MIT's Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) has a new director. She is Julie T. Norris, who has headed the University of Houston's OSP since July 1981.
Her appointment, effective October 1, was announced by James J. Culliton, vice president for administration.
"I am extremely pleased with the results of our search to fill this critical position, and I am confident that in Julie Norris we have just the right person to direct the Office of Sponsored Programs as MIT faces a period of extensive change in the way the federal government is sponsoring research," he said.
Ms. Norris, who has held a variety of research administration posts at UH since 1973, succeeds George H. Dummer, OSP director at MIT since 1971. Mr. Dummer, who announced last year his desire to step down as director, will continue at MIT part-time, working on problems and challenges being created by the changing research environment.
"No praise of George Dummer's work at MIT could even come close to doing justice to contributions to the Institute and to his professional colleagues over the last three decades," Mr. Culliton said. "I salute him for a job well done."
Ms. Norris has a national reputation as a leading administrator of research projects. At UH, she has been responsible for all aspects of sponsored research, including implementing policies and procedures, directing the identification of funding sources and the processing of proposals, and coordinating external audits. In addition she has been responsible for administrative matters concerning intellectual property and for coordinating research-related safety activities involving human subjects, animal care and radiation.
Since August, she has been board chair of the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), elected by the board to replace Mr. Culliton who ended his two-year tenure as chair. She has been a board member of the organization for several years and has also been the chair of its Grants and Contracts Policies Committee. Ms. Norris is also a member of National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA), an organization she has also served as treasurer, vice president and president.
She was a member of the research team for the 1987 study, "Financing and Managing University Research Equipment," produced by the Association of American Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and the Council on Governmental Relations. Ms. Norris was a primary contributor to the COGR document, "Managing Externally Funded Programs and Colleges and Universities," and was one of three authors of NCURA's "Regulatory and Compliance" handbook and the author of "Fundamentals of Sponsored Project Administration," published by the organization in 1993. She has also been a consultant to the National Science Foundation in that groups study on scientific and engineering research facilities at universities and colleges.
In accepting the position, Ms. Norris said, "I am looking forward with enthusiasm to my interaction with the MIT community but-coming from Houston-with some trepidation to the winter weather." She also praised Mr. Dummer's leadership and indicated initial areas of interest for her include expanding electronic communication with users of OSP services.
Ms. Norris holds the BA from Rice University and the MA from UH.
Ms. Norris was chosen as the result of a nationwide search and was the unanimous choice of a search committee, chaired by Professor Kim Vandiver of ocean engineering.
A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 39, Number 5).