Fostering Engagement with Professional Development

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word—training?   It is not uncommon for adult learners to be disengaged in the training experience.  This is supported in the learning science research that suggests that what the trainer or instructional designer thinks is relevant to the learners might not be authentic or useful to them (Anderson, 2015; Herrington & Oliver, 2000, Petraglia, 1998).  Sharon G. Brooks, the Deputy Director of Operations in the Office of Sponsored Programs at the Duke University, Victoria Ratcliffe, the Manager of Research Education and Conflict of Interest Administrator at Virginia Tech, Karen Pace, the Director of Research Administration Policy, Training and Communications at the University of Notre Dame and Dr. Gina Anderson, the CEO from Luma and a leading expert in the instructional design and learning science field, will share specific ways you can foster engagement with your own professional development programs. Examples and lessons learned from each of the training programs will be shared.


Anderson, G. (May 5, 2015). An exploration of multimedia use in an RN-BSN online program. IUScholarWorks: Bloomington, IN.

Herrington, J., & Oliver, R. (2000). An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 48(3), 23–48.

Petraglia, J. (1998). Reality by design: The rhetoric and technology of authenticity in education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Sharon Brooks
Deputy Director of Operations
Duke University

Sharon G. Brooks is the Deputy Director of Operations in the Office of Sponsored Programs at the Duke University. Prior to her current role, Ms. Brooks was the Director of Post Award Financial Reporting and Cash Management at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Her other experiences in Research Administration leadership have been at the University of Virginia and North Carolina State University. With over 20 years of experience in Research Administration, Ms. Brooks has been actively engaged in many internal institutional outreach/training programs, as well as several professional organizations. Currently she is Director of the National Conference on College Cost Accounting (NACCA) and the immediate past Treasurer, Board of Directors, for the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC). She is a past President of the Virginia Chapter of the Society of Research Administrators (VaSRA) and has presented on financial and compliance related topics at NACCA, FRA and at the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) annual meetings. She holds the Certified Research Administrator (CRA) and the Certified Financial Research Administrator (CFRA) professional designations.

Karen Pace
Director, Research Administration Policy, Training, and Communication
University of Notre Dame

Karen Pace is the Director of Research Administration Policy, Training, and Communications in the Policy and Training Team. She joined Notre Dame Research in 1991. In her current role she helps to ensure compliance with University and sponsoring agencies policies. Karen is also responsible for managing Public Health Services and National Institutes of Health Conflict of Interest requirements, as well as developing and implementing the Research Administration Training Program. She has also held positions ranging from Office Manager, Pre-Award Specialist, and Director of Post-Award Administration. In addition to a CRA, Karen received her Bachelors of Science from Bethel College.