NORDP 2017 Conference Reflection with Eric Wayne Dickey

Conference Reflections provide brief reflections on members’ NORDP 2017 experiences. Maybe there was a session you particularly enjoyed, a connection made, or a keynote that spoke to you. If you’d like to participate, you can send your reflection directly to communications@NORDP.org.

Eric Wayne Dickey: Live tweeting during the seminars and presentations allowed me to document the things I learned at the conference. It also allowed me to make personal and professional connections to other research developers via social media. As a result, I will use my tweets from the Denver conference to compile a blog post that I can share with the readers of my Liberal Arts Research in Action blog. You can follow me here: twitter.com/claResearchOSU, and check out my blog here: blogs.oregonstate.edu/lara/.  The conference inspired me to up my online and social media presence, not just for my research development work, but also for my creative writing work. Something I have been wanting to do for a while. Who knew that Poetry and Research Development were made for each other? Thanks for the inspiration, my NORDP colleagues!

Visit twitter.com/MePoet and medium.com/@MePoet if you’re interested in Eric’s writing. 

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PEERD Double Cameo: Peggy Sundermeyer and Jerilyn Hansen

The NORDP Board of Directors invites qualified members to apply to be a PEERD NORDP Consultant. More information and a link to the online application can be found here. The deadline to apply is Friday, June 30.  If you have questions, please contact PEERD@nordp.org. Meet two NORDP members you have worked as consultants: Peggy Sundermeyer from Trinity University and Jerilyn Hansen from Utah State University.

Who: Peggy Sundermeyer
Where: Trinity University
Number of years in research development (approx.): 13
Length of NORDP membership (approx.): 8

  1. Why do you enjoy external consulting?

Photo PSundermeyer

I get a lot of satisfaction if my “outsider” perspective and experience can help individuals see their own organization and operations more clearly. If I can accurately reflect what I see, hear, and learn, then I can help decision makers to understand their challenges, their strengths, and their options more fully. But the real reason I make time to consult is because I am endlessly curious about people, organizations, and how they all tick! It’s really so much fun to be able to get inside another university and see how it works!

  1. Are there any challenges?

Yes, but it wouldn’t be for me if it wasn’t challenging. Besides being a great listener, you need to be flexible. Based on what you’re hearing, you need to be able to go “off script” and pursue new information you might not be expecting. Plus, the campus site visit is intense because there’s so much to learn in a short period of time.  Fortunately, in the NORDP model, I always have a partner to work with.

  1. Are there best practices when you work as an external consultant?

One of my practices is to try to learn as much as I can about the university before the visit. This means scouring the website for strategic plans, goals, organizational charts, and even policies. I want to be able to soak in the culture when I get there and ask informed questions. It’s also important to understand and deliver on what the client has asked for. I try to stay focused on the scope or purpose.

  1. What recommendations do you have for other NORDP members considering applying to be a PEERD reviewer?

Jump in, the water’s fine! NORPD members are “can do-ers!” Don’t underestimate your expertise or your ability to share what you know. Remember — this is peer consultation, and it has a unique value.

Who: Jerilyn Hansen
Where: Utah State University
Number of years in research development (approx.): 13
Length of NORDP membership (approx.): 6

  1. Why do you enjoy external consulting?Jerilyn Hansen

I find external consulting rewarding on two fronts: 1) helping others in the profession improve what they are doing at their institutions; and 2) learning about how other institutions have approached providing research development services (what is working, what isn’t really working). Regarding the latter, despite the fact I’m supposed to be the one providing insight and advice, I often come back with new ideas after spending time understanding another institution’s approach. Plus, consulting is a great way to expand your professional network!

  1. Are there any challenges?

Finding the time to be away from my “day job” is always a challenge. However, my VPR and AVPR view external consulting as part of my professional development so they are very accommodating. When considering consulting work, it is important to remember that it involves more than travel and several days on another campus – the time it will take to write the final report also needs to be considered.

  1. Are there best practices when you work as an external consultant?

You need to have a clear understanding of what issues you are being brought in to understand and provide advice on. You also need to be a good listener but also able to control conversations in order to get answers to the questions you have been asked to investigate. It is important you have a clear picture of the history of an institution and its research development efforts to date so you don’t end up making recommendations that either don’t apply to an institution or have been tried already and found ineffective. Always remember your primary role is as an objective outsider.

  1. What recommendations do you have for other NORDP members considering applying to be a PEERD reviewer?

Just do it! I have a tendency to under-estimate my knowledge and experience so I never thought anyone else would be looking to me for advice. But that’s the great thing about consulting – people are really looking for fresh eyes and a different perspective. It is also worth mentioning the PEERD program sends a team of consultants (usually 2 people) so members shouldn’t be concerned they would have to carry the entirety of the work themselves.

More information and a link to the online application can be found here. The deadline to apply is Friday, June 30.  If you have questions, please contact PEERD@nordp.org.

NORDP 2017 conference materials available!

Presentations from the 2017 9th Annual Research Development Conference are now available on the conference program site. If you presented at the conference and your materials are not posted, please send your final presentation slides (and any accompanying materials) to rdconf@nordp.org and we’ll see to it that they’re posted.

Further, thanks to NORDP sponsor Digital Science, we will be making conference presentations available (with indexing, metadata, and DOIs for each presentation) available through a NORDP instance of FigShare in the near future.

Finally, it’s not too soon to start thinking about presenting at the 2018 NORDP meeting! Next year’s meeting will be held Monday, May 7, through Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA. We hope to see you there!

NORDP Book Club is Forming

A NORDP Book Club is forming with enthusiastic readers and thought-provoking books. The concept of a book club started to solidify at the NORDP 2017 Conference on Twitter. Conference-goers, specifically those attending the Leadership Without Authority session with Brian Ten Eyck and Shay Stautz, collected some titles to begin reading after the conference.

A virtual book club has begun to take shape. Anyone can join at any time. The majority of the book discussions will take place online. The NORDP Book Club, like any book club, will have many options, based on your preferences:

  • Read with the group’s pace and engage in group discussions about insights and actions you might take in your work.
  • Read with the group, but keep insights to yourself.
  • Read at your own pace, using the book list as inspiration for your next read.

Facilitation

The book club will be facilitated based on the preferences of the group. A few options have been created to offer as starting points. We can add and delete from this list of options as we move forward with the book club:

  • Goodreads Group: This is nice because it offers an easy way to make a book list, link to user’s desired book format (even audiobook and public libraries), and have discussion. It requires that all participants have a Goodreads account. (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/219569-nordp-book-club)
  • Slack Channel: Maybe more people are on Slack than on Goodreads? Readers can have discussion and side convos pretty easily. Of course, if you’re not on Slack, this would also be another sign-up. I have it currently integrated with an Airtable database to keep a running list of books. (https://nordpbookclub.slack.com/signup)
  • NORDP Book Club Circle in the members area of the NORDP website. This could easily be done, too. The downside of this option is that there may be people who are not NORDP members that want to participate.

Booklist

A booklist has been created on Goodreads.  It can also be found by clicking on “bookshelf” from the NORDP Book Club Goodreads page. Anyone can add books to this list. There are tags (called “shelves”) that can be used to show which books are “to-read,” “read,” and “currently-reading.” This list automatically updates a #booklist channel on the NORDP Book Club Slack.

Groundrules

There have been several suggestions for format, frequency, and facilitation. These have been shared in Slack. Generally, though, we are looking at a monthly discussion of a title chosen by the group. To participate in the discussion, you won’t need to have read the book. All books should be generally applicable to research development, higher education, or professional development.

As the NORDP Book Club develops, we’ll post updates on the NORDP Blog. Please send any feedback and ideas to Jessica Brassard (jnbrassa@mtu.edu).

2017 NORDP Rising Star Awardees

NORDP Day 2 0591_Rising Star Awardees_3
Madhavi (Maddy) Chokshi, Michael Thompson, Mary J. Fechner

The annual NORDP Rising Star Award recognizes up to three members who have made outstanding volunteer contributions to NORDP. The 2017 Rising Star awardees are Madhavi (Maddy) Chokshi, Michael Thompson, and Mary Fechner.

Madhavi (Maddy) Chokshi, University of Central Florida
A NORDP member since 2014, Maddy attended her first annual conference in 2016. She helped make the 2016 conference a rousing success, serving on the conference planning committee and leading the local activities sub-committee. If you attended a networking dinner or went on a morning walk or run, you can thank Maddy.  She also has served on the Strategic Alliances Committee and is actively engaged in NORDP Region III.

Michael Thompson, University of New Hampshire
Michael has generously shared his humor, knowledge, and expertise with regional and national colleagues since becoming an RD professional in 2013. He has been instrumental in improving NORDP communications. He serves on NORDP’s communications working group, sharing his wisdom with the marketing committees for the 2016 and 2017 conferences. He started the @NORDP_official Twitter account and has been tweeting on NORDP’s behalf ever since.

Mary J. Fechner, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Active in both NORDP and NORDP NE, Mary combines her anthropology Ph.D. training with RD experience to bring a nuanced understanding to her service on NORDP’s annual conference evaluation committee. She is also a co-investigator on a collaborative project with University of Massachusetts, University of Tennessee, and Hanover Research peers to study development of the RD field through analysis of RD job postings and focus group input.