Be a REF-ie

Whether working on-campus or remotely, Notre Dame Research calls all of its employees to serve our "customers" in a way that is Responsive, Effective, and Friendly. These values remind us that even in an ever-changing world brimming with uncertainty, we have control over what we do and how we do it.


Responds quickly and reacts appropriately to both internal and external stakeholders in promoting the administration and management of research on behalf of NDR. Strives to make responsiveness a key component of day-to-day duties and responsibilities.

  • Make sure your technology works and you are comfortable navigating it.
  • Learn new tools or systems that might help you optimize your productivity. The old ways of doing things in your office environment might be less effective in your home office. Staying on top of your workload will allow you to respond more quickly.
  • When replying to emails, give estimates of when recipients can expect your full response.
  • If you don't know the answer to a question, loop in the right person or suggest an appropriate contact. Go the extra step to be helpful.


Collaborates with various departments or individuals to effectively define and solve problems. Contributes to the improvement or development of processes, resulting in productivity gains. Exemplifies exceptional performance and service to the University community as well as cooperation, collaboration, and cohesion within NDR.

  • Do one thing. Checking email while attending a virtual meeting or scrolling on your phone while taking a webinar will hinder your productivity. 
  • Research is a team sport. Get the right people involved in the conversation when navigating a complex situation. Aim to provide one cohesive response as a team. 
  • Brush up using online articles or job aids if you find yourself wondering about a topic. 
  • Don’t wait for someone else to speak up if you see a problem or a process that needs improvement. Regardless of your position, you can show leadership by offering solutions and making suggestions.
  • Taking time to rest is essential to productivity. Schedule short breaks between virtual meetings to take notes, stretch, or take a walk while you gather your thoughts.


Promotes communication, trust, cooperation, and respect. Serves as a role model in both actions and deeds. Promotes a positive work environment where colleagues can thrive in their individual roles and display a unified team to the Notre Dame community.

  • Use the right tool. Although convenient, email isn’t always the right tool for communicating nuance or working through a problem. Pick up the phone or try Google Meetings.
  • Try smiling while on the phone or leaving a voicemail message. Your tone (and those listening!) will be instantly uplifted.
  • Practice gratitude. Take the time to acknowledge and thank a colleague who helped you or showed you kindness.
  • Practice professionalism while on video calls. Your facial expressions and body language can work for you by communicating that you are paying attention and interested in what the speaker has to say.  

Previous REF-ie Awardees

The REF-ies are NDR’s annual internal achievement awards honoring faculty and staff who uphold and demonstrate the values of being Responsive, Effective, and Friendly.

A call for peer nominations is sent each Spring, and the awardees are announced at NDR’s annual We Love July Party. View past awardees.


If you have questions or ideas for additional resources in this playbook, please contact the Director of Finance and Administration