2017 Conference Cameo: Tess Powers

#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: Tess Powers, Director of Faculty Research Support
Where: Colorado College
Number of years in research development: 8
Length of NORDP membership: 1
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2017 will be my first one!
How do you unwind? Dancing

I attended Bryn Mawr College, a small liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia and one of the “Seven Sisters” women’s colleges. I wanted a career that involved writing. Thinking of perhaps a career as a science journalist, I decided to major in chemistry so that I would have a rigorous foundational understanding of one of the sciences.

RS49290_10_01_16_ Tess Powers_001After graduating, I attended a federal program called “Science and Engineering Research Semester” (SERS), which appears to now be defunct, where I, with many other recent graduates, conducted a semester of research at a national laboratory in order to determine whether I wanted to pursue a PhD. From this research experience I learned several important life lessons, one of which was that I like to work in draft form: Do something quickly, and perhaps badly, and then go back and do it better, again and again. I found that conducting good science is not particularly amenable to this approach.

I moved to Colorado Springs with a fellow SERS researcher, now my husband, and began working at the local alternative newsweekly. Over six years, I rose from receptionist to Managing Editor. I discovered that I loved managing projects and meeting deadlines. I also developed an appreciation for the Colorado Springs community, which was interesting and diverse in large part due to the presence of Colorado College, a small liberal arts college with a student body of approximately 2000 students.

I began my career at Colorado College in Development, as Assistant Director in the Corporate and Foundation Relations Office. I had neither grant-writing experience nor experience in philanthropy, but the College was willing to take a risk with me. My first assignment was to write a three-page letter, requesting $3 million. It wasn’t funded, but it was a powerful introduction to my new career: Writing a letter could produce dramatic and tangible results.

After so many years aiming for impartiality at the newsweekly, I found it meaningful to write with a perspective and an argument. I began to develop relationships with a number of faculty across the College, individuals involved in interesting projects and research. As the College didn’t have an Office of Sponsored Research, the CFR office became the central office for supporting faculty research grants. I began to learn the distinctions between research grants and philanthropic grants, not realizing that I had begun a career in research administration.

After five-plus years in Development, I moved over to the “academic side” and, for the last eight years, have staffed a one-person “office” supporting the research of approximately 170 faculty in the Office of the Dean. I work with faculty in all divisions, on the pre-award side and the post-award side, and oversee research compliance matters. During the last decade, the College has experienced a significant shift in the culture of grant-seeking. We’ve moved from supporting two or three faculty applications annually to about 20, with many more faculty engaging in research development activities that move them closer to being competitive for external funding.

I have been hearing about NORDP from a professional list-serve, particularly my co-presenter Kendra Mingo from Willamette University, and I am very interested in learning more about it. This will be my first NORDP conference, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

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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

Researching Research Development

A project responding to David Stone’s call for “empirical research into what [research developers] do” was approved by the NORDP Board in the fall of 2016. Its long-range goal is to provide information that will “improve our performance as professionals and…connect what we do to constituent groups and institutions to whom we bring value.” The investigation will address “type, scope, [and] scale” questions and seek to identify knowledge, skills, and aptitudes essential in research development. This project will be undertaken to help formalize research development in its structures, functions, and definitions–and this in turn will in turn address one of the major goals of the research effort, which is, as Stone notes, to “provide a standardized basis from which to create benchmarks, develop quality improvement guidance (and programming), devise assessment mechanisms, and establish best or promising practices within the profession.”

To accomplish these purposes, two gaps in the research development corpus will be addressed: the characterization of activity in the field and the delineation of knowledge, skills, and aptitudes believed to be necessary for entry into and advancement within research development. This material will be developed through analysis of job descriptions and survey and focus group investigation. Interpretation of the results will be informed by work already completed by the NORDP Special Programs Working Group in 2013 and by the existing descriptions of research development.

A team of four research development professionals who are all NORDP members will complete the study in 2017 and 2018. Reports of findings will be made at NORDP and other conferences as well as through publication.

Arriving at an evidence-based understanding of the purposes, practices, and key characteristics of research development has broad application relevant to current and future practitioners, institutional structures, organization of knowledge, and acceptance and advancement of the field. As Stone noted regarding practitioners, “Such work could…help us better understand what kinds of individuals, with what kinds of training, skills, and abilities, are best suited for various roles within research development, as well as what their professional trajectories are like. Findings in these areas might improve our capacity to recruit, retain, and provide succession planning and longer-term career paths for individuals in research development.” The research team and NORDP Board are pleased to announce that these goals will be pursued beginning this year.

All NORDP members will be invited to participate in this project, so stay tuned for more information.

Networking and Volunteering Opportunities at the NORDP 2017 Conference!

There’s still time to register for the 2017 Annual Conference! NORDP invites all conference attendees to make new connections at the conference by participating in the volunteer and networking opportunities listed below.

