Karen Eck is currently serving as the NORDP President for 2018-19. We thank Karen for her service to NORDP!
Who: Karen Eck, PhD, Assistant Vice President for Research
Where: Old Dominion University
Number of years in Research Development: 13
Length of NORDP membership: 9 years
When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?
I started working at McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 2005 in a hybrid RA/RD position supporting the Faculty of Medicine. In 2009, I moved to ODU as Director of Research Development where I managed a team of Grant Development Specialists assigned to our 6 academic colleges and was responsible for limited submissions, intramural grant competitions and faculty workshops & outreach. As AVP for Research at ODU since 2015, I have been interfacing with internal and external stakeholders in support of research development and implementation of a 5-year Research Strategic Plan for the university.
What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?
I became aware of NORDP in Fall 2009 when I came to work at ODU and attended the 2nd annual conference in Chicago in 2010. I haven’t missed a conference since then (9/10)! I presented talks at the conferences in 2012, 2013 and 2015 and collaborated to develop a half-day pre-conference workshop in 2016. Before I was elected to the Board of Directors in 2015, I served on the Facilitating Collaboration Working Group, chaired the Enhancing Research Collaboration subcommittee and served as a mentor in the NORDP Mentoring Program. I co-chaired the annual conference in 2017 and 2018, served as Vice President in 2017-2018 and I am now serving as President until July 1, 2019.
What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?
I am going into my fourth and final year on the NORDP Board and I have been fortunate to work with so many smart and motivated colleagues. Two former board members who I consider mentors are Peggy Sundermeyer (former NORDP Treasurer) and Gretchen Kiser (former NORDP President). I have had 3 amazing mentees who I look forward to seeing each year at the conference and from whom I have learned a great deal. Those relationships are special and it was a privilege to exchange and learn with them. It has also been great reconnecting with colleagues in Canada as a liaison to the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) as well as meeting other international members of NORDP who come to the U.S. for the annual conference.
What inspired you to run for a position and serve on the NORDP board?
Joining NORDP helped me connect to colleagues across the country in similar positions. The exchanges on the listserv and at the conferences were so beneficial and I felt as if I had found my tribe. After a few years, I wanted to get more involved. I had recently helped organize and host a state-wide conference at ODU for research administrators that was successful and I felt I had something to contribute to conference organizing. I liked working in teams to get things done so I ran for a NORDP Board spot the first year elections were held in 2015.
What initiative are you most excited about in your role as a board member?
I think the NORDP Mentoring Program is exceptional. The opportunity for one-on-one mentoring, the care that is taken to match people with like interests, and the resources and support to make it a good experience for mentors and mentees are unique in my professional sphere. Having a mentor, a resource for ideas and problem solving, and feeling supported can make a difference in someone’s career and overall happiness at work. That’s powerful and I think NORDP is rightfully proud of this unique program.
What is your proudest accomplishment as a NORDP board member?
I’m proud of the work I did organizing the 2017 and 2018 conferences. Working on a conference is an intensive group experience where you work closely with your colleagues. It allows you to get to know people and build friendships and trust. It also helped me to learn more about NORDP and how the organization functions. I’m also proud to have played a role in reviving the PEERD program, including recruiting reviewers and coordinating a site visit.
Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee
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