NORDP Postdoc Cameo: Samarpita Sengupta

Who: Samarpita Sengupta, Instructor, Director of Neurosciences Research Development
Where: UT Southwestern Medical Center
Number of Years in RD: 4.5 years
Length of NORDP Membership: 3.5 years

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

I started in RD in 2015, having been recruited as a Scientific Research Writer in the newly formed Neuroscience Research Development office at UT Southwestern Medical Center. After 3.5 years of postdoc, I was sure that the traditional route of postdoc to academic faculty position did not meet my interests, needs or life priorities. I reassessed the skills I possessed and realized that writing/editing was what I was good at. I did a lot of informational interviews senguptaand decided to apply to this position not knowing what Research Development meant. It was a pleasant surprise to realize that this fit my interests, goals and ambitions so well. We built our RD office from the ground up. We mostly work with individual investigators submitting to the NIH and other biomedical funding agencies, including state and private funding. We also work on large grants and deliver a lot of education.

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

I joined NORDP in 2017. I have attended all three NORDP conferences since, and have presented posters and/or talks at all three. At the first conference, I was browsing committees and heard Peggy Sundermeyer asking for volunteers for liaisons from the Strategic Alliances committee. I volunteered to be the liaison between NORDP and the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), since I had been involved with the NPA during my postdoc. I attended two NPA conferences as a NORDP liaison and through the demands of postdocs we spoke with, I chaired the working group that created NROAD, the resource that RD offices can use to create internship/training/onboarding programs to help people new to RD get a hands-on understanding of the tasks involved. I was also recruited by Kathy Cataneo to assist with the Member Services subcommittee on creating the new member categories. It was gratifying to both create NROAD and make it available to all NORDP membership as well as help with creation of the Trainee and Emeritus categories of NORDP members. I have helped with the Ambassador program for last year’s conference. I currently serve as the MSC liaison to new trainee members. I also volunteer on the NORDP mentoring committee, have participated in the mentoring program as a mentor and a mentee and currently serve as a facilitator of mentor-mentee pairs and on the RD mentor training subcommittee.

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

NORDP has become home and NORDP members are my people!! Before joining this organization, I browsed a couple of organizations related to grants, but at NORDP, I didn’t have to explain to people what I did! It was also very heartening to see the diversity at NORDP, not only in the people, but in the paths they had taken to a RD career. I have learned so much from everyone! I have gained a mentor through the NORDP mentoring program who has helped me enormously. I have also received mentorship from the NORDP leadership, from the leadership of the committees I have served on, and from several senior and peer NORDP members. I am not naming names because of the fear of inadvertently leaving someone off! I have made friendships with NORDP colleagues, and I will be presenting at the virtual NORDP conference with several NORDP colleagues.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

Being a member of NORDP and passively following the listserv helped me gain a lot of knowledge about RD and I have been able to build on programs at my institution using that knowledge. In addition, actively volunteering with NORDP has helped me make invaluable networks throughout the country. I was truly honored and humbled to receive the NORDP Rising Star award last year! This has definitely helped me gain some recognition at my institution.

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

For people interested in RD, NORDP provides several great resources, I will list a few: 1) The listserv, where passively gaining information and knowledge will help postdocs get an idea of the conversations, language and jargon of the field, which will definitely give them a leg-up in a job interview. 2) Networks: Participating in NORDP circles, committees or regions or even knowing who in their institution is a part of NORDP and therefore, doing RD, will help postdocs build valuable networks. 3) NORDP job board: This is self-explanatory! 4) RD101: This is a course that is being offered by senior NORDP members and will be a great resource for those seeking to get a head start in RD. 4) NROAD: This is a resource developed for RD offices to create internship programs. Postdocs can go through such programs in their institutional RD offices and get hands-on training in RD tasks. 5) Other NORDP resources: NORDP website and the blog is a treasure trove of resources, reading materials, videos and articles. One can spend days in there reading and understanding what RD is and how diverse it is. 6) Trainee membership: A lot of these resources are available for NORDP members. Postdocs and others who have not had a RD job can become NORDP members using the reduced fee trainee membership and avail all these resources.

