August 2020 Summary Board Memo

The Board of Directors held their August Board meeting this week. Below are a few highlights from the past month and upcoming events:

This month we launch RD101. Registration was filled within the first 20 minutes! We are working through this pilot and creating a sustainable plan to offer this program regularly. Thank you to everyone who has worked on this program!

We’ve wanted to find more ways to recognize our members, so we have created several new awards. You’ll hear more about this soon. Please be on the lookout for the call for nominations to honor exceptional members and programs.

We will continue to bring you our conference content virtually during Sept and Oct. We have had great turn out for these events! Huge thank you to all of the presenters and virtual conference organizers! Check out the NORDP calendar to register for all upcoming events.

Many of our regions are hosting regional events of all sizes from discussion groups to happy hours to conferences. If you’d like to know what your region to planning, reach out to the contact listed on the NORDP Regions webpage and subscribe to your region’s listserv.

A reminder that I, along with other NORDP Officers, am hosting a drop-in office hour once a month. These are typically the first Monday at 11am (eastern) however, September’s drop-in time has shifted due to the Labor Day holiday. You’re welcome to join me on Tuesday, September 8 at 11am (eastern).


Kimberly Eck

Kimberly Eck, MPH, PhD
Associate Vice President for Research
Emory University

President 2020-2021
National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP)

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.

PEERD Review Reflection: Arizona State University

Arizona State University (ASU) hosted the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) peer review team in January 2020. As a previous PEERD reviewer, I deeply understood the power of the process and was excited to bring it to my campus.

Why become a reviewer?

When I applied to become a PEERD reviewer, my sole objective was to increase my exposure to other Research Development offices across the country. I wanted to learn what was out there. I was conscious that I had grown my office in the ways that worked best for my institution’s culture, the reach of our research enterprise, the motivation of my leadership, and the priorities we knew we could deliver on. I wondered; would my experience be transferable to a research development function at another institution?

Serving as a reviewer and a reviewee has led to a much deeper understanding of what research development is and could be. Critically listening to my colleagues at other institutions facilitated an introspection on improving my own office.

Why host a PEERD review?

20200116_111944 - Faye Farmer
ASU President Michael M. Crow and the PEERD Review Team

In my role as institutional contact, I was responsible for connecting the PEERD reviewers with an adequate number of voices and experiences, inclusive of the many different perspectives of research at the university. To do this within the duration was challenging. The reviewers were to spend three full days in one room as individuals and teams paraded in and out. Then, I had to take that list and someone had to schedule them! I was extremely lucky to have that completed by our RD event manager, Laura “L.J.” Hernandez. I had to be sure to brief all the invitees. This ensured that interviewees knew the overall context of the visit and what was expected of them. Once we had an agenda, I met with the review team and they aptly pointed out that I had missed general faculty members. Yes, my professional focus is also my blind spot! I quickly assembled a diverse group of faculty with research experience; those I knew and didn’t know and invited them to a discussion with the reviewers.

As I was setting up the review, I took the opportunity to explain NORDP to those I was inviting to participate. While ASU has several members of NORDP, it is a very large enterprise. I found joy in describing a professional organization filled to the brim with individuals devoted to research success. This also laid the groundwork for understanding the importance of the report I would eventually distribute.

What is PEERD’s impact?

I briefed the PEERD report to our Associate Deans of Research. As they participated in the interviews, it gave them an opportunity to see how an external group viewed their work. I prepared summary slides for the verbal review. These slides were helpful in future conversations because I had distilled the recommendations essentially to infographics. In fact, these slides continue to be used as reference for other projects.

The report has been requested again and again over the past several months, but initial conversations indicate that the report impacted schools and units via the Associate Deans of Research.

The PEERD reviewers told us that our research portfolio could be featured more prominently. That resulted in us redesigning our website. Now, faculty and external partners can more easily view and navigate our research projects. We’re proud of our faculty research and we needed the push to think about how we featured the unique nature of our work.”

— Sandy Stauffer, Senior Associate Dean of Research and Theo Eckhardt, Assistant Director Research Advancement, Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, Arizona State University.

Requesting a PEERD review

Institutions need to feel confident that the substantial investment in a review will be worthwhile. This is difficult to quantify because each institution will have very different goals for the review. In my case, Dr. Panchanathan (“Dr. Panch”), ASU’s Executive Vice President of Research, was nominated and then confirmed as the director of the National Science Foundation in the first six months of 2020. As an office that was generously supported by him over the past decade, I wanted confirmation that my office was having the reach I expected. I also hoped that the reviewers could provide creative ways forward for increasing our impact. PEERD allows us to think critically about how Research Development is continuously evolving on campus at the college, unit, and department level. Finally, I sought an internal benchmarking and set of recommendations that could serve as a roadmap as ASU’s research strategy at the university and college level was moving forward.

