Calling All Mentors!

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” ~John Crosby

Sometimes, being a mentor just means offering a listening ear, or tapping into your professional network to find someone who has necessary expertise. Now more than ever, we are reminded of how important it is to connect (whether in person or virtually), share ideas, grow professionally, and encourage colleagues on to success.

NORDP members have access to a wealth of community, connectedness, and resources through the NORDP Mentoring Program. (NOTE: The application deadline for 2020-2021 has been extended through April 10, 2020).

Would you consider #payingitforward by becoming a mentor? Here is what a few NORDP mentors are saying:

“What has struck me this year as a first-time mentor in the program is how impactful it can be to just be there for someone who’s dealing with transitions at work and contemplating how their current actions will impact their future career growth. …It has reinforced to me the power of connecting with others and the value of a strong support network.” ~Hilda McMackin, NORDP member, mentor

“Being a mentor is so rewarding! Don’t make the mistake that I did and wait to become a mentor until you have “enough” experience. You have more to offer than you realize. The resources provided make navigating the mentee-mentor relationship easy, especially if you are a first-time mentor. In my experience, both mentee and mentor have something to learn and gain from each other.” ~Kathy Partlow, NORDP member, mentor

“I was inspired to serve as a mentor by the people who took me under their wings early in my research development career, and generously gave of their time in ways that helped me learn and grow as a professional. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their mentorship, and I wanted to give back to the community.” ~Angela Jordan, NORDP member, mentor

Being a mentor offers collaboration. Friendship. Community. Learning. Staying connected. Nudging others forward to realize their potential. Paying it forward. And, perhaps even more importantly, offering hope: “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” ~Oprah Winfrey

NORDP members can sign up to be a mentor and/or a mentee in the NORDP Mentoring Program. Peer mentoring groups are also available. The deadline for applications has been extended through Friday, April 10, 2020. Individual Mentor/Mentee matches and Peer Mentor Groups will be notified in late spring. Contact with any questions.

Contributed by the Mentoring Committee

NORDP Board Memo

Dear NORDP members,

The Board of Directors and I are thinking about you during this time of change. We are excited about the conversations on the listserv as we continue to be the community we are, leaning on each other through conversation and creating new and agile solutions.

The Board of Directors met this week and I want to highlight a few of the activities that NORDP committees are pursuing to serve all of NORDP – there are so many great things moving forward to complement what you do every day.

  • The conference co-chairs are working with many of you to continue to offer as much of the planned conference content as possible. You will be hearing more about this in the coming month.

  • Volunteers are reviewing the Salary Survey results and updating the salary calculator.

  • The Member Services Committee is supporting our regions: NORDP Northeast region held a highly successful regional meeting in February at MIT; the Upstate NY Region held a quarterly RD meeting; the Great Lakes region is forming a  leadership team; and the Midwest/Mountain Region is planning for their first regional meeting. Reach out to the committee if you are interested in getting involved in Regional activity.

  • The Mentoring Committee is working on offering the next matched pairs of the Mentoring program. Approximately 90 members have already applied to the program and mentors are needed. We all have something to give back – consider applying to the program as a mentor, or a mentee.

  • The New Opportunities for Research Development (NORD) Committee is reviewing the applications they received for the 2020 InfoReady/NORD grant cycle to support research on research development.

  • The Professional Development Committee has put together the following webinars: “Science in Service to National Security,” April 2 at 1:30 pm ET.; “Chat About Research Development Support Going Virtual,” April 3 at 2:00pm ET; “Supporting Senior Faculty: How can RD Professionals Help Faculty with Established Careers ‘Jump Start’ their Research Funding,” April 20th, 2 pm ET. You can register here for any of them.

  • The Board is looking for dedicated members to help move NORDP forward. The Nominating Committee has opened Board Applications; Nominations are due March 31st. Read more about it here.

  • The Annual Business Meeting will be an online event this year on May 20th at 12:00 ET. Look for more information soon.

  • We are also working on the seven Key Result Areas (KRAs) of the strategic plan and will have updates for you in future correspondence.

We don’t know what exactly everyone’s future holds, but know that NORDP will be here for you as we experience it together.


Karen “Fletch” Fletcher
NORDP President

2020 Call for Board of Directors Nominations and Applications

Dear Colleagues:

On behalf of NORDP’s Nominating Committee and Board of Directors, I am writing to invite nominations and applications for Board of Directors positions. Nominations for Board positions are due March 31, 2020, and applications for the same are due April 15, 2020. You may self-nominate and do so starting March 17, 2020.

