Thank 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to working with all of you in the upcoming year!
—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)