Minutes of the ESA Governing Board
May 7-8, 2015
David Inouye President
Monica Turner President-Elect
Jill Baron Past-President
Evan DeLucia VP for Finance
Scott Collins VP for Public Affairs
Valerie Eviner VP for Science
Julie Reynolds VP for Education and Human Resources (via phone)
Charles Canham Secretary
Carmen Cid Member at Large
Ana-Elisa Perez Quintero Member at Large
Leah Gerber Member at Large
Katherine McCarter Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs Directory of Finance
Cliff Duke Director, Science
Michelle Horton Director, Administration and Meetings
Teresa Mourad Director, Education and Diversity
Sue Silver Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Alison Mize Director, Public Affairs
Regina Przygocki Interim Associate Editor, Publications Office
Dane Ward Co-Chair, Student Section
9:00 am, May 7, 2015, meeting called to order by President David Inouye
I. Roll Call and Agenda
A. Adopt Agenda
Monica Turner moved and Jill Baron seconded a motion to approve the agenda. All aye.
B. Ratify Votes
1. Ratification of Votes – Awards Committee Recommendations
Charles Canham moved and Monica Turner seconded a motion to ratify the email vote to approve the Awards Committee recommendations. All aye.
2. Ratification of Votes – Regional Policy Award
Charles Canham moved and Monica Turner seconded a motion to ratify the email vote to approve the recommendation of Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) as the Regional Policy Award winner. All aye.
3. Ratification of Votes – minutes from the November 2014 Governing Board Meeting
Jill Baron moved and Monica Turner seconded a motion to ratify the email vote to approve the minutes from the November 2014 Governing Board meeting. All aye.
A. Report of the President
President Inouye commended ESA staff for their work during the past year. He summarized his activities representing ESA at international meetings.
B. Report of the Executive Director and Staff
ESA Executive Director McCarter referred the Board to the detailed reports from staff in the board book. She noted that publications issues have consumed the majority of her time this year. Cliff Duke reviewed upcoming events in the Science Office. There was discussion of NEON and issues related to communication between NEON and the scientific community. Michelle Horton gave an update on plans for the Centennial meeting. Elizabeth Biggs noted that membership is flat from last year, but is expected to increase due to the Centennial meeting. Chapter and Section membership is way up, and with the changes in dues structures will result in significant increases in budgets for the Chapters and Sections. Regina Przygocki reported on anticipated changes in the Publications Office. Sue Silver gave an update on a Centennial-related issue at Frontiers. Teresa Mourad announced that NSF had awarded SEEDS funding for the next 5 years, and reviewed other funding opportunities and activities planned for the coming year. Alison Mize reviewed activities of the Public Affairs Office, including preparation of the Annual Report.
C. Financial Update
VP for Finance DeLucia summarized the status of management of Society funds. He recommended revisiting the discussion of asset allocation at a later date. Elizabeth Biggs reviewed third quarter results of expenses and revenue. Subscription revenue was down substantially from budget.
III. Discussion/Action Items
A. Report of the Audit Committee
Scott Collins moved and Monica Turner seconded approving the audit committee report. All aye.
B. Proposed FY 2015-2016 ESA Budget
Elizabeth Biggs and Evan DeLucia presented the proposed 2015-2016 budget. There is more uncertainty than usual in budgeting given the publication transitions, and the budget projects a slight deficit for the coming year, to be covered from operating reserves.
Scott Collins moved and Valerie Eviner seconded a motion to recommend that the Council approve the budget when it meets in August. All aye.
The Board decided to not allocate monies from the Opportunity Fund for board strategic initiatives at this time.
C. Publications Transition
David Inouye opened with a summary of the publications transition process to date. A consultant was hired to help the Society develop an RFP, which was distributed to 8 publishers. All 8 submitted proposals, and 5 of them were selected for additional presentations in person to the Publications Transition Committee. The committee quickly reached consensus on the top proposal, and the Society has entered into contract negotiations with that publisher. A consultant has been hired by the Society to assist in the goal of completing the transition by the end of 2015.
D. Editor-in-Chief for Ecology Monographs
Current Editor-in-Chief Aaron Ellison indicated last year that he would be retiring from the EiC role. The Board extended his agreement, which was to end December 31, 2014 until December 31, 2015. This was to allow Aaron to continue through the Centennial year and to provide an opportunity for overlap once a new Editor-in-Chief is named. The Publications Committee has recommended that Dr. Aimee Classen be appointed Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Monographs beginning January 1, 2016 and fill out the two remaining years of the current three year term.
Scott Collins moved and Valerie Eviner seconded appointing Dr. Aimee Classen as Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Monographs beginning January 1, 2016, to serve the remaining 2 years of the current 3-year term. All aye.
The Nominations Committee, includes the three Members at Large – Carmen Cid, Leah Gerber and Ana Elisa Perez Quintero, and is chaired by Past President Jill Baron. The committee has provided its recommendations for the open positions on the Governing Board and the Board of Professional Certification.
Monica Turner moved and Scott Collins seconded approving the slate of candidates recommended by the Nominations Committee. All aye.
