November 2003

ESA Governing Board
November 21-22, 2003
Washington, D.C.

The November 21-22 meeting of the ESA Governing Board was attended by Bill Schlesinger, President, Ann Bartuska, Past President, Jerry Melillo, President Elect, Jill Baron, Secretary, Jim Clark, Vice President for Science, Norm Christensen, Vice President for Finance, Carol Brewer, Vice President for Education and Human Resources, Sunny Power, Vice President for Public Affairs, Margaret Palmer, Ed Johnson, and Oswaldo Sala, Members-at-Large. Also attending were Katherine McCarter, Executive Director, Elizabeth Biggs, Finance Director, Jason Taylor, Education Director, Clifford Duke, Science Director, Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief for Frontiers, David Baldwin, Managing Editor, and PAO representative Maggie Smith. The meeting was called to order by President Schlesinger at 7:00 pm on Friday November 21, 2003, and adjourned at 5:00 pm on Saturday November 22, 2003.

    1. Roll Call
      1. The GB unanimously adopted the agenda.
      2. The minutes from the August 2003 meeting were approved with two amendments related to wording of the August 2-3 IID, Ecological Visions Committee.
    2. Reports

 

      1. Meeting with ESA Auditor. Terri Marrs, an auditor with Gelman, Rosenberg, and Friedman, presented the results of their independent audit of the ESA finances for the fiscal year July 2002-June 2003. She reported a clean opinion and stated that it was a very positive year for ESA. Both she and the Governing Board noted that much of the credit belongs to Finance Director Elizabeth Biggs, who is thorough, careful, and well-prepared. The financial report was approved unanimously.
      2. Meeting with Congressional Fellow. Dr. Evan Notman, the Congressional Fellow sponsored by ESA for 2003-2004, introduced himself to the GB. He is one of 45 Congressional Fellows sponsored by scientific societies this year, and will be on the staff of the Senate Agricultural Committee, working with Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. He will be working on issues of farm conservation, specifically pesticide regulations. The GB requested that Notman reflect on his year as a Fellow at the ESA Annual Meeting in Portland.
      3. Report of the President. President Schlesinger reported on Capitol Hill activities, including letters about the ruling regarding observance of the Endangered Species Act on military bases, fire policy, revisions to the Endangered Species Act, briefings to Senators on the carbon cycle, and an Inter-American Institute letter to Rita Colwell, Director of the National Science Foundation. President Schlesinger noted that Maggie Smith in the Public Affairs Office deserves credit for much of this work, and the GB thanks her. President Schlesinger also noted that enacting the recommendations of the Visions Committee will be a big agenda item in 2004.
      4. Report of the Executive Director and Staff.

 

        1. Executive Director McCarter noted that ESA staff have been devoting time to redesigning the website, building Frontiers subscriptions, the Federation of the Americas, manuscript tracking, and education programs. Membership and subscription numbers look good, and the Savannah annual meeting was successful.
        2. Education. President-elect Melillo and Education Director Taylor will go to NSF BIO directorate to promote increased funding for SEEDS students to come to ESA meetings, and generally strengthen the links with NSF.
        3. Finance Biggs noted that there are 8116 ESA members.
        4. Journals. Frontiers Editor-In-Chief Silver reported that there are 83 days from submission to acceptance for Frontiers in Ecology and Environment, and the journal has a 53% rejection rate. The journal is not yet indexed by ISI or BioSys, but Frontiers is under consideration by both. President-elect Melillo noted that advertising still need to improve in order to cover more of the costs of producing the journal. Managing Editor Baldwin announced the imminent inauguration of manuscript tracking for ESA journals.
        5. Science. Science Director Duke noted the significant help provided by Rhonda Kranz to the Visions Committee and to the Science Program overall in 2003. The Weed Science meeting was a success, and credit is due to Lori Hidinger. Duke is preparing a proposal to develop a common statement across many societies regarding data archiving.
      1. Reports from Committees
        A written report from the Annual Meeting chairman was submitted.
      2. Financial Updates. Vice President for Finances Christensen and Executive Director McCarter reported that ESA had a solid first quarter. In stocks, ESA mutual funds are holding steady, while those in the equities fund are slightly higher than they were in January 2003.
      3. Federation of the Americas.

 

        1. A motion was made, seconded, and unanimously approved to add $600 to the funds Member-at-Large Sala now has to increase the print run of three Spanish-version Issues in Ecology from 450 to 1000.
        2. Discussion regarding the possibility that the 450 ESA overseas members receive a hard copy of Frontiers ended with the suggestion that funding for mailing could be an introductory request to a small foundation interested in building international cooperation. Finance Director Biggs will email GB members with the costs of mailing Frontiers.
        3. As a result of a suggestion from the Meeting of the Americas in August, a letter of support for the InterAmerican Institute for Global Change Research was sent to NSF.
        4. Member-at-Large Sala reported on meetings ESA has had with potential funding organizations to support the activities of the Federation of the Americas. The Organization of American States (OAS) Sustainability in the Environment sectios, USAID, NSF International Programs are all interested with varying levels of available support. President-elect Melillo suggests ESA meet with DEB, GEO, and International Programs in February to inform a greater funding base at NSD.
        5. ESA staff are exploring the possibility of holding a theme meeting in Mexico in 2005-2006. 
    1. Discussion Items
      1. Ecological Visions Committee Update. Member-at-Large and Visions Committee Chair Palmer presented a draft report of the Visions Committee, which the GB reviewed and commented on. Among the questions raised during discussion were whether the Visions Report lead to a sea-change within ESA, what is and what is not part of the role of ESA in implementing the plan, how should ESA bring in partners (national and international), since the vision is larger than ESA alone? Other professional societies named to include early as partners included AIBS, AGU, ASLO, Agronomy Society, and education societies.
      2. A special meeting of the ESA GB will be held February 20 to begin to revise the ESA strategic plan around the recommendations from the Visions Committee.
      3. Trends in ESA revenues, expenses, and subscriptions. There was an anticipated decline in individual member journal subscription trends between 1999 and 2003, but institutional subscriptions remained fairly constant. VP Brewer suggested ESA explore the idea of a State University System pricing (“Tier 4") for multiple universities that share site licences and subscriptions. It was also suggested that ESA look again into bundling the journals, since students at universities that do not subscribe to one or more ESA journals (such as Duke University) are not exposed to those journals. A discussion of the PLOS initiative noted that there is lots of opposition to the idea of pay-per-view fees for individual manuscripts. Member-at-Large Sala requested to see the trends of Impact Factors for ESA journals in comparison with other society and for-profit journals over time. Other trends observed were increases in both total income and total expenses, with income slightly higher than expenses. The Board asked to see the trends for the annual meeting displayed as net revenue per participant. Funding for the Public Affairs Office has not changed since 1999, while other offices within the Headquarters Office have increased. The GB greatly appreciated the information provided by trendlines, and requested similar summaries once a year.
      4. Awards Issues

 

        1. Odum Award. Linda Wallace, Chair of the Odum Award, and Carol Brewer, VP Education and Human Resources, request more recognition for the recipient of the Odum Award, such as presentation of a lecture and/or paper in Frontiers. The GB responded with the idea that the committee consider additional creative activities, such as sponsoring a symposium or a workshop.
        2. Buell/Braun Awards. There is a perennial problem of getting enough people to judge Buell and Braun student paper and poster presentations. The GB recommends a pre-screening process and suggests that Sections and Chapters be involved; Secretary Baron will urge Sections and Chapters to support these awards by volunteering judges. VP Brewer will explore student award guidelines from other societies, such as NABS. The Buell/Braun award committee is urged to change the wording of the announcement for submissions to suggest that participation should present the capstone of a student’s career.
        3. Sustainability Award. The GB unanimously agreed that presentation of the new Sustainability Science Award be included in the ESA annual award ceremony.
        4. Awards Ceremony. The GB agreed that the awards ceremony in the Opening Plenary Session at the Annual Meeting was effective.
      1. Canada Chapter. The Board reviewed a petition by 20 Canadian ecologists and draft Chapter by-laws and unanimously approved recommending establishment of a Canada Chapter to the ESA Council in August.
      2. Corporate Grants Policy. The Board adopted a Corporate Grants Policy for ESA to guide the solicitation and receipt of corporate grants and sponsorships. GB recommended that corporate prospecti and awards are to be approved by the GB prior to solicitation or receipt, and a time limit will be established for how long a sponsor can use the ESA logo.
      3. Public Policy Priorities. The PAO proposes that Forest Fire Management, Air Pollution, Endangered Species Act, Marine Issues, Genetically-Modified Organisms, and Invasive Species become the topics of focus for 2004. The first four issues are on the legislative agenda, and the last two have pending position papers. Maggie Smith recognized these issues are not exclusive of others that should arise. GB recommended there should be a list of 8-10 experts identified for each of the issues, and will send names of experts to Smith. GB also recommended a list of the upcoming year’s PAO activities be prepared yearly and brought to the GB in August before the fall legislative session. The list should be reviewed again each May.
      4. EiC/Publications Program Review Criteria. The Publications Committee presented review criteria for Editors-in-Chief and for the entire Publications Program to the GB. The GB approves the broad criteria for evaluations. For all EiC evaluations except Frontiers these are: 1) quality and breadth of editorial board; 2) interaction with editorial board and authors; 3) interaction with society membership; and 4) interaction with managing editor. For the entire Publications Program, including Frontiers, the criteria are: 1) scientific quality of journals; 2) service to ESA members; 3) scope and breadth of publications; 4) and efficiency and quality of journal production and publication. Details under these broad criteria need not be spelled out explicitly, but we request that the evaluations presented to the Governing Board reflect how each criteria was specifically reviewed. Review committees for EiC and Publications Program should be recommended by the Publication Committee to the Governing Board.
      5. Meeting Issues

 

        1. Montreal 2005 symposia. The GB voted unanimously to cap the number of symposia at 24 for the joint meeting of ESA with INTECOL, but encourage all symposia to reflect the international flavor of the meeting. The GB strongly suggests ESA and INTECOl work as partners to develop themes for the symposia.
        2. Program Chairs

 

        1. There was approval of Kiyoko Miyanishi as the Program Chair for the 2006 meeting in Memphis, TN, with Ed Johnson abstaining.
        2. Names were suggested as possible Program Chairs for 2007 and 2008 and will be forwarded to the Meetings Committee for consideration. The Board looks forward to the Meetings Committee returning with recommendations.
      1. Local Hosts -2005. The GB unanimously approved Christian Messier and Catherine Potvin as local hosts for the 2005 Montreal annual meeting,
      2. Mexico Meeting. Discussion centered on possible themes and program chairs for a meeting in Mexico to be held in the winter, 2005. The GB felt that the theme of the meeting should be decided before appointing program chairs, and possible topics (partnerships for the planet, ecological consequences of trade, GMOs, and bioprospecting) were added to the list already developed by the Meetings Committee. Theme possibilities should be cycled back to the Federation of the Americas leaders. The Mexico Chapter should be involved in planning the meeting.
    1. Position Paper Updates. The GB wonders if the Invasive Species paper under construction by Lodge et al. be produced in time for the March 2004 AIBS invasive species theme meeting. VP for Science Clark will ask for a ~ 5-page distillation of the Biodiversity paper, which is currently being considered for publication in Ecological Applications or Ecological Monographs. Secretary Baron will check on guidelines for the role of the Governing Board on position papers.
    2. New Business. There was no new business.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Jill Baron 
Secretary

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