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

Attending the national and regional conferences are always a great idea. This year, it can be done in the comfort of your own home! I am a big believer in volunteering and the immense two way benefits to the organization and your own career that come because of it. I encourage them to seek out opportunities to help and be involved, whether it is on a committee, subcommittee or a working group. There are several ways to get involved. Serve as a mentor, serve as a career navigator for new trainee members, join a circle and contribute, the possibilities are endless and we always need more people!

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

I encourage new trainee members to respond to the listserv, even if it is to ask a question. Since we are all service oriented, we are all eager to answer questions! I encourage them to find committees they can serve on, and build their networks. I am working on a pilot program with the mentoring committee to pair each trainee member with a “career navigator”, people who have gone through similar career pathways as theirs. I encourage them to reach out to these people, build these relationships and use those to their advantage. I encourage them to apply to the NORDP mentoring program.

I encourage postdocs who aren’t members of NORDP yet, to tune in to a webinar we are presenting for the National Postdoctoral Association My Postdoc Monthly webinar next month to find out more about RD as a career path. https://www.nationalpostdoc.org/events/eventdetails.aspx?id=1396321

If they think this is the right fit, then I encourage them to consider reaching out to NORDP members in their institutions or find us on social media (Follow @NORDP_official and me, @AnonDumboOctopi and others), set up informational interviews, connect and build your networks! And finally, I encourage them to consider becoming trainee members and gain additional exposure and access to resources and jobs!

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.

July 2020 Summary Board Memo

Dear NORDP members,

The Board of Directors held their July Board meeting this week. Below are a few highlights and upcoming events:

As I emphasized in my opening message to you, NORDP is deeply committed to creating an inclusive environment. Accordingly, we wanted to feature NORDP’s statement on diversity more prominently on our public website. Therefore, we have moved it to immediately follow our mission statement on the home page.

The third Conversation Roadblocks: A Dialogue with NORDP’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence and our first Virtual Idea Showcase – featuring posters and lightning talks – will be held on Thursday, July 30, 2020. If you have registered for the Virtual Idea Showcase remember to login to kistorm.com to browse content and join the event. Check out the NORDP calendar to register for all upcoming events.

We launched a webpage highlighting the NORD / InfoReady Research Grants which are sponsored InfoReady. You can find information there about all previously funded awards and upcoming deadlines.

The Professional Development Committee is looking for volunteers to help host our virtual events. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Rebecca Latimer at rtl6m@virginia.edu.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Eck

Kimberly Eck, MPH, PhD
Assistant Vice Chancellor of Research Development
University of Tennessee, Office of Research & Engagement

President 2020-2021
National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP)
http://www.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.

 

NORDP Postdoc Cameo: Kristen Scott

Who: Kristen Scott, PhD, Scientific Development Officer
Where: Moffitt Cancer Center
Number of Years in RD: Officially – 2; Unofficially – 10
Length of NORDP Membership: 2.5 years

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

Like many other postdocs that transitioned into RD, I started engaging in research development activities during my graduate and postdoctoral training – I just didn’t know what it was called at the time. I would proofread colleagues’ manuscripts and grants and provide feedback on organization, scientific soundness, flow, etc. I enjoyed helping others achieve their goals.0027-Kristen Scott2MB

It wasn’t until 2017, when I was looking to transition out of the lab, that I learned that RD was a ‘thing’ and that it could provide a rewarding and fruitful career. I recognized that my organization didn’t have someone fulfilling that role for our faculty so I wrote a white paper, using NORDP’s resources, outlining the need for RD services at Moffitt, what an office could potentially look like, and what specific services I thought would benefit our faculty and their needs. I presented this paper to my current boss and senior leadership, with the support of my postdoctoral mentor, and gained support for this idea. As a result of the white paper discussion, a senior leader took a chance on me to help them with an upcoming P01 grant proposal in an RD capacity. From there, Moffitt took a chance on me and created my current position. I’m currently an RD office of one, tasked with assisting our faculty with generating highly competitive complex grants and helping to build an infrastructure for RD at our institute.

