NORDP 2021 Plenary: Mark Bayer

Mark Bayer, former Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives during a 20-year career working in Congress, will join NORDP 2021 for an afternoon plenary on Monday, May 3. This plenary is presented by Elsevier.

For more than 200 years, evidence-based public policies, rooted in facts and sound science, have been a cornerstone of our democracy. Consequently, the marginalization of scientific expertise ultimately affects policymaking; it warps our laws and regulations, enables harmful activities dangerous to public health and well-being, and erodes confidence in our systems of government. The impacts extend to society from there.

How can Research Development professionals push back against the ongoing assault on science? According to Bayer there are ways to change minds when alternative “facts” and misinformation take root in our organizations.

Join Mark Bayer and leave armed to lay a foundation for cooperation; how to detect alternative facts and artfully dispel them; how to use the power of “gilt by association” to defuse difficult situations; and how to use Emotional Intelligence tools to reduce friction, align interests and increase effectiveness. Please see a brief video from Mark below. To send an anonymous response to his video message, visit this link:

Mark designs and delivers interactive, true-to-life training that gives scientists and engineers proven, powerful tools for effectively navigating the policy environment in Washington, DC. Mark teaches scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs the same methodology he used in Congress to rapidly distill complex policies, craft strategies to advance high-profile initiatives, and concisely explain them to Members of Congress and journalists from leading media outlets, including The New York TimesThe Washington PostUSA TodayThe Boston Globe, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, AP, and many others.

Mark has been touted in Politico for his “decades of superlative experience” serving as a Congressional staff member. His work on how to combat alternative facts has appeared in Science and The New Yorker. Mark has been featured in IEEE-USA’s “Lessons on Leadership” column, and he serves as a guest lecturer in the Science Policy Bootcamp course at Cornell University’s Meining School of Engineering. 

Host of the weekly podcast When Science Speaks, Mark explores communications, science policy, and career issues affecting grad students, PhDs, and Postdocs in engineering and the natural and social sciences. Mark is a magna cum laude graduate of Cornell University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his Master in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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 2021 Plenary: Robert M. Sellers

Robert M. Sellers, Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Michigan, will deliver a plenary presentation to NORDP discussing how Research Development professionals are uniquely situated to help dismantle racism in academia. 

The title of his talk, to be delivered from 11 a.m. – Noon EDT on Wednesday, May 5, is “How Research Development Professionals Can Be Change Agents for Promoting Anti-Racism within the Academy.”

Research Development staff serve as a bridge and key connection in the production of scholarly work at their institutions. Dr. Sellers’ presentation will look at how they can incorporate anti-racist strategies and help faculty, students and colleagues overcome racism that they encounter in their work or studies. He will share his experiences from his thirty plus years in higher education as a faculty member, department chair, and Chief Diversity Officer at Research 1 institutions to help demonstrate how Research Development professionals can be advocates in the academy and beyond.

Dr. Sellers also serves as the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Professor of Education. His primary research has focused on the role of race in the psychological lives of African Americans, and he has developed a conceptual and empirical model of African American racial identity that is used by other researchers. 

He has conducted research on the life experiences of student athletes and is a co-founder of the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context. The center serves a dual-purpose, conducting action-oriented research on the healthy development of African American youth, as well as a training ground for future researchers.

In his current role, Dr. Sellers is responsible for managing the University’s five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion and serves as a principal adviser to the President.

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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.

