NORDP 2018 Rising Star Cameo: Nathan Meier

Nathan Meier is one of three NORDP members to receive the 2018 Rising Star Award for outstanding volunteer contributions to NORDP. We honor Nathan in the cameo below.

Who: Nathan Meier, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Research
Where: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Number of years in research development: 15
Length of NORDP membership: 7 years

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

My advice is to dive in! Attend the annual conference. Look for a committee to join, or reach out to a board member or committee chair and have a conversation. This will offer a great opportunity to learn how NORDP works, see how you might contribute, and allow you to extend your network by interacting with colleagues from around the globe. Don’t be shy. You won’t regret it!

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

My involvement has provided a litmus test of sorts for me as a research development professional and for the work we do in research development at Nebraska. It has shown me how we compare to other institutions and how we can improve by learning about what other members are doing. NORDP is a great crucible for collecting and mixing all types of perspectives, experiences, and institutions. This provides a sort of professional smorgasbord of strategies and approaches from which members may select and use to up their RD game.

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

I became aware of NORDP early on when my supervisor was contacted about the initial meeting from which the organization was formed. I joined the listserv and saw its value to my work. Membership soon followed along with attending the annual conference.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?

NORDP helps you learn who your colleagues are nationally – and meet them. I have built a national network of peers to consult with who offer objective insights and perspectives. If I have an issue that I cannot resolve locally, there are folks within the NORDP network always willing to provide ideas and share or brainstorm solutions. I began my service on the conference marketing committee, which led to joining the nominating committee, which I currently chair. Over the years, I have been the recipient of unexpected mentoring and developed numerous friendships along the way.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

NORDP Mentoring Program Webinar Series

Based on feedback from last year’s program participants, the Mentoring Committee has developed a series of webinars to support mentors/mentees/peer mentors when using the OnBoarding Packet, or individual tools in the packet. These webinars are open to the entire NORDP community, regardless of current participation in the NORDP Mentoring Program. Join us for one or all, and committee members will share tips as to how to use the tool, strategies for success, and other best practices. Registration links and descriptions for the first two webinars are below, as well as times and titles for the whole series:

Date Topic Length
June 13, 1:00 pm EST Getting your Mentoring Relationship off to a Strong Start 60 minutes
June 20, 1:00 pm EST The Initial Conversation Guide for Mentor Pairs: Getting Ready, Getting Started, Getting Results 45 minutes
June 27, 1:00 pm EST Self-Assessment Worksheet: Capitalizing on Strengths and Targeting Areas of Growth for Professional Development 45 minutes
July 11, 1:00 pm EST My MESHH Network: Developing Your Own Personalized Mentoring Network to Achieve Your Goals 45 minutes
July 18, 1:00 pm EST The NORDP Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP): Your Personalized Map for Success 45 minutes


Getting your Mentoring Relationship off to a Strong Start (June 13)

You are a mentor, a mentee, a peer or a near peer mentor. You might just be beginning to form a new relationship as a participant in the NORDP Mentoring Program, or are otherwise engaged in a mentoring relationship. This initial session in the NORDP Mentoring Program OnBoarding Packet Webinar Series will introduce participants to the OnBoarding Packet resources that are available to all NORDP members.

The webinar will provide an overview of mentoring within NORDP and provide tips and techniques for getting off to a strong start. The information that will be shared can be applied to any mentoring relationship, and at any stage. Attendees will have opportunities to ask questions, and provide input.

Following this introductory session, four targeted webinars will be delivered throughout the summer to provide a more in-depth look at each of the OnBoarding Tools: Initial Conversation Guide, Self-Assessment Worksheet, My MESHH Network and Individual Professional Development Plans. Join us for one, or for all, as you develop a strong foundation for mentoring.


Jan Abramson, MS, has worked in higher education since 1990. Throughout img_3098-jan-abramsonher career, she has been an ardent proponent of the value of mentoring. Her career began at University of Central Missouri, followed by appointments at University of Warwick and University of Birmingham (England). Returning to the US, she worked at University of Idaho before landing at University of Utah. Her early career was in student leadership development; since 2005, she has worked in the health sciences providing research and development support for the Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence, developing a research office for the College of Health, and growing a health-sciences wide emerging researcher program. In her role in a central research office, Jan is focusing on nurturing and supporting research administrators in Utah and across the country.

The Initial Conversation Guide for Mentor Pairs: Getting Ready, Getting Started, Getting Results (June 20)

Are you part of a mentor-mentee or peer-mentor pair? Whether you are just starting out or have an established mentoring relationship, this webinar will share some best practices. The OnBoarding Packet starts with the Initial Conversation for Mentor Pairs, a guide for preparing for and engaging in your first conversation. The tool has several sections and checklists that can serve as signposts: these include Getting Started, Establishing Agreements, and a Goals Worksheet and Checklist. This webinar will help you get a great start to your mentoring relationship. This tool can also be useful for those not formally paired for approaching people in your own mentoring network (MESHH) for relationship development.


David Widmer, PhD, has 17 years of research development and administrationDavid Widmerexperience at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, first as a Sr. Grants Management Specialist and currently as the Grants & Contracts (G&C) Manager of Scientific Development. In 2009, David started the G&C Funding Development Team (FDT) and has led it since 2011. A NORDP member since 2010, he has been actively involved with several working groups and committees. From 2012-2014 he served on the Membership Services Committee where he was part of the salary survey task force; since 2015 he has been a member of the NORDP Mentoring Program Committee and of the MESHH working group that developed the on-boarding packet and currently serves as Mentoring Committee co-chair. David has a Ph.D. in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, and Masters in Cell & Developmental Biology and the History of Medicine. David held a Fulbright Scholarship (1998-1999) and was a Fellow of the Swiss Confederation from 1999-2000.

Rachael Voas, MA, CRA, is the project manager for the Grants Hub, Office of the Vice rvphoto-300x300President for Research, at Iowa State University. In this role, Rachael leads interdisciplinary team development efforts in strategic areas and is actively involved with Team Science training initiatives. Rachael has six years of research development experience and has occasionally learned lessons the hard way, so she looks for opportunities to develop mentoring relationships to help others find an easier path and further the prowess of research development professionals.

Posted on behalf of the Mentoring Committee.

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: Strategies to Grow Research at a Branch Campus

Strategies to Grow Research at a Branch Campus


  • Sian Mooney, Arizona State University
  • Susannah Gal, Penn State Harrisburg
  • Faye Farmer, Arizona State University

Thanks to our session scribe, Kara Luckey, University of Washington, Tacoma!

Key points from the session. We learned: 

  • Working in the RD space at a “branch” campus (and similar contexts) can present challenges for the RD professional and the faculty they serve stemming from feelings of isolation, distribution of power and resources, and a lack of energy for the research enterprise.
  • To meet these challenges, the presenters suggested multi-pronged approaches in three broad areas: Culture change, enhancing visibility internally and externally, and creative allocation of existing resources.
  • Presenters from ASU West Campus and Penn State-Harrisburg suggested a number of tools to move towards a culture of active research, including: Promoting and celebrating research through regular newsletters/publications and annual recognition events; creating opportunities and a ‘safe space’ for faculty to develop collaborations and a shared sense of purpose; and one-on-one encouragement to individual PIs who are well-positioned to pursue significant funding opportunities but require a ‘push.’
  • Presenters outlined a number of mechanisms to improve internal and external visibility of faculty research, including: Using consistent talking points on and off campus to emphasize faculty work and its importance to the larger university, developing relationships with key champions and allies within the branch campus, with other branch campuses, and at the primary campus; and seek out university-wide committee appointments to bring visibility and resources to research on your campus.
  • Finally, presenters encouraged branch campuses to pursue opportunities to effectively and creatively allocate resources, including: Developing a strategic plan that can be used to make the case for the needed for resources; rigorously demonstr­ate the return-on-investment of requested resources and equipment; Maximize access to existing resources and trainings offered at the main campus, and make the case to central campus staff for why they should come to the branch campus; Encourage the use of classrooms for research, especially for faculty with high teaching loads: Offer a cohort-model to train undergraduates across branch campuses to minimize the burden on individual faculty members.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

One branch campus (ASU, West Campus) saw an impressive 8-fold increase in funding revenues after several years of targeted efforts toward cultural change led by Sian Mooney that followed many of the approaches identified in the session.

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

The presenters used a helpful real-time polling tool – (or – that allowed audience members to respond to questions posed during the presentations. This made for a more interactive panel than would have been likely for the last session of the conference.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s)’ response?

An audience member asked about the sharing of DUNS numbers across campuses, and the implications for funding. The presenters agreed that the sharing of DUNS numbers has political importance – e.g. communicating that the campuses are part of *one* university – however, there are limitations that can be frustrating for faculty on branch campuses. In particular, faculty on branch campuses must compete internally for limited submissions, which can leave branch faculty members feeling that they are at a disadvantage.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

A large part of the cultural change achieved by the presenters from ASU West Campus and Penn State-Harrisburg was the result of encouraging faculty to think of themselves as active researchers. This was achieved through a good deal of cheerleading and deep support provided at the individual and collective level. As trust was (re-)built, faculty began to internalize their identity as active researchers, and – with targeted communication up the chain – administration at both the branch and main campuses began to take notice as well.