By Joe Garvey

Karen Eck, Old Dominion University’s assistant vice president for research, has been selected as a Research Leader Fellow by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Council on Research (COR).

Eck, the first person from ODU to win the fellowship, represented the University at the organization’s June 25-28 meeting at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is one of eight members of the sixth cohort of COR Research Leader Fellows. The program was established in 2017.

The 12-month fellowship is designed to help “rising research leaders develop expertise in areas outside of their current research-related responsibilities” and build connections with COR senior research officers via site visits and participation at COR meetings, according to the APLU’s website.

“The fellows chosen for the 2023 cohort are the future leaders in the nation’s public universities,” said Lynne Chronister, vice president for research and economic development at the University of South Alabama and chair of the APLU Council on Research. “The program helps broaden fellows’ exposure to research activities and advance their professional development.”

Keeping in mind ODU’s R1 status and the goals of the new health sciences center that would result from the proposed ODU-EVMS integration, Eck said her focus during the fellowship will be on how the University can expand research opportunities, resource development and institutional research advancement. Of particular interest are conducting community-focused research, working with clinician-researchers in interdisciplinary partnerships and finding an effective model for providing faculty services.

She noted that COR Research fellows meet twice a month to discuss and present on topics of interest. They also host invited speakers on various topics. Site visits to member institutions are organized with four to six fellows throughout the year to explore questions and enhance professional development in areas for development identified in Fellowship Training Plans that were submitted for review during the selection process.

“The fellowship is a unique opportunity to expand my knowledge base via a cohort mentoring model with research leaders and aspiring research leaders from across the country,” Eck said. “I am grateful for the support of Dr. Morris Foster (ODU’s vice president for research) for this initiative, and I hope my participation will provide additional perspective and experience as ODU continues to grow as a research university.”

Eck came to ODU in 2009 as director of research development and was promoted to assistant vice president for research in 2015.

Eck served on the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) Board of Directors from 2015 to 2019, as president in 2018-2019, and currently as a co-lead on the Strategic Alliances Committee and NORDP representative to the International Network of Research Management Societies Council. She was selected in 2020 as a NORDP Program for External Evaluation of Research Development 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 received the NORDP Fellow designation recognizing sustained contributions to NORDP and the practice and field of research development.

Before coming to ODU, Eck was a biomedical grants officer at McGill University, director of community resource development at Federation CJA and instructor at Dawson College, all in Montreal.

She has bachelor's degrees in psychology and French from Indiana University and a doctorate in experimental psychology from Kent State University. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Université de Montréal.

Founded in 1887, the APLU is North America’s oldest higher education association, with member institutions in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada and Mexico.