F. Resolutions of Respect
The Historical Records Committee has been discussing the question of Resolutions of Respect (RoR) versus Obituaries in the Bulletin. They propose a new policy that would eliminate the distinction between an obituary and Resolution of Respect. They are recommending having only one form of tribute – similar to the current RoR concept – for publication in the Bulletin, but without the restrictions that limit who would qualify for a RoR. Past HRC Chair Dennis Knight originated the proposal and it has been discussed thoroughly and approved by HRC members.
Monica Turner moved and Scott Collins seconded a motion to approve the recommendation from the Historical Records Committee
G. ESA Membership
Monica Turner opened a discussion of ways the Society engages with its members. Slight declines in membership over the past few years, both in ESA and in other scientific societies, suggest that a variety of forces are changing the ways that scientists participate in scientific societies. Expectations on young scientists are very different than in the past, and challenge the Society to remain vital to new members of the profession.
There was an extensive discussion of initiatives to better serve the needs of the very diverse constituencies within the Society.
H. Ad Hoc Certification Review Committee
The Ad Hoc Certification Committee is chaired by Carmen Cid and includes four other ESA members who are also ESA Certified Ecologists: Thomas Mulroy (LEIDOS Environmental Consulting), Luther Smith (Soil Science of America certification director), Elizabeth Binney (Pacific Ecologic) and Linda Heath (USDA Forest Service).
The ad hoc committee was charged to make the ESA Certification Program robust, inclusive and relevant for professional ecologists. They were asked to answer questions already posed by ESA Board of Certification Committee, identify priorities and additional questions to answer and make recommendations for changes to the program. The committee has a year to complete the review, and the product will be an evaluation of the current program with recommendations for how, and why, to update the review process. The ad hoc committee met in DC in April. Carmen Cid provided an update from that meeting. They anticipate a final report for the August 2015 Meeting.
The Board met in Executive Session to consider an issue from the Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee.
Meeting adjourned at 5:30 pm
May 8, 2014, meeting called to order at 8:00 am
III. Discussion/Action Items (continued)
The Board met in Executive Session from 8:00 – 9:00
I. Public Affairs Committee
Scott Collins, VP for Public Affairs and Chair of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), and Alison Mize, Director of Public Affairs, provided a summary of the outcomes of the Public Affairs Committee meeting which was held just prior to the May Governing Board meeting. They also discussed plans to reorient the Goals Document of the PAC, which currently reads like a frequently edited and amended amalgam of ideas and issues that are used to set the priorities of the Committee. Their goal is to start the process of developing a short and succinct document that will bring the PAC Goal and Priorities more in line with the activities of the other ESA Offices (Science, and Education and Diversity). They propose that the document contain explicit statements about the role of the Public Affairs Office in developing, coordinating or advising on Policy Activities.
There was extensive discussion of opportunities for focusing Public Affairs efforts on improving communication and interaction with the private sector.
J. Guest Participation in Governing Board Meetings
The Board has for several years invited the chair of the Student Section to participate in the Governing Board meeting during the annual meeting and reimbursed the student for one night in a hotel as is done for Board members. In recent years, the Presidents have invited and helped to pay for the Student Section chair to also come to the fall and spring meetings. President Inouye suggested that if ESA wishes to have this participation, it should be included in the meeting budget and ESA should assume the travel expenses. If the Board recognizes the value of having a “student” viewpoint, it might also want to think about alternating the invitation to participate between the Student Section chair and the Early Career Ecologist Section chair. Given that ESA established early career ecologists as a specific emphasis (as a result of a member survey). Dr. Inouye suggested that it would be appropriate to alternate the invitation between these two sections that both represent early career members.
Carmen Cid moved and Jill Baron seconded a motion to alternate invitations between the Student Section and the Early Career Section for the spring and fall board meetings and to ask both to attend the August meetings, with travel expenses covered as for regular Governing Board members. Motion approved: 10 aye, 1 nay.
K. National Park Service – Ecological Landmarks
The ESA was a represented by Past President Jill Baron in a one-day meeting on March 12, 2015 hosted by the National Geographic Society and the NPS Science Advisory Board to identify “Science Sites” to increase recognition, public awareness, and appreciation of contributions of American scientists of distinction to the health, wealth, and quality of life of all Americans, and build public understanding of and support for science. Jill Baron polled members of the Governing Board, Past Presidents, and the Rapid Response Team for their suggestions of sites important to the development of ecology, and presented the list for consideration at the meeting. She suggested that Sections and Chapters be encouraged to nominate sites and develop materials in support of those nominations. Charles Canham will forward materials to Section and Chapter leadership encouraging their participation.
L. Reproducibility in Field Sciences
AAAS, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and ESA will be convening a 2-day workshop in mid May to discuss reproducibility issues in the field-based sciences, with special focus on data issues. This workshop will build and expand on a previous workshop convened by the AGU last October. ESA will be represented by Editor-in-Chief Aaron Ellison and Director of Science Programs Cliff Duke. Cliff Duke summarized the agenda for the meeting.
M. Ecological Restoration Section Petition
ESA Bylaws provide that any group of 50 or more members of the Society may petition for the establishment of a Section. The petition must specify the proposed general scope of the Section and its proposed plan of organization. Article 10 of the Constitution indicates that each Section must be approved by a vote of the Council and that proposed Section bylaws must be approved by the Governing Board.
Kris Hulvey and Elise Gornish have submitted a petition for a new Ecological Restoration Section. It was signed by 50 ESA members and contains the mission, the general scope and the proposed bylaws. Staff review of the proposed bylaws indicates that they are in accordance with the requirements of the ESA Constitution and Bylaws and also confirm that 50 ESA members have signed the petition.
Scott Collins moved and Monica Turner seconded a motion to recommend that the Council approve the formation of the new section. All aye.
N. Centennial Update
1. Report from the Program Chair
Carol Brewer, 2015 Annual Meeting Program Chair submitted a report on planning for the Centennial Meeting in Baltimore. She focused on the Plenary Sessions and on a “Centennial Ecology Lecture Series” that will occur at Noon on Monday through Wednesday of the annual meeting.
2. Report from the Centennial Implementation Committee Chair
Nancy Huntly, Chair of the Centennial Implementation Committee submitted a report detailing the allocation of funds provided to Sections and Chapters for activities related to the Centennial.
O. Annual Meeting Issues
1. 2016 Annual Meeting Theme
Lee Frelich has submitted his recommendation for the 2016 Annual Meeting to be held in Ft. Lauderdale, FLA. He is recommending the theme of “Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene.”
Scott Collins moved and Monica Turner seconded a motion to approve the theme recommended by Dr. Frelich for the 2016 Annual Meeting. All aye.
2. 2017 Local Host
Kiyoko Miyanishi, Future Meetings Chair, is recommending Marion Dresner to be the Local Host for the 2017 Annual Meeting in Portland, OR. Dr. Dresner is a professor at Portland State University and has volunteered (enthusiastically) to be local host for the meeting. She has been very active in community outreach and citizen science and has organized sessions and workshops at past ESA meetings.
Scott Collins moved and Monica Turner seconded a motion to approve the appointment of Dr. Marion Dresner as the Local Host for the 2017 Annual Meeting. All aye.
3. Annual Meeting Site Rotation
The Governing Board has indicated a number of times that they wish the meetings committee to consider rotating the annual meeting between cities where ESA can expect good attendance and to meet specific financial goals. Meetings Co-Chair, Kiyoko Miyanishi and Meetings Co-Chair Hal Balbach have submitted suggestions for this rotation. The primary candidates they propose include Portland (OR), Austin, San Jose, and Baltimore, with other possibilities including Albuquerque, New Orleans, and Salt Lake City.
Some concern has been raised about some regions of the country not being represented in the proposed rotation (e.g. the Midwest and Southeast). Until now, one of the criteria for site selection was “rotation around the country”. The rationale for this criterion was not only the desire to vary the meeting locations but also to increase accessibility for many members who would not always have to fly across the country to attend a meeting but to allow them to drive to a meeting site. In particular, members who work for at non-research-intensive universities may not have access to funding for transcontinental travel to attend meetings.
Furthermore, even if the decision is made for a primary rotation among 3 or 4 locations, it seems reasonable to allow an occasional wild card in the rotation. The rationale for doing so is that very favorable opportunities can and do arise unexpectedly (such as New Orleans and Salt Lake City). Also, costs at some currently feasible locations might increase dramatically in the future. We have to keep in mind that net profits depend on both attendance and meeting costs. Thus, while the Midwest and Southeast may not draw quite as large an attendance as the West or Southwest, it may still be possible to meet or exceed the $125,000 net revenue requirement if the meeting costs are significantly reduced through rebates or other major concessions.
The Governing Board reaffirmed their desire to rotate the annual meetings among a set of cities where past experience suggests strong attendance, while still allowing flexibility for the Meetings Committee to consider new sites periodically. The criteria for future site selection will be strong attendance and the possibility to meet or exceed net revenue goals set by the Governing Board, and will no longer incude geographic representativeness.
4. Environmental Offsets for the 2015 Annual Meeting.
Local Host Chris Swan has recommended use of Environmental Offset funds to support the Parks and People Foundation in Baltimore. The $5 contribution per registrant is expected to be roughly $20,000.
Scott Collins moved and Monica Turner seconded a motion to appropriate environmental offset funds to support the Parks and People Foundation. All aye.
P. Global Online Ecology Festival
The International Network of Next Generation Ecologists (INNGE) is proposing to develop a global festival of ecology. INNGE provided the GB an outline of the concept of an “online global festival of ecology” for consideration by the governing boards of the British Ecological Society and the Ecological Society of America. The primary goals of this festival, seen as a complement to existing national and international conferences in ecology, are threefold: (1) to speed up internationalization of ecological science, (2) to increase public ecological awareness, and (3) to reduce the environmental footprint of new international ecology conferences. While it is expected that planning and fundraising for such a festival will take several years, INNGE is asking its potential partners to review the concept and provide feedback about willingness to participate. They are not asking for a financial commitment at this time. ESA will express its interest in the proposed online global festival and is looking forward to further information as planning proceeds.
Meeting adjourned at 11:50 am, May 8, 2015