University Council for Sponsored Scholarship (UCSS) at Middle Tennessee State University


Mission Statement/Purpose: 

The UCSS is dedicated to fostering and enhancing sponsored research and creative activity at MTSU. The council's primary objectives are: 

  1. Advising administrators on research direction and mission. 
  2. Proposing policies and practices to enhance the research environment. 
  3. Reviewing current and forthcoming policies and practices affecting research. 
  4. Strengthening communication amongst faculty researchers, departments, committees, and administration. 
  5. Elevating the university's profile at regional, national, and international levels through the expansion of externally sponsored research, scholarship, and creative activities. 

Composition of the UCSS: 

Total Members: The UCSS comprises 21 voting members, supplemented by non-voting members from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) and Faculty Senate. 

  • Associate Deans for Research or Research Coordinators: Appointed for a 3-year term by respective college Deans to represent their college. 
  • Faculty Representatives: Ten (10) members, chosen based on the sponsored activity level of their college, serve three-year rotating terms. 
  • At-Large Faculty Members: Three (3) members appointed by the VPR for two-year terms. 
  • Faculty Senate Representative: A non-voting member who bridges communication between the UCSS and Faculty Senate. 
  • ORSP Staff: They serve as non-voting members and consistently update the Council. 

UCSS Officers: 

Chair & Vice Chair: Elected from the voting members, they serve for 1-year terms, with the Vice Chair automatically assuming the Chair position after the spring semester. 

For the 2023-2024 academic year, the Chair is Dr. Ben Sickle, and the Vice Chair is Dr. Racha El Kadiri. 


The chair can appoint standing, special committees, subcommittees, or task forces as required to facilitate the UCSS's work. The subcommittees for academic year 23-24 are: Workload Policy, Indirect Distribution and Usage, Extra Comp Policies, ORSP Services, Student Research Support and Research Centers.


If you have any question or inquiry, please reach out to Ben Stickle (Chair) at or Racha El Kadiri (Vice-Chair) at


UCSS Members          
Classification Member    Term(Years) Term(Dates)    
Chair Ben Stickle 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Vice-Chair Racha El Kadiri 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Research Coordinator         Scott McDaniel 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Research Coordinator    Kevin Bicker 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Research Coordinator         Meredith Dye 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Research Coordinator         Murat Arik 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Research Coordinator         Ryan "Seth" Jones                 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Research Coordinator         Sanjay Asthana 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Research Coordinator         Karen Nourse 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Allocated Member Tiffany Saul 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Allocated Member Greg Rushton 3 8/1/2022-7/31/2025    
Allocated Member Vickie Harden 2 8/1/2022-7/31/2024    
Allocated Member Katie Schrodt 2 8/1/2022-7/31/2024    
Allocated Member Song Cui 2 8/1/2022-7/31/2024    
Allocated Member Misagh Faezipour 3 8/1/2023-7/31/2026    
Allocated Member Joshua Phillips 3 8/1/2023-7/31/2026    
Allocated Member Dan Smith 3 8/1/2023-7/31/2026    
Allocated Member Andrew Polk 3 8/1/2023-7/31/2026    
VPR At-Large April Weissmiller 2 8/1/2023-7/31/2025    
VPR At-Large Carroll Van West 2 8/1/2022-7/31/2024    
VPR At-Large Greg Reish 2 8/1/2022-7/31/2024