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Board of Trustees

UCAR Members

Academic Affiliates

URC

UCAR University Relations Committee Meeting
15-16 April 2003
Palo Alto, California

NOTES

The University Relations Committee met at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California on 15-16 April 2003.

Committee members present were:

 

Eric Betterton, University of Arizona (Chairman)

 

Arlene Laing, University of South Florida

 

John Merrill, University of Rhode Island

 

Stephen Monismith, Stanford University

 

Gene Takle, Iowa State University

 

Sepideh Yalda, Millersville University of Pennsylvania

UCAR/NCAR resource people:

 

Mary Barth, Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division

 

Ginger Caldwell, Scientific Computing Division

 

Joanne Graham, Unidata

NSF/ATM:

 

Cliff Jacobs, Head, UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere Facilities Oversight Section

Others present for all or part of the meeting were:

 

Richard Anthes, President, UCAR

 

Al Cooper, Director, Advanced Study Program, NCAR

 

Janet Evans, Budget and Planning Office, NCAR

 

Jack Fellows, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Director of UOP

 

Susan Friberg, Administrator, UCAR

 

Bob Gall, Acting Associate Director, NCAR

 

Sharon Hurley, Budget and Planning Office, NCAR

 

Tim Killeen, Director, NCAR

 

Susan Warner, Executive Asst., UCAR

TUESDAY, 15 APRIL

1. Welcome Remarks

Chairman Eric Betterton welcomed the committee to Stanford University. After reviewing the agenda, he introduced UCAR President Richard Anthes. Anthes first thanked Stephen Monismith for hosting the URC and then reviewed the current responsibilities of the URC. He pointed out that one of the issues to be discussed later in the meeting will be the future role of the URC.

2. October 2002 Meeting Notes

Chairman Betterton reviewed the draft notes from the October 2002 meeting. The notes were approved by the committee.

3. NCAR Non-NSF Funding and UOP Non-Core Funding Subcommittee Report

John Merrill, Chairman of the URC Subcommittee on Review of Non-Core Proposals, reviewed the process of spot checking proposals that were submitted from the previous six-month period, July through December 2002. Ten proposals from a total of 44 were examined by the subcommittee. Merrill noted that the leveraging ratio—$(NSF)/$(requested)—of the proposals had decreased over the past year. In continuing his report, Merrill explained that the few questions raised during their review were satisfied with additional information provided by the NCAR Director’s Office. In conclusion, the subcommittee, comprised of Merrill, Everette Joseph and Stephen Monismith, found the proposals’ compliance to the criteria very good.

Bob Gall requested that Betterton, in his annual report to the Members, make note of all the work that is required by the NCAR scientists in submitting non-NSF proposals. After receiving both the Subcommittee’s report and the report on Non-NSF Funding at NCAR in FY 2002—a report that is provided to the Members in October—the committee requested that the Non-NSF Funding reports be henceforth posted on the URC website.

4. NSF Report

Cliff Jacobs, Head of ATM’s UCAR & Lower-Atmosphere Facilities Oversight Section, reported that NSF's FY03 Appropriations’ number was an 11% increase from the past year. He specified that most directorates received an 13% increase and pointed out that a new appropriation budget was included for NSB to maintain their independence. Jacobs then reported that NSF’s budget request for FY2004 is for $5.48 billion, an 9% increase over the FY03 budget request, and noted that, overall, the budget outlook for NSF is good.

Jacobs summarized the NSF review of NCAR’s science and facilities and UCAR’s management, pointed out that NCAR is the largest single award made by NSF, and said that NSB’s approval of the five-year proposal is scheduled for May. The next review, he stated, will be competitive. He then reviewed the NSB Infrastructure Report—the role of NSF in the infrastucture of science and engineering for the 21st century. The final report is available on the web and the printed report will be available in July.

5. UCAR President’s Report

In his summary of current Corporate activities, President Rick Anthes reported on the NSF Review of UCAR and NCAR and on the review panel’s recommendations. He gave an update on space plans—the bike path between CG1 and FL4 has been approved by the city of Boulder and the railroad, and approval is currently being sought for construction of a new building at Foothills, FL0, to house the chemistry lab.

