May 2012

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
May 24, 2012
Washington, DC

 

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
Margaret Lowman VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham Secretary
Mimi Lam Member-at-Large
Andrea Lloyd Member-at-Large (via Skype)
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 and Meetings
Teresa Mourad Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin Managing Editor
Sue Silver Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers

 

Thursday, May 24, 2012, 9:00 - Meeting called to order by President Steward Pickett

I. ROLL CALL AND AGENDA

A. Adopt Agenda
The agenda was adopted after reordering several items to accommodate schedules.

B. Ratification of Votes – Minutes, November 2011
Deborah Goldberg moved and Terry Chapin seconded a motion to ratify the vote to approve the minutes. All aye.

II. REPORTS

A. Report of the President
President Steward Pickett presented his report. He summarized efforts of the Ecology for a New Generation Committee. He also discussed the need for the Society to be adaptive, and in particular encourages the society to use the work of the Ecology for a New Generation Committee to help the Society adapt to a rapidly changing world. He reported on continuing efforts on the Earth Stewardship Initiative begun under Mary Power’s tenure as President, including an upcoming workshop. Past-President Terry Chapin described a recent Sustainability Summit with themes that are very similar to those of the Earth Stewardship Initiative, particularly with respect to cross-disciplinary partnerships.

B. Report of the Executive Director and Staff
Executive Director Katherine McCarter noted that detailed reports from staff are contained in the Board Book. She introduced Michelle Horton, a long-time staff member, who has been appointed Director of Administration and Meetings.

Nadine Lymn mentioned a number of recent activities, including a recent meeting of the Coalition for National Science Funding. She noted that the Society will participate in a coalition to try to head off possible cuts in discretionary federal spending in January 2013. She also noted that social media efforts are accelerating, including use of Facebook and Twitter.

Managing Editor David Baldwin summarized highlights from the Publication Office. Issues are increasing in size, but appearing with some minor delays.

Sue Silver described a new initiative to produce online-only special issues (in addition to the normal 10 issues a year). Five papers from the recent Emerging Issues conference will appear in consecutive issues next year (rather than collected as a separate Special Issue).

Michelle Horton reported that the Portland meeting is on track to be record-setting.

Cliff Duke described efforts on the Emerging Issues conference series. Proposals for the next conference are due June 1, 2012. He briefly touched on continuing efforts on sustainability of research infrastructure.

Liz Biggs noted the results of the Audit. There was also an NSF review of procedures. It is likely that this will result in expanded written policies and procedures.

Teresa Mourad summarized highlights from SEEDS, including winding up a large grant from NSF to support field trips and meetings. She has met with NSF program officers to discuss new funding opportunities. Finding sustainable funding for the program remains a major challenge. She reported on work with partners to develop a digital library for ecological education.

C. Financial Update
Katherine McCarter distributed the third quarter financial statement. Third quarter actuals overall are running well above budget. Subscription income has been lower than budgeted, reflecting long-term trends. Manuscript charges have also been below budget reflecting an overly optimistic projection for Ecosphere’s publication fees. But printing costs have also been below budget (as more subscriptions are online only). Subscriptions represent 40% of budgeted revenue, and staff are always considering ways to sustain this source of revenue, and to offset expected long-term declines in institutional subscriptions. Expenses have been running ~ 2% below budget.

III. DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS
A. Report of the Audit Committee
Audit Committee chair Charles Canham summarized the Audit Committee report. The auditors issued a clean, unqualified audit of both the Society’s finances and administration of federal awards. Sharon Collinge moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded approving the report of the audit committee. All aye.

B. Proposed FY 2012-2013 ESA Budget

1. Budget and Assumptions

Katherine McCarter summarized the process for developing the budget, and distributed the draft budget and budget narrative for fiscal year 2012-2013. The budget is presented to the Council for approval at each year’s annual meeting. Liz Biggs presented details of the budget. Budget highlights include anticipated strong revenue from the Portland meeting, and continued declines in member subscriptions, in part because of online availability of our journals in many institutions. As a result of a Council vote in 2007 that instituted periodic increases, membership dues are proposed to increase slightly next year. Subscription prices are also budgeted to increase slightly.
There was extensive discussion of the stipends provided to journal editors, including requests from two editors for an increase in the level of support. The Publications Committee will be asked to consider this issue in time to consider changes to the current budget proposal.

2. Proposed Board Strategic Initiative

The proposed budget includes $10,000 for board strategic initiatives. Discussion of possible uses for the funds included activities proposed by the Ecology for a New Generation Committee. Other proposals included activities related to diversity, the recent Sustainability Summit, and the Earth Stewardship Initiative.