More specifically, I’m focused on elevating Moffitt’s portfolio of large team science awards. I help our faculty put together well organized and founded applications through effective project management, organization, editing, template building, communication with state and federal agencies, and occasional match making of expertise. I also support Moffitt’s P30 Cancer Center Support Grant through provision of project management, ongoing data management, writing, and editing services for annual progress reports and renewal applications.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization?

I learned about NORDP as I started to learn about RD in 2017 and got the opportunity to go to my first NORDP conference in 2018 through the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA)’s relationship with NORDP. Through this inter-institutional relationship, I met Drs. Samarpita Sengupta and Alexis Nagel and presented posters at both NORDP and NPA national meeting. We are currently working together on presenting an informational webinar for the NPA highlighting what research development is and how NORDP serves the RD professional community.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

When I started in the field, I didn’t know anyone. Everyone that I have interacted with at NORDP is warm and welcoming, and the NORDP community is truly a collaborative environment where everyone wants everyone else to succeed. Because of this environment, I’ve met people that I keep in touch with from across the country, and a few institutions have offered to let me shadow them as I build resources at my own institution.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

NORDP helped me establish research development services at my institution by providing wonderfully rich resources on what RD is and what it looks like at different institutions. It helped me gain colleagues that understood the transition that I was going through and what leadership looked like in this field.

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

NORDP provides really meaningful resources for post doctorates looking to transition into RD from the novel internship programs to shadowing RD offices to webinars to providing realistic salary numbers for the field. NORDP really provides a full education of what the field is and where you can go as part of it. Additionally, NORDP’s partnership with the NPA really helps build a bridge into the field by provided RD professionals to talk with, articles in the POSTDOCket, and opportunities to speak with postdocs through their monthly webinar series.

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

Don’t be afraid to reach out to a NORDP member, even if you’ve never spoken with them before. My first interaction with a NORDP member was with Joanna Downer – I cold emailed her following her Science article about RD to ask several questions. She took the time to email me back with copious amounts of advice and suggestions related to my questions. It blew me away and made me want to get more involved in the organization. After joining, I realized that she is an exceptional steward of the organization but that everyone else in NORDP is just as enthusiastic about RD and all are willing to share their experiences.

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

Do your research – really make sure that RD is right for you by engaging in informational interviews with RD professionals, taking advantage of RD internship programs, becoming a member of NORDP, and attending the NORDP annual conference. Take advantage of NORDP’s mentoring program to help build a personal council of mentors within the field that are committed to helping you advance your career. Also, don’t forget the mentors and sponsors that helped you along the way – they are valuable viewpoints for your new career path.

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.

New Board Member Cameo: Anne Maglia

Anne_Maglia_headshot

Who: Anne Maglia, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Where: University of Massachusetts Lowell
Number of Years in RD: 12
Length of NORDP Membership: 4.5

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

Prior to my role at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, I spent six years at the National Science Foundation, as a science adviser and program director. The majority of my work at NSF was RD related, things like helping people write grants and managing portfolios of funding.  Also, with my research in bioinformatics and evolutionary biology, I had my own successes in grant writing and funding.

My current position encompasses four main areas: research integrity, research administration, research communications, and research development. The RD core includes a small team that facilitates team science and large proposal development, runs faculty development events, and develops social media, written communication, and on-campus events about research.  We also oversee the internal seed funding programs and assign contracted grant writers for our faculty. In addition, I provide administrative oversight for about 24 centers and institutes.  As a certified project management professional (PMP), my background in project management comes out no matter what, especially as we work in RD to bring together groups of people strategically and efficiently.

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

When I first joined UMass Lowell, I saw so much opportunity to help the Research and Innovation group build our funding portfolio. I wanted to leverage my knowledge of federal agencies and funding priorities, and upon joining NORDP and reading more about RD, I worked with Julie Chen, my boss, the Vice Chancellor for Research to centralize and formalize our research development activities. It took about a year, and we created a new unit called Research Support Services and hired into four new positions.

