NORDP 2017 Conference Notes: Bringing NORDP Home: Building a Community of Research Development Professionals

Bringing NORDP Home: Building a Community of Research Development Professionals

Presenters:
Beth LaPensee, Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, University of Michigan
Jill Jividen, Office of Research, University of Michigan Medical School

Thanks to our session note-taker!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • The University of Michigan is a large, decentralized research university. Research development functions are housed in some of the university’s 19 schools and colleges rather than in a central office.
  • Beth and Jill’s interest in sharing research development resources and strategies was sparked at a NORDP dinner. They created a group to share best practices and resources, bring exposure to research development resources and efforts, promote interdisciplinary collaboration, foster faculty research, and increase the quantity and quality of proposals submitted. Central university research leadership was not interested in supporting the group, so they switched to a grassroots approach.
  • They brought together a Research Development Core Team of 16 members representing 12 UM units and a variety of job classifications. It was a challenge at times to identify people who were engaging in research development activities, as well as to convince them that what they were doing was actually research development.
  • The Core Team hosted a free half-day “mini-NORDP” conference in spring 2016, attended by 52 people from 33 different units. Evaluations were good, and proved to be a source of ideas for maintaining momentum throughout the year.
  • Since spring 2016, the group has also hosted a workshop on library involvement in research development, created a moderated listserv, and are collecting university-wide resources and contacts. Over 100 people are now part of the e-mail list for research development news and events.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

I was a bit surprised that the mini-conferences featured keynote speakers from outside the university. This makes sense, however – as the saying goes, you are never an expert in your own backyard!

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

I liked the idea of looking to conference and event evaluations as a source of ideas for activities for the coming year.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenters’ response?

A question came up about how to involve research administration staff in research development without losing the distinction between the two in the eyes of high-level leadership. Jill Jividen replied that she often presented research administration and research development as two parts of a Venn diagram. The overlapping center section is faculty success.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

This is a good model for larger universities with decentralized research development functions.

NORDP Membership Continues to Grow

How does our garden grow? Thanks for asking! NORDP’s Member Services Committee is delighted to report that our goal to increase the net number of NORDP members by 100 this year has not only been achieved, but exceeded. NORDP’s active members now total 779, an increase of 138 since NORDP’s fiscal year began on October 1, 2016.  Thank you to Member Services Committee members and to all other NORDP members who have worked so tirelessly on this year’s member recruitment and retention campaign.   Kudos!!

Kathy Cataneo, Member Services Committee 

Regional Groups Met at NORDP 2017 Conference

During the 2017 NORDP Conference all seven regions held meetings with over 220 members attending. Common themes included affinity groups, annual conference location, listservs, and shared challenges.

Highlights of each region’s discussion are listed below. For full reports, click here.

I – Northeast

NORDP Northeast plans to apply for affinity group status. NE is open to piloting programs to roll out at NORDP national, and is considering slight increases to its meeting registration fees that could provide for travel awards to the NORDP annual conference for regional members with financial need.

 II – Atlantic

The Atlantic region is looking into holding a monthly conference call or online meeting to share best practices & challenges. Rotating annual in-person meetings and creation of a regional membership directory were also discussed.

III – Southeast

The Southeast region is very interested in becoming an affinity group with the intent to plan meaningful activities for members of the region. Kimberly Eck offered to lead the application process and plans to put together a working subcommittee to draft a proposal and give all SE members a chance to contribute.

IV – Great Lakes

The Great Lakes region had a great discussion about holding a regional meeting. As a result they are planning their 1st Regional Meeting which will be hosted by Jeff Agnoli at Ohio State University in October.

V – Mid-West & Mountain

The Midwest & Mountain region members discussed using their new listserv to assist in organizing their regional efforts as well as exchanging ideas about funding opportunities specific to the regional members.

VI – Southwest

The Southwest region members discussed the new formalized process for creation of affinity groups and explored some of the background on why the process has been put into place. Kay Tindle offered to lead the affinity group initiative and plans to organize a conference call to discuss the effort.

VII – Pacific

The Pacific region discussed the active use of their active listserv, which they plan to continue to use. Members voted in favor of moving forward with identifying Region VII as an official region through the affinity group mechanism.

Summary prepared by Dan Campbell, Member Services Committee. 

NORDP 2017 Conference Reflection with Eric Wayne Dickey

Conference Reflections provide brief reflections on members’ NORDP 2017 experiences. Maybe there was a session you particularly enjoyed, a connection made, or a keynote that spoke to you. If you’d like to participate, you can send your reflection directly to communications@NORDP.org.

Eric Wayne Dickey: Live tweeting during the seminars and presentations allowed me to document the things I learned at the conference. It also allowed me to make personal and professional connections to other research developers via social media. As a result, I will use my tweets from the Denver conference to compile a blog post that I can share with the readers of my Liberal Arts Research in Action blog. You can follow me here: twitter.com/claResearchOSU, and check out my blog here: blogs.oregonstate.edu/lara/.  The conference inspired me to up my online and social media presence, not just for my research development work, but also for my creative writing work. Something I have been wanting to do for a while. Who knew that Poetry and Research Development were made for each other? Thanks for the inspiration, my NORDP colleagues!

Visit twitter.com/MePoet and medium.com/@MePoet if you’re interested in Eric’s writing. 

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)