reloadable electronic participant remuneration program, ClinCard by Greenphire, as well as managing the OCR Budgeting service which includes developing and negotiating budgets for corporate clinical research trials. Christine received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the College of Charleston.

Wanda Hutto Pierce

Wanda Hutto Pierce, Associate Director in the Office of Research Development, engages with internal and external partners to foster new funding strategies with federal agencies and private and public foundations. She also manages specialized funding opportunities such as the Pew and Searle Scholars programs, Governor’s Award, and the Blue Sky Award. Wanda is also the content manager and creator for the research matters blog. She co-directs the Learning Initiative for Faculty in Training (LIFT) Academy and other Research Education workshops and seminars. Wanda holds an appointment as an MUSC Academic Affairs faculty member.

Emily Ricker

Emily currently serves as a Grants Administrator II in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). In her current role, she works with Federal and Foundation sponsored grants as well as VA Personnel Service Agreements. Her primary responsibilities include grant application review and submission, interpretation of policies and procedures, service as the University’s official liaison for funding agencies and VA PSAs, and management of sponsored projects for assigned departments across campus. She has been with MUSC for since 2019. Prior to joining ORSP, she worked as a Fiscal Analyst/Accountant II and Grants Administrator I in the Department of Public Health Sciences. Emily received her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Financial Economics from Anderson University and her Master of Science in Accountancy degree from the College of Charleston.

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.

Winniford A. Simmons III, MLIS

Ford Simmons currently serves as Grants Administrator III in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). In his current role, he works with Corporate clinical trials, Federal and Foundation sponsored grants as well as VA Personnel Service Agreements. He has been with MUSC since 2015. Prior to joining ORSP, he worked as a Program Manager for the MUSC South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute (SCTR). Ford received his Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina, and his Bachelor of English Literature at Francis Marion University. He is a Google-certified Project Manager and is the Chair for the Pre-Award Collaborate Committee for the National Council for University Research Administrators (NCURA).

Michael E. Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael E. Smith serves at the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and Stem Cell Research Oversight (SCRO) Program Manager in the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). He earned his Ph.D. in Neurosciences in 2000 and has worked in academic research settings his entire career. Michael joined ORI in 2019 but has been employed by MUSC since 2006 as both a Program Manager and an Assistant Professor.

Cynthia Smalls

Cynthia Smalls is an Administrative Manager for Comparative Medicine in the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources. She oversees all fiscal and administrative activities including budgetary, grants management, human resources, payroll, and timekeeping.

Since joining MUSC in 2014, Cynthia has also worked as a Grants Coordinator & Grants Administrator, Research Administrator, and Capital Projects Contracts Administrator. She earned a B.A. in Business Administration from Strayer University and an M.A. in Human Services Counseling from Liberty University.

Chad Swiler

Chad Swiler is the Grants Team Manager for the Department of Pediatrics where his main responsibilities are Pre- and Post-award tasks for federal, state, and foundation-based grants. Chad has been employed at MUSC for 13 years. Prior to working for the Department of Pediatrics, Chad spent six years as a Grants Administrator/Lead Grants Administrator for the Department of Medicine, two years as a grants administrator for the Department of Neurology/Neurosurgery, and five years as a Community Liaison with the Institute of Psychiatry. He has a BS in Financial Management from Clemson University and a Master’s in Health Administration from MUSC. He is a big Clemson fan. Go Tigers.

Deidre Wright

Deidre Wright is a Program Manager for the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources. She oversees all the animal research facilities on campus. Deidre joined MUSC in 2004 as an animal caretaker; she quickly moved into the Facility Supervisor for the Hollings Cancer Center, where she was for over 14 years. In 2020, Deidre took on the Program Manager Role for DLAR. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a B.S. in Business Administration.

Donna York

Donna York serves as a Grants Administrator in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP), with assignment to the Federal/Foundation Team. Some of her responsibilities include working closely with her assigned departments to provide guidance with submissions, both with review and transmission, negotiation and setup of awards, interpretation of policies and guidelines, and participation as a liaison for funding agencies. Donna has been employed with MUSC since 2017 and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Lenoir-Rhyne University.

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 (login required)
Compliance Requirements for Subrecipients Monitoring Policy (login required)
FDP Clearinghouse
Letter of Intent for Consortium (login required)
External Investigator Listing Form (login required)
External Investigator FCOI Policy Certification Form (login required)

Financial Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form (login required)
Conflict of Interest Policy (login required)

Veteran's Affairs

VA Position Descriptions for Statements of Work (login required)
MUSC VA Personnel Services Request (login required)
MUSC VA Personnel Services Worksheet (login required)