My roles with NORDP largely include presenting at meetings and mentoring; I have two mentees this year. I’ve presented several times at NORDP’s annual conference and NE Region meetings, and my group co-hosted the virtual regional meetings this year. Since joining NORDP, I’ve generally become more active in advocating for research development; for example, I’ve developed a three-week summer writing course, several grant writing workshops, and a website with short videos such as “How to Talk to Program Officers,” and “How to Write Your Synergistic Activity Section” that have been well received

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

My NORDP relationships have been built through involvement with the NE Region group, especially leaders like Kathy Cataneo who has been an incredible mentor to me, and meeting NORDP members like Sharon Pound at the annual conference. Sharon presented a poster on project management in RD, and I was so excited to see another PMP that we started talking immediately, and subsequently co-presented a workshop at the 2019 annual conference. Going to meetings, jumping into committees, giving collaborative presentations, and working in small groups has been very easy. Everyone in NORDP is so dang friendly and very supportive!

Presenting at the project management workshop with Sharon gave us both a lot of visibility. I met a lot of NORDP colleagues after that, which, as an introvert, is not very easy!  I’ve come to be an evangelist for using formalized project management skills in RD because of the opportunities it presents. There’s such a close link between RD and PM, and as careers shift, the project management skills can provide opportunities. This year I developed and taught a course in the UMass Lowell Project Management Certificate program on Project Management for Researchers, which had about 20 researchers and RD professionals enrolled.

What are you most excited about as a board member?

NORDP introduced me to the finer aspects of the field of research development. Although I had been doing RD, I didn’t know I was doing RD until I joined NORDP.  I want to help with outreach to other professionals who are doing RD but may not know about NORDP. I spent time as faculty at smaller institutions where people were doing RD without knowing it.  NORDP has further opportunities for inclusion and equity by reaching out to those schools where vice provosts, deans, center directors, project managers, and department chairs are doing the RD and could benefit from our NORDP community and resources.

While I haven’t been a member of NORDP for long, I felt that serving on the Board now, while my NSF experiences are still fresh in my mind and my relationships are still strong, provided a unique opportunity to build partnerships. There is a lot of overlap with the best practices promoted by NSF and NORDP, and we should explore opportunities to build closer connections with federal funders by collaborating with them on joint workshops, webinars, and trainings.

Compiled by Sharon Pound, Communications Working Group

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.

Rising Star Award Cameo: Daniel Campbell

Campbell Photo2Who: Daniel Campbell, Research Development Program Manager
Where: Old Dominion University Office of Research
Number of years in research development: 6
Length of NORDP membership: 6

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

I would suggest looking for opportunities to get involved on a committee, create a poster, or present at a national or regional conference.  If you have an idea, bring it to a committee or someone in leadership. There is sure to be someone who would be interested in working with you on it. Whatever your area of interest, there is something for you here.  From regional involvement to mentoring to webinars, there is always something happening at NORDP that could benefit from your time and talent.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

After working in the areas of alumni and advancement, where my experience was primarily in special events, my active involvement in NORDP greatly enhanced my transition to RD. Attending my first NORDP conference helped me learn what was going on in the field and bring it back to my institution. Working on a campus can be an insular experience sometimes, so engagement with NORDP gives me a measuring stick to compare what I am doing with colleagues across the country. Through writing various blogs for NORDP News, I have improved my writing & editing skills. Plus, I tend to work behind the scenes, so this role has forced me to get out there!

How did you hear about NORDP and what made you join initially?

My supervisor, Karen Eck, has been involved with NORDP for a long time. When I started in RD, she encouraged me to check out what the organization had to offer.  I attended my first conference in Orlando, followed by Denver, DC, and Providence. I started working with Kay Tindle and Kathy Cataneo on the Member Services Committee and never looked back.

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

I’ve met colleagues across the country through my involvement on various committees, including the Conference Marketing Committee, the Program Committee, and NORDP’s Communications Working Group. It seems each activity leads to another. Through the process, I’ve become more confident in my work and more validated in what I’m doing. For example, my poster presentation on our Science Pubs community outreach generated a lot of interest.  It was helpful to bring that back to the office; it tells you that you’re going in the right direction.

