UCAR University Relations Committee
The University Relations Committee met in Boulder on 10 October 2001. Prior to that meeting, the URC participated in the UCAR Members’ meeting held on 9-10 October.
WEDNESDAY, 10 OCTOBER
1. Welcome and Regular Business Items
After outgoing Chairman Kelvin Droegemeier thanked the committee and UCAR/NCAR management for his six years on the URC, he introduced Chris Bretherton as the incoming chairman. Bretherton thanked Droegemeier and welcomed the two new URC members in attendance, John Merrill and Mohan Ramamurthy. A brief overview on the URC responsibilities was given to the new members. The committee reviewed and approved the April URC notes.
UCAR President Rick Anthes welcomed the committee to Boulder and congratulated Droegemeier on becoming a UCAR Board member.
2. Non-Core Proposal Review
Chairman of the Subcommittee Ken Pickering explained the review process and pointed out the procedural changes that were approved at the last two meetings. In October 2000 it was approved that the subcommittee be required to review only a random sampling of the proposals, and in April 2001 this change was modified to ensure that all NCAR divisions and UOP were represented in the this random sample. A total of 11 proposals—from the106 proposals that were submitted during the last six months—were reviewed by Pickering and the other two members, Eric Betterton and Efi Foufoula-Georgiou. Pickering presented the distribution of proposals by NCAR division and dollar amount and noted that most of the proposals were between the $100K to 500K range. In their review of these 11 proposals, the subcommittee found adherence to the guidelines excellent.
During their review, one question arose on a proposal's community benefit response, criterion no. 4, but after clarification it was agreed that model development was the primary goal of that proposal and therefore a valid justification of community benefit. This question illustrated the importance of providing to the subcommittee an accurate and thorough abstract, and also brought up the issue of whether or not the entire proposal should be included in the reviewal material. It was agreed that excerpts of proposals would be provided on a case-by-case basis.
At Bretherton's request, Pickering agreed to provide a brief description of the proposal review process and have it available for the new members. In conclusion, the subcommittee commended the NCAR and UOP staff on their efforts in providing the required information on their proposals. The URC approved the subcommittee's report on their review.
The URC appointed the following Subcommittee members for the next proposal reviewal period:
Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Chairwoman
3. URC Liaison Reports
Eric Betterton, liaison to ACD, met with ACD Director Danny McKenna and reported that the division is doing excellent science and he could discern no problems within the division.
Pickering, liaison to ASP, met with ASP Director Al Cooper and conversed with ASP postdocs. After a brief overview on the roles and objectives of ASP, he reported on the programs within the division. The Postdoctoral Program, which allows young scientists to conduct their research in collaboration with NCAR scientists, has accepted 387 postdoc fellows over the past 37 years. In pointing out that the largest number of postdocs came from CU, Pickering also noted that the largest number of applications came from them. This geographic bias was examined earlier by the URC and ASP has responded by advertising and recruiting more vigorously on a national level. The Graduate Fellowship Program, that supports graduate students under the joint supervision of university faculty and NCAR scientists, was phased out in the early 1990s but was reinstated in 1997 at a low level. The Summer Colloquium Series, a series of lectures at the level of an advanced graduate course over a period of 2-3 weeks; the interdisciplinary Geophysical Turbulence Program; and the Visitor Program, a program in which postdocs select well-respected senior scientists to visit NCAR, are also vital and successful programs of ASP.
Pat Reiff, liaison to HAO and SPEC Observer of NSF's review of HAO, reported that the NSF review of HAO is going very well and that the science in the division is top notch.
b) Discussion on the value of URC Liaisons to NCAR Divisions and UOP
Bretherton led the discussion on whether or not to continue the liaison program. The committee agreed that this program would be valuable as a communication mechanism between universities and NCAR, would allow the URC to see how divisions interact with universities, and would provide insight into how the NCAR Strategic Plan is developing. Merrill asked how the universities would benefit from this dialog; Droegemeier responded that it is the responsibility of the URC to keep their university faculty informed on what is happening at UCAR and NCAR. After questions arose on the frequency of division interactions and on the scheduling of the liaison reports, Bretherton agreed to draft guidelines for the liaisons. Bretherton also complimented Pickering's liaison report and added that it would be a good model to follow. Al Cooper, ASP Director, supported the URC liaison program and said that hearing the university perspective was very valuable at their recent planning retreat. Discussion followed on how the liaisons could familiarize themselves with the activities of their respective division and how NCAR and university interactions could be strengthened.
Three new liaisons were appointed and the following divisional assignment was agreed upon:
4. Developing the Agenda for the AMS Meeting
Rich Clark, Program Chairman, outlined the AMS Student Conference and Career Fair that will be held on 12-13 January 2002, during the Annual AMS Meeting in Orlando. He explained that the purpose of this conference is to expose students—senior undergraduates and first year graduates—to the atmospheric science community. Under the URC's sponsorship, NCAR and UCAR activities will be highlighted at an 1 1/2 hour session on the 13th, from 1:30 to 3:00pm. Discussion followed on structuring this session. It was agreed that this session should be structured as the university community speaking on behalf of UCAR/NCAR programs.
A draft agenda was provided and after discussion the following changes were made: a) Natalie Murray, graduate student at the U of Arizona, will emcee the session ; b) Anthes will have 10 minutes to overview UCAR, NCAR and UOP; c) two NCAR and two UOP young scientists, and possibly a former ASP postdoc, will give presentations, focusing on their career paths and what inspired them to choose their field, and devoting only 1 to 2 slides to their science; d) discussion time will be scheduled at the end; and e) university faculty will be invited to participate in the discussions. It was also agreed that dry runs should be held for all the presentations.
Jack Fellows agreed to draft a new agenda and distribute it to the committee and UCAR staff for their comments and approval.
5. Plans for the April 2002 Meeting
The URC accepted Anthes' invitation to hold the Spring 2002 meeting in Boulder and thereby would have the opportunity to visit NCAR divisions and UOP programs. It was suggested that these visits be structured to emphasize the relationships between universities and NCAR/UOP. Meeting dates will be proposed to the committee within the next two weeks. (Note: the dates proposed and accepted by the URC were April 16-17, 2002.)
6. Unstructured Discussion
The committee was updated on the graduate recruitment website that is being developed by UCAR and AMS. Susan Friberg noted that the site will be "live" early in 2002 and explained that students have been involved in the development of the site. The committee emphasized the need of prospective students being told that "hard" science is required. Anthes reminded the committee that this site is being built incrementally, that it is a prototype. The URC agreed to review the recruitment site before comments are solicited from the Members' Representatives.
Bretherton posed the question on how the URC could shepherd the issue of Access Grid. It was pointed out that the technology was not yet mature and that staff expertise, space and funding are big issues for the universities. Worry was expressed that an environment of "haves" and "have nots" might be created among the universities. Tim Killeen proposed compiling a list of universities to participate in a pilot program to address some of the concerns as the community begins to build a network of access grids. The committee agreed to discuss this issue further at the Spring 2002 meeting and perhaps have Don Middleton as an invited speaker.
The committee adjourned at 5:30pm.