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Navigate: Fundamentals Course

The Navigate: Fundamentals course will be offered in Spring 2018.

Stay tuned for the next Navigate: Fundamentals course. 

The application process is closed.

Navigate: Fundamentals Course: Navigating Research Administration at the University of Michigan

Target Audience

The Navigate: Fundamentals course is offered to U-M research administrators early in their research administration careers (approximately zero-to-two years of working experience).

The course consists of seven full-day instructor-led sessions, with capstone projects to demonstrate success.


"This has been an outstanding course! I feel much more informed about U-M research administration." - Anonymous

"Being a new Research Administrator, it's an invaluable class to bring back to my day-to-day job. And it's always great to network with others in the same situation.  I also really enjoyed hearing from Craig [Reynolds], Jill [Jividen], and Cathy [Seay-Ostrowski] about the organizations we can participate in.  It makes you feel part of something bigger that you can get behind." - Anonymous

Course Content

The program has been expertly crafted to follow the workflow and business process of the sponsored research project lifecycle.

Topics covered each day of the course can be found on the Spring 2017 Modules Map. In addition to traditional lectures and presentations, the training introduces newcomers to research administration leaders from around campus and exposes them to both the business challenges and outcomes required for a successfully managed research project. It will include professional scenarios and problems for newcomers to solve. 

Participants who attend all sessions and successfully complete the course requirements will receive a certification of completion.

Schedule and Requirements

Attendance at each session is mandatory. In situations of inclement weather or closures, updated session dates will be announced.

Training Schedule
Location: Wolverine Tower
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Day 1: TBD
  • Day 2: TBD
  • Day 3: TBD
  • Day 4: TBD
  • Day 5: TBD
  • Day 6: TBD
  • Day 7: TBD

How to Apply

The application process is now closed.

  • Submit a completed Course Application form and send a professional resume to
  • Obtain supervisor's approval and Supervisor Statement of Support form. 

Applicant Requirements

  • Be new to research administration (zero to about two years of working experience in research administration).
  • Commit to satisfy all requirements of the course (see Selected Participant Requirements below).

Supervisor Requirements

  • Ensure the applicant/participant will be permitted time to attend all seven full-day, instructor-led sessions.
  • Submit completed Supervisor Statement of Support form. 
  • Support the participant with tasks assigned in between sessions, including in-person meetings as necessary.
  • Participate in training evaluations.
  • Attend an in-person orientation meeting.
  • Agree to pay the course fee of $400 per participant.

Selected Participant Requirements

  • Attend seven full-day, instructor-led sessions.
  • Complete all assignments in between sessions.
  • Complete capstone projects.
  • Participate in program evaluations.

Selection Process

  • Applications will be reviewed by the ORSP and Sponsored Programs Training Team to ensure completeness.
  • ORSP and Sponsored Programs Training Team will send completed applications to the Research Administration Advisory Council (RAAC) committee-at-large for participant endorsements/recommendations.
  • Program sponsors and the training team will review the RAAC committee recommendations and select participants.
  • Applicants will receive a confirmation email to let them know whether they have been selected.
  • Up to 30 participants will be selected to attend the Navigate: Fundamentals course.

Course Resources / Materials

  • U-M Canvas: We will use Canvas to store documents (PowerPoint, Job Aids, handouts, templates), hold discussion board, ask participants to post homework materials (if applicable).

Course Fee

The course fee is $400 per participant and includes:

  • Seven full-day, instructor-led sessions
  • Course materials
  • Lunch and refreshments each day

Note: The fee is payable in advance using a shortcode.



  • This newly designed instructor-led was expertly developed for RAs with newcomers to research administration (zero to about two years of experience). This course is not a replacement for the former Research Administrators Instructional Network (RAIN) course. The "Navigate: Fundamentals" course was developed for a different audience and is meant to provide fundamental training for those who need it most, at the beginning of their research administration careers.
  • This course will provide fundamental knowledge about the field of research administration, the research enterprise at the University of Michigan, and the high-level tasks performed at each stage of a sponsored project “Lifecycle.”
  • Research administrators work with difficult business, compliance, and financial challenges, and often undertake them with little or no experience. Providing training for research administrators during their first months in their career is integral to reducing faculty and administrative burden.

This course was specifically designed for new research administrators (which we define as U-M staff who have from zero to about two years of working experience working in research administration at any institution).

