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UCAR Annual Meeting
October 2003


The Future of U.S. Universities and the UCAR-University Partnership

 At its April 2003 meeting, the University Relations Committee (URC) suggested that UCAR sponsor a forum at the 2003 Members meeting focused on two themes: (1) the future of the universities in a rapidly changing national and international environment and (2) how to further enhance collaborative opportunities between NCAR and UOP programs and the universities.

At first glance, these two topics may seem quite different, but they are clearly related. Both UCAR and the universities science departments are changing due to the way science is done and other factors (i.e., changing demographics; budget pressures; changing university policies; increased emphasis on interdisciplinary research; changing roles of the government, private and academic sectors; need for large facilities and data sets, information technology developments, etc).

UCAR and the universities are interested in increasing and strengthening collaborations; these presentations and breakout sessions are aimed toward that goal. We would like to build the NCAR, UOP, and member university partnership into a "virtual campus" of new and innovative collaborations. Some of the attendant questions are: How to work more effectively together on complex, interdisciplinary research problems; How best to take advantage of cyberinfrastructure advances; How to work together on the next generation observing and modeling systems; How to help the next generation university faculty and NCAR scientists work in these new environments; and How to help with difficult administrative issues related to working in an ever more complex university.

To achieve a new level of collaboration we need to fully understand the university needs and challenges and how we can work together to further advance our community. We will have university and UCAR co-chairs for the breakout sessions and report back on the breakout sessions the second day of the meeting, and perhaps in another forum such as BAMS or the UCAR Quarterly.

Forum Program
Tuesday, 7 October

  Leo Donner (Princeton University), Chairman of the UCAR Board of Trustees, and Eric Betterton (University of Arizona), Chairman of the URC, will co-chair the forum.  

2:00 pm

Keynote Address

"The Future of the American Research University"
James J. Duderstadt

Dr. James J. Duderstadt is the President Emeritus of the University of Michigan and author of "A University for the 21st Century" and "Higher Education in the Digital Age" among other books. He will present his thoughts on the issues that universities must confront if they are to remain viable into this 21st Century.

Universities have long defended the thorough but slow academic decision-making process, which enables controlled change. "New" programs have been built up for two centuries over "old" ones in almost archaeological layers. But we can no longer afford the luxury of uncritical preservation. Obsolescence lies in store for those who cannot, in some manner, adapt to our new reality.

(excerpt from J. Duderstandt’s March 2000 book, "The University of the 21st Century")

3:00 – 4:15 pm

Panel Discussion

A panel will discuss the ideas and themes in Dr. Duderstadt’s talk and how they relate to their experiences at their universities. Each panel member will be given 5-10 minutes to add his or her views on this topic and then the discussion will be opened to all attendees.


Moderator: Rick Anthes, UCAR President

Panel members 

Rosina Bierbaum, Dean, School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan

William Gern, Vice President for Research
University of Wyoming

Gary Ostrander, Associate Provost for Research
Johns Hopkins University

John Snow, Dean, College of Geosciences
University of Oklahoma

4:15-4:30 Break

4:30-5:45 Breakout Sessions
  1. Water Cycle. Co-chairs: Larry Winter (NCAR) and Eric Betterton (University of Arizona)

  2. Biogeosciences. Co-chairs: Peter Thornton (NCAR) and Sepi Yalda (Millersville University)

  3. Cyberinfrastructure. Co-chairs: Don Middleton (NCAR) and Jim Hansen (MIT)

  4. Next generation observing system. Co-chairs: Dave Carlson (NCAR) and Michael Morgan (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  5. Next generation faculty. Co-chairs: Kaye Howe (UCAR) and Gene Takle (Iowa State University)

Background material can be found by clicking on the title of the session. The overall goals of breakout groups 1 through 4 are to communicate what NCAR is doing in these areas, what the universities are doing, and how the two can work together (specifically) to advance the areas.

Groups 3 and 4 have the additional goal in that they form one of a number of mechanisms to receive advice from the universities about how NCAR/UCAR should evolve in providing community facilities.

Group 5 is a bit different. The main goals here are to communicate the challenges facing NCAR scientists and university faculty as both groups face rapidly changing environments. This group will also address how NCAR and university scientists can work more closely together to meet the challenges and opportunities.  

Wednesday, 8 October


Forum co-chairs will summarize the conclusions from the plenary session and the co-chairs of each breakout session will summarize discussions and conclusions from their session.

Forum Registration

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Contact: Susan Warner (303) 497-1655; swarner@ucar.edu or Susan Friberg (303) 497-1658; friberg@ucar.edu