NORDP 2022 Plenary: Dyhia Belhabib: Diversity Matters Now

Dyhia Belhabib, NORDP 2022 Conference Tuesday Plenary Speaker

Diversity in research is much more than a good idea; it can be the key to survival, says Dyhia Belhabib, Principal Investigator at Ecotrust Canada.

“Diversity matters; otherwise it can be deadly,” she says. “We’re in the midst of the climate crisis. It’s happening now. We need solutions and strategies to become more resilient now.” She suggests some of the best solutions will be brought by diversity.

“People often ask me how I got into this field, and I tell them I understand what it stems from. I don’t look like most others who study the ocean,” Belhabib explains her passion for diversity in STEM fields.

For example, as a child growing up in Tazmalt, Algeria, she and her family dealt with droughts for decades. “I’ve carried water from the well. I know how to be resilient, how to save water,” she says.

Belhabib will be the NORDP 2022 conference plenary speaker at 1:00 p.m. on Tues., Apr. 26, discussing minorities and equity in STEM research. She will share experiences working at the intersection of sustainability and ocean criminality.  A highly published scholar and devoted advocate for social justice in conservation, elimination of illegal fishing, inclusive science, and empowering minorities in research, she founded spyglass.fish, an online platform for monitoring illegal fishing worldwide, and Poplar and Ivy, a magazine that supports underrepresented voices in science and conservation.

She shared a recent experience consulting with an academic institution on diversity issues. “We were shut down the moment we asked for diversity of perspectives,” she recalls the moment when she was first introduced to an all-white panel. “I wasn’t surprised to see such a panel, but I was shocked at the reaction.”

To her, diversity represents a matter of life and death. “Lack of diversity can be deadly,” she says. For example, death can arise when doctors don’t understand what measles look like on a black person’s skin. She emphasizes the importance of bringing diversity to science and learning how to open STEM careers to minorities.

“We all have biases we need to uncover,” she says as she turns her attention to her NORDP plenary presentation. “It’s very important to be aware. We tend to export what we perceive to be the best solution, regardless of the situation and context. Perhaps we need to be a bit more creative, to circumvent the political climate and accepted narratives to pursue effective change.”

Research development professionals have tended to be colonial, what Belhabib equates to hindering local expertise and supporting ill-adapted solutions in areas where minorities prevail. In other words, from Belhabib’s perspective, RD has tended to support established researchers and pre-existing solutions.

“Research development professionals might consider how they transfer bias from individuals to the system, essentially preventing people from getting into the system. It’s a matter of strategy,” she suggests.

The reward can be great: diverse perspectives and diverse thoughts challenge scientific research, which needs to be challenged, Belhabib says. “As a result, those proposals have more meaningful outcomes.”

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2022 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.

Learn More About the Strategic Alliances Committee

Mark your Calendar!!

NORDP members are invited to join the Strategic Alliances Committee’s quarterly meeting on Thursday, Mar. 17, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. eastern time at this Zoom Link: https://tennessee.zoom.us/j/675272311.

Those who are new to the committee will learn more about its three key themes. NORDP members who serve as liaisons will provide updates on their respective organizations, and several liaisons will share success stories from organizations like ARIS, INORMS, and APLU. Learn more about what it means to be a liaison and how to apply. This is an excellent way to engage with NORDP and others in the research development universe.

Great Lakes Region’s Half-day Retreat Recap

The 2022 NORDP Great Lakes Region held its annual retreat on January 18 via Zoom. The event saw about 30 participants from 17 organizations. This year’s theme was wellness and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB).

The retreat kicked off with musical performances by University of Michigan student musicians, setting a calming atmosphere at the beginning. The programming included an inspiring guest presentation, titled How Trust Levels and “Thinking Traps” Influence Work Team Engagement and Effectiveness, by Denise Williams, PhD, University of Michigan Organizational Effectiveness Consultant. Next, the Great Lakes Region community was invited into a conversation on DEIB, where the participants discussed their institutions’ approaches to implementing DEIB in research development work. The Great Lakes Region Executive Committee gave regional updates on the governance of the regional Executive Committee, asked for input on potential activities to engage members, and introduced the region’s book club. Finally, the retreat concluded with a casual virtual happy hour.

