August, 2017

ESA Council

Saturday’s Meeting | Sunday’s Meeting

Saturday, August 5, 2017
8:00am – 5:00pm
DoubleTree by Hilton
Portland, Oregon Room

David Lodge, Presiding

Members Present

List of Saturday Attendees

David Lodge President
Monica Turner Past-President
Rich Pouyat President-Elect
Frank Davis VP for Public Affairs
Nalini Nadkarni VP for Education & Human Resources
Jayne Belnap VP for Science
Evan DeLucia VP for Finance
Jessica Gurevitch Secretary
Emily Cloyd Member-at-Large
Sharon Hall Member-at-Large
Kathryn Cottingham Member at Large

  8:00 EXECUTIVE SESSION Called to order by President David Lodge
10:00 General Governing Board meeting called to order by President David Lodge

Staff Present:

Katherine McCarter Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs Chief Financial Officer
Cliff Duke Director, Science
Teresa Mourad Director, Education and Diversity
Sue Silver Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Steven Sayre Director of Publishing and Member Services
Alison Mize Director of Public Affairs


Laura Huenneke President-elect at conclusion of this Annual Meeting
Joshua Scholl Chair, Student Section
Rob Salguero-Gomez Chair, Early Career Section
Laura Capponi Manager of Member Services (for item 2F)

  1. Roll Call and Agenda
    1. Adopt Agenda
    2. Emily moved to approve, Monica seconded, all Aye

    3. Ratification of Votes – Minutes from Fall 2016
    4. Katherine Cottingham moved to approve, Emily seconded, all Aye

    5. Ratification of Votes – Minutes from May 2017
    6. Katherine Cottingham moved to approve, Emily seconded, all Aye

  2. Reports
    1. Report of the President (Lodge)
    2. President Lodge announced and commended Katherine McCarter on her upcoming retirement and on her years of outstanding service to ESA, to appreciative applause from the GB and staff. He also explained the process for the search for the new executive director, with a search committee headed by Charles Canham. Liz Biggs, Emily Cloyd, Frank Davis, Monica Turner, and Rich Pouyat as Ex Officio will also serve on the committee, which will be handled by the professional search firm Isaacson Miller.

    3. Report of the Executive Director and Staff (McCarter, et al.)
    4. Report made by Executive Director McCarter with support from Biggs, Duke, Mize, Mourad, and Sayre.

      The report presented summarized the activities of the Executive Director and Staff from August 2016-June 2017. The Executive Office focused on implementing the 2016 strategic plan, establishing a new membership unit, adding new staff, and further developing a good working relationship with the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, including tracking financial projections and actual revenue. Actions taken after the August 2016 and May 2017 Governing Board Meetings were summarized.

      The results from the election held this fall are final. The new Governing Board members will take office at the end of the annual meeting. Congratulations to:

      Laura Huenneke, President-Elect

      Evan DeLucia, Vice President for Finance

      Frank Davis, Vice President for Public Affairs

      Gillian Bowser, Member at Large

      Newly elected members of the Board of Professional Certification take office January 2017 and are:

      Damian Preziosi

      Sylvie Brouder

      Membership and Publications: Steve Sayre reported that ESA had a total of 7,795 members in 2016, which was our smallest membership in many years; as of right now it is up to 8,550. A substantive survey of the membership offered rich data that will be reported on and interpreted for the Fall GB meeting. The current meeting pre-registration is well over 4,000 people.

      Steve Sayre reported that our publications are doing well; Ecosphere is growing rapidly, time to publication has continued to decline, impact factors are stable, interactions with Wiley are on track with a free flow of information and are going well with long-term planning with them in the works. A strategy meeting was organized with the Editors-in-Chief and Wiley, organized by Steve, and it was very effective and successful. Online usage is climbing rapidly and is very strong. ESA’s publisher Wiley indicates that we will end the 2016 fiscal year close to their projections for our journals.

