August 2012

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
August 4-5, 2012
Portland, OR

Members Present:
Steward Pickett President
Scott Collins President-Elect
Terry Chapin Past-President
Sharon Collinge VP for Public Affairs
Deborah Goldberg VP for Science
Leslie Real VP for Finance
Julie Reynolds VP for Education and Human Resources, Elect
Charles Canham Secretary
Mimi Lam Member-at-Large
Sonia Ortega Member-at-Large

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs Chief Financial Officer
Nadine Lymn Director, Public Affairs
Cliff Duke Director, Science
Michelle Horton Director, Administration
Teresa Mourad Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin Managing Editor
Sue Silver Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers

Visitors:
Jorge Ramos Student Representative

Members Absent: Margaret Lowman, VP for Education and Human Resources
Andrea Lloyd, Member-at-Large

Saturday, August 04, 2012, 9:02 - Meeting called to order by President Steward Pickett

I. ROLL CALL AND AGENDA

A. Adopt Agenda
Deborah Goldberg moved and Scott Collins seconded adopting the minutes. All aye.

B. Ratification of Votes taken since May meeting

1. Minutes, May Meeting
Sharon Collinge moved and Terry Chapin seconded ratification of the e-mail vote to approve the minutes of the May 2012 Governing Board meeting. All aye.

II. Reports

A. Report of the President
Steward Pickett opened his report by expressing his pleasure working with ESA staff over the past year, and his satisfaction in being able to carry on the Earth Stewardship Initiative following the work of past presidents Mary Power and Terry Chapin. He outlined a number of new initiatives that will be presented during this meeting, and recognized the work of the Ecology for a New Generation Committee, under the leadership of Sonia Ortega. There was discussion of ways to increase representation from student members within the Governing Board. The Nominating Committee has the opportunity to consider this in selection of candidates for office, particularly for the Member-at-Large positions.

B. Report of the Executive Director and Staff
Katherine McCarter welcomed the Board to Portland, and reported that preregistrations for the meeting exceeded 4200. Written annual reports were provided to the Board, and will be presented to the Council, so she focused her comments on updates. She described work by the staff to explore scenarios for the future of Society publications under open access. She recommends that we consider using Board Strategic Initiative funds to convene a larger group to work on this issue.
Michelle Horton, Director of Administration and meeting coordinator, provided updates on the meeting. She expects that total attendance will come close to 5,000.
Elizabeth Biggs, Chief Financial Officer, reported that the Society expects to end the past fiscal year with a slightly higher than expected surplus. Since the Portland meeting is in the current fiscal year, she expects similarly strong performance this fiscal year.
David Baldwin, Managing Editor, reported that submissions are healthy, impact factors are good, and the journals are becoming increasingly international, with more than 50% of corresponding authors from outside the U.S. Ecosphere is thriving, and Ecological Archives has had over 300 submissions this year. Les Real raised the issue of encouraging PubMed to include ESA journals in its search engine.
Cliff Duke, Science Director, reminded the Board of the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative anniversary reception on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. The Vegetation Classification Panel remains very active. Work continues on the follow-on to the Earth Stewardship Initiative workshop.
Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers, provided an update on Frontiers. Submissions are up over 20% from last year. Rejection rates remain very high (over 80%), in part because of limits on numbers of pages published each year. She noted the financial need to have at least 2 special issues a year with outside funding.
Nadine Lymn, Director of Public Affairs, focused her comments on press coverage of the meeting. She noted that 25 people have registered as members of the press. Staff will be using Facebook, Twitter, and blogging to report on the meeting.