Ten participating members were randomly selected to receive a copy of the book Lessons from Plants, by Michigan State University’s Dr. Beronda Montgomery, the first read for the book club. With the consideration of wellness, health breaks were provided while fun and relaxing music was played. Colleen Greene, University of Michigan Senior Wellness Coordinator, also demonstrated invigorating and restorative desk stretches between two sessions. The half-day event received positive feedback, including insightful discussions and professional connections.

The retreat was organized by the Great Lakes Region’s inaugural Executive Committee. The committee members are Maggie Berg (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Jessica Brassard (University of Michigan), Ellen Freeman (U of Minnesota-Twin Cities), Sarah James (AtKisson Training Group), and Melissa Li (University of Michigan). It was financially supported by a mini grant from a recent competition organized by NORDP’s Member Services Committee aimed at assisting affinity and regional groups with retention, recruitment, and engagement of members. 

Written by the NORDP Great Lakes Region Executive Committee

NORDP 2022 Conference Scholarships Available

NORDP Conference Scholarships (known as “Attendance Awards” when we meet in person) are intended to help members offset the cost of conference registration. These scholarships are intended for those who need financial support beyond what their institutions or organizations will provide. NORDP 2022 awards will fund the cost of one (1) conference registration per award at the early-bird member rate.

These awards, funded by AtKisson Training Group, support NORDP’s mission to enhance the diversity of our membership and member institutions. Members who are new to NORDP, are attending their first NORDP conference, identify as belonging to a group that is underrepresented in NORDP, or represent Minority-Serving Institutions, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Special thanks to AtKisson Training Group for these Scholarship Awards.

Scholarship recipients are expected to volunteer at the conference and serve on a NORDP committee or subcommittee following the 2022 conference.

Eligibility: These awards are not available to current and prior NORDP Board of Directors members, Affiliate Members or consultants. Anyone who has received conference/travel support from NORDP in the previous three conference years (2019, 2020 or 2021 conferences) is not eligible in 2022.

To Apply: Visit https://nordp.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1863054. Applications are due March 15, 2022 by 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. (If this is your first time using NORDP’s InfoReady site, please select “Register” in the upper right-hand corner to create a login for this site.)

PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE UNTIL YOU ARE NOTIFIED OF THE STATUS OF YOUR SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION. We will contact applicants with decisions before the Early-Bird registration window closes on March 31.

NORDP 2022: Registration is Now Open

Registration for the fully virtual 14th Annual Research Development Conference, #NORDP2022, is now open. Details of the full program, which takes place April 24-28, 2022, are also online. Click here for details.

This year’s conference features 11 concurrent education sessions, along with 6 hours of prerecorded content. Keynotes/plenaries, Program Officer sessions and evening events round out the program, along with a limited number of capped-attendance workshops for an additional fee.

Early-bird registration, through March 31, is $179 for members and $279 for nonmembers.

After registering, get ready for #NORDP2022with swag. You voted on your favorite mug mottos — now you can purchase your favorite designs on a real mug! Check out the volunteer-run shop and make your purchases before the conference to be ready for the morning coffee chats.

See you in April!

The NORDP 2022 Conference Planning Committee

Spotlight on Certified Facilitators

Mentoring is a skill that becomes part of us as we grow in our careers. For some, it comes easily, but for everyone, it is a skill that can be taught, nurtured and blossomed with time and space. To help with this, the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) and the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) launched the Mentor training workshops. CIMER not only trains mentors, but also trains and certifies facilitators who can then facilitate the mentor training workshops and help shepherd a chain reaction to promote good mentoring practices far and wide. 

“The CIMER certification is another way to build capacity across the research enterprise. This training opportunity builds relationships and understanding of RD with our research leaders. Our faculty face unique challenges and mentoring offers solutions for a variety of situations. I also found the evidence base and evaluation model of CIMER to be both educational and innovative. We integrated some of the design concepts into our GRO Academy, a research leadership development program,” says Jeff Agnoli, from the Ohio State University. 

