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Minutes for September 2001

September 10, 2001
Attendees: Peter Alfonso, Elizbeth Aversa, Brice Bible, Doug Birdwell (Chair), Bill Blass (Co-Vice Chair), Hamparsum Bozdogan, Anthony Condo, Chris Cox, Mark Dadmun, Narendra Dahotre, Barbara Dewey, Arlene Garrison, Jens Gregor, Joanne Hall, Thomas Handler, Marion Hansen, Lillian Mashburn, T. Dwayne McCay, Robert Moore, Faye Muly, William Nugent, Jesse Poore, Ian Rockett, David Schumann, Dwight Teeter, Fred Tompkins, Dixie Thompson, Gretchen Whitney

  • Introductory Remarks (Doug Birdwell, Chair, Research Council): Doug Birdwell welcomed members, old and new, and made introductions.
  • Federal Relations (Lillian Mashburn, Executive Director, Federal Relations for Research): Lillian Mashburn reported on federal funding. Overall, funding for science and technology looks good. The doubling of funding for NIH is on track for next year. NSF is being funded less than optimal. NIH, NASA and several other agencies are still without directors/leadership. Mashburn reviewed the AAU status report for FY-0. Mashburn pointed out that the report said that University research and biology research is rated highly by citizens whereas citizens (AKA tax-payers) are pretty ho-hum about national laboratory research. (See link to 2 handouts.)
  • Committee Overview and Assignments (Doug Birdwell): According to the By-Laws of the Faculty Senate, the primary role of Research Council is to serve as an advisory group to the Associate Vice President for Research. It has a diverse membership to accomplish this. Doug Birdwell reviewed the committees. Birdwell placed special importance on F&A issues, particularly F&A returns to the generating PI and organization, stressing the need for an equitable policy; a second issue mentioned was the accruing charges for sick-leave and vacation which are not charged as earned causing major problems in some instances.
  • Remarks (Peter Alfonso, Associate Vice President for Research and Chief Information Officer:) Peter Alfonso stated that he hoped to enhance the communication between the administration and the faculty. In order to accomplish this, he plans to have regular meetings with Research Centers of Excellence, Associate Deans for Research, Chief Research Officers of each UT campus, and Research Council. He is planning research colloquia on F&A cost-sharing, compliance issues, and other topics.The Vice President also stated that the university will never become a major academic institution until the academics lead what we do. He urged the faculty to support the Provost.Doug Birdwell asked about the concept of “shared governance” and the role of the faculty in shaping the university. Alfonso replied that he supported the idea of “shared governance,” and that research is part of scholarship. He feels that academic faculty must lead the university and that the “key/best” faculty should become involved in groups like Research Council and Faculty Senate.The Vice President then answered several questions from Council members:
    • What are the funding levels of EPPE and SARIF this year? There is $1.1M in SARIF and $40K in EPPE. There is $50K in matching funds. The funds are for Knoxville. (NOTE: The numbers have been revised and corrected.)
    • Do you have a model in mind to change the “disconnect” you spoke about? This goes back to shared governance and improved communication.
    • What is the strategy for meeting with pepople working on smaller projects? Research support is the key. The mission of the Office of Research (OR) is to support research of all types. Perhaps some groups should meet separately with OR for further discussion.

    Dr. Alfonso ended with a statement that shared governance must be an issue that is big enough to affect many people, and that the faculty have to believe that their voice is being heard.

  • Discussion: Doug Birdwell reviewed summer events, including a meeting with administrators about Research Centers, JICS, etc. The Policies & Procedures Committee will be reviewing policies and procedures associated with research centers, as requested by the Faculty Senate.Jesse Poore stated that he wanted Doug Birdwell to retract the report that provides a perspective on the move of the Joint Institute for Computational Science to Oak Ridge, saying that it contained inaccuracies and innuendo. Doug refused, asking Jesse to point out the portions that he thought were inaccurate so they could be discussed. Jesse declined to do so, stating that he would write his own report. Doug pointed out that the report’s primary observation was that the principles of shared governance were not followed. He mentioned the technical advisory committee on high performance computing that met on February 28th and discussed many issues related to JICS, cluster computing on campus, and possible access to ORNL facilities, and that this committee did not meet afterwards, and these discussions were ignored in the decision to move JICS. Bill Blass pointed out that the biggest issue throughout the attachments is the lack of consultation of upper administration with the faculty. There will be further discussion of JICS at the next meeting.Dwayne McCay stated that he is trying to form 6-7 councils in information technology that will be advisory, but that he does not want to solicit input if it is not going to be used.

Meeting adjourned at 5:15 p.m.