Do You Like M&Ms? Meet the Mentoring Committee at #NORDP2019

Actual M&Ms will feature prominently at the multiple venues where you can engage with the enthusiastic Mentoring Committee!

Members of NORDP Mentoring have been working over the past few months to ensure that anyone with an interest in pursuing mentoring, being mentored, exploring peer mentoring, or in other facets of collaborating with others around professional development, will find a conference replete with diverse opportunities to delve into those topics.

Even before #NORDP2019 officially begins, the Mentoring Committee will host a Mentor/Mentee (M&Ms, get it?) Meet-up on Sunday, April 28, from 4:30-5:30 PM in the South County room, so newly matched Mentor/Mentee pairs can meet in person to get their mentoring relationship off to a solid start.  Past Mentor/Mentee pairs are also invited.

There will be chocolate, fun, and a game with prizes!

Throughout the conference, please join us at any of the following Mentoring Committee events, sessions and areas where we will have information, M&Ms, and Mentoring Committee members available:

Monday, April 29

Workshop:  An Overview of Onboarding Materials and Webinars Offered to Support Mentees and Mentors, 10:00 AM – Noon
An overview for all, from the mentoring curious to the veteran, of the complete set of tools available to assist NORDP members in mentoring, regardless of participation in the NORDP Mentoring Program

Workshop: Adapting the National Research Mentoring Network’s “Maintaining Effective Communication” Module to the RD Professional, 1:15 – 3:15 PM
Participants will use an NRMN training module tailored to RD to build upon their communication skills across diverse dimensions including various backgrounds, disciplines, generations, ethnicities, and power structures using evidence-based strategies. Case studies, group exercises, self-assessment, and rich reflective dialogue will reinforce concepts.

Tuesday, April 30

Mentoring Lightning Storm, 8:30 – 9:30 AM (Concurrent Session 1):  Ten 5-minute lightning talks on discrete topics in mentoring, ranging from “Transitioning from mentee to mentor” to “The mentor/mentee match algorithm/process revealed”

Idea Showcase mentoring program poster, 4:30 – 6:30 PM:  Get a quick overview of the NORDP mentoring program while noshing and making new friends!

Wednesday, May 1

Mentoring Roundtable, 9:30 – 10:30 AM (Concurrent Session 5):  An interactive forum that will give participants an intimate setting and a chance to guide the conversation about three mentoring topics in depth: Peer Mentoring, Transitioning from Mentee to Mentor, and The Value of Diversity and Inclusion in Mentoring

Informal Mentoring opportunities throughout the conference:

  • Mentoring Networking Dinners – On Monday, April 29 and Tuesday, April 30, at 6:30 PM, hosts will introduce you to great restaurants for fine food with a side of mentoring conversation.
  • Research on the Rocks – informally hosted nightly (Sunday, April 28 – Wednesday, May 1) by Mentoring Committee co-chair David Widmer in the Omni bar, ROTR will give anyone who wants a chance to unwind, socialize AND/OR talk even more about the benefits of mentoring.  Stop by after the networking dinners or, on Wednesday, after the Conference concludes, for some libation (cash bar) and information.
  • Career Center Mentoring Table – throughout the Conference, the Mentoring Program will have information available at a table in the new NORDP Career Center. Drop in, learn something about mentoring, and you might even be able to win a prize!
  • Talk to Us – Look for blue (or “marine,” if you need a mnemonic) Mentoring Committee ribbons during the Conference if you have a question or just want to make a conference buddy; we’re a friendly group!

We’re looking forward to seeing you at NORDP 2019! #MentoringMatters (M&Ms)

Calling All Mentors

Applications for the NORDP Mentoring Program are open through Wednesday, March 6! The Mentoring Program is an excellent way to get to know your NORDP colleagues and share knowledge and resources.

Are you ready to take your learning up a notch? Mentoring is an excellent way to:

  • Learn by teaching
  • Build your professional network
  • #PayItForward
  • Create and continue a culture of mentoring within NORDP
  • Share knowledge and exchange ideas

To make it easy, the Mentoring Committee has developed an OnBoarding Packet with resources for mentors and mentees to use in setting up an initial conversation, set goals for individual professional development, and more. The Committee is continuing to develop and hone these resources to meet the needs of both mentors and mentees. In addition, each mentor-mentee pair is assigned a facilitator who is available to answer any questions.

A Mentoring Toolkit, which includes the OnBoarding Packet, webinars, and a list of publications and web resources, is also available to all NORDP members.

