Conference Cameo: Jenna Slobozian

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register at https://www.nordp.org/conferences.

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Who: Jenna Slobozian, Manager Grant Development
Where: Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary
Number of years in research development: 7
Length of NORDP membership: 1 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2019 will be my first!
How do you unwind? Spend time with family.

Like so many, my career in RD has been a bit of a winding road.  I started out working for a health charity, primarily in the area of health promotion. But one small part of the role was supporting research administration, and I immediately found it to be my favorite Jenna Slobozianpart of the job. I moved to another health charity where I was half time focused on research administration, and I got to spend a lot of time with faculty from a number of different universities.  I was lucky enough to be approached by one of those universities with a position in the central research administration team. I moved up quickly and was soon the senior member of the team supporting grant applications at the university. I was recruited in 2016 to the faculty of medicine to build a team of grant development professionals.  What started out as a team of 1 (me!) in 2016 will be soon be a team of 5, so we have seen rapid success and expansion. Throughout this time I have strived to expand my education and have been involved in the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA), where I completed a certificate in research administration, I am involved in professional development, I lead a special interest group, I regularly present webinars, and I sit on the conference planning committee.  I have also been taking advantage of membership with Society of Research Administrators (SRA) and attended training last summer on proposal development.  My membership in NORDP is a natural extension of both my professional development, but also my personal interest in this work.  I am looking forward to attending my first NORDP conference this year and the excellent conference program that has been put together.

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We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

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 Board Member Cameo – Rachel Dresbeck

Who: Rachel Dresbeck, Senior Director, OHSU Research Development
Where: Oregon Health & Science University
Number of years in Research Development: 20
Length of NORDP membership: 9 years

Dresbeck_Headshot.2018When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do? I had just finished my PhD in literature and was teaching at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Four tenure-track positions were open in my department, and I couldn’t bring myself to apply to any of them. I love community colleges—they are the most innovative thing about American higher education—but I knew that this wasn’t my path. My dean told me that a research institute at Oregon Health & Science University was looking for a contractor to teach science writing to their trainees. I applied, was hired, and never looked back. I had virtually no science background but my training in philosophy and literature, as well as my teaching many undergraduate sections of composition, served me well—I could decode. I could follow a variable through a process and identify inconsistencies and contradictions. I also had grant writing experience, so that helped. I loved the work—I loved learning about all the molecules and models, the norms of scientific culture, all of it.

In the beginning, I worked freelance on science writing and editing and grant writing, eventually turning it into a small business. I never thought I would be an entrepreneur, but having my own business was incredibly rewarding. I enjoyed finding and working with clients across the world and helping them make their dreams come true, whether that was an awarded grant or a successfully defended dissertation or publication in a high-end journal. At that time, my children were small, so I also liked the flexibility. Eventually, though, my children were in school—and OHSU had become my largest client. Using our superior proposal-writing skills, my friend and I persuaded OHSU’s vice president of research that he should create an office for research development. We established that office in 2004, and I have been there ever since. The early focus was on finding funding and proposal development, but now we do many more things: run funding programs, provide strategic advice for investment and programming, serve as a resource for institutional positioning, and much more. I am so appreciative that I foster research at the highest levels of the institution. But I still teach that same science writing class! I love it—it keeps me connected to the daily work of the research.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)? I first found out about NORDP from a colleague who attended the first Science of Team Science meeting and thought NORDP would be up my alley. I attended the conference in Chicago in 2011 and was very excited to find my tribe. For the first time, I did not have to explain what I did for a living. I have attended every meeting since then, presenting at all of them in some capacity or another.  I helped with planning the 2013 conference in Austin. I was recruited by Jacob Levin and Holly Falk-Krzesinski as the conference chair for the 2014 meeting in Portland, joining the board as vice president that year. I served as president in 2015-16 and immediate past president the year after that. In 2017, I ran for a second board term, under the election system that the board had put into place when Dave Stone was president and I was vice president.

