NORDP 2019 Conference Notes: They’re doing WHAT!?! Intelligence Gathering in Higher Ed

Slides: They’re doing WHAT!?! Intelligence Gathering in Higher Ed


  • Karen Walker, Arizona State University
  • Jamie Welch, Arizona State University
  • Linda Galloway, Elsevier

Thanks to our session scribe!

Five key points from the session:

  • ASU’s RD office includes a full-time person in charge of “competitive intelligence.“
  • ASU defines competitive intelligence as the “ethical collection and analysis of information to anticipate competitive activity, see past market disruptions and dispassionately interpret events.”
  • ASU RD staff works with Elsevier’s Scival to identify areas of strength, then continues to study these strengths and prepares documents to help faculty maximize these strengths and build collaborations.
  • SciVal allows researchers and administrators to visualize research performance, benchmark relative to peer institutions, develop strategic partnerships, identify and analyze new, emerging research trends, and create uniquely tailored reports.
  • ASU’s RD tagline is “Knowledge Enterprise Development.”

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

ASU’s investment in publications that provide details on priority areas for the university.

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

Successful institutions take time and invest to support faculty and build capacity.

NORDP 2020: Call for Abstracts and Workshop Applications

12th Annual Research Development Conference

San Antonio, Texas                     May 17 to 20, 2020

Abstracts for presentations, lightning talks, roundtables, and the ideas showcase are now being accepted for the 12th Annual Research Development Conference, hosted by the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) in San Antonio, Texas, from May 17 to 20, 2020. In addition, workshop applications are encouraged.

Abstracts must be submitted via no later than 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time on Monday, October 21, 2019

Four-Hour Workshop application details are described at the end of this blog.

Several different conference session formats are available in 2020, as described below. Regardless of the session format, proposers should consider how their presentations and workshops will:

  • Demonstrate ways in which research development professionals support, encourage, and empower researchers to try new things—to create and mobilize knowledge, to respond to new funding mechanisms and pursue multi-disciplinary grants, or to participate in campus think-tanks or networking events.
  • Explore new approaches used in research development programs.
  • Explore creative resources for personal and career development.
  • Emphasize the innovative roles and value of research development within the broader research enterprise.
  • Contribute to strategic research planning at the institutional level.

Format Options:

Oral PresentationsONE-HOUR and TWO-HOUR sessions—are intended for individual or group presentations (no more than four presenters for one-hour sessions). Audience size at these sessions is anticipated to be between 25 and 75 individuals. One-hour sessions will be scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 19-20; two-hour sessions will be scheduled on Monday, May 18. Please avoid presenting case studies from a single institution or program. Case studies are more appropriate for a poster in the Ideas Showcase. Oral presentations are most effective when they address a significant over-arching issue, problem, or hot topic in research development and/or showcase data, solutions, and programs from an array of institutions or perspectives. Two-hour sessions allow presenters to discuss a topic more in-depth and interactively; proposals should describe why two hours are needed for the presentation.

Lightning TalksFIVE-MINUTE presentations—are a fun and fast-paced opportunity for individuals to share new and creative ideas for fostering research development. Based on Ignite (, presentations are limited to five minutes and <20 slides. Presenters will be grouped into 60-minute sessions to be scheduled on Tuesday, May 19, or Wednesday, May 20. We will organize Lightning Talks thematically for 2020. Please consider proposing around one of the following themes: Faculty Development; Interdisciplinary Research; Funding & Funders; RD Professional Development. If these do not apply, please indicate “Other.” As a courtesy to fellow presenters during these rapid-format sessions, slides must be submitted in advance.

RoundtablesONE-HOUR sessions—allow conference attendees to participate in a discussion focused on a specific RD issue. Roundtables encourage networking and sharing of individual experiences. Applicants should provide a description of the topic and its relevance to NORDP members and be willing to lead the discussion.

Ideas ShowcasePoster—is designed for individuals or small teams to present their approaches to problems and solutions in research development, to showcase best practices and case studies, and to introduce innovative or experimental ideas. Presenters chosen to participate in the Ideas Showcase will provide posters at their own cost. Posters will be presented for discussion during the Ideas Showcase and reception, tentatively planned for the evening of Tuesday, May 19.

