These are familiar phrases that motivate us to engage, participate, and volunteer. And while the results of the Regional
Leadership Survey suggest that we don’t always respond to a generic call for volunteers, we are more than ready,
willing, and able to join, contribute, and share our expertise when personally invited by a colleague. As NCURA President, I would like to strongly encourage those of you who have known the professional satisfaction of active participation in our organization to invite your institutional colleagues to join in.
In my role as NCURA President, I have been charged with the task of delegating responsibilities for major events such
as the Annual Meeting, PRA, and FRA conferences and identifying leaders to promote the continued development of
NCURA’s voice in the crucial research it is our mission to advance. Aware that this is asking a lot, but unwilling to
concede the daunting nature of such responsibilities and leadership opportunities, I would like to share with you a simple concept that I have found to be extremely formative in my own professional development – and that is the opportunity to partner.
Over the past twenty years, I have had several opportunities to co-chair, partner, or be a member of an NCURA team or committee. Sharing hard work, great fun, and tremendous pride, has developed close colleagues and friendships I hope to maintain forever. NCURA is the perfect setting for project partnerships. The opportunities to plan or present, to develop programs or initiatives, and to recognize and reward, are greatly enhanced by multi-institutional, cross-regional teamwork. The rewards of working together in this environment include the satisfaction of accomplishment as well as an awareness and pride in being a part of the national and global network.
The calls are always a pleasure to make. Often I am introducing two members who may not have worked together or even know each other at all, inviting them to jointly share the assignment, the choices, the decisions, the conflicts, and the deadlines for the better part of a year. Together, they will share issues to balance, time zones to consider, workloads to manage, and family situations demanding their immediate attention. You and your co-chair are working closely building the best program ever and handling unforeseen circumstances along the way.
It seems to me that every NCURA member I meet can easily recall the first time they were called upon to contribute their time or talents. Most recall feeling flattered and nervous, particularly if the task required them to speak publicly. While so many agree that this feeling of being “recruited” ignited their volunteerism, I urge you to look to your left and right, to those members you have learned from or with, maybe taught, or met over breakfast. We have a vast number of volunteers but also an ever-growing demand for new ideas, facilitators, committee members, and officers. As members, we are frequently called upon to recommend, nominate, and reward our peers. These are the unique opportunities to share a project, show our talents, help someone find their way, and create a team.
Current NCURA members responded to a poll as to why they continue to volunteer. While all recognized their access to the most reliable current information in research administration and the prodigious benefit to their career, overwhelmingly the responses include the relationships they had developed with their colleagues, friends they would not have made otherwise. These bonds have surpassed our professional lives and in many cases, lifelong friendships have formed. It has not been unusual to hear the word “family.”
With this notion of family in mind, we would like to extend our network to include our past, retired, and emeritus members in acknowledgement of the invaluable contributions they have made in paving the way for us. “NCURA Alumni” is an initiative we will set in place in 2014 to accommodate the wonderful friendships of lifelong NCURA members to stay in touch and create opportunities for reuniting our colleagues. I sincerely welcome all of your ideas and insights as we move forward with this initiative.