NORDP 2019 Conference Cameo: Ruba S. Deeb

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29 in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register here: https://www.nordp.org/conferences.
_____________

Who: Ruba S. Deeb, Ph.D.
Where: University of Bridgeport
Number of years in research development: 3
Length of NORDP membership: 2
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 4
How do you unwind? Read novels

Over the last 20 years, I have worked with a diverse team of talented investigators at Weill Cornell Medical College on unraveling the pathophysiology of cardio-metabolic, lung, and neurodegenerative diseases. My experience is associated with extensive knowledge in research design that leads to the successful development of manuscripts for scientific journals, conferences, and for federal and non-federal representatives and donors. In addition, I have years of experience as a peer reviewer for leading scientific journals, a lecturer and presenter at national and international conferences and as a teacher and mentor to students (undergraduate, graduate, medical), interns, residents and postdoctoral associates.

RubaDeebIn 2015, I was appointed as the Director of Biomedical Research Development by the University of Bridgeport (UB) to help build a scientific environment that enhances research support for faculty and promotes “team science” and collaborative research programs.  Notably, UB is an emerging research institution where faculty time is consumed by heavy teaching loads. This leaves very little time for research that results in long-term meaningful projects that receive grant funding.  As such, resources for biomedical research at UB are very limited. In 2015 and with the support of UB leaders, I established UB’s first Collaborative Biomedical Research Center, outfitted with state-of-the-art research equipment for use by UB faculty and their students as well as collaborators for conducting their biomedical research projects.

In collaboration with the Director of the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs at the UB (Dr. Christine Hempowicz), we received a NIH Biomedical/ Biobehavioral Research Administration Development (BRAD) grant for enhancing research development and administration at the university. Since receiving the NIH BRAD award, I became a NORDP member in 2016. This was advised by research development professionals to help inspire my strategic design of activities that facilitate team building, creating relationships with the community, attracting research funding, and increasing UB’s competitiveness. Choosing a NORDP mentor (Dr. Brooke Gowl) was great as she was able to help me navigate appropriate funding mechanisms, grant writing workshops, and seminars, as well as offer valuable advice to incentivize faculty to attend workshops and seminars.

Attending NORDP conferences and learning from experts how to find funding opportunities during challenging times, how to launch “Grand Challenges” initiatives, or how to “achieve success with limited resources” are just a few examples of inspiring topics that have helped me to define the building blocks for UB faculty. In fact, due to the value of all of the talks at every NORDP conference that I have attended, my wish is that the organizers can find a scheduling solution that minimizes session overlap and allows attendees to maximize the number of talks that they can attend. This year, I am looking forward to attending as many sessions as possible including the round table discussions – an excellent way to network with colleagues. Finally, I am very happy to connect face-to-face with my NORDP mentor, Dr. Brooke Gowl.

Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. 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 #NORDP2019 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 2019 Conference Cameo: Anne Pascucci

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29 in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register here: https://www.nordp.org/conferences.
_____________

Who: Anne Pascucci, Director, Office of Sponsored Programs
Where: Christopher Newport University
Number of years in research development: 13
Length of NORDP membership: 8
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 4
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Clown

“Research development professional” was a term I hadn’t heard until I met Mark Milutinovich. At AAAS at the time, he told me that an initiative I was trying to get off the ground was Research Development. The idea was to incorporate many disciplines at Radford University into a Rural Health Initiative. “Health” included physical/mental (nursing, PT, OT, Psych, Social Work), cultural (Dance, Theater, Music), educational (College of Education and Human Development), and financial (College of Business and Economics). The measurable impacts would be on the community and the student experience in the community. Mark told me that I should seek out Holly Falk-Krzesinski at the next NCURA meeting because she was doing a session on RD.  I went to that session and have been calling myself a Research Development Professional ever since, although I have been doing this type of transdisciplinary work since I was at Rhode Island College (2000-2008).

Anne
Anne at NORDP in 2018

I attended my first NORDP conference on a scholarship in 2011. I have attended as many annual meetings as possible ever since. NORDP is my “leave feeling great” conference. It is about creativity, validation, and sharing ideas. I am invigorated at the end of the conference and ready to implement new ideas upon my return. NCURA is an excellent resource but it is the “here are the new rules to be afraid of conference.” Vitally important, as I am at a PUI with dual responsibility, but one leaves each conference with very different feelings, goals, tools, and peer connections.