For each submission, please identify the audience for whom the content is targeted:

Fundamental: The session is aimed at providing knowledge and content fundamental to RD. Content may be appropriate for individuals interested in RD or new to RD, individuals already in RD but whose job responsibilities do not currently include the indicated topic, or those who want a refresher. Note that “essential” does not mean “easy;” rather, the information is fundamental to nearly all in RD.

Intermediate: Content in these sessions is fundamental to RD but most relevant to individuals who have been involved in RD (or the given topic) for more than one year. This information can also be useful to individuals thinking about the next steps in their career or about skills and responsibilities they want to gain.

Advanced: Content in these sessions is relevant to and aimed at individuals who already have significant skills in the given topic, who have or are working toward leadership roles in RD (including those who are “offices of one”), and/or who have an institutional leadership role or advise institutional leaders. This information can also be useful to experienced individuals thinking about their next career steps or about skills or responsibilities they want to gain.

The Program Committee intends to balance the program with topics across these ranges so that the needs of all NORDP members are addressed by the 2020 conference program.

Abstract Submission—Submit using this link:

Deadline for submissions is: Monday, October 21, 2019, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

A complete application includes the following fields:

Presenter(s): Name(s) and institutional affiliation(s) (Corresponding presenter should be listed first, followed by additional presenters.)

Session Type (check one):

  • Two-hour Oral Presentation
  • One-hour Oral Presentation
  • Lightning Talk or Lightning Hour
  • Ideas Showcase
  • Roundtable

Intended Audience (check one):

  • Fundamental
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


Full Abstract (2,000 characters maximum including spaces)

Your abstract should briefly describe the information, solutions and/or best practices that will be presented in the session, addressing the following:

  • What are the goals of your session?
  • What will participants learn by attending your session?
  • Will you be introducing new concepts, skills development, or theories, and/or advancing research development? Please describe.
  • How will your session differ from or build upon past conference presentations/sessions?

Program Summary (100 words)

This summary will be published in the conference program; it also will be used to market selected sessions. Your abstract should be proofread for both content and grammar and be written in a concise, vigorous, compelling tone that tells a potential audience member what s/he will learn or gain by attending your session. This is your opportunity to promote your session!

Once submitted, you will be able to edit your application up to the deadline date: Monday, October 21, 2019, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Review and Notification

Abstracts will be reviewed by NORDP’s 2020 Program Committee. Reviews are confidential. Reviewers will be asked to evaluate abstracts based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of the abstract
  • Likelihood that the proposed session will engage participants and promote discussion
  • Clarity in describing the session’s objectives, outcomes, and intended audience
  • Relevance of the topic in providing key content to research development or advancing professional development for RD professionals
  • Suitability of the topic to the presentation format proposed

WorkshopsFOUR-HOUR sessions—allow participants to interactively explore a topic in-depth, led by teams of two to four facilitators (two is the minimum). Facilitators should use the long format to allow for more holistic discussion, to facilitate interactive activities, and/or to involve participants fully in the session. Audience size at these sessions is anticipated to be between 30 and 40 participants; however, facilitators can suggest a number appropriate for their topic. Applicants should provide a clear rationale for the need to have four hours to accomplish the goals of the session; how they will provide intensive, interactive learning activities and/or professional development opportunities; and how they will deliver identified learning objectives and take-home materials. Preparatory and developmental coaching around adult learning will be available for all teams developing workshops, and a stipend will be provided for facilitators to compensate for the time spent developing a four-hour session. All workshops will take place on Monday, May 18. Workshop applications require description of:

  1. Proposed learning objectives, workshop competencies, and/or tangible outcomes
  2. Format, lesson plan, and curriculum overview
  3. Learning environment and connection to inclusive excellence (i.e., description of how the facilitators will develop a positive learning environment and support NORDP’s inclusive excellence goals)
  4. Targeted audience(s), i.e., RD roles and positions, levels of knowledge/experience, academic disciplines, institution type
  5. Facilitator expertise and qualifications (related to workshop content and delivering interactive sessions)

The 2020 Conference Workshop Application is available here.

Upload your completed application here.

Important Information for Presenters

The Program Committee will select presentations and workshop topics based upon the reviews and ratings of all materials submitted, available time slots for presentations, and diversity of presentation topics and levels, including diversity of types and geographic location of represented institutions.

Abstracts and workshop applications from presenters that appear to be identical to presentations made at previous conferences may not be accepted for presentation in 2020, absent substantial revisions or new information.