Applicants must:

  • have from zero to about two years of working experience in research administration;
  • commit to satisfy all requirements of the course;
  • submit all application materials by the scheduled due date, including:
  • agree to attend all seven full-day, instructor-led sessions;
  • complete all assignments in between sessions;
  • complete capstone projects;
  • participate in program evaluations (pre-, mid-, post- and in-session evaluations).
  • Ensure the applicant/participant will be permitted time to attend all seven full-day, in-person sessions
  • Complete the Supervisor Statement of Support online form by the scheduled due date.
  • Support the participant with tasks assigned in between sessions, including in-person meetings as necessary
  • Participate in training evaluations

There is a limited number of spots available (up to 30) for participation in this course. The application allows the selection team to identify potential participants, gather pertinent personal and unit information from applicants, assess an applicant’s interest in the program, assess the potential needs and benefits for schools/colleges/units, maintain campus-wide representation, and balance in the selected cohort.

Due to space limitations, there may be more applicants than open slots for the course. For those applicants not selected for the course, once a future course application is made available, they may be given additional consideration and priority during the selection process.

To cancel, contact the Training Team, via email You may withdraw from the course two (2) weeks prior to the start of the course with a full refund. Cancellations received after that date are discouraged, and you forfeit your course fee of $400.

  • Participants must commit to attend all seven full-day, in-person sessions 
  • Participants must complete assignments in between sessions outside the course schedule  (Time may vary. An additional average of two hours a week may be expected).
  • Complete capstone projects
  • Participate in program evaluations (pre-, mid-, post-, and in-session evaluations).


Fall 2017 Training Schedule
Location: Wolverine Tower
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Day 1: Thursday, September 14, 2017
  • Day 2: Thursday, September 28, 2017
  • Day 3: Tuesday, October 10, 2017
  • Day 4: Thursday, October 26, 2017
  • Day 5: Thursday,  November 9, 2017
  • Day 6: Wednesday,  November 29, 2017
  • Day 7: Tuesday, December 5, 2017
  • Participants are expected to attend all seven full-day, instructor-led sessions of the course. While we understand there are unavoidable situations that may result in a missed session, each session builds upon the previous, therefore a session cannot be made up in the current cohort.
  • Participants who miss a session will not receive a certificate of completion in current cohort. Those participants will need to make up the missed session(s) in a later cohort. Participants will have up to one year to complete the missed session to receive a certificate of completion. 

Job aids and tools that don’t require training or interaction, will be made available on the ORSP website, under the "Navigate" portal page.  However, the course has been designed for intense in-person interaction and much of the content will be experienced in-person.

Participants should not expect that successful completion of this course will result in a raise, a promotion, or even a new position at U-M.  However, we hope that graduates of this course will be more efficient and better prepared to perform their job duties and support the complex research performed by our U-M faculty and staff.  We hope graduates view this as an excellent opportunity for professional development, and that supervisors and other hiring staff may be glad to see this on your resume as you advance your career in research administration.

The Navigate: Fundamentals course was designed in response to extensive research and survey feedback that revealed a need for training of those who need it most: brand new research administrators who support faculty and the research community.

The research and survey results also revealed opportunities to improve and restructure training.

As a result, the new training program will include two tracks/tiers:

  1. basic concepts for newcomers in research administration to obtain introductory knowledge (Fundamentals).
  2. in-depth analysis and specialized knowledge for more seasoned research administrators (Advanced & Specialized).  

For more information, visit the Navigate Portal

  • The Navigate: Fundamentals course is not a replacement for the The Research Administrators Instructional Network (RAIN) program, which targeted research administrators with several more years of experience. 
  • The Navigate: Fundamentals course is developed for a different audience, and is meant to provide training for new research administrators with zero to about two years of working experience in research administration.
  • The Navigate: Fundamentals course was designed after extensive research and survey feedback that revealed a need for training of those who need it most: brand new research administrators who support faculty and the research community.

The design of this course was developed in collaboration with representatives from Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, Sponsored Programs, and various schools/colleges/units on campus. See Design Team Roster.

We anticipate offering the Fundamentals course twice per year - once in the fall, and once in the spring. Learn more about current offerings on the Navigate: Fundamentals course page.

The Navigate portal is the new central destination for training and professional development for research administrators (RAs), navigating research administration at the University of Michigan. The Office of Research and Sponsored Projects and Finance - Sponsored Programs have partnered to improve the professional development resources available to RAs. A number of initiatives will come under this new program, including training, mentoring, and other resources.

Topics covered each day of the course can be found on the Modules Map.


For questions on Navigate and other training initiatives, please contact the Training Team at