If you’re new to this field, there are many people in this organization who are willing to help you. Members value what you to bring to the table and they find a place where you can make a difference in NORDP.  I would say that the more people you meet through your engagement with NORDP, the more connected you are and the greater a resource you are to both NORDP and your institution.

Compiled by Sharon Pound, Communications Working Group

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 2020 Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski Service Award: Kathy Cataneo

The Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski Service Award was established in 2011 and named for NORDP’s founding President, Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski, Ph.D., who was the first recipient. Voted on by the Board of Directors, the award is given annually to a NORDP Member in recognition of outstanding service to the organization and to the Research Development profession. The honor is recognized with a commemorative plaque and free registration to the following year’s NORDP Research Development Conference.

Who: Kathy Cataneo, Director of Research Development
Where: University of New Hampshire (UNH)
Number of years in Research Development: 11
Length of NORDP membership: 11

What initiative are you the most proud of in your role as a NORDP volunteer?

There are two initiatives that have been extremely satisfying. Establishment of the NORDP Affinity Group policy, which I advanced during my first year on the Board and the Board approved in 2017, helped formalize the role that regional groups play in recruiting and retaining NORDP members. The policy also provided a structure for thematic groups such as PUI and Academic Medical Centers to coalesce – another great tool for recruiting and retaining NORDP members.IMG_1214

The other initiative, resulting in a 50% increase since 2016 in NORDP members to nearly 1100 members in February 2020, related to my leading various member recruitment and retention campaigns and efforts through the Member Services Committee (MSC), which I chaired for two years and then became MSC Board liaison. This tremendous growth was the result of the work of many, including regional representatives and other MSC members, and new programs such as the Ambassador Program and first-time-attendee orientation at the Annual Conference. It has been a privilege to help new members advance their RD careers through NORDP.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

It is because of NORDP that I was able to create and build an Office of Research Development at UNH. As the founding director of this office and prior director of UNH’s Office of Sponsored programs, I had ideas on how to improve the competitiveness of proposals, but I did not have the tools I needed at the start to establish credibility with our faculty in my new role. Through NORDP (Holly Falk-Krzesinski was my first RD mentor), I learned about what was working well at other institutions and I began to implement programs and services at UNH that ultimately enabled me to meet the needs of our faculty and become a respected partner in the research process at my institution.

Concurrently, I was a founding member of NORDP Northeast, chairing that regional group for several years. I worked closely with previous NORDP Treasurer Jeff Agnoli and others when NORDP was between association management firms to respond directly to members’ questions and needs; served on NORDP’s Revenue and Finance Committee, Communications Working Group, Member Services Committee, Conference planning committees, etc. I mention these because through all of these service activities, I was able to expand my professional network tremendously and raise awareness about my university. Opportunities for faculty collaborations became more possible. Our chief research officer relied on me to use my network to get input on issues at the highest level of the academy and to adopt “best practices” in RD. In turn, my credibility became well-established and I became recognized as a leader – all good for one’s career!

Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined.

The biggest change is the increase in membership from a relatively small, intimate group eleven years ago to a 1000+ member organization today. Despite NORDP’s dramatic growth, we have maintained the feel of a smaller organization. I have been struck by how easy and productive networking and other interactions continue to be and how our programming and resources have grown and become more sophisticated over the years –always aiming to be responsive to the needs of our community. This is not an easy feat with an all-volunteer organization.

Along with growth comes growing pains. To relieve the Board from standard organizational business operations, the Board hired an association management firm. This has allowed the Board to assume its appropriate role in strategic planning for NORDP, and to allow NORDP’s committees to implement the activities of the strategic plan with Board oversight. I was privileged to be a Board member to assist with these major transitions.

Recent NORDP presidents have raised the visibility of our organization externally and to those who participate at the periphery of RD. By creating and supporting activities such as NORD, Leadership Forum, PEERD, and the Strategic Alliances Committee’s efforts, these NORDP leaders have expanded NORDP’s influence as a thought leader in the practice, profession, and science of research development. The recent plenary talk and Q&A session with Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of OSTP and former Vice President for Research at the University of Oklahoma is a prime example of NORDP’s growing influence.