The CIMER-trained facilitators have to conduct a certain number of hours of training with a specific number of attendees to be identified by CIMER as a Certified Facilitator. Today, we shine a spotlight on some of these certified facilitators among our NORDP colleagues. Jeff is one of them!

Paula Carney, of Loyola University Chicago, who is one of the driving forces behind the Mentor training sessions offered by NORDP, has also connected NORDP to the development of faculty and trainees as researchers. She states that “NORDP is increasingly involved in national and international mentoring conversations. My involvement in these initiatives also lets me bring new ideas and opportunities back to NORDP, helping enrich our mentoring program activities.”

Etta Ward, of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, found her calling in mentoring. She credits becoming a Certified Facilitator with “what I have always called my purpose and calling to becoming an integral part of my professional identity and has opened a world of opportunities across sectors.”

CIMER has recently invited Paula, Etta, Jan Abramson, Kathryn Partlow and Tabitha Finch to support their mentor training sessions nationally. These training sessions are attended by researchers, trainees, faculty, research development professionals and administrators across universities. Tabitha feels the Certification gives her an “added level of confidence when I lead mentoring training, because I know my skills and experience have been vetted by the CIMER team.”

“When you become a Certified Facilitator with CIMER, you join a community that includes the best mentor trainers in the nation. It’s an honor to learn from them and have them be part of my network. I’m excited to continue my work as a Certified Facilitator and support infusing a culture of mentoring throughout the research enterprise,” says Kathy.

Please join us in recognizing and congratulating our fellow NORDP colleagues and the hard work they have put in to make mentoring a priority in their careers and across NORDP.

Written by Samarpita Sengupta

Weigh In with Your Professional Insights

The International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) asks NORDP members to complete a survey about the profession of research management, which encompasses research development, research administration, and related professions.

As institutional members of INORMS, NORDP members have participated in the two previous world-wide surveys. Results of this survey will provide us all with a third snapshot of our profession across the globe, building a longitudinal dataset about our profession. 

With your participation in the study, we hope to provide recommendations for further training, professional development, staff recruitment, and retention. The survey can be found at https://inorms.net/activities/raaap-taskforce/raaap-survey-2022/. Feel free to forward this email to your research management colleagues.

(Please note that the survey must not be forwarded to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or the Crimea Region of the Ukraine without the approval of the PI/Co-PI.  These countries/regions are subject to certain comprehensive economic sanctions and licensing requirements may apply.)

You can find out more on the project website: https://inorms.net/activities/raaap-taskforce/

NORDP’s International Collaboration

Karen Eck, Ph.D. and Gretchen Kiser, Ph.D. presented an online workshop, Research Development: Contextual and Relational Approaches to Institutional Research Support, in early December 2021 to research management professionals in India as part of IRMI, or India Research Management Initiative, an initiative of the DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance for strengthening institutional support for research in India. Reflecting on the experience of delivering a workshop outside of typical work hours (2:00 AM PST in this case!), Kiser commented that “although engaging with international partners may involve odd hours, it is nonetheless interesting and exciting.”

The opportunity came about after Savita Ayyar, Ph.D., a consultant leading the IRMI initiative, attended a talk given by Eck, Kiser and Jacob Levin, Ph.D. during the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) conference in Spring 2021. After the conference, Ayyar inquired after an interactive workshop offering for the recently formed IRMI network, who hosted their first conference in January 2021.

Research Administration (RA) is in its early stages in India and is growing with new careers in both research development (RD) and RA. Ayyar says, “India has tremendous opportunities for team science, and Research Development can play an important role in nurturing these large-scale collaborations.  The April 2021 INORMS workshop by NORDP colleagues provided excellent examples of how team science could be professionally facilitated and how to hire people and build local capacity for this purpose. This motivated me to connect with Dr Eck and Dr Kiser, to explore possibilities for a joint workshop for our colleagues in India. We kept in touch and it was wonderful to see the workshop taking place later in the year.”

At the virtual December IRMI workshop, a first of its kind for NORDP, over 40 people from a variety of Indian university, research and private sector settings participated. They explored a variety of RD roles through interactive simulations with small group discussions that highlighted RD contextual and relational approaches, skills, and activities employed in cross-campus and cross-sector partnerships. 

