University Relations Committee Meeting

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UCAR University Relations Committee Meeting
8 October 2003
Boulder, Colorado

The University Relations Committee met in Boulder on 8 October 2003. Prior to that meeting, the URC participated in the UCAR Members’ meeting held on 7-8 October.

Committee members present:

Eric Betterton, Chairman, University of Arizona
Kerry Cook, Cornell University
James Hansen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Karoly, University of Oklahoma
Arlene Laing, University of South Florida
John Merrill, The University of Rhode Island
Michael Morgan, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kenneth Pickering, University of Maryland
Patricia Reiff, Rice University
Eugene Takle, Iowa State University
Sepideh Yalda, Millersville University of Pennsylvania

UCAR Trustee Liaison:

Len Pietrafesa, North Carolina State University

UCAR/NCAR resource people:

Mary Barth, Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division
Ginger Caldwell, Scientific Computing Division
Joanne Graham, Unidata


Bernard Grant, Financial Operations Specialist, UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere Facilities Oversight Section
Cliff Jacobs, Head, UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere Facilities Oversight Section
Peter Milne, Prog. Coordinator, Lower Atmospheric Facility Oversight Section

Others present for all or part of the meeting were:

Richard Anthes, President, UCAR
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
Tim Killeen, Director, NCARCatherine Shea, Executive Administrator to the Director, NCAR
Susan Warner, Executive Assistant, UCAR


1. Welcome and Regular Business Items

In his welcoming remarks to the committee and guests, Chairman Eric Betterton introduced the new URC members, Kerry Cook and David Karoly. UCAR President Richard Anthes added his welcome to the URC and thanked the five URC members, Betterton, Jim Hansen, Michael Morgan, Gene Takle and Sepi Yalda, for co-chairing the break-out groups during the Members’ meeting. Chairman Betterton reviewed the draft notes from the April 2003 meeting; the meeting notes were approved by the committee.

2. Non-NSF/Core NCAR and UOP Proposal Subcommittee Report

John Merrill, Chairman of the Subcommittee, reported that the review process is running smoothly, and that in their review of the 78 proposals submitted from January through June 2003, the subcommittee found the cosponsorship ratios to be very reasonable and the documentation of the criteria thorough. Merrill noted an increase in the number of larger proposals (1 million or larger) but added that that was not a compliance issue. The URC received the subcommittee's report on their proposal review.

NCAR Director Tim Killeen took this opportunity to introduce and to thank the NCAR staff responsible for overseeing the proposal submittal process and for preparing the documentation for the subcommittee’s review—Tim Hundsdorfer and Sharon Hurley.

The URC appointed the following Subcommittee members for the next proposal review period:

Steve Monismith, Chairman
Kerry Cook
Everette Joseph

3. Liaison Reports

Chairman Betterton, ACD liaison, reported that ACD has been focused on the new building which will be ready by Spring 2005, that ACD Director McKenna would like input from the URC on incorporating community user facilities (i.e., environmental chambers, etc.) into the new building, and that the ACD Advisory Committee is reviewing the first draft of ACD’s strategic plan.

In his discussions with ASP Director Al Cooper, Ken Pickering, ASP liaison, reported on the new structure proposed for ASP as part of the NCAR realignment plan. Cooper is favorable to the larger structure proposed and the enhancements it would offer his program.

Killeen noted that Tom Bodgan has been appointed Acting ASP director during Cooper’s one-year appointment at NSF, and that Bob Gall has stepped down as MMM Director to head the new Developmental Testbed Center for the Weather Research and Forecasting model.

Pat Reiff, HAO liaison, reported that all is well at HAO, though the staff expressed some concerns on their relocation to Center Green. Reiff strongly encouraged UCAR to recruit more HAO-type institutions as members and to appoint more solar/space/astrophysics-type scientists to UCAR governance committees.

Discussion ensued on formalizing the liaison role, or if this role should be discontinued altogether. It was agreed that this role is valuable as another mechanism for communication between universities and NCAR—a two-way avenue of communication. Also, the importance of talking to staff, and not just the director or program managers, was discussed. The consensus of the committee was that the URC liaisons would be appointed as ex-officio observers on the divisional advisory committees and that the liaisons would report back periodically to the committee, accompanied by a written report. The UCAR Quarterly was suggested as a venue for this report, aiding in disseminating information to the Board and Members. Also, Tim Hundsdorfer (303.497.1118; in the NCAR Director’s Office volunteered to serve as a point of contact for the liaisons in setting up appointments with their respective divisions.

