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Minutes for October 2000

October 9, 2000

Attendees: Bill Blass (chair), Gayle Baker (Co-Vice-Chair), Doug Birdwell (Co-Vice-Chair), Chris Cox, Mark Dadmun, Barbara Dewey, Chanaka Edirisinghe, David Fox, Arlene Garrison, Nathan Hammer, Marion Hansen, Thomas Handler, Zoe Hoyle, Nathan Johnson, Ted Labotka, Lee Magid, Lillian Mashburn, Dwayne McCay, Jim Moran, Faye Muly, Elizabeth Southerland, Ken Walker, Karen Welch, Ron Yoder

    • Introductory Remarks:
      • Bill Blass welcomed new members to Research Council.
      • Ken Walker distributed a table of FY 2000 Sponsored Programs Research Awards with the amounts listed by budget unit within UT. The Knoxville campus generated $3.5 million more than FY 1999.
Budget Entity
Fiscal Year
Number of Awards
  • Updates from the Office of Research & Information Technology:
    • T. Dwayne McCay – Vice President, ORIT
      Vice President McCay answered several questions that were submitted to him prior to the meeting:

      • What is the status of having continuing funding of the workstation refresh program in the University’s budget? — The workstation refresh program will continue this year with one-time funding. With an impending deal with Dell, the university should be able to get more computing power for less money.
      • Other than funding, what measures are being used to evaluate research, creative achievement, and scholarly activity? — ORIT has pulled together a group to put together a strategic plan for research growth. There are 6 elements to the plan (quality personnel, quality infrastructure, quality of service space, appropriate funding techniques, research incentive plan, and a marketing plan for research) with many subelements, one of them being benchmarking criteria for measuring success. Blass asked about plans to measure scholarly output, such as publications, etc., and mentioned the problematic Faculty Information Service (FIS) that is used by Science Alliance. McCay stated that a comparable system is on their list.
      • What is the status of the search for the VP of the Office of Research (Knoxville) campus? — The search committee is chaired by George Kabalka. National advertisements for the position have resulted in a number of applications. They hope to have the position filled by summer 2001 at the latest.
      • Are we now using the new top 25 list of public universities from U.S. News & World Report? — The University uses a variety of criteria to determine whether or not it is in the top 25. Other sources are reports by the National Research Council and the National Science Foundation.
    • Arlene Garrison – Research Innovations/Research Centers of Excellence
      The report of the Strategic Research Forum (August 28, 2000) was reviewed and the process for the review of proposals for the large Research Centers of Excellence was described. Of the 50 groups submitting proposals for consideration as large centers, 22 were invited to submit more detailed proposals by October 16. The proposals will go through several reviews before reaching the final selection committee, headed by Dr. Gilley. The committee will name 2 centers at the end of this year and 3 more by the end of the Spring 2001. Committee members voiced concerns about the secretiveness of the review process, citing the open records law in Tennessee, the need for consultation with the faculty on procedures, and the need to provide appropriate feedback on unfunded proposals.
    • Lee Magid – ORNL Liaison
      Magid gave a short history of the efforts of UT/Battelle to win the ORNL management contract and noted that the Spallation Neutron Source is separate from ORNL for the time being. She described several multidisciplinary research opportunities with ORNL: Mouse genome, National Transportation Center, neutron sciences, etc. Several new buildings will be constructed. Many joint appointments for faculty from UT and partner institutions (Duke, NC State, etc.) will be made at the Lab.
    • Lillian Mashburn – Federal Relations
      Federal funding for research by universities and the national laboratories looks exceptionally good for the upcoming year thanks to the lobbying efforts of several universities. In a number of cases, Congress allocated more than the President asked for.
    • Ken Walker
      • Describe the review process for already existing centers. How will this be related to the Academic Plan of Excellence Research Centers? — Walker set up the review of existing centers and applications for new centers 6 years ago. Members of the Centers Evaluation Panel of Research Council participates in the review. Existing centers are reviewed every 5 years and new centers, after the first 3 years. Comments from the panel are reviewed by the Provost and the Associate Vice President of the Office of Research. They are sanitized and sent to center directors. Right now, there is no relationship between this process and the Academic Plan of Excellence Research Centers.
      • Describe COEUS, the new sponsored programs database system. — Computer personnel at Memphis are implementing COEUS, a system developed at MIT, that provides pre- and post-award management of contracts. It will also facilitate electronic submission of proposals.
  • Old business:
    • Faculty Titles — Blass submitted a response from Research Council to Faculty Senate. He provided background information and spoke of his concerns about the “demotion” of continuing part-time faculty with the proposed titles.

Meeting adjourned at 4:59 p.m.