Animal Care and Use Module Update
What’s Happened Since Our Last Update
It’s been longer than we like since our last update — but it’s not because anyone’s been taking a break. Since the initial module prototype’s completion in early fall, the Animal Care and Use Module Team has been hard at work with InfoEd representatives, making a number of improvements to the software and ensuring its final configuration best suits NC State.
Over the past few months, the Animal Care and Use Module has been through multiple revision cycles, with the modifications gradually shifting from major changes (e.g. workflows, user roles) to relatively minor ones (e.g. question sequencing, text formatting). Because, in this case, the users are shifting from using downloadable Microsoft Word forms to pre-formatted ones, the revision process has provided both novel challenges and opportunities.
While it’s generally important to mirror the current processes as closely as possible, in this case many things simply cannot stay the same. For instance, not every question on a form can be essentially free-response, as is the case with a Microsoft Word form. Though this could occasionally prove challenging, at the same time, the nature of this transition has allowed for an especially exciting opportunity for innovation and improvements.
The final and arguably most important step in the revision process is user acceptance testing (UAT) — when end-users ensure the system performs as intended.
Throughout January, every module team member was invited to participate in UAT sessions in which they were divided into audience groups and given the opportunity to interact with and provide feedback on the module. For some, it was the first opportunity to see and use the new system.
Where We Are Now and What’s on the Horizon
Small-group UAT sessions will gradually shift into system training for superusers — aka system administrators — and the key staff who will begin using the system immediately and be instrumental in helping others learn how to use it.
Once this process is complete, the final** revisions are made, and the module is deemed ready for campuswide use, training for larger audiences will begin — in preparation for the go-live date.
When the go-live date becomes official, we will notify campus; however, early adopters should begin watching for email updates regarding upcoming training opportunities, some of which have already been sent. To be clear, training will be offered several ways, including online content and just-in-time resources, so that all learners’ needs will be accommodated. We will share more information about training opportunities as soon as we can. Watch the ERA website and this blog.
**Please keep in mind that the system will be highly configurable throughout its lifetime and a number of improvements and regular updates will be made as needed.
Meet the Animal Care and Use Module Team
As the fine-tuning takes place and the final preparations are being made, we’d like to introduce you to the members of Animal Care and Use Module Team, beginning with a few who’ve been around since the start and agreed to be featured.
Judy Schledorn: Functional Lead, Central Office Representative
IACUC Director Judy Schledorn has been a member of the IACUC Office at NC State since 1994, and she has been an employee of the university for over three decades. On top of her wealth of experience managing an IACUC office, Schledorn is also a Certified Professional in IACUC Administration (CPIA). As such, she is a subject matter expert in not only regulations and policies but also the current thinking in the larger IACUC administration community, through networking and continuing education.
To help keep the process on track, Schledorn actually took on two roles for much of this module’s implementation process. In addition to providing the invaluable knowledge and perspectives of a seasoned compliance administrator, Schledorn performed many of the responsibilities of the module team’s functional lead*** — the person responsible for liaising between the system users, who define requirements, and the technical team, who are responsible for getting those requirements into the system.
***Two functional business analysts — one who will take over the duties of functional lead on all future compliance modules (e.g. Conflict of Interest, Human Subjects), and one who will take the lead on Sponsored Programs — were hired in January 2019. We plan to officially introduce these two, and the other recently hired members of our now-fully staffed ERA Project Team, in a future blog post, better-explaining everyone’s role.
Rusty Earl: IT Lead
ERA Development Manager Rusty Earl joined NC State as an employee, in 2005, a few years after earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the College of Engineering in order to make a career change. And for three of his nearly 14 years as an employee here, Earl worked directly with Peter Schledorn — the former director of research administration IT who designed and built RADAR and PINS.
When Peter Schledorn retired in September 2017, Earl took over as interim director for about a year, before transitioning into working on the ERA Project full-time as ERA development manager. As ERA development manager, Earl manages the technical side of the ERA Project Team, primarily responsible for determining how to make the necessary revisions to the module — whether handling them in-house or forwarding them up the chain of command and potentially on to InfoEd.
With his unparalleled experience working with the existing systems, plus an already substantial understanding of the new system and its capabilities, Earl has been, and will continue to be, pivotal to this project’s success.
Gabriel McKeon, DVM: University Attending Veterinarian
Dr. Gabriel McKeon has served as NC State’s attending veterinarian since 2013, and has over a decade of experience in his field.
As NC State’s attending veterinarian, one of McKeon’s primary concerns is compliance issues related to veterinary care and programmatic oversight. His interaction with the system will mostly consist of protocol review.
However, as someone who also has experience submitting protocols — in addition to reviewing them — McKeon is able to provide valuable feedback from both perspectives.
Below is the complete roster of the Animal Care and Use Module Team:
- Kenneth Anderson, Professor, Poultry Science (campus representative)
- Natalie Boone, Technical Business Analyst
- Paula DeLong, IACUC Compliance Coordinator, SPARCS (central office representative)
- Chris DePerno, Professor, Forestry and Environmental Resources (campus representative)
- Rusty Earl, ERA Development Manager
- Bob Elder, Unaffiliated Community Member
- Jack Foster, ERA IT Director
- Angie Fullington, Technical Business Analyst
- John Gadsby, Professor, Molecular Biomedical Sciences (campus representative)
- Nneka George, University Clinical Veterinarian, Laboratory Animal Resources (campus representative)
- Allison Klein, Cardiology Research Specialist, Clinical Sciences (campus representative)
- Christie Lee, Laboratory Supervisor, Chemistry (campus representative)
- Bruce Limon, Systems Programmer and Analyst, SPARCS
- Gabriel McKeon, University Attending Veterinarian/Clinical Veterinarian (campus representative)
- Judy Paps, Research Technician, Clinical Sciences (campus representative)
- Lakshmi Ramanathan, Functional Business Analyst, Research and Innovation
- Judy Schledorn, IACUC Regulatory Compliance Administrator, SPARCS (central office representative)
- Matt Simpson, ERA Project Administrative and Communication Specialist, Research and Innovation
- Andrea Thomson, Research Specialist, Clinical Sciences (campus representative)
- Nina Zimmerman, IACUC Compliance Coordinator, SPARCS (central office representative)
- Lynley Wentzel, ERA Training Manager, Research and Innovation
You can also find this roster on the Project Teams page of the ERA website — where we’ll keep up-to-date rosters for all module teams, as they are formed.
To the entire team, thank you for the work you’ve done and will continue to do, as we begin to wrap up this first chapter of the implementation phase.