ORSP Administration & Staff

David L. Butler, Ph.D. David Butler, Vice Provost
Vice Provost for Research 

and Dean of Graduate Studies 
(615) 898-2182 

Tara Hayes, Administrative AssistantTara Hayes
Administrative Assistant to VPR & Dean  
Phone: (615) 898-5897    Fax: (615) 904-8020 

Dawn McCormack, Interim Co-DirectorDawn McCormack, Ph.D.
Interim Co-Director of Operations
(615) 494-8603

Oversees operations including Pre-award, Post-award, and IRB/IACUC.

Greg Rushton, Interim Co-Director

Gregory Rushton, Ph.D.
Interim Co-Director for Strategic Growth
(615) 494-8738


Oversees strategic growth including FRCAC, URECA, Scholars Week, Centers and Institutes, and GEP.

Wendi Watts, Coordinator, ORSPWendi Watts, MS
(615) 904-8040 

Provides operational support for all areas of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, including faculty start-ups, internal research funding, procurement, bookkeeping, and personnel (hiring, termination, extra comp, summer salary). The coordinator also creates and maintains all ORSP online forms.

Dr. Jamie BurrissJamie Burriss, Ph.D.
Program Manager
(615) 494-7669 

Oversees the Undergraduate Research Center (URC) including serving as the advisor for the Student Organization for the Advancement of Research (SOAR), facilitates the Undergraduate Research Experience and Creative Arts (URECA) grant cycles, coordinates events such as the Fall Open House, Scholars Week, and Posters at the Capitol, and organizes workshops offered by the URC.  Facilitates the Faculty Research and Creative Activity Committee (FRCAC), ORSP communications, and the ORSP training program.  

Casey Penston, Program AssistantCasey Penston
Program Assistant
(615) 904-8398

Provides operational and administrative support to ORSP programs, including Faculty Research and Creative Activity Committee (FRCAC), Undergraduate Research Experience and Creative Activity (URECA), Grant Writing Enhancement Program (GEP), the Undergraduate Research Center (URC), ORSP training programs, and ORSP communications.

Moses Prabu, Ph.D.Moses Prabu, ORSP Compliance Officer
Compliance Officer

(615) 494-8918

Responsible for specific components of research compliance including the Institutional Review Board, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and Research Integrity; including, developing and implementing policies, procedures, programs, and educational activities which satisfy Federal, State, Local and institutional rules and regulations which govern proper conduct of research.

Proposal Development Staff

The Proposal Development and Pre Award Specialists are responsible for increasing faculty and staff research and sponsored programs by the development and delivery of training, partnership development, pre-proposal planning, and proposal development.

Samantha Cantrell, Proposal Development SpecialistSamantha E. Cantrell, Ph.D. 
Proposal Development Specialist 
(615) 494-8751 

- College of Behavioral & Health Sciences          - College of Media and Entertainment 
- College of Business                                             - University College 
- College of Liberal Arts                                        - Walker Library 

Position is currently vacant

- College of Basic & Applied Sciences 
- College of Education 

Awards Management Staff

Our post-award staff provide dual control and administrative support to Principal Investigators/Project Directors to ensure timely and proper administration of externally-funded activity.  The Award Management Specialists’ roles include initiating the set-up of new awards in Banner for finance and human resources functions, reviewing for approval of all financial personnel transactions requested on each assigned award, and conducting periodic comprehensive desk review/audit of each award

Michael Zierman, Award Management SpecialistMike Zierman
Award Management Specialist
(615) 494-7600 

Principal Investigators/Project Directors with Last Names A-F


Joe Driver, Award Management SpecialistJoe Driver, MBA
Award Management Specialist
(615) 904-8306 

Principal Investigators/Project Directors with Last Names G-O


Kym StricklinKym Stricklin
Award Management Specialist
(615) 494-7848

Principal Investigators/Project Directors with Last Names P-Z

Sharon E. Scott, ORSP Grants Support AnalystSharon E. Scott, MBA
Grants Support Analyst
(615) 494-8720
The duties of the Grants Support Analyst are to maintain and reconcile grant and match account budget expenditures; place orders and receive invoices; initiate cost transfers, salary redistributions, payment authorizations, travel claims and other types of forms as needed; maintain correspondence files and financial records; and serve as a resource to the Dean, PI’s and ORSP.