In a time of budget constraints, it may be difficult to find the time and funding to invest in a review or becoming a reviewer. Maybe it is easier to reframe this into a professional development opportunity (for both you and your institution). Similar to webinars and other continuing education opportunities that increase our experience and understanding of a topic, sponsoring a PEERD review or becoming a reviewer can bring value to an individual, an office, and an organization. Research isn’t going away. Research development isn’t going away. Now is your chance to be prepared to launch a new “you,” more powerful and with more impact than before.

PEERD Expert Application Forms, along with a C.V./resume, are due to by August 31, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EST. Applicants must strictly adhere to all word limits. The PEERD review committee decisions will be made by mid-September 2020. Any inquiries should be directed to




Encouraging and Supporting Multidisciplinary Team Science and Collaborative Proposals

Last month, nearly 200 people joined NORDP for “Encouraging and Supporting Multidisciplinary Team Science and Collaborative Proposals.” This Friday, August 21 at 2 pm EDT, the presenters will return to continue the discussion and answer your questions. Don’t miss this special opportunity to dig further into this timely topic with Sarah Ott, Hanover Research; Sandra Holden, Stanford University School of Medicine; and Babette Heyer, Stanford Cancer Institute.

To register for Friday’s session, please click here.

Did you miss the original session? The recording and slides are still available in NORDP’s learning management system. Just search for the first session held July 20.

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.

RD101: Introduction to Research Development

Virtual pilot short course for early career RD professionals

September 21-October 23, 2020 • Seats limited!


What is research development (RD)? How is it done? Even professionals who have worked extensively with funded research and researchers throughout their careers may feel like they only understand their specific jobs and responsibilities. Because RD roles in organizations and institutions vary (and units are often siloed), it can be hard to get a full picture of RD as a field and how it fits into the research enterprise. RD101 will help you understand the field, expand your existing skill set, and explore new ways to support research at your institution.

NORDP is offering a pilot virtual short course, RD 101, which provides an introduction to the field of RD. This 10-hour course (not including readings and other coursework) presents a framework for understanding who RD professionals are, the skills that make them effective in their roles, the hows and whys of what they do, and the resources they rely on.

There are no prerequisites for RD 101; it is intended for new RD professionals (those with fewer than two years of experience in RD) or those considering becoming RD professionals. The developers and instructors are all experienced RD professionals from a range of institutions (e.g., centralized and decentralized, R1s, PUIs) and have designed the course around the skills and information they wish they’d had when they first entered the profession.

Course topics include:

  • What is RD? Who is the RD Professional?
  • Components and Elements of the RD Process—Institutional and Professional Cultures and How They Affect the Work of RD
  • RFPs and Proposals: Requirements and Constraints
  • Helping Researchers Produce Effective Proposals

In addition to weekly meetings, participant will have weekly activities that will help them contextualize themselves and their position within the RD profession as well as begin to develop a personal career development plan that they can use as they progress in the field.

General sessions: Mondays from 2-3:30 pm ET—9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19

Breakout sessions (participants will attend one day each week; you are not required to stick to a specific day):

  • Thursdays from 1-2 pm ET (9/24, 10/1, 10/8, 10/15, 10/22) OR
  • Fridays from 1-2 pm ET (9/25, 10/2, 10/9, 10/16, 10/23)

There is no charge for this pilot workshop, but registrants must be NORDP members. Registration is limited to 30 participants. Registration closes September 19.

For questions or more information, please contact Kari Whittenberger-Keith ( Registration link HERE.


Paige Belisle, Harvard University

While pursuing a MFA in Writing at the University of New Hampshire, Paige Belisle discovered her career path by serving as a graduate student intern in UNH’s Research Development Office. Through NORDP, she met the members of Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Research Development Office and joined their team in 2016. She serves faculty members by identifying funding opportunities and providing proposal development support. Her current specialty is in providing Research Development outreach to new faculty members in the arts and humanities, as well as assembling monthly funding opportunities newsletters.

Katie Howard, Appalachian State University

Katie Howard is the Associate Director for Grants Resources and Services at Appalachian State University. She holds an M.A. and M.L.S. from Appalachian State. She has been a NORDP member since 2017 and serves on the Mentoring Committee and the Professional Development Committee. In the Office of Research at Appalachian, she administers limited submission competitions, internal competitions, and the internal peer review process. She is also charged with developing the international research process and opportunities for the Office of Research.

Kari Whittenberger-Keith, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Kari Whittenberger-Keith founded Research Development Services at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and was a NORDP board member from 2016-2020. She has worked as a faculty member at several institutions and in research development at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Oregon as well as UWM. A PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, she has taught public speaking, effective communication practices and training and development in both academic and professional settings for over 35 (yikes!) years.