I am particularly excited to be chairing the PUI NORDP Affinity Group this year. We hope to formalize our place in NORDP and expand everyone’s knowledge about who we are and what we do. I am honored as I am stepping in after a spectacular group led by Ronald Fleischmann put the backbones together.

My advice to conference attendees is to bring business cards. I know that I am old school but immediately upon return, I request to connect on LinkedIn with new peers and resources. Go to every possible opportunity to network. Seek out folks from different backgrounds and types of institutions. You will gain something from everyone that you meet.

_____________

Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. 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 #NORDP2019 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 2018 Conference Notes: Plenary: Diversity Panel – Inclusive Excellence and the Research Enterprise: The Role of Research Development Professionals

Presenters:

  • Kyle Lewis, University of California Santa Barbara
  • Beth Mitchneck, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Roland Owens, Office of Intramural Research, NIH
  • Barbara Endemaño Walker (Moderator), University of California Santa Barbara

Thanks to our session scribe, Don Takehara, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  1. Why is diversity important for science? The literature shows that diverse teams produce better science and create more publications. Women have been shown to be highly collaborative on teams. In the same vein, having a diverse team creates stronger cultural competence which allows for a wider dissemination of the results.
  2. How can research development professionals engage diverse faculty? The presenters encouraged RD professionals to be proactive in attracting, recruiting, and retaining diverse teams. They also suggested the benefits of attending an anti-bias workshop. A recommended book was Why So Slow? by Virginia Valian.
  3. How can diverse faculty be retained? Attracting, recruiting, and retaining a diverse faculty needs to be considered simultaneously. If a faculty member feels isolated, they will be less likely to stay. The question, “Is she/he ready to be a full professor?” needs to be treated with objectivity and not subjectivity. Additionally, mentoring is important at every step when retaining faculty.
  4. What else can RD professionals do? The presenters argued that when RD professionals engage directly with diverse faculty, it makes a difference. Institutional transformation is often necessary, and it is also important to be informed of your institution’s data and trends in this area. Another resource to consider is NSF’s ADVANCE program.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

There is extensive literature on the benefits of diversity that RD professionals should seek out and consider when approaching their work.

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

The panel members may create a suggested reading list based on the topics discussed in this session.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s) response?

An audience member asked how the use of mentors might be more effective. The presenters explained the importance of choosing mentors carefully, providing mentors with appropriate training, and considering a faculty member’s interest and ability to serve as a mentor throughout their careers.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

RD professionals can make a difference in encouraging diversity both within team science and their universities as a whole. It is important for RD professionals to be educated on these issues, and also to help communicate their importance to decision makers.

 

 

NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: Ideas Lab Workshop: Starting a Grand Challenge Initiative & Picking/Proposing a Grand Challenge Topic: Issues & Decisions from the University and the Research Team Perspectives (Part 1)

Ideas Lab Workshop: Starting a Grand Challenge Initiative & Picking/Proposing a Grand Challenge Topic: Issues & Decisions from the University and the Research Team Perspectives (Part 1)

Presenters:

  • Eva Allen, Indiana University
  • Sarah Archibald, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Jennifer Lyon Gardner, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Michelle Popowitz, UCLA
  • Sarah Rovito, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
  • Amy Spellacy, The Ohio State University

Thanks to our session scribe, Linda Vigdor, City University of New York! 

Key points from the session. We learned:

This session was designed to be highly interactive with the audience. A broad overview of key factors to consider when initiating a grand challenge include:

  1. What are the drivers for starting a program – how might these influence the design of the program?
  2. Grand Challenge Goals vs. Themes – it is helpful to differentiate between these.
    1. Theme: (-) not that easy to measure outcomes and hard to set up requirements to meet but (+) good for generating interest and engaging participants; “no failure” with a theme; themes persist beyond the goals and offer potential of culture change
    2. Goal: (+) easier to communicate objectives but (-) narrower focus than a theme; “failure” is a possibility – thus, harder to sell to researchers or executives
    3. One strategy is to start with a theme (for ideation phase) then narrow the theme to focused goals
  3. Management of theme-driven and goal-driven challenges require different strategies.
    1. Theme-driven: open-ended management
    2. Goal-driven: defined approach
  4. Get creative with funding approaches, for example:
    1. Sell institutional assets (e.g., parking)
    2. Generate philanthropic gifts
    3. Provide campus-based funding
  5. Ideation approaches:
    1. Pre-define a broad topic – bring people together to brainstorm ideas to further refine/define the topic
    2. Run open calls – ask for concept papers and/or offer seed funding grants to explore viability of ideas
    3. Organize topics around specific person with core expertise or draw
    4. Top down – topic defined by high level administration or by external partner to achieve specified goals

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

I was surprised by the difference in focusing on goals vs. themes as an organizing structure when designing a grand challenge. Both have their merits.

  • Advantages of organizing around Smart Goals:
    • (a) unified vision;
    • (b) easier to communicate societal impact;
    • (c) promise of defined impact for participants;
    • (d) measurable;
    • (e) time-limited;
    • (f) roles more easily defined; and
    • (g) better positioned for partnerships
  • Advantages of organizing around Themes:
    • (a) flexibility;
    • (b) campus able to define or declare success at any point;
    • (c) inclusivity;
    • (d) scope can be variable;
    • (e) may generate more excitement due to fewer restrictions; and
    • (f) no predefined timeline or endpoint

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

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

An interesting question focused on best strategies for picking teams.

  • Identify people known to be team players
  • Identify people who have the requisite experience, and/or reputation relevant to the proposed theme
  • Noted: themes proposed at general meetings can be hard to manage in terms of selection, focus, etc.
  • It’s also important to have a strategy to keep faculty engaged once they sign on to a grand challenge

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

The interactive format kept the session lively and produced thoughtful ideas.

NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: NORDP Program for External Evaluation of Research Development (PEERD): Perspectives from Evaluators and Institutions Evaluated

NORDP Program for External Evaluation of Research Development (PEERD): Perspectives from Evaluators and Institutions Evaluated

Presenters:

  • Jerilyn Hansen, Utah State University
  • Susan Carter, Retired, UC Merced
  • Kay Tindle, Texas Tech University
  • Peggy Sundermeyer, Trinity University

Thanks to our session scribe, Mary Jo Daniel, University of New Mexico!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • PEERD is a new (formalized in 2017) service offered through NORDP that currently has a pool of 8 reviewers.
  • PEERD reviews are planned collaboratively by institutional leadership and the PEERD team.
  • Review team composition is critical; there needs to be a balance of personalities, skill sets, and experience levels.
  • Reviews engage campus leadership, the RD office being reviewed, and faculty groups.
  • Reviews result in actionable recommendations.


What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

Not a surprise, but a good idea: it’s best to plan for a follow-up meeting to share review recommendations broadly with those who participated in the review (e.g., other administrators, faculty members).

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

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

An audience member pointed out that evaluations can be judgment-based/draw from experience, or more data-driven (e.g., use of repeatable protocols). The audience member felt that PEERD appears to emphasize the first, and wanted to know how this was decided upon. The presenters explained that individual campus goals determine the approach taken by the PEERD group. So, if a campus requests an analysis of data, the PEERD group is able to do this.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

Cost of a PEERD review is dependent on individual campus goals and the design of the review itself, but a “ballpark” figure for the service is between $12K – $18K. The PEERD reviewers are paid a fee and NORDP is paid for its administration of the program.

NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: Practical Strategies for Facilitating Innovative Research

Practical Strategies for Facilitating Innovative Research

Presenters:

  • Donnalyn Roxey, Knowinnovation
  • Andy Burnett, Knowinnovation

Thanks to our session scribe, Jennifer Huntington, University of Michigan!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • Knowinnovation designed the “Ideas Lab” – a multi-day program to develop ideas among faculty members with different areas of expertise to create a proposal for funding.
  • Creativity was defined as the production of novel and useful thinking. Everyone is creative in different ways that leads to innovation.
  • Tools to use with faculty in order to foster ideation that will get researchers to truly collaborate and think beyond their own ideas of what is important.
  • Clear link between Research Development professionals and their ability to use their skills creatively to foster innovative research. RD professionals are not just the implementation piece.
  • During the session, there were two points at which the audience was asked to speak with someone sitting next to them about 1. Where each person could use more creative methods in RD, and 2. What have you seen work well in that space? This was a great way to develop connections with colleagues and share ideas.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

