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.
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 https://www.nordp.org/nordp-liaison.
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.