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 Liaison Report: Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS)

Kim Patten

With a holistic view of the research life cycle and an emphasis on societal impacts of research, Kim Patten, director of Research Development Services, leads a team of RD professionals at the University of Arizona (UArizona). She also serves as a NORDP Strategic Alliances Liaison to ARIS, an organization formerly known as the National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI).

Patten, who joined NORDP in 2014, became a NORDP liaison to ARIS in late 2019. She hoped to attend their national conference in 2019 as it was located in Tucson, AZ (home to UArizona). However, the ARIS conference was scheduled at the same time of the NORDP conference, so she had to miss it but was able to send members of the UArizona RD team. In this time of COVID-19, her liaison work so far has been simple but informative conversations via phone or Zoom.

Jennifer Fields

She admits some of this has been a bit self-serving, helping support the launch of a new Office of Societal Impacts at UArizona.  In Nov. 2019, RD professional Jen Fields transitioned from the Research Development unit to director of the Office of Societal Impacts. Fields was able to present at the 2020 ARIS virtual conference and currently sits on the ARIS Leadership Council. Patten and Fields’ units continue collaborating together in support of high-quality proposals demonstrating a synergy between support units.

“The societal impact of research has been one of our university’s priorities for a while,” Patten says, noting that she serves a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), which is defined by federal law.  For example, UArizona maintains both a Hispanic Serving Initiatives Office and a Native Peoples Technical Assistance Office, which serves individuals from 22 sovereign federally designated tribal nations as well as the individuals wishing to conduct research in collaboration with the nations.

“In the future, I look forward to deeper engagement with our ARIS colleagues, seeking opportunities to co-present and inform best practices,” Patten says. In fact, ARIS will be presenting a 90-minute session titled, “Incorporating Societal Impacts into Proposal Development” on Monday, September 14, 2020 at 2pm EDT as part of the Virtual NORDP 2020.

Her passion for societal impact has been nurtured throughout her career.  She was previously associate director of the Arizona Geological Survey, where she managed a DOE Center and was CoPI on an NSF community engagement project. She began her career at a science-based non-profit and has a master’s degree in environmental planning and resource management.

In addition to serving the Strategic Alliances Committee as a liaison, Patten is chair of the nominating committee, having served on that committee for four years. She also has participated as both mentor and mentee, and is a member of the Leadership and Career & Professional Development Peer Mentoring Group.

Patten encourages NORDP members to consider becoming a liaison to a group important to them. “Be passionate about the organization you want to liaise with.  In addition to building new relationships with the partner organization, this is an excellent opportunity for you to get more familiar with NORDP,” she says.

For more information about the NORDP Strategic Alliances Liaison Program, visit the committee page

Compiled by Sharon Pound, Strategic Alliances 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.

Rising Star Award Cameo: Vanity Campbell

Who: Vanity Campbell, Coordinator for Proposal Development Services, Office of Contracts and Grants
Where: University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources
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?

One of the things that I love about NORDP is that there are so many incredible ways to serve. I would recommend getting involved with committee service as well as engagement with your region. You can look for ways to initiate regional activities by working through the Member Services Committee (MSC) and Regional Representatives IMG_9376on the MSC. Participating in the Mentoring Program is another excellent way to get involved. It offers the chance to connect with individuals as part of group or one-on-one and can lead to working on committees across NORDP.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

Prior to my current position I did not have much experience with RD event planning. I worked on the Committee on Inclusive Excellence for the NORDP conference in 2019. I helped recruit Jacqueline Cranford as the diversity keynote, worked to secure the speaking agreement, coordinated logistics, and offered guidance on what we were looking for in a message/presentation. I had never been exposed to this type of work before and this effort was a great benefit to me professionally. I was able to turn that experience into a Grant Essentials Summit this year where I was involved in overall messaging and securing California state agencies to participate as guest speakers.

I also built on that experience during my work on the Pacific Region’s first meeting. In collaboration with an amazing planning committee, I was involved with developing the agenda, and promoting the event which wound up exceeding our expectations.

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

My first job in RD was at the University of California, Merced where I transitioned from a job in clinical research. My boss at the time, Susan Carter, made NORDP a part of the on boarding process for new staff members. Joining the organization really helped when I was starting my career in RD and it was wonderful to have NORDP at that point.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

My primary involvement has been with the Member Services Committee and it has been an incredible opportunity to work with those leading these initiatives. I have truly enjoyed working along with the other committee members to carry out work. It has been nice to see how the core and sub committees have worked together. I have also been involved with MSI initiatives throughout my time on the MSC. Serving as regional representative for the Pacific region allowed me to connect with folks across the region through welcome emails, conference communications and events. These efforts have helped strengthen my connection throughout the UC system that existed in my prior positions as well.

I have also been involved with the Mentoring Program where I established a strong one on one connection with my mentor, Kathy Partlow, and I also served as mentor for a number of other members.

