University Relations Committee Meeting
The University Relations Committee met at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland on 24 April and at Howard University in Washington, DC on 25 April.
TUESDAY, 24 APRIL
1. Welcome Remarks
Chairman Kelvin Droegemeier introduced Eugenia Kalnay, Chairwoman of the Department of Meteorology of the University of Maryland. She welcomed the committee to the University of Maryland and, in her introductory remarks, reported that her department is planning to change their name from meteorology to atmospheric and oceanic sciences. She also reported that their program is especially strong in air pollution and atmospheric chemistry, climate and global change, and Earth systems models.
After Droegemeier welcomed the new URC members, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou and Pat Reiff, UCAR President Richard Anthes was introduced. Anthes first thanked the University of Maryland for hosting the URC and then summarized the role of the URC: 1) is a point of contact between UCAR and community; 2) provides advice to UCAR and NCAR leadership; 3) reviews non-core funding proposals; 4) assists in planning Members' meeting; and 5) engages younger members of the community in UCAR and NCAR management. He announced that Chris Bretherton will be the next URC Chairman, beginning at the Fall URC meeting.
2. Overview of UCAR and Report on Current Activities
In his report Anthes pointed out the award-winning document UCAR at 40, reviewed the American Physical Society's visit the previous summer and their recommendations, explained the role and the importance of SPEC in the upcoming NSF review of NCAR, reported that the graduate enrollments paper has been submitted to The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) and that the graduate student enrollment survey will be continued, and reported on the development of the recruitment web site.
In his briefing on the current issues and opportunities, Anthes reported on the uncertainty of HIAPER's funding, on the importance of advocacy and communications in the development of NSF's budget, and on the necessity of NSF funding in maintaining NCAR as a national facility. In his overview of the Education & Outreach Strategic Plan, Anthes explained the planning process, pointed out the involvement of the community in developing this plan, and announced the final plan will be completed by May 2001.
3. NCAR and UOP Program Updates and Discussion
Discussion followed on the placement of programs, e.g. COSMIC, under UOP rather than NCAR. Droegemeier admitted many universities were confused with UOP's role. Fellows said that most UOP programs were asked by the university community to be placed in UOP, not NCAR. Jacobs brought up the point that NCAR is NSF-funded and therefore NSF would be heavily involved in these activities if they were not under UOP and added that COSMIC would be extremely complicated if it was under NSF's sponsorship.
4. October URC Meeting Notes
Droegemeier reviewed the draft notes from the October 2000 meeting. The committee approved the notes with no changes.
5. Non-Core Proposal Review
Ken Pickering, Chairman of the URC Subcommittee on Review of Non-Core Proposals, outlined the procedural changes that were approved at last fall's meeting: instead of reviewing all the proposals from the previous six-month period, 10 proposals, chosen randomly by Pickering, were sent to the subcommittee. Pickering reported that all NCAR divisions with the exception of ACD were represented in the selected proposals and that the majority of the proposals had budgets of $100-500K. After discussion the committee agreed that each NCAR division should be represented in this review process and that the random sampling should be modified to ensure this divisional representation.
Pickering reported that he, along with Subcommittee members Eric Betterton and Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, found only relatively minor issues--vague or incomplete answers--and that they were quickly resolved. After Droegemeier thanked the Subcommittee for their work, discussion followed on the value of this review process. Cliff Jacobs commented that the results of this review process over the past ten years have been positive--NCAR working in partnerships with universities, not competitively. Anthes added that the overall character of proposals have changed; NCAR 's proposals are more collaborative and more beneficial to the community as a whole. In conclusion, the URC agreed it was important to continue monitoring the proposals and re-appointed the subcommittee to serve through the next review cycle.
At the request of the URC at their last meeting in October, Tim Hundsdorfer, NCAR Budget and Planning Office, reported on collaborations between NCAR and universities over the past four years. His graphs showed that collaboration has been steady over the years. The top three universities with the highest number of collaboration ties at NCAR were U of Colorado, Colorado State U and U of Michigan. This geographic bias was noted and was consistent with ASP's study a year earlier. Hundsdorfer presented a US map showing geographic dispersion of NCAR collaborations and reported that almost all of the states were represented. Hundsdorfer was asked to update this information to show only awarded proposals; his presentation had included all proposals.
