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President's Corner

Summer 1997

President's Corner

NSF reviews and new UCAR vice presidents

In a departure from the usual President's Corner, I want to provide a timely update to the community on two matters of import.

NSF reviews

In early April, an NSF-appointed review panel spent three days in Boulder conducting a review of UCAR and NCAR management and of NCAR's role and contributions as a national center. This is the second part of a three-part review cycle, leading to the next cooperative agreement between UCAR and NSF for the management and operation of NCAR on behalf of the university community.

During 1996 each of NCAR's divisions and programs (except for the Advanced Study Program) was reviewed both by anonymous mail reviewers and by an on-site panel, in keeping with the usual NSF practice. The positive results of this part of the cycle, and the recommendations for change, were reported to the UCAR Members at the annual meeting in October by Franco Einaudi (NASA), chairman of the member-elected Scientific Programs Evaluation Committee (SPEC).

This year's process began with preparation of a document which would provide reviewers with the information they needed to make judgments about the five review criteria, as specified in the current cooperative agreement:

This report is available on the Web through UCAR's home page.

The review panel was chaired by Charles Kennel (University of California, Los Angeles); other members included David Burridge (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts), Jay Davis (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Timothy Killeen (University of Michigan), Ronald Prinn (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), James Rasmussen (NOAA), and Carol Roberts (NSF, retired). A subpanel chaired by Harold Orville (South Dakota School of Mines and Technololgy) was convened to review ASP; other members of this group were Dana Hartley (Georgia Institute of Technology), Barbara Mihalas (Syracuse University), Eugene Takle (University of Iowa), and John Wyngaard (Pennsylvania State University). Two SPEC members served as observers on behalf of UCAR for each of these panels: Einaudi and Joyce Penner (University of Michigan) for the overall panel, and Eric Barron (Pennsylvania State University) and William Cotton (Colorado State University) for the ASP subpanel.

We are all gratified with the results of the review, as presented in the panel reports just received (see sidebar). Against this positive backdrop, several recommendations for improvement are made, such as to achieve better integration of the ASP postdoctoral visitors with postdoctoral programs run in and by NCAR research divisions; to explicitly define a strategic plan for service and outreach programs; to develop a continuing strategy for optimum use of emerging information management technologies; and to communicate internally more effectively. Responses to both reports are under preparation and will be submitted to NSF by the end of May.

A debt of gratitude is owed to the many university and laboratory participants in this extensive review process.

Two new leaders at UCAR

I am extremely pleased to announce the appointments of Kathryn (Katy) Schmoll and Jack Fellows as vice presidents of UCAR. Following a national search, I have selected Katy for the position of Vice President for Finance and Administration. (As you know, Bill Rawson announced late last year his intention to retire from this position in September of this year.) Katy has been the comptroller of the Environmental Protection Agency since 1993. Prior to that, she was assistant associate administrator for the Office of Space Science and Applications at NASA. She has at bachelor of science degree in public administration from Indiana University.

In a reorganization, Jack Fellows will be in charge of UCAR Corporate Affairs and will also direct the UCAR Office of Programs. Since 1984 Jack has been branch chief, Executive Office of the President of the United States, Office of Management and Budget, Science and Space Program Branch, Washington, D.C. He has a Ph.D. in civil engineering (hydrology) from the University of Maryland.

The opportunity for the reorganization and the hiring of two exceptional people into senior UCAR leadership positions was made possible--following the identification and interview of the two candidates by the search committee--by Bill Pennell's decision to step down as director of UOP and Vice President Harriet Barker's plans to retire in the next two years. The appointments were thoroughly discussed with the UCAR Board of Trustees Executive Committee and strongly endorsed by them. A major objective in making these appointments is to build a new senior management team for UCAR that will lead the organization well into the next century.

Katy and Jack will be assuming their positions officially in late August or early September.

Comments from the NSF reviews

"The National Center for Atmospheric Research serves the nation with distinction."

"NCAR's past, present, and future success depend upon the high quality of its scientific and technical staff, and its intelligent and effective management."

"The UCAR role, serving as the presence of the large outer community, represents a unique accomplishment in stewardship and management of a federally funded scientific and technological institution."

"The Advanced Study Program is flourishing and vital to both NCAR and the university community."

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Edited by Carol Rasmussen, carolr@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Tue Apr 4 13:50:42 MDT 2000