Mentor Training for Research Development Professionals – Registration Open for May/June 2021 Workshop Series

Are you a mentor? A mentee? Do you find yourself formally or informally mentoring staff or faculty? Are you ready to explore mentoring competencies that can be utilized across the work of research development (RD)? This interactive webinar series covers the 9-module Entering Mentoring curriculum, initially developed for mentoring researchers and tailored for RD professionals. A recent webinar series attendee commented: “EXCELLENT training! The ideas presented are very applicable both to mentoring both within the research development profession and elsewhere in the research enterprise – the things I have learned and practiced in this course are incredibly valuable to me as I provide mentoring to faculty, particularly early stage investigators and junior faculty, in the area of grantsmanship.”

Using evidence-based strategies, participants will build upon competencies crucial to the success of the mentoring relationship and expand mentor training across the research enterprise. Participants who complete the entire curriculum will receive a certificate of completion. The curriculum results from an association between the NORDP Mentoring Committee and the University of Wisconsin Center for Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) in collaboration with the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), organizations involved in developing and validating the original curriculum. RD professionals at all levels of mentoring will explore how mentoring (shown to improve career outcomes, impact employee engagement and retention, and lead to more inclusive work environments) can benefit mentors and mentees in RD.

This webinar series will be presented and facilitated by the NORDP Mentoring Committee. There are four certified CIMER Trained Facilitators, and two Trained Facilitators on the Mentoring Committee.

Webinar Schedule: Two sessions are scheduled each week: Interactive Workshop Sessions will be held on 5 Wednesdays (May 26 – June 23, 2021; 2 – 4 pm (2-hours) EST/11 am – 1 pm PST) with an application and reflection session on Fridays (May 28 – June 25, 2021; 2 – 3 pm (1-hour) EST/11 am – Noon PST).

Register TODAY for the webinar series (30 participant limit):

If this series doesn’t fit in your schedule, share your scheduling preferences to help us plan for future Mentor Training by completing a survey of your preferences.    

Questions?  Contact us at

Member Services Committee offers on-demand support, flexible networking for virtual conference-goers at NORDP 2021

Submitted by Sarah Messbauer, Member Services Committee

It’s no secret that virtual conferences present a unique set of opportunities and challenges. This year, for example, NORDP is reducing the stress we’ve all felt when choosing between concurrent sessions by offering more pre-recorded content and extended pre-and post-conference sessions. At the same time, the global connection of our virtual formats does have the potential to make us feel disconnected from peers and colleagues—unless we take active steps to forge those connections ourselves. 

It is for these reasons that the volunteers of NORDP’s Member Services Committee are “booting up” a suite of information, resources, and services to ensure all NORDP 2021 attendees can maximize their conference experience.   

Orientation for New Members/New Attendees – A guide to all things NORDP 2021

If you are new to NORDP, new to conferencing, or just want some insights on how best to navigate this year’s program, be sure to register for this conference overview event scheduled for Thursday, 29 April 2021 from 12:00-1:00pm EDT. The discussion will begin with a brief overview of NORDP’s goals and how it is structured to best serve you before segueing into advice from the conference organizers on how to navigate the conference platform and program, insights on networking opportunities, and tips on avoiding conference burnout. 

There will be plenty of time left for Q&A, so come with questions!

“Ask Me!” – NORDP’s annual conference ambassadors program goes virtual 

Conference Ambassadors are this year’s corp of volunteers ready to answer any questions you may have at any time: about the conference, our organization, or our profession. They are active NORDP members who have attended at least one prior conference (potential Ambassadors – sign up here!). You can spot them by their virtual “Ambassador” name tags… and a few may even sport the phrase “Ask Me!” in front of their names throughout conference! 

Let’s all go to the Lobby… and have ourselves a Chat!

Looking for a break from sitting in on sessions? Interested in connecting with your Research Development peers? If a mid-conference connection is in the cards, come by the conference platform’s virtual lobby and enter the Lobby Chat! This feature will be open for informal networking several hours each day, with MSC volunteers on-hand to answer questions and generate conversation. 

The Lobby Chat will be open on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the conference, from 10:00-11:00am; 1:30-2:30pm; and 5:00-6:00pm each day. 

The happiest place(s) on earth: MSC Happy Hours!

The Member Services Committee is hosting two concurrent happy hours at this year’s conference, both of which will take place on Wednesday, 5 May 2021 from 7:00-8:00pm (EDT).

