Sunrise SealThe mission of the STAR Program is to improve the expertise of Research Administrators by establishing standardized training that enhances faculty support, strengthens compliance, reduces risk, fosters knowledge sharing, and cultivates community across Washington University.


STAR formed in 2017 under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research as a result of a school and department led initiative. It was determined that the research administration community would greatly benefit from an expanded curriculum and additional training opportunities.

Program Goals:

  • Improve grants administration expertise
  • Create promotional paths, encourage and enhance professional development, and retain qualified staff
  • Enhance support for faculty
  • Strengthen compliance efforts and reduce risk
  • Foster interdepartmental communications and knowledge sharing

  • March 2020: STAR launches weekly “Coffee & Connections” zoom gatherings as a way to keep the RA Community connected during COVID-19.
  • February 2020: Gamified RA Learning Initiative launches in cooperation with the STAR Advisory Board.
  • April 2019: Cynthia McKenna hired as Research Administration Training Manager
  • April 2019: Iris Peper receives NCURA Region IV Meritorious Contributions Award for her innovative work in developing and implementing the STAR Program
  • December 2018: First three participants earn the full STAR certificate
  • April 2017: STAR Program launches
  • October 2016: Iris Peper hired as Research Administration Training Manager
  • January 2016: In response to the WU efficiency initiative, a proposal was submitted to develop a research administration training program.