C. Financial Update

  1. 1. Fourth Quarter Financials
  2. Elizabeth Biggs distributed and she and Katherine McCarter reviewed fourth quarter (unaudited) financial statements. The Society ended the fiscal year with a surplus of approximately $136,000, which will be allocated to reserves. Revenues were below budget by approximately $150,000, primarily because of reductions in subscription revenues. Much of this is attributed to switches to online only subscriptions, which also result in corresponding reductions in printing costs. Printing remains the largest expense item after salaries, and printing costs were lower during the past fiscal year because of the overall reductions in subscriptions and the move from print subscriptions to online only.
  3. 2. Investments

Les Real, VP for Finance, reviewed Society investments.

III. Discussion/Action Items

A. Investments Policy/Socially Responsible Funds (p 3)
Representatives from Towneley Capital Management reviewed a report they prepared for the board on issues related to socially responsible (SR) investment policies. Three areas of focus emerged from their review. First, not all SR funds are equally SR. Second, because SR fund managers consider a variety of factors that relate to a suite of socially responsible concerns, information is not specific enough to serve investors with a commitment to a single socially responsible factor, such as environmental concerns. Finally, as a group, SR funds underperform their peers.

Current language in the Investment Policy is:
The Society prefers to invest a portion of its portfolio in socially responsible companies or funds. In making investment decisions, the Society will consider environmental sensitivity as a criterion along with such factors as yield, appreciation potential and risk. The Society will seek to avoid investing in companies whose activities demonstrate a callous disregard for the environment, such that investing in them would be embarrassing for the Society. Socially responsible company or fund exposure shall constitute between 5% and 15% of the total portfolio at cost, with the specific target percentage to be determined by the Governing Board.

New language for the final sentence of this paragraph is proposed: “Goals for socially responsible investing will be determined by the Governing Board in consultation with the Society’s investment managers.” Moved by Deborah Goldberg, seconded by Sharon Collinge, all aye.

Deborah Goldberg moved and Sharon Collinge seconded that the Governing Board request that Towneley Capital Management increase the proportion of our portfolio in socially responsible (SR) investments to 20% over the current fiscal year. Motion carried.

B. FY 2012-2013 Budget

  1. 1. EiC Stipends
  2. Katherine McCarter opened a discussion of the issue of adjusting stipends for editors-in-chief of the Society journals to better reflect their relative workloads. Deborah Goldberg will work with the Publications Committee to come up with specific recommendations to be considered at the Fall 2012 Board meeting, for implementation in January 2013.
  3. 2. Approve Budget
  4. Sharon Collinge moved and Deborah Goldberg seconded the approval of the budget presented to the Board at the May 2012 meeting. All aye.
  5. 3. Long-Range Planning Grants
  6. The Members-at-Large were appointed as a committee to review requests for long-range planning grants.
  7. 4. Board Strategic Initiatives
  8. Katherine McCarter reiterated her proposal that funds be allocated to support work by a committee to explore implications of open access for Society publications and finances. Deborah Goldberg summarized efforts related to getting ESA involvement in an NCEAS working group on open access publishing in ecology. It was recommended that the committee expand its focus to include communication and outreach to present the Society’s vision for open access and publication in ecology. Sharon Collinge moved and Les Real seconded a motion that $5000 be allocated to fund a working group to examine publication and financial implications of open access. All aye.
  9. Terry Chapin initiated a discussion of ways that the Board could use these funds to support diversity outreach initiatives.
  10. Steward Pickett moved that $5000 be allocated from Board Strategic Initiative funds to the Earth Stewardship Initiative, for activities recommended by the past, current and future presidents. Seconded by Sharon Collinge. All aye.
  11. 5. Discussion of Council Presentation
  12. The Board discussed topics to be presented at the Council meeting on Aug. 5, 2012.


C. ESA Fellows Program
Deborah Goldberg summarized a proposal from Awards Committee Chair Alan Hastings, VP for Science Deborah Goldberg, President Steward Pickett, and Executive Director Katherine McCarter to create an ESA Fellows Program and an Early Career Fellows Program. The positions are honorific. Fellows are conferred for life and Early Career Fellows conferred for 5 years. The proposals contain detailed goals, nomination procedures, eligibility criteria, and selection procedures for each program.