In our first room, we’ll be chatting about the most useful activities, services, or resources you’ve come across as an RD professional—at your organization or elsewhere. If you’re curious to know what people are doing or seeing (and are willing to share, yourself), this is the place for the curious and creative. 

In our second room, we’re inviting all parents and caretakers to come and talk about Research Development: caretaking at home (and work?!). This will be a family-friendly happy hour, so kids, spouses, parents, and others are welcome to stop by, hang out, and join the conversation.

Networking Dinners – or breakfasts, or lunches, or….

Do you prefer a smaller, more intimate setting for getting to know your peers and colleagues? If so, Thursday, May 6th’s “Networking Dinners”—a longstanding NORDP conference tradition—are just the thing. These fun and informal zoom “dinners” are 1-hour sessions that provide a small group setting to meet and engage with other conference attendees around a topic selected by your host. Topics from past years have included: 

  • “Advancing Diversity in the RD Profession,” 
  • “Limited Submissions: Working With Leadership,” 
  • “Government Relations for Arts and Humanities” 
  • “RD Office Workflow Management”
  • “Graphic Design Tools of the Trade” 
  • “First-Time Conference Attendees” 
  • “Supporting Mid-Career Researchers”
  • “Transitioning to Supervising”

This year, hosts select the time of the meeting and provide their own Zoom link; this will provide those joining in from diverse time zones with more options to engage with your peers…. whether you’d like to share a meal, a cup of tea, or just some good conversation! Dinner? Sure! But “Networking Brunch” sounds pretty great too.

If you’d like to host a ‘dinner,’ please sign up here by Wednesday, 28 April 2021.  

If you’d like to attend a ‘dinner,’ please stay tuned! We’ll share the invitation to RSVP once host sign-ups are complete. 

Wow! With so many resources, activities, and support available, we hope to knock those virtual conferencing challenges right off your radar. If you are new to NORDP or have questions about the conference, attend the pre-conference Orientation or reach out to a NORDP Ambassador. They are your friendly faces and first friends of NORDP 2021, and along with other conference resources such as the daily Lobby Chats, concurrent Happy Hours, and final day “Networking Dinners,” are provided by the Member Services Committee to ensure all our Research Development colleagues have access to the information and services they need to make this year’s conference our best one yet! 

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 updates.

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 2021 Plenary: Mark Bayer

Mark Bayer, former Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives during a 20-year career working in Congress, will join NORDP 2021 for an afternoon plenary on Monday, May 3. This plenary is presented by Elsevier.

For more than 200 years, evidence-based public policies, rooted in facts and sound science, have been a cornerstone of our democracy. Consequently, the marginalization of scientific expertise ultimately affects policymaking; it warps our laws and regulations, enables harmful activities dangerous to public health and well-being, and erodes confidence in our systems of government. The impacts extend to society from there.

How can Research Development professionals push back against the ongoing assault on science? According to Bayer there are ways to change minds when alternative “facts” and misinformation take root in our organizations.

Join Mark Bayer and leave armed to lay a foundation for cooperation; how to detect alternative facts and artfully dispel them; how to use the power of “gilt by association” to defuse difficult situations; and how to use Emotional Intelligence tools to reduce friction, align interests and increase effectiveness. Please see a brief video from Mark below. To send an anonymous response to his video message, visit this link:

Mark designs and delivers interactive, true-to-life training that gives scientists and engineers proven, powerful tools for effectively navigating the policy environment in Washington, DC. Mark teaches scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs the same methodology he used in Congress to rapidly distill complex policies, craft strategies to advance high-profile initiatives, and concisely explain them to Members of Congress and journalists from leading media outlets, including The New York TimesThe Washington PostUSA TodayThe Boston Globe, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, AP, and many others.

Mark has been touted in Politico for his “decades of superlative experience” serving as a Congressional staff member. His work on how to combat alternative facts has appeared in Science and The New Yorker. Mark has been featured in IEEE-USA’s “Lessons on Leadership” column, and he serves as a guest lecturer in the Science Policy Bootcamp course at Cornell University’s Meining School of Engineering. 

Host of the weekly podcast When Science Speaks, Mark explores communications, science policy, and career issues affecting grad students, PhDs, and Postdocs in engineering and the natural and social sciences. Mark is a magna cum laude graduate of Cornell University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his Master in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 updates.

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 2021 Plenary: Robert M. Sellers

Robert M. Sellers, Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Michigan, will deliver a plenary presentation to NORDP discussing how Research Development professionals are uniquely situated to help dismantle racism in academia. 

The title of his talk, to be delivered from 11 a.m. – Noon EDT on Wednesday, May 5, is “How Research Development Professionals Can Be Change Agents for Promoting Anti-Racism within the Academy.”

Research Development staff serve as a bridge and key connection in the production of scholarly work at their institutions. Dr. Sellers’ presentation will look at how they can incorporate anti-racist strategies and help faculty, students and colleagues overcome racism that they encounter in their work or studies. He will share his experiences from his thirty plus years in higher education as a faculty member, department chair, and Chief Diversity Officer at Research 1 institutions to help demonstrate how Research Development professionals can be advocates in the academy and beyond.

Dr. Sellers also serves as the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Professor of Education. His primary research has focused on the role of race in the psychological lives of African Americans, and he has developed a conceptual and empirical model of African American racial identity that is used by other researchers. 

He has conducted research on the life experiences of student athletes and is a co-founder of the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context. The center serves a dual-purpose, conducting action-oriented research on the healthy development of African American youth, as well as a training ground for future researchers.

In his current role, Dr. Sellers is responsible for managing the University’s five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion and serves as a principal adviser to the President.

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 updates.

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.

Investing in You: Exciting News from the Mentoring Committee

As NORDP has grown, so has the NORDP Mentoring Program. The NORDP Board of Directors has invested in a mentoring software program designed to provide a more robust mentoring experience for NORDP members. A number of mentoring software companies were invited to provide demonstrations and respond to a request for proposals, and after careful vetting, Wisdom Share was selected as the vendor. With the software, positive changes are coming to the NORDP Mentoring Program. Here are some of the highlights:

  • To align with the NORDP Program Year, the official start for the mentoring program is July 1
  • Applications for the Mentoring Program will open in early May
  • As always, you can be both a mentor and a mentee
  • The software matches mentors and mentees using a proprietary, tested algorithm that has been adapted to support the unique skills and abilities of research development professionals
  • Matching will be completed by mid-June
  • Once matched, program participants will have access to tools to guide the mentoring relationship, including a dashboard to track progress, milestones to support the process, partner information at a glance, a resource library that provides content on mentoring best practices and ways to communicate securely over the platform

Participants in Peer Mentoring Groups will also benefit from the Wisdom Share infrastructure. There are resources, tools, and communication platforms for each group. And, the software has the capacity to support other NORDP programs and services that leverage members’ skills and knowledge.

During the coming weeks, there will be a Mentoring Town Hall, and additional blog posts with more detailed information. At the Conference, be sure to check out David Widmer’s overview of how mentor-mentee matches are made utilizing the software’s ability to assess some basic personality traits and preferences around communication, as well as the career-related demographic and experiential factors the Mentoring Committee has employed in prior years. This Lightning Talk will open our Mentoring Lightning Storm on Wednesday, May 5, 3:45 PM EST. Also, watch for software demos throughout May and early June; Mentoring Committee (MC) members will be available to help with the registration process, if needed.

This is an exciting next step for the NORDP Mentoring Program. MC member Jennifer Glass (Eastern Michigan University) summed it up nicely: This takes the Mentoring Program to the next level!

So, thank you to the NORDP Board of Directors, MC members, current and former mentors and mentees, and those of you who participate in Peer Mentoring Groups. Your commitment to mentoring has provided the motivation and justification for this organizational investment.

Consider this an invitation to start thinking about participating in or continuing your participation in the NORDP Mentoring Program…and stay tuned for more!

Leveraging the RD Toolbox to Support Inclusive Excellence

Contributed by Debra Karhson, Ph.D., Crystal M. Botham, Ph.D., Gretchen L. Kiser, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Seckel, M.A.

The 10 year anniversary of the report by Ginther et al. (2011) has re-ignited an important conversation on federal grant funding disparities and structural oppression within biomedical research. Recent updates to the report show only a marginal increase in funding rates for Black researchers (Erosheva et al., 2020). Importantly, response articles by Taffe and Gilpin (2021) and Stevens et al. (2021) highlight the calls to action by stakeholders to rectify this unjust federal funding infrastructure. While these articles single out federal funding institutions like the NIH, they also highlight the critical role for research development (RD) professionals in transforming the research workforce to be more just and equitable. Moreover, in light of the forthcoming funding initiatives by federal funding institutions to increase diversity in research (i.e., NIH UNITE initiatives), RD professionals have an instrumental role in ensuring these funds have the greatest impact on the communities that need them most.

