NORDP Award Highlights Innovation

At the 2022 NORDP Annual Conference, a group of NORDP members were recognized with the 2022 NORDP Innovation Award for their contributions to the research development profession. Before 2022 comes to a close, we celebrate their work that resulted in a valuable resource for research development organizations and individuals: the NORDP Resource for Organizing and ADapting a Training Program toward Developing an RD career (NROAD to RD).

An image of an empty, straight roadway stretching forward. The road is bordered by deciduous trees lit by low, golden sunlight. Beyond the trees on both sides of the road are large, flat farm fields. The photo has.a sense of possibility, hope, and forward progress.
Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

NROAD to RD was designed to help RD professionals and offices develop internship and training programs to expand the RD community. It brought together representation from each NORDP committee and used crowd-sourcing to identify materials;

Easy to access at https://nordp.mclms.net/en/package/6128/course/6797/view, the program provides a framework and growing library of resources. RD offices can access modules and add additional components to create a program relevant to their individual office and institution. While originally developed as an internship/training tool, NROAD to RD serves as an innovative tool that can be adapted for training or onboarding new RD members, or even for professional development. It has already been accessed and used by more than 150 members.

The effort was chaired by Samarpita (Samar) Sengupta, Assistant Professor and Director of Research at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies. She fondly recalls the teamwork that made NROAD to RD possible.

“This effort arose from my work as a Strategic Alliance Committee liaison to the National Postdoc Association, which identified a need for training related to research development for postdoctoral scholars. Working with Peggy Sundermeyer, the chair of SAC, we realized that a centralized approach wouldn’t work. So, we pulled together different perspectives, tapping expertise from NORDP’s various committees.”

The NROAD to RD team leveraged existing resources and created new tools to create an innovative resource will help grow the RD field and community. Their dedication of countless volunteer hours for brainstorming, creating, persevering, and was recognized with the 2022 NORDP Innovation Award. 

Phase 1 piloted in 2018, followed by Phase 2 work focused on implementation and dissemination. In early 2021, the Phase 2 team conducted a survey of users to determine return on investment and identify areas for improvement.

“As opposed to dropping into the storm without a parachute, now postdocs and others can learn about the RD profession and potentially join our growing field,” Sengupta says. “Previously, there was no way for RD offices to provide such information, no training or internship structure to utilize. We filled a gap that people didn’t even realize they had. Many NORDP members are also using this resource for onboarding new employees.”

In addition to Sengupta, NROAD to RD’s Phase I working group included Peggy Sundermeyer, Trinity University; Joanna Downer, Duke University; Page Sorensen, previously at the University of California San Francisco; Sharon Pound, University of Tennessee; Rebecca Latimer, University of Virginia; Nicole Frank, University of Utah; Beth Moser, previously at Maricopa County Community Colleges District; and Sarah Messbauer, University of California, Davis.

The NROAD to RD team now lives under the NORDP Professional Development committee. Phase II WG members include Joanna Downer, Rebecca Latimer, and Samarpita Sengupta from Phase I, with several new members: Danielle Matsushima, Columbia University; Elaine Lee, Boston University; Maile Henson, Duke University; and Alexis Nagel, Medical University of South Carolina. Peggy Sundermeyer; Jacob Levin, Levin Global Group; and Jeff Agnoli, the Ohio State University, provided consulting support as and when needed. 

A “living resource,” NROAD to RD is being continually modified to update materials and add items requested by users. The team is now a working group of the NORDP Professional Development Committee.

Once again, NORDP thanks these tireless RD professionals who made NROAD to RD possible. Visit the Professional Development Committee website to learn more and access this and other online RD resources.

Effective Mentoring Roles: Coach and Sponsor/Champion

by Kristin Boman, MPH & Paula Carney, PhD

The NORDP Mentoring Program continues to be an important member benefit, first matching Mentor-Mentee pairs in 2011, and growing to support the professional development of NORDP member Mentors and Mentees through effective programs, resources and tools. Mentors support a collaborative relationship designed to engage the Mentee in personal and professional growth and development. This practice helps acquire essential competencies needed for career success. One important component of the mentoring relationship identifies a mentor network that can serve Mentees. A second component identifies roles Mentors can fill as part of the relationship. Specifically, Mentors may serve as Coaches, and/or Sponsors/Champion at different times in a research development professional’s mentored career development. 