Individuals who have presented NORDP webinars are encouraged to propose the same or a similar topic for a conference presentation so they may reach a different audience. Multiple submissions are allowed, but the Program Committee will strive to maximize both the quality of the presentations and the diversity of speakers (including the types of institutions they represent) when evaluating proposals. Please start a new application for each proposed abstract.

If your abstract or workshop application includes co-presenters, the corresponding presenter’s name should be listed first in the application. There is no limit to the number of times an individual may be a co-presenter. The corresponding presenter is responsible for informing and acquiring agreement to participate from all co-presenters listed on the abstract submission.

Please do NOT submit an abstract or workshop application as a corresponding presenter if you do not plan to attend the NORDP annual meeting.

If you cannot present as scheduled, please notify the Conference co-chairs ( as soon as possible in advance of the conference. Substitution of the lead presenter in sessions requires prior approval from the Conference Program Committee.

Except for submissions accepted for the Ideas Showcase, for which at least the corresponding presenter is expected to attend the NORDP annual meeting and present the poster, all presenters o must register for the conference, submit the online presenter’s agreement, and participate in the accepted session.

If you invite colleagues who are not NORDP members to co-present, please be aware that—as with other professional organizations—they will be expected to pay for their meeting registration and other expenses. Please make this expectation clear to your colleagues.

All final instructions and information will be sent in a speaker’s packet. The NORDP Professional Development (PD) Committee will be offering a presentation skills webinar in winter 2020 to provide additional training on making effective presentations; presenters are encouraged to attend the webinar.

Once you have submitted your conference abstract or workshop application, you will be able to edit the application until the submission deadline.

Applicants interested in receiving feedback on a draft of their conference workshop proposal should email their draft to by September 27, 2019.

If you have any questions regarding the abstract selection process, please contact the 2020 NORDP Conference Co-Chairs Jill Jividen and Jenna McGuire at

We look forward to receiving your abstracts and workshop applications!

New NORDP Board Member Cameo: Kim Littlefield

Kim Littlefield is one of two new appointed NORDP Board Members in 2019. We thank Kim for her service to NORDP!

Who: Kim Littlefield, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement
Where: University of North Carolina Greensboro
Number of Years in RD: 23, formally aware of activities as research development, 9
Length of NORDP Membership: 7 years

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?Littlefield 2019

I entered the field as a cardiovascular physiologist researcher. From the start of my career, my intellectual pursuits led me to develop experiential breadth not so much discipline – specific depth which is exactly the opposite skill set that one needs to become a competitive, successful academic, biomedical scientist. Letting go of what the scientific community defines as a “successful scientist” freed me to develop my research development talents. My research development work is best characterized as research advocacy at all levels: individual, unit, enterprise, local, regional and national. As my career has developed, I’ve experienced a necessary shift in the amount of effort I commit towards research advocacy in the unit, enterprise and community levels but still one of the best things about my job is being able to talk with a researcher/scholar directly about their research.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

I’ve presented a pre-conference workshop and have been engaged with the NORD committee for the last couple of years.

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

New colleagues and connections to institutions where I previously had no point of contact, certainly, but one of the nicest developments has come through strengthening professional and personal relationships with colleagues who overlap in other professional associations such as APLU, especially the Council on Research and COGR.

What are you most excited about as a board member?

I’m excited to apply my research advocacy talents in service of this incredible organization and its constituency.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

A press release announcing both new board members can be found here: 2019 NORDP Board appointment release

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.

PUI Member Cameo: Jennifer Glass

As an organization, 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 for decades to come.  

To further enable a richly diverse and robust national peer network of research development professionals as well as organizational representation, we are highlighting members from primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) in a new blog series.

Our first cameo introduces Jennifer Glass. 

Who: Jennifer Glass, Ph. D. – Research Development Officer
Where: Office of Research Development & Administration, Eastern Michigan University
Number of Years in RD: 5
Length of NORDP Membership: 5 years

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?Glass Photo - 2019.jpg

I have been in RD for 5 years. Before jumping into RD, I was a research faculty member at the University of Michigan, where I studied the effects of factors like age, drug use, and chronic pain on attention and cognition. My position at UM was broken up across several departments, which was fun and interesting, but it became a problem when funding was short. In 2014, Eastern Michigan University was advertising for a Research Development Officer. I did not know what that was, but I read the job description and knew I could do all of the things listed, so I applied!