If you have already signed up as a mentor for 2019, thank you! If you have not yet filled out this year’s mentor program application, would you consider becoming a mentor?

Apply to the NORDP Mentoring Program

Questions? Let us know!

Interested in learning more? See what previous mentors and mentees say about their experiences (for a full listing of blog posts, search for “Spotlight: Mentoring Program in Five” on the NORDP blog):

Mentor/Mentee Spotlight: David Widmer

Mentor/Mentee Spotlight: Vanity Campbell

Mentor/Mentee Spotlight: Faye Farmer

Mentor/Mentee Spotlight: Karen Eck


National Mentoring Month

2019 is here – and to kick the year off, January is #NationalMentoringMonth, and January 31 is Thank Your Mentor Day.

Take a moment. When you read the word mentor, what comes to mind? A person who is invested in you, your growth and professional development? A trusted confidante? A role model, leader, or person who inspires? Mentors can be our champions, our teachers, and our sounding boards.

Now, when you read the word mentee, what comes to mind? Someone eager to learn? To grow? A commitment? A way to #PayItForward?

As Research Development professionals, we are surrounded by opportunities to mentor and be mentored. As an organization, NORDP is invested in the value of mentoring as a reciprocal relationship, where both parties learn, grow and benefit. The NORDP Mentoring Committee works year-round to implement an annual mentoring program, matching mentors, mentees and peer mentors. Then throughout the year, the committee offers webinars, tools, and support. Applications for the program open in spring, and matches are made prior to the Conference. Membership in the Mentoring Committee is always open, and is a great place to volunteer with NORDP. We role model peer mentoring within the committee, and are committed to providing resources to all of NORDP membership.

One final question to reflect on: Are you ready? Become a mentor. Become a mentee. Step into the role of a peer mentor. You are needed. Necessary. And have so much to offer.

We encourage you to take a few minutes to thank the mentors in your life. And, while you are at it, thank your mentees, too. And those people you consider peer mentors. Because, #NORPDMentoringMatters

Contributed by the NORDP Mentoring Committee

Mentoring Committee: Survey Says…

By Scott Balderson and Kathy Partlow

Scott Balderson
Kathy Partlow

The Mentoring Committee recently surveyed the 2018-2019 Mentoring Program participants, which has 60 pairs (the largest group yet!). We had 40 out of 86 participants complete the survey (27 mentees, 9 mentors, and 4 both). As part of the survey, we received feedback on some ways we can improve the resources we developed for mentor-mentee pairs, including the OnBoarding Packet tools and webinar series that are available to all NORDP members. These can serve as a framework and guide for being intentional about your professional development. Topics include a guide to initial conversations, a self-assessment worksheet, mapping your network, and individual professional development plans. While the OnBoarding resources are optional for matched pairs, participants that employed the materials found them very or somewhat useful (100% for the tools and 95% for the webinars) for their mentoring relationship. These tools and webinars are always available to you through the NORDP Mentoring Toolkit on the NORDP website.

Also from the survey, we are excited to see that most of this year’s participants are new to the program. Specifically, it was the first year in the program for 73% of the mentees. In addition, 77% of mentors are serving as a mentor for the first time. While glad that the program is serving new mentees and mentors, we would like to encourage past program participants to consider re-engaging as mentors or mentees. Regardless of where we are in our career path, we can all benefit from having both mentee and mentor relationships. The most common benefits, perhaps, can be summarized using words from this year’s participants in response to our query on the most useful element of the program: having a “sounding board” with an “outside perspective” where we can have “honest conversations” and “get to know new RD professionals and learn from them.”

We plan to present the full survey results at the conference so stay tuned. Have other thoughts or ideas you’d like to share with the Mentoring Committee? Feel free to leave a comment or email us at


Mentoring Committee Highlights

Hello from the NORDP Mentoring Committee! Our mission is to equip research development professionals for success by offering meaningful mentoring expertise, support, and resources.

Here are a few committee highlights as we move into the fall semester:

This summer, we collaborated with the Professional Development Committee to present a series of mentoring webinars, all of which are now available in our Mentoring Toolkit on the NORDP website (log in to the members-only section, then visit the Mentoring Committee page).

Besides access to the mentoring webinar series, the Mentoring Toolkit allows NORDP members to explore tools for self-assessment, goal-setting, and strategic planning; and further reading on mentorship. Whether you are cultivating a mentoring relationship or interested in developing mentoring guidance for faculty, we have resources available.