If you have questions about volunteering or the networking dinners, please contact Jenna McGuire at mcguire.165@osu.edu.

Networking Dinners:

Organize or join a networking dinner at a local restaurant.  Facilitators will decide the restaurant, whether your dinner will have a theme, and the number of participants.  Each guest pays their own bill.  NORDP has provided a list of local restaurants.

To join a dinner:

To facilitate a dinner:

As more facilitators sign up to host a dinner, more sign-ups will be added!

Morning Walk/Runs:

Volunteer to lead or join a group on a walk or run on one of the trails near the hotel.  Leaders will determine the path, whether the group will walk or run, the number of participants, and the start/end times. A trail map is provided in the links below.

As more leaders sign up to lead a walk/run, more sign-ups will be added!

Assist with Conference Registration:

Gain conference administration experience and meet new people by greeting conference attendees, passing out registration materials/badges, etc. Registration assistants will not handle cash transactions.

Serve as a Session Scribe and Host during the Concurrent Sessions:

Volunteer to assist the presenters during concurrent sessions.  As a host, you will check with the presenters to see if assistance is needed with the room, audio/video, etc. and seek conference personnel for support if needed.  As the session Scribe, you will record a summary of the session that includes key take away ideas (NORDP will provide a template and further instructions). Information on the sessions can be found within the conference program here.

Help Spread the Word (Social Media)

Volunteer to live tweet or blog about the conference and its speakers.  Dianne Norcutt will provide additional details for all social media volunteers.

Be sure to follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest 2017 Conference updates!

2017 Conference Cameo: Xia Wood

#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: Xia Wood, Research and Grant Awards Specialist II
Where: Johnson C. Smith University
Number of years in research development: 6
Length of NORDP membership: New member
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2017 will be my first one!
How do you celebrate submitting a grant application? Ring the bell!

I entered the Research Development field in late 2011 at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte, North Carolina after several years’ work in public healthXiaWoodHeadshot research. The previous research jobs not only provided me with enormous experience in writing grant proposals and scientific manuscripts and implementing research projects but also helped me discover my great passion for research administration

My job as a Research and Grant Awards Specialist II in the Office of Government Sponsored Program and Research at JCSU includes all pre-award and part of post-award services such as researching and analyzing funding resources to match faculty members’ research background and interests, assisting faculty with identifying collaborators and building partnerships, providing training in grant writing to faculty and staff, and reviewing and monitoring the compliance of grant and contract applications.

I learned about NORDP from my current supervisor who has attended the NORDP conference before. She recommended that I look into the organization, and I joined NORDP in February 2017!

I have not attended the conference yet, however, I was already informed by former speakers and presenters after I read the previous conference reports and “lessons learned.” The previous conference sessions, such as “Team Science” and “Building an NIH Portfolio Without a Local Medical School,” provided insights into enhancing our university’s research environment and improving our research funding profile.

Dr. Gretchen Kiser, NORDP President, said “NORDP is the leading professional organization designed to provide professional training, mentoring and networking opportunities in the challenging field of Research Development.” I agree wholeheartedly with this statement! NORDP does offer a lot of useful information and good advice for the trickiest part of research development for different levels of researchers and research administrators.

I particularly like the fact that NORDP provides free webinars and free courses such as “Circle” to members. No matter if you are from a big or small university, a research or teaching institution, NORDP has a huge network and numerous experts in research development who will provide solutions to the problems you have. I feel I am already in love with NORDP before even meeting anyone from NORDP in person!

At the upcoming 2017 conference, I look forward to receiving training in the areas of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research development for a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution (PUI).

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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: Elisabeth Andrews

#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: Elisabeth Andrews, Writer and Editor
Where: Solo Consultant
Number of years in research development: 3
Length of NORDP membership: New member
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2017 will be my first.
How do you unwind? Hiking – hope to do some in Colorado!

I’m a recovering journalist who stumbled into research development and fell in love. In the three years since, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Singapore for a Gates Foundation project, meet with a nine-nation team in Cardiff for a European Commission proposal, and work in Ghana on an effort funded by the United Nations Foundation. Back home in Bloomington, Indiana, I am fortunate to collaborate regularly with Indiana University’s research development team, such as serving as the lead writer for the university’s MacArthur 100&Change proposal. Jamie Kirkley in IU’s Proposal Development Services tipped me off to NORDP, and I’m excited to attend my first conference this year.

ElisabethAndrewsHeadshotMy journey started out with a History BA, after which I worked for several years as a personal trainer and yoga instructor before completing an MPH degree. This combination of experience in humanities, science, and small business environments allowed me to embark on an eclectic freelance career that ranged from writing arts and culture articles for Indianapolis Monthly magazine to starting a new publication for the Institute for Business Analytics. Because a typical day might swing from writing cheeky daily deals for a coupon site to crafting stewardship reports for major funders, I honed an ability to tailor each message to its specific platform and audience.