Available positions: Four Board of Director positions are available in 2020. One seat is designated for an eligible NORDP member affiliated with either a Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) and/or a Regional Institution, one seat is designated for an eligible NORDP member affiliated from a Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUI), and two seats are open to eligible NORDP members from any type of institution or region (at-large). New Board members are elected for four-year terms. (The cover page of the board application form contains definitions of MSI, Regional, and PUI.)

Eligibility: All regular members of NORDP in good standing who meet the qualifications outlined below are eligible to apply for Board of Director positions. Any NORDP member employed by a for-profit company that employs more than 25 people is an affiliate member of NORDP and not eligible for election to the Board. Current Board members whose terms are expiring are eligible for nomination and re-election unless they have already served two consecutive terms (in which case they must wait at least one year before becoming eligible for re-election).

Qualifications: Qualifications for serving on the Board of Directors encompass a number of factors, including:

  • Active support and/or service to NORDP (e.g., at least three years of service on committees, working groups, or other efforts on behalf of the organization). Demonstrated leadership in NORDP activities is preferred. While conference presentations are highly valuable to the organization, they do not in and of themselves constitute active support of the organization or demonstrate that an individual has knowledge of how NORDP operates and how its mission is served.
  • At least five years of research development experience or very closely related experience.
  • Demonstrated progression of duties and responsibilities within the research development profession, including, but not limited to: supervision of other research development professionals, management of a significant research development portfolio, or other major contributions to the research development profession (or a closely related field).
  • Experience serving on community-or institutionally based non-profit boards and/or other forms of organizational leadership (e.g., technical working groups, strategic planning or reaccreditation working groups, etc.).

Expectations: The expectations for NORDP Board members are significant in terms of time and effort. Members are expected to actively participate in the board, head special projects or liaise with committee chairs, and pursue activities that advance the NORDP mission and goals. The time requirement for Board members averages 10 to 12 hours per month with additional commitment for officers. For a full description of the duties, roles, and responsibilities of Board members, please see the Board Member Duties and Responsibilities document and the relevant articles in the NORDP Bylaws.

It is expected that applicants participate in the Board candidate forum at the NORDP Annual Conference. The forum will be recorded for posting in the “members” section of the NORDP website. 

Selection Criteria: The Nominating Committee will evaluate applicants for the ballot based on the following criteria:

  • Potential of applicants to serve NORDP effectively, as reflected in their application materials and other evidence – their description of interests in serving on the Board and the contributions the candidates think they can make, their specific goals for NORDP, and why they think they would make good candidates.
  • Diversity of Board Members is highly desirable, although there are no formal requirements.
  • Diversity of institution type (e.g., location, size, focus, public, private, etc.) is also highly desirable. 

Nomination and Application: Nominators and applicants are requested to prepare submissions in a word processing program and then cut and paste the information into online submission forms. The forms will time out after ten minutes and information is not saved once timed out.

Applicants must also upload a brief résumé/CV (three pages maximum) in PDF format, a brief biographical sketch (200-word maximum), and a high-resolution headshot (2MB maximum file size; 72 dpi is acceptable). Applicants may also submit a letter of support (two pages maximum) from their direct supervisor or a member of NORDP.

  • Nomination: You may nominate another individual for a Board position using the online nomination form by March 31, 2020. Upon receipt of a nomination, the Nomination Committee will contact the nominee to request completion of an on-line application.
  • Application: If you are interested in serving as a Board member, please complete your application using the online application form by April 15, 2020. 

Selection and Voting Processes: All members of NORDP in good standing (including affiliate members) are eligible to vote in the election, which will be held online. The Nominating Committee will review applications and present the nominees to the membership for a voting process according to the following schedule:

  • Two weeks prior to the planned start of the Annual Meeting: The Nominating Committee will notify candidates regarding eligibility and placement on the election ballot.
  • Candidates’ Forum: Nominees placed on the ballot by the Nominating Committee will be invited to participate in an online candidates’ forum (specific date, time, and location will be sent via email to NORDP members, published on the organization’s website, and promoted on its social media platforms). Candidate information will be posted to the NORDP website, and the voting period will run from May 18 to June 8, 2020.
  • July 1, 2020: Newly elected Board members assume their duties.
  • September 11 to 14, 2020: Newly elected Board members should plan to participate in a Board retreat on these dates.
Please contact Kim Patten at or 520-621-5429 if you have any questions regarding the Board of Directors nomination, application, or election procedures. Thank you in advance for your participation in the Board of Directors nomination and application processes, which are designed to ensure strong leadership of NORDP.

