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The Challenge: How to Provide Increasing Service Using Fixed Resources
Pennsylvania Transportation Institute (PTI) is an interdisciplinary research unit that conducts research related to transportation needs, promotes continuing education for transportation professionals, and provides transportation-related expertise to local communities, the Commonwealth, and the nation. As a result of PTI researchers' successful efforts to secure projects, the annual research budget has been steadily increasing. However, the budget that supports the research administration staff has not kept pace. PTI's former director, Bohdan Kulakowski, charged a team “to improve the quality and efficiency of the research administration process …and to ensure that PTI remains a good place to work.”
The Solution: An On-line Operations Manual
PTI Manual
 PTI Forum

The team began by identifying and mapping the processes in the six major areas of administrative support: pre-proposal, proposal, pre-contract, project/contract, final report, and closeout. The team also surveyed staff and clients. Feedback indicated a need for an organizational reference to clarify who provided what services, and how they were provided. To make the reference manual more accessible and maintainable, the team decided to make it an on-line document.

The manual includes sections on contractual issues, general services, information technology services, library services, personnel issues, publishing services, purchasing, and travel policies, as well as including several chat areas to enable discussion and collaboration among faculty considering future research projects, and for users of the reference to provide feedback or ask questions.

For more information about this team, contact Robin Tallon at


Robin Tallon
Robin Tallon,
Team Leader
 "[We] found that there were a lot of misconceptions regarding who does what ...."
Lily Elefteriadou
Lily Elefteriadou,
Acting PTI Director
"The manual has been distributed to PTI affiliates for their comments and suggestions.

   Robin Tallon
   Barbara Sherlock
   Chris Christian
   Deb Clemmer
   Greg Dauber
   Lily Elefteriadou
   Kevin Mahoney
   Lisa O’Hara
   Paul Tikalsky
   Zoltan Rado

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