University Relations Committee

13 October 1999
Boulder, Colorado


The University Relations Committee met in Boulder on 13 October 1999. Prior to that meeting, the URC participated in the UCAR Members’ meeting held on 12-13 October.

Committee members present:

Eric Betterton, University of Arizona
Chris Bretherton, University of Washington
Richard Clark, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Kelvin Droegemeier, University of Oklahoma (Chairman)
Matt Hitchman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kenneth Pickering, University of Maryland
Seth Stein, Northwestern University
Eugene Takle, Iowa State University
Mingfang Ting, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Melanie Wetzel, University of Nevada

UCAR/NCAR resource people:

Maura Hagan, High Altitude Observatory
Susan Jesuroga, Assistant Director, COMET, UOP


Cliff Jacobs, Head, UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere Facilities Oversight Section
Jewel Prendeville, Program Coordinator, UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere Facilities Oversight Section

Others present for all or part of the meeting were:

Richard Anthes, President, UCAR
Rena Brasher-Alleva, Director, Budget & Planning Office, NCAR
Maurice Blackmon, Director, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, NCAR
Dave Carlson, Director, Atmospheric Technology Division, NCAR
Al Cooper, Director, Advanced Study Program, NCAR
Walt Dabberdt, Associate Director, NCAR
Jim Dye, Acting Director, Mesoscale & Microscale Meteorology Division, NCAR
Janet Evans, Budget & Planning Office, NCAR
Jack Fellows, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Director of UOP
Susan Friberg, Administrator, UCAR
Tim Hundsdorfer, Budget & Planning Office, NCAR
Sharon Hurley, Budget & Planning Office, NCAR
Al Kellie, Director, Scientific Computing Division, NCAR
Michael Knoelker, Director, High Altitude Observatory, NCAR
Robert Roper, Georgia Institute of Technology
Thomas Schroeder, University of Hawaii
Robert Serafin, Director, NCAR
Susan Warner, Executive Assistant, UCAR
Justin Young, Budget & Planning Office, NCAR


A. Regular Business Items

1. Welcome and Agenda Review/Approval

Chairman K. Droegemeier first thanked M. Wetzel for her six years on the committee and then welcomed the new URC members, K. Pickering, S. Stein, and G. Takle. After welcoming the NSF officials and the staff of UCAR and NCAR, Droegemeier reviewed the agenda and received the committee's approval.

2. Meeting Notes Approval

The draft notes from the 20-21 April 1999 meeting were reviewed and approved with no changes.

3. UCAR/URC Orientation

 UCAR Vice President J. Fellows gave an overview of UCAR for the benefit of the new URC members. He reviewed UCAR's mission and its governance structure, and highlighted UCAR's six goal areas. After a brief overview of the UCAR organizational chart, he noted that more extensive information on the specific divisions and programs may be found on the UCAR web page. Fellows read the URC's charge which is to help maintain good communication and relationships between the corporation and the members. More specifically URC's main activities are to: act as an advisory committee to the UCAR President; propose agenda items for the members' meetings; propose new UCAR activities and programs; and review NCAR's non-NSF funding and UOP non-core funding and consider any charges of unfair competition from the universities.

Droegemeier reviewed the recently implemented liaison program. He explained that URC members are appointed to specific NCAR divisions to advance interactions between universities and NCAR. The representatives attend divisional advisory committees as ex-officio members and report back to the URC on the panel's recommendations.

B. Action Items

1. Non-Core Proposal Review

Chairman of the Subcommittee M. Hitchman, along with members C. Bretherton and M. Ting, reviewed the last six months of submitted NCAR and UOP non-core proposals. Hitchman reported that overall the proposals met the criteria. The subcommittee raised a few questions which were then forwarded to R. Serafin's office for clarification. One issue raised was the transfer of intellectual property and technology rights. Serafin said that these issues are decided case-by-case; in some situations activities and data have been licensed and patented by NCAR and in other cases not, e.g., the MM5 model developed by NCAR and Penn State. Droegemeier added that universities become consternated when they see NCAR copyrighted material. It was pointed out though that educational and research-related rights were always maintained by UCAR. In response to a question on who decides the level of GAUs that are cosponsored in a proposal, it was explained that the divisional director assigns the GAUs from their divisional allotment and that this decision is also decided case-by-case.

The subcommittee suggested revising criterion 3 and enhancing the verbiage "meaningful collaboration." After discussion it was agreed that the present procedure provided appropriate confirmation of collaboration and revision was not necessary. In conclusion, the URC approved the subcommittee's report on their review.

