UCAR University Relations Committee Meeting
Relations Committee met in Boulder on 11 October 2000. Prior to
that meeting, the URC participated in the UCAR Members’ meeting
held on 10-11 October.
Betterton, University of Arizona
Chris Bretherton, University of Washington
Kelvin Droegemeier, University of Oklahoma (Chairman)
Matt Hitchman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Everette Joseph, Howard University
Kenneth Pickering, University of Maryland
Eugene Takle, Iowa State University
Smith, Yale University
Barth, Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division
Ginger Caldwell, Scientific Computing Division
Maura Hagan, High Altitude Observatory
Charlie Martin, Atmospheric Technology Division
Grant, Financial Operations Specialist, UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere
Facilities Oversight Section
Cliff Jacobs, Head, UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere Facilities Oversight
Jarvis Moyers, Director, Atmospheric Sciences Division
for all or part of the meeting were:
Anthes, President, UCAR
Rena Brasher-Alleva, Director, Budget & Planning Office,
Maurice Blackmon, Director, Climate and Global Dynamics Division,
Mike Coffey, Atmospheric Chemistry Division, NCAR
Al Cooper, Director, Advanced Study Program, NCAR
Walt Dabberdt, Associate Director, NCAR
Steve Dickson, Director of Special Projects & Internal Audit
System, Finance & Administration, UCAR
Janet Evans, Budget & Planning Office, NCAR
Jack Fellows, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Director
Brant Foote, Director, Research Applications Program, NCAR
Susan Friberg, Administrator, UCAR
Dave Fulker, Program Director, Unidata Program Center, UOP
Bob Gall, Director, Mesoscale & Microscale Meteorology Division,
Bob Harriss, Assoc. Director of Strategic Planning, NCAR
Bob Henson, UCAR Communications
Tim Hundsdorfer, Budget & Planning Office, NCAR
Sharon Hurley, Budget & Planning Office, NCAR
Al Kellie, Director, Scientific Computing Division, NCAR
Dale Kellogg, Executive Assistant to the Director, NCAR
Tim Killeen, Director, NCAR
Michael Knoelker, Director, High Altitude Observatory, NCAR
Bob Roesch, Director, Human Resources & Employee Relations,
Jeff Stith, Manager, Research Aviation Facility, ATD, NCAR
Susan Warner, Executive Assistant, UCAR
Kelvin Droegemeier welcomed the committee and guests. After he
reviewed the URC agenda, the draft notes from the April 2000 meeting
were reviewed and approved with no changes. Droegemeier introduced
UCAR President Rick Anthes, who in his welcoming remarks, reiterated
that universities have a responsibility to NCAR and vice versa.
Anthes also reviewed the last portion of the Members' Meeting
during which, in plenary, the Members discussed graduate student
recruitment, and in particular, growing undergraduate enrollments
and declining graduate enrollments. The question was asked why
are students being turned off to the field.
Non-core NCAR and UOP Proposal Report
of the Subcommittee Chris Bretherton, along with members Ken Pickering
and Mingfang Ting, reviewed the last six months of submitted NCAR
and UOP non-core proposals. Bretherton reported that all of the
proposals adhered to the spirit of the guidelines and that the
subcommittee was pleased with the increasing number of letters
of collaboration. Bretherton reviewed the issue of cosponsorship
and added that further clarification was received from NCAR and
UCAR on a few proposals. Because of the success of this review
process, Bretherton recommended to the committee that this process
be scaled down. This recommendation was discussed later on in
the meeting. In conclusion, the URC approved the subcommittee's
report on their review.