It was surprising to have the session be based around the idea of creativity and how we can foster that first in ourselves and understand that we are all creative in different ways. That really helped tie into the proposed strategies for fostering innovative research. It surprised me how willing Knowinnovation was to share some of their methodology for us to immediately utilize at our home institutions.

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

Two models were shared: Web of Abstraction – how to define the “problem” or really understand what the problem is.  PPCO – how to focus on the values of different ideas to stop the “that’s a terrible idea” mindset. PPCO evaluates an idea starting with the Pluses, the Potentials, the Concerns, and lastly, how to Overcome some of the Concerns (when possible). The presenter did state that she was willing to share any other resources around Knowinnovation’s methods.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s)’ response?

One question was asked about ideal group size for ideation workshops. Another participant asked how to get faculty to attend the workshops. The presenter responded that the ideal size is less than 10, and that the “sweet spot” is a group of 7-8 people. That then tied into clarifying that a successful workshop of this type is NOT based on attendance/size, so getting faculty to “show up” is not actually the program’s goal. It becomes rather difficult to effectively ideate around innovative concepts when there isn’t an ability to narrow the focus enough. The end goal of these workshops is to have a handful of faculty come out with a great proposal concept for funding.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

If you sign-up for the Knowinnovation blog, they periodically post about the work they are doing, including methodologies and other helpful tips. They offer many services, including: workshops, virtual events, lunchtime talks, 3-day proposal building sessions, and ideas labs.

NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: The Little RD Office That Could: Lessons Learned from RD Program Flops

The Little RD Office That Could: Lessons Learned from RD Program Flops

Presenters:

  • Karen Fletcher, Appalachian State University
  • Katie Howard, Appalachian State University

Thanks to our session scribe, Suzanne Lodato, Indiana University Bloomington!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • Unsuccessful programming gives you an opportunity to rethink and revise your programming and move forward.
  • If you observe your audience while you are facilitating a program, you will see it is obvious when they are beginning to lose focus. Exercises like stretching breaks can help participants refocus.
  • Sometimes it is more effective to split longer workshops into smaller, more digestible sessions. For example, for finding funding, an overview session can be followed up by a separate hands-on funding database workshop.
  • Often a single session is more effective than a series of multiple sessions, particularly if you can gather some feedback within the single session. Participants tend to drop out of multi-week programs.
  • Workshops that require registration draw much better participation than drop-in workshops.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

  • Appalachian State is a PUI, but is currently recruiting more faculty who are “research intensive.”
  • Most participants who attend a finding funding workshop do not think it works well.
  • A two hour finding funding workshop tends to be ineffective because too much material is presented in one sitting and people lose focus.

What were the most interesting questions asked by audience members, and what was the presenters’ response?

  • For finding funding, some research development professionals encourage faculty to set up profiles before attending a hands-on database session.
  • What didn’t work: one person organized drop-in days for consultations on finding funding that were poorly attended.
  • Appalachian State has a separate office for undergrad research.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

Here are two grant writing workshop models that worked well:

  • A multi-week program that required a sign-off from the faculty member’s department chair. Participants submitted a white paper to apply for the workshop, and the white papers were judged by means of a competitive process. Faculty had to commit to attending a specified minimum number of sessions. Participants identified a scientific mentor. Staff identified a senior mentor with whom the participant met once a month. Participants were also mentored by staff and peers. Only senior mentors were paid, because they had to meet with participants once per month and report back. Mentoring and accountability to the mentor were the reasons for the success of the program. Participants talked about more than just their current proposal with their mentor, so they developed their career paths, too.
  • Short, internal grant writing workshops 1.5 hours in length. The grant program is reviewed in the session, and participants spend time discussing their proposal ideas to receive feedback. An exercise may encourage participants to write for a very short period of time (e.g., 90 seconds), but they are not required to write during the workshop.