Call for Volunteers: NORDP LEAD Fireside Chats: Career Stories

Are you looking for a way to become more involved with NORDP?

Do you like the spotlight, enjoy talking with people, and have the ability to think on your feet?*

Or, are you detail-oriented, with good follow through?*

         (*oh, wait, we are research development professionals….we have the skills)

The NORDP LEAD workgroup is actively seeking volunteers to contribute time and talent to the popular Fireside Chats: Career Stories. This is a great opportunity to refine some skills (or try something new), work with fun people, and contribute to the NORDP community. And a bonus: this volunteer opportunity will only take about 2 hours per month.

What we are looking for:

Facilitators/Interviewers for Fireside Chats. Fireside Chats are 30 minutes – responsibilities include talking with the presenter beforehand, finalizing interview questions, and conducting the interviews. Prior Fireside Chats, and the upcoming presenters, can be found here.

Program Coordinator(s) for Fireside Chats. Responsibilities would include arranging speakers, working with First Point Management Resources (FPMR) to schedule, and promoting the event to NORDP members. This role may also include finding members to serve as Tech Hosts or being the Tech Host in an emergency.

Thinking about volunteering? It’s a team effort! You will be mentored by the NORDP LEAD members who have been coordinating the Fireside Chats. You will have support, guidance, and an opportunity to put your personal touches on a well-received NORDP member benefit.

Intrigued? Or know someone who might be great in this volunteer opportunity? Please reach out to Jan Abramson ( We’d love to have YOU as part of this team!

NORDP 2021 Holly Falk-Krzesinski Service Award – Etta Ward

Named for NORDP’s founding President, this award is voted on by the Board of Directors and given annually to a NORDP Member in recognition of outstanding service to the organization, to the research development profession or field, and to peers.

Who: Etta Ward, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development

Where: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Number of years in research development: 19 +

Length of NORDP membership: 6 years

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

There are several, but my work with the Mentoring Committee has been a highlight of my volunteer experience with NORDP. I enjoyed working with Jan Abramson and others to help develop and adapt resources for the Mentoring Program that would allow participants to be much more intentional about their experiences as a mentor or mentee. I was happy to partner with the Mentoring Expertise, Support and Helping Hands (MESHH) subcommittee to develop a custom kit adapted from proven research-based materials. I also loved working on this part of the program, understanding that it provides the resources needed to be successful.

Another pivotal aspect of my work with the Mentoring Committee was an effort with Jan, through funding from the NORDP Strategic Alliances Committee, to attend the National Research Mentoring Network Level One Entering Mentoring Facilitator training, which allowed us to train others. As a result, members of the Mentoring Committee built a relationship with NRMN and the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) that allowed us to modify modules for RD professionals to deliver competency-based mentor training, and now our content is an official part of their training curricula.  

I was also part of a team led by Kathryn Partlow from the Mentoring Committee to present at the University of New Mexico Mentoring Institute conference in 2019. This annual conference brings together a broad constituency of researchers, educators, community leaders and other professional partners who support the power of mentoring. 

At the UNM Mentoring Institute, strategic connections were made, and knowledge garnered to support NORDP’s endeavors around effective mentorship. As a result of participating in the Mentoring Institute, NORDP was published in the Journal of Coaching and Mentoring, and those in attendance discovered there was such a thing as mentoring software to support mentoring programs. By early 2021, the board had invested in mentoring software to support the membership.

Members of the NORDP Mentoring Committee will be presenting and participating in the 2021 UNM Mentoring Institute.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

NORDP has truly been catalytic in my career trajectory in RD. My first job in higher education was as a faculty development professional, which is what I considered my focus. I did not consider myself in RD at the time. Members of my staff actually got to know NORDP first. Alicia Gahimer, program and operations manager at IUPUI, went to a number of conferences and told me I had to go. I took her advice and ended up finding my people, as many of us say!  

I went to conferences and learned to be intentional in my involvement. I talked with my Vice Chancellor about NORDP being the premier RD professional organization and over time he wanted me to come up with a title and job description that represented what I was doing. I used NORDP’s salary survey to find a match for my role to accurately describe my current position as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development. 