I’d like to conclude by saying that I am grateful to NORDP for the opportunities to learn from the best, most generous colleagues one could hope to have. I have been inspired and affirmed by them all.

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.

New Board Member Cameo: Michael Preuss

Who: Michael Preuss, EdD – Executive Director, West Texas Office of Evaluation and Research
Where: West Texas A&M University
Number of Years in RD: 16 years
Length of NORDP Membership: Nine years

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

I started in research development by writing proposals. I was administering a large federally-funded project and people began asking me to help them with proposals for other projects. My involvement in the field expanded from there although I have maintained involvement with proposal development all 16 years I have been involved with RD.Michael_Preuss_ Headshot (1)

At present, I am the Executive Director of an evaluation and research services unit. I provide external evaluation service for grant-funded projects, almost exclusively for Minority-Serving Institutions and on projects seeking to advance representation of females and minorities in STEM. To maintain a “case load” that will fund my position and entity, I continue to work in proposal development. I critique and even rewrite proposals for teams who are listing me as the proposed external evaluator. I also add the evaluation sections to these proposals. On my funded projects I offer advice about funders, can get involved in interactions with Program Officers, help teams form or expand collaborative networks, offer formative and summative assessment of processes, products, and outcomes, and suggest avenues to pursue in ancillary or future projects. I am also an active researcher. My research focuses on areas of change and need in higher education, again almost exclusively with or at MSIs.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization?

I have presented frequently at conferences, participated in the mentoring program, served as a conference volunteer, been a conference “buddy” for first time attendees, and been a NORD grant awardee. I also proposed a research project in 2016 that involved negotiation with the NORDP board to gain access to information and permission to contact the membership to complete a survey. Two peer-reviewed publications have resulted from that effort and we are conducting some follow-on activity now that should provide data for a third article.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

I have many current relationships that originated at NORDP conferences. They span the continent and extend to Europe and the UK. These relationships have helped me learn about patterns and ideas used in a variety of contexts, provided opportunities for personal and professional growth, and have, in several cases, grown into collaborations. The ability to approach people at all levels of RD and interact with them has been a consistent and positive experience for me at the NORDP conferences. I look forward to meeting many more members while serving on the board.

What are you most excited about as a board member?

Learning and personal growth through board responsibilities and interaction with all the incredible people NORDP can place in your path, finding ways to help NORDP members be as equipped and effective as possible, and helping the organization adapt as it grows and flexes with the changes in our professional and personal environments.

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.

A Message from NORDP’s President

Hello NORDP!

EckThank you for the opportunity to serve you this year as NORDP’s next President. NORDP is at a critical point in our evolution as an organization. Earlier this year, NORDP crossed a major threshold with 1,000 active members and rolled out our new three-year strategic plan, but had to cancel the much-anticipated Annual Conference because of COVID-19. At the same time, a national conversation about racism has sparked a wide range of emotions, dialogue, and opportunities for change across the country.

In my opening message to you, I wanted to reflect on these events and think about the future.

As our organization grows, I want to emphatically reiterate NORDP’s statement on inclusiveness that we formally adopted nearly three years ago:

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 is deeply committed to creating an inclusive environment, but in order to live an anti-racist life, we must act, so we are continually looking for more ways to demonstrate these values. In the past month, for example, we asked proposers responding to our event management RFP to describe their organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity and how it is embodied in their work with clients and within their organization so that we can ensure that our event planner shares our values. We actively sought bids from minority-owned event management companies. We also launched a series called Conversation Roadblocks: A Dialogue with NORDP’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence, which provides a forum for conversation about current events that provides a safe space for our members to share their feelings, connect with colleagues, and suggest actions that we can take together and at our home institutions. I encourage you to join upcoming discussions, which you can find on the NORDP events calendar.

Looking ahead, our strategic plan calls for the development of a robust action plan toward inclusive excellence throughout the organization. I look forward to sharing the working group’s recommendations for NORDP so that we can act together in the near future.