I have always been on what is now the Strategic Alliance Committee—it used to be called External Engagement—and involved in NORDP communications. We used to publish an actual printed newsletter that we would carry around to conferences and then eventually recycle. One of my favorite accomplishments was converting the newsletter to the NORDP News blog. Currently, I am co-chair of the Strategic Alliances Committee. I focus much of my time on sponsor relations for the conference (and a shout-out to them: we could not have our great conference without them!) as well as engaging in strategic partnerships with national and international organizations. Our partnership with the Network of Academic Corporate Relations Officers has been great for NORDP and also has opened up new areas for me professionally. I highly recommend getting involved in committee work. It’s inherently rewarding and there are personal and career benefits too.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)? Some of my most important professional and personal relationships are because of my NORDP work. It’s so much fun to work with smart, talented professionals across the country—and even internationally. Not only is it fun, but it’s also useful to be able to say to your vice president, “Well, my national colleagues do it this way….” It gives you credibility to be well connected and it serves the research and RD missions to show you have best practices and exemplars.

What initiative are you most excited about in your role as a board member?  Besides the work I mentioned above, the long-term sustainability of NORDP is most on my mind. Many of us, as RD professionals, are extremely enthusiastic about starting new things. We are always coming up with lots of new activities. We are ideators and planners—that’s why we’re great at proposal development. Right now, I am most excited about strategies for building sustainable systems that can be maintained over the long term with consistency, to kind of balance out the enthusiasm of the idea generation. We are still fairly new as an organization. How do we strategically build for the future, especially in light of pressures on research in the United States? I am also enthusiastic about our focus on inclusive excellence that Gretchen Kiser spearheaded when she was president and has continued to lead.

What is your proudest accomplishment as a NORDP board member?  Serving as president made me realize that the Board’s role is stewardship of the organization, and that’s something we all do together. Creating a board that is member-elected was a huge board accomplishment, and I remain excited about this because of the incredible talent it has brought to the organization. Our current board is passionate about serving NORDP members!

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.

Conference Cameo: Toyin Babarinde

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates.

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Who: Toyin Babarinde, PhD, Associate Director of Research Planning and Development
Where: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Number of years in research development: 14
Length of NORDP membership: 1 year
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, particularly the ceiling

While I did not realize it at the time, in retrospect, I started in Research Development Staff portraitwhile working on my PhD at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Over the last 14 years, I have worked with a diverse group of talented investigators across various cancer types, including brain, breast, and head and neck cancer. During this period, I have contributed to the development of various research initiatives through research design and implementation, which led to the successful development of peer-reviewed manuscripts and federal and nonfederal funded grants.

In 2015, I transitioned into a “formalized” Research Development role at MD Anderson and have since advanced into my current position as Associate Director of Research Planning and Development. To date, my proudest achievement has been the co-development of the Cancer Research Administration and Management Certificate Program through the MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, a curriculum designed to train and develop outstanding Research Development Professionals. Throughout my career, I have served as a mentor and educator to undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate trainees, as well as research administrators.

I was introduced to NORDP by Dr. Brooke Gowl during an SRA Conference in 2016. I immediately joined and attended my first NORDP conference in 2017.  What I loved most about my experience at NORDP were the people I connected with and the opportunity it provided to build meaningful relationships. The connection I made with Dr. Joanna Downer during NORDP directly impacted my role in the development of research programs within my department as a result of her excellent input.

Additionally, the content provided during the workshops has been most helpful in my own career path.  During the session on RD Strategies to Engage and Promote Faculty Flourishing, I took away several points including: 1) develop the ability to engage faculty by building relationships; 2) understand that specific groups of faculty have different needs and as such, it’s important to customize my approach for each group; and 3) it is important to identify and re-engage disconnected researchers. With a core responsibility of working with key stakeholders to expand the research portfolio of my department, I have taken what I learned during the 2017 NORDP conference to improve my engagement with program members, discuss funding opportunities with engaged and disconnected researchers, and provided guidance and support for proposal development.

This year, I look forward to reconnecting with colleagues, expanding my network, learning more about research development, and identifying how best to contribute to the growth of NORDP.  For those attending this year, remember that building relationships is more than introducing yourself to new people. Following up with them after the conference is over is when the true networking begins.

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We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

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.

Conference Cameo: Martin Kirk

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. 
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Who: Dr. Martin Kirk, Operations Director (Research & Researchers)
Where: King’s College London
Number of years in research development: More than 20
Length of NORDP membership: 4 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 3
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A chemist

From an early age I was very interested in science. I always planned to study for a science degree and most likely work in research in industry. However, after spending 10 Kirk Photo 2019years in research, I realized that I enjoyed research administration and research development much more than doing actual research. I absolutely relish working with investigators and hearing about their research and helping them reach their goals.