      Finance: Liz Biggs indicated that the 101th ESA Annual Meeting held in Ft. Lauderdale had a total attendance of 2,544. Four new sections were added in time to gain membership in 2016: Invasion Ecology, Open Science, Science Communication and Ecological Restoration. Two additional sections were approved in 2016 and became active in 2017: Black Ecologists and Inclusive Ecology. The membership consists of Domestic (6219) and Foreign (1576) members. By class, it consists of Regular members (5091), Students (1594), Members from Developing Countries (290), Life Members (312) and Emeritus Members (508). Of members who reported their gender, 47% are male, 31% are female, and less than 1% reported gender as neither/non-binary.

      Science Office: Cliff Duke reported that there is a new NSF grant awarded to the ESA Science Office for three more years for the Sustainaible Business Infrastructure (SBI)program.; the SBI program will be running infrastructure training courses during the annual meeting and other workshops are being offered by the Science Office at the annual meeting as well.

      Public Affairs: Alison Mize reported that the Society’s government affairs activity and public profile significantly increased this past year. There is a substantial representation of the press at the annual meeting. Past President Monica Turner commended Alison and her staff on the terrific job they have been doing in communicating essential policy information to the membership. There will be a special forum on policy organized by this office at the annual meeting.

      Communications to members regarding the new administration and Policy News served to keep members up-to-date during a tumultuous period. The Society expanded its policy partnerships with other scientific societies and coalitions to address the many current issues that affect student immigration visas, federal funding for scientific research, environmental regulation, scientific integrity, and other issues such as the administration’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. ESA issued or co-signed over fifty letters and statements, which is three times the number sent the previous year, to the president or Congress. Several policy statements were mentioned in news articles. ESA commented on executive orders concerning two National Monuments Reviews in the Federal Register. ESA members participated in Hill visits with congressional offices for the Climate Science Working Group’s Climate Science Day and for the Biological and Ecological Science Coalition (BESC) Congressional Visits Day. Six ESA student members traveled to Washington for the three-day Graduate Student Policy Award experience. They received policy and communication training before storming the Hill as part of BESC to visit over 80 congressional offices and ask for federal funding for the ecological and biological sciences. ESA participated in the first-ever multi-society congressional district visit meetings and sponsored a congressional field trip to view USGS stream gauges in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Over forty Republican and Democratic staff attended the day-long trip.

      Theresa Mourad updated the GB on current activities of the Education and Diversity office, with new initiatives underway building on the SEEDS program for graduate students, as well as postdoc initiatives and other activities. There is interest in seeing what might be possible for ESA to play a role in replacing or dealing with the ending of the Dissertation Improvement Grants by NSF.

      Sue Silver reported on the high profile of the current and upcoming Frontiers publications. There is a new series on Exploring Ecological Careers that particularly considers careers outside of academia and that links well with other career initiatives, including the new Wiley online jobs and careers platform. Frontiers will be 15 years old at the end of this year, and a strategic review is in the works to mark this milestone and take stock.

    5. Financial Update
    6. Fourth Quarter Financials (McCarter/Biggs)

      We are doing better than projected despite the loss of revenue from the Ft. Lauderdale meeting; a full budget was reported. Revenue minus expenses was close to $30K. The move to Wiley has been very successful in stabilizing ESA’s finances.

      Investments (DeLucia)

      The investments are managed professionally by Merrill Lynch, with a moderately aggressive asset allocation target. A key goal is to build a cushion for ESA for long-term planning. Another account is managed by Townley for restricted (targeted) funds. There was a substantial gift from the estate of Robert Paine for the Mercer and MacArthur Awards.

  3. Discussion/Action Items
    1. FY 2017-2018 ESA Budget
      1. Proposed FY 2017-2018 Budget Decision (McCarter/Biggs)
      2. The budget projects a minor positive change in net assets in addition to the $100,000 we budget for repayment to reserves. This will move us closer to the Boards target of a $5M reserve. Membership dues revenue is budgeted to increase slightly to $640,000. Dues will increase in 2018 by 2% for regular members only; print subscriptions will no longer be an option. There will be no change in dues to students and members from developing countries. Compensation for staff includes a 2% cost of living increase and 2% merit pool. Other aspects of the proposed budget were discussed. The GB approved this budget at our last meeting and it will be sent to the Council for their approval.