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

Colleagues in my office had heard about NORDP through our regional contacts. I supported staff members who wanted to attend conferences where they could find a match/fit for the type of engagement they had with faculty. Many of us became involved with NORDP committees. It really got my attention when they were coming back with great new ideas and amplifying our existing efforts. Alicia encouraged me to join as well and when I did, I found people both similar and different than me which only added to what I was able to learn from them. 

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

When I joined the board, I began by asking a lot of questions so that I could learn more about the board and the individuals who were on it. Over time I developed strong relationships with these folks who are also leaders at their home universities. It is an honor and a privilege to work with people leading a national organization with international influence. I love that I can continue to build intentional relationships with people in strategic positions where I can create and drive the direction of the RD profession. 

Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined

When I first joined, I had the sense of a tension about access to certain groups, but I now understand that some of it was a perceived tension. I do acknowledge that there were members who found it hard to connect with others. NORDP’s leadership recognized this and has since been willing to go deep to understand the concerns of members, especially in the area of inclusion. Members expressed concerns in the membership survey and the board responded. They were willing to get to the point of discomfort and stay there if necessary to advance diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, something that will be a priority for the organization moving forward. NORDP’s leadership pays attention to areas where the organization needs to improve. 

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

When you join NORDP you will find your people, but don’t stop there. Get to know someone you don’t work with or know deeply. These relationships open up a world of possibility personally and professionally. You can reach out through the listserv, committee work, and conferences. Make it a point to connect with people you don’t know as well as those who work in different parts of RD.  

If you need help in getting involved don’t hesitate to contact a board member. We are always happy to help you. Finally, I would say get the most out of your membership. Don’t be a bystander and sit on the sidelines.   

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

Announcing the NORDP Consultant Program

The National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) is pleased to announce a new program called NORDP Consultants. Through the NORDP Consultants program, experienced NORDP members enter into multi-year agreements with client organizations to facilitate strategic planning aimed at growing research, deliver research development services, and conduct capacity building activities.

The NORDP Consultants program builds on the success of the NORDP Program for External Evaluation of Research Development (PEERD), which provides an array of services to client organizations interested in valuable benchmarking tools, best practices, and guidance to enhance research development program activities and further the research enterprise at their institutions. Typically, PEERD is a short-term engagement lasting a few weeks that culminates in a report including a set of recommendations that the client organization can implement on their own timeline as resources allow. In contrast, NORDP Consultants enter long-term engagements and not only make recommendations but also help implement them with an emphasis on capacity building.

Led by Kimberly Eck, MPH, PhD, Immediate Past President of NORDP and Associate Vice President of Emory University, the NORDP Consultant Program will begin with a pilot in early 2022. Through the generous support of Eric and Wendy Schmidt via recommendation of the Schmidt Futures program, NORDP Consultants will provide a total of 2,400 hours of support to four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) over the course of the two-year pilot project. 

About the pilot project, NORDP President, Jill Jividen, said, “The funding from Eric and Wendy Schmidt provides a unique and exciting opportunity for NORDP to advance its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in research and demonstrate the value of Research Development, as we partner with HBCUs to strengthen research activities and increase the diversity of scholarly and scientific communities nationally.”

Over the next several months, NORDP will call for applications from NORDP members seeking to become a NORDP Consultant; release a request for proposals from potential evaluators; and invite HBCUs to apply to participate in the pilot.

The project will be thoroughly evaluated and two modes of engagement (primarily in-person vs. primarily virtual) will be compared. The results of this pilot project will inform the NORDP Consultant program. NORDP hopes to expand the NORDP Consultant program in the future.


Do you support research development (RD) at a predominately undergraduate institution (PUI) or other small, teaching-intensive institutional context?

Please help us to build knowledge about the ‘landscape’ of RD at PUIs by completing the NORDP PUI survey!

Findings from the survey, which should take approximately 15 minutes to complete, will help the research team (members of the NORDP PUI Affinity Group) to understand the context and needs of RD professionals at PUIs, and ultimately to develop supportive resources, programming, and advocacy tools. Participation in the survey is voluntary. No individuals or institutions will be publicly identified, and no identifying information will be released outside of the research team. 

Thank you in advance for contributing to the advancement of RD at PUIs! Questions may be directed via email to any of the research team members at the below addresses.

Best Regards,
PUI NORDP Survey Research Team

Jessica Bishop-Royce, DePaul University (
Dean Gerstein, Pomona College (
Jennifer Glass, Eastern Michigan University (
Kara Luckey, Seattle University (
Peggy Sundermeyer, ORG Transitions (

NORDP 2021 Leadership Award – Gretchen Kiser

The Leadership Award award honors a member, a group of members or a team, a research development unit, or an organization that demonstrates exceptional leadership and/or a deep commitment to volunteerism in ways that advance the profession or field of research development.

Who: Gretchen Kiser, Executive Director – Research Development Office

Where: University of California San Francisco

Number of years in research development: 20

Length of NORDP membership: 11 years

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

I would say that NORDP’s efforts to integrate diversity as an organizational mandate is something I am proud to have initiated. When I became NORDP President, Rachel Dresbeck told me that you only have a year in the role and you need to choose something specific to champion. I felt that NORDP had to do more to encourage inclusion and support diversity in an active way, both in our ranks and the organization itself.  

In addition to modifying the NORDP committee structure into the form that exists today, we also set in motion a diversity working group that has now turned into the Committee on Inclusive Excellence (CIE). We worked and are still working hard to infuse these values into all that NORDP does.  

I believe that diverse voices make teams and organizations stronger. It is important to me that we reflect that value in NORDP. Working in RD, we serve in key roles on our campuses where we can serve as instigators of change, acting as change agents for this kind of inclusive excellence mindset. 

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

I always leaned in heavy when opportunities presented themselves during my time with NORDP. My service has enabled me to have experience in leadership roles that I would not have in my day job. My involvement on the board especially has provided invaluable experiences quite relevant to my career progression.

NORDP has also afforded me the visibility as a professional person of value. Many folks in RD are not always lifted up with awards and recognition at their home institutions as this is sometimes limited for professional staff in the academic area. I have been a conference chair, developed leadership programs, served as a leader on a non-profit board, presented conference posters, workshops, and panel presentations, developed important relationships with national and international leaders through my NORDP roles, and grown my strategic planning skills through NORDP organizational projects like developing the CIE and NORD. 

Additionally, my engagement with NORDP has provided me with a huge cadre of colleagues to bounce ideas off and share both successes and failures. Some of my closest friends are colleagues from NORDP and some of my most valuable colleagues are my friends from NORDP. 

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

A research administration colleague at an institution where I worked previously had heard about a small group called NORDP. I was Director of Special Projects reporting to a VPR at the time and what I did sounded like RD to her. I immediately checked it out and realized it was my group of people. It brought together a myriad of things for me; the ability to adapt and extrapolate experiences, strong organizational skills, the ability to communicate across research disciplines, the judgement to recognize the critical elements at hand, and a passion for research.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

I have made many lifelong friends and colleagues over the years. I now have a huge support network both professionally and personally for career and my job. Whenever I begin a new project, I can always find someone who has been involved with something like it or who is willing to brainstorm on it. NORDP is an exceptional resource, and it offers a rare joy in the way I can call someone up about virtually anything. The tone of NORDP has always been one of holding each other up instead of competing with each other. The comradery and mutual respect have been uplifting and strengthening throughout my decade plus membership. 

Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined

Our commitment to diversity across the organization has been a big change. A structure of mentoring has become a large part of NORDP as well. It was not always codified, but the Mentoring Committee has made significant advances in offering mentoring of all types to our membership. Another change is that things are much more structured than at the beginning e.g., our system of committees and their key goals. Overall, the culture of sharing and volunteerism is still the same and we are always trying to expand and provide more resources to our members.

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

Getting involved gives you so many opportunities for growth in things like data analysis, strategic planning, facilitation, etc. It also gives you a chance for professional visibility that RD folks don’t always get elsewhere. NORDP is a living resource that provides countless chances for networking, people you can call on for advice/questions, past conference presentations, program examples, and so on.  

The options are limitless, and you can take your engagement in any direction with NORDP. Throughout my time I have been involved as a presenter at numerous conferences, in exploring RD Continuing Education, as chair or member for several Committees, Conference Chair, Vice President, and President, as well as numerous other areas. To be fair, volunteering for NORDP does take a time commitment. But, it affords you so many avenues to grow and do good: you won’t regret it!

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

Unleash the Possibilities of Your NORDP Membership with the New Orientation Guide

Conversation with Kate Duggan who led efforts to create the newly launched resource.

Who: Kate Duggan, Assistant Director, Research Intelligence

Where: Brown University

Years in RD: 4 years

NORDP Membership: 4 years

What prompted you to initiate the effort to create this guide?

It began last year as one of the initiatives that we looked to explore on the Member Services Committee (MSC). When I initially joined NORDP I worked with six or seven colleagues who were already involved and provided me with guidance on how to navigate the organization. Throughout my years in NORDP I met numerous people who did not have the benefit of co-workers who were also members. It got me thinking about the things that I had wanted to see when I joined and provide a place for new members to find answers to their questions about available resources.  

We put together a working group within MSC that involved Barbara Sasso, Brooke Gowl, Elizabeth Festa, Heather McIntosh, and Kara Luckey. Our main goal was to put everything that NORDP has to offer in one place which would provide a one stop shop to show what we were all about.  

Many NORDP resources are underutilized, and we wanted to show members how to make those things work for you. Translating these things into your work was also a key goal. My favorite part of the guide is our suggested action items. Our thinking was that if you go through the steps of acting on an item you will be more likely to do it again and become more engaged with everything NORDP has to offer. 

What did you learn about NORDP from your work on this project that surprised you?

My main takeaway from this project was the realization of the amazing amount of work being done by volunteers throughout NORDP. So many members are giving of their time and expertise on all the committees, conference, mentoring, etc. It really is humbling to know that such a strong network is out there to assist members with virtually anything. 

The project also gave me the perspective of a new member looking at how to dive into the pool. I knew more than most new members back when I joined due to my colleagues. The process forced me to think about what I would want to know and what would be valuable to someone coming to NORDP as a new member.

I really hope that people will try some of the suggested action items and be open to learning something new about NORDP. I would consider it a win if folks gain new insights or inspiration and get more involved with what the organization has to offer. 

Final thoughts?

Consider joining the MSC. We are always looking for ideas on how to recruit and retain members. The guide will serve as great extension of the committee and provide ways to tap into what NORDP has to offer. Thank you to all my MSC colleagues who helped put this together and I hope the NORDP membership finds the guide to be a valuable resource.

Check out the NORDP Orientation Guide here:

Login to your member account for access to the more extensive members-only version for all the available features of the guide. 

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

We want YOU for our focus group exploring research development certification!

NORDP launched the Certification Taskforce in Fall 2020 to explore the potential of certification for our organization. We have completed several brainstorming sessions, which resulted in a path forward for our work and requires your help. 

Fall 2021 will launch focus group discussions in parallel with examining the path to certification for other similarly situated organizations as a comparison. The focus group will inform the design of a member survey to explore overall interest in pursuit of certification for Research Development. 

We are holding four focus group sessions based on key demographics of our members:

  1. Transitioning to RD + Early Career (interested in career in RD but not in RD; currently working in RD <=3 years)
  2. Experienced (working in RD for >3 and <=10 years)
  3. Advanced (working in RD for >10 years, but not at an executive level)
  4. Executive (VP, Sr. Director)

These focus groups will be meeting during fall 2021. Participants will be asked to work with our facilitators for one 90-minute session. *Sessions will be recorded.* 

We are interested in hearing from RD professionals from all levels of experience as well as from all institutional designations and RD unit types.  Whether you are a leader in RD planning your personnel’s budget for professional development or an entry level RD professional seeking to gain knowledge and skills to take your career to the next level, we would love to hear from you!   

If you have interest in and ability to participate and identify with one of the above groups, please complete the interest form here: LINK. We ask that you submit your information on or before Aug 30, 2021. We will follow up with invitations throughout September for sessions in October. 

Thank you for your interest in supporting this work in support of NORDP’s KRA 3.4 – Career and Professional Development–Explore potential for formal certification of RD.