The Mentoring Committee is also working with the Inclusive Excellence Committee to serve the mentoring needs of a growing and diverse organization.

This year, we are continuing to 1) network with other organizations who provide mentoring support and 2) build mentoring resources and training for NORDP members. Stay tuned for more updates.

If you are interested in learning more about the work of the committee, or are interested in joining us, we would love to hear from you! Are there any mentoring topics you would like to hear more about or any resources that you would find helpful? Feel free to leave a comment or email us at

NORDP Mentoring Program Webinar Series

Based on feedback from last year’s program participants, the Mentoring Committee has developed a series of webinars to support mentors/mentees/peer mentors when using the OnBoarding Packet, or individual tools in the packet. These webinars are open to the entire NORDP community, regardless of current participation in the NORDP Mentoring Program. Join us for one or all, and committee members will share tips as to how to use the tool, strategies for success, and other best practices. Registration links and descriptions for the first two webinars are below, as well as times and titles for the whole series:

Date Topic Length
June 13, 1:00 pm EST Getting your Mentoring Relationship off to a Strong Start 60 minutes
June 20, 1:00 pm EST The Initial Conversation Guide for Mentor Pairs: Getting Ready, Getting Started, Getting Results 45 minutes
June 27, 1:00 pm EST Self-Assessment Worksheet: Capitalizing on Strengths and Targeting Areas of Growth for Professional Development 45 minutes
July 11, 1:00 pm EST My MESHH Network: Developing Your Own Personalized Mentoring Network to Achieve Your Goals 45 minutes
July 18, 1:00 pm EST The NORDP Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP): Your Personalized Map for Success 45 minutes


Getting your Mentoring Relationship off to a Strong Start (June 13)

You are a mentor, a mentee, a peer or a near peer mentor. You might just be beginning to form a new relationship as a participant in the NORDP Mentoring Program, or are otherwise engaged in a mentoring relationship. This initial session in the NORDP Mentoring Program OnBoarding Packet Webinar Series will introduce participants to the OnBoarding Packet resources that are available to all NORDP members.

The webinar will provide an overview of mentoring within NORDP and provide tips and techniques for getting off to a strong start. The information that will be shared can be applied to any mentoring relationship, and at any stage. Attendees will have opportunities to ask questions, and provide input.

Following this introductory session, four targeted webinars will be delivered throughout the summer to provide a more in-depth look at each of the OnBoarding Tools: Initial Conversation Guide, Self-Assessment Worksheet, My MESHH Network and Individual Professional Development Plans. Join us for one, or for all, as you develop a strong foundation for mentoring.


Jan Abramson, MS, has worked in higher education since 1990. Throughout img_3098-jan-abramsonher career, she has been an ardent proponent of the value of mentoring. Her career began at University of Central Missouri, followed by appointments at University of Warwick and University of Birmingham (England). Returning to the US, she worked at University of Idaho before landing at University of Utah. Her early career was in student leadership development; since 2005, she has worked in the health sciences providing research and development support for the Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence, developing a research office for the College of Health, and growing a health-sciences wide emerging researcher program. In her role in a central research office, Jan is focusing on nurturing and supporting research administrators in Utah and across the country.

The Initial Conversation Guide for Mentor Pairs: Getting Ready, Getting Started, Getting Results (June 20)

Are you part of a mentor-mentee or peer-mentor pair? Whether you are just starting out or have an established mentoring relationship, this webinar will share some best practices. The OnBoarding Packet starts with the Initial Conversation for Mentor Pairs, a guide for preparing for and engaging in your first conversation. The tool has several sections and checklists that can serve as signposts: these include Getting Started, Establishing Agreements, and a Goals Worksheet and Checklist. This webinar will help you get a great start to your mentoring relationship. This tool can also be useful for those not formally paired for approaching people in your own mentoring network (MESHH) for relationship development.


David Widmer, PhD, has 17 years of research development and administrationDavid Widmerexperience at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, first as a Sr. Grants Management Specialist and currently as the Grants & Contracts (G&C) Manager of Scientific Development. In 2009, David started the G&C Funding Development Team (FDT) and has led it since 2011. A NORDP member since 2010, he has been actively involved with several working groups and committees. From 2012-2014 he served on the Membership Services Committee where he was part of the salary survey task force; since 2015 he has been a member of the NORDP Mentoring Program Committee and of the MESHH working group that developed the on-boarding packet and currently serves as Mentoring Committee co-chair. David has a Ph.D. in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, and Masters in Cell & Developmental Biology and the History of Medicine. David held a Fulbright Scholarship (1998-1999) and was a Fellow of the Swiss Confederation from 1999-2000.

