NORDP’s Rising Stars

Introducing the 2016 Rising Star Awardees

In 2016 the Board of Directors established the Rising Star Award to recognize up to three members that have made outstanding contributions to our organization and members. We are honored to share with you the 2016 Rising Star Award recipients.

2016-rising_star-gardnerJennifer Lyon Gardner, University of Texas at Austin

Jennifer Lyon Gardner is a true rising star of research development, dedicated to our emerging profession both at her own institution and to NORDP. Her work on NORDP’s annual conference has inspired us all: she is thoughtful, proactive, pragmatic, and strategic. She truly represents the future of NORDP.


2016-rising_star-mcdermott-murphyCaitlin McDermott-Murphy, Harvard University

Through her important and impactful RD work Caitlin McDermott-Murphy has become an integral part of her team at Harvard University, a valued member of our regional group, NORDP Northeast, and a strong proponent of and ambassador for NORDP National.


2016-rising_star-whittenberger-keithKari Whittenberger-Keith, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Kari Whittenberger-Keith has been a capable and reliable volunteer that strongly believes in the mission and vision of NORDP and has proved repeatedly her willingness to serve the membership in new and innovative ways. Her commitment to our members is laudable and demonstrated by the excellence of effective practices in research development programming.


Eligibility for this award includes at least three years of experience in the profession, two years of NORDP membership, and significant volunteer contributions to NORDP. Recipients receive a custom-engraved plaque and waived registration fee for a future conference. Nominations must be submitted to the Conference Scholarships & Service Awards Committee by the last day of February each year or by email to  rdconf@nordp.org. All nomination materials remain in consideration for a period of up to three years from the date of submission and supplemental materials may be submitted each year. (Current and past members of the Board of Directors are ineligible for this award.)

2016 Conference Cameo: Jason Charland

#NORDP2016 starts Monday, May 23 in Orlando! Download the full conference program book to start planning your conference experience. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) next week for live conference updates.


Who: Jason Charland, Director of Grant Development
Where: University of Maine
Number of years in research development: 5
Length of NORDP membership: Joined in February 2016
Number of NORP conferences attended: 1

My first experience with research development was through a field placement as a graduate student in a university research center where I helped to implement research and Charland_Photooutreach projects.  I have worked on a variety of grant-funded and grant writing projects in the public health, K-12 education, and university research sectors.  Having held several program staff positions on federally funded grants has provided me with a unique perspective as a research development professional.  I gained hands-on experience executing workplan deliverables, managing grant budgets, cultivating relationships with program officers, and implementing follow-on funding strategies. These collective experiences have translated well to working with faculty on research proposal development.

In 2012, I joined the University of Maine (UMaine) as the Grants Management Coordinator for the College of Education and Human Development, where I supported faculty with pre- and post-award functions.  In the summer of 2014, I was recruited by the Vice President for Research to join her office and start the Grant Development Office at UMaine to enhance faculty grant seeking and research development efforts.  Our areas of focus are: proposal resubmissions, junior faculty grantsmanship support, project management of interdisciplinary center grant proposals, and facilitation of collaborations with the sister campuses within the University of Maine System.

I first heard about NORDP from my colleagues at UNH, and have been attending NORDP NE regional meetings since 2014. I was the first representative from Maine to become involved with the regional group and recently joined NORDP as an official member. Last year was the first NORDP national conference that I attended and I enjoyed the networking opportunities and the variety of presentations and panels that were available to attendees. After attending a NORDP presentation on evaluation, we have begun to administer customer satisfaction surveys to monitor our services and help communicate the impact of our office.

The NORDP NE group has provided great networking and professional development opportunities and the regional meetings also provide an opportunity to visit different campuses.  Members that I have reached out to directly have been extremely helpful and I am grateful to have this network to call upon.  I am looking forward to co-presenting at this year’s conference with a NORDP NE colleague.

Two new research development staff members joined my office recently and I am glad that we have the opportunity to attend this year’s conference together as a team.  I look forward to continuing to learn about the strategies that other universities have employed in establishing research development offices. My recommendations are that attendees take full advantage of the networking opportunities that the conference provides and actively engage with speakers during the Q&A periods of the various panels and presentations.

NORDP Northeast Regional Group: A Report on Our Progress, Activities, and Plans

By Caitlin McDermott-Murphy (NE Secretary; Harvard University, Faculty of Arts & Sciences) with contributions by Kathy Cataneo (NE Chair; University of New Hampshire) (corrected to reflect actual authorship)

NORDP NE 2014In In the Fall 2013 NORDP newsletter, the NORDP Northeast (NE) regional group published an article on the history and impact of our small and relatively new faction. We briefly delved into the value our participants receive: rich presentations and problem-solving in our bi-annual conferences; relationships and collaborations that extend beyond the borders of our meetings; and open exchange of tools, ideas, and business cards. In this latest article, we share our progress over the past year, including a debrief of our most recent – and largest! – conference to date.

