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Minutes for April 2003

Research Council Minutes
April 21, 2003

Attendees: Basil Antar, Elizabeth Aversa, Gayle Baker, Doug Birdwell, Bill Blass, Billie Collier, William Dunne, David Eastwood, Arlene Garrison, Ray Hamilton, William Hamel, Jon Levin, Lillian Mashburn, Elizabeth Sutherland, Gretchen Whitney

Opening Remarks – Birdwell distributed copies of his report to the Faculty Senate and noted the only task not completed is that of center reviews. He noted that this is his final meeting as chair and stated that he has enjoyed his tenure on Research Council. He expressed appreciation to Baker, Blass and Collier for the many hours of hard work and the support they have contributed.

Opening Remarks – Collier expressed appreciation to the following committees and individuals:

  • All SARIF committee members
  • Provost’s Awards committee
  • Provost Loren Crabtree for his support of the SARIF program and the additional funding he made available this year.
  • Margaret Ashworth for her support to Research Council for several years
  • DeAnna Parker for minutes, meeting support and SARIF competitions this year
  • Baker, Birdwell and Blass and new officers for their contributions to Research Council
  • All council members for support of the Research Council officers

Election – With his presentation of gifts to each, Blass expressed appreciation to Baker for service as co-chair of Research Council since 1996 and to Birdwell for a phenomenal job as Council chair.   Blass then moved to elect Elizabeth Sutherland as Research Council chair. Second was offered by Dunne and the vote was unanimous in favor of Sutherland’s becoming Research Council Chair for the 2003-04 year.

Federal Relations – Mashburn reported that there is a discrepancy between the House and Senate vote for the $350 billion tax cut proposed by the President. Discretionary spending is above the $400 million.

Other Items:

  • NIH silent on funding.
  • $3 billion allotted to Pell with no increase in the maximum.
  • Higher Education asking for $324 million above President’s request, $100 million above President’s request for Science and Energy.
  • NASA funding silent due to Space Shuttle crash.
  • A $350 million award gave the National Endowment for the Humanities its first increase since 1994 for a project, entitled, “We the People.”
  • No one has clear answers on status of international students. Advisor to the President is a former university president.

Update and Report to Senate – Birdwell noted that foreign students must go through background checks and faculty should expect a difficult time this fall in enrolling international graduate students.

Contract and Grant Management continues to have three problematic areas:

  1. Breakdown in the billing process which places the PI at risk of losing grant. This process needs immediate feedback.
  2. Effort Certification – the only way to resolve this problem is to stretch out salaries from 4-5 months to 6 months which is extremely complicated when there is a raise. Tracking expenses is difficult and problematic.
  3. Accrual of Annual Leave – This problem is being addressed.

At completion of Birdwell’s update, Aversa asked that minutes document Council appreciation for his hard work.

Other Business – Council members expressed concern that the proposal for Faculty Senate to become a “leaner/meaner” structure may negatively impact the Research Council and ability to have a quorum. In addition concern is expressed for numbers of faculty needed to serve on committees. Hamel suggests Research Council present a formal statement to Faculty Senate. Birdwell will do a draft and communicate to Council through email.

With no further old or new business the meeting adjourned at 1:07.