The NORDP Mentoring Committee designed the My MESHH Network (Mentorship, Expertise, Support, HelpingHands) which is part of the Mentor Program Onboarding Packet. Mentors and Mentees report that the tool is especially useful, and enables the Mentee to identify a mentor network as well as mentor roles that can serve the Mentee’s professional development. My MESHH Network is designed to be a dynamic tool that can help a Mentee identify and connect existing and prospective relationships to meet evolving professional goals, including the roles that may be needed to support the mentoring relationship.

A Mentee can identify the role(s) needed from a Mentor. For example, a career guidance Mentor may use coaching skills so the Mentee can identify values to inform career direction. A Mentee may then seek out a Mentor who can serve as a Sponsor for professional development related to these values. 

Although the NORDP Mentoring Program is designed for Mentors and Mentees who are at different institutions, the tools and mentoring roles could also be used in mentoring programs within an institution or in situations when a supervisor also has a mentoring role.  

Definitions of Coach and Sponsor/Champion roles as well as scenarios of how each role may contribute to the mentoring relationship follow:

COACH

Definition: Coaching is a method that enables the Mentee to develop and succeed in their jobs and lives. One definition of coaching is “…partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”. Two main tools used in coaching are asking powerful questions and exploring values, so the Mentee identifies goals and strengths, overcomes limiting beliefs, emotions, and obstacles, and improves well-being, life satisfaction and performance.

Example Scenario: A Mentee expresses interest in changing their career – from grant writing within a PI-led small research institute to a broader office of research role. They accept a school-level research administration position with an opportunity to build research development services within the school. The hiring manager soon left and so did the research development opportunity; the Mentee is now unhappy in the role. As their Mentor, asking powerful questions (open-ended questions that send Mentees in search of discovery, such as “Look ahead one year; standing there, what decisions would you make today?”) and supporting the Mentee’s identification of values (What is important to you? What do you want?) are two coaching skills that can support the Mentee’s journey.  

SPONSOR/CHAMPION

Definition: A Mentor can sponsor a Mentee by putting them in the “right place at the right time” for a specific opportunity by serving as an advocate and using their network and influence. A Mentor can also champion a Mentee for broader career advancement in an organization or profession.

Example Scenario: A Research Development Professional identifies that they want to develop expertise in the Science of Team Science (SciTS) and seek a professional role that provides an opportunity to attain a leadership role in this area. The primary Mentor and Mentee together identify a NORDP member for their My MESHH Network who can be an advocate and guide and who also has a voice at the SciTS table to serve in the Sponsor/Champion role. The Mentor, who is active in SciTS organizations, introduces the Mentee to members in the organization’s special interest group to champion their involvement. Several years later, the Mentor identifies a team science position and serves as a Sponsor for the Mentee as they apply for the job opportunity.

SUMMARY

Awareness of approaches that support Mentor/Mentee interactions can lead to meaningful relationships. Learn more about the NORDP Mentor Program and its resources here

REFERENCES/RESOURCES

Hewlett, S.A. (2014, January 21). Are you ready for a sponsor? Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2014/01/are-you-ready-for-a-sponsor

ICF. (2021). ICF, the gold standard in coaching: Read about ICF. https://coaching federation.org/about 

Yacobucci, M. (2021, June 22). How to be a strong sponsor and advocate for faculty. National Center for Faculty Development [webinar]. https://www.facultydiversity.org/webinars/facultysponsor

Tools ‘n Tips: Making Presentations that Stick

Presented by Melanie Bauer

Many of our workshops to faculty contain some pretty dry information. How do you keep them engaged for the entire presentation? You need to give out “nuggets of wisdom” (takeaways that apply to them). These “a-ha” moments better stick when they directly benefit them.