 

C. Investment Policy Revision
Les Real summarized an effort to revise the existing (May 2000) guidelines for investment of restricted funds. The guidelines have been thoroughly revised and updated, providing benchmarks for performance. The new Investment Policy Statement was presented in the Board Book. There was discussion of the issue of the degree to which the investment guidelines should focus on socially responsible companies or funds. The Board will setup a conference call with the fund managers to discuss this issue at the August 2012 meeting.

D. Publications Issues
1. Publications Program Review
David Baldwin and Sue Silver presented the 3-year review for the publications program. David reviewed the mission of the publications, and the history of the journals. The flagship journal Ecology dates to 1920 as a quarterly publication, with Monographs following in 1931. Sixty years later Ecological Applications was launched (also first as a quarterly publication). David summarized the current status of the journals, noting that the backlog for publication of Ecology has been eliminated. There has been a significant increase in the total number of pages published by the journals in the past 20 years, although the number has been relatively stable since 2005. Perhaps the most significant accomplishment of the past 3 years has been the successful launch of Ecosphere.

Sue Silver summarized the history of Frontiers, launched in 2003 with significant financial support from the Mellon and Packard Foundations. The launch coincided with a significant increase in Society membership through 2007, at which time total membership peaked. More than half of the authors of recent manuscripts are from countries other than the U.S. Surveys suggest that over 75% of readers still view the journal in print form rather than online. Submission rates have increased steadily since the launch, and since the number of pages published has remained fairly stable, acceptance rates have declined accordingly. The impact factor for the journal has increased steadily, and ranks very high within the environmental science and ecology categories. Institutional subscriptions have lagged well below expectations when the journal was launched. Classified advertising revenue has plunged since 2008, with much of the drop attributed to placement of job ads in Ecolog.

There was discussion of issues related to open access. Steward Pickett proposed that we create a statement summarizing the Society’s position on open access for dissemination to members.

2. Joint Journal ESA/ESC (Goldberg/McCarter) pg.43
Katherine McCarter provided background on a proposal from the Ecological Society of China to launch a new online-only, open-access journal jointly with ESA. Deborah Goldberg presented a draft of a proposal from ESA that would establish a steering committee to work with ESC to work out details for the new journal.

Meg Lowman moved and Les Real seconded a motion to establish a steering committee to develop a formal plan for the journal. The plan would then be submitted to the Governing Board for approval. There was discussion about areas of potential overlap with existing ESA journals, and the opportunity to use this project to build stronger ties with ecologists in China. All aye.

E. Science Mid-Term Program Review
Cliff Duke summarized the mid-term review for the Science program. Details were provided in the Board Book. The program is now 20 years old, and originated as the office of the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative. He described projects in three general program areas: (1) “Advancing Ecological Science”, (2) “Ecology for Community”, and (3) “Solutions for Sustainability”.

F. Contingent Faculty Survey
In 2011, the ESA began a discussion about how to support contingent faculty and help them achieve their professional goals. At the Annual Meeting in Austin, a subcommittee of the Education and Human Resources Committee was charged with formulating a survey to determine the needs of past, current, and potential members of the ESA who hold contingent positions. The subcommittee consisted of Ned Fetcher, Mimi Lam, and Carmen Cid.

Mimi Lam presented the proposed survey. Board members suggested a number of changes to specific questions. The issue was referred back to the committee for further revision.

G. Annual Meeting Issues

1. 2014 Program Chair

Scott Collins moved and Terry Chapin seconded the appointment of Hal Balbach as 2014 Program Chair. All aye.

2. 2013 Annual Meeting Theme

Deborah Goldberg moved and Sharon Collinge seconded the designation of “Sustainable trajectories: learning from the past and shaping the future” as the theme for the 2013 annual meeting, with the suggestion to Debra Peters that she consider changing the word “trajectories” to “pathways”. All aye.

H. Development Committee Report
Les Real summarized the report from a meeting (via conference call) of the Development Committee. Committee members Les Real (chair), Carol Brewer, Norm Christensen, Kay Gross, Jim MacMahon, Anne Pringle, and Dov Sax participated in the meeting, and were joined by Katherine McCarter from the staff. The committee considered a recent proposal to initiate a major campaign to raise approximately $1 million. A survey of member giving at other scientific societies revealed that this is rarely a significant source of funding, and the committee concluded that a campaign of that magnitude was not feasible for ESA at this time. The committee considered a number of proposals to design fundraising efforts in association with the Centennial in 2015. The Board recommended that the Development Committee should use the Centennial as a focus to raise monies for the Fund for the Future and suggested that the Development Committee might need to coordinate with the Centennial Committee.

The meeting was adjourned for the day at 5 pm

 

 

 

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
May 25, 2012
Washington, DC

Members Present:
Steward Pickett President
Terry Chapin Past-President
Scott Collins President-Elect
Sharon Collinge VP for Public Affairs
Deborah Goldberg VP for Science
Charles Canham Secretary
Mimi Lam Member-at-Large
Sonia Ortega Member-at-Large
Andrea Lloyd Member-at-Large (via speakerphone)

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

Members Absent: Margaret Lowman, Leslie Real,

Friday, May 25, 2012

The board met in executive session from 8:00 – 9:00 am

III. Discussion/Action Items (continued)

I. Report of Ecology for a New Generation Committee
Sonia Ortega presented the report from the Ecology for a New Generation Committee. The committee consists of Krista Capp, Samir Doshi, Erica Fernandez, Peter Jorgesen, Kellen Marshall-Gillespie, Jorge Ramos, Colibri San Fiorenzo, Naupaka Zimmerman, and Sonia Ortega (chair), with Teresa Mourad as ESA staff liason. Sonia thanked Teresa Mourad for her efforts in support of the committee’s work, and Meg Lowman for hosting a meeting of the committee last fall. The committee provided a comprehensive list of proposals for engaging a new generation of ecologists. Recommendations covered (1) increasing new membership and retention of existing members, (2) mentoring, (3) integrating existing Society efforts to promote K-12 outreach and education, (4) multimedia engagement, (5) promoting new skills and career paths, (6) new efforts related to translational ecology and environmental justice issues, and (7) enhancements of international networks. The report also contained a detailed list of activities that could be implemented for the 2012 Annual Meeting in Portland, OR.

Michelle Horton summarized activities related to the Committee recommendations that will be implemented at the Portland meeting, particularly with respect to the Student Section. Discussion included the topic of exploring new formats for presentations at the annual meetings.
The Council meeting during the Annual Meeting might provide a forum in which to advance some of the Committee’s proposals, particularly with respect to encouraging new activities within Sections. Deborah Goldberg recommended that the report be distributed to Section officials for discussion at the Council meeting this August in Portland. In addition, the Committee’s request to review the ESA code of ethics as it relates to integrating research with the people and places where research is being conducted has been passed along to the Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee for their consideration.

J. Update from Centennial Committee
The ESA Governing Board appointed members to the ESA Centennial Committee in 2011 to suggest activities and to begin coordinating plans for ESA‘s centennial celebration in 2015. Three ESA staff members (Cliff Duke, Nadine Lymn, and Teresa Mourad) from the Washington Office serve as ex officio members of the Committee to help in developing plans among the Science, Education and Diversity, and Public Affairs Offices. Mimi Lam was appointed as the liaison for the Governing Board on the Centennial Committee.

Alan Covich (chair) joined the meeting by phone to provide an update on the committee’s activities. This includes coordinating its efforts with a number of other Society committees, including the Program Committee, Historical Records Committee, Public Affairs Committee, and the Education and Diversity Committee. There will be a challenge in balancing activities related to the Centennial with the normal priorities and activities of an annual meeting. There is a plan to produce a video focused on the Centennial, and there was discussion of costs, audience, and format.

K. 2012 Regional Policy Award
The Regional Policy Award has been given since 2008. The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) selects the potential award winner from a list of candidates nominated by the Annual Meeting local host committee, regional ESA chapters, and Student or other ESA Sections.

Charles Canham moved and Terry Chapin seconded a motion to approve the recommendation from the Public Affairs Committee that the 2012 Regional Policy Award be presented to Ken Bierly of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. All aye.

L. Recommendations from the Nominations Committee (Chapin)
The Nominations Committee is chaired by Past President Terry Chapin. Members of the committee are Members-at-Large Mimi Lam, Andrea Lloyd, and Sonia Ortega. The additional members appointed by Past President Chapin are Elena Bennett, and Kathleen Weathers. Terry Chapin summarized the nominating process, emphasizing efforts to make it more transparent, and presented the slate of candidates for 2012 elections. This includes the positions of President-Elect, Vice President for Science, Secretary, Member-at-Large, and Board of Professional Certification (2 slots).

Scott Collins moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded a motion to approve the slate of candidates proposed by the Nominating Committee. All aye.

M. Recommendations from the Awards Committee
The Awards Committee, chaired by Alan Hastings, has provided its recommendations for the ESA-wide awards to be presented during the Scientific Plenary during the 2012 Portland Annual Meeting.

Deborah Goldberg moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to approve the slate with the exception of the Mercer and Honorary Member awards, with the request to the Awards Committee to recommend a single honoree for each of those two awards. All aye.

Katherine McCarter initiated a discussion of the nomination process, and efforts to reduce implicit bias in selection of nominees. Ideas include establishment of a “canvassing” committee” to expand the list of names considered for the awards.

The meeting was adjourned at noon.

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