I began my RD career at the University of Calgary where I realized that researchers could greatly benefit from help from an RD team. We started by supporting a specific research infrastructure program that had a novel grant proposal format that challenged researchers and was extremely impact-focused. The RD team/process led to great success and gained national attention because of the disproportionate success rates, etc. I had a fruitful 10 years in research admin and RD at the UofC.

In 2007, I was headhunted to the University of British Columbia (UBC) to lead their research administration and RD unit. Again, a strengthening of the RD unit led to more success. Another 10 years slipped by in a wink.

The headhunters came calling again in 2018, this time looking to fill a position at King’s College London leading the central research admin: awards management, contracts, technology transfer, core facilities, clinical trials, post-grad scholarships, compliance and of course RD.

While at UBC I heard about NORDP and attended my first conference. It was a revelation having a conference dedicated to RD and a program entirely focused around success in RD. I learned many techniques and systems. I was amazed at how much sharing of ideas happened at the conference. I met many fellow RD professionals and found the networking opportunity to be invaluable.

I am very much looking forward to catching up with my colleagues and learning new ideas. RD is a rapidly evolving profession and NORDP, a very exciting forum.

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For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

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.

Upcoming Webinars for #NORDP2019

Mark your calendars! In the coming weeks, we will present three webinars to help members prepare for the annual Research Development Conference, April 29-May 1, in Providence, RI.

Preparing Conference Presentations, Powerpoints, and Posters
Tuesday, April 2, 1 pm EST
Register here
For many of us, conference presentations cause worry and stress. Yet, presenting in public does not have to be scary and can be very rewarding…and even fun! The purpose of this webinar is to present best practices for preparing presentations, slides and posters, to facilitate useful and effective presentations and interactions, whatever the medium. Our presenters have extensive experience in public speaking, speechwriting and effective communication. Take advantage of this webinar to help make your presentations more effective, whether at the 2019 NORDP conference or in other venues.
Presenters: Jenna McGuire, MBA, The Ohio State University; Kari Whittenberger-Keith, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Ambassador Program Orientation
Friday, April 5, 1 pm EST
Register here
In this 30-minute webinar, volunteers for the 2019 NORDP Ambassador Program will learn essential information about their role and responsibilities for this year’s conference. Topics will include: an introduction to the Ambassador program, an overview of NORDP’s structure, committees, and resources, a discussion on specific activities Ambassadors will complete, and a review of resources relevant to new members and first-time conference attendees. Time will be available at the end to address questions or concerns about the program.
Presenters: Sarah Messbauer, PhD, University of California, Davis; Samar Sengupta, PhD, University of Texas Southwestern; Kay Tindle, PhD, Texas Tech University

Getting Ready for #NORDP2019
Monday, April 8, 1 pm EST
Register here
Join us for the webinar version of “What to Know before You Go”!  Veteran NORDP conference-goers (and planners) will walk you through the logistics of the event, an overview of the conference program, and how to maximize your experience. We’ll describe all the ways you can engage with colleagues during the conference, and how to keep the excitement going afterward. And for those who want to explore Providence, a member of our local planning team will be on hand to discuss all the things to do in the area. Whether this is your first conference or your fifth, this is your chance to ask any questions you have about what to expect at #NORDP2019!
Presenters: Karen Fletcher, MBA, Appalachian State University; Jill Jividen, PhD, University of Michigan; Edel Minogue, PhD, Brown University

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For more information about #NORDP2019, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences.

Interested in sharing a room in Providence? More info here (requires member login).

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

#NORDPMentoringMatters and Beyond

By David Widmer and Christina Howard

NORDP Board Member Etta Ward’s commitment to and passion for mentoring extends beyond NORDP, and she has been internationally recognized for her mentoring efforts and ideas. As the assistant Ward NORDP Photovice chancellor for research development in the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Etta assisted in developing IUPUI’s first formal staff mentoring program, along with the EMPOWER program for tenure-track faculty, both of which have been successful and well-received. Etta has also helped develop a mentoring toolkit for the NORDP Mentoring Program and serves both on the Mentoring Committee and as Co-Chair for the Committee on Inclusive Excellence.

