Celebrating Mentoring Days Recap

This year’s Mentoring Program kicked off with an exciting two-day Celebrating Mentoring Days in June with more than 100 registrants! The event featured an inspirational presentation from our keynote speaker Dr. Kelly Diggs-Andrews on the science behind effective mentoring, and a special panel discussion on mentoring across differences – we would like to express a sincere ‘thank you’ to our guest panelists, Angela Clear, A.L. Carter, and Sarah Messbauer for sharing their experiences, perspectives and insight.

The event also brought a closure to the 2020-21 mentor-mentee cohort on a positive note through McHuddles for mentors and mentees, and it also launched the orientation activities for the 2021-22 Mentoring Program. A record-breaking 107 mentor-mentee pairs are participating in this year’s program. 

Other program highlights included demonstration of the newly adopted Wisdom Share software (many thanks to the NORDP Board of Director for their support!), a quick reboot of the On-board Packet tools, and a refresher on the Peer Mentoring Groups focusing on an array of research development topics, from Career & Professional Development, Leadership & Management to Proposal Development and more. 

It takes a village to organize and run the Celebrating Mentoring Days! We want to give a big shout-out to the MC organizers and the more than 30 MC member volunteers who made this year’s inaugural event a huge success! 

Having fun is better shared with others even in zoom!

Hats Off to 2021 NORDP Mentor Training Workshop Graduates!

The NORDP Mentoring Committee’s Mentor Training Team held a mentor training workshop in May-June 2021. Twelve NORDP members from 10 states participated in the 5-week workshop, covering the 9-module Entering Mentoring curriculum initially developed for research mentors and tailored by the NORDP Mentoring Committee for RD professionals. Developed in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Center for Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER), RD professionals explored key mentoring competencies that can benefit RD mentors and mentees that have been associated with improved career outcomes, employee engagement and retention, and more inclusive work environments. The workshop was facilitated by NORDP members Jan Abramson, Toni Blair, Kristin Boman, Paula Carney, Tabitha Finch, Rachel Goff-Albritton, Kathy Partlow, Erica Severan-Webb, and Samarpita Sengupta. All participants and facilitators are invited to participate in other Mentoring Committee activities. The next Mentor Training Workshop is being planned and will be announced soon. If you would like to be contacted when the next workshop series is scheduled, please complete this form.

Kate AlfieriBrooke Gowl
Colleen BivonaWendi Jensen
Emily DevereuxMelissa Li
Susan ElkinsSarah Robertson
Christina ErlienJaime Rubin
Becky FousheeMelissa Vaught

Rising Star Award Cameo – Rachel Goff-Albritton

Who: Rachel Goff-Albritton, Assistant Director – Office of Research Development

Where: Florida State University

Number of years in research development: 4 1/2

Length of NORDP membership: 4 1/2

What initiative are you the most proud of in your role as a NORDP volunteer? 

I am really proud of my role in mentor training for RD professionals over the past two years. Over my time as part of the mentor training subcommittee of the Mentoring Committee I have helped to create training materials and worked with three cohorts of NORDP members to provide training sessions using evidence-based practices. We have helped teach them effective mentoring strategies using an interactive discussion-based training in collaboration with national centers and organizations (CIMER and NRMN) who are tasked with cultivating effective mentoring in the U.S. 

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

My involvement with NORDP has helped me find best practices for my office by learning from other offices across the country as well as other committee members. They have given me ideas for educational workshops and other events for faculty. I am also putting the mentoring strategies learned from my volunteer work into use in my role as assistant director and while supervising students. I have also learned how to be a peer mentor, and I am learning as much from my peers as they learn from me. The Mentoring Committee is a fun one to be on and one where everyone is truly trying to give back, which is what I enjoy the most about it. 

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

My boss, Beth Hodges, who is also my mentor, is great about providing staff members with professional development opportunities. She believes that it is important to be involved in your national organization to make sure you are providing services and resources that are cutting edge and relevant. I was able to attend the conference during my first year and I have always left the conferences feeling pumped to do my job with lots of new ideas. I really love this about NORDP!

