My CRA Experience

Brenda Meyer-Burt, CARA-ACAAR Member and CRA Student


What prompted you to enroll in the Research Administration Certificate?

Over the 10 years I have been working in Research Administration much has changed: we have gone from a paper system to being almost paperless, from mailing applications to agencies to submitting in on-line systems, I’ve also seen new on-line systems replacing the systems that were new when I started, several programs relaunches from federal, and provincial agencies, and a rewrite of most of the policies/guides of the federal granting agencies.  I’ve found that the roles and responsibilities of Research Administrators vary greatly within an institution and from institution to institution to the point that sometimes I feel like I’m using a different language than Research Administrators in other roles at my institution or my counter-parts at another institution.

I want to expand my knowledge beyond the role I have in Research Administration, so I have a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities that make up the incredibly varied and complex world of Research Administration. 


What is the best part of the certificate for you?

This is my first course and I’m looking forward to the interactions with other Research Administrators and learning from them.  I want to be able to use the broader understanding of the various aspects of Research Administration that I obtain from this program to help improve processes within my group and communications and collaborations with others in Research Administrator roles at my institute and beyond.


How have you as a student benefited from CARA membership?

I find the webinars and other information posted on the CARA website and shared through the mailing lists and special interest groups keep me well informed and gives me access to the expertise of Research Administrators across Canada.


What has been helpful to you in balancing your other responsibilities with your studies?

This is my first on-line course and being in the middle of a lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic I have found it challenging to keep track of time.  It has been an unusually busy time at work, which I did not anticipate when I signed up for the course.  It has taken some time but I’ve developed a routine and I use reminders in my calendar and book my study time so I can keep on top of the readings and assignments.