Who: Jeri Hansen, Director of Research Development
Where: Utah State University
Number of years in Research Development: 10
Length of NORDP membership: 8 years
When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?
I would say I started down the research development path when I was hired as a sponsored programs administrator at Utah State University in 2004. Four years into that position, in 2008, I was asked by the VPR to explore establishing a proposal writing institute for faculty. That same year, the VPR decided to create an Office of Proposal Development. I applied for the manager position and was hired. As the years passed, the office’s portfolio of work grew to encompass much more than proposal development. So, the name was changed to Research Development and I became director. Nowadays, my focus is on implementing and improving resources for faculty – tools, trainings, internal funding, people – to help them increase their competitiveness in the external funding realm.
What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?
Shortly after I moved into the research development world, I was looking for a professional organization to help me get my legs underneath me. I found NORDP very early in its life – I joined in 2011 – one year after its official establishment. I have been a member of the Membership Committee (2012-14) and the Nominating Committee (2014-17), where I served as the Nominating Committee chair in 2016-17. I have also been a volunteer at the annual conference. In 2017, I decided to run for a seat on the Board of Directors, and was elected to serve in that capacity from 2017-2021. I now serve as the Board liaison to the Nominating Committee, and most recently was elected as Treasurer (2018-2020). I helped present a general session and pre-conference workshop during the 2018 annual conference, and have attended 6 of the 8 conferences since I joined the organization (I still have all my badges!).
What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?
I’m not sure where to even begin with this question! The number of colleagues I now have all over the country because of my involvement in NORDP is amazing. But that is the key – becoming involved. I’m not a terribly outgoing person (hello, introvert), so I must have been possessed when I decided to run for the Board. But as challenging as being a board member can be, it has also been the most rewarding in terms of the relationships and connections I have been able to build. My advice to any member is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I know – you hear that all the time, but with NORDP, you really will find a reward if you do.
What inspired you to run for a position and serve on the NORDP board?
I’m not sure I would call it inspiration, but I was looking for a way to have more of an impact on the organization and its future. Plus, I looked at the makeup of the Board and really wanted to get to know those individuals better. I feel so involved (big deal for an introvert) and a part of the organization now, and that is a really neat experience.
What initiative are you most excited about in your role as a board member?
I have a soft spot for PEERD (Program for External Evaluation of Research Development). I was once a reviewer and now I’m co-coordinator with Kay Tindle at Texas Tech University. I think PEERD epitomizes NORDP as a whole – a very talented group of professionals more than willing to share knowledge and best practices for the betterment of everyone. You can’t beat that! If you haven’t checked out the PEERD program, you should – https://www.nordp.org/peerd.
What is your proudest accomplishment as NORDP board member?
I wouldn’t necessarily call it “my” accomplishment because I think as a board member, we build upon what others who have gone before us have done. That is especially true for those of us in officer roles. Having said that, as Treasurer, I recently worked with our administrative management company to move a lot of the day-to-day accounting and bookkeeping duties to them so I could be freed up to focus on more strategic thinking, such as looking at investing a portion of the organization’s revenue with the goal of being able to operate on investment dividends at some point in the future.
Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee
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