The difficult part of the freelance writing lifestyle, which I maintained for a decade, was neither the frenzy nor the hustle. Instead, it was the heartbreak of connecting only tangentially with extraordinary people and projects before immediately moving on to the next story. So when a string of faculty members began asking for my help communicating their ideas to non-specialists, I was overjoyed to experience something a freelancer rarely encounters: collegiality.

It has been an enormous privilege to spend the past few years working directly with researchers to overcome barriers to publication and financial support. I’ve been able to apply not only my experience in marketing and public relations but also the storytelling skills required to unite multidisciplinary efforts and forecast impact.

My hope in joining NORDP is to expand that circle of colleagues while learning from leaders in the field. I am particularly looking forward to the sessions on “Fostering Transdisciplinary Research” and the brilliantly titled “Herding Cats and Teaching Them to Fish.”

I’m grateful for the opportunity to introduce myself through this profile, and I hope you’ll introduce yourself to me at the conference.
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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: Trinh D. Eng

#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: Trinh D. Eng, Mega-Grants Initiative Projects Officer
Where: New York University
Number of years in research development: 6
Length of NORDP membership: 1
Number of NORDP conferences attended: This will be my first.
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? My childhood home in Vietnam, now a school for girls.

I am looking forward to meeting and learning from my fellow research development peers in Denver at my very first NORDP conference this May.

I backed into the field of research development through my love for raising funds for research and other programs that advance knowledge and solutions to vexing questions and critical challenges. I joined the NYU Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) in December 2016 after nearly six years in program management and research development at the NYU School of Law.  Trinh_Duong_Eng

Now, as Projects Officer of the Mega-Grants Initiative, I work closely with my terrific colleagues in OSP, with faculty members and with the Office of the Senior Vice Provost to support the development of cross-disciplinary approaches to major research projects. The Mega-Grants Initiative at NYU was established in FY 2013 by the Office of the Senior Vice Provost to support faculty members across NYU’s 18 schools and multiple campuses to pursue cross-disciplinary research projects. With an understanding that securing funding for these complex projects is often demanding, my work on the Mega-Grants Initiative includes meeting with faculty members regularly to review early-stage project ideas, assist in the development of research teams, target institutional resources to support promising projects and see the grant proposals through final submission.

I have had a long history with NYU and am a proud MBA graduate of the NYU Stern School of Business, where I specialized in change management, digital media and economics. Prior to joining NYU, I spent nearly 10 years as a member management teams for public and private foundations. Through those experiences, I have had some insight into the decision-making process from the perspective of the sponsor or funder.

In the realm of fun or other facts, I was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and spent two years as a child in the refugee camps of Malaysia before resettling on the suburban edges of rural America. I was also the first undergraduate from NYU to receive the Echoing Green Fellowship for social entrepreneurship. In my previous position, I was quite unsuccessful in developing a running club.

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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: Chad Walton

#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: Chad Walton, Research Program Officer
Where: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Number of years in research development: I’m just starting out.
Length of NORDP membership: 1
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2017 will be my first!
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I aspired to be a Dentist.

My journey into Research Development (RD) can be best described as “following the white rabbit down the hole.” After receiving my PhD from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) in 2006, I completed my post-doctoral training and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 2011 (UHM). In 2014 I took on the role of the Director of Trauma Research for the State of Hawaii’s Trauma System, with a focus on promoting statewide trauma-related interdisciplinary, inter-institutional and translational research. Taking that big step away from being a principal investigator and toward a primarily RD role was my first venture into the rabbit hole, and I haven’t looked back since.Chad Walton photo

My current role is as the Research Program Officer (RPO) in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR) at UHM, effectively completing my transition from faculty to RD professional. The RPO position affords me the opportunity to work with a tremendously diverse and innovative faculty, eager for campus-wide collaborative research initiatives. The journey thus far has been a very rewarding one.

I learned about NORDP from a colleague who has attended numerous NORDP conferences. She suggested NORDP as a great resource and was fully supportive of me attending the annual conference. I have only been a member since July, but have already been impressed by the responsive interactions on the NORDP listserv, as well as the available resources.

One of my first tasks at UHM is to develop and implement a web-based faculty networking tool to aid in identifying teams for collaborative grants. The advice and individual “lessons learned” that NORDP members have shared with me have been invaluable in ensuring I don’t repeat mistakes or reinvent the wheel.

Even though I have yet to attend a NORDP conference, I’ve already found the collegiality amongst NORDP members to be tremendous. My goal in attending my first conference is to find best practices and meet as many experienced colleagues as I can in order to develop my network and skillset. With such a wealth of knowledge and experience within NORDP, I hope to absorb the experiences and continue down my rabbit hole, with a few more friends to enjoy the journey with.

Since I have yet to attend a conference, I cannot share any advice for other first-time conference-goers, but I can offer a subtle suggestion: Hawaii would be a great place to hold a future conference!

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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