Case #1: Engage in appropriate accounting.
Nora is a faculty member with two research awards. One of them is nearing completion but has more than $20,000 of unspent funds. Arthur, the departmental administrator, tells Sharon, Nora's lab assistant, to use the remaining funds to buy software needed for the ongoing project. Sharon questions this request, because the software will not be used to support the ongoing project. Arthur tells Sharon not to worry because “everyone spends down grant funds to zero – we don’t want to have to return any unspent funds.”
What should Sharon do?
- Tell Arthur that she does not think it is appropriate, and leave the funds unspent.
- Do as Arthur says, because everyone else does.
- Buy the software that she needs for the ongoing project with the remaining funds. Since both are Nora’s awards, they are sufficiently related.
Case #2: Prevent waste and abuse.
Tonya is the departmental administrator for a small department. Boyd, the new chair, wants to get to know everyone better and institutes a monthly lunch meeting in the conference room with all faculty and staff to discuss departmental matters, including teaching activities, research projects, and fund raising activities. Boyd tells Tonya to get an invoice from the caterer and charge it to one of his non-federal sponsored projects as an incidental meal.
What should Tonya do?
- Tell Boyd that with the range of topics discussed she would suggest paying for the lunch from either the department’s state funds or Boyd’s development funds.
- Tell one of the more senior faculty members in the department what Boyd said and ask the faculty member to talk to him.
- Do as Boyd said because he is her supervisor.
- Do as Boyd said because it is a non-federal project and does not matter if the expenditures relate to the aim of the project.