Role of the University Relations Committee
Director Tim Killeen's Remarks
discussed future roles for the URC: using the URC as a sounding
board for new ideas that can be shared early in their conceptual
stages (e.g., strategic planning); seeing a new level of interaction
with the URC in addition to the "watch dog" function; and setting
the stage for future interaction with a presentation on early
thoughts about the Strategic Plan. Killeen emphasized that he
wants the Strategic Plan to be based on adequate input from the
reported that NCAR is a bit top heavy now and this problem will
be addressed by adding up to four new Scientist I positions per
year for the next two years. He added that female and minority
participation has been low and flat, and that NCAR, as a national
center, should lead the effort in transforming the demographics
of the field. ASP will assist in the selection process of the
Scientist Is, and that will also be the first step in expanding
their role at NCAR. NCAR is not necessarily looking to achieve
a particular distribution among divisions.
asked about technical staff and possible commensurate increases
there as well. Killeen noted that the Diversity Task Force is
looking at this issue, and that with regard to software engineering,
the Strategic Simulation Plan will be making a big push to shore
up weaknesses. NCAR is essentially having the same sorts of problems
in this area as other institutions.
reported that NCAR also is looking at "inverse sabbaticals"—ways
to encourage university scientists to visit NCAR and vice versa.
Killeen continued his report by saying that The Strategic (10
year) Plan will be a "bottoms up" plan. He posed the
question if this is an opportunity to adopt a PACI-type approach
for certain types of initiatives like community models? Perhaps
this could be done with corporate sponsorship, or targeted toward
new funds available from the NSF, i.e., targeted initiatives.
Killeen cautioned that NCAR must be careful to avoid turning into
a funding organization. The Plan will be based upon BASC, Geo2000,
and the new NRC report on Grand Challenges as well as the UCAR-at-40
out the emerging themes: a) Information technology for high-performance
simulation and knowledge management—developing an adaptive and
evolutionary Earth System Modeling framework; b) Developing collaborative
tools for integrative problem solving in the geosciences; and
c) Assembling knowledge management toolkits for the geosciences.
The NCAR Strategic Plan for High Performance Simulation, which
came out of the Code Assessment Panel, is NCAR’s first major step
in this direction. Currently a number of ITR proposals, many with
university partnerships, are being developed and also a distinguished
visitor position in computer science has been announced out of
the Director’s Office.
said his view of NCAR is as an integrator and its role as advancing
fundamental knowledge of the Earth system through research partnerships.
The many themes of this area are broad and cross several disciplines,
e.g., understanding environmental and societal consequences of
the transition to an urban society, evolution and fate of planets.
Killeen asked for comments about integrating themes.
section is connecting discovery to societal needs, and this brings
RAP into the picture as well as ESIG. One of the major issues
is vulnerability and societal response, both in the short- and
long- term. The MIRAGE project is an example of what NCAR does
best in terms of collaborating in a major way with a large number
research programs are key components of the new Strategic Plan,
and this includes support persons for software development, instrumentation
and facility support, etc. Metrics will be developed to measure
institutional progress, and NCAR is launching a major initiative
for internet-based capabilities, e.g., mass storage facility,
portals to various knowledge systems for environmental science,
envisions the role of the URC in the Strategic Plan as a co-developer
of the plan and a sounding board for ideas. He noted that an annual
forum isn’t enough, and suggested that the URC may even meet in
early winter to discuss the plan. The URC also will be a primary
liaison for university groups and their concerns, and be a co-developer
of workshops, symposia, and meetings that will be necessary to
effectuate the strategic plan. Killeen concluded by saying the
timeframe for completion of the Strategic Plan will be March-April
Open Discussion on Roles for the URC in the Strategic Plan
Harriss, NCAR Associate Director for Strategic Planning, noted
that the astronomy community has been able to organize around
emerging themes very effectively and command the resources necessary
to do the science. He continued by saying that it is necessary
to prioritize what can be done within the context of available
resources and make strategic thinking part of NCAR’s regular activity.
was asked: Will the current collaborative infrastructure be effective
to achieve the goals outlined for the future? The possibility
of developing a major funding initiative that would allow for
new, special collaboration among the NCAR-UCAR-university community
was discussed. Cliff Jacobs, ATM/NSF, endorsed the concept but
noted that big announcements are difficult for NSF to handle–partly
because they’re so broad! Director of ATM, Jarvis Moyers, cautioned
the committee that the first order is to create a strategic plan.
It was questioned if the vision is constrained by the realities
of funding mechanisms and collaborative arrangements? It was added
that we shouldn’t be reactive to the agencies, but be true pioneers
in creating new ideas that push the agencies forward in their
asked if this plan is an NCAR/UCAR plan with university advice,
or a plan for the geosciences as a whole and consistent with where
the NSF is heading. Is this vision shared by the universities?