Deborah Goldberg moved and Sonia Ortega seconded the creation of both the ESA Fellows Program and the ESA Early Career Fellows Program. All aye.

D. Frontiers Budget Plan
Katherine McCarter presented the current year budget for Frontiers, identifying revenue sources and anticipated expenses. Direct expenses are expected to exceed income by approximately $160,000 this fiscal year. Since its inception, core Society funds have supported Frontiers, as they do for other ESA programs.

E. Centennial Committee Recommendations
Mimi Lam, as the Governing Board liason to the Centennial Committee, summarized a report outlining the Centennial activities proposed by the Committee. The proposal contained a rough budget, requesting a total allocation of $100,000 for Centennial celebration activities. Most discussion concerned significant budget allocations for production of short videos. There was also a detailed proposal for Centennial events organized by the Historical Records Committee, with a proposed budget of $16,430, although some of this may be covered in the allocation to the Centennial Committee.

F. Policy Priorities
Sharon Collinge summarized a set of ESA policy priorities developed by Nadine Lymn and the Public Affairs Committee. Many of the issues represent long-standing concerns for the Society, including areas of energy and climate, water quality and quantity, urban ecosystems, and science education.

Deborah Goldberg moved and Terry Chapin seconded the approval of the policy priorities. All aye.

G. “Ecologist in Training” Certification Category
The Board of Professional Certification (BPC) is proposing a new certification category, “Ecologist in Training”, to be created for graduating students who have met the education requirements for ESA certification, but still need the required professional experience. This new category will help young people who have met the educational requirements pre-qualify for regular certification. Andrew Burton, chair of the BPC, reviewed the objectives and justification for the new certification category, and fielded questions from the Governing Board.

The Governing Board expressed strong support for the proposal, with the recommendation that the BPC proceed, and that they consider the best language for the designation of the new category.

H. Annual Meeting Issues

  1. 1. Environmental offsets
  2. ESA contributes $5.00 for each registrant at its annual meeting. In the past, the Board decided that the full amount from this contribution should be given to local projects recommended by the Local Hosts of the meeting. The Society expects roughly $20,000 to be available this year.
  3. Portland Local Hosts Mitch Cruzan and Todd Rosenstiel have provided recommendations for ESA’s contribution and details about each group. Deborah Goldberg moved and Sonia Ortega seconded a motion to divide the funds evenly between the Columbia Land Trust and the Friends of Trees. All aye.
  4. 2. Local Host 2014
  5. The Meetings Committee has identified a Local Host Chair for the 2014 annual meeting in Sacramento, CA. It is Dr. Susan L. Ustin, Professor of Environmental Resource Science, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, Director, Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing (CSTARS), 139 Veihmeyer Hall/One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis.
  6. Deborah Goldberg moved and Scott Collins seconded appointment of Dr. Ustin as the Local Host Chair for the 2014 Annual Meeting. Motion carried with one abstention.

I. Third Emerging Issues Conference
At the May 2012 Board meeting, President Pickett named a Review Committee for ESA’s third Emerging Issues Conference. Members of the Review Committee are Deborah Goldberg (Chair), Jeramie Strickland, Sarah Dooling, Brian Wee, and Katherine Suding.
The task of the committee was to review the submitted proposals and make a recommendation to the Governing Board for the topic of the conference to be held in late 2013 or early 2014.
The Review Committee met by conference call, and Deborah Goldberg summarized their recommendation to support a proposal from Fabrice DeClerk, Jeffrey Milder, and Celia Harvey for a 4-day conference in the first half of 2013, on the topic of “Science and Knowledge Systems to Support Integrated Landscape Initiatives for Agriculture, Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Alleviation”.
Sharon Collinge moved and Les Real seconded approval of the selection of the proposal as the topic for the third ESA Emerging Issues Conference. All aye.
Either Deborah Goldberg or Steward Pickett will serve as the Governing Board member of the Organizing Committee.

