A Publication for the faculty, staff, administrators and friends of California State University, Chico
Feb. 10, 2005 Volume 35 / Number 5

Inside Stories

Katie Milo to Lead Transition in Office Sponsored Programs

Beginning in July, Katie Milo will serve a two-year term as vice provost for Research, a position she is currently serving half time as she completes the academic year in the Department of Journalism. Milo’s placement marks the first time in many years that the Office of Sponsored Programs has had an onsite vice provost.

In July, Jeff Wright, director of Sponsored Programs, and Virginia Sturr, compliance manager, will retire. Wright has been at the University for 32 years and Sturr for 28. “In anticipating Jeff and Virginia’s retirement, it was determined that having a person with some experience with sponsored programs there full time to become part of the operation would be a great advantage to the researchers on campus and to the campus in general,” says Milo.

Milo has extensive experience with grants and contracts. She has been the director of several sponsored projects for the State of California. From 1992 to 2002, Milo was project director of the Child Support Project, and in 1996 she launched the CalWORKS Family Planning Project, a state-wide campaign targeting welfare recipients—primarily single parents—in order to help them get job training or finish high school. Debra Johnson, a CSU, Chico alum and adjunct faculty in the journalism department, is program manager of this ongoing project.

“Those are the projects that have given me the extensive background so that my arrival in OSP fits pretty well,” notes Milo. “They know me over there, and I know many of them. Our work together since August has been great.”

The role of OSP, which directs more than $25 million in grant and contract activity a year, is layered and complex, says Milo. “The unit operates on so many different levels. They handle the proposals for externally-funded research, the establishment of projects once funding is approved, and oversight of those projects while they’re taking place,” she explains. “They’re involved with setting the projects up so that the rules are followed correctly, and helping the project directors—or principal investigators as they are called—move their projects to successful completion.”

OSP is in the process of hiring a director. “The director will have the technical expertise in all things mandated—the dozens and dozens of mandates, from the chancellor’s office to the federal tax code, corporation code, education code—all of those things conspire to make the process fairly complicated,” says Milo.

The creative element of research and sponsored projects especially appeals to Milo, whose expertise is in public relations, a field fueled by creativity. “It’s so interesting to be over there in Sponsored Pro-grams. It truly defines the reason why we call this a university: it is a universe of ideas and research and experimentation. And it covers the entire gamut of all kinds of thought and science—you are talking about a harvesting machine being designed and someone doing research on music in South America —it’s wonderful.”

Milo is originally from San Francisco. She earned a bachelor’s degree at CSU, Chico in 1972, master’s from San Jose State, and EdD from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She worked as a radio news reporter in Wisconsin, spent three years doing public relations and marketing for the San Jose Mercury News, and returned to CSU, Chico in 1981 to take a faculty position with the journalism department. She coordinates interns for the department and has served as chair since 1994.

Milo’s top priority in her new position will be to put the staff at ease about the transition, “To let them know that we will continue to do good things for the campus and that they are valued and their work is very important.” OSP plays an essential role in assisting the academic mission of the University, Milo says, “Which is to support the professional development of the professorate. There isn’t a discipline I can think of at Chico State that can’t be supported well by OSP.

“Part of my agenda is to attract more faculty to become partners in research with OSP in that we have programs to support them and energetic and creative people to help them get things going,” says Milo. She is particularly interested in engaging new faculty. “There may be opportunities we can provide for them that will make all the difference in their careers and their satisfaction with being at Chico State.”

Lisa Kirk



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