Killeen replied that we’re entering uncharted territory and the
community as a whole needs to be involved—a national center should
reflect the desires of the community/universities.
Takle noted that the private sector should be brought in, especially
for environmental science research. CGD Director Maurice Blackmon
added that people from other disciplines (e.g., plant biology)
don’t have any other way to participate other than through what
NCAR is doing, and of course what’s going on at other institutions.
But the initiative is coming from atmospheric and the geosciences.
brought up the need for some type of agreement about the balance
of centralized versus distributed roles, values, and ownership.
Shared ownership has to be rooted in decision making processes.
Chris Bretherton pointed out another important alliance worth
culling out, the operational community. WRF is working on this
issue to some extent, but it should be included explicitly in
the Strategic Plan. Also needed are alliances with industry and
this concept could be the underpinning of the new Strategic Plan.
Bob Gall commented on research needs of the private sector. He
also noted that many WFOs are co-located with universities, and
questioned if they’re being effectively integrated into university
curricula and teaching activities. Could the URC play a role here?
Takle noted that the environment at NOAA is much more conducive
to this type of interaction.
noted that while NCAR is getting input from high-level folks at
NCAR, what about at universities? The URC is a small group, but
it could be the mechanism for garnering input. Even though a high-level
director’s advisory committee is being formed, it was suggested
that a sounding board that would meet more frequently might be
a role for the URC.
President Rick Anthes said that March-April may be an optimistic
timeframe, and that the Board of Trustees will need to sign off
on the plan. He cautioned that much iteration will be involved,
and a structure will have to emerge.
roles for the URC in the strategic planning process were discussed.
One suggestion was to develop a tiger team composed of university
participants and/or URC members. The URC would recommend university
people to serve on the tiger team. The participants would work
with Harriss on the plan and thus ensure alignment of objectives
with the university community. The URC role beyond this would
be one of strategic and tactical development. The composition
of this team was discussed—mainly atmospheric scientists or broader
representation. Killeen said that the topics are very broad ranging
and will require involvement by people in other fields. He added
atmospheric sciences is the vanguard of this type of work and,
unlike other disciplines that don’t have a national center, is
poised to lead the effort. It would be dangerous for NCAR to move
beyond its roots.
commenting on the composition of the "tiger team" said that the
real driver is basic research, and the struggle is building upon
this without sacrificing it in the process. He thought that it
would be relatively easy to put together an interdisciplinary
tiger team of meteorologists, biologists, etc. Harriss cautioned
that we have to be realistic – we can’t assemble a plan for all
of the atmospheric sciences and also include biology, etc. There
seems to be some concern that NCAR may be trying to do too much,
but it’s hard to draw back on creating a vision plan for the institution.
NCAR should also say what it’s not going to do.
suggested that we’re really talking about an interdisciplinary
planning grant that could be submitted by NCAR and the university
community. He pointed out that it could be done under bio-complexity
and would engage a much larger number of people for several hundred
thousand dollars. He cautioned that the disadvantage, of course,
would be a tie to the bio-complexity funding track.
noted that we’re at a very early stage in all this, and it’s not
clear what’s really going on. If it’s an NCAR plan, it should
be led by NCAR, but with input from others. NCAR can best lead
by having it’s own plan that has a great deal of university buy-in
in a broader context. In so doing, the plan should focus on the
role of universities. ASP Director Al Cooper added that
in the development of the strategic plan the universities could
be used to strengthen weak areas at NCAR.
Harriss noted that everything concerning the Strategic Plan will
be on the web.
Director Walt Dabberdt's Remarks
Dabberdt gave a presentation that included input from the NCAR
division directors, on the strengths and weaknesses of current
NCAR interactions with the URC and the broader atmospheric science
community. There were three recurring themes: 1) communications,
2) knowledge transfer, and
3) collaborations. He overviewed the strengths and weaknesses
in each of the three areas. He offered suggestions to improve
interactions, such as improving the process for obtaining university
inputs, strengthening the visitor program, creating an ombudsman
for each NCAR division to receive and channel queries, and involving
the university in NCAR's strategic planning.
discussion on how to increase university interactions the following
suggestions were given:
Creating presentation materials on NCAR and UCAR programs and
facilities that will be updated periodically, for universities
to use during their seminars, classes, etc.