J. Joint ESA/ESC Journal
A committee was formed at the May 2012 Governing Board meeting to guide ESA in its discussions with the Ecological Society of China on possibilities for establishing a joint journal. The members of the committee are: Josh Schimel, Chair; Deborah Goldberg; Jack Liu; Katherine McCarter; and Jianguo Wu. Members of the committee present in Portland plan to meet to begin discussions. In addition, Dr. Thomas Liu from the editorial office of the Ecological Society of China will be spending time with ESA this year and may have a chance to meet with the committee in Portland.

Executive Session (Governing Board Members only)

 

 

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
August 5, 2012
Portland, OR

 

Members Present:
Steward Pickett President
Scott Collins President-Elect
Terry Chapin Past-President
Sharon Collinge VP for Public Affairs
Deborah Goldberg VP for Science
Leslie Real VP for Finance
Julie Reynolds VP for Education and Human Resources, Elect
Charles Canham Secretary
Mimi Lam Member-at-Large
Sonia Ortega Member-at-Large

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs Chief Financial Officer
Nadine Lymn Director, Public Affairs
Cliff Duke Director, Science
Michelle Horton Director, Administration
Teresa Mourad Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin Managing Editor
Sue Silver Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers

Members Absent: Margaret Lowman, VP for Education and Human Resources
Andrea Lloyd, Member-at-Large

Guests Present: Jorge Ramos (Student Representative), Brian McCarthy, Don Strong, Aaron Ellison, Dave Schimel, Jill Baron, Deb Peters, Brian Inouye, Steve Jackson

Meeting called to order at 9:00 am by President Steward Pickett

III. Discussion/Action Items (continued)

K. 2012 Annual Meeting (Brian McCarthy, Program Chair)
Brian McCarthy, Program Chair, and Michelle Horton, ESA Director of Administration and Meetings, briefed the Governing Board on the Portland Meeting. 3,841 abstracts were submitted, and the numbers of both oral presentations and posters were roughly 25-30% higher relative to past 2-3 years, with posters representing close to 25% of presentations. Brian complimented Jennifer Riem on her superb support in organizing the program. There was a recap of a perennial discussion of the length of the meeting, particularly the schedule for the final day, and how to respond to complaints from presenters assigned to time slots at the end of the meeting.

L. Publications Meetings
1. Publications Committee
Josh Schimel, Chair, summarized the work of the Publications Committee during the past year. Highlights include efforts to establish a joint journal with the Ecological Society of China. There have also been discussions of the compensation for editors-in-chief and associate editors. Don Strong noted that the Society is distinctive in the very traditional structure of largely volunteer staffing of the journals (and the low cost to authors of publishing in our journals). Authors currently pay only roughly 25% of the cost of publication.

2. ESA Bulletin
Ed Johnson, Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin, noted that he is searching for two editors: one for Ecology 101 and one for a broadened Field Stations section. He will be notifying section and chapter chairs asking them to begin preparing histories of their groups. He is also considering ways to use the bulletin to highlight the meeting.

3. Ecology
Don Strong, Editor-in-Chief, summarized efforts to strengthen procedures for documentation of statistical methods and software, under Brian Inouye’s direction, as a required part of publication in Ecology.

4. Ecological Monographs
Aaron Ellison, Editor-in-Chief, reported that submissions and impact factors are up this year, time to publication is down, and there is no backlog in publication. Monographs has begun the process of requiring authors to submit their data as a condition of publication. This has resulted in delays in publication in a few cases, but is otherwise working well. A new associate editor-in-chief has been added.

5. Ecological Applications
Dave Schimel, Editor-in-Chief, reiterated comments from Don Strong and Aaron Ellison. This has been a good year for all of the publications. International submissions represent over half of the manuscripts. The partnership with Ecosphere is working well. He noted that lessons from the years of high rates of “reject without review” led to evolution to a process of “reject with editorial review”. He expects to appoint two new assigning editors, one in the area of social science.

6. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief, reviewed the status of the journal over the past year, including the importance of special issues.

7. Issues in Ecology
Jill Baron, Editor-in-Chief, reviewed progress on the Issues in Ecology series. She noted that finding funding has not been a major problem, but that each issue takes a long time to produce. She acknowledged the critical support from Jennifer Riem on the ESA staff. As a result of discussions in the past year about future directions for the Issues, there is a suggestion to develop other formats, including shorter formats.

8. Ecosphere (Deb Peters, EiC)
Deb Peters, Editor-in-Chief, distributed a report on Ecosphere’s second year. Submission rates continue to climb, and publication times have declined. 306 manuscripts were received between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. The total number of manuscripts handled was a roughly 30% increase over the previous 12-month period. She is always looking for suggestions of new subject matter editors. There was a discussion of editorial policy and the relationship of Ecosphere to other ESA journals.

President Steward Pickett expressed his appreciation for the superb job that the Editors-in-Chief do on behalf of the Society and our discipline.

9. 2013 Annual Meeting format
The Ecology for a New Generation Committee recommended that future program committees consider opportunities for new forms of presentations (such as PREZI) at the annual meeting. Deb Peters was present as 2013 Program chair. The new formats offer opportunities for far more diverse and engaging communication. There was a great deal of enthusiasm for exploring these alternatives.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 pm.

 

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
August 10, 2012
Portland, OR

Members Present:
Scott Collins President
Steward Pickett Past President
Jill Baron President Elect
Sharon Collinge VP for Public Affairs
Deborah Goldberg VP for Science
Julie Reynolds VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham Secretary
Mimi Lam Member-at-Large
Stephen Jackson Member-at-Large

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter Executive Director
Nadine Lymn Director, Public Affairs
Cliff Duke Director, Science
Michelle Horton Director, Administration
Teresa Mourad Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin Managing Editor
Sue Silver Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers

Visitors:
Joey Bernhardt (Chair, Student Section), Ned Fetcher

Members Absent:
Leslie Real VP for Finance
Michelle Mack Member-at-Large

Friday, August 10, 2012, 8:30 - Meeting called to order by President Scott Collins

I. Information
A. 2012-2013 Governing Board

  1. President Collins welcomed visitors and new members of the Governing Board. He then reviewed scheduling for the coming year.

II. Current Issues

  1. 1. Earth Stewardship
  2. Scott Collins summarized efforts during the meeting related to the Earth Stewardship Initiative, and affirmed his commitment to the theme for the coming year. He described efforts to develop ties with the arts community to further explore the theme.

2. Centennial Celebration
There was discussion of plans for the Centennial, and of coordination between the board, the Centennial Committee and the Historical Records Committee.

  1. 3. ESA/ESC joint journal
  2. Deborah Goldberg reported on a meeting of the committee appointed to explore the development of a joint journal with the Ecological Society of China. They have begun work on a detailed report to submit to both Societies.
  3. 4. Publications
  4. Deborah Goldberg reported on efforts to find a new Editor-in-Chief for Issues in Ecology. Scott Collins will be naming the committee to explore scenarios for the future of the publications.
  5. 5. Format of Annual Meeting
  6. There was a continuation of previous discussions on new meeting formats.

III. Discussion/Action
A. Contingent Faculty Survey
Mimi Lam distributed an updated version of the proposed Contingent Faculty Survey.
Deborah Goldberg moved and Charles Canham seconded that we accept the language of the survey, with suggestions for minor changes that the survey organizers should consider. All aye.

B. Other Business
Scott Collins noted that there have been requests to develop a survey to query the opinions of ESA members about recent changes in proposal submission at NSF.

There have also been requests for consideration of changes in the Code of Professional Ethic which have been referred to the Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee

 

Meeting adjourned at 9:50

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