Speaking of the strategic plan, in September 2019, the Board of Directors used the feedback from the membership survey to develop our next three-year strategic plan, which we formally adopted and began sharing with members in early 2020. To keep you informed of our progress, we created a new strategic plan website where working groups will post updates throughout the year. You will also be able to see the membership of each working group. If you’d like to get involved in an ongoing or future working group, please contact the champion identified.

After canceling the 2020 Annual Conference, the Board of Directors and I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the value of NORDP membership beyond the Annual Conference. We remain committed and even more enthusiastic about several objectives in the strategic plan that will bring value to members even when we cannot convene in-person.

Building on our years of successful programming and in addition to the 2020 conference content that we are bringing to you virtually, we are creating more coordinated, professional development content and programs for RD folks at all levels:

  • This year we will launch NORDP LEAD, a leadership development program that leverages peer mentoring groups.
  • This year we will launch RD 101, a new signature training, for early career RD professionals and those hoping to enter the field.
  • The mentoring program continues to serve members and evolve with more peer mentoring groups forming.
  • We’ve re-designed the Leadership Forum that will be a part of the 2021 Annual Conference.

And there’s more on the horizon: We will be planning to develop year-round content that will benefits members at all stages of their careers and exploring the possibility of RD certification or credentialing for RD professionals.

Before I wrap up, I want to thank our outgoing Board of Directors, Kathryn Cataneo, Karen Fletcher, David Stone, Kari Whittenberger-Keith. Your service to this organization has helped us grow in so many ways. Let me say welcome to our incoming Board of Directors members, Eva Allen, Anne Maglia, Anne Pascucci, and Michael Preuss, with whom I look forward to working. The biggest T-H-A-N-K  Y-O-U goes out to our dozens and dozens of members who volunteers their time in big and small ways to help NORDP achieves its mission.

Lastly, I want to keep in touch. Starting next month, I will be hosting monthly drop-in office hours with other members of the Executive Committee on the first Monday of the month at 11am EST/EDT. Keep an eye on the NORDP events calendar for the zoom link so you can access these monthly office hours.

Throughout the year, please make use of the listserv to ask your colleagues about RD and subscribe to the NORDP Blog for relevant NORDP and RD news. If you have any questions or comments about NORDP and/or the Research Development field, just “Ask the President” by emailing president@nordp.org.

I look forward to working with all of you in the upcoming year!

Sincerely,

Kimberly Eck

Kimberly Eck, MPH, PhD
Assistant Vice Chancellor of Research Development
University of Tennessee, Office of Research & Engagement
Blount Hall, 1534 White Ave, Knoxville, TN 37996-1529

President 2020-2021
National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP)
http://www.nordp.org

 

Droegemeier Shares Insights and Tips for RD

141155_Drogemeier-in-articleDr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and former vice president for research at the University of Oklahoma (OU), who was scheduled to speak at the 2020 NORDP conference, instead joined more than 100 NORDP members via Zoom on July 9. NORDP president Kimberly Eck facilitated the Q&A session.

Droegemeier began by crediting Dr. Alicia Knoedler (NORDP president, 2013-14) for teaching him about the discipline of research development during their time together at OU, where she helped create a successful research development center. He says he continues to learn from her, and cited her strengths as a learner and a listener, a thought leader and partner making a difference.

He noted that he had previously presented to NORDP’s annual conference in 2014, and he has witnessed the rapid growth in the discipline, as evidenced by NORDP’s membership surpassing 1,000 members. While researchers don’t simply wake up knowing how to best pursue their research ideas, he says that RD professionals know how to present solid arguments, craft narratives, and contextualize scientific research. They can help researchers develop those necessary soft skills, he suggests.

When asked about his two terms serving on the National Science Board, which governs the National Science Foundation, Droegemeier encouraged RD professionals and the researchers they represent to discuss their ideas with NSF program officers, noting that these staff are extremely interested in new ideas and in helping researchers succeed. He advised individuals not to be reluctant to contact the NSF to explore new ideas and challenges.