At EMU, I helped to create a faculty grant writing fellowship. It involves a semester long grant writing seminar that I lead, where the faculty fellows work on honing their specific aims (or equivalent) and sketch out the framework for the rest of their proposals. The seminar has a mix of formal workshop presentations (some by me, and some by outside  consultants) and peer writing sessions. I think both are crucial to helping faculty become adept grant writers. We also make a trek to Washington D.C. to meet with program officers. In addition to the fellowship, I conduct workshops, publish a weekly update   with grant funding news and opportunities, publish regular award reports, plan social events (e.g., research happy hours, celebration picnics), and work one-on-one with faculty.

How do you see RD as being different/similar between a predominately undergraduate institutions (PUIs) and more research-intensive university?

I think that RD can be extremely impactful at PUI. It can also be very different than at a   research intensive institution, where RD professionals are more likely to specialize. At a  PUI, you have to help with all kinds of proposals and in some cases also help with research administration. Personally, I enjoy wearing lots of hats, so it works for me. I also really enjoy working with the faculty here. They are passionate about their research, but with the high teaching loads that come with a PUI job, they struggle to find time to write proposals and might get discouraged that they can never be successful. My job is to help where I can, and empower faculty to put together a competitive proposal. It is very fulfilling to help with the research endeavors at EMU because they are so critical to the quality of education that students receive here.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

When I was hired at EMU, my supervisor (Caryn Charter) knew about NORDP and encouraged me to join. So I have been a member since late 2014, and have attended each conference since 2015. I have been involved with the Mentoring Committee for several years and have been (and currently am) both a mentor and a mentee. Last year, I became the chair of the newly organized Affinity Group for PUI’s, which is really exciting because there are quite a few of us, and we have independently been doing a lot of the same RD activities. We have a nice list of activities to tackle in the coming years, such as   a white paper documenting RD at PUI’s, PUI focused presentations at the conference, help with recruiting to NORDP, to name a few. I also sit on the Inclusive Excellence Committee. This is really interesting for me because there is so much to learn about inclusiveness and it is more important than ever.

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

Through mentoring and committee work, I have met many talented people, and RD folks are very helpful and friendly. Some work at large institutions, and some at small institutions. The affiliation through NORDP makes it easy to reach out to people at places where I previously would not have known anyone.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

NORDP has certainly enhanced my career, since I started out not knowing what RD was! Even just looking at the website listing of RD activities was helpful as I began my job at EMU. The conferences are full of really good information and I always go back with some new ideas and fresh enthusiasm. The webinars are a great source of information, and the list serve is really amazing. If you ever have a question, just put it out there and within hours if not minutes, you will have great input and insight.

How do you see that NORDP functions as a resource for RD professionals coming from PUI contexts?

Because of the ways that RD at a PUI is different (e.g., multifaceted, jack of all trades) I think that everything that NORDP has to offer is doubly valuable to RD at PUIs. You might not have a colleague across campus who is an expert on Department of Energy (or fill in your favorite here) funding, but someone at NORDP will be there to answer your questions!

What recommendations do you have for members – particularly PUI members – to get more involved with NORDP?

For anyone, the best way to get more involved is to join a committee. If you are from a PUI, then also join the PUI Affinity Group!

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

NORDP 2019 Conference Notes: Effective Meeting Facilitation, Parts One and Two

Slides: Facilitating Innovative Research 


  • Donnalyn Roxey, Knowinnovation
  • Andy Burnett, Knowinnovation

Thanks to our session scribe, Christina Howard, Texas A&M University!

As research development professionals, how can we make meetings more interesting, productive, and effective? How do we promote creative thinking? At the Effective Meeting Facilitation workshop, we entered the room to find an array assortment of squishy ducks, Slinkys, and other fidget toys on chairs throughout the room. The presenters used these along with a variety of engaging means to generate ideas and discussion among audience members. They emphasized: When designing a meeting it is important to consider what type of environment might facilitate creativity, and to recognize that different creative preferences can still achieve similar outputs.

Effective Meeting Facilitation, Part One

The focus was on the various dimensions of a creative climate and on specific ways RD professionals can encourage and facilitate each of these. Dimensions include: dynamism and liveliness; freedom; risk taking; playfulness and humor; idea time; idea support; trust and openness; conflict; debate; and challenge.