To assist other RD professionals ideate actions at their own institutions and in line with the October 12th NORDP blog post on Conversation Roadblocks, we spent a session during the 2020 NORDP Pacific Regional Meeting keeping ourselves accountable to this work. In this dedicated session, we shared the individual practices and policies NORDP members have taken to advance justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at their institutions.

Below we categorized these crowd-sourced actions into one of the three following categories (Figure 1): allies, accomplices, and co-conspirators. These terms come from social justice epistemology and create a framework for examining where greater risk can be taken by those committed to increasing justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the workforce. Briefly, allies and allied actions are those which show an individual’s general support of social justice movements and initiatives. Actions of an accomplice are pro-active, de-center dominant narratives, and leverage our privileges in service of justice. Finally, co-conspiratorial actions are those that involve the greatest risks and are the most active of the three in disrupting systems of oppression.



  • Lead a Conversation Roadblocks or similar discussion
  • Join and be an active member of the NORDP Committee on Inclusive Excellence
  • Ask questions when something is inequitable. “If you see something, say something!” Advocacy is like a muscle that gets strengthened with each use
  • Serve on advisory committees, groups and task forces. Leverage your privilege as an RD professional to advocate for others in these spaces
  • Enhance equity, validity, and diversity in university hiring, using processes such as Oregon State University’s Search Advocate Program or Ohio State University’s strategic planning for a fair and equitable future
  • Attend training for RD professionals like the UCSB-based Center for Research, Excellence, Diversity in Team Science (CREDITS) to understand why and how to encourage greater team diversity
  • Bring in expert facilitators to give workshops on different DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging) topics such as how to build inclusive research teams, best practices for community engagement, etc.


  • Partner with campus offices and organizations that are involved in DEIB activities. For example, UCSF hosts a matchmaking event between interested research faculty and URM students/trainees/staff from other local universities and community colleges
  • Engage affinity groups such as Black and or/ LatinX postdoc and faculty associations to co-create resources based on their needs
  • Volunteer your grant writing expertise for a community non-profit serving BIPOC (black, Indigenous, and people of color) communities
  • Evaluate language and review criteria for internal grants to adopt an anti-racism praxis in peer review. University of Michigan launched a new resource for mitigating bias and improving practices in peer review, nominations processes, etc.
  • Convene and participate in anti-racism advocacy efforts on our campuses and beyond, applying RD skills like project management, writing, etc.
  • Develop guidebooks, workshops, and bootcamps for diversity-specific grant programs, such as Stanford’s Diversity Supplement website or Jump Start Awards
  • Develop and provide small seed funding opportunities to support research on structural racism or that promote diversity. Chapman University provides seed funding for research and creative activities that serve the needs of diverse communities. UCSF has introduced an intramural seed grant focused on anti-Black racism in health research.

We wish to thank all the participants in our 2020 Pacific Regional presentation, Leveraging the RD Toolbox to Support Institutional Diversity Efforts, for sharing the important work they are doing. The above list of actions is by no means exhaustive, instead we hope it sparks new ideas and implementation efforts. During the 13th Annual NORDP conference, we will continue this dialog and actively explore ways that we as RD professionals can support DEIB during the session titled Leveraging and Building the RD Toolbox to Support Institutional DEIB Goals. Please join us on May 4, 2021 at 12:15 pm. NORDP will also host another set of Conversation Roadblock discussions around the virtual conference as well, so get ready for this valuable conference add-on and join in on uncomfortable conversations! 

Figure 1. The Pyramid of accountability for Research Development Professionals (graphic inspired by @blessthemessy)

Strategic Alliances Committee Update: Volunteers Needed

One of the first committees to exist within NORDP, the Strategic Alliances Committee builds mutually beneficial relationships with other organizations to strengthen NORDP’s position in the global research enterprise and benefit NORDP members. To continue this work, the committee is actively recruiting volunteers in two areas:

1) Liaisons – The NORDP website describes this long-standing program that taps NORDP members to gather and share relevant and useful information as part of a broad and strategic outreach program. More than 20 NORDP members are currently engaged as liaisons, and more are needed to connect with various professional societies, federal agencies, and other organizations that are potential sources of collaboration and professional development for NORDP members. If you’re interested in serving as a liaison, please contact Karen Eck at

2) Communications – With dozens of liaisons gathering vital information, the committee is looking for members to help disseminate that information. This might include contacting liaisons and drafting blog posts, establishing a calendar of liaison partner events, or assisting with NORDP presentations made at liaison partner events. If you’re interested in helping with this, please contact Sharon Pound at

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.

