For Rachel McGinnis, the new director of MTSU’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, her job aligns her with a passion.
“Research is important to the world,” McGinnis said. “It’s what moves things forward and makes things better.”
In her new role since the end of January, McGinnis spent a lot of her first couple weeks meeting with the campus community.
“I’ve been all across campus,” she said. “Right now, I’m meeting with the vice presidents and deans. Then, I’ll meet with the chairs followed by faculty. It’s been fantastic; everyone has been very welcoming, and I believe together we can do great things.”
David Butler, vice provost for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies, said McGinnis is the perfect fit for the role. Just last year, MTSU hit the prestigious milestone of earning a Carnegie R2 Research institution designation, an important step toward the university’s overall goal to become known as an elite research institution.
“Rachel has years of experience running the research office at another university, which allows her to hit the ground running and bring our research office to the level needed to support the MTSU community in their externally funded scholarship,” Butler said.
Though she grew up all over the world as a self-described “army brat,” McGinnis settled in Springfield, Missouri, for several years to study and work at Missouri State University.
“I started my career at the research administration office at Missouri State while I was still a student,” McGinnis said. “There was never a dull moment. I fell in love with facilitating the process of these faculty and students’ research endeavors. It felt like I was helping make things better, that it was for the greater good.”
McGinnis said she is most looking forward to learning about all the faculty and student research projects happening on campus and assisting them in growing their research on an individual level.
“When a faculty or a student thinks about research, I want to them to think about our office,” McGinnis said. “I want them to feel comfortable reaching out with whatever questions they have — whether it be at the beginning, middle or end of their research — and that we are the go-to resource to help them get from their idea to funding and publication.”
To learn about the opportunities at the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, visit the website at https://www.mtsu.edu/research/.
— Stephanie Wagner (Stephanie.Wagner@mtsu.edu)