UCAR Staff Notes masthead
Home Our Organization Research News Center Education Community Tools Libraries
About Staff Notes
Past Issues
Favorite Photos
How to Subscribe


staff notes header

September 2005

Delphi Coordinators Teresa Rivas (left) and Nancy Wade.

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinators (Teresa Rivas, left, and Nancy Wade). They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential. They must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2, and on the Delphi Web site. Staff Notes Monthly publishes questions and answers of general interest to staff, and the Delphi Web site has a log of all questions submitted since 1995.

Base funding cuts, parking at CG1, cafeteria menu

Delphi Question #538 (received June 3): Recently, NCAR announced an open competition to recruit more entry-level scientists. The cut in base funding from NSF this year was distributed among the scientific divisions unevenly, creating differences comparable to what is needed to recruit a junior scientist. If this trend continues, I am concerned that it may place some divisions at a disadvantage in the competition. Perhaps the distribution of base funding cuts simply reflects institutional priorities. If so, shouldn't this be made explicit so that young scientists can make appropriate career decisions? If not, shouldn't NCAR subsidize the positions at a higher rate for some divisions to level the playing field?

Response: The questioner is correct that the distribution of base funds is determined by institutional priorities. Each laboratory and division undergoes a detailed program and budget review every year. This process allows each laboratory and division to articulate special needs, problems, and opportunities that have budgetary consequences. It also explicitly links a division's funded activities with the stated goals and objectives of the laboratory/divisional, center-wide, and agency strategic plans. Based on these goals and objectives, the NCAR Executive Committee determines each laboratory's NSF base allocation for the year.

Support for the recruitment of early-career scientists has been an important goal and priority not only for UCAR and NCAR but also for each individual laboratory. By doing this, NCAR is maintaining a revitalization of its science and facilities programs and ensuring a competitive benefit for the management competition. The Directorate contribution in supporting these positions was intended to allow time for each division to adjust its funding structure to incorporate these early-career scientists into its programs. Varying subsidies for the early-career scientists would run counter to the programmatic decisions made in the budget allocations.

—Rena Brasher-Alleva, director,
Budget and Planning


Delphi Question #539 (received August 22): Why is the lower covered parking at CG1 closed off from employees?

Response: The area is being used for construction staging. It is being cleaned up and will be available for use September 1.

Question continued: I want to ask a follow-up Delphi question. The answer we received stated that the lower parking lot would open on September 1, but it remains closed.

Response: We have had some temperature problems with the building. A solution has been engineered and is being implemented. This solution requires work in the second parking level. We are going to keep it closed through September 17-18.

—Marion Hammond,
facilities project manager,
Physical Plant Services


Delphi Question #540 (received August 25): I'm writing to ask some questions about menu selections in the cafeteria.  First, I realize NCAR is in the science, not restaurant, business, and I really appreciate having a cafeteria.  It's a wonderful benefit, for in addition to providing sustenance, it helps employees get to know each other and encourages us not to jump in hundreds of cars and drive all over town looking for lunch.  The cafeteria staff is very friendly and does an excellent job.   

However, it seems like the nutritional quality of the food has gone downhill in the last year or so. I often find myself eating from the salad bar or skipping the cafeteria altogether.  The number of nutritious entrees on the menu seems to have declined, while lately there are more and more entrees that strike me as glorified junk food.  A few examples:  popcorn shrimp with fries and creamy coleslaw; sloppy Joe with tater tots; country fried chicken with mashed potatoes and cream gravy; grilled bratwurst sandwich with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and fries; Chicago-style hot dog with fries. Many of the seemingly healthier entrees and vegetarian choices aren't much better when you take into account that they are often accompanied by fries, Fritos, and the like.  I realize that the cafeteria is trying to cater to a diverse range of eaters, but much of this food isn't very appealing to people trying to be even marginally healthy.  

Was there a conscious decision to move the menu in the direction of more fast food style-meals, or is this all just my perception?  Is there a tradition of reevaluating the menu selections every so often?  Is there any way to improve the nutritional value of the food while preserving the reasonable prices and not burdening the cafeteria staff with unrealistic culinary demands?  Have other people been asking about this?  

Response: First of all, Event Services wants to thank all of our customers for their continued support of the service we provide for all UCAR/NCAR/UOP employees.

There has been no conscious effort on the part of Event Services to move in the direction of a more fast food—style menu. The menu items mentioned above have been a regular part of our menu for at least 15 years, in large part because they are very popular sellers.

We have striven to be responsive to all kinds of requests over the years; for example, low-fat, low-carb, vegetarian, and vegan offerings. There are one or two vegetarian and/or vegan offerings on the menu every day. We primarily use low-fat meats for the menu, and we have moved to using olive oil and olive oil blends for both cooking and the salad bar. If it is our customers' perception that we have too many fried foods on the menu, we will try to feature more fruits and vegetables as side dishes to our menu offerings.

Finally, we are always happy to receive menu and recipe suggestions. Our first goal has always been customer satisfaction, so we do appreciate the feedback.

—Mari Bradley, manager,
Event Services

Also in this issue...

UCAR family-friendly benefits rank at the top

New leadership for EOL

2005 Up-the-Hill Races

Random Profile: Vickie Johnson

NCAR's public face: Mesa Lab tour guides

Short Takes

Construction begins on CG-FL bike path

Delphi Questions

Hurricane Katrina Challenge

Just One Look


Staff Notes home page | News Center