NORDP Postdoc Cameo: Robert Lawrence

Members come to NORDP via many paths. This member cameo is the first of a series featuring members who came to NORDP following postdoc experiences.

Who: Robert Lawrence, Research Development Specialist, Office of Strategic Research Initiatives
Where: Binghamton University
Number of Years in RD: 2
Length of NORDP Membership: 2

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?

Although I did enjoy working in the lab as a grad student and postdoc, I found that I enjoyed the communication aspect of research as well – the writing publications, proposals, and other materials intended for a wider audience. Toward the end of my postdoc period, I looked for opportunities to do some science writing as a way to expand my skillset and meet the requirements to join the National Association of Science Robert Lawrence photoWriters. In the next phase of my career, I wanted to step toward something that would involve science and research communication on some level. I wasn’t initially aware of research development as a profession per se, but the job descriptions I was interested in led me there eventually. I began working in research development in 2018 at Binghamton University, where I still am now. I am enjoying the diversity of tasks that this field encompasses: shaping the content of proposals, building interdisciplinary teams, drafting internal research communications and developing workshops. I appreciate that these activities are never redundant, and all touch on my experience in research and science communication. They also give me the chance to interact with a lot of bright faculty and be in the academic environment, which I feel like is my natural habitat. 

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

I was introduced to NORDP by my supervisor, who is always supportive of our involvement in NORDP. Along with others in my office, I have attended two NORDP conferences so far and enjoyed connecting with new people there and also reconnecting with some of my former colleagues from research that also went into research development. In talking with others at these meetings, I’ve gained a better sense of the range of activities research development professionals are engaged with at different institutions.

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

We’ve had postdoc dinner meet ups at the conferences that I’ve found helpful. Having that common ground helped me establish some connections outside of my institution, which are always good to have.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

So far my NORDP service has just been in the form of volunteering to help with different aspects of running the conferences. As expected, this has been a great way to become introduced to others at these meetings and learn from their experience.

How do you see that NORDP functions as a resource for RD professionals coming from post doctoral positions?

I went from wearing a lab coat over shorts and a t-shirt in the lab to wearing slacks and a button up shirt when I made the transition to research development. I think that change in wardrobe is symbolic of a lot of other changes and adjustments that come with moving one’s career from the lab to the office. It’s not impossible, but you do have to rethink how you organize your schedule, how you fit into the university, and so on. There is a whole new lexicon of acronyms and terminology to learn too. Although postdocs are familiar with some things related to the process of research, there is a lot of unfamiliar territory on the administrative side of research that NORDP and good mentors can help you to navigate.

What recommendations do you have for prior postdoc members to get more involved with NORDP?

Attend and volunteer at the meetings the next time you are able to attend. In the meantime, stay involved on the email chats and don’t be afraid to start a new thread when you have a question. Those threads have been very useful in supporting some of the day-to-day activities in our office. And sometimes they can also be a helpful way to be introduced to someone by name, which makes it easier to introduce yourself to them in person when you have the chance.

What tips do you have for trainee members of NORDP or other postdocs looking to find a career in RD?

Find ways to cultivate a continued interest in research, particularly the work going on that the institution where you work (or plan to work). For me, following particular researchers, research development professionals, media outlets, departments or institutions on Twitter has been an easy way to stay current with what is happening in fields that interest me or are relevant to the work I do. The tools used by researchers as well as research development professionals will always be in flux, especially in this post-COVID era that we are transitioning into. So stay interested in that process, and be prepared to bring new ideas from your experience along with you into the field!

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.

May 2020 Summary Board Memo

Dear NORDP members,

The Board of Directors held their May Board meeting this week.  I want to thank all the committees and volunteers for their dedication to furthering the field of research development and to NORDP. Below are a few highlights of the activities that NORDP is pursuing to serve all of NORDP:

  • NORDP held our Annual Business Meeting/Year in Review on May 20th. If you missed it and would like to see what has been going on over the past 2019-20 year, you can find the recording and/or the slides here. You will need to log in to access the members only section of the website.

  • Between the April and May Board meetings, the Board approved new NORDP Award categories, (also announced during the Annual Business Meeting/Year in Review) which include an Innovation Award, a Leadership Award, a NORDP Fellows Award, and a Champion in Research Development Award. More details on these will be announced in the coming months.

  • The group working on KRA6 recommended – and the Board approved – that in an effort to continue improving NORDP services to our members, a NORDP member Climate Survey (conducted by CIE), a Member Needs & Satisfaction Survey (conducted by Member Services), and the Member Salary Survey, be conducted on a rotating 3-year cycle, only asking members to fill out one survey a year.

  • The Mentoring Committee reported that we had 110 participants in the 2020-21 Mentoring match program! Thank you to all mentors and mentees in the program.

  • Remember to vote for your next Board of Directors by June 11th. To find out more about the candidates, you can find a recording of the Virtual Candidates Forum here. You will need to log in to access the members only section of the website.

Thank you, again, to all of you for your contributions to research development and to NORDP. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me at president@nordp.org

Cheers,

Karen “Fletch” Fletcher
NORDP President
president@nordp.org

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.