Examples of workshop topics and how to turn them into a “nugget of wisdom”
  1. Timeline
    • From – Create a detailed timeline for your proposal writing journey
    • To – Planning to write takes longer than you think
  2. Sections
    • From – Learn about the sections of a grant proposal and how to tell a compelling story
    • To – Be a storyteller and entrepreneur
  3. Pitfalls
    • From – Understand common pitfalls for first-time and experienced grant writers
    • To – Find your fits and reach out & All the pieces matter
  4. Tips
    • From – Find out tips for making your proposal stand out
    • To – Get graphic & Grant writing is like applying for a job
Additional “takeaway” examples
  • Follow the money
  • Don’t be a square
  • Know how funders walk and talk
  • Funder priorities are the sprinkles
  • Win friends and influence reviewers
  • Third time’s a charm
  • Level up or move along
Resources:
  • How to design & teach workshops that work every time by Robert Fitzpatrick & Devin Hunt (www.workshopsurvival.com)
  • Prezi (there is a free version) – www.prezi.com
  • This TNT presentation was recorded and can be viewed HERE.
Past TNT recordings can be found on the NORDP Learning Management System (LMS).
  • Past TNT recordings can be found on the NORDP website.
  • Log into your NORDP account (www.nordp.org)
  • Look for the “Quick Links” menu (blue)
  • Select “NORDP LMS”
  • Make sure you are seeing “All Courses” – scroll down to the bottom and select “SHOW ALL COURSES”
  • Search for “TnT”
  • Select the “TnT (Tools and Tips) Talks”
The next TNT presentation will be Tuesday, December 6th at 12:00pm (eastern).
  • TNT: Writing for a Lay Audience – Presented by Susan Elkins
  • Register HERE.

Do you have a great Tool or Tip you would be willing to share? If so, please contact Dawn McArthur or Emily Devereux. We would love to hear any requests and we’ll see if we can’t find a presenter!

It’s Almost time for the First McHuddles of the 2022-2023 Mentoring Program Year!

By Brooke Gowl, Research Development Associate, Duke University

NORDP Members, come join in the fun of the McHuddles! There are McHuddles for Mentees and Mentors, and you are welcome to sign up for one or both.

McHuddle with Mentees will be held on November 9th at 1:00pm Eastern: Register now.

McHuddle with Mentors will be held on November 9th at 2:00pm Eastern: Register now.

McHuddles, informal gatherings hosted by the NORDP Mentoring Committee, are an opportunity to share ideas, ask questions, and collectively learn from other mentees/mentors and are led by the Facilitator Team. While the expectation is that McHuddles will serve as support for current and former NORDP Mentoring Program participants, all are welcome!

During each McHuddle, there will be breakout sessions led by NORDP Mentoring Program Facilitators. I have attended these sessions in the past as a mentor and a mentee and enjoyed talking with other mentors and mentees in a safe, fun, supportive, and informal atmosphere. A McHuddle is also a nice break in your busy day. During the session, participants introduce themselves and often give some insights into their personalities by answering a fun question, such as, “If you had a superpower, what would it be?” or “What is one of the most interesting places you have visited?” We laugh and enjoy the group camaraderie, and of course, discuss mentoring and how our mentoring relationships are developing. We also talk about additional resources we could use or are using that can be shared. McHuddles are a wonderful reminder of the terrific, supportive community of RD professionals that comprises NORDP.

During the McHuddle you will meet our team of Facilitators. Facilitators serve as a resource and point of contact with the mentoring committee. You can contact a Facilitator if you have any concerns about your match, have any difficulties connecting with your mentee/mentor, or have any questions in general about the program.  These conversations are confidential and meant to support your experience with the program. You can find the list of the Facilitators on your WisdomShare Dashboard at https://nordpmentoring.mywisdomshare.com/.

Dresbeck’s Initiative Recognized with 2022 NORDP Fellows Award

Long before NORDP was established in 2010, Rachel Dresbeck was bringing her creativity and initiative to research development in Oregon. As one of NORDP’s earliest members and most dedicated volunteers, she was designated the 2022 NORDP Fellow at our organization’s annual conference in May.

2022 NORDP Fellow Rachel Dresbeck, Senior Director of Research Development at Oregon Health & Science University

The NORDP Fellow designation recognizes the long-term accomplishments of members who have made sustained contributions to NORDP and worked tirelessly to advance research development as a profession. Status as a NORDP Fellow is the highest professional distinction the organization may bestow on a member.

Rachel is Senior Director of Research Development at Oregon Health & Science University, where she has worked since 2004. Having served eight years (2013–2021) on NORDP’s Board of Directors, she is known to be a voice for a practical approach and to diffuse conflict with her calm but direct manner. In 2014, she received the Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski NORDP Service Award given in recognition of outstanding service to NORDP and to the RD profession. She chaired and hosted the 2014 conference in Portland, where she introduced networking dinners and the Idea Showcase. She has also served in leadership capacities on NORDP’s Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC) and Communications Working Group, among numerous other roles. 