To cater to our diverse member needs and develop a robust program, we solicited ideas for our anticipated July 2014 NORDP NE conference agenda via several avenues. First, those New England-based RD professionals who attended the May 2014 NORDP Conference in Portland, OR participated in a breakfast brainstorming session. Our NORDP NE advisory committee members—Anne Windham, Kathy Cataneo, and Susan Gomes—facilitated the session while NORDP NE communications coordinator Caitlin McDermott-Murphy organized and synthesized the session output. Second, in order to include input from those unable to attend the National conference, we disseminated this information to our NORDP NE July conference planning committee. We expect to continue to seek input for future conferences through a similar variety of methods in order to best serve our diverse constituents.

Our July 2014 Northeast Regional Conference

In July, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) at Durham and current chair, Kathy Cataneo (UNH Director of Research Development & Communications) hosted our Summer NORDP NE conference. The conference theme was “Inter- and Intra-Institutional Collaboration,” a theme not just evident in our session topics and activities but in our attendees as well. We welcomed ­­­fifty-five participants—our highest attendance since the founding of NORDP NE three years ago. This number included attendees from states previously unrepresented and, in fact, Research Development professionals arrived from every New England state, a first for our burgeoning group. In addition, we welcomed special guest Karin Scarpinato from Georgia Southern University. Karin is launching a regional group, analogous to NORDP NE, to serve RD professionals at institutions in the Southeast. With this goal in mind, she requested to attend and observe our July conference to gain insight, ask questions, and share her own ideas and impressions. We look forward to learning about the Southeast region’s progress and to share tips and pitfalls as both our groups grow.

The format of the NORDP NE July conference mirrored that of the NORDP Annual Conference.  After Anne Windham (NORDP Board Member and founding NORDP NE chair) and Kathy Cataneo (current NORDP NE chair) welcomed attendees, keynote speaker Dr. Jan Nisbet, UNH Senior Vice-Provost for Research, spoke on the topic, “From Center Director to SVPR: How my journey informed research development at UNH.” Dr. Nisbet’s speech was followed by NORDP NE member-led concurrent sessions on member-driven topics. These included:

  • Communicating Funding Opportunities to Faculty
  • Balancing Sole-Investigator Proposals with Multi-Investigator Proposals
  • Strategic Deployment of University Resources
  • Managing the Proposal Development Process for Multi-Investigator Proposals
  • Building Teams Around Programmatic Proposals
  • Creating Center Proposals
  • Evaluation Planning

More often than not, session co-presenters hailed from separate institutions, resulting in rich debates with alternate perspectives, experiences, tools, and methods, as well as new cross-institutional partnerships.

 

In addition to concurrent sessions, the NORDP NE July conference included two new activities. To kick things off, each institution offered 2 to 4 current institutional research strengths (or “pillars”) as well as 2 to 4 aspirations (See image 1). As attendees settled in, networked and enjoyed the lavish breakfast spread, they also took a moment to paste their institution’s name beneath different research areas written across one wall, signifying that area as an institutional “pillar” or “aspiration.” This shared resource will encourage and assist institutions to seek new collaborations and partnerships across our region.

The second new activity occurred over lunch: each roundtable featured a representative from those offices that collaborate with UNH RD staff most frequently. UNH provided the hosts, who hailed from: Research Administration; Commercialization, Technology Transfer, and Innovation; Cyberinfrastructure; Corporate and Foundation Relations; Graduate School and Graduate Student Support; Government Relations; Broader Impacts, Engagement, and Cooperative Extension; and Communications For and About Research. These “Themed Roundtables” provided an opportunity to ask questions about the scope of these offices, where Research Development might intersect, and how to develop partnerships to add value to what we individually and collectively offer our faculty.

Our National Institutes of Health (NIH) Webinar

Moving forward, NORDP NE will look for opportunities to extend our regional collaboration even further. With Federal budgets tightened—and tightening—program officers receive less travel funding at a time when our faculty arguably need their close guidance and influence more than ever. As such, RD offices—and the faculty we serve—benefit from organized collaborative events that serve not just one institution but an entire region. Our region has, for example, benefited from such an event. This past September, UNH organized a webinar on the “Fundamentals of the NIH and the NIH Grants Process”, featuring Megan Columbus, Director of the Office of Communications and Outreach in the NIH Office of Extramural Research. UNH advertised the webinar to its NORDP NE partners and, as a result, recorded over 275 faculty, postdoctoral, graduate student and staff participants across New England (with a few in Canada, New York, and Texas no less). This proved to be a “win-win” for NIH and NORDP NE institutions. We plan to seek additional opportunities to share such resources and to leverage our regional numbers to entice program officers to visit and interact with our researchers. There is power in numbers!