PEERD Double Cameo: Peggy Sundermeyer and Jerilyn Hansen

The NORDP Board of Directors invites qualified members to apply to be a PEERD NORDP Consultant. More information and a link to the online application can be found here. The deadline to apply is Friday, June 30.  If you have questions, please contact PEERD@nordp.org. Meet two NORDP members you have worked as consultants: Peggy Sundermeyer from Trinity University and Jerilyn Hansen from Utah State University.

Who: Peggy Sundermeyer
Where: Trinity University
Number of years in research development (approx.): 13
Length of NORDP membership (approx.): 8

  1. Why do you enjoy external consulting?

Photo PSundermeyer

I get a lot of satisfaction if my “outsider” perspective and experience can help individuals see their own organization and operations more clearly. If I can accurately reflect what I see, hear, and learn, then I can help decision makers to understand their challenges, their strengths, and their options more fully. But the real reason I make time to consult is because I am endlessly curious about people, organizations, and how they all tick! It’s really so much fun to be able to get inside another university and see how it works!

  1. Are there any challenges?

Yes, but it wouldn’t be for me if it wasn’t challenging. Besides being a great listener, you need to be flexible. Based on what you’re hearing, you need to be able to go “off script” and pursue new information you might not be expecting. Plus, the campus site visit is intense because there’s so much to learn in a short period of time.  Fortunately, in the NORDP model, I always have a partner to work with.

  1. Are there best practices when you work as an external consultant?

One of my practices is to try to learn as much as I can about the university before the visit. This means scouring the website for strategic plans, goals, organizational charts, and even policies. I want to be able to soak in the culture when I get there and ask informed questions. It’s also important to understand and deliver on what the client has asked for. I try to stay focused on the scope or purpose.

  1. What recommendations do you have for other NORDP members considering applying to be a PEERD reviewer?

Jump in, the water’s fine! NORPD members are “can do-ers!” Don’t underestimate your expertise or your ability to share what you know. Remember — this is peer consultation, and it has a unique value.

Who: Jerilyn Hansen
Where: Utah State University
Number of years in research development (approx.): 13
Length of NORDP membership (approx.): 6

  1. Why do you enjoy external consulting?Jerilyn Hansen

I find external consulting rewarding on two fronts: 1) helping others in the profession improve what they are doing at their institutions; and 2) learning about how other institutions have approached providing research development services (what is working, what isn’t really working). Regarding the latter, despite the fact I’m supposed to be the one providing insight and advice, I often come back with new ideas after spending time understanding another institution’s approach. Plus, consulting is a great way to expand your professional network!

  1. Are there any challenges?

Finding the time to be away from my “day job” is always a challenge. However, my VPR and AVPR view external consulting as part of my professional development so they are very accommodating. When considering consulting work, it is important to remember that it involves more than travel and several days on another campus – the time it will take to write the final report also needs to be considered.

  1. Are there best practices when you work as an external consultant?

You need to have a clear understanding of what issues you are being brought in to understand and provide advice on. You also need to be a good listener but also able to control conversations in order to get answers to the questions you have been asked to investigate. It is important you have a clear picture of the history of an institution and its research development efforts to date so you don’t end up making recommendations that either don’t apply to an institution or have been tried already and found ineffective. Always remember your primary role is as an objective outsider.

  1. What recommendations do you have for other NORDP members considering applying to be a PEERD reviewer?

Just do it! I have a tendency to under-estimate my knowledge and experience so I never thought anyone else would be looking to me for advice. But that’s the great thing about consulting – people are really looking for fresh eyes and a different perspective. It is also worth mentioning the PEERD program sends a team of consultants (usually 2 people) so members shouldn’t be concerned they would have to carry the entirety of the work themselves.

More information and a link to the online application can be found here. The deadline to apply is Friday, June 30.  If you have questions, please contact PEERD@nordp.org.

Susan Carter Recipient of 2017 Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski Service Award

Susan Carter, J.D., Director of Research Development Services at the University of California, Merced, has received NORDP’s 2017 Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski Service Award. Founding NORDP President Holly Falk-Krzesinski presented the award to Susan at the 9th Annual NORDP Conference in Broomfield, Colorado, in May.

DMNS Legacy
Susan Carter (left) and Holly Falk-Krzesinski (right)

Clearly stunned when Holly announced her name as the awardee, Susan later said, “My involvement in NORDP has truly been a highlight of my professional life, and indeed, has brought amazing rewards both to me and my institution. As I was standing on the stage listening to Holly discuss the service to NORDP that led the Board to choose me as this year’s recipient, all I could think was that the service I gave was absolutely minimal compared to the benefits I received.”

This service award is given annually by the NORDP Board of Directors to one NORDP member to recognize her/his commitment to further the research development profession, to NORDP’s growth, and service to peers. Susan is a consummate exemplar of all of these qualities.

At UC Merced, Susan is well known for her efforts on individual faculty development and team science, and is lauded by the faculty, her staff, and the administration for her talents as a visionary and research development professional. Since starting the UC Merced office in 2008, Susan has been responsible for hiring and nurturing a staff of five, perhaps bringing a record number of people into the research development profession in the shortest time period.

Susan’s dedication to NORDP is legion, spanning the lifetime of our organization. Among her many contributions to NORDP are:

  • National Steering Committee (2009-10), Founding Executive Officer (2009), Board of Directors Secretary and member (2010-13)
  • Helped secure NORDP’s initial 501(c)3 status
  • Membership Committee member (2010-14)
  • Founder, Mentoring Program (2012), which has served more than 250 mentor-mentee pairs
  • Managed conference volunteer corps (2012)
  • Commissioned first NORDP Peer Review (2013); co-developed the PEERD program’s business plan (2014-16 )
  • 2015 Annual Conference Co-Chair and Program Committee member (2013, 2014)
  • Contributor/ presenter at NORDP Annual Conference sessions, Idea Showcase, and pre-conference workshops (2013-17)
  • Nominating Committee Co-Chair (2017-)

In her presentation remarks, Holly said, “What makes her so special is how deeply she gives to her faculty, staff, and community, and to the many of us who consider Susan a mentor.” Congratulations, Susan, and many thanks from all of your NORDP official and unofficial mentees and peers.

NORDP Launches New Service: PEERD

Are you thinking about implementing the research development model at your institution? Does your institution have a strategic plan to move ahead? Is your RD operation the most effective it can be? Are you “right resourced”?

If you, or anyone at your institution, is asking those questions, you may want to consider contacting PEERD!

NORDP is launching a service, Program for External Evaluation of Research Development (PEERD), to provide assessment of an institution’s RD needs by a team of experienced RD professionals.  PEERD is designed to provide client organizations an external evaluation of their research development operations by a team of qualified NORDP members from peer institutions.

If you’re interested in being a PEERD consultant, we’re looking for experienced leaders with review, evaluation, and/or strategic planning experience. NORDP members who meet the experience criteria are welcome to apply. Memberswho have their own consulting firms, or who are not prohibited by other firms’ contractual terms or potential conflicts, are eligible to serve as reviewers for PEERD.  An on-line application will be available after the Denver conference.

To learn more about the eligibility criteria, selection process, and timeline for PEERD consultants, or to learn how to engage the service for your university, visit our poster during the Idea Showcase on Tuesday, May 9 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm in the Centennial and Interlocken Foyers.

We look forward to seeing you next week in Denver!

Best regards,

Karen Eck
NORDP Board of Directors (2015-2019)

Peggy Sundermeyer
Former Member, NORDP Board of Directors (2010-2016)
Former NORDP Treasurer (2012-2016)

2017 Conference Cameo: Eileen Murphy

#NORDP2017 starts Monday, May 8 in Denver, CO. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for live conference updates. Register here: http://www.nordp.org/conferences.
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Who: Eileen Murphy, Ph.D., Senior Director Corporate and Foundations Relations
Where: Rutgers University
Number of years in research development: 7
Length of NORDP membership: 7
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 3 (first one was via NORDP travel scholarship – THANK YOU!)
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? Yellowstone National Park

I, like many NORDP colleagues, discovered research development after a long career as a researcher and research manager. I switched careers from government scientist to academic administrator after my research group was dissolved due to budget cuts. The silver lining in this storm was a new career in research development. Once I embarked on this adventure, I never looked back.Photo March 2017

Like any scientist new to a field, I searched for a professional organization where I could learn from seasoned professionals. While I had found good research administration organizations, what I really wanted was something more akin to what I was doing – research development. Rutgers University had just hired a handful of research development professionals at the time, and, together, we discovered NORDP. That was the organization I was searching for – the one  that offered advice, networking and camaraderie in the field.

I attended my first NORDP conference through the generous support of the NORDP travel scholarship. Naturally, I felt the need to “pay it back” by volunteering in every aspect that I could. Volunteering is a wonderful way to network and get to know people – even people from my own institution that I may not get to see as often as I would like. I continue to be impressed by the diversity, talent, and dedication of the people who are attracted to this field.

Conferences allow me to immerse myself in research development and to discuss challenges I may be having with colleagues from other institutions. While many of us feel like islands at our institutions, being one research development professional amidst a sea of faculty and administrators, we are all “stranded” together on that island during a NORDP conference.

It’s one week away, and I am truly looking forward to meeting new colleagues, sharing ideas, and learning from others’ experiences.

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We hope to see you at the 2017 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 8-10 in Denver, CO. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2017 updates.

If you’d like to be featured in a Conference Cameo, let us know at rdconf@nordp.org

NORDP 2017: A Record Breaking Year

omni-hotel.jpgToday, with 10 days to go before the 9th Annual Research Development Conference starts, we’ve officially broken records! The Conference will be the biggest in the history of NORDP, with 463 registrants so far, and 12 sponsor partners. The previous record for attendance (and sponsors) was the 7th Annual Meeting in Bethesda in 2015, which had 425 attendees and 11 sponsors.

We look forward to seeing you at the Conference, and to building relationships with all our RD colleagues!

Conference Marketing Committee

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We hope to see you at the 2017 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 8-10 in Denver, CO. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2017 updates.

2017 Conference Cameo: Peggy Sundermeyer

#NORDP2017 starts Monday, May 8 in Denver, CO. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for live conference updates. Register here: http://www.nordp.org/conferences.
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Who: Peggy Sundermeyer, Director, Sponsored Research, Academic Affairs
Where: Trinity University
Number of years in research development: 10
Length of NORDP membership: 8
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 7
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? China, where I attended a traditional wedding.

Like many other research development professionals, I have a diverse background. I got started in the field when I was working for the VPR, developing materials with faculty and for faculty on the Responsible Conduct of Research, using my background in adult education and prior career as a federal employee in grants and contracting. Most of the development work was over and it was becoming less creative and very routine. The VPR asked if I would look at some of the interdisciplinary initiatives coming from the federal funding areas and think of ways we could inspire and support faculty and graduate students to start “crossing department lines,” as he put it. It wasn’t long before I learned that the large, interdisciplinary program and center grant applications overwhelmed the available resources. My faculty colleagues and I put together some ideas on how the VPR’s office could better support these large efforPhoto PSundermeyerts, and the “research development” experiment was off and running. Some of our ideas worked and others not so well, but the general concept took hold and colleges started putting together their own individuals and teams to support faculty and departmental efforts.

I’ve been involved in NORDP since the beginning. I was one of a couple dozen individuals that convened at the University of Maryland, College Park, for a 2-day meeting, almost 10 years ago. Most of us had come together as a result of a phone call from Holly Falk-Krzesinski who tracked us down from our websites. After comparing notes for a couple days, we realized that we all did essentially the same thing and collectively decided that there was an emerging profession. With Holly’s continuing guidance and energy, we self-assembled, continued to meet over the phone, started writing goals, set up a website, organized a 2nd conference in Chicago, approved a charter and doubled our membership each year for 3 years.

Being one of the “originals,” it’s great to see NORDP’s success in the professional development it offers its members and in its goal to make the organization an important partner in the arena of discovery and knowledge creation. I treasure the working relationships and friendships that I have with other NORDP’ers. They are the most talented, earnest, dedicated, creative, and energetic people I know. EVERYONE is welcoming and supportive!

If you are new to the conference, there is really no best or wrong way to participate in the conference. It’s a great balance of useful materials presented by peers, inspiring key note speakers, and lots of colleagues to share with and learn from. The IDEAs Showcase, though, is truly THE “don’t miss” event.

After the conference, I always bring back at least one idea to try out at my institution.

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We hope to see you at the 2017 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 8-10 in Denver, CO. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2017 updates.

If you’d like to be featured in a Conference Cameo, let us know at rdconf@nordp.org

2017 Conference Cameo: Jessica Sheehe

#NORDP2017 starts Monday, May 8 in Denver, CO. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for live conference updates. Register here: http://www.nordp.org/conferences.
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Who: Jessica Sheehe, Ph.D. candidate
Where: University of Vermont
Number of years in research development: 1
Length of NORDP membership: 1
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2017 will be my first one!

My interest in RD started when I was writing my grant proposal for becoming a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Vermont. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the process and the challenge of not just articulating my research, but also “selling” my ideas to my thesis committee. I already had four years of writing consultation experience from working at writing centers at my undergraduate and graduate universities. I realized that I wanted to combine my science and writing consultation skillSheehepics in some way, but didn’t know how to do that or, shockingly, that RD was a field.

Around the same time, I happened to see a presentation by the Grant Proposal Manager at UVM and sent her an email requesting to chat
so I could learn more about what she does and how she made her way to that position. She was a wealth of knowledge and suggested I attend a NORDP-NE regional meeting in August of 2016. I felt very welcomed at the meeting. It was small–people easily recognized a new face, and therefore I was approached quite frequently. When I excitedly told my friends and family about the conference I described it as “a group of people who speak both my science and writing center lingo.” It solidified my decision to become an RD professional, particularly to help faculty articulate their research in a concise, clear, and compelling manner. Since attending the regional meeting, I have sought out additional proposal and manuscript development opportunities. I currently work with postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and, more recently, with an Assistant Professor I anticipate completing my Ph.D. research this summer and am actively applying for RD positions.

I am excited to meet new people at the upcoming NORDP National Meeting in May and to learn as much as I can about the RD field as a whole. My recommendation for other attendees (and myself) is to overcome any inhibitions they might have and just talk to people. The relationships I have built with people, both personal and professional, have been invaluable in achieving my goals and moving into this new career trajectory.

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We hope to see you at the 2017 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 8-10 in Denver, CO. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2017 updates.

If you’d like to be featured in a Conference Cameo, let us know at rdconf@nordp.org