Another tip he shared relates to the federal government’s budgeting process.  He explained that the process begins with the Office of Management and Budgeting (OMB) and OSTP publishing a joint research and development guidance memo for 26 research and development agencies. He expects that document for FY22 to be released soon, and suggested that the American Association for the Advancement of Science is a good source for information on this process. The guidance memo for FY21 can be found  here.

Droegemeier shared some of his thoughts on leadership, noting that RD professionals demonstrate leadership in their daily responsibilities, regardless of their title. He emphasized that leadership is more about what you do, such as empowering people, protecting people’s voice, providing resources and understanding the big picture.

His analogy likens RD work to planting a lawn – you plant the seeds, fertilize the ground, grow the grass, and then you mow. Without the grass, there’s nothing to mow.

Droegemeier concluded the Q&A session by encouraging RD professionals to stay positive. He described RD professionals as exceptional leaders, called to advance U.S. research. He encouraged everyone to look to the future and plan with positivity no matter what challenges they face. He called out NORDP members’ willingness to share knowledge, noting that research is not a zero-sum game. He encouraged NORDP members and researchers to contact him with ideas, noting that the only way to advance is to get ideas on the table.

Prior to conducting this Q&A session, Droegemeier recorded his plenary session, which is available to NORDP members here (members must log in).

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.

New Board Member Cameo: Eva Allen

Who: Eva Allen, Assistant Director, Environmental Resilience Institute
Where: Indiana University
Number of Years in RD: 18
Length of NORDP Membership: 10

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

I learned to write proposals to fund my graduate research in evolutionary biology, and after graduating, I shifted directly into a career at Indiana University in research development, initially as a one-person shop providing proposal support to my graduate department. When the VP for Research created a central team to support strategic proposals and faculty development, I joined the team as a research development specialist with a specialty in complex, team-based proposals. I eventually served as director of that team for a couple years, while also still working with teams developing proposals.Indiana University Office of the Vice Provost for Research 05.09

When one of those teams earned a 5-year internal “Grand Challenge” award, I accepted the position of assistant director for the initiative, which I still hold. Although less connected to proposal work in this role, I have had the privilege to experience the next phase of the grant process, helping a group of researchers implement their proposed plans to launch a “grand challenge” initiative, which has honed my skills as an administrator, and has given me valuable insight into the ways in which the articulation of a proposal’s project plan can impact post-award implementation. I have also been an active participant in the growing RD community of practice surrounding university-led Grand Challenges and other audacious research initiatives.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization?

When I joined IU’s campus-level proposal team in early 2012, I had colleagues for the first time, and one of the first things they taught me was about the existence of NORDP. I joined immediately, and have attended every national and Great Lakes regional conference since then, several times as a presenter or panelist.

I became involved with NORDP’s Professional Development Committee in 2014, and shifted to the Pre-conference Workshops Committee when that function was split off before the 2015 conference. I learned the ropes as co-chair under Kari Whittenberger-Keith for the 2017 conference, and chaired that committee for the 2018 and 2019 conferences. In that role I also served as liaison to the Conference Organizing Committee for the 2018 and 2019 conferences. This year, I joined the core team organizing the 2020 conference with co-chairs Jill Jividen and Jenna McGuire, for which I led the workshops working group and served as liaison with the evaluation working group before the pandemic canceled the conference.

I am honored to have been elected to NORDP’s Board of Directors, and look forward to serving the organization in this new way.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

I knew from my very first conference that I’d found “my people.” Through NORDP conferences and committee work I’ve met so many people I consider to be not just acquaintances, but true friends. We share information, offer advice, follow each other’s careers, and look forward to seeing each other. I’ve also developed fond relationships with a couple of the people I’ve met through NORDP’s mentoring program, and still check in with them long after our formal year together has ended.

What are you most excited about as a board member?

Most of the committee work I’ve done for NORDP has been seasonal, so I’m looking forward to working with NORDP colleagues on a year-round basis. It’s an exciting time to be joining the board, as the organization begins to implement our new strategic plan, and also as COVID-19 has so dramatically shifted people’s approach to in-person work, which I think offers interesting opportunities both for the practice of research development and for NORDP as a geographically-dispersed organization.

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.