Featured NORDP 2021 Session: “Mindfulness” with Dr. Kelcey Stratton

Dr. Kelcey Stratton will join NORDP members for a mindfulness session during the NORDP 2021 conference on Monday, May 3rd at 1:45pm EDT. Her session will focus on skills to mindfully pause, improve presence, and cultivate gratitude, compassion, and positive emotions. Participants will have a chance to practice evidence-based strategies to manage moments of stress and support their well-being.

Dr. Stratton is a clinical psychologist and the Program Manager for Resilience and Well-Being Services in the Michigan Medicine Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. In this role, she develops programs and strategies to enhance well-being for faculty and staff at Michigan Medicine. She has a particular interest in the areas of stress and resilience, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, and the use of narrative and reflective practices.

Prior to coming to University of Michigan, Dr. Stratton lived and worked in South Africa for several years, where she served as a mental health clinician and consultant to Peace Corps volunteers and medical providers in over 65 countries. She has also worked as a clinician and researcher in the VA health system, where she focused on post-traumatic stress concerns. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York City.

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 updates.

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.

Mentoring Reflections: Carolynn Julien & Faye Farmer

As we approach a new year in the NORDP Mentoring program, we thought it might be beneficial for NORDP members contemplating becoming first-time Mentees or Mentors to hear from current participants in the program. With that in mind, the NORDP Mentoring Committee is pleased to share the inaugural installment in a series of “Mentoring Reflections” from mentoring dyads enrolled in the 2020-2021 NORDP Mentoring Program. The first of these dyads comprise members of the Mentoring Committee who agreed to share their insights. Mentors and mentees got together to talk about their experiences in the program and jointly wrote up responses to questions that were put to them.

The first in the series of Mentoring Reflections is from Carolynn Julien, who is the Associate Director, Office of Research Administration at Hunter College in The City University of New York, and her mentee, Faye Farmer, who is the Executive Director in the Office of VP Research Development at Arizona State University.

  • What influenced you to apply to be a mentor and a mentee for the 2020-21 NORDP Mentoring Program?

We got to know each other in the exceptional mentor training program in 2020-2021. Interacting in the training program allowed us to gather some insights about our professions, talents, and abilities. During a breakout session, Faye heard Carolynn mention a project she was working on, and Faye wanted to start a similar project. Taking the initiative, Faye reached out to Carolynn to see if Carolynn could mentor her through the project and Carolynn willingly accepted. Being in the mentor training program allowed us to comprehend the possibilities of broadening our circle of mentors. Once the project is successfully completed, we will further share our experiences about the project and the process.

  • What was your favorite part about your relationship?

We were both working on similar projects and used the mentoring relationship as a resource. We provide positive reinforcements and maintain regular check-ins that are easy and pressure free. What we learned during this relationship is that we are kindred spirits, and this also provided an opportunity for Carolynn to make a connection with NORDP and be of service to the organization.

  • What surprised you about being a mentor or a mentee?

The powerful personal connections were a surprise. We both have served as mentors and have been mentees and know that this is not always the outcome. We know that this mentoring relationship will continue to be an ongoing relationship after the 2020-2021 mentoring program ends.

  • How has participation in the Mentoring Program helped broaden your horizons about Research Development in general and/or affected your daily work in particular?

This program has taught us that it is crucial to recognize the qualities of people you need to enhance your journey as a RD professional. Our mentoring relationship has added depth to our lives by realizing the power of the RD network. The simple ask to be a mentor is an example of the power of the NORDP network.

  • Any words of wisdom or encouragement for those wanting to apply next year? Any other thoughts you would like to share?

Please take the leap to be a mentor or mentee; the rewards in serving as either are abundant. Our second piece of advice is to be open to the full potential of the mentoring relationship and to be receptive to all of the possibilities.

If you would like to share your experiences as a mentoring dyad, please contact

Applications for the NORDP Mentoring Program for the 2021-22 year will be opening soon. Watch this space for more information in the coming weeks!

Written by Samarpita Sengupta and C. Scott Balderson