New liaison appointments were determined and the current assignments are:

ACD Ken Pickering HAO David Karoly
ASP Kerry Cook MMM Everette Joseph
ATD Gene Takle RAP Efi Foufoula-Georgiou
CGD Jim Hansen SCD Michael Morgan
ESIG Sepi Yalda UOP John Merrill

4. Continue Discussions from the Spring 2003 URC Meeting

a. Role of the URC Resource People

Betterton began by stating that there are currently three resource staff on the URC with no clearly defined role—Mary Barth (NCAR), Ginger Caldwell (NCAR), and Joanne Graham (UOP). Betterton then summarized the preliminary discussion held last Spring and reported that the consensus was to make the resource staff “full” members of the committee. Barth, Caldwell and Graham again expressed to the URC their desire to serve useful roles. In the discussion that followed, one concern that came up was that a quorum might mainly consist of internal people. On the positive side, their input would provide the perspective of NCAR staff on community issues—either in formal reports or during informal discussion during the URC meetings. After further discussion, it was moved that the URC resource staff become “real Members” of the URC and would recuse themselves from voting on conflict-of-interest issues. The motion was carried unanimously. It was noted earlier that to formally legitimize this motion, the Members’ Nominating Committee must include the resource staff on the URC slate that is presented to the Members each October for their approval.

5. Agenda and Dates for the Spring Meeting of the URC

Betterton announced that the Spring meeting will be held at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and thanked Takle for offering to host the committee. Dates were discussed and the mid-April timeframe was agreed upon with specific dates to be determined after polling absent members. The format of the meeting was discussed and Takle suggested that the agenda focus on biogeosciences, adding that a tour of restored riparian sites is tentatively being planned. At a later date, the agenda will be formalized via e-mail discussions with Anthes, Merrill, and Takle, and then provided to the committee for their comments.

4. Continue Discussions from the Spring 2003 URC Meeting (cont’d)

b. Faculty Fellows Program

Killeen reviewed the proposed Faculty Fellows Program and asked if the URC would be interested in helping design this program and in participating in the selection process. As part of the ASP augmentation plan, the Faculty Fellows program would invite university faculty and their graduate students for short-term visits to NCAR, to develop associations and collaboration with NCAR scientists early in their careers. Discussion followed on the time constraints faced by junior faculty, the high teaching expectations along with the requirement of published papers, and if this type of commitment would be realistic. It was suggested that the targeted group be post-tenure; Killeen explained that junior faculty are more in need of collaborative research opportunities, and that other avenues already exist for the post-tenure faculty, such as the Visitor Program. Other questions brought up were what would the impact on faculty be once they return to the “farm,” what is the length of the experience, and if ongoing participation after the “mini sabbatical” would be nourished.

With the focus of junior faculty directed toward tenure, discussion continued on what positive impacts this program would have on the promotion decision process. Since the tenure process is publication oriented, a resulting published paper would be beneficial along with outside letters of support. Another suggestion proposed was to continue the appointment for a second summer, and thus foster collaboration during the school year.

Betterton proposed a working group be formed to further discuss the structure of this program; URC members Barth, Cook, Arlene Laing, Merrill and Takle agreed to serve on this subcommittee which would include Tom Bogdan, among others. Killen stated that he hoped to initiate the Faculty Fellows program next year. Merrill, as the incoming URC Chair, offered to canvass the Heads & Chairs on the structuring of this program. Killeen appointed Tom Bogdan as the lead and Merrill as the lead URC contact.

6. Unstructured Discussion

After discussing how best to distribute the information from the October meetings to the university community, it was agreed that, on behalf of the URC, Merrill would send the Members’ representatives and Affiliates a short message directing them to the follow-up site on October Meetings. Hansen then introduced to the committee the recently launched program, in which a state-of-the-science climate model is able to run on almost any up-to-date home computer. The implications for education, the opportunities for interactions between the universities and NCAR, and the resulting world-wide visibility were some of the benefits discussed in becoming a part of this program. Anthes recommended that this program should be explored further. Lastly, Killeen suggested that the threshold of proposals reviewed by the URC, should rise from $50,000 to $100,000. This matter will be taken under review and discussed at the next URC meeting.

The committee adjourned at 6:35pm.

Meeting Questions? Contact: Susan Warner <>
Website Questions? Contact: Michelle Flores <>
Last Modified: 2004-05-07 10:28 -07