Anthes, in response to the severe budget constraints many universities are experiencing, explored UCAR’s website with the committee, pointing out many opportunities that are available to universities. Information on jobs, both at UCAR and in the community, current programs for graduate and undergraduate students, forums focusing on interactions between junior faculty and NCAR scientists, visiting scientists’ programs and upcoming seminars and workshops were some of the opportunities highlighted. Anthes pointed out the Recruiting website, developed by UCAR to encourage and excite students to enter the field of atmospheric and related sciences. He then explored the Education and Outreach website, and explained that this highly interactive site is a resource for classrooms and students of all ages.

6. NCAR Director’s Report

NCAR Director Tim Killeen announced the appointment of Larry Winter, a hydrologist from Los Alamos, as the new Deputy Director and thanked Acting Deputy Director Bob Gall for his service in the interim. He reported on the recent hiring of Sr. Scientist I’s, now totaling 28, and reported on demographic concerns, pointing out that 19% of NCAR scientists are women. In highlighting the major activities of NCAR, he said that a committee has been set up to address the recommendations made by the NSF Panel Site review, that open competition for the NCAR strategic initiatives is planned for next year, that both the summer undergraduate leadership workshop and the K-12 workshop for teachers will be held again in the summer, and that the Mesa exhibits are being updated and will be open to the public in late Spring.

In his overview of NCAR facilities, Killeen reported that NCAR is the 10th largest computing center in the world and that he was pleased to announce that the HIAPER project is on track. He commended RAP on their development of a prototype winter Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) that was field tested in Iowa this past winter and he praised the beautiful data, which may be found on the web, from Gilles’ MOPITT instrument.

Killeen expressed concern over the challenges universities are facing with budget constraints, and emphasized the need to engage universities in interdisciplinary research at NCAR. In conclusion he asked the URC for ideas on how NCAR could be more supportive to universities.

7. UOP Director’s Report

UOP Director Jack Fellows reported on the UOP programs and some of the activities highlighted were:

  • Unidata—Survey results on the impact of budget cuts in the university community were that while hardware upgrades and acquisitions are being postponed, most universities are not considering pay-per-byte Internet.
  • DLESE—In their fourth year, Version 2.0 of the library development will be released in August, enhancing searching processes.
  • NSDL—Heavy community involvement is found in the development of this recently funded resource network for science, technology, engineering, and math education.
  • COMET—a MetEd website is available as a resource for universities.
  • VSP—opportunities and programs for postdocs are showcased on their website
  • GLOBE—NASA awarded a partnership between UCAR and CSU to manage the science component of this 10-year program.

Discussion followed on the difficulties young faculty face in acquiring tenure. It was brought up that serving on committees or attending conferences are time consuming but are not given much weight in the tenure-decision process. It was suggested that outside recommendation letters be solicited, e.g., letters from committee chairs to the university department head or Deans stating that this faculty person attended and contributed to the meeting. It was agreed that activities outside the university need to be recognized as important segments of junior faculty’s job performance and development.

Presentations were given by Stanford faculty and graduate students on their current research. Upon conclusion of the reports, the committee toured the new Stanford field station for environmental and global change research at Jasper Ridge.

The meeting recessed for a reception held at the Stanford Faculty Club.

WEDNESDAY, 16 APRIL

8. UCAR Education and Outreach Update

UCAR President Anthes reviewed the Office of Education and Outreach (EO) activities. He pointed out that a strategic plan was developed to unify a plan for the institution as a whole to promote the education of pre-K through postgraduate students in the atmospheric and related sciences. He summarized some of the current programs and ongoing activities:

  • Climate and Global Change Geoscience Education Workshop—two week summer workshop for middle and high school teachers, providing information on Geosciences and training on easy to implement classroom activities.
  • Modeling in the Geosciences Workshop—NASA sponsored two week workshop for middle and high school teachers that will explore Earth System Modeling concepts that are relevant for classroom use.
  • Undergraduate Summer Leadership Workshop—five-day workshop that will inform students about exciting research and career opportunities in the atmospheric and related sciences.
  • Tours and Exhibits—audio tour in Spanish and English has been introduced.

9. UCAR Advocacy and Federal Science Budget

UCAR Vice President Jack Fellows reviewed UCAR’s advocacy efforts the past year. He noted the community’s low response (~5%) to action alerts and asked the committee’s help in increasing the community’s involvement. He urged the committee to stay connected—by visits, by briefings, by correspondence—with the leaders in Washington, DC. He pointed out that one activity, the Spring 2003 Hill briefings, coordinated by UCAR and AMS, was very successful in educating the staffers on the importance of predicting and monitoring the weather, resources needed to improve prediction, and the tremendous societal benefits that would result in that improvement. He then added that with the country’s shrinking discretionary dollars, UCAR’s FY04 advocacy strategy is to focus only on high priority activities, with NSF being the highest priority. Fellows concluded his report by reviewing the federal science budget for FY04.

