December 2012

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
December 18-19, 2012
Washington, DC

Members Present:
Scott Collins               President
Steward Pickett          Past-President
Sharon Collinge          VP for Public Affairs
Deborah Goldberg      VP for Science
Julie Reynolds            VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham        Secretary
Michelle Mack             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:     
Mimi Lam                      Member-at-Large
Stephen Jackson          Member-at-Large
Leslie Real                   VP for Finance (present via Skype for a portion of the meeting)
Jill Baron                      President-Elect                                                              

9:00 am, meeting called to order by President Scott Collins  

I. Roll Call and Agenda

A. Adopt Agenda

Sharon Collinge moved and Steward Pickett seconded adoption of the agenda.  All aye.

B. Ratification of Votes taken since August meeting

            1. Minutes, August 2012

            Deborah Goldberg moved and Sharon Collinge seconded approval of the minutes of the August 2012 meeting.  All aye.

            2. EiC for Issues in Ecology

            Deborah Goldberg moved and Sharon Collinge seconded approval of Serita Frey as Editor-in-Chief for Issues in Ecology.  All aye.

II. Reports

A. Report of the President

            Scott Collins reported on his activities as President since the August meeting, including efforts to maintain momentum on the Earth Stewardship Initiative.  He is particularly interested in reaching out to the arts community during annual meetings.  He is also interested in maintaining the outreach to the faith community. 

            He also reported on activities related to ESA publications, including issues related to open access.  Recommendations from an ad-hoc committee on the future of publications will be presented to the Governing Board at the May 2013 meeting.  He also summarized a meeting with representatives from NSF concerning the proposal submission process.

B. Report of the Executive Director and Staff

            Katherine McCarter summarized her report on staff activities, noting that the ESA Fellows program is up and running.  Cliff Duke reported on two new publications in the Issues in Ecology series, and several more in the pipeline.  Planning has begun for the next Emerging Issues conference. Nadine Lymn described activities of the Public Affairs program.  Sue Silver reported on Frontiers, including a planned special issue on the national climate assessment.  The 100th issue of Frontiers was just published.   Elizabeth Biggs noted that the Portland meeting resulted in membership exceeding 10,000.  David Baldwin summarized activities in the Publication Office, including a new automated system for handling Ecological Archives.  Teresa Mourad gave a brief review of the Education and Diversity program.  A full program review will be presented later in the meeting.  Michelle Horton reported on efforts to migrate the website to new software to make it easier for staff to update materials of the website, and provided an update on planning for the 2013 meeting. 

C. Financial Updates

                        1. First Quarter Financials

                        Katherine McCarter and Elizabeth Biggs reported on first quarter financials.  There was extensive discussion of the financial issues involved in selection of sites for the annual meetings.        

                        2. Investment Updates

                        Elizabeth Biggs summarized the Society’s investment accounts. 

III. Discussion/Action Items

A. Program Review – Education and Diversity Programs

            Teresa Mourad and VP Julie Reynolds presented the formal periodic review of the Education and Diversity Program.  There are 3 core programs: SEEDS, the EcoEd digital library, and the Macroscale Ecology Education initiative.  There is a new regional structure for the SEEDS chapters.  There is also a new social networking site for SEEDS.  The EcoEd Digital Library is a relatively new effort that offers resources designed to raise data literacy, build core concepts, and strengthen communities of practice.  The Macroscale Ecology Education program has been funded primarily by NSF, and is a partnership with NCEAS and NEON.

            The Committee on Diversity and Education held a retreat this fall and has produced an action plan for the coming year.  Julie Reynolds discussed the importance of addressing diversity in all aspects of the Society’s activities, and highlighted elements of the action plan.  This included making the Education Scholars program more visible, and making the Diversity Award a standing award from the Society.

B. Code of Ethics Revision 

            The Ecology for the New Generation Committee has proposed changes to the ESA Code of Ethics.  The proposals have been referred to the Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee, chaired by Patricia Flebbe.  That committee will consider the proposals and report to the Governing Board at the May 2013 meeting.

C. Editor-in-Chief Review

            Editors are appointed for 3 year terms, and go through a formal evaluation at the end of each term.  The Publications Committee, chaired by Josh Schimel, submitted their review of Editor-in-Chief Don Strong, who has served 4 terms.  The committee fully endorsed his re-appointment for another 3-year term, and the board enthusiastically agreed.  Steward Pickett moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to appoint Don Strong for another 3-year term as Editor-in-Chief of Ecology.  All aye.

D. SEEDS Sustainability Report

            Joe Gilmer of CCS presented a summary of their report on development strategies for support of the SEEDS project.

E. SEEDS Sustainability Discussion

            Staff and board members engaged in a spirited discussion of the report by CCS, and opportunities for philanthropic support of SEEDS and other ESA initiatives.  There was consensus of the need to expand the base of financial support (among members and more broadly) for both SEEDS and the Society at large.   

F. Centennial Committee Final Report

            The Centennial Committee, chaired by Alan Covich, submitted a final report containing a list of recommendations for activities and expenditures related to the ESA Centennial.  Included in the report is a proposal to fund a short video tracing the history of the Society.  Sharon Collinge moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to approve the allocation of $38,350 for the production of the video.  All aye. 

            The Historical Records Committee presented a detailed request for $18,980 to support their activities.  The 2015 Past Presidents Committee requests $2650 for their activities related to the Centennial.  Deborah Goldberg moved and Steward Pickett seconded a motion to approve both requests.   All aye. 

            Deborah Goldberg moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to approve $2000 to support the production of a history of the Society, for publication in the Bulletin, by Frank Egerton.  All aye.

            Deborah Goldberg moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to approve $10,000 to support other activities planned by sections, chapters and committees, and recommended by the ESA Council.  All aye.  The monies will be allocated and approved by a centennial implementation committee established by the Board.

            There was also a proposal to collect an online series of “classic” papers with introductions.  The effort will be coordinated by David Baldwin, and no funds are requested.  The Board supported this proposal.  A proposal to commission a set of centennial papers for the journals was tabled pending further details from the editors-in-chief.

            Deborah Goldberg moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to approve $10,000 to support student-initiated activities related to the Centennial, with encouragement to include participation by SEEDS students.  All aye.

G. Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award

            Julie Reynolds presented a proposal to make the Diversity Award one of the standing awards of the Society.  Deborah Goldberg moved and Steward Pickett seconded a motion that the award, named the Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award, becomes a formal ESA award, with recommendation from a standing subcommittee of the Awards Committee.  All aye. 

H. ESA/ESC Joint Journal

            Katherine McCarter provided an update on the development of the ESA/ESC joint journal.  There has been agreement on the division of responsibilities and the budget for the new journal.  Thomas Liu, from the editorial staff of Acta Ecologica Sinica, is spending time at ESA Headquarters to work on development of the journal.

I. Mid-term Program Review – Finances

            Elizabeth Biggs presented the mid-term review of the Society financial program.  Institutional subscriptions continue to provide the largest single source of unrestricted funds, but the numbers of institutional subscriptions continue to decline.  Membership has held roughly steady in the past 5 years, with minor fluctuations tied to attendance at the annual meetings.  The Society’s reserves have steadily increased over the past 10 years.

J. Ad Hoc Working Group on ESA Publications Update

            Scott Collins summarized work of the ad hoc working group charged with considering the impact of open access on ESA publications.  The committee met in early December, and will present recommendations at the May 2013 Governing Board meeting.  There was an extensive discussion of open-access issues.

K. Editor-in-Chief Stipends

            Deborah Goldberg presented a report from the Publications Committee on Editor-in-Chief stipends.  Sharon Collinge moved and Steward Pickett seconded a motion to approve the the following recommendations:

            A. Stipends will remain the same for Ecology and Ecological Applications.

            B.  The stipend for the Editor-In-Chief of Ecological Monographs will increase to $10,000/yr, effective January 1, 2013.

            C.  In the budget year when submissions to Ecosphere are expected to exceed 500, the stipend for Ecosphere will be increased by $7,500.

            All aye.

L. IRB reviews of ESA surveys

            Julie Reynolds moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to approve the proposed policy on IRB approvals.  All aye.

The new policy states:

“The Ecological Society of America is occasionally asked to assist or cooperate with researchers who seek to survey all or part of the ESA membership (e.g., as a representative set of professional ecologists). Such surveys may involve sensitive or personal information. In order to provide legal, ethical, and other protections for the Society and for the survey participants, all researchers seeking to use Society membership rolls, mailing lists and other resources must have prior approval for their project from the Institutional Review Boards (IRB) of their respective institutions. Such approval must be documented before the Society will provide membership lists or other resources.

Routine membership surveys and inventories conducted on behalf of the Society for internal needs of the Society (e.g., demographic profiles, member-satisfaction or need surveys) are ordinarily exempt from IRB review. Alternatively, if an ESA-sponsored research project is intended for dissemination beyond ESA officers, councilors, or general membership, it should be reviewed by an IRB of an outside organization (e.g., a university in the greater Washington, DC area).”

M. Community of Practitioners

            Mimi Lam has submitted a proposal that seeks to offer reduced registration fees to increase attendance at the annual meetings for specific targeted groups.  The board supported the general goals of the proposal, and tabled the proposal pending more detail on definition of the targeted groups, financial implications, and methods for implementation.   Vice President for Education and Human Resources Julie Reynolds was asked to work with Mimi Lam to refine the proposal.     

L. New Business

            Deborah Goldberg described a joint initiative of the science, education, and public affairs programs to encourage and provide information and mentoring for a wider range of career paths in ecology.  Specific proposals include establishing a network of mentors and a webpage with supporting materials.   The development of the initiative has been supported with an initial long-range planning grant.  She requested a $5,000 allocation from the Opportunity Fund to support an intern to work with the HQ office on establishing the website.  Deborah Goldberg moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to approve allocation of $5,000 from the Opportunity Fund to support the Career Pathways in Ecology program.


Adjourned at 11:55 pm