      3. Long Range Planning Grant subcommittee (McCarter)
      4. Every year ESA offers $10K to the sections for long range planning; the Members-at-Large serve as the ad-hoc subcommittee to evaluate the proposals by the sections. The guidelines for proposals are sent to the sections and committees in early Fall. Sharon Hall will provide revisions to the guidelines prior to their distribution to the sections, chapters, and standing committees.

        Gurevitch moved to approve the Long Range Planning Subcommittee, Rich seconded, all Aye

    2. Editors in Chief Reviews (Sayre)
    3. The Editors in Chief of Ecology, Ecological Monographs, Ecological Applications, Ecosphere, Issues in Ecology and the ESA Bulletin are appointed by the Governing Board to three year terms. At the end of the term, the Publications Committee is asked to review the EiC and make a recommendation to the Governing Board about reappointment. There are no term limits. The terms of Ed Johnson, Bulletin, and Aimee Classen, Ecological Monographs, will expire and the review of their performance and continuation in these positions was discussed. The GB thanks the subcommittees for their excellent work on these evaluations..

      Monica moved to approve Ed Johnson as Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin for a 3 year term, Jayne seconded, all Aye

      Monica moved to work with Steve Sayre and others to re-envision and refocus the Bulletin and possibly expand its niche, and to provide $1500 to Ed Johnson for this specific additional effort; Emily seconded, motion passes with 9 in favor, 2 opposed.

      Kathy Cottingham moved to approve Aimee Classen as Editor-in_Chief of Ecological Monographs for a 3 year term, Emily seconded, all Aye

    4. Ad Hoc Science Office Strategic Plan
    5. Rich Pouyat updated the GB on progress on the work of the committee. There are many other pressing activities ongoing right now (particularly the search for an Executive Director), so that this work will be continued later in the Fall and Winter.

    6. Science Office October Program Review (Pouyat/Duke/Belnap)
    7. In preparation for the full program review of the Science Office, members of the GB asked for more information on how the Science Office interfaces with the Science Committee and membership, what the history has been during Cliff’s tenure in this role, and how the role might change if it did not require 50% fundraising to cover Cliff’s salary, and how many grants are initiated by the office compared to how many are requests to ESA. Another question for the Review is how this office interfaces with the larger community of ecology relative to the membership of ESA. How does one assess one’s own effectiveness as head of this office?

    8. Education Office October Mid-Term Review (Nadkarni/Mourad) Nadkarni reported on how the committee is evaluating some of the educational and diversity programs run by this office, including the 4DEE and SEEDS programs, and the INCLUDES program (funded by NSF). The Strategic Plan has been integrated into development and continuation of the programs led by this office and the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, together with other ESA committees. The GB is interested to know how the work of this office intersects with the Public Affairs office for outreach, how can the sections and committees become more engaged, and more detailed reporting on what the goals of these programs are, how they are being assessed with respect to these goals, and what those assessments are to date.
    9. Member Engagement Strategy (Sayre) Steve reported with Laura Capponi (ESA’s membership manager) on the ongoing development of the membership engagement strategic plans and the communications activities. A large membership survey was conducted and is still in the process of being analyzed. A communications plan will be more fully reported in the October GB meeting. An overview of the goals and strategies being implemented by this office for membership engagement and communications was provided by Sayre. The emphasis is on benefits available to members, engagement and usage of the resources provided by ESA; engagement tactics include a range of outreach strategies including enhanced member profiles, email marketing, a member newsletter, support for chapter and section websites and communications, teleconferencing series, and others. There was a broad-ranging discussion on the overall goals of the society and of increasing membership and communication.
    10. Ad Hoc EcoWiki Scoping Committee (Belnap)
    11. Jayne Belnap provided information on this proposed activity. The audience is for professional ecologists and public stakeholders that have general information but not specific information on a topic. The EcoWiki would provide materials including information, illustrations, and references on the particular topics with perhaps two levels of accessibility (101 and 102). It will be advertised to the Council, EcoLog, ESA section members, etc. to find authors/experts to provide content and for peer review. The committee has been developing ideas for this project and working on several model entries. Volunteers might be compensated in various ways (citations, waiver of ESA meeting registration?). Maintenance, updating, etc. are unknowns. There was considerable discussion about the goals and role of such an enterprise, who the users might be, and what effort and commitment would be involved. While it was recognized that this was an exciting potential resource, there was consideration that it might be premature given the current changes in communication and other aspects of outreach.