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

I have made a lot of friends across the country through my engagement with the Mentoring Committee. I have had mentors and mentees who have now become colleagues, such as Jenn Glass, Deborah Lundin, and Tanya Volkert. I have learned from their experiences and brought them back to FSU. I have really enjoyed working with Jan Abramson, Kathy Partlow, and Paula Carney, as well as with the rest of the mentor training subcommittee! I am constantly gaining little chunks of knowledge from them on how they approach their roles as RD Professionals. 

Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined

The Mentoring Committee has really improved the resources provided for the mentor/mentee pairs. They truly help build relationships and now offer different mentoring options like peer mentor groups, which provide mentoring for any type of experience you are looking for. I also served on the Nominating Committee where I have seen many improvements on the nominating process for board and officer positions, and the mentoring committee’s Facilitators Subcommittee, where volunteers have improved the roadmap for mentor/mentee relationships and the facilitator check-in process throughout the annual program.

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

Join the Mentoring Committee as we have a lot of fun! Volunteer with any committee and you will meet people who will provide you with opportunities for growth and professional development. There are mentors on every committee who offer many learning opportunities. You can also present at conferences. Every time I present I meet someone new who does what I do and we become collaborators. You are helping NORDP as a volunteer, but you also gain a great deal as well.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

NORD/ InfoReady Research Grants in Research Development

In a partnership with InfoReady, NORDP launched a New Opportunities in Research Development (NORD) grant Initiative which began funding grants in 2018 that support the disciplinary field of Research Development. Eleven grants of up to $2500 each have been awarded to date. A new grant cycle will be announced in the Fall of 2021.   

Please keep an eye out for the call for proposals and/or visit the below link in the coming months to check for application details on the competition:


Awardee Feature

Who: Susan Ferrari, Director of Corporate, Foundation & Government Relations  

Where: Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa

Proposal: Faculty Development and Institutional Grant Leadership at Small Liberal Arts Colleges

What problem in Research Development are you looking to solve with your project? 

Grinnell is a small school with about 1,700 students and 180 faculty FTEs. We have a number of institutional grants here, which are common at many smaller schools, and they cover areas of both research and pedagogy. At many schools, including Grinnell, these grants were historically run out of the Dean’s Office, but we’ve begun to shift to having more faculty members run the grants, particularly in cases where they have subject matter expertise that’s relevant to the grant. 

I had seen this phenomenon across the liberal arts sector and had been talking with my peers about what it means to have faculty run these programs effectively. I talked to faculty who have led successful institutional grants to learn what did and did not work and to determine what we can use from their experiences to enhance future programs to develop grant leaders. 

What is the status of the project now?

I have completed interviews with faculty at Grinnell and at Carleton College, a small liberal arts school in Northfield, Minnesota, which is similar to Grinnell. The next steps will be transcribing the interviews, analyzing the data, and writing a report. 

Do you have any suggestions for NORDP members considering submitting to the 2021 competition?

My first suggestion is to do it! This has been a great educational exercise for me. I have a background in life sciences research with a little experience in qualitative research. The feedback that I received through the application process was very beneficial. It was helpful in teaching me to be attentive to what I was putting forward and made it clear on how I needed to clarify the import of what I was trying to do. Kim Littlefield was one of my reviewers who spent a great deal of time with me shepherding the feedback to help me improve my project. 

What did you find the most challenging?

Figuring out how to make a case on the relevance of this work to RD professionals working in different institutional contexts was challenging, but having to do this really strengthened the project.

What did you find the most surprising?

The interviews have been both inspiring and depressing. I had not anticipated that this project would be therapeutic for the faculty who have led these institutional grants. Many of them had lingering frustration and pain, even when the grants were successful and many years prior. It made me think that it would make sense to build more opportunities for reflection into these programs that would allow faculty to process what they have learned and what the project has meant to them.  

I see these institutional grants as a blending of scholarship and service, and, at best, they provide faculty members with an opportunity to write their own legacy and leave their mark on campus. I will be using a modified version of the survey from this project for future exit interviews with faculty to gauge what is and what is not working. 

What would you say is your main takeaway from this experience?