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.

Reminder: Call for PEERD Expert Applications Open until August 31, 2020


NORDP’s Program for External Evaluation of Research Development (PEERD) is excited to announce a call for PEERD experts. NORDP PEERD experts will serve a three-year term, beginning October 1, 2020 and ending on September 30, 2023. NORDP PEERD experts will be called on to provide the following services:

Job Function Details Expert’s Payment
PEERD Review Conduct an onsite review of an institution’s research development office and/or programming. Provide a PEERD report with recommendations for the institution. $4,200 per expert + travel
PEERD Presentation Provide a 1- or 2-hour presentation on a research development topic requested by the institution. Also offered virtually. 1hr = $300 + travel

2hr = $600 + travel

PEERD Workshop Conduct an onsite (4hr) workshop on research development (including its overlapping mission but distinct activities from research administration). Small groups will work through various RD scenarios, including but not limited to the following: proposal development, strategic research advancement, enhancement of collaboration and team science, research communication and knowledge mobilization, among others. $1,200 + travel
PEERD Virtual Consultation Provide a PEERD virtual consultation packet, including an institutional survey for institutions to administer on their campus. Analyze survey results and provide a virtual consultation, including a report on next steps for the institution. $2,400
PEERD Competitive Analysis Work with the institution to identify peers and aspirational peers, a goal/focus for the analysis, and interview questions. Conduct data analysis and provide results, along with recommendations to institution. $3,600
PEERD Informational Briefs Working in teams, develop informational briefs on topics of importance to the NORDP membership (as identified in the member needs survey). No remuneration; part of expert responsibilities
PEERD Resources Develop the PEERD consultation packet, as well as other resources beneficial to PEERD experts. No remuneration; part of expert responsibilities

PEERD Expert Application Forms, along with a C.V./resume, are due to by August 31, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EST. Applicants must strictly adhere to all word limits. The PEERD review committee decisions will be made by mid-September 2020. Any inquiries should be directed to

NORDP Postdoc Cameo: Alexis Nagel

Who: Alexis Nagel, PhD, Research Instructor, MUSC College of Nursing
Where: Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Number of Years in RD: 4 (Officially)
Length of NORDP Membership: 3

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

I transitioned from the bench to RD in 2016. Towards the end of my postdoc tenure I knew that I no longer wanted to pursue a traditional academic career; around the same time, I started working with a senior faculty member who neededNagel,Alexis-AcademicAffairsa great deal of help preparing and submitting federal grants. It was then that I discovered untapped skills in grant writing as well as an affinity for this type of work. A position opened up at my institution’s central RD office about a year later and I was able to land the role based upon that experience. There, I worked primarily on large, infrastructure/capacity-building grants and led grant writing training workshops for early career faculty. I recently transitioned to a new role within the MUSC College of Nursing to help expand overall research funding for that college. I am now providing more one-on-one support to faculty with grant writing and strategy development, which I really enjoy.

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

I joined NORDP in 2017 and have attended two annual meetings. In 2019, I started volunteering for the N-ROAD working group that is building a set of adaptable RD training resources to help research offices implement their own onboarding programs. I also participated in the National Postdoc Association (NPA) annual meeting along with Samar Sengupta, the official NPA liaison. As NORDP representatives, we helped answer questions about the RD career path and promoted NORDP resources available to postdocs. This year I am participating in the NORDP Mentoring Program for the first time, as both a mentor and mentee.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

I have met so many wonderful individuals through NORDP! The organization has really facilitated my ability to connect professionally with others in the field, particularly those who share my passion for building bridges to alternative career paths for scientists. It truly feels like a community.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

The networking and professional education opportunities offered through NORDP have been quite valuable. Learning about different institutional environments, funding priorities, and career options in RD has helped me better assess my own professional goals.

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

The trainee membership option, which offers a reduced annual rate compared to the full membership fee, is a great way for postdocs to try out NORDP resources. I know several NORDP members who worked quite hard to get this option rolled out, and I would really encourage postdocs to take advantage of it!

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

For postdocs who aren’t yet members of NORDP, I suggest tuning in to the NPA’s My Postdoc Monthly webinar on August 5, 2020 to find out more about RD. This will be presented by me, Samar Sengupta, PhD (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center), and Kristen Scott, PhD (Moffitt Cancer Center):

Next, talk to someone who works in RD to get a sense of the field and determine what transferrable skills you might possess. Consider reaching out to NORDP members at your institution or find us on social media (LinkedIn:, or follow: @NORDP_official, @AnonDumboOctopi, and others) to connect, set up informational interviews, and build your networks. As I mentioned above, consider signing up for a NORDP trainee membership to gain additional exposure and access to job boards, numerous career resources, mentorship opportunities, and a lot of great people who want to help!

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.