      Evan moved to table further effort pending further development of our communication strategy and the Bulletin, Rich seconded, all Aye.

    12. Ad Hoc Wiley Awards Contribution (Hall)
    13. This committee developed ideas for the Wiley funds for Awards. The committee made three recommendations:

      Regional policy awards to maximize the impact for members ($8000)

      Augment ESA graduate student policy awards ($6000)

      Establish the ESA Conference Diversity Awards to bring diverse speakers for talks workshops to the Annual Meeting ($4000)

      Frank moved to approve, Emily seconded, all Aye

    14. Ad Hoc Sexual Harassment Committee (Cottingham)
    15. Kathy recommended to a) create a culture where harassment is not acceptable; b) have clear policies on what constitutes harassment and inappropriate behavior and what the consequences are of unacceptable behavior, and c) enforcement to implement these policies. There exists a lot of materials on the AAAS and AGU websites on these policies. To what extent does ESA want this to be more broadly about harassment vs. more narrowly about sexual harassment? ESA already has a code of conduct to outline acceptable and unacceptable behavior and consequences for violating those as ESA sponsored events; efforts will be made to make those more well known among participants in these events. The Ad Hoc Committee charge also placed emphasis on the distinctive conditions characteristic of ecology field work. A final set of recommendations will be presented at the October GB meeting.

    16. Audit Committee (McCarter)
    17. The oversight committee provides oversight of the Audit report. A new member is needed as Monica is stepping down. This is a three person committee. David Lodge is nominated as the new member.

      Kathy moved to approve, Rich seconded, all Aye

    18. Governing Board Annual Meeting Reimbursement Decision (Gurevitch/McCarter)
    19. Two proposals were made: one, for ESA to pay for 2 nights of hotel, and two, for travel/airfare plus two nights of hotel to be covered for GB members. Evan argued that this is a responsibility of the service contribution of the GB members. Kathy pointed out that this expectation goes against the diversity goals of the society; Emily mentioned that for younger members it might allow grant funds to support student travel. Katherine suggested that there be a hardship fund for members who can’t afford travel.

      Monica moved to approve that we have 2 nights of hotel recommendation with a need-based mechanism for additional funds available for travel support at the Executive Director’s discretion beginning in 2018, Jayne seconded, 10 approve, 1 opposed, motion carries.

    20. New Business
    21. Nalini announced the Diversity lunch on Thurs and a public engagement Wed evening and encouraged GB members to attend both. Emily asked how the student and early career representatives are reimbursed for their attendance and was informed that they are reimbursed the same as GB members.

5:00 Meeting ADJOURNED

Sunday, August 6, 2017
Doubletree Hotel
Portland, Oregon
List of Sunday’s attendees ↓

Meeting convened by President David Lodge at 2 PM

  1. Introductions (Lodge)
  2. All members of the Council introduced themselves.

  3. Report of the President (Lodge)
  4. President Lodge introduced the current and historical goals of ESA, welcomed and thanked the members of the Council, and reported briefly on the current status of ESA. He reported that ESA in in terrific shape and has enormous potential for the future, in its role in science and its role in society. He lauded Executive Director Katherine McCarter and her service with distinction to ESA and her leadership, and announced her upcoming retirement. She has played a transformative role in the remarkable trajectory of the Society.

  5. Presentation of the Budget (DeLucia)
  6. Vice President for Finance Evan DeLucia reported on an overview of the ESA’s financial health, endowment and reserve funds, investments, and went over the current budget. The financial health of ESA is excellent. The partnership with Wiley has stabilized and greatly improved the financial health of the ESA. Jamie Cromartie moved to approve the budget and David Moore seconded, all aye.

  7. Update on Membership Initiatives (Sayre)
  8. Steve Sayre reported on the focus and activities of the Membership and Communications office of ESA. They are developing a comprehensive communications strategy and other activities in line with the ESA Strategic Plan. A Communications Firm was engaged to run a survey and develop a communications plan, which is being analyzed. There is an emphasis on active engagement with the membership, and social media outreach has been greatly expanded. This is one of many membership benefits that are being highlighted more to members.

