University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources



A large portion of the University of Minnesota's activities are engaged in direct support of the Research portion of the University’s mission. This is an important factor in achieving the goal of making the University one of the top research universities in the world. In order to support this important endeavor, it is imperative that we continue to assist the exceptional faculty and staff that work with research at the University. This support comes in many forms, one of which is providing training and information to ensure all staff have the tools and resources to do their jobs. Departmental Research Administrators (DRAs) spend hours each day navigating policies, procedures, and systems in an effort to ensure that the sponsored activity in their units is adequately managed and accounted for. This is an important role to the University and thus the offices of Sponsored Projects Administration, Sponsored Financial Reporting, and Training Services have partnered to develop a curriculum for DRAs to support their day to day activities. The curriculum is called SPECTRUM, Sponsored Projects Education Curriculum and Training for the University of Minnesota.

The SPECTRUM curriculum is divided into two sections: core courses and elective courses for two audiences, Pre-Award and Post-Award DRAs. The SPECTRUM curriculum was launched in 2010 with the first class, Sponsored Project Overview. Approximately four courses in the curriculum’s core course listing will be launched each fiscal year, until all core courses are available. Then the elective courses will be launched, approximately four courses each fiscal year.

Exceptional staff is a key tenant of the University’s ability to meet the mission, and these staff deserve attention and recognition for their continuous efforts to achieve excellence. To support that, the SPECTRUM program will provide a certificate for DRAs after the core courses and a certain number of elective courses (to be determined) have been completed. Due to the phased implementation of the SPECTRUM courses, it is anticipated that the first certificates will be awarded in FY14. In the meantime, more details about the certification program are being determined.

As courses become available, DRAs will be notified via the various groups and listservs such as GMUN, Certified Approvers, and EFS lists. Courses taken now will count towards the certification program once that becomes available.

For questions regarding SPECTRUM, contact one of the offices below.

Additional SPECTRUM Resources