New leadership to join Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Catherine Chan will assume role as executive director of ORSP in mid-March

Madeline Fuerstenberg

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November 2, 2020

Photo by Madeline Fuerstenberg

Catherine Chan will assume her duties as executive director of the Office of Research and Sponsored programs on March 18.

UW-Eau Claire’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has a new executive director following the retirement of Karen Havholm.

Catherine Chan, a professor with UW-Whitewater’s biological science and chemistry departments, will assume her new role on March 18.

According to the UW-Eau Claire website, the ORSP “supports and promotes the select mission of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and its own mission to maintain a supportive environment for research, scholarly and creative endeavors of the faculty, academic staff and students.”

“At UW-Eau Claire, about 40% of students engage in undergraduate research with faculty,” Jeremy Miner, director of grants and contracts in the ORSP, said in an email. 

Miner said UW-Eau Claire’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs received the UW System Board of Regents Academic Staff Excellence Award for its “successes in supporting the research, scholarship and creative activity of faculty, academic staff and students” in 2015.

In 2016, UW-Eau Claire was honored by the Council on Undergraduate Research as the top master’s-level university in the country in providing excellent undergraduate research programs, Miner said

Chan has an extensive background in undergraduate research, scholarly and creative activities as a faculty mentor, a program administrator, a grant writer and an advocate. 

At UW-Whitewater, Chan served as an administrator of the campus-wide undergraduate research program for ten years, contributed to more than $1.2 million of funding toward collaborative research and student success programs and has held multiple leadership roles within state and national organizations for undergraduate research.

“ORSP functions to support scholarly endeavors of students, staff and faculty,” Chan said in an email. “This is how and where deep learning occurs and new knowledge is created.  Therefore, ORSP works collaboratively with curricular programming to fulfill the missions of higher education to produce and support an informed and educated citizenry.”

Chan said she was drawn to the executive director position at the ORSP because the UW-Eau Claire campus culture embraces innovation. Here, Chan said, she would be able to help facilitate the success of the campus and everyone within it through a department with a “strong history and foundation” of supporting research.

Miner said Chan will use her “rich experiences” with undergraduate research to help the ORSP continue moving its national reputation forward.

As executive director of ORSP, Miner said it will be Chan’s job to provide innovative leadership and advocacy for student research, promote faculty and staff research and professional development opportunities, stimulate undergraduate research across all departments, enhance the capacity for scholarship on campus, oversee etramural grant development and maintain a “vibrant internal program for funding, awards and celebration of success in scholarly activities.”

Upon beginning her new job, Chan said she plans on doing a landscape and needs analysis to determine the needs of the current and future researchers.

“I will then make sure ORSP works to ensure resources are aligned with needs,” Chan said. “For the medium term, I’d like ORSP to actively engage the campus community to explore new research interests and collaborations so that we can work towards identifying and securing funding support.”

Chan said ORSP has established a strong foundation on campus. She said she aims to leverage this to further enhance for researchers and mentors. Chan said this will include ensuring equitable participation, improved financial support for scholarly and creative activity and increased professional development opportunities.

“Through the work of ORSP, I strive to make UW-Eau Claire the premiere campus for undergraduate research and scholarly and creative pursuits in the UW System, the state and the nation,” Chan said. “I am so excited to join the Blugold family, and I can’t wait to meet everyone soon!”

Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected]