Karen Fletcher

Karen Fletcher is serving as the Board of Directors president for the National Organization of Research Development Professionals through June.

BOONE — Karen Fletcher, director of grants resources and services in Appalachian State University’s Office of Research, is soon to finish her appointment as Board of Directors president for the National Organization of Research Development Professionals — the leading organization in research development and research development professionals.

“Appalachian joins other leading universities and research institutions in driving the research development field. I am proud to be a part of that,” Fletcher said of her appointment.

Fletcher assumed her new NORD president role in July 2019 and will serve as president through June 2020. She served as vice president/president-elect during the most recent board year (2018–19).

During her presidential tenure, Fletcher has been facilitating a strategic planning process to help strengthen the organization that includes meaningful interactions with current, outgoing and incoming board members, among others.

“Research development professionals help researchers become more successful communicators, grant writers and advocates for their research,” Fletcher said. “They help researchers bring new ideas to life.”

Fletcher, who has been in research development since 2010 and joined Appalachian’s Office of Research in 2015, leads a team that supports faculty and staff researchers by offering grant proposal writing workshops, awarding internal funds for faculty and staff to conduct research and programming, editing grant proposals and connecting faculty with mentors.

“It is not only a great privilege to have the president of this organization serving at our university, but it also brings visibility to Appalachian in the world of research development,” said Ece Karatan, vice provost for research at Appalachian.

Fletcher’s contributions on campus are invaluable too, Karatan said.

Fletcher was the driving force behind the university’s inaugural Research and Creative Activity at Appalachian event in fall 2019 that was organized in collaboration with Appalachian’s Office of Student Research and University Libraries. She has also worked collaboratively with colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and Western Carolina University to organize a National Endowment for the Humanities grant workshop for Appalachian faculty.

With Gary McCullough (the BCHS associate dean of research and graduate education) and Charna Howson (director of sponsored programs in OR), Fletcher created the PREParation for Appalachian Research Experiences program — a mentoring program for early career faculty that focuses on grant writing. The program was born out of a National Council of University Research Administrators grant awarded to Fletcher in 2017.

Now in its third year at Appalachian, PREPARE serves 15 faculty in three colleges, and Fletcher said her goal is to facilitate a PREPARE program in each of the university’s colleges.

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