Developing special sessions at the Annual AMS Meeting or other
scientific meetings that would emphasize the science that
is coming out of collaborations with UCAR/NCAR and the educational
opportunities that UCAR/NCAR offer.
Using the NCAR/UCAR web site to educate the community on UCAR/NCAR
opportunities— such as creating live web casts for town hall
meetings or other novel ideas.
that the response rate to advocacy alerts is very low and therefore
doesn't think that people will flock to the AMS meeting if they
are not now engaged. He pointed out that the Members Representatives
are the key, that they should care and should know what is going
on. If you want to get people interested, talk about something
that’s interesting to them. Killeen added that it is important
to energize the Members Reps, not from a procedural point of view,
but from areas that appeal to their scientific interests. We need
to appeal to what interests people, and we need some vehicle to
bring graduate students to NCAR.
the following items were discussed as vehicles to increase universities'
knowledge of UCAR, NCAR and UOP.
Distribute Walt’s presentation to the URC and ask for modifications.
Create a program to bring graduate students to NCAR for "exposure"
visits. Perhaps a broad
initiative or goal that every graduate student, during their
first year of school, visit NCAR/UCAR and be involved in
something. It could then focus on the key parts of relevance
Faculty should also be "required" to participate in
UCAR/NCAR governance or visit NCAR/UCAR for some sort of
Have an education component at the Members Meeting where people
go around and see things, not a science briefing per se,
but rather focus on interaction. Could rotate among a few
divisions each year. University people also should know how
NCAR/UCAR fits into the bigger picture of funding and the
Send emails to the Member Reps to encourage them to direct students
to the NCAR web site. Could include web stuff and presentations
in senior capstone and professional development courses.
The sabbatical exchange program needs to be emphasized, and
even short visits could encourage NCAR scientists to give
talks about NCAR as well as their science. The key is exchange.
NCAR and UOP Proposal Report (cont'd)
review of the proposals was discussed earlier in the meeting and
formally approved. Bretherton asked the committee to approve the
following recommendations. The first two were wording changes
in the criteria:
Revise the guidelines to:
non-NSF proposals must satisfy both Criteria 1 and 2."
UCAR non-NSF proposals must satisfy either Criterion
3 or Criterion 4. It is not necessary that both criteria
be addressed. However, where both Criteria 3 and 4 are addressed
by the proposal, then the Advance Notice Form should provide
suitable responses to both."
Modifying Criterion 4 to:
how the proposed activity would contribute to the development
or support of community facilities, community models, or
other community projects (such as field programs), or
would provide a transfer of NCAR-developed technology or expertise
to the community, and as such would have demonstrable benefit
to the community."
unanimously approved adopting the wording changes.
Bretherton proposed scaling down the review process by spot checking
a few proposals rather than reviewing all proposals. Ken Pickering
noted that this is a standard audit procedure. Jacobs reported
that NSF looks to the URC for establishing the checks and balances,
and they’re happy with the proposed process. He added that no
problems have been reported for quite some time, and if problems
arose, we’d hear about them—it’s a self-correcting process. The
URC unanimously approved the spot checking of proposals.
proposed revising the current threshold for overseeing proposals
from $25K to $50K. He explained that this change represents the
effects of inflation in the early 90s. The URC unanimously
approved revising the threshold.
Liaison Reports and Spring Meeting Planning
liaison to CGD, updated the group on this division and noted that
part of the success of the CCSM is due to Jay Fein’s funding,
but warned that the situation may deteriorate if this funding
dries up. He reported that the models are essentially ported to
the distributed memory machines at this point, morale is generally
improving, and in general everything is going well in the division.
of outgoing URC members, ESIG, HAO and RAP are not represented
by liaisons; the incoming URC members will be assigned to fill
thanked Dabberdt for his service at UCAR and NCAR and for all
his work on the URC, and wished him well in his new endeavors
in the private sector.
announced that the URC Spring meeting will be held at the University
of Maryland. It was suggested that a visit to Howard University
be incorporated into this meeting.
adjourned at 8:00pm.