  9. Executive Director Search (Lodge)
  10. President David Lodge had index cards distributed to the Council to write ideas, topics and suggestions about the search for a new Executive Director; these will be collected at the close of the Council meeting, collated and given to the Search Firm, Isaacson Miller. The characteristics that Katherine McCarter has brought to this critically important position were discussed.

  11. Reports from Long Range Planning Grant Awardees
  12. Reports from recipients of Long Range Planning Grants were distributed in the Annual Report to the Governing Council. A representative from each group presented a brief summary of their activities.

    1. Policy Section-Astrid Caldas
    2. Invasion Ecology Section-Luke Flory
    3. Education Section-Kim Bjorgo-Throne
    4. Early Career Section-Rob Salguero-Gomez
    5. Inclusive Ecology Section-Kennedy Rupert-Nason (Ned)
    6. Disease Ecology-Barbara Han
    7. Mid-Atlantic Chapter-Astrid Caldas
  13. Recognition of Governing Board Members Leaving (Lodge and McCarter)
  14. President Lodge recognized the members of the Governing Board who are stepping down, and thanked Monica Turner, Past President and Kathryn Cottingham, Member at Large for their service to the Society.

  15. Introduction of New Governing Board Members (Lodge)
  16. The following new GB members were introduced by President Lodge:

    1. Laura Huenneke, President Elect
    2. Evan DeLucia, Vice President for Finance (elected to a second term)
    3. Frank Davis, Vice President for Public Affairs (elected to a second term)
    4. Gillian Bowser, Member at Large

    Rich Pouyat was introduced as the Incoming President, and the gavel was handed over from now Past-President Lodge to President Pouyat.

  17. Announcements/New Business
  18. Lynn Adler asked other sections what they are doing to promote diversity, and there was a short and lively discussion of ideas on this.

Meeting adjourned at 4 PM

RECEPTION followed, 4-5 PM

List of Sunday’s Attendees

Latin America Daniel Stanton
Mid-Atlantic Astrid Caldas
Mid-Atlantic Jamie Cromartie
Southwestern Anne Kelly
Applied Ecology Luben Dimov
Biogeosciences Stephen Hart
Disease Ecology Barbara Han
Disease Ecology Elizabeth Borer
Education Kim Bjorgo-Thorne
Environmental Justice Charlie Nilon
Early Career Ecologist Rob Salguero-Gomez
Human Ecology Richard Borden
Human Ecology Rob Dyball
Inclusive Ecology Kennedy “Ned” Rubert-Nason
Invation Ecology S. Luke Flory
Microbial Ecology Kirsten Hofmockel
Microbial Ecology Ed Hall
Natural History Sarah Bois
Paleoecology Carolyn Dash
Physiological Ecology David Moore
Plant Population Ecology Jean Burns
Plant Population Ecology Lynn Adler
Policy Section Astrid Caldas
Science Communication Kika Tuff
Soil Ecology Section Sara Baer
Statistical Ecology Beth Gardner
Student Rob Crystal-Ornelas
Theoretical Ecology Annette Ostling
Urban Ecosystem Ecology Myla Aronson
Vegetation Section Randy Balice
Vegetation Section George Malanson
Historical Records Julie Mulroy
Historical Records Sharon Kingsland
Vegetation Section Scott Franklin
Meetings Kiyoko Miyanishi
Governing Board
President Rich Pouyat
President Elect Laura Huenneke
Past President Monica Turner
VP for Public Affairs Frank Davis
VP for Science Jayne Belnap
Secretary Jessica Gurevitch
Member at Large Emily Cloyd
Member at Large Kathy Cottingham
Member at Large Sharon Hall
Board of Professional Certification
Board of Professional Certification Dale Strickland
Journal Editors
Bulletin Ed Johnson
Executive Director Katherine McCarter
ESA CFO Elizabeth Biggs
ESA Science Programs Office Cliff Duke
ESA Frontiers Sue Silver
ESA Publications and Member Services Steven Sayer
ESA Member Services Laura Capponi