Heading into retirement, Rod Kison looks back on 36 years at MCW
June 08, 2012 College News - After 36 years at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Rodney W. Kison, Analyst I in the Office of Grants and Contracts, will be retiring on June 30. He spent the entirety of his MCW career in the same area, and during that time, saw firsthand the college’s extensive growth in extramural funding and how technology changed the process in which we apply for and receive that funding. Prior to leaving, he agreed to share some of those changes with us.
Rod started at MCW as Assistant Grants Administrator on June 1, 1976. At the time, MCW was still located downtown at 561 N. 15th Street, on the
Marquette University campus. Later that same year, the College moved to temporary offices on the Milwaukee County grounds, in the basement of the county infirmary, so administration could oversee the construction of the College’s first two buildings.
When Rod was hired, the office he worked in was called the Grants Office, and it handled all aspects of grant and contract administration – processing the applications, accepting and processing the awards on behalf of the institution, setting up individual accounts for each project, processing and monitoring changes to the grants, and submitting all required financial reports. In the mid-1990s, because the College’s research efforts had grown considerably, the research administrative functions were split into pre-award and post-award. He worked in the Grants and Contracts Office, which handled pre-award functions, and the Sponsored Programs office was responsible for all post-award functions.
At the time he started, the College had approximately $18 million in extramural funding. We now have approximately $175 million in extramural funding.
Rod has been witness to many process changes in his three-and-a-half decades at MCW, most of which are due to changes in technology. When he started, applications were created on typewriters and submitted in paper format through the U.S Postal Service, as were checks, and none of the institution’s electronic accounting systems or compliance approval verification processes had been established. Also, the College did not have the endowment it has today, so there were no internally funded grants.
Rod said he will miss learning about all the wonderful research being conducted at MCW, and the daily interactions he has with the departments conducting that research.
Rod looks forward to taking trips to Minnesota to visit his son and daughter-in-law, spending time gardening, and getting more involved in his church and the community. Rod is a U.S. Army Veteran, and hopes to expand his involvement in local, county, district and state organizations and programs important to him and his fellow Veterans.