Tips for the RD professional

Some practical ways to encourage dynamism and liveliness are to move people around: get them talking to new people or interacting in new ways. For example, hold a meeting in a new or different location. One way to incorporate playfulness and humor is to allow for “mind wandering” through the use of fidget toys.

Assist with providing idea time and idea support by leveling the playing field: making sure everyone’s ideas are heard, deferring judgment (both positive and negative), and separating out divergence from convergence by listening to all ideas before reviewing and matching them with goals and objectives. Additionally, allowing time for ideas to incubate (i.e., thinking and regrouping) is critical rather than trying to cram everything all into one meeting.

Some suggestions to make meeting environments more creative were using fidget toys, holding meetings off-campus, using sticky notes, process mapping, adding a little bit of “interest” to the meeting space (i.e. in the form of potted plants).

Effective Meeting Facilitation, Part Two

The focus was on strategies for conducting virtual meetings effectively. Virtual collaboration can decrease our carbon footprint and increase affordability… if it works. There are multiple ways to collaborate virtually across space (i.e. Zoom), time (i.e. bulletin boards, computer screens for asking and answering questions), or a combination of both (i.e. Google Docs).

Tips for the RD professional

Ideas labs use a combination of virtual and face-to-face meetings to engage individuals. Have everyone participate virtually in an initial “ideas lab.” This can help gauge who will engage – and who should be present at the table in a face-to-face meeting.

Randomized coffee talks” (RCTs). These have the goal of getting people together who might otherwise never meet or interact, and provide them with a small incentive for doing so (i.e. coffee). For example, RCTs could be a good pre-meeting exercise to help meeting participants engage with each other prior to a larger proposal meeting.

An important factor to consider when organizing a virtual meeting is the length of time, in part because the cognitive load is larger in a virtual space than in a physical space. One way to alleviate this would be to schedule shorter meeting times with longer breaks in between when planning a virtual meeting. Also, encouraging meeting participants to go to an alternate location for the virtual meeting (rather than just sitting in their offices) may help participants engage more fully rather than treating the virtual meeting as if they were watching a virtual webinar.

Regardless of the meeting format (in-person or virtual), however, accessibility is key. The presenters emphasized that either all-physical or all-virtual meetings tend to work more effectively than a mix of the two (part virtual and part in-person).

Together, these two workshops provided valuable ideas and resources for helping meeting participants fully engage, whether the meeting is held in-person or virtually. KnowInnovation ( has a number of resources that can help with making meeting environments more creative, including tools, blogs, drop-ins, a virtual idea board, and an email short course on creativity and skill development, as well as another email short course on creative thinking and problem-solving.

New NORDP Board Member Cameo: Nathan Meier

Nathan Meier is one of two new appointed NORDP Board Members in 2019. We thank Nathan for his service to NORDP!

Who: Nathan Meier, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research
Where: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Number of Years in RD: 16
Length of NORDP Membership: 8 years

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?Meier.png

I began my career in RD during the fall of 2003 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). UNL’s Office of Research and Economic Development hired me as a proposal writer specialist following my completion of a Master of Technical and Professional Communication at Auburn University. My work in proposal development naturally (and rapidly) evolved to include other activities common across RD like funding opportunity identification; large-scale proposal project management; faculty training; federal and agency relations; supporting broader impacts and partnership development; increasing faculty nominations for prestigious honors and awards; coordinating limited submissions; managing internal funding programs; and facilitating the formation of cross-disciplinary, multi-organizational teams. The work I do currently builds on that base of experience and focuses on advancing institutional research goals and fostering faculty success. To do so, I want to help more of our faculty take strategic advantage of the many RD resources available to them and shift from grant-seeking to grant-getting. The difference is subtle but more than semantic!

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

The first NORDP conference I attended was in Austin (2013). I have been at each one since, presenting at five of the last six. A couple years into my membership, I volunteered to assist the 2015 conference planning committee with abstract review and marketing. As marketing sub-committee chair, I pitched the concept of the “Conference Cameo,” which was enthusiastically received, institutionalized, and expanded. In 2017, I joined the Nominating Committee and had the privilege of providing leadership to that dedicated group through the 2018 and 2019 Board election cycles. Since 2018, I have been NORDP’s liaison to the Network for Advancing and Evaluating the Societal Impacts of Science (AESIS). I hope many NORDP members are planning to attend the October meeting AESIS is hosting in Washington, D.C., which will focus on the “Impact of Social Sciences and Humanities on Society.” In June, I was invited by Jill Jividen and Jenna McGuire to join the two of them, Eva Allen, and Michael Thompson to form the core committee for 2020 conference planning. I look forward to working with these talented member-leaders to help organize the biggest and best meeting yet.