 

2020 Candidates for NORDP’s Board of Directors

Four NORDP members are seeking election to the organization’s Board of Directors in 2020. The candidates pursuing a seat on the Board are:

  • Eva Allen, Assistant Director, Environmental Resilience Institute, Indiana University
  • Anne Maglia, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Anne Pascucci, Director, Office of Sponsored Programs, Christopher Newport University
  • Michael Preuss, Executive Director, West Texas Office of Evaluation and Research, West Texas A&M University

You may learn more about the candidates’ interest in serving NORDP and their leadership capacity and qualifications for Board service by reviewing their candidate’s statements and CV’s at https://www.nordp.org/2020-board-candidate-profiles.

Be sure to register and plan to attend the first virtual NORDP Candidate Forum, Thursday, May 21 at 2:30pm EDT/ 11:30am PDT. The candidates will share their ideas and answer your questions. Can’t attend the Forum live? We’ll record it and post it on the Member Updates page online.ballot

The election will be held online from May 21 to June 11, 2020. Ballots will be released following the Candidates’ Forum on May 21, 2020. The ballot is an electronic ballot using rotating ballot positions and will be sent to all NORDP members in good standing.

Four Board positions are available to be filled in 2020, one of which is designated for a representative of a minority-serving and/or a regional institution, one of which is designated for a representative of a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI), and two at-large positions.

Contact the Nominating Committee (nomcom@nordp.org) if you have questions regarding the candidates or the NORDP Board election process.

2020 NORDP Salary Survey Results

Salary Calculator Allows Comparisons, Informs RD Staffing

A snapshot of salaries across the research development profession is now available, with the release of the 2020 NORDP salary survey available to NORDP members here here. This survey updates the information gathered in the most recent survey completed in 2015.

“Research development and human resource offices across the country have used this salary information to inform hiring decisions and RD staffing at universities,” says Kimberly Eck, president-elect of NORDP and assistant vice chancellor of research development at the University of Tennessee.

For example, Karen Eck, assistant vice president for research at Old Dominion University and past president of NORDP, says she used the 2015 survey data to advocate for more senior positions in her office.

“With 3,000 employees at our university, our HR office welcomed this critical data,” she says.  “The 2015 NORDP salary survey helped us craft our strategic case and get two senior grant development specialist positions approved. Data always wins, especially in the academic environment.”

NORDP members can access the results, which includes a salary report and salary calculator, which enables users to enter parameters such as degree, job title, type of organization, and region to obtain mean salaries, based on the 2020 survey.

A webinar is scheduled for May 29, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m EST, to highlight key findings and demonstrate the calculator. NORDP members can register for the webinar here.

The confidential online survey was administered to approximately 1,000 NORDP members and received a robust 34% response rate. As in past years, the 2020 survey collected member institution zip codes, enabling paired analyses using both actual reported salaries and normalized salaries using the 2019 county cost-of-living index table from the Council for Community and Economic Research. This allows users of the salary calculator to compare similar positions in different geographic areas.

The report addresses multiple institutional and individual variables including: institution type (public or private), institution geographic location and size (based on research expenditures); job category (professional title); RD office size (as measured by FTEs); and respondent demographics (gender, race, ethnicity, and education). Added this year, the survey also collected information about job functions.

NORDP members serving as salary survey investigators included:

  • Kimberly Eck, assistant vice chancellor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Karen Eck, assistant vice president for research, Old Dominion University
  • Mary Fechner, proposal development specialist, University of Massachusetts
  • Rebecca Latimer, director of proposal development, University of Virginia
  • Kayla Tindle, assistant vice president, Texas Tech University

Additionally, salary survey subcommittee members included:

  • Gretchen Kiser, executive director, University of California San Francisco
  • Heather McIntosh, manager, School of Community Medicine, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Schusterman Campus

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.

April 2020 Summary Board Memo

Dear NORDP members,

Leo Tolstoy said, “Spring is the time of plans and projects.” And it certainly is as we all find ourselves planning for research development in a Spring and Summer like no other. Thank you for continuing to share your helpful thoughts and assistance on the listserv, and continuing the community that is NORDP.

The Board of Directors held their April Board meeting this week and there is a lot of activity throughout the entire organization. I want to thank all the committees for their hard work in moving NORDP forward. Since I know we are all crunched for time, below are a few highlights of the activities that NORDP is pursuing to serve all of NORDP:

  • MEMBERSHIP: We recognize that many of you are at institutions that are freezing discretionary funds which might include renewal of membership dues. If your membership is affected, please contact adminstrator@nordp.org so we can work to keep you connected to your colleagues during this time.

  • RESOURCES: There is a NORDP’s Response to COVID-19 weblink on our homepage for access to COVID-19 resources that we will continue to collect and share.

  • VIRTUAL ANNUAL MEETING: NORDP’s first ever virtual Annual Meeting/Year in Review (we typically have held this during the in-person conference) is on May 20, from 12:00 – 1:30pm EST. You can register here. This will be recorded if you can’t make it.

  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: You can now see a current calendar of NORDP events here. Look for information coming soon on a panel discussion: “Why Research Development is Essential Now More Than Ever” on Wednesday, May 13 from 3:00 – 4:00pm EST

I look forward to interacting with a lot of you in the coming month, through committee and meeting programming. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me at president@nordp.org.

Cheers,

Karen “Fletch” Fletcher
NORDP President
president@nordp.org

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.