In the discussion that followed, it was noted that education components in MRE projects were not well defined, and it was suggested that universities use HIAPER for education and outreach activities. It was then proposed that the state of observational science be a topic for the 2003 Members’ meeting.

10. Discussion Topics

a. October 2003 Members’ Meeting

The committee discussed the structuring of the Annual Members’ meeting. With the Members being such a broad interest group, suggestions centered on forming break-out groups. It was agreed that the forum would kick-off with a high-level plenary topic that would be of interest to all the members and then break out into groups centered on more specific topics. It was decided to invite Dr. James Duderstadt, President Emeritus from the University of Michigan, to be the plenary speaker. He has a number of publications on the future of the American research university. A panel will be put together of six or so members to explore the ideas presented in the plenary speech, and six or so topics for break out groups will be developed. Suggested topics, focusing on university concerns were: major research infrastructure and how to engage universities; new observational techniques, HIAPER, team-type research and educating deans and administrators on how to implement this research; collaboration between small and large universities, data simulation, and interdisciplinary biogeosciences. In concluding this discussion, Betterton said that he and Rick Anthes will formulate the break out groups and get back to the URC.

b. Collaborative Opportunity

Anthes discussed the idea of joint scientific appointments between universities and NCAR. He explained that NCAR could pay the scientists, housed at their respective universities, ¼ of their salary (3 mos.). This type of joint appointment would encourage and enhance collaboration between universities and NCAR. Cliff Jacobs asked about the selection process and added that NSF would need to be informed on that process.

c. Role of the URC

The committee first focused their discussion on the role of the URC resource people. The current resource people—Ginger Caldwell (SCD), Mary Barth (MMM), and Joanne Graham (Unidata)—expressed their desire to have a more defined role and to be more useful to the committee. The resource person was initially conceived as being a conduit to the younger scientists and administrators at NCAR but that role has evolved into a less active one. Much discussion followed, with the committee coming to the conclusion that the resource staff could play a more effective and participatory role as regular, not advisory, members on the URC.

The discussion expanded to the role of the URC itself. It was pointed out that the URC could be a more hands-on advisory committee. Other suggestions were: each URC member be allocated four or five universities to relay information and concerns; appoint one person from each university to funnel information to and from the URC; or structure the committee to be a sounding board for new programs or initiatives, to develop intellectual interactions—not just be a watch dog. The committee also asked that their meetings move from "report-back" mode to open discussions on forward moving ideas and programs.

In conclusion, it was agreed to change the resource staff to "full" members of the committee, to elevate the URC to a more issue-oriented committee, and also to develop into a high-level advisory committee.

d. Upcoming Collaborative Programs

Al Cooper, Director of ASP/NCAR, reported on a new activity, UCAR/NCAR Junior Faculty Forum on Future Scientific Directions, a workshop that will take place on June 18-20 in Boulder. Cooper said that the forum is designed to promote collaborations between NCAR early career scientists and junior faculty and to help both groups as they move up the scientific ladder. He continued by saying that the announcements are out and that NCAR will pay travel costs up to $2000 per person. The committee suggested that written material be prepared after the meeting—similar to technical notes. The URC agreed that the forum would provide an excellent opportunity for future collaboration opportunities between young university and NCAR scientists.

Cooper next talked to the committee about developing a Faculty Fellows program. He explained that university faculty, along with their students, would be invited for short-term visits to NCAR, with the objective of developing partnerships early in their career with NCAR scientists. He added that travel and salary money would be provided. The question was posed if it would be appropriate to appoint the URC as the selection group for this program. Merrill pointed out that historically the URC membership at meetings is irregular and added that to make this type of decision most members would have to attend. Steve Monismith suggested that a subcommittee of two or three members be appointed and invited to Boulder to discuss this proposal. Monismith, Cooper, Killeen, and Eric Betterton agreed to work on this.

e. Spring 2004 meeting

Gene Takle invited the URC to Iowa State University for their Spring 2004 meeting. The date of that meeting will be announced at the URC meeting in October.

The committee adjourned at 11:40am.

~ End of Notes ~

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