Nicole Jenkins with awardNicole Jenkins, Assistant Director of Communications & Training for the Office of Contracts and Grants, is the 2021 recipient of the RIO Champion Award. 

Nicole was nominated by:

  • Gary Henry, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research; Director, Office of Contracts and Grants, CU Boulder
  • Vicki Nichol, Controller, Campus Controller's Office, CU Boulder
  • Amy Gannon, Associate Vice Chancellor (Financial Services); Controller, CU Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Jessica Helzer, Executive Director, Research Advancement, Industry & Foundation Relations

What the Nominators Said About Nicole

Nicole's defined role as OCG’s Assistant Director of Communication and Training only begins to describe all she touches and influences. Her communication skills are instrumental in helping to forge better connections and build stronger working relationships with our departments, institutes and other stakeholders. These interactions help drive incalculable efficiencies which in turn spurs our continued growth in research awards and associated revenue. Beyond her communications role, Nicole is a key leader in OCG and RIO, recognized by all who work with her as an amazing enabler of innovation and catalyst for change. Given the challenges of this past year, having Nicole as a “champion” in so many key areas was undoubtedly a major part of us achieving another milestone this fiscal year bringing in over $600M in sponsored research awards.

Well-known for her ability to give structure, meaning and practicality to complex ideas, Nicole is often called upon to facilitate some of our most important and challenging collaborations, acting as a thought partner to help the involved leaders consider various viewpoints and drive toward actionable solutions. The impact that Nicole has had in driving innovation and change that benefits the entirety of campus cannot be overstated.

Examples of cross campus and CU System projects where Nicole has facilitated and enabled success in the past year include the following:

  • AB Nexus—Nicole was the lead facilitator for this major Financial Futures and CU System strategic project, bringing together two campuses and unique roles that led to consensus on how best to reduce administrative burdens and increase collaboration.
  • IFR / OCG Collaboration—Through Nicole’s leadership, IFR and OCG have been able to consider what may need to be adjusted to support the “new" Industry & Foundation Relations (IFR) organization and associated goals. Her work to enfold IFR's portfolio management role into OCG will reap huge benefits in funding and bolster CU’s reputation among our industry and foundation partners.
  • CCO / OCG Partnership—Nicole has been instrumental in helping to solidify the mission-critical partnership between CCO and OCG. From coordinating cross-functional communication to facilitating process change in the key “touch” points, Nicole has an innate ability to dissect complex issues. Because of her collaborative nature, Nicole is often the first OCG point of contact for new CCO employees and leadership.
  • OCG Hybrid Office—Nicole was unequivocally the “thought leader” behind OCG’s campus-leading hybrid office planning, guidance development and execution. Nicole’s focus on early engagement of staff to garner input and feedback was instrumental in establishing transparent and smoothly implemented process. Nicole was requested by the Society of Research Administrators (SRA) to present a nationwide webinar, furthering CU’s standing as an innovative and forward thinking leader in research administration.

Nicole Jenkins epitomizes the professionalism, technical competence, initiative, and collaborative teamwork that is required to support our world-class faculty researchers at CU Boulder and across the CU System.