I think faculty grant leaders would really benefit from a more developed community within and across institutions of other faculty who are leading similar efforts. It can be a challenge to lead a campus-wide initiative without any real authority. Faculty would really benefit from more interaction with others who have had similar experiences. Ultimately, people are just looking to talk to others who have been in their shoes.

What are your plans for sharing or disseminating what you learn in this project?

I plan to share my findings with leadership at both Grinnell and Carleton, and I hope to present at a future NORDP conference. I would also like to share it with other organizations I am involved with, such as the College of Liberal Arts Sponsored Programs group (CLASP) and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. Ultimately, I would love to write about my findings in a professional journal as well. 

Has this experience changed how you approach your RD work?

When I started this job, I did not realize how much emotional labor is part of running a grants office. A big part of my role here is helping people deal with rejection and frustration as they wend their way through a research career. It also helped me think about how our role needs to continue to support and develop mid-career & senior faculty as well. In RD we focus a lot on early career folks, but we also can play a role in helping experienced faculty rise to new challenges, such as leading institutional projects. 

What are/will be the outcomes of your research?

My hope is that I can set up a system to best support faculty here who are leading institutional grants. I would like to be able to put together a multi-institutional network of faculty to share ideas and get real feedback in a supportive community of practice.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

Call for Applications: 2021 NORDP Leadership Forum

Are you an established research development (RD) leader at your organization, or do you aspire to fast-track your journey to institutional RD leadership? If so, you should consider applying to participate in the 2021 NORDP Leadership Forum!

What is the NORDP Leadership Forum?

The Leadership Forum creates dedicated space for experienced RD professionals to discuss emerging RD trends and the research landscape more broadly. It also provides a platform to workshop strategies that leverage the strengths of RD to capitalize on those trends in ways that will benefit research at our institutions. The Leadership Forum is a benefit of NORDP membership, and carries no additional cost.

What’s happening at the 2021 Leadership Forum?

● We’ve expanded the Leadership Forum from a half-day conference event to a series of four, 3-hour virtual workshops, plus a virtual orientation and closing/report-out session. These workshops will take place one day/week starting in late September 2021, concluding in early November 2021, at times to be determined based on participants’ availability.

● The themes of these four workshops are:

» Infusing inclusivity into RD – it’s incumbent on RD leaders to be deliberate about inclusion and diversity in the programs they manage and the research teams they build and support
» The future of RD work – emerging innovations in RD (pandemic-driven or otherwise)
» Network activation – inviting leaders from other campus offices and key external partners (e.g., government relations and advancement representatives) to advise RD leaders on how to best mobilize the research teams they’ve cultivated or enabling programs they are developing
» Taking the RD approach on the road – helping other campus offices to see the value in taking a relationship-focused, rather than transaction-focused, approach to faculty in the way that is so critical to RD

● Within the time of the workshops, each Leadership Forum participant will have opportunity to create an Action Plan to implement within their home organization, using the strategies they learn and skills they develop in the Leadership Forum

● As always, the Leadership Forum will provide many opportunities to network with fellow institutional RD leaders within NORDP, as well as featured panelists, speakers and workshop facilitators from other research sectors (government relations, advancement/development officers, and more)

Who may apply? How do I apply?

The Leadership Forum is for NORDP members. It is best suited for those members who are established organizational leaders, or who consider themselves to be on a clear track to organizational leadership. We assess eligibility not by job title, terminal degree or number of staff supervised, but by what insights, ideas or experiences you can bring to the conversation surrounding the four themes outlined above.

The participating cohort will be capped at 40 people, to enable close interaction among all participants and between participants and workshop leaders/panelists. The 2021 Leadership Forum cohort will include a mix of RD leaders recommended by NORDP committees/groups, as well as NORDP members who self-identify as having interest and who are selected through an open application process. All prospective participants must first submit an application through InfoReady.

To Apply:

Submit your application (profile information plus responses to questions assessing your interest and qualifications) via NORDP’s InfoReady portal by Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee of NORDP members, and those selected to participate in the 2021 Leadership Forum will be notified the week of August 9, 2021.

Also Seeking Volunteers!

We will be seeking volunteers to coordinate breakout sessions and other activities during the Leadership Forum workshops. This is a golden opportunity for RD leaders (who might have more limited availability) to engage in this volunteer capacity. If you are interested in volunteering to facilitate a breakout session or otherwise assist with the Leadership Forum, please contact Daniel Arriaga, Senior Special Projects Coordinator in the UT Austin Office of the Vice President for Research. For more information, please visit our website.

Thank you,
NORDP Leadership Forum Working Group

NORDP Fellow Cameo: Karen Eck

Who: Karen Eck, Assistant Vice President

Where: Office of Research, Old Dominion University

Number of years in research development: 16

Length of NORDP membership: 11

What initiative are you the most proud of in your role as a NORDP volunteer? 

I am very excited about NORDP’s membership in INORMS (International Network of Research Management Societies) that began in July 2020. We had been involved unofficially in the past when Peggy Sundermeyer represented NORDP at the 2018 international INORMS Congress in Edinburgh. Prior to membership, Rachel Dresbeck participated on the INORMS committee that put together the 2019 RAAAP Survey of research managers. After I completed my term as NORDP President I became a co-chair of the Strategic Alliances Committee and worked with Peggy to apply for membership and build a case for joining. It is a great leap forward for NORDP to be on the international stage and collaborate with others around the world involved in research management.

I also represent NORDP in my role on the INORMS Council. I am proud that we put in the effort to be on the world stage. Over the past year we have seen the importance of international collaboration to solve big problems in response to the COVID pandemic. The international relationships we foster through INORMS will provide professional opportunities for individual members as well as the organization itself. 

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

It has enabled me to meet so many different people in many roles around the world. I have been able to learn about the issues facing them at their institutions. It has also helped me to bring back new ideas to ODU in every realm of our work, from interactions with faculty to communication to how we position ourselves as an office.

NORDP has widened my network that now includes friends and colleagues from around the world who I can call on for questions or advice. Getting involved with your professional organization is a win-win for you and NORDP. 

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

My introduction to NORDP came through the listserv. I joined ODU in October 2009 as Director of Research Development. I had always worked as part of a team, but the leadership role was a new one for me. I was also coming from Canada, so it was a new institution as well as a new funding landscape. When I found out about an organization that was focused exactly on what my job was, I knew that I had found my tribe and I had to join.

I heard about the Chicago conference in 2010 and when I went, I saw that most people had roles like mine, and it really allowed me to learn more about my new role. I was relieved to find others doing exactly what I was trying to do at ODU. The RD role is often unique on-campus and NORDP helped me figure out how to find the right collaborators back at my home institution. 

I am still working with many of the people I met when I first joined. It has been rewarding to maintain these relationships for over a decade and it has been exciting to watch NORDP grow as well. 

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

I have been part of the Mentoring programs for the past seven years, and it has been rewarding to maintain those relationships long after the official mentoring period has concluded. My four years on the NORDP Board and in leadership roles including conference organizing helped me develop some great friendships that I cherish to this day. There are many wonderful and dedicated people in NORDP!

When I worked in Canada, I was a member of CARA (Canadian Association of Research Administrators) and I now serve as NORDP’s liaison to CARA. It is wonderful to interact with leadership in both organizations. I hope to capitalize on this role to help educate and build RD connections in Canada where it is growing in scope. 

I am also excited about my engagement with INORMS where I have been meeting people from around the globe and been able to talk with them about research management issues. 

NORDP is a group of people who wants to learn and collaborate with our peers. While this may seem counterintuitive, since we are all competing for funding, by helping each other it helps the research enterprise as a whole.

Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined.

I think one of the biggest changes is the number of members. We have increased our membership by tenfold with over 1,000 currently. Our first official conference was 120 and our most recent was over 700.  

It is amazing to see how far we have come and how much we have grown as a volunteer driven organization. NORDP has always been run by volunteers and the commitment shown by everyone involved from committee members and chairs to board members over the years is remarkable.  