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

Like so many others, when I found NORDP, I found “my people.” Over the years, the professional connections formed as a result of my membership have enriched my work and the way we approach RD at Nebraska. For example, we have been motivated by hearing about how others implement faculty development programs or organize focused cohort programs around increasing competitiveness for specific funding programs (e.g., the NSF CAREER Award). Learning about others’ experiences and adopting best practices from the NORDP network has transformed our approach to – and success at – supporting faculty. For the last couple of years, I have really come to value informal, peer-to-peer mentoring relationships. These are excellent venues for brainstorming and information exchange that can help us all do a better job of positioning our faculty and institutions to be more successful and impactful. I learn from and am inspired by so many NORDP members that it would be foolish to try to name names.

What are you most excited about as a board member?

It is quite exciting to stand on the shoulders of the RD giants who provided the leadership necessary to establish and grow NORDP, and it will be an honor to provide input into the strategic planning process. My vision for the future of NORDP is one that is inclusive, strategic, and entrepreneurial. I want the organization to more intentionally cater to the professional needs of members across career stages, credentials, and institution types. I want every RD professional to know they can find a welcoming home in our organization and see themselves in a leadership role within NORDP or at their institution if that is something to which they aspire. I truly believe NORDP must continue to be the primary source to which RD professionals turn for the level and quality of professional development needed to make their best work better and help it evolve over time. To my mind, ensuring member-responsiveness and organizational agility are key to the long-term success of our organization.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

A press release announcing both new board members can be found here: 2019 NORDP Board appointment release

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 2019 Conference Notes: Employing Tactical and Strategic Approaches to Help Faculty Maximize Broader Impacts

Slides: Employing Tactical and Strategic Approaches to Help Faculty Maximize Broader Impacts


  • Danielle Mazzeo, American Museum of Natural History
  • Nathan Meier, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Tisha Mullen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Stephanie Hensel, University of Michigan School of Education

Thanks to our session scribe, Paige Belisle, Harvard University!

This presentation explored how different institutions address Broader Impacts requirements during the proposal development process. The National Science Foundation defines Broader Impacts as activities associated with sponsored research that will benefit our society and world. Other Federal agencies require similar components that will have impact outside of traditional academia. Meeting Broader Impacts requirements can be accomplished through the research/project itself; through activities directly related to the research/project; or through activities complementary to the research/project.

Case Study: American Museum of Natural History, New York City

This portion of the presentation focused on how the museum uses intra-institutional connections to maximize Broader Impacts activities. The museum aims to create & support interdisciplinary partnerships; leverage other departmental efforts to support new Broader Impact activities; and develop Broader Impact activities that are replicable and scalable. This is carried out by establishing links between its library and archives, cyberinfrastructure, graduate students, research projects, youth programs, and exhibitions, all of which also serve the museum’s central mission.

Case Study: University of Michigan School of Education

This section of the presentation discussed a university center which addresses Broader Impacts. The University of Michigan School of Education’s Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) “advances equity and excellence in education by providing access to high quality design, evaluation, and research services through collaborations with university, school, and community partners.” CEDER helps faculty during the proposal development, project implementation, and research dissemination stages by offering design, evaluation, and research development services. Through consultations, CEDER helps faculty consider how to approach Broader Impacts activities in K-12 classrooms.

Case Study: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This portion of the presentation explored how the University of Nebraska-Lincoln uses a matrix approach for Broader Impacts support by providing something for nearly everyone in the community: Pre-K to seniors, formal and informal activities, and local to global impact. Their group emphasizes that there are no cookie-cutter approaches that guarantee Broader Impacts success. The presentation discussed the importance of leveraging existing partnerships and infrastructure. It  argued that a faculty member doesn’t need to reinvent themselves to successfully implement Broader Impacts activities; rather, they should focus on how their existing connections, passions, and projects might be expanded to meet the requirements.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

I did not realize that the American Museum of Natural History in New York functions as a PhD-granting research institution, and it was very interesting to hear their unique perspective on Broader Impacts.

