Pacific Region Conference Roundup: Research Development During the Pandemic: Research Developers are Resilient

Submitted by NORDP Pacific Co-Representative, Eric Wayne Dickey, Western Oregon University

NORDP’s Pacific Region represents the states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, and NORDP’s global reach to members in British Columbia, Eastern Russia, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries east of China. Following the successful in-person, 2019 regional meeting at UC Davis, the Pacific region’s co-representatives (Barbara Sasso and Eric Wayne Dickey) wanted to continue to provide members opportunities to grow their networks and expand their knowledge base. But doing so during a pandemic seemed a monumental task.

First things first, we recruited an all-star, all-volunteer conference planning committee: Susan Emerson, Leah Gorman, Michael Helms, and Katie Lindl all stepped forward to answer the call. After some soul-searching, we decided to confront the pandemic head on by asking ourselves, “how can we continue to do the work we do?” At the time of this early planning stage, ominous clouds of ashes loomed over much of the west coast, adding to anxiety of the pandemic. Research Developers have to be resilient in times of stress, so we decided that responding to the pandemic would be the theme of our conference.

Sunrise through clouds of ash, 9/28/2020 photo by Eric Wayne Dickey

Once the theme was picked and a timeline was established, we put out the call for abstracts, and we were off and running!

The three-day virtual conference included morning and afternoon sessions. A featured session started each morning of the conference and included Russell Wyland from NEH, Mike Lauer from NIH, and a panel of Government Relations personnel.

Another highlight was the Conversation Roadblocks workshop led by the NORDP Committee on Inclusive Excellence. The three-day regional meeting also featured a variety of NORDP member-initiated presentations and lightning talks that explored how Research Development professionals manage their work remotely and during times of crises. The sessions provided helpful tips and demonstrated the resiliency of RD professionals.

Word cloud generated using words from the abstracts

The final Happy Hour session explored some ideas for future Pacific Region conferences, such as providing sessions on building relationships via networking and mentoring, facilitating multi-institutional collaborations, and growing the RD profession by encouraging graduate students to participate in NORDP. Overall, the Pacific Regional meeting was favorably received by attendees, and it provided a road map for future events.

If you are interested in planning future events for the Pacific Region, feel free to reach out to Barbara or Eric.

The session materials are available on the NORDP site:

Last but not least, the conference planning committee wants to acknowledge the important support provided by Laura Nakoneczny and Arielle Stout of First Point Resource Management. Their expertise in planning such events was invaluable. We could not have done it without them.

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