Rachael Voas, MA, CRA, is the project manager for the Grants Hub, Office of the Vice rvphoto-300x300President for Research, at Iowa State University. In this role, Rachael leads interdisciplinary team development efforts in strategic areas and is actively involved with Team Science training initiatives. Rachael has six years of research development experience and has occasionally learned lessons the hard way, so she looks for opportunities to develop mentoring relationships to help others find an easier path and further the prowess of research development professionals.

Posted on behalf of the Mentoring Committee.

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 Cameo: New Board Member, Etta Ward

#NORDP2018 starts Monday, May 7 in Arlington, VA. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for live conference updates. Register here:

Who: Etta Ward, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development
Where: IUPUI
Number of years in research development: 15
Length of NORDP membership: 3
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2
What are the most interesting places you’ve visited? Brussels Belgium for a presentation and Park City Utah to volunteer for the Sundance Film Festival.

I have been in senior leadership at IUPUI for 15 years, advancing from Director of Research Development and then Executive Director of Research Development to my current role as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development. I led the effort to grow IUPUI’s research development operation from an office of two to a diverse team of nearly 30. I have led efforts to advance the IUPUI research enterprise by developing, planning, and implementing programs, training, and specialized services to advance the research and creative activities of our faculty, staff and students.Ward cropped again

I joined NORDP in 2016, after hearing many great things about the organization from my colleagues. Everyone raved about how perfectly NORDP initiatives and programming aligned with our research and faculty development work, as opposed to what NCURA offers.

All of the conferences I’ve attended have expanded my network of professional support and created unique opportunities for me to collaborate on projects and topics that interest me and that support my own professional purpose and calling. Effective mentoring as a strategy for success and developing rich cultures of mentorship stand at the forefront of what I do here at IUPUI and beyond. This professional interest is further nurtured through my active participation on NORDP committees and groups.

Work on the NORDP Mentoring Program Committee affords me the opportunity to further shape the rich culture of mentoring that the organization embraces. I helped with efforts to create tools and educational resources like the NORDP Mentoring Program packet that is offered to participants to facilitate positive and mutually beneficial relationships.

Through the mentoring program, committee work, and other working groups, I have built positive relationships with many RD professionals who have enhanced my own professional growth and development. Working on the Diversity Working Group allows me to focus on another passion, which is to promote inclusive excellence.

For this coming conference, I am especially excited about co-presenting a preconference workshop with Jan Abramson (peer-mentor) on effective mentorship, co-presenting two posters, and engaging and networking with NORDP colleagues.

My advice to new members (and non-active) current members is to get involved and stay involved. A simply way is by submitting an abstract to present something (e.g. pre-conference workshop, short workshop, poster, etc.). Everyone can contribute, and this is one way to help grow the RD profession and contribute to the conversation about work. Even if you are new, find some question, issue, opportunity to lead a discussion on. Everyone wins!

Etta Ward was just appointed as the newest member of the NORDP Board. Congrats, Etta!

Conference Marketing Committee


We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held May 7-9, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA.  For more information about the conference program or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2018 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.


January is National Mentoring Month

NORDP Board Member Jan Abramson was interviewed by Sarah Gluck, Editor-In-Chief of the National Research Mentoring Network Newsletter. To learn more about the National Research Mentoring Network, visit

NORDP offers a robust mentoring program for all interested members. Applications will be opening for mentors and mentees in early February. Be watching for more information!

jan a
Jan Abramson

Excerpted from NRMN January 2018 Newsletter:

National Mentoring Month is a time to reflect – on past and current relationships, where they will move in the future, and how we will grow our networks throughout our careers. For both Mentors and Mentees, forming positive research relationships offers growth, not only in terms of connections and research mindsets, but personally. To recognize the significance of mentorship, several scientists and administrators have shared their scientific stories, and their thoughts.

Jan Abramson, MS, Sponsored Projects Officer at the University of Utah, shared her thoughts as an administrator. Originally working at a film company, she was told by university staff that she was good at working with students – this inspired her to pursue a graduate assistantship in Higher Education Administration and Student Leadership. Abramson was the first in her family to attend college. “For years, I worked with student leadership and really began to understand the importance of what a good mentor could do to help a person’s career, because I have had great mentors…I had someone who saw my potential… I think about who I’ve inspired to keep moving forward…paying it forward to someone else is one of the best parts [of academia]. We don’t get very far unless we reach back and pull someone up with us.”