What resources did you discover at this presentation? 

E-resources from the presentation can be found here:

The presenters mentioned that the National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI) offers many additional resources:

What were the most interesting questions asked by an audience member, and what was the presenters’ responses?

Question: What if PIs want to focus only on training graduate students for their Broader Impacts?

Answer: While this is a very important aspect, it is typically not adequate to only focus on training graduate students in the Broader Impacts section. Generally, the proposal will need to have other Broader Impacts activities as well.

Question: How do you encourage faculty to visit a curriculum development office (or other relevant Broader Impacts resource) early in the proposal development process?

Answer: A helpful website can be a good first step in advertising your services. You can also create a “roadshow” presentation to bring to existing meetings, especially for schools and departments that may need extra help.

Question: What are the most common critiques regarding Broader Impacts in unsuccessful proposals?

Answer: A comment the presenters have frequently seen is that the Broader Impacts were interpreted by the reviewers as too broad or ambitious in scope. Proposal writers should focus on the quality of their Broader Impacts activities rather than the quantity of activities they are proposing. Goals should be concrete and attainable, not aspirational. Broader Impacts partnerships should be authentic.

NORDP NE Summer Meeting

NORDP NE held their Summer Meeting on Thursday, July 25th at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. A big shout out and thank you to our hosts at WPI, especially Antje Harnisch, who served on the planning committee and presented at the meeting. Over fifty RD professionals from around Region 1 attended, accompanied by visitors from Region 2. The agenda from the meeting is below, along with a couple of select slide decks. Thanks to all who attended!

8:45 – 9:15 Registration/ Continental Breakfast Odeum A, Campus Center
9:15 – 9:30 Welcome Amy Gantt, NORDP NE Chair and Jeralyn Haraldsen, NORDP NE Chair-Elect and NORDP Member Services Committee
9:30 – 10:30 Welcome and Panel Discussion: WPI’s Institutional Engagement Model Institutional Engagement
10:45 – 11:45 Lightning Talks: Project Management in Research Development Facilitated by Anne Maglia, UMass Lowell

– Anne Maglia: Work Breakdown Structures
– Jacob Levin, MIT: Wrike Project Management Software
– Peg AtKisson, ATG Consulting: What We Learned When We Hired a Professional Project Manager
– Mary Green, UMass Amherst: Proposal Workflow Schedules
– Loren Walker, UMass Amherst: A Simple Plan
– Kate Duggan, Brown University: RD Knowledge Repository – What Have We Been Up To?

11:45 – 12:45 Lunch
12:45 – 1:15 NORDP NE News and Updates – Amy Gantt, NORDP NE Chair
– Kathy Cataneo, NORDP Board Member
– Jeralyn Haraldsen, NORDP NE Chair Elect and NORDP Member Services Committee
1:15 – 2:15 Jim Kurose, NSF Assistant Director, Directorate of Computer and Information Science (CISE) National Science Foundation Programmatics and Activities
2:30 – 3:30 Discussion & Brainstorming: Research Intelligence, faculty profiles, and information management Facilitated by Mark Milutinovich, University of New Hampshire, and Loren Walker, UMass Amherst
3:30 – 4:30 Activity & Discussion: Areas of Strength at NORDP NE Institutions Facilitated by Amy Gantt, Tufts University, and Jeralyn Haraldsen, University of Vermont
4:30 Reception Onsite at WPI with cash bar

Two New Board Members Appointed

The Board is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Board members:

  • Kimberly Littlefield, of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, representing the Regional/MSI institutions, and
  • Nathan Meier, of University of Nebraska-Lincoln, representing the overall membership.

These members were appointed pursuant to the bylaws, Article IV, Section F  and 1) filled a seat that was vacant due to a resignation from the Board, and 2) increased the Board to an odd-number of members, in order to avoid a tied-vote situation, by filling the Board Regional/MSI designated seat.

We are excited to begin our strategic planning process with a full Board and look forward to keeping you informed. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Board cameos of your two new Board members.

We would also like to, again, thank former Board members Jan Abramson, Jeff Agnoli, Kellie Dyslin, and Karen Eck for their Board service.


Karen “Fletch” Fletcher

Karen Fletcher
Director, Grants Resources & Services
Office of Research | Appalachian State University
John E. Thomas Hall | ASU Box 32174 | Boone, NC  28608

President 2019-2020
National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP)