Women's history month
Research administrator manages change
is the fifth in a series of articles honoring MUSC women who have
changed the face, landscape and direction of MUSC and the medical
center. This year's theme is Women Taking the Lead.
by Cindy Abole
Grants and Contracts Accounting director Velma Stamp’s world is marked
by rules, regulations and change. Through it all, she’s managed to
collaborate with other specialists to make improvements and streamline
Grants and Contracts Accounting director Velma Stamp.
Stamp manages the reporting on more than $200 million of MUSC’s
sponsored research grants and contracts. She also administers
2,000-plus active projects while ensuring that the university stays in
compliance with numerous federal guidelines and regulations. She also
leads a staff of 20 trained grants administrators, auditors and other
specialists who provide guidance and support to the campus’ research
community and department admini-strators.
“You can’t be a good leader without enjoying what you do,” said Stamp.
“I enjoy my work and that makes leadership easier. It allows me to
focus on other areas from understanding structure within an academic
medical center, management and supporting staff in their needs.”
But Stamp didn’t intentionally choose her career path. Throughout her
career, she’s had the right mix of support, guidance and opportunity
that has turned a job into a challenging and rewarding profession
within the research administration field.
Originally from Charleston, Stamp grew up not far from where she was
destined to spend her mid-career years. She attended the High School of
Charleston, now home to the College of Health Professions, and just a
block from MUSC’s main campus.
A good student, Stamp graduated in 1979 with a degree in accounting
from South Carolina State University. She cut her teeth as a government
auditor with the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) in Washington
D.C. There she worked for the Department of Defense auditing contracts
and subcontracts awarded to private industry. It wasn’t long before
Stamp realized that her work and position were a good fit. As one of
only a handful of female auditors working in her area at DCAA, Stamp
rose quickly through the ranks becoming senior auditor and holding
other management positions within her 17-year career. In 1989, she
relocated to Atlanta and became senior auditor at Georgia Tech auditing
several millions of dollars worth of federal grants and contracts
connected with the institution.
She came to MUSC in 1997 and learned to work on the opposite side of
the table, changing her mindset from a rules-driven auditor to a
service-oriented grants administrator. It was at this time that she
was considering and working toward management at the next level.
To do this, she needed to acquire other skills and training. She sought
the guidance of campus mentors, Lisa Montgomery, vice president for
finance and administration, and Deborah Deas, M.D., senior
associate dean for strategic diversity initiatives, College of Medicine
(COM) and professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
“I have truly enjoyed working with Velma. She is a person of strong
character and integrity, which are important attributes in the position
she holds. Velma is a very talented leader and is well respected by her
staff and colleagues across campus. I’m incredibly proud of her and all
that she has accomplished,” said Montgomery.
In 2007, she was named to succeed David Welch as Finance &
Admini-stration’s Grants and Contracts Accounting director after his
retirement. She worked hard to streamline operations to improve
customer service, provide education programs and training to ensure
compliance and other support. She recently played a vital pivotal
role in negotiating an increase in the university’s Facilities
and Administrative Rate with the federal government in the recovery of
indirect costs required to support sponsored awards and continually
manages the annual A-133 audit of federal grants and contracts required
by the federal government.
Stamp led a major reorganization of their unit’s departmental structure
by creating new sections to prepare entry-level staff and hired
managers in other specialty areas. In the area of support, she
organized teams of three grants administrators to assist
customers/departments and expects further changes with the future
realignment of COM’s structure.
In addition to COM's realignment, they are currently focused on recent
funding opportunities offered through President Barack Obama’s stimulus
plan. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Recovery Act allocated
about $10 billion to the National Institutes of Health to award grants
to institutions for biomedical/behavioral and clinical research
facilities. These restricted, two-year grants will require increased
reporting requirements and activities that will be managed by the
Grants and Contracts Accounting staff.
As a leader, she is supportive to staff in their professional needs.
She’s also a role model and mentor to black students and others in the
community, some of whom worked as summer interns in the Grants and
Contracts Accounting office.
Friday, March 27, 2009