Southern Association of Agricultural
Experiment Station Directors
Executive Committee Meeting
February 2, 1998
Little Rock, AR
(In conjunction with Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists)
Executive Committee Present: Jim Boling, Chair-Elect; D.C. Coston, Past Chair; Tom Helms, Executive Director; Richard Jones, Chair; Vance Watson, Treasurer
Other Association Members Participating: Jerry Arkin (GA), Jack Britt (NC), Bill Brown (LA), Jerry Cherry (GA), Nancy Cox (MS), Everett Emino (FL), Frank Gilstrap (TX), Tom Klindt (TN), Fred Knapp (KY), Ike Sewell (TN), Phil Utley (GA), Cheng-I Wei (FL), Eric Young (NC)
A meeting of the SAAESD Executive Committee was convened at 9:00 am (CST) on February 2, 1998 by Chair R. L. Jones.
1. Value and continued use of the “Southern Strategic Research Plan”
2. Review SAAESD Guidelines document “Research Programs (Non-RRF)” for continued inclusion in association policies
3. S-065: Regional Research Coordination Project
4. Research Facilities Questionnaire
5. Southern Region Report to ESCOP
6. Issue of “revision” vs. “replacement” for terminating regional research projects
7. CSREES Memo (12/8/97) indicating submission schedules for RRF projects
8. Paperless Management of Regional Research
9. CRIS Enhancement