In the discussion that followed, it was pointed out that 80% of the collaborations were with UCAR member institutions. Also, it was agreed that collaboration with minority-serving institutions needed to be pursued more actively. In ending the discussion, it was noted that the graphs did not show all collaborations, i.e., sabbaticals, and also that UOP collaborations were not shown.
6. NSF Review of NCAR and NSF Remarks
Cliff Jacobs, Head of ATM's UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere Facilities Oversight Section, reported that NSF's FY02 Budget Request is lower than usual. Of the requested $4.47 billion, a 1.3% increase over the current level of $56M, Education/Human Resources is the big winner with an increase of 11%. On the other side, Major Research Equipment (MRE) is down by 20.6%, and Research and Related Activities is down by 0.5%. He described the five-year initiative, Math and Sciences Partnerships, which is to receive $1B over the next five years, as the primary program benefiting from the NSF budget increase. He reported that NSF's graduate student stipends will be increased from $18K to $20.5K/year, and that Interdisciplinary Mathematics ($20M for the first year) is a new initiative.
Jacobs reviewed NSF's four priority areas--Biocomplexity in the Environment, Information Technology Research, Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Learning for the 21st Century--and their expected budgets; reported that the MRE account went down because nothing large was requested; and that HIAPER did not make it into the request.
Jacobs reported on the status of the NSF Review of NCAR and UCAR. He noted that the NCAR divisional reviews and the UCAR management review are scheduled for this upcoming fall; that the issue of re-competition will be discussed in early 2002; and that the NCAR proposal would be due in mid-2002. Jacobs explained UCAR's participation through SPEC in this review process and emphasized that SPEC's participation has been extremely useful.
7. UCAR Advocacy
UCAR Vice President Jack Fellows listed UCAR's 2002 four advocacy priorities--research support, services support, policy support and advocacy support. As an example of recent advocacy activities, Fellows said that he and Ron McPherson (AMS) made 42 visits to the Hill, distributing and explaining the joint UCAR/AMS transition documents on natural hazards and climate. He asked for the URC's help in advocacy activities. He continued by saying that writing letters to their Congressional representatives and visiting their offices was one of the most effective avenues in bringing the issues that concerned the scientific community to the attention of the public. Fellows said that supporting NSF's overall budget is UCAR's highest priority. Droegemeier agreed to redraft a letter to the UCAR Members' Representatives asking their support in bringing this priority to the attention of their Congressmen. Also included in this letter will be a list of their respective congressional representatives and their addresses.
8. October 2001 Members' Meeting
After Anthes reviewed the summary sheet on the draft structure of the October meeting that was provided in the meeting materials, he asked for the committee's input. Discussion centered on the proposed Forum Sessions organized around the issues of communicating NCAR's research directions and the UCAR education plan to the community and facilitating community involvement in these plans. It was agreed that the Forum Sessions would be effective avenue to fine-tune NCAR's directions, to call for university participation, and to influence the implementation of GEO2000.
A rough agenda of the meeting was proposed: business and overview presentations during the first morning, breakout groups in the afternoon, business (elections and committee reports) the second morning, and plenary discussion in the afternoon. In the discussion on the topics of the breakout groups, caution was voiced against having too many groups, too much overlap, and too much time allotted for presentations. It was proposed that the breakout groups, as in the past, be led by co-leaders--one from the university community and one from UCAR/NCAR management.
No notes are taken during the Executive Session.
meeting recessed for a reception held in the Department of Meteorology's
atrium at the University of Maryland.
WEDNESDAY, 25 APRIL
9. Welcome Remarks by Howard University Officials
Dr. Vernon Morris, Deputy Director of CSTEA, and Dr. Demetrius Venable, Chair of the Physics Department, welcomed the URC and guests to Howard University. Orlando Taylor, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, in his overview of Howard University, stated that Howard is a multi-cultural university in that 106 countries are represented and 60% of their students are African American. He continued by saying that Howard produces more Ph.D. degrees for African Americans than all other universities combined. He added that Howard is the only HBCU that is Carnegie I, that Howard was the first Carnegie I in D.C., and that only 88 universities are Carnegie I and of that only 25 of them are private. He reported on a program that he developed at Howard, "Preparing Future Faculty." He explained that this program, funded by NSF and the Pugh Trust, prepares students for faculty positions.
