At the Center of a Growing Research Enterprise
U of I’s research expenditures grew significantly between fiscal years 2015 and 2017. Not surprisingly, the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) has become a much busier hub of activity as a result.
At the center of all this bustle is Kathleen Daly, ORED’s management assistant and affirmative action coordinator. Daly is a major point of contact for a wide range of questions and requests that come from staff, faculty and administrators from any of the university’s colleges, partner universities, companies and other outside organizations. She even gets requests from the public.
“I’m here to help for anything,” Daly said. “I am open to everyone’s needs and enjoy finding the resources to get people their answers – and making sure everyone interacting with our office feels welcome and taken care of.”
Daly wants even more U of I faculty to engage with ORED’s wide range of support services that include grant proposal writing support through the Office of Research and Faculty Development; safety compliance support through the Office of Research Assurances; intellectual property reviews through the Office of Technology Transfer; and grant post-award support for the Office of Sponsored Programs.
On the human resources side, Daly helps build ORED’s growing team at the front end, making sure the hiring process is fair and the candidates are diverse. As new ORED staff are hired, Daly plays a key role in initiatives to ensure a positive and seamless transition for employees entering new jobs by giving them the tools needed to do their work efficiently with a functional workspace.
“Hiring is my favorite part,” Daly said. “You get to see progress right in front of you. I see people with outstanding characteristics get hired, and then I see them grow and become part of a close team. It’s also been fun to watch ORED’s groups get larger. I’ve really enjoyed seeing (The Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies) grow and as it supports more researchers with its experts in genomics and other areas.”
Daly wears many other administrative hats as well. She supports ORED’s senior leadership team with travel and logistics, schedules and executes meetings and is responsible for the acquisition of background research, documentation and other information.
Daly has been a part of the Vandal family since 2013, when she came to U of I as an undergraduate. Later this year, she will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in organizational sciences. Previous to her job in ORED, Daly worked in U of I’s Department of Housing and Residence Life, where she scheduled and supervised up to 30 student staff employees at the department’s information desk.
“I miss working with the students, but I love working with staff and faculty at this level here,” she said.