To access the January NRMN Newsletter, use this link. If you would like to sign up for the NRMN mailing list and newsletter, use this link.

Posted on behalf of the Mentoring Committee

Mentor/Mentee Spotlight: The NORDP Mentoring Program in Five Questions featuring Faye Farmer

Name: Faye Farmer
Institution: Arizona State University
Are you a Mentor? Mentee? Both? Both

1. What influenced you to become a mentor or mentee?
I found myself telling people that it was a great opportunity to grow their network. It occurred to me that I could benefit in the same way.

 2. What surprised you about being a mentor or mentee?
I had an immediate connection with both my mentor and mentees.

3. How has participating in the NORDP mentoring program impacted your day-to-day work?
I now have a file that I keep on my desktop filled with topics I’m storing up for our discussions.

4. What is one way being in the mentoring program has helped increase or broaden your understanding of research development?
It’s reassuring when you find the commonalities across institutions and helpful when you can think outside the box together to address something that is happening for both of you.

5. What other thoughts would you like to share about the program?
I enthusiastically jumped into NORDP mentoring program. I was matched with someone I had met briefly at a conference and another person I did not know. Because of the different sizes and missions of the two institutions, we were able to explore where we had common and unique concerns for our professional growth. After meeting informally via videoconference every other month, I have come to look forward to the insight and encouragement I receive as both a mentor and mentee. It is a small investment of time, for a wealth of information. I will be signing up again!


The NORDP Mentoring Program
The NORDP Mentoring Program offers a formalized pairing process to match a mentor and a mentee with similar professional interests and different levels of experience in order to frame a relationship that offers mutual guidance and support. Once pairs are matched, the mentoring process is an informal one based on the needs of each individual pair.

Posted on behalf of the Mentoring Committee




Mentor/Mentee Spotlight: The NORDP Mentoring Program in Five Questions featuring Jan Abramson

Name: Jan Abramson
Institution: The University of Utah
Are you a Mentor? Mentee? Both? Both


1. What influenced you to become a mentor or mentee?
I love to learn – and have found mentoring and being a mentee a pathway to continual learning. Throughout my career, many people have formally and informally mentored me ~ and when I finally realized that I too could share a listening ear, an open mind, encouragement and support, I actively ‘became a mentor.’ The delight that I take (and receive) in helping others grow sustains me. Mentoring became a passion, and I have deliberatively sought out opportunities to serve as a mentor. AND of course, becoming a better mentor means finding people to mentor me along that path.

 2. What surprised you about being a mentor or mentee?
The intrinsic rewards. The feel goods. The moments of reflection that being a mentor and a mentee bring. That I can see that the effort I put into the relationship makes a difference. AND I can determine what the effort and time commitment is.

3. How has participating in the NORDP mentoring program impacted your day-to-day work?
When I was new to the field of research development, I learned pragmatic skills from my NORDP mentor. Later, I transitioned into a role with a campus-wide mentoring program. Sharing thoughts, ideas, concepts and challenges with someone doing similar work helped me grow in my confidence. Now that I am working in a central office, and involved in research infrastructure support, I am able to support research development on campus, and in the profession by mentoring up and coming professionals. Time with my mentors and mentees is a highlight of my day. I get to think outside the policies and procedures where I am currently spending so much time.

4. What is one way being in the mentoring program has helped increase or broaden your understanding of research development?
The mentoring program has allowed me access to what I call ‘the best brains.’ Those involved in the mentoring program want to give back – or learn – and bring so much to the table. Being involved in the mentoring program has solidified my commitment to research development as an integral component of research.

5. What other thoughts would you like to share about the program?
One thing I appreciate is when the mentee drives the relationship. That helps me help them; by targeting their needs, I get to share what I can, and remember where I have come from. Also, a standing monthly appointment gives me something to look forward to; I learned early on that whenever I reach out a hand to help someone, I benefit too!


The NORDP Mentoring Program
The NORDP Mentoring Program offers a formalized pairing process to match a mentor and a mentee with similar professional interests and different levels of experience in order to frame a relationship that offers mutual guidance and support. Once pairs are matched, the mentoring process is an informal one based on the needs of each individual pair.

Posted on behalf of the Mentoring Committee