Mentor Dyad Reflections: Jessica Brassard/David Widmer

We hope you are enjoying the opening months of the 2021-2022 NORDP Mentoring Program and that you have had a chance to meet in your dyad! We are excited to share a piece of Mentoring Reflection by introducing Mentor David Widmer, Manager of Research Development and Outreach at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Mentee Jessica Brassard, who recently transitioned from Michigan Technological University to a Graphic Designer position in the University of Michigan’s Research Development Office. Jess and David were paired for the 2020-2021 mentoring year and are continuing their engagement beyond the official program.

Short bios

David Widmer, PhD, is the Grants & Contracts Manager of Research Development & Outreach at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) and has 20 years of research administration and research development experience.  David manages the G&C Funding Development Team (FDT) now in its 12th year of providing proposal development and funding acquisition support to MSK researchers. David’s outreach and training has focused on developing specific populations of investigators including junior faculty and post-doctoral researchers. David was part of the first NORDP mentoring class in 2011, has served on the Mentoring Committee since 2015, and served as MC co-chair from 2017-2021. This was his fifth year as a mentor. David is a Fulbright Scholar, a recipient of a Swiss Confederation fellowship, and has an MS in Cell & Developmental Biology, an MA in Humanities and Social Thought with a concentration in the History of Medicine, and a PhD in Behavioral & Molecular Neuroscience. 

Jessica Brassard is the Graphic Designer in the University of Michigan’s OVPR Research Development office. Jessica has a long background in fine art, design, and marketing and transitioned to research development in 2015 when she joined the Michigan Technological University RD team. She has experience with what we might think of as “core” RD responsibilities (faculty development, proposal development, strategic initiatives, workshops and training) but she has always loved the chance to work on visuals for proposals and science communication. She creates visuals that increase clarity and saliency for proposals and OVPR initiatives. This will be the fourth year that Jessica has participated in the NORDP Mentoring Program. She has been both a mentee, a mentor, and participated in a PMG or two. This year, she joined the Mentoring Committee and is focusing on the McMc (Mentoring Committee Marketing (sub)Committee). In all aspects of her life, Jessica strives to find ways to improve the world around her. 

  1. What influenced you to apply to be a mentor and a mentee for the 2020-21 NORDP Mentoring Program?
  1. JB — I believe I can learn something from everyone I meet. The NORDP Mentoring Program does a great job of creating opportunities to meet, build relationships, and learn from each other. 
  2. DW — My experience with the NORDP mentoring program previously has been very positive. I was in the first mentoring class in 2011 and my mentor helped me during a pivotal transition in my career of moving from Research Administration to Research Development. When I came to the Mentoring Committee in 2015, I started up again first as a mentee and then transitioned as both mentor and mentee. This upcoming year will be my fifth year as a mentor. My experiences with all my mentors drive me to want to pay it forward and the learning that happens with my mentee makes me want to mentor again. And by learning, I mean I learn from my mentees because I do every time. The mentoring experience shows that we all have something to share and that you might be in a better position to serve as a mentor now than you may think.
  3. What was your favorite part about your relationship?
  1. JB — As I have gotten to know David, I have enjoyed learning about his background. David has generously shared his published work which I have read and found fascinating. I enjoy spending time reflecting on the challenges he has faced over the past year in his institution and the issues I face in my institution. Having David’s perspective helps me reflect more clearly because he sees things from an outside point-of-view while still having the context of our RD mission. 
  2. DW — The camaraderie! Jess and I really clicked and talked about so much more than RD. I feel we have crafted an important connection that will last beyond the mentoring year. I even benefited from her baking skills and received a care packet for the Holidays.
  3. What surprised you about being a mentor or a mentee?
  1. JB — During the process of using the NORPD mentoring packet to reflect on my own progress, goals, and network, I am surprised by the progress I’ve made year to year. And again at the end of a mentoring year, I am surprised by the incredible benefit of the conversations we’ve had, despite shifting work priorities and adjusted meetings over the year. 
  2. DW — What’s surprised me from the start of mentoring was the reciprocal learning that happens. I taught enrichment to seventh and eighth graders in graduate school and staying one step ahead of them in topics and subjects was a challenge since they gave me perspectives I never had before. Mentoring kids I think put me in good stead to be a NORDP mentor although previous mentoring experience is not by any means a prerequisite for supporting your RD colleagues in mentoring.
  3. How has participation in the Mentoring Program helped broaden your horizons about Research Development in general and/or affected your daily work in particular?
  1. JB — In this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have struggled with the amount of work I can maintain in our new way of living and working. The Mentoring Program has helped “right-size” my expectations to the realities. While this is being done at my institution and within my unit, it is also extremely helpful to get perspective with both David and my other mentee. 
  2. DW — Bringing back to one’s home institution is an important benefit of NORDP membership and the Mentoring Program has helped me learn and grow in RD, and have colleagues to share and brainstorm ideas with to take back to MSK. The dyads and the Peer Mentoring Groups are great for that but they wouldn’t be such a success if it weren’t for the fabulous open and sharing NORDP membership.
  3. Any words of wisdom or encouragement for those wanting to apply next year? Any other thoughts you would like to share? 
  1. JB — Don’t get caught up in the tasks you might add to your list of to-dos or the additional meetings you need to schedule. Think of this as a year-long opportunity to get to know another human and add to your network!
  2. DW — If you think you are not ready to mentor, think again. Everyone has something to share, differing experiences to discuss, and perspectives that will broaden the horizons of another program. I thank Jess for broadening my horizons in our mentoring partnership this year.

NORDP Consultant Pilot Program; Calling for Applications

With the generous support of Eric and Wendy Schmidt via recommendation of the Schmidt Futures program, NORDP is piloting a program to grow research capacity and competitiveness within historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) by increasing institutional capacity for research development. To develop and grow sustainable research support infrastructure, the awarded two-year pilot project will provide NORDP consultants—via either virtual engagement or in-person engagement—to participating HBCUs at no cost to the institutions.

NORDP is pleased to announce two opportunities to be a part of the NORDP Consultant pilot program.

  1. Please consider applying and share this opportunity with program evaluators in your network. The National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) requests proposals from experienced evaluators for the evaluation of a two-year pilot project that will create sustainable research support infrastructures at four participating HBCUs. The evaluator will provide formative and summative feedback to NORDP leadership and the HBCUs related to impacts and outcomes as aligned with project objectives. The evaluator will also provide recommendations to inform future programmatic decisions. A bidders conference will be held on September 21, 2021 at 12-1pm EDT. Proposals are due November 10, 2021. Additional information can be found in the RFP here.
  1. Please consider applying to serve as a NORDP Consultant. The National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) seeks applications from NORDP members to participate as NORDP Consultants in a two-year pilot project that will create sustainable research support infrastructures at four participating HBCUs. Proposals are due November 10, 2021. Additional information can be found in the RFA here.

The application process for HBCUs will also be announced in the upcoming weeks. HBCUs will be contacted directly and invited to apply.

NORDP New Board Member Cameo – Lisa Lopez

Who:   Lisa Lopez, Senior Research Development Officer

Where:   College of Health and Human Development, California State University, Fullerton

Number of Years in RD:  7

Length of NORDP Membership:   6

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?

I entered RD after completing my postdoc. I was looking for an alternative career away from the typical research scientist trajectory, but I knew I still loved working in academia. The problem was that I didn’t have anyone in my network who could help me navigate a transition outside of the laboratory. When looking for jobs, I found various RD opportunities, but I had no clue if I would even be qualified for such a position. After a quick Google search, I found the NORDP website with information on the responsibilities of a “research development professional.” I read all I could find about this “new” profession and found that it was indeed something I was qualified for and could find rewarding. Most importantly, I found a community of folks who, while working at their own institutions, had a shared passion for RD and supported each other along the journey.  I started to apply for RD jobs and was fortunate to land at a local Cal State, where I’ve been ever since.

In my current role, I perform RD duties at the college level as a member of the Dean’s senior leadership team.  I work closely with my colleagues in the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects to put on grant-related trainings for faculty, and I work as part of the Pre-Award team for my college to help faculty submit proposals.  In my college, I focus on faculty development.  I provide guidance to help faculty position themselves for success in their research and as they seek external funding, and I develop and manage several college programs to support faculty research.  I am also involved in a college task force aimed at increasing the hiring and retention of diverse faculty. 

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization?

I joined NORDP in 2015.  I started to attend the annual meetings and presented a poster in Colorado in 2017.  In 2020, I increased my engagement with NORDP and joined the Nomination Committee.  This was such a worthwhile experience, and I encourage anyone looking to get started in volunteer work with the organization to consider joining NomCom.  Committee work gave me insight into the organizational structure of NORDP and also exposed me to the skills and experiences of the Board candidates.  It was through my work on NomCom that I was able to see myself as a future member of the NORDP Board. 

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

NORDP members are such a supportive and engaging group.  When I was new to RD, I really appreciated going to the annual conference and meeting and learning from members who had been in the field a lot longer than me.  I’ve also been fortunate to meet some really awesome members as part of the Nomination Committee.  This year, I’m taking part in the Mentorship Program as both a mentor and a mentee.  So far, I’ve really enjoyed the experience, and I’m incredibly thankful to have already met so many new folks as a participant in this summer’s Celebrating Mentoring Days.   

What are you most excited about as a board member?

NORDP is growing and changing, and I’m really excited to have the opportunity to be part of the leadership that will help shape what our organization looks like in the coming years as we prepare to develop our next strategic plan.  I’m also eager to meet more members and learn how others enhance their professional development and how institutions support the profession.  I’m interested in exploring the different models of RD at institutions and how NORDP can best meet the needs of our members in varied RD roles and from diverse backgrounds.  NORDP is now over 1,000 members strong, and it’s an exciting time to be involved in this organization.  I can’t wait to see what we all can accomplish in the years ahead!

Compiled by Sharon Pound, Communications Working Group

NORDP New Board Member Cameo – Nathan Meier

Who: Nathan Meier, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research

Where: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Number of Years in RD: 18

Length of NORDP Membership: 10

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?

Like many NORDP members, I followed a circuitous route to the profession. Following undergraduate study, I farmed full-time with my family for two years before going on to earn a Master of Technical and Professional Communication from Auburn University—the only place in the country where that specific degree is offered. I started out wanting to be an English professor but changed my focus as I learned more about the challenges of the tenure track once I began my graduate work. My first semester at Auburn, I ended up in a principles of technical communication course and really enjoyed the experience because it gave me a chance to meld my interests in writing and technology. The MTPC program was a great fit for me and felt like an applied English degree. During my final semester at Auburn, I audited a class called “The Proposal as Genre and Argument,” and it was another natural blend of my interest in writing, rhetoric, literature, and technology. When I returned to Nebraska after graduating, I applied for a proposal writing position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and have been in RD ever since. I did not set out to be in this field, but the skills I brought and learned and my natural interests led me here. I am grateful to have the opportunity to add value to faculty-led projects on our campus.

My current position is focused on faculty and institutional success especially as they relate to external funding competitiveness. My RD portfolio of work involves providing strategic direction for our proposal development, external faculty recognition and awards, and research impacts programs. I also get involved with many special projects for our vice chancellor and our campus (e.g., efforts related to diversity and inclusive excellence, federal relations, pursuing the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, etc.). I also have become heavily involved with our institution’s pursuit of grand challenges. 

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

I started out as a listserv lurker and became a member after a couple of years. I joined the conference planning committee in 2015 as an abstract reviewer and then got involved with conference marketing. I later joined the nominating committee and was eventually designated as its chair. I basically helped out wherever I could starting with a variety of little projects and scaffolded toward increased responsibilities over time. I have been a mentor as well. Following an invitation from the board, I threw my hat in the ring to fill out the remaining portion of a departing board member’s term in 2019. During my two years serving as an appointed board member, I felt like I found my niche with NORDP and realized there is more I could do, so I decided to run for a full four-year term.

Over the years, we had been hearing from members that NORDP needed more intentional pathways to advance organizational leaders. We needed to find ways to help members become engaged members and ultimately committee leaders and then, hopefully, candidates for the board. I worked with Jan Abramson, Katie Shoaf, Mady Hymowitz, and Karen Fletcher to stand up the NORDP Leadership, Engagement and Development (LEAD) Initiative. This program, which is still evolving, is designed to nurture organizational leaders and help NORDP members cultivate their own individual careers. 

I also been working with other NORDP colleagues for the last couple of years to expand the recognitions available to NORDP members and our external champions of RD. We want to recognize and reward the important, impactful contributions our colleagues are making and ensure they capture the attention of our members.  

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

The RD community is at its core a very strong network, and NORDP is its backbone. We openly share knowledge to help our faculty and institutions succeed. Our “back of the house” support allows our nation’s research enterprise to thrive and achieve its goal, which, from my perspective, is to help improve the human condition. 

NORDP is an incredible crucible in which we can mix with others from around the world and from a variety of organizational types. I appreciate the free and open exchange of ideas we enjoy from which you can pick and choose what works best for your individual context. For example, I have learned and adapted a great deal from my colleagues at PUIs and MSIs that is helpful in my RD work at Nebraska, which is a comprehensive research, land-grant institution.

For the last few years, I have really come to value a collection informal peer mentoring groups formed by NORDP members with shared interests and goals. I get to connect with colleagues from all ranks and from a variety of institutional types. It is wonderful to know that I have many great colleagues across the country with whom I can spitball ideas and get frank, helpful feedback.

What are you most excited about as a board member?

I think that NORDP is at an inflection point. We now have 1,100 members, and we need to sustain the organization and position it for a dynamic future. The fact that our membership continued to grow during the pandemic is incredible. I am excited about the climate survey that the Committee on Inclusive Excellence is launching to help us determine what we can do better and inform strategies to make sure NORDP is a place welcoming to all. I am excited to see how we deliver on our current strategic plan as it comes to an end next year and think about how we will reflect and plan for the next stage by continuing to innovate and remain relevant to the RD community.

RD has come a long way since NORDP began. We are moving away from mostly experimentation and anecdotal evidence about what works to having colleagues laying RD down as a field through rigorous study. I hope we learn how to work smarter not harder in the RD space as a result of our colleagues’ research results. 

I am also very excited about the LEAD Peer Mentoring Group that Jan Abramson, Karen Fletcher, Katie Shoaf, and Mady Hymowitz are facilitating. We are seeing many new faces in NORDP and the profession—and this is captured well in the group’s participants. I view that as a sign of NORDP transitioning with new players coming to the table, and I hope that they will emerge as the next generation of contributors and leaders—both within NORDP and to RD.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

NORDP New Board Member Cameo – Carolynn Julien

Who: Carolynn Julien, Associate Director of Research Administration

Where: Hunter College, City University of New York

Number of Years in RD: 33

Length of NORDP Membership: 8

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?

I stumbled into the RD field to be honest. Early in my career, I saw a posting for a position that sounded interesting. I thought it would be a good fit as I enjoyed writing and I worked well on teams. I figured it was worth a shot and I have been working in the same office here at Hunter College CUNY for the same boss ever since.

We are a PUI and our services run the gamut. We are truly a soup to nuts operation. We work with Junior Faculty to find the funding as well as to develop and submit proposals. We also work with senior faculty and everyone in between. Our office is a central one that supports faculty in all of the schools encompassing Arts & Sciences, Social Work, Nursing and Education.  

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization?

I have been to two in person conferences (DC and Austin) as well as the most recent virtual one, but the majority of my involvement in the past was via the mentoring component of NORDP. I received a mentor in 2013 and we have continued our connection all these years later.  

I began to increase my engagement during the early part of the pandemic. I decided that I wanted to give back more, and I became a mentor to four individuals during the 2020-21 year. It was through this that I became involved with the Mentoring Committee. I recently gave a presentation during the Mentoring Lightning Storm entitled, From Silos to Success, during the 2021 conference. I discussed the mentoring system we have here that brings RD professionals together from all of the 25 CUNY system schools that has proven to be very effective. You can check it out here:

I also served as a co-moderator on the Mentoring Across Differences presentation at this summer’s Mentoring Conference for NORDP. We expanded the definition of difference to speak about mentoring relationships and the beauty that these differences can add to these relationships. 

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

There have been so many honestly and I have built many friendships. I really did not feel that connected to NORDP prior to the 2020-21 year. Engaging with fellow members allowed me to develop relationships, many of which have turned into true friendships. I am also part of an informal group that meets once a month, which formed from Conversation Roadblocks event with NORDP’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence (CIE). This group provides a combination of personal and professional development and serves a great opportunity to talk about differences. 

What are you most excited about as a board member?

I am really looking forward to the opportunity make a difference by having a seat at the table. I am also very interested in figuring out some of the tools, tips and knowledge that can be leveraged for PUI organizations like mine. I am excited to continue my involvement in mentoring and learn how to be able to mentor others who want a seat at the table as a board member. I am looking forward to having individuals who look like me understand that they too are welcome and their ideas & opinions matter. 

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

NORDP New Board Member Cameo – Jennifer Glass

Who: Jennifer Glass, Research Development Officer

Where: Office of Research Development and Administration, Eastern Michigan University

Number of Years in RD: 7

Length of NORDP Membership: 6

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?

I actually came to RD from a research professor position. I studied cognitive function in various health and aging conditions at the University of Michigan and had lots of experience writing grants. I saw a job description and was looking for a change at the time. I had never heard of the field before, but it sounded like a good fit for my experience. 

I am the only person solely doing RD work in my office. I work with the entire campus and the bulk of my time is proposal and faculty development. Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is primarily a PUI and our faculty tend to have high teaching loads. My primary role is to facilitate and help in any way I can when faculty are seeking funding. 

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization?

When I started at EMU my boss knew about NORDP and encouraged me join, even making it a part of my hiring package. I thought it sounded like a good idea since I was new to the field. I attended my first conference in 2015 and went to a roundtable about mentoring with the discussion focused on how to bring back the mentoring program (at that time, the old way of manually matching mentor-mentee pairs had become too onerous). I have been involved with the Mentoring Committee ever since and it has been great to see the growth in mentoring initiatives over the years. I have also been involved with the Committee on Inclusive Excellence for the past two years. 

I currently serve as the chair of the PUI Affinity Group, but with my seat on the board, I am stepping down as we put together a succession plan for the group. I am excited about a landscape survey we have just launched to get an idea of what RD looks like at PUI’s across NORDP. At many of the smaller institutions RD folks have similar roles, but they often have other roles in sponsored projects, pre-award or grants administration. The PUI group is interested in the concept of “building a culture of research” and what it means at PUI’s. If you are interested in learning more about this initiative, please contact Kara Luckey. 

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

I could go on for days about the relationships I have built via NORDP. There is so much talent in our group. We would all be in our silos without the organization. For example, the PUI Affinity Group idea arose from a listserv posting. It has developed into a vigorous group working at PUI’s who are passionate about RD in those settings.  

I always get so much from the conference and I bring home new ideas and strategies every time. The conferences also give me insights about the RD enterprise itself. One of these ideas is how to reach out to colleagues on campus about communication of research to the general public which is an important aspect of our work. 

One of the best things about NORDP is how helpful everyone is. If you ever have a question you can pose it to the Listserv and you will have many answers in a few minutes. I appreciate the culture of NORDP. We could easily view each other as competitors, but there seems to be an understanding that the better the research the better for the field as a whole. 

What are you most excited about as a board member?

I am excited about seeing how the board works and being a part of the leadership at a point where we have had so much growth. We are changing how we manage ourselves due to the growth. NORDP is a very different organization than it was even just two years ago.  

I am also looking forward to getting to know the many accomplished people on the board. I continue to be passionate about PUI’s and I am glad to be a part of seeing how NORDP can help these types of institutions in the future. 

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

Call for Volunteers: NORDP LEAD Fireside Chats: Career Stories

Are you looking for a way to become more involved with NORDP?

Do you like the spotlight, enjoy talking with people, and have the ability to think on your feet?*

Or, are you detail-oriented, with good follow through?*

         (*oh, wait, we are research development professionals….we have the skills)

The NORDP LEAD workgroup is actively seeking volunteers to contribute time and talent to the popular Fireside Chats: Career Stories. This is a great opportunity to refine some skills (or try something new), work with fun people, and contribute to the NORDP community. And a bonus: this volunteer opportunity will only take about 2 hours per month.

What we are looking for:

Facilitators/Interviewers for Fireside Chats. Fireside Chats are 30 minutes – responsibilities include talking with the presenter beforehand, finalizing interview questions, and conducting the interviews. Prior Fireside Chats, and the upcoming presenters, can be found here.

Program Coordinator(s) for Fireside Chats. Responsibilities would include arranging speakers, working with First Point Management Resources (FPMR) to schedule, and promoting the event to NORDP members. This role may also include finding members to serve as Tech Hosts or being the Tech Host in an emergency.

Thinking about volunteering? It’s a team effort! You will be mentored by the NORDP LEAD members who have been coordinating the Fireside Chats. You will have support, guidance, and an opportunity to put your personal touches on a well-received NORDP member benefit.

Intrigued? Or know someone who might be great in this volunteer opportunity? Please reach out to Jan Abramson ( We’d love to have YOU as part of this team!

NORDP 2021 Holly Falk-Krzesinski Service Award – Etta Ward

Named for NORDP’s founding President, this award is voted on by the Board of Directors and given annually to a NORDP Member in recognition of outstanding service to the organization, to the research development profession or field, and to peers.

Who: Etta Ward, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development

Where: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Number of years in research development: 19 +

Length of NORDP membership: 6 years

What initiative are you the most proud of in your role as a NORDP volunteer? 

There are several, but my work with the Mentoring Committee has been a highlight of my volunteer experience with NORDP. I enjoyed working with Jan Abramson and others to help develop and adapt resources for the Mentoring Program that would allow participants to be much more intentional about their experiences as a mentor or mentee. I was happy to partner with the Mentoring Expertise, Support and Helping Hands (MESHH) subcommittee to develop a custom kit adapted from proven research-based materials. I also loved working on this part of the program, understanding that it provides the resources needed to be successful.

Another pivotal aspect of my work with the Mentoring Committee was an effort with Jan, through funding from the NORDP Strategic Alliances Committee, to attend the National Research Mentoring Network Level One Entering Mentoring Facilitator training, which allowed us to train others. As a result, members of the Mentoring Committee built a relationship with NRMN and the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) that allowed us to modify modules for RD professionals to deliver competency-based mentor training, and now our content is an official part of their training curricula.  

I was also part of a team led by Kathryn Partlow from the Mentoring Committee to present at the University of New Mexico Mentoring Institute conference in 2019. This annual conference brings together a broad constituency of researchers, educators, community leaders and other professional partners who support the power of mentoring. 

At the UNM Mentoring Institute, strategic connections were made, and knowledge garnered to support NORDP’s endeavors around effective mentorship. As a result of participating in the Mentoring Institute, NORDP was published in the Journal of Coaching and Mentoring, and those in attendance discovered there was such a thing as mentoring software to support mentoring programs. By early 2021, the board had invested in mentoring software to support the membership.

Members of the NORDP Mentoring Committee will be presenting and participating in the 2021 UNM Mentoring Institute.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

NORDP has truly been catalytic in my career trajectory in RD. My first job in higher education was as a faculty development professional, which is what I considered my focus. I did not consider myself in RD at the time. Members of my staff actually got to know NORDP first. Alicia Gahimer, program and operations manager at IUPUI, went to a number of conferences and told me I had to go. I took her advice and ended up finding my people, as many of us say!  

I went to conferences and learned to be intentional in my involvement. I talked with my Vice Chancellor about NORDP being the premier RD professional organization and over time he wanted me to come up with a title and job description that represented what I was doing. I used NORDP’s salary survey to find a match for my role to accurately describe my current position as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development. 

How did you hear about NORDP and what made you join initially?

Colleagues in my office had heard about NORDP through our regional contacts. I supported staff members who wanted to attend conferences where they could find a match/fit for the type of engagement they had with faculty. Many of us became involved with NORDP committees. It really got my attention when they were coming back with great new ideas and amplifying our existing efforts. Alicia encouraged me to join as well and when I did, I found people both similar and different than me which only added to what I was able to learn from them. 

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

When I joined the board, I began by asking a lot of questions so that I could learn more about the board and the individuals who were on it. Over time I developed strong relationships with these folks who are also leaders at their home universities. It is an honor and a privilege to work with people leading a national organization with international influence. I love that I can continue to build intentional relationships with people in strategic positions where I can create and drive the direction of the RD profession. 

Describe how NORDP has changed from when you initially joined

When I first joined, I had the sense of a tension about access to certain groups, but I now understand that some of it was a perceived tension. I do acknowledge that there were members who found it hard to connect with others. NORDP’s leadership recognized this and has since been willing to go deep to understand the concerns of members, especially in the area of inclusion. Members expressed concerns in the membership survey and the board responded. They were willing to get to the point of discomfort and stay there if necessary to advance diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, something that will be a priority for the organization moving forward. NORDP’s leadership pays attention to areas where the organization needs to improve. 

What recommendations do you have for members to get more involved with NORDP?

When you join NORDP you will find your people, but don’t stop there. Get to know someone you don’t work with or know deeply. These relationships open up a world of possibility personally and professionally. You can reach out through the listserv, committee work, and conferences. Make it a point to connect with people you don’t know as well as those who work in different parts of RD.  

If you need help in getting involved don’t hesitate to contact a board member. We are always happy to help you. Finally, I would say get the most out of your membership. Don’t be a bystander and sit on the sidelines.   

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

Announcing the NORDP Consultant Program

The National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) is pleased to announce a new program called NORDP Consultants. Through the NORDP Consultants program, experienced NORDP members enter into multi-year agreements with client organizations to facilitate strategic planning aimed at growing research, deliver research development services, and conduct capacity building activities.

The NORDP Consultants program builds on the success of the NORDP Program for External Evaluation of Research Development (PEERD), which provides an array of services to client organizations interested in valuable benchmarking tools, best practices, and guidance to enhance research development program activities and further the research enterprise at their institutions. Typically, PEERD is a short-term engagement lasting a few weeks that culminates in a report including a set of recommendations that the client organization can implement on their own timeline as resources allow. In contrast, NORDP Consultants enter long-term engagements and not only make recommendations but also help implement them with an emphasis on capacity building.

Led by Kimberly Eck, MPH, PhD, Immediate Past President of NORDP and Associate Vice President of Emory University, the NORDP Consultant Program will begin with a pilot in early 2022. Through the generous support of Eric and Wendy Schmidt via recommendation of the Schmidt Futures program, NORDP Consultants will provide a total of 2,400 hours of support to four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) over the course of the two-year pilot project. 

About the pilot project, NORDP President, Jill Jividen, said, “The funding from Eric and Wendy Schmidt provides a unique and exciting opportunity for NORDP to advance its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in research and demonstrate the value of Research Development, as we partner with HBCUs to strengthen research activities and increase the diversity of scholarly and scientific communities nationally.”

Over the next several months, NORDP will call for applications from NORDP members seeking to become a NORDP Consultant; release a request for proposals from potential evaluators; and invite HBCUs to apply to participate in the pilot.

The project will be thoroughly evaluated and two modes of engagement (primarily in-person vs. primarily virtual) will be compared. The results of this pilot project will inform the NORDP Consultant program. NORDP hopes to expand the NORDP Consultant program in the future.


Do you support research development (RD) at a predominately undergraduate institution (PUI) or other small, teaching-intensive institutional context?

Please help us to build knowledge about the ‘landscape’ of RD at PUIs by completing the NORDP PUI survey!

Findings from the survey, which should take approximately 15 minutes to complete, will help the research team (members of the NORDP PUI Affinity Group) to understand the context and needs of RD professionals at PUIs, and ultimately to develop supportive resources, programming, and advocacy tools. Participation in the survey is voluntary. No individuals or institutions will be publicly identified, and no identifying information will be released outside of the research team. 

Thank you in advance for contributing to the advancement of RD at PUIs! Questions may be directed via email to any of the research team members at the below addresses.

Best Regards,
PUI NORDP Survey Research Team

Jessica Bishop-Royce, DePaul University (
Dean Gerstein, Pomona College (
Jennifer Glass, Eastern Michigan University (
Kara Luckey, Seattle University (
Peggy Sundermeyer, ORG Transitions (