When asked what her best work for NORDP has been to date, she mentions two primary areas – the SAC and the Leadership Forum. “I’m especially devoted to SAC and to figuring out how to engage and retain leaders at NORDP through opening new ways for them to develop professionally,” she says. She considers strategic alliances to be critical for NORDP’s organizational growth and development, allowing NORDP to be a player in the national and international research space. NORDP’s Leadership Forum, which she helped create with NORDP members Gretchen Kiser and Jennifer Lyon Gardner, launched in 2017. This emerging program creates a dedicated space for experienced RD professionals to discuss emerging RD trends and the research landscape more broadly.

Rachel is especially keen on collaboration and often considers her role as a clearinghouse for worthy information. Working with Oregon colleagues, she established the Oregon Research Development Group, which connects diverse institutions across the state. “What NORDP has taught me is that it helps to band together. If you find a buddy, there’s nothing you can’t do,” she says.

She remembers the early days when 100 people turned out to attend the second NORDP conference in Chicago—and she realized she had found her people.  Now, with more than 1,000 members, the organization has grown tremendously. “We can’t recognize everyone’s accomplishments enough,” she says, acknowledging that she was among a group of NORDP members to conceive NORDP’s awards program.  

Rachel’s RD career has its roots in communications. With a Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon, she started out teaching college English composition. In 1998, she heard that an institute at the local medical school wanted someone to help them with writing and editing their papers and proposals. She started working with postdocs, then with a faculty member on an NIH R01.

“I had some grant writing experience, but not NIH. So, I got hold of a successful R01 sample, deconstructed it; re-engineered the proposal, and got the funding,” she recalls. She established her own science writing and editing business—eventually, she had so much work that she had to either find someone else to pay the overhead or hire staff, which would take her away from the thing she loved the most: helping scientists bring their science to life. So, in 2004, she joined OHSU full-time. Today, she has a faculty appointment and teaches science writing and proposal writing. She supports researchers with proposal development and other areas of training, such as a workshop called “People Management for Principal Investigators.” She also runs internal funding programs for OHSU, as well as advising senior research leadership on strategic research initiatives.

Rachel is the 16th NORDP leader to be designated a Fellow. A full list of NORDP Fellows is available here

NEW Coaching & RD Peer Mentoring Group (PMG) Forming

PMG Organizers: Don Takehara, Jet LeBlanc, Joanna Downer, Paula Carney, & M. S. (Peg) AtKisson.

The 2022 NORDP Conference included multiple sessions that addressed the discipline of coaching and how it can be used in research development (RD), including faculty research career development, research leadership development, and research team engagement.

The Coaching & RD Peer Mentoring Group (PMG) is now being launched to provide a vehicle for supporting NORDP members interested in coaching.

Coaching fits a broader collection of skills in the RD skillset to further faculty research career development and reflects the dynamic nature of the RD profession. Coaching is a powerful process that encompasses a distinct set of competencies. The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity, and leadership. Trained coaches can engage individual faculty to address research career and research leadership development, facilitate research team engagement, and promote development of research leaders. 

Using the peer mentoring model, the Coaching & RD PMG’s goals are to: 

  • Enable members to explore coaching as part of the RD skillset 
  • Develop programs to offer coaching as an RD service at the institutional level
  • Assess coaching as a contributor to faculty and organizational research attainment
  • Provide a setting for accountability and continuous improvement for RDs interested in coaching in research development

The Coaching & RD PMG is for NORDP members who may be curious about becoming a coach to add to their RD skillset, interested in adding coaching to an institution’s faculty research career, research leadership development, or research team engagement programs, as well as other opportunities for RD professionals that may benefit from inclusion of coaching.

NORDP Members can view and join PMGs via the WisdomShare Platform.


NORDP members interested in learning more about all eight active PMGs can do so at the 2023 Peer Mentoring Group (PMG) Orientation on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, noon-1:30 pm Eastern.  

Register Here

2022-2023 PMGs:

  1. Career & Professional Development: exploring how to become more efficient and effective in our roles
  2. Coaching & RD: developing and implementing coaching as part of the research development (RD) skillset
  3. Communication: promoting awareness of RD opportunities and publicizing research
  4. Collaboration and Team Science: building collaborations and interdisciplinary research programs
  5. Leadership & Management: leading in both official and unofficial capacities
  6. Mentorship Training: discussing and supporting mentoring best practices for mentors and mentees
  7. Proposal Development: supporting faculty grant seeking and increasing extramural funding
  8. Strategic Planning & Advancement: guiding policy and planning for enhanced research and scholarship

Announcing the NORD/InfoReady 2022 Cycle II Grant Awardees

The New Opportunities for Research Development (NORD) Committee is excited to announce the NORD / InfoReady Grant Cycle II 2022 Awardees, sponsored by InfoReady and NORDP.