2. Status of Instrumentation Development and Related Programs at Universities

At the last URC meeting in April 1999, M. Wetzel was appointed to draft a letter to the NSF expressing the need for enhanced opportunities in atmospheric technology. She reviewed the draft letter which was distributed to the committee. Two recommendations were listed: 1) to initiate a targeted funding opportunity in Atmospheric Measurement Technology and 2) to increase the awareness and focus for the instructional use of NSF-sponsored instrumentation facilities. Also summarized were the expected benefits of the recommended actions, namely more robust programs for design and implementation of scientific instrumentation and an increase in the number of faculty and graduates who would pursue technological development.

In the discussion that followed it was noted that development of appropriate criteria in universities is a community-wide program, that universities need to prioritize this in their programs, and that universities need to do more and not look to UCAR to solve this problem. It was brought up that NSF has a MRI (Major Research and Instrumentation) fund and a deployment fund, both from which universities can apply. During the discussion of the inefficiency in field programs in that the limitations of instruments are not understood, it was suggested NCAR give instructional courses on the capabilities of instruments. G. Takle and D. Carlson (NCAR/ATD) reported that they were going to organize a workshop at NCAR that would involve universities and their instrumentation development activities.

In conclusion it was noted that the benefits listed in the letter were too general and that more specificity was needed. Takle emphasized that universities needed to focus on this deficiency. Anthes suggested that this would be a good item for the Heads and Chairs to discuss at their meeting in October 2000. Droegemeier concluded that it was premature to go to the Trustees for approval to submit this letter to NSF and that more caucusing among the community was needed.

C. Information Items

1. NCAR Liaisons Reports

a. Advanced Study Program (ASP) workshop/retreat. ASP liaison E. Betterton reported that ASP was an extremely well-run and successful program. Issues discussed at the retreat were the difficulties graduate students face with two professional families and with female students in their child-bearing years. Also discussed were future trends in atmospheric science. Betterton said that he had a brief opportunity to participate in the postdoc screening process. ASP Director A. Cooper commented that he appreciated Betterton's cooperation and enjoyed having an university element in ASP activities.

b. High Altitude Observatory (HAO). HAO liaison R. Clark briefed the committee on his half-day meeting with HAO Director M. Knoelker and his staff. Clark found the presentations enlightening and reported that HAO's management is sound, HAO contributes a significant amount to outreach, i.e., 9% of HAO's staff budget is allocated to visitors, and summarized that HAO is right on target.

c. Mesocale and Microscale Meteorology (MMM) Division. MMM liaison M. Ting reported on her meeting with MMM Director R. Gall, which was geared primarily to educate her on MMM's activities. She found that MMM has a viable visitor program and that MMM's future activities include the development of a new model and improvement in data simulation.

d. Scientific Computing Division (SCD). SCD liaison Droegemeier announced that SCD's advisory panel will be meeting next week. He added that SCD has a new IBM on the floor, that SCD's plans for the future are strong, and that the new SCD Director, A. Kellie, has done a remarkable job in his short tenure.

2. Student Research Assistant Issue

Betterton briefed the committee on his department's recent experience of student assistants canceling their acceptance at the last minute and making it impossible to recruit replacements. He said that their department lost three positions this past fall because of last minutes cancellations. He pointed out that even though these students sign a contractual agreement, it is unforceable on these conditions. Discussion followed on how universities could prevent this loss of student positions.

M. Wetzel commented that her university overbooks on student research assistant positions but also allowed that her university has more flexibility than other institutions.

3. Plans for Spring Meeting at Millersville University

The following were suggested as agenda items for the next URC meeting at Millersville University:

a. Follow-up on Wetzel's draft instrumentation letter to NSF

b. NRC ranking—NRC will be doing a one-year study on criticism received on the criterion used for the ranking (Droegemeier and Fellows will follow-up on this item).

c. Graduate students—quality of students dropping. The Board of Trustees appointed a subcommittee to analyze this trend. (Anthes will report on their findings.)

d. Meeting with faculty and students at Millersville University

e. Advocacy—URC members solicit input on the advocacy plan and inform either Fellows or Droegemeier of their response.

D. Unstructured Discussion

Droegemeier thanked Serafin's office for their assistance in the URC's review of NCAR and UOP non-core proposals. He acknowledged a lot of work is involved in the processing of these proposals. Anthes thanked Wetzel for her six years of service on the committee.


No notes are taken during the Executive Session

The committee adjourned at 7:30pm.

~ End of Notes ~