Another big change has been the engagement of professional staff in recent years. They have been a great asset helping manage conference-related activities and helping NORDP expand its capabilities and respond to what members are looking for from their professional organization. 

It has really been amazing to watch the Mentoring program evolve into such a sophisticated operation. There are many opportunities to serve as either a mentor or mentee. The efforts in the areas of inclusive excellence and programs like the NORD research grants are also exciting elements. 

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

Be an active participant on the listserv by keeping up with it and contributing where you can. Take advantage of the tools offered on the website. 

Attend the conference if possible. It is a great experience and will be an asset for your job. Every year there are programs that will help you do your job better. It is a great opportunity to learn from others who are focused on the same issues from around the world. 

Figure out what you are passionate about in your professional development. There are so many areas to get involved with, ranging from broadening participation and inclusivity in the RD profession to research on best practices and mentoring. Joining a committee is a great way to connect with NORDP as well. 

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

A Message from NORDP’s President

NORDP President (2021-2022) Jill Jividen

It has been a challenging year for all of us–from a global pandemic, to a national reckoning with racial injustice, to political turmoil. We have experienced anxiety, uncertainty, fear, frustration, exhaustion; some of us have experienced tremendous loss. We have tapped into enormous wells of community and creativity and empathy and fortitude for our personal and professional well-being. We keep swimming.

While many institutions and organizations may face ongoing financial and other uncertainties wrought by the pandemic, I’m pleased to assure you that NORDP has emerged from the year stronger than ever. We have sustained membership (nearly 1,100 members from more that 460 institutions) and recently enjoyed a high-energy virtual conference with a record number of attendees–more than 700–with revenue that will help us realize long-time, long-term goals. Our current priorities include:

  • developing programming for NORDP members at all professional levels–from those just entering RD to experienced members who are looking toward leadership advancement and institutional strategy;
  • providing resources and training to help members incorporate DEIB best practices in their RD work and professional goals;
  • doing the hard work and “heart work” (thank you, Etta Ward, for introducing me to that term!) of ensuring that NORDP is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive organization;
  • providing a pipeline and mentorship to encourage interest in and build confidence to pursue leadership roles in NORDP, and
  • improving communications, so members can know what programs and activities are available to them and use our website as a valuable tool for connection and resources.

Everywhere you look, NORDP is a hive of activity.

There are more reasons for optimism. Research Development continues to grow, and there are signs that the field will be critical to the success of our institutional research activities. The current administration has shown renewed vigor in funding research at the federal level, not only to address complex challenges (e.g., climate change, energy, infrastructure), but to keep the U.S. competitive globally in science and technology. The National Science Foundation (NSF) may see a new directorate and is anticipating a significant overall budget increase. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched the UNITE initiative toward ending structural racism, dedicating new funding to health equity research and efforts to diversify the scientific workforce, while continuing to roll out new multidisciplinary initiatives, like Bridge2AI. These new investments position RD professionals as essential staff, as we support researchers in pursuing funding, building effective teams and harnessing innovation for solutions.

This is an exciting time to be a Research Development professional, and no better time to engage with NORDP.

As the Board of Directors begins its new year, I want to express a heartfelt thank you to the outstanding directors who have wrapped up their service: Rachel Dresbeck, Jennifer Lyon Gardner, Jeri Hansen and Karen Fletcher. We are welcoming five new directors this month: Antje Harnisch, Jennifer Glass, Melinda Boehm, Carolynn Julien and Lisa Lopez; additionally, director Nathan Meier is returning for a new term.

I especially want to express gratitude to the MANY volunteers who make NORDP such a vibrant and rewarding community. Time is our most precious resource; thank you for giving yours to this organization.

Finally, I want to ensure that NORDP leaders are accessible to members. I will be offering opportunities for members to connect with me and other NORDP leaders via Zoom over the next year. Keep an eye on the NORDP events calendar for more information. And remember that you can reach out to me anytime at president@nordp.org.

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.

I look forward to working with all of you in the coming year (and seeing you next spring in Bellevue, Washington)!

Sincerely, Jill Jividen

Jill Jividen, PhD
Director of Research Development
University of Michigan
Office of the Vice President for Research