10. Graduate Student Recruitment
Anthes summarized the recent BAMS article on the decrease of applications and enrollments in the graduate programs in the atmospheric and related sciences. This article resulted from the survey of UCAR Member universities on the number of graduate student applications and number of students admitted during the past five years. Also of concern, Anthes added, was the aging professorial ranks--50% of the current faculty will be retiring in the next decade. Because of the need to engage more students in atmospheric sciences, UCAR is developing a recruitment web site, under the leadership of Susan Friberg (UCAR Corporate Affairs office). This website is targeted toward 16- to 22-year olds with emphasis given to broad overviews of the science. Anthes reported that it is currently in the design phase and is expected to be on-line by early 2002. Both UCAR and AMS are contributing resources to this effort.
In the discussion that followed, it was pointed out that economics is a factor in graduate student enrollment and that the private sector offers more attractive benefits than academia.
11. URC Input on Nominating Process
Anthes asked the URC for suggestions of candidates for Trustee and Committee slates. He explained that a low response was garnered from a memo sent to the UCAR community soliciting their nominations. The URC provided many names for possible candidates. Anthes said that he would pass on these suggestions to the Members' Nominating Committee at their June meeting.
12. NCAR/University Connections
Droegemeier reviewed the URC liaison role to the NCAR divisions. The URC decided upon the following liaison assignments:
then followed on creating more literacy in the community on
the work being done at UCAR and NCAR. One suggestion was having
a special session at the January 2002 AMS meeting that would
be led by URC. In planning the structure of this session, the
following comments were made: 1) have universities speak on
behalf of NCAR/UCAR on topics that concern the community, such
as the future of education in atmospheric sciences, the new
EO initiative, and the challenges and opportunities facing us;
2) have vignettes by ASP postdocs and SOARS proteges; 3) have
NSF lead the session by describing success rates in atmospheric
sciences, presenting overviews of GEO and describing the role
of NCAR; 4) have Al Cooper give a talk on how people move through
NCAR and out into the community; and 5) have some short science
talks that focus on collaboration. This session could be an
opportunity, from the NSF, university, and UCAR/NCAR perspective,
in recruiting for the discipline, in describing the changing
nature of the field, in announcing upcoming field programs,
and in emphasizing the importance of the role of advocacy. Friberg
suggested the AGU meeting as another venue; it was decided to
first have a session at the AMS and by using that session as
a guide, organize another presentation at the AGU at a later
date. In concluding this discussion, Anthes agreed to contact
Ron McPherson on possible schedule slots available at the AMS
meeting and Droegemeier agreed to draft a white paper on the
goals, audience, message, structure and strategy of this presentation.
The URC then discussed bringing graduate students to NCAR as another avenue of informing the community of UCAR and NCAR activities. An experimental program was suggested where the Access grid could be used to first provide an overview of UCAR and NCAR and then followed by the students engaging in an experiment or conversing with scientists. Also suggested was a summer week-long program at NCAR that would educate students and young faculty on NCAR's programs.
13. DLESE/Unidata Programs
Director of Unidata Dave Fulker discussed the current status of these programs. He reported that the DLESE (Digital Libraries for Earth System Education) program, funded by the GEO and EHR Directorates of NSF, is a broad-based community effort. He reviewed this program's vision and its major events in the past nine months. He explained DLESE's current and future role in the National SMETE Digital Library (NSDL) initiative. In summary, Fulker reported that the community is enthused with the program, that collections with community generated metadata are ready to start, that the website is useful and used by NSDL and DLESE communities, and that the prototype is working.
He continued his report by giving an overview of Unidata. This program, funded principally by NSF/STM, provides tools to analyze and receive data, facilitates the access of this to a broad spectrum, supports faculty who use Unidata systems, and builds a community where data and tools are shared. He discussed Internet Data Distribution, Unidata Real-time Flows, and the success of SuomiNet. In conclusion he reported Unidata's strategic planning is being conducted with the Policy Committee and their plans are coinciding well with the UCAR wide survey results and UCAR's emerging digital-library presence. He added that an emerging concept from the strategic planning is a network of thematic servers that are updated in real-time, linked with DLESE, and would offer remote use and permit direct access from Unidata applications and other software.
The committee adjourned at noon.
~ End of Notes ~