Investing in You: Exciting News from the Mentoring Committee

As NORDP has grown, so has the NORDP Mentoring Program. The NORDP Board of Directors has invested in a mentoring software program designed to provide a more robust mentoring experience for NORDP members. A number of mentoring software companies were invited to provide demonstrations and respond to a request for proposals, and after careful vetting, Wisdom Share was selected as the vendor. With the software, positive changes are coming to the NORDP Mentoring Program. Here are some of the highlights:

  • To align with the NORDP Program Year, the official start for the mentoring program is July 1
  • Applications for the Mentoring Program will open in early May
  • As always, you can be both a mentor and a mentee
  • The software matches mentors and mentees using a proprietary, tested algorithm that has been adapted to support the unique skills and abilities of research development professionals
  • Matching will be completed by mid-June
  • Once matched, program participants will have access to tools to guide the mentoring relationship, including a dashboard to track progress, milestones to support the process, partner information at a glance, a resource library that provides content on mentoring best practices and ways to communicate securely over the platform

Participants in Peer Mentoring Groups will also benefit from the Wisdom Share infrastructure. There are resources, tools, and communication platforms for each group. And, the software has the capacity to support other NORDP programs and services that leverage members’ skills and knowledge.

During the coming weeks, there will be a Mentoring Town Hall, and additional blog posts with more detailed information. At the Conference, be sure to check out David Widmer’s overview of how mentor-mentee matches are made utilizing the software’s ability to assess some basic personality traits and preferences around communication, as well as the career-related demographic and experiential factors the Mentoring Committee has employed in prior years. This Lightning Talk will open our Mentoring Lightning Storm on Wednesday, May 5, 3:45 PM EST. Also, watch for software demos throughout May and early June; Mentoring Committee (MC) members will be available to help with the registration process, if needed.

This is an exciting next step for the NORDP Mentoring Program. MC member Jennifer Glass (Eastern Michigan University) summed it up nicely: This takes the Mentoring Program to the next level!

So, thank you to the NORDP Board of Directors, MC members, current and former mentors and mentees, and those of you who participate in Peer Mentoring Groups. Your commitment to mentoring has provided the motivation and justification for this organizational investment.

Consider this an invitation to start thinking about participating in or continuing your participation in the NORDP Mentoring Program…and stay tuned for more!

Leveraging the RD Toolbox to Support Inclusive Excellence

Contributed by Debra Karhson, Ph.D., Crystal M. Botham, Ph.D., Gretchen L. Kiser, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Seckel, M.A.

The 10 year anniversary of the report by Ginther et al. (2011) has re-ignited an important conversation on federal grant funding disparities and structural oppression within biomedical research. Recent updates to the report show only a marginal increase in funding rates for Black researchers (Erosheva et al., 2020). Importantly, response articles by Taffe and Gilpin (2021) and Stevens et al. (2021) highlight the calls to action by stakeholders to rectify this unjust federal funding infrastructure. While these articles single out federal funding institutions like the NIH, they also highlight the critical role for research development (RD) professionals in transforming the research workforce to be more just and equitable. Moreover, in light of the forthcoming funding initiatives by federal funding institutions to increase diversity in research (i.e., NIH UNITE initiatives), RD professionals have an instrumental role in ensuring these funds have the greatest impact on the communities that need them most.

To assist other RD professionals ideate actions at their own institutions and in line with the October 12th NORDP blog post on Conversation Roadblocks, we spent a session during the 2020 NORDP Pacific Regional Meeting keeping ourselves accountable to this work. In this dedicated session, we shared the individual practices and policies NORDP members have taken to advance justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at their institutions.

Below we categorized these crowd-sourced actions into one of the three following categories (Figure 1): allies, accomplices, and co-conspirators. These terms come from social justice epistemology and create a framework for examining where greater risk can be taken by those committed to increasing justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the workforce. Briefly, allies and allied actions are those which show an individual’s general support of social justice movements and initiatives. Actions of an accomplice are pro-active, de-center dominant narratives, and leverage our privileges in service of justice. Finally, co-conspiratorial actions are those that involve the greatest risks and are the most active of the three in disrupting systems of oppression.



  • Lead a Conversation Roadblocks or similar discussion
  • Join and be an active member of the NORDP Committee on Inclusive Excellence
  • Ask questions when something is inequitable. “If you see something, say something!” Advocacy is like a muscle that gets strengthened with each use
  • Serve on advisory committees, groups and task forces. Leverage your privilege as an RD professional to advocate for others in these spaces
  • Enhance equity, validity, and diversity in university hiring, using processes such as Oregon State University’s Search Advocate Program or Ohio State University’s strategic planning for a fair and equitable future
  • Attend training for RD professionals like the UCSB-based Center for Research, Excellence, Diversity in Team Science (CREDITS) to understand why and how to encourage greater team diversity
  • Bring in expert facilitators to give workshops on different DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging) topics such as how to build inclusive research teams, best practices for community engagement, etc.


  • Partner with campus offices and organizations that are involved in DEIB activities. For example, UCSF hosts a matchmaking event between interested research faculty and URM students/trainees/staff from other local universities and community colleges
  • Engage affinity groups such as Black and or/ LatinX postdoc and faculty associations to co-create resources based on their needs
  • Volunteer your grant writing expertise for a community non-profit serving BIPOC (black, Indigenous, and people of color) communities
  • Evaluate language and review criteria for internal grants to adopt an anti-racism praxis in peer review. University of Michigan launched a new resource for mitigating bias and improving practices in peer review, nominations processes, etc.
  • Convene and participate in anti-racism advocacy efforts on our campuses and beyond, applying RD skills like project management, writing, etc.
  • Develop guidebooks, workshops, and bootcamps for diversity-specific grant programs, such as Stanford’s Diversity Supplement website or Jump Start Awards
  • Develop and provide small seed funding opportunities to support research on structural racism or that promote diversity. Chapman University provides seed funding for research and creative activities that serve the needs of diverse communities. UCSF has introduced an intramural seed grant focused on anti-Black racism in health research.

We wish to thank all the participants in our 2020 Pacific Regional presentation, Leveraging the RD Toolbox to Support Institutional Diversity Efforts, for sharing the important work they are doing. The above list of actions is by no means exhaustive, instead we hope it sparks new ideas and implementation efforts. During the 13th Annual NORDP conference, we will continue this dialog and actively explore ways that we as RD professionals can support DEIB during the session titled Leveraging and Building the RD Toolbox to Support Institutional DEIB Goals. Please join us on May 4, 2021 at 12:15 pm. NORDP will also host another set of Conversation Roadblock discussions around the virtual conference as well, so get ready for this valuable conference add-on and join in on uncomfortable conversations! 

Figure 1. The Pyramid of accountability for Research Development Professionals (graphic inspired by @blessthemessy)

Strategic Alliances Committee Update: Volunteers Needed

One of the first committees to exist within NORDP, the Strategic Alliances Committee builds mutually beneficial relationships with other organizations to strengthen NORDP’s position in the global research enterprise and benefit NORDP members. To continue this work, the committee is actively recruiting volunteers in two areas:

1) Liaisons – The NORDP website describes this long-standing program that taps NORDP members to gather and share relevant and useful information as part of a broad and strategic outreach program. More than 20 NORDP members are currently engaged as liaisons, and more are needed to connect with various professional societies, federal agencies, and other organizations that are potential sources of collaboration and professional development for NORDP members. If you’re interested in serving as a liaison, please contact Karen Eck at

2) Communications – With dozens of liaisons gathering vital information, the committee is looking for members to help disseminate that information. This might include contacting liaisons and drafting blog posts, establishing a calendar of liaison partner events, or assisting with NORDP presentations made at liaison partner events. If you’re interested in helping with this, please contact Sharon Pound at

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.

Featured NORDP 2021 Session: “Mindfulness” with Dr. Kelcey Stratton

Dr. Kelcey Stratton will join NORDP members for a mindfulness session during the NORDP 2021 conference on Monday, May 3rd at 1:45pm EDT. Her session will focus on skills to mindfully pause, improve presence, and cultivate gratitude, compassion, and positive emotions. Participants will have a chance to practice evidence-based strategies to manage moments of stress and support their well-being.

Dr. Stratton is a clinical psychologist and the Program Manager for Resilience and Well-Being Services in the Michigan Medicine Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. In this role, she develops programs and strategies to enhance well-being for faculty and staff at Michigan Medicine. She has a particular interest in the areas of stress and resilience, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, and the use of narrative and reflective practices.

Prior to coming to University of Michigan, Dr. Stratton lived and worked in South Africa for several years, where she served as a mental health clinician and consultant to Peace Corps volunteers and medical providers in over 65 countries. She has also worked as a clinician and researcher in the VA health system, where she focused on post-traumatic stress concerns. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York City.

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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.

Mentoring Reflections: Carolynn Julien & Faye Farmer

As we approach a new year in the NORDP Mentoring program, we thought it might be beneficial for NORDP members contemplating becoming first-time Mentees or Mentors to hear from current participants in the program. With that in mind, the NORDP Mentoring Committee is pleased to share the inaugural installment in a series of “Mentoring Reflections” from mentoring dyads enrolled in the 2020-2021 NORDP Mentoring Program. The first of these dyads comprise members of the Mentoring Committee who agreed to share their insights. Mentors and mentees got together to talk about their experiences in the program and jointly wrote up responses to questions that were put to them.

The first in the series of Mentoring Reflections is from Carolynn Julien, who is the Associate Director, Office of Research Administration at Hunter College in The City University of New York, and her mentee, Faye Farmer, who is the Executive Director in the Office of VP Research Development at Arizona State University.

  • What influenced you to apply to be a mentor and a mentee for the 2020-21 NORDP Mentoring Program?

We got to know each other in the exceptional mentor training program in 2020-2021. Interacting in the training program allowed us to gather some insights about our professions, talents, and abilities. During a breakout session, Faye heard Carolynn mention a project she was working on, and Faye wanted to start a similar project. Taking the initiative, Faye reached out to Carolynn to see if Carolynn could mentor her through the project and Carolynn willingly accepted. Being in the mentor training program allowed us to comprehend the possibilities of broadening our circle of mentors. Once the project is successfully completed, we will further share our experiences about the project and the process.

  • What was your favorite part about your relationship?

We were both working on similar projects and used the mentoring relationship as a resource. We provide positive reinforcements and maintain regular check-ins that are easy and pressure free. What we learned during this relationship is that we are kindred spirits, and this also provided an opportunity for Carolynn to make a connection with NORDP and be of service to the organization.

  • What surprised you about being a mentor or a mentee?

The powerful personal connections were a surprise. We both have served as mentors and have been mentees and know that this is not always the outcome. We know that this mentoring relationship will continue to be an ongoing relationship after the 2020-2021 mentoring program ends.

  • How has participation in the Mentoring Program helped broaden your horizons about Research Development in general and/or affected your daily work in particular?

This program has taught us that it is crucial to recognize the qualities of people you need to enhance your journey as a RD professional. Our mentoring relationship has added depth to our lives by realizing the power of the RD network. The simple ask to be a mentor is an example of the power of the NORDP network.

  • Any words of wisdom or encouragement for those wanting to apply next year? Any other thoughts you would like to share?

Please take the leap to be a mentor or mentee; the rewards in serving as either are abundant. Our second piece of advice is to be open to the full potential of the mentoring relationship and to be receptive to all of the possibilities.

If you would like to share your experiences as a mentoring dyad, please contact

Applications for the NORDP Mentoring Program for the 2021-22 year will be opening soon. Watch this space for more information in the coming weeks!

Written by Samarpita Sengupta and C. Scott Balderson

NORDP 2021 Plenary

NSF’s Sethuraman Panchanathan Builds New Partnerships to Drive Research

Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan

For more than 70 years, the National Science Foundation has been powering discovery and innovation across the entire range of fundamental science and engineering research and education. As NSF’s 15th Director, Sethuraman Panchanathan sees extraordinary opportunities ahead for the research community to build on that legacy.

When he presents his plenary session, titled “Strengthening the Symbiosis of Exploratory and Translational Research @ Speed & Scale,” on Mon., May 3, from 11:00 a.m. to noon (EDT), he will share his insights on the future of research and the vital role for research development in that future.

“The framework for seeding bold, large-scale innovative research with meaningful societal impact is part of the DNA of NSF,” Panchanathan says. “Research development is integral to both NSF’s success and how we foster success in the research community. It’s about building the capacity and tools to advance knowledge more efficiently, and about building platforms and ecosystems that spur innovation.”

He notes that research development has sped up the pace of science and engineering, enabling researchers to make more discoveries and bigger breakthroughs faster than ever before.

“When I talk about my vision for strengthening the research enterprise at speed and scale, that’s also a strategic vision for expanding research development. Because our future success is going to depend on the investments we make in people, platforms, and partnerships. We need to strengthen the research community by reaching the tremendous talent that exists throughout this nation,” he says. He especially hopes to reach the “Missing Millions,” those with STEM capabilities from underrepresented communities who don’t yet see a pathway into science and engineering.

“We’ve built up tremendous research capacity over the past 70 years, and that is a launch pad not only for big science and engineering accomplishments, but for building even greater capacity for discovery and innovation,” Panchanathan continues. “My vision relies on partnerships, not just how NSF can create partnerships, but how we can foster environments where collaboration and multidisciplinary work thrives. Innovative, collaborative ecosystems are powerful tools for scaling up research progress.”

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.

Early Bird Registration Rates for NORDP 2021 Close Next Week

The Early Bird Member Registration price for NORDP 2021 is $149; Early Bird Nonmember pricing is $249. Early bird rates close March 31st – register soon to save! Registration is open on our registration page HERE.

The full schedule and registration are now available. The schedule at a glance and a downloadable PDF of the detailed schedule can be found HERE.

NORDP 2021 features over three full days of content delivered virtually. Registrants will have access to all recorded sessions from conference week.

The bulk of the conference content will take place May 3-6. In addition,
Pre-conference events start April 26 and feature more than 7 hours of pre-recorded 20-minute oral sessions. Post-conference events, starting May 10, feature more roundtables. Note: Pre-conference roundtable registration has already filled and the currently available post-conference roundtables will be full very soon.

We hope to see you at NORDP 2021!

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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.

Hats Off to First 2021 NORDP Mentor Training Workshop Participants!

The NORDP Mentoring Committee’s Mentor Training Team held the first mentor training workshop of 2021. Twenty NORDP members from 19 states and provinces participated in the 5-week workshop, covering the 9-module Entering Mentoring curriculum initially developed for research mentors and tailored by the NORDP Mentoring Committee for RD professionals. Developed in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Center for Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER), RD professionals explored key mentoring competencies that can benefit RD mentors and mentees that have been associated with improved career outcomes, employee engagement and retention, and more inclusive work environments. The workshop was facilitated by NORDP members Jan Abramson, Kristin Boman, Paula Carney, Tabitha Finch, Rachel Goff-Albritton, Kathy Partlow, and Samarpita Sengupta. All participants and facilitators are invited to join a NORDP Mentor Training Circle and participate in other Mentoring Committee activities. The next Mentor Training Workshop is being planned and will be announced soon. If you would like to be contacted when the next workshop series is scheduled, please complete this form. Registration is limited to 30 NORDP members.

Kristin BeckAlexia Kelley
Gagan BajajElizabeth Lathrop
Antoinette BlairKathryn Lindl
Sarah BridgesSuzanne Lodato
Jamie BurnsKatie Pelland
Lynsey FitzpatrickMary Ann Pollmann-Mudryj
Jenna IsaksonGeoffrey Pollock
Ashley KapronEvelina Sterling