Research development

App State’s Karen Fletcher leads a national organization of search development professionals

BOONE, NC — Appalachian State University faculty and staff have access to a myriad of resources that support their research, creative, and scholarly endeavors. Among these is Karen Fletcher, Director of Resources and Grant Services (GRS) at the Office of Appalachia Research (OR).

Fletcher, who has worked in research development since 2010 and joined the Appalachian OR in 2015, leads a team that supports faculty and staff researchers by offering grant proposal writing workshops, awarding internal funds to faculty and staff to conduct research and programs, editing grant proposals, and connecting faculty with mentors.

“Not only is it a great privilege to have the president of this organization serve our university, but it also gives visibility to Appalachia in the world of research development.

Dr. Ece Karatan, Vice Provost for Appalachia Research, on the nomination of Karen Fletcher as President of NORDP Board of Directors.

She was appointed Chair of the Board of the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) – the leading organization for research development and research development professionals.

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

“Appalachia joins other leading universities and research institutes in leading the field of research development. I’m proud to be a part of it,” Fletcher said of his nomination.

“Appalachia joins other leading universities and research institutes in leading the field of research development. I’m proud to be part of it.”

Karen Fletcher, Grants Director of Appalachia And services

A leader on campus and beyond

“Appalachia joins other leading universities and research institutes in leading the field of research development. I’m proud to be part of it.”

Karen Fletcher, Grants Director of Appalachia And services

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

Examples of research programs and initiatives supported by Fletcher:

  • She was the driving force behind the university’s inaugural Research and Creative Activity at Appalachian (RECAPP) event, held in the fall of 2019 and organized in conjunction with the Office of Student Research and Appalachian University Libraries.
  • She worked with colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and Western Carolina University to organize a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant workshop for Appalachian faculty.
  • Along with Dr. Gary McCullough, Associate Dean of Research and Higher Education at BCHS, and Charna Howson, Director of Sponsored Programs in OR, she created the PREParation for Appalachian Research Experiences (PREPARE) program – a mentorship program for early-career faculty who focus on grant writing. The program grew out of a National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) grant awarded to Fletcher in 2017.

Now in its third year at Appalachian, PREPARE serves 15 faculty at three colleges – the College of Fine and Applied Arts (FAA), College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), and Beaver College of Health Sciences (BCHS) – and Fletcher has stated its goal is to facilitate a PREPARE program in each of the Appalachian colleges.

Take the lead

Fletcher assumed her new role with NORDP in July 2019 and will serve as Chair until June 2020. She served as Vice Chair/Chair-Elect during the last year of the board (2018-2019).

During his presidential tenure, Fletcher facilitated 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 better communicators, grant writers and advocates for their research,” Fletcher said. “They help researchers bring new ideas to life.”

The Appalachian GRS strives to support Appalachia’s mission to advance knowledge through research and scholarship. GRS seeks to increase the ability and competitiveness of Appalachian faculty and staff to receive internal and external funding for research and creative endeavors, as well as program development.

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NORDP is the only professional association dedicated solely to research development. We are a strong and diverse community with a caring culture to advance research in higher education. Our goals are to serve our members – the research development professionals – and their institutions. We support your professional development and provide you with tools to improve research competitiveness at your institution and catalyze new research and institutional collaborations.

NCURA Funds Appalachian PREPARE Mentorship Program

January 29, 2018

Appalachian is receiving funding from the National Council of University Research Administrators to launch PREPARE — a one-to-one mentorship program for junior faculty at the university’s Beaver College of Health Sciences.

App State Presents Inaugural Awards for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

November 11, 2019

Appalachian honored Dr. Ellen Cowan and Dr. Baker Perry with the first Chancellor’s and Provost’s Awards, respectively, during the University’s Research and Creation Activity in Appalachia. They have been recognized for their superior achievements in their fields and their sustained productivity.

About the Research Office

The Office of Research at Appalachian State University supports the research, creative, and scholarly endeavors of Appalachian faculty, staff, and students. The office consists of four units: Grants Resources and Services, Sponsored Programs, Research Design and Analysis, and Research Protections. The Office of Research also collaborates with the University’s Special Funds Accounting on the fiscal management of awarded projects. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University

As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead meaningful lives as global citizens who understand and take responsibility for creating a future sustainable for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to gain and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and purpose, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system. Appalachia is home to over 20,000 students, has a low student-faculty ratio, and offers over 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.