NORDP joined INORMS in July 2020 and is committed to engaging an international audience and partnering with sister organizations around the world to provide professional development opportunities to its 1000+ membership. International engagement is led by the Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC) through its International Working Group and NORDP Liaison program. If you are interested to learn more, please contact SAC co-chair, Karen Eck, at keck@odu.edu.

Dr. Savita Ayyar is currently leading Jaquaranda Tree, an independent consultancy service she founded in 2017 that is aimed at supporting organizations with their research management needs. Prior to this she built an RD office about eight years ago at the National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in India. She describes the experience as a “once in a lifetime opportunity that was tremendously rewarding.”

Dr. Karen Eck is Assistant Vice President for Research at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia. She holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology and completed a post-doc in psycho- and neurolinguistics at the Université de Montréal in Québec, Canada. Eck served on the NORDP Board of Directors from 2015-2019, as President in 2018-2019, and currently co-leads the Strategic Alliances Committee and represents NORDP on the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) Council. She was selected in 2020 as a PEERD Expert, consulting individually and in teams for colleges and universities seeking institutional assessment of research development programs, best practices and capacity building. In 2021, she was honored with a NORDP Fellow designation to recognize her sustained contributions to NORDP and the practice and field of research development.

Dr. Gretchen Kiser is the Executive Director of the Research Development Office (RDO) at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and a long-time research development professional. She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Kiser has been a member of NORDP since 2012 and served on the NORDP Board of Directors from 2014 – 2018 and as its President from 2016 – 2017. She serves as co-chair of both NORDP’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence and Strategic Alliances Committee. She was honored in 2020 as a NORDP Fellow and in 2021 with NORDP’s Leadership Award, which recognizes exceptional leadership and/or a deep commitment to volunteerism in ways that advance the profession and field of research development.

NORDP currently has 67 international members and has recently become part of a new initiative, the

INORMS Sister Association Reciprocal Benefit Strategy (ISARBS).  This will allow participating members of the INORMS community of research management associations to benefit from discounted rates on certain events, publications and other products offered by other associations in the international INORMS community

If you are a member of a participating INORMS association outside of North America, NORDP is happy to offer you the member rate for our annual Conference registration.  Please visit https://www.nordp.org/overseas-partners for details on ISARBS and participation in NORDP’s conference April 24-28, 2022.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell & Sharon Pound from the Communications Working Group

Launch of Task Force Focused on Improving NORDP Policies

The NORDP Board of Directors is asking you to join a task force focused on improving NORDP policies.

As a growing organization, NORDP may lack some policies and processes for the operation and sustainability of the organization. In addition, there may be unintentionally biased content that can be updated and improved toward a more inclusive culture across NORDP.

We recognize that these gaps in policies and procedures potentially increase the risk to NORDP’s long-term success as an organization. The work of this task force will be to address gaps, update language, and recommend new policies. The task force will be asked to pay specific attention to integrating inclusivity throughout all policies and processes.

The Board of Directors, under the direction of Board Champions, is inviting you and other NORDP member volunteers to review current policies, identify inadequacies or needed policies and compose relevant policies that reflect our aspirational culture and activities in order to create a more responsive and sustainable association. Specifically, we are asking the task force to:

  • Gather a diverse membership together to influence the organizational direction.
  • Ensure that our organization reflects the values of our membership.
  • Intentionally inform the transparent and collaborative governance of our organization.

The Board Champions imagine that this work will require one planning/design meeting and one hackathon event to be held in late February 2022 (there is flexibility), with subsequent edit and review of documents by all committees in March.

Task force members will be expected to self-organize, with the assistance of the Board Champions, design the events such that they are inclusive of all voices and experiences, and reflect a commitment to DEI/DEIB practices throughout.

If you are interested in joining this important work, please complete the interest form here: https://forms.gle/PUVtMAv2StGqP5vZ8.

Entering your information will put you on the contact list. You will be able to volunteer at any time, for any aspect of the task force work, and there are no restrictions or expectations for participation.

If you have questions, please email Faye.Farmer@asu.edu.

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.