Conference Cameo: Sherry Knighton-Schwandt

Who: Sherry Knighton-Schwandt, Assistant Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington and Executive Director for Research Development for IU
Where: Indiana University
Number of years in research development: 10
Length of NORDP membership: 5
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 4
How do you unwind? Gardening, bird watching, cooking, traveling, and spending time with my husband, friends, children and grandchildren. Truth be told, I also binge watch the BBC series, “Call the Midwife.”

My route to research development has been circuitous. After 12+ years of working in administration, student recruitment and public affairs for the IU School of Education at Bloomington, I found my way to the IU Office of the Vice President for Research as a lead for communications and special projects. That role quickly led to deepening engagement with IU Bloomington’s and IU’s internal and external funding competitions, and my research development career began.92

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to lead the development and creation of IU Bloomington’s Proposal Development Services group, which consults and collaborates with researchers to help plan, prepare, and manage applications for external funding. I also continuously oversee more than two-dozen campus research centers, institutes, and museums that often play a role in collaborating with faculty on grants.

I’ve also had the excitement of being involved in the inception and implementation of two large-scale grant programs that have generated myriad research development benefits (and challenges!) to the university: IU’s Grand Challenges program (three initiatives, a total of $200+ million in funding) and IU Bloomington’s Emerging Areas of Research program (five initiatives, ~$20 million in funding).

In 2019, my responsibilities in research development expanded to encompass all of IU’s seven campuses, and I am currently engaged in strengthening relationships among all of the IU staff involved in research development activities and collaborating with them to create a strategic plan that focuses on how IU can refine and expand our research development activities and the ways we support IU faculty. I have the utmost privilege of working with super smart and dedicated staff who work tirelessly to advance the university’s research goals. As with all successful endeavors, it takes a committed and enthusiastic team working towards the same goals.

As the concept of research development has emerged in recent years, in large part due to the work of NORDP, I’ve been pleased to attend several NORDP conferences. The information, education, and networking provided by the conferences has been invaluable. I’ve learned so much about how to build and strengthen our university’s research development resources, and I look forward to learning more this year! I’m also excited that in October 2020, IU Research Development will host the NORDP Great Lakes Regional Conference at IU Bloomington.

My NORDP tip is, if possible, bring colleagues with you to the conference. There is much to do and absorb. Strategize about who will attend what sessions, and make sure to compare notes. Above all, take advantage of the like-minded professionals gathered together, and enjoy yourself!


We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held May 17 – 20, at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio, TX. The conference room block can be accessed HERE

For more information about the conference or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2020 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.

Soliciting Member Feedback on Simplifying NIH Review Criteria

NORDP is soliciting member feedback on simplifying NIH review criteria in an effort to answer Bruce Reed, Deputy Director at NIH’s question: How might review criteria be modified to obtain the best evaluations of scientific merit?

NORDP’s mission is to advance the global capacity for and impact of research by strengthening the practice and profession of research development. In an effort to do just that, NORDP, as an organization representing research development, will be responding to NIH’s call for input on simplifying NIH review criteria. You can read more about it here.

Please submit any feedback you might have to by Friday, March 13th so that we can compile the responses and submit a group NORDP response to NIH.

Thank you,
Karen “Fletch” Fletcher
NORDP President

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.

Find Time To Mentor: Applications are now open for the NORDP Mentoring Program!

The Mentoring Program is an opportunity to enhance your skills by interacting with other research development professionals. Every year, there is a high need for mentors – and YOU have wisdom to share! Consider becoming a mentor (and, you can be a mentee as well). The Mentoring Committee has developed an OnBoarding Packet, Closure Tools, archived webinars, and a set of FAQs. A facilitator team available to support you, and will be in touch several times throughout the year. Mentors are never alone…. We support each other, as we support the profession.

Mentoring is an investment in yourself, and in the future of NORDP. AND mentoring takes time. Where and how do you add the time into an already busy schedule?

  1. Make the commitment: Why are you mentoring? Commit to your reason, rather than your mentee.
  2. Recognize that for every hour with your mentee, you might have 30 minutes of pre- or postmeeting work. Mentoring is active. Come prepared for meetings, follow up with anything you’ve committed to do.
  3. Set a specific time: Find a day and time that works for you and your mentee. Get it on the calendar, and be respectful of the time. Thirty to 45-minutes might be ideal.
  4. Define your goals: Mentors and mentees can have separate goals and there could be a goal for the mentoring relationship. Use SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound.
  5. Be honest: If your commitment in the mentoring relationship is beginning to wane, there is a chance that you will push it farther down on your list of priorities. If this happens, reach out to a facilitator. They can help you figure out what changes can be made to ensure that the mentoring relationship remains a priority.
  6. Be realistic: Figure out what works. Meeting every other week might feel like too often; meeting once a month might be too long between meetings. Be fluid and flexible until you find a meeting schedule that is just right.