Etta traveled to France and Belgium in October 2018 as part of the prestigious Fulbright International Education Administrators Program. IUPUI published an article, “IUPUI leader attends Fulbright program, receives invitation to speak to Fulbright staff,” detailing her experiences. Here are a few highlights*:

Ward and 11 other American university administrators met with representatives of several universities, programs, and institutions during their Oct. 5-20, 2018, visits to Montpellier, Paris, and Brussels. One of Etta’s primary goals was to better understand how research is supported in universities abroad.

The Fulbright program also gave her an opportunity to talk with international administrators about one of her biggest passions–mentoring. “I wanted to get a broader and global perspective of what mentoring means for other universities, particularly in France,” Ward explained. “Mentoring is near and dear to my heart, more specifically, mentoring as a strategy to support women and minority faculty in higher education.”

During the program, Ward’s mentoring successes caught the attention of Fulbright staff members, and Etta was invited to the December 5th Fulbright Commission Staff Workshop in Washington, DC, to speak to Fulbright employees from across the globe about how best to use mentoring methods to ensure the success of minority students participating in a Fulbright exchange.

In February, Etta was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Indiana Chapter of the Fulbright Association’s Winter Banquet. At the banquet, several visiting Fulbright scholars asked how they might begin to build a mentoring culture at their home institutions, using some of the strategies Etta presented in her talk.

Since her Fulbright, Etta has also been invited to be one of three reviewers to select the next cohort for the International Education Administrators Program in France and Belgium.

Interested in how you can #PayItForward and bring mentoring-related ideas home to your institution? Check out the recent NORDP blog post about all of the opportunities and resources available for mentors and mentees at the upcoming Annual Conference!

*Article highlights compiled by David Widmer. For the full IUPUI article, click here: https://news.iu.edu/stories/2018/12/iupui/inside/12-iupui-leader-etta-ward-fulbright-global-mentoring.htm

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Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

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.

Conference Cameo: Sarah Messbauer

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. 

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Who: Sarah Messbauer, Coordinator, Grantsmanship Programs
Where: University of California, Davis
Number of years in research development: 1
Length of NORDP membership: 1 year
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? Citadelle Laferrière, near Okap, Haiti

I’m quite new to NORDP and the RD world, having started my first position with the fine folks at UC Davis less than a year ago (in fact, it’s the one-year anniversary of my doctoralMessbauerHeadshot defense as I write this – woo hoo!). But like many people in our field, I’d been doing research development work for some time before my first “official” RD role.

My undergraduate background was in STEM (biochemistry and neuroscience), but my doctoral degree is in ethnomusicology (anthropology and music). That interdisciplinarity helped push me toward doctoral research on grant institutions, and I ended up serving as an unofficial grants consultant for folks at my university. My educational path was a bit unusual, to put it mildly, and I often found that people just… didn’t quite know what to do with me. That is, until I met the Director of our RD unit, Sheryl Soucy-Lubell. She knew exactly what to do: she hired me!

In my current role, I wear many hats:  I run proposal development services for small and medium grants, develop campus-wide grantsmanship trainings, provide professional development support for decentralized RD staff, and contribute to special projects in consultation with our Strategic Initiatives team. I enjoy the challenge of balancing so many different projects and the opportunity to work directly with faculty, staff, and senior campus leadership to advance the mission of our institution.

Fundamentally, what I enjoy most about RD is that it caters to the role I love to play, which is that of the primary support person. I don’t have to manage research projects myself, but I play a vital role in making sure they happen by providing whatever a PI needs to do the work. Essentially, I get to be everyone’s “second banana,” their strong right hand. It’s a job that depends on quality teamwork, and I love being part of that process.

NORDP is an excellent reflection of the interdisciplinarity and teamwork that define our field, and I was so excited by the community-driven mission of the group that I immediately started volunteering. I attended last year’s D.C. conference just over a month after I was hired, and ended up having great discussions with the Member Services Committee about support for new NORDP members. This year, I’m co-facilitating a four-hour workshop, co-managing the Ambassador Program, co-running my regional meeting (go Pacific!), co-developing a “Networking Marathon” activity, co-writing a proposal for expanded resources on the NORDP website, and co-hosting a networking dinner for new members.

As you can tell, it’s no co-incidence (terrible pun intended) that NORDP members so frequently cite relationship-building as the number one benefit of membership. And as I’ve learned first-hand, there’s no better way to build those relationships by jumping right into the deep end of the pool and getting involved. So whether you’re brand-new or a seasoned vet, I encourage you to consider volunteering with us this year. Jump on in! The water is fine.

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For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

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.