About Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA)

Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) is NIU’s central office authorized to submit external funding proposals to and accept awards from all funding sources on behalf of the university. SPA is the official contact for the university on administrative award-related matters.  

Pre-Award Team

Team Leads:
Donna Martin, Associate Director – Pre-Award
Maria Nihei, Assistant Director – Pre-Award

Our Proposal Coordinators assist Investigators with ensuring submission of compliant proposals. Functions of this team include:

  • Provide guidance on funding databases.
  • Provide budget rates and calculations.
  • Confirm non-technical proposal components meet administrative requirements.
  • Provide final administrative review of proposals.
  • Submit proposals as the NIU Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR).
  • Record proposals in InfoEd.
  • Review and submit just in time requests and other pre-award sponsor requests before receiving an award.

Award Acceptance Team

Team Lead: Sarah Senechalle, Associate Director – Award Acceptance

Our Award Coordinators review and accept all awards and manage a number of non-financial award actions. Functions of this team include:

  • Authorize advance accounts.
  • Review grant and contract award terms and conditions.
  • Address problematic terms and conditions before accepting awards.
  • Negotiate sponsored contracts.
  • Accept grant and contract awards as the NIU Authorized Organization Representative (AOR).
  • Record awards in InfoEd.
  • Approve and submit progress reports requiring AOR endorsement.
  • Review and approve non-financial award changes requiring institutional or prior agency approval.

Award Management Team

Team Leads:
Carrie Blackwood-Williams, Assistant Director – Post-Award
Barbara Whitesel, Associate Director – Post-Award

Our Grants and Contracts Associates monitor awards for compliance and manage financial transactions and award audits. Functions of this team include:

  • Set up awards in PeopleSoft.
  • Monitor and approve expenditures.
  • Prepare and monitor subrecipient agreements.
  • Financial reporting.
  • Cash management (e.g., invoicing, drawdowns).
  • Calculate and distribute F&A.
  • Time and Effort Reporting.
  • Audits.

Contact Us

Sponsored Programs Administration
203 Lowden Hall
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828
P: 815-753-1581
F: 815-753-6081

Follow Us


Pre-award and Proposals

Post-award and Award Management

Technical questions

Staff Directory
SPA Org Chart

Proposal Intake Form