All NORDP members can apply here to be mentors, mentees, or join a Peer Mentoring Group. (or all three!) The deadline for applications is Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Individual Mentor/Mentee matches and Peer Mentor Groups will be notified prior to the 2020 NORDP Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas (May 17-20).

Need more information? Check out the NORDP Mentoring Committee webpages, or email:

Hotel Options for NORDP 2020

The Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort has begun to fill up. Please check the Hyatt’s availability for the nights you’ll be spending in San Antonio to potentially take advantage of our special discounted conference rate. Book your room with the NORDP-specific hotel reservation link HEREThe discounted rates for the 2020 NORDP Conference are on a first-come, first-serve basis through April 24, 2020.

There are three hotels that are a two-minute drive from the Hyatt Regency listed below and on the NORDP website HERE. Call for rates and availability.

Hilton San Antonio Hill Country
9800 Westover Hills Blvd.
San Antonio, TX 78251
Ph. 210.509.9800

TownePlace Suites by Marriott
10015 Westover Hills Blvd.
San Antonio, TX 78521
Ph. 210.520.0441

Staybridge Suites San Antonio Sea World
10919 Town Center Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251
Ph. 210.767.1100


We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held May 17 – 20, at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio, TX. For more information about the conference or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2020 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: Carlos Garcia

Who: Carlos Garcia, Director, Research Development & Infrastructure
Where: William Marsh Rice University
Number of years in research development: 9
Length of NORDP membership: 7
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 5
How do you unwind? Reading a good book

My work in research development started when I worked in the Rice University Smalley-Curl Institute, formerly known as the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology. We started working with the DOD and other state universities to build a program in the State of Texas. The program was called Strategic Partnership In Nanotechnology (SPRING) and brought in over $30M in research equipment to Texas.

2019 O-Week FunThereafter, I moved to the Office of Research and settled into my new role as Director of Research, Development, and Infrastructure. In this role, I oversee the Interdisciplinary Research Support Office (IRSO), which is designed to support the development of proposals and the administration of large and strategic projects. IRSO partners with the Office of Proposal Development and other internal departments to submit complex interdisciplinary proposals. Through IRSO, I oversee a number of university centers and institutes. I work in consultation with faculty, department heads, deans, and research center and institute directors to determine the level of support necessary for each proposal or project. We provide strategic planning and administrative support beginning in the startup and continuing through the execution and sunset phase of interdisciplinary projects. We also offer comprehensive pre- and post-award support for these centers and institutes, and coordinate all of our support activities with research administrators and financial officers across campus, including those in Research Accounting, the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research Compliance, and the Controller’s Office. In addition to these responsibilities, I oversee the Rice Office of STEM Engagement, Evaluation and Assessment, the Shared Equipment Authority, the Research Support Shop, and the Animal Resource Facility.

When I started this new position, there were no guidelines or predecessors to ask about my duties. A year into my job, I discovered NORPD. It was a relief to know there were others like me!

Since my first meeting, I’ve been able to find support in the vast network NORDP provides. The Southwest local region has also been very beneficial. I would encourage you, if your time allows, to make sure you attend your local chapter. This is especially important if you are new in this profession. You will be surprised how eager and ready this group is to help you. At one of the NORDP meetings, we realized that there was an extraordinary number of members from Houston and from the Texas Medical Center in particular; we started getting together every couple of months for lunch to talk about our roles and challenges, and to offer suggestions to one another on how to meet those challenges.


We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held May 17 – 20, at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio, TX. The conference room block can be accessed HERE

For more information about the conference or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2020 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.

A Message to NORDP 2020 Conference Attendees

Dear NORDP members,

We are excited about the NORDP 2020 Annual Research Development Conference in San Antonio, TX, May 17-20, 2020.

We want to assure you that we are closely following announcements about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at

At this time, we do not expect the conference to be affected by this coronavirus, and the CDC has not issued guidance or precautions about traveling within the U.S. or limiting public gatherings anywhere in the country.

We will, of course, continue to monitor public health guidance, and we will be in touch promptly should developments occur that require further updates.


Karen Fletcher

NORDP President