NORD/InfoReady Grant Awardee Sanjukta Choudhury

Sanjukta Choudhury, from the University of Saskatchewan, was awarded $4,714.18 for the project, “Identifying Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Gaps in Faculty Research to Inform Research Development Practices: The Case of a Canadian Research-Intensive University” 

This project aims to advance Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in faculty research through identifying barriers that researchers face in academia for meaningful EDI integration in research, and by gathering inputs on possible actions to address those barriers. The proposal addresses a pressing question in the disciplinary field of Research Development (RD) and proposes a three-step plan: a) developing a better understanding of the details of the problem picture that our researchers are facing to generate and nurture an inclusive research environment, b) discussing/consulting the identified problems with RD professionals for possible solutions, and c) communicating the findings with the broader research community internationally. Choudhury anticipates that the findings will impact the perspectives and understanding of both the researchers and research administration leadership/ professionals, resulting in an expansion of the resource allocation and improved training / services around adopting a more inclusive research guidance and practices. The research will influence enhanced EDI skills for RD professionals and larger scale research and collaboration among RD professionals internationally, broadening the recognition that is necessary to sustain a deep and lasting change in RD.


NORD/InfoReady Grant Awardee Kathryn Duvall

Kathryn Duvall, from East Tennessee University, was awarded $5,000 for the project “Developing strategies to improve and facilitate collaborative research” 

Through a collaboration with an university institute and a regional committee on research and academics, Duvall’s project seeks to better understand the barriers, opportunities, and facilitators to fostering and enhancing interdisciplinary research around a central focus area (child and family health) with administrators, faculty, staff, trainees, and community organization representatives in a regional sample of south central Appalachian institutions for higher education. Duvall will develop a data dashboard around a central research focus (child and family health) within the region to provide information that will improve communication about work being conducted in the region, and foster collaborative teams which include more clinical faculty. 


NORD/InfoReady Grant Awardee, Pammala Petrucka

The Nursing Unit for Research & Scholarship Excellence (NURSE) led by Dr. Pammla Petrucka, from the University of Saskatchewan, was awarded $5,000 for the project “Exploring the role of research development in building a strong culture of research: Co-creating with researchers and research development professionals through participatory diagramming”

This study seeks to better understand how the professionals that support and strengthen the research process can build a positive research culture for faculty and institutions, and ultimately enhance research development as a profession. Petrucka and participants will create a research development cycle diagram to illustrate (i) how decentralized and targeted research development supports activities that can build research culture within the College of Nursing and beyond and (ii) identify lessons learned, best practices, tools, and resources to advance the profession within North America. The results of this study will provide insights into the role research development plays in creating a strong culture of research within an academic unit from the perspectives of researchers and research development professionals. By examining the beliefs, values, knowledge, and actions that build culture, research institutions will be better positioned to continue to create a permanent culture shift that builds an environment for research success.

Congratulations, Sanjukta, Kathryn, and Pammla!

2022 Rising Star Award: Becca Latimer

The NORDP Rising Star Award recognizes individuals for their outstanding, early volunteer contributions to NORDP and strong potential for future contributions to the organization and the profession or the field. 

Becca Latimer, Rising Star Awardee

Who: Becca Latimer, Ph. D., Research Program Director


Where: University of Virginia Comprehensive Cancer Center


Number of years in research development: 6


Length of NORDP membership: 6 years


What initiative are you the most proud of in your role as a NORDP volunteer?

It is a tie between my work on the annual conference and past efforts with the salary survey committee.

I am one of the co-chairs for the 2023 national conference and I have served a variety of roles on the recent virtual ones as well. I really enjoy this area as it not only provides a way for our members to get together, but also learn important tools, tips and educational content from our experienced membership. I truly appreciate that as a member myself and my efforts with the upcoming and past conferences focus on providing the most valuable, useful, relevant, and current content for NORDP members.

A few years ago, I helped put together the report from the 2019-20 Salary Survey which I believe is a valuable asset to members. It allowed us to collect data to gauge how our membership is evolving and diversifying over time. It is helpful to new members and allows them to see the varied backgrounds and
types of positions in the RD field. It is also beneficial if your institution does not support RD functions. Finally, it is also useful to RD veterans in their work towards merit raises and promotions.


How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

My volunteer efforts have truly helped me come into my own in a profession I did not know about seven years ago. I came from a bench research background, and I really did not know much about the various careers you could use a research background for beyond that. I came to NORDP with an open mind and it has been helpful since day one. The various service experiences have allowed me to meet many other engaged volunteers. These folks have mentoring characteristics and skill sets that have helped me enhance my own skills as well. Working on projects for NORDP has allowed me to progress in my current career and mentor new people coming into NORDP and at my home institution, too.


How did you hear about NORDP and what made you join initially?

When I started in RD my supervisor recommended checking out the annual conference. In my prior sciences work I really valued attending national meetings and engaging with people that shared similar interests as me – I was pleased with my first NORDP conference experience. It was exciting to be a part
of a group that were interested the same topics as I was and who had similar career goals.


What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

My engagement with NORDP really allowed me to step outside of my own experience. I’ve learned more about interacting with a wide variety of individuals from different institutions, including MSIs, PUIs, and R universities, than I ever would have on my own. I came to realize that we all have the same goal. Everyone I have encountered through NORDP has been collaborative and giving. They are always willing to take time out of their workday and life to help if they can.


Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined

The overall general mission has not changed, but I have noticed in the past few years that NORDP has incorporated a lot more inclusivity work and activities, which has been extremely beneficial. It has provided more opportunities for members to learn how to include DEIB into their everyday practices.
This has been evident through conference speakers, webinars, workshops, and training activities. Additionally, the growth in the membership in recent years is also an indicator that this is a positive community that welcomes people who are interested in learning, collaborating, and practicing inclusivity.


What recommendations do you have for members to get more involved with NORDP?

It actually took me a few years to get involved myself. It can seem intimidating at first, but there are so many ways to volunteer. Think about what you like to do and what seems of interest to you that is going on right now. Think about what group would allow you to learn a new skill sets or a group that would
benefit from you bringing your skills into the mix. I would say to start with one activity and see where it takes you. If you like it and see areas where you would contribute more, consider taking on a leadership position. There are opportunities for any type of work that might be of interest to you. It is also such a great way to meet new people and learn novel and different methods of completing tasks or projects.

As conference co-chair I definitely have to recommend that the conference (May 5-11, 2023 in Crystal City, VA) will be great place to learn about or engage with all of these things. Our theme is Growing Connections – and we’ll have plenty of time for networking. You can connect with committees & affinity
groups, present a poster or during a concurrent session, or volunteer in some capacity. The call for abstracts is out! Consider submitting one. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there – sporting your favorite NORDP gear!

Liaison News: Research Development and the International Forum on Expert Finders Systems Call for Conference Proposals

Jeff Agnoli, Senior Liaison, Office of Corporate Partnerships, The Ohio State University, is serving on the Conference Steering Committee for the International Expert Finders System Forum, April 5 & 6, 2023 in Coral Gables Miami, Florida. He will be a keynote presenter in part because of his research development responsibilities and his role in building a sustainable future for the Ohio Innovation Exchange, http://OhioInnovationExchange.org. This year’s theme is Connecting the Dots, which is something RD professionals do every day!

Agnoli will feature the various ways RD professionals use tools to build interdisciplinary teams, assist with identifying mentors, fostering innovation, building corporate partnerships, and driving economic development. He invites other NORDP members to consider submitting a call for conference proposals and share their institution’s unique use of these emerging tools. Presentations, panels, or posters can address how each college/university leverages these platforms to provide strategic/competitive intelligence, enhance the proposal development process, etc.

“I believe it is time for the RD community to do what we do best, i.e., leverage our relationships across the campus and advance the use of these tools,” he says. “Every day, we build partnerships with our colleagues in the libraries, information technology, communications, foundations/corporate relations, and technology transfer, to promote our faculty, enhance their research impact, and build our institutional reputation.”

Contact Agnoli at agnoli.1@osu.edu if you have questions or interest in collaborating on a poster, presentation, or panel discussion featuring your institution’s unique adoption of these types of platforms.

The Ohio Innovation Exchange (OIEx) is the essential gateway for university scholars and business/industry seeking to build partnerships. Visitors enjoy access to more than 10,000 experts, research equipment/services, and patents to drive innovation and increase economic development. Every week thousands of people from across the globe visit the http://OhioInnovationExchange.org to discover new opportunities and promote research discoveries.

Collaboration and Team Science Peer Mentoring Group:  What Does it Take to Foster Strong, Impactful Collaborations?

By Jeremy Steinbacher (Syracuse University) and Leah Gorman (Oregon State University)

We are seeing new opportunities for transdisciplinary teams to develop proposals that cross disciplinary boundaries to increase the societal impact of research. Our institutions are excited by these opportunities, thinking creatively about how they might nurture environments that foster transdisciplinary work, and looking to research development (RD) professionals to help spark and facilitate these collaborations. For many members of the NORDP Collaboration and Team Science Peer Mentoring Group (CTS PMG), the skill set needed to do this work has not traditionally been a central part of our professional training. In addition, our institutions may not be familiar with how other institutions are approaching this work. Combined, the lack of both training and institutional knowledge leaves many RD professionals with the feeling that we are constantly  reinventing the wheel when facilitating team science. The CTS PMG seeks to address this challenge by offering an opportunity for RD professionals to share best practices and develop strategies toward creating working knowledge of team science at our institutions. 

Below, we address some common questions about the CTS PMG and the work we have engaged in over the last year.


How is a peer mentoring group different from other types of professional development environments you might use to build skills for fostering collaboration and team science?

All of us have access to a variety of professional development opportunities through our employers, professional societies, and educational institutions. Many of these are highly-structured workshops and classes with a designated leader/instructor and, for the most part, strangers as co-participants. On the other hand, the PMG environment offers several characteristics that provide a distinct learning experience. 

First, the PMGs do not have a single, defined topic at the outset; rather, the material is flexible to the needs, experience, and interests of group members. Though the CTS PMG set a schedule of topics for monthly meetings early in the year, we remained flexible to accommodate new topics as the group evolved. 

Additionally, unlike a workshop, class, or a traditional dyadic mentoring relationship, a PMG benefits from a range of perspectives, rather than training on a single approach. Every facilitator brings a different style and the open nature of discussions encourages input from all participants regardless of experience level. Importantly, the setting of ground rules by the group itself early in the meeting cycle helps create a psychologically safe environment where it is ok to be vulnerable. This helps members recognize and express the limits of their knowledge, knowing that the other participants are there to support each other’s growth. 

PMGs also offer the chance to build relationships with other NORDP members beyond the annual conference experiences and the more structured learning opportunities.


What did we learn about collaboration and team science this year? 

The CTS PMG discussed a wide variety of topics over the last year! 

Sharon Pound (University of Tennessee) led a discussion about the relationship aspects of teams, including how to deal with common barriers in communication and expectations, and also the benefits of long-term team building. 

Laura Heinse (University of Idaho) presented strategies for after-action review, such as post-submission debriefs with a team to determine course corrections and evaluate lessons learned. 

Chris Erlien (Duke University School of Medicine) and Eva Allen (Indiana University)  gave an overview of the many issues unique to developing center proposals with large teams, both practical impacts like project management and strategic issues surrounding group ideation and leadership. 

Melanie Bauer (Nova Southeastern University) shared a range of strategies that she has employed to facilitate faculty networking within her institution and with other institutions in her state. 

Leah Gorman and Sarah Polasky (University of Missouri-Columbia) led a discussion about collaboration across disciplines and the strategies we employ when team members working in very different disciplinary cultures. 

Finally, guest speakers Kristine Glauber and Christine Hendron of Intereach introduced us to their community of “boundary spanners” working across disciplines. Chris Erlien provided a nice description of their talk in a recent blog post.


How can NORDP members get involved in a PMG?

The NORDP PMGs are open to all members. We encourage experienced practitioners to participate in these groups as a way to build community and share best practices (#payitforward). To see the available PMGs, visit your dashboard on the WisdomShare platform and scroll down until you see the list of Peer Mentoring Groups, where you can click to join. Our PMG group will kick off again in September, and everyone who has joined will get the notification message.  If you have already joined a PMG or a few, we hope that you continue participating in the same or new PMGs this upcoming year. If you have not yet tried a PMG, we strongly encourage you to attend this year! To all, bring your curiosity, a willingness to share your experiences, and lots of questions. 

The NORDP Mentoring Committee is planning a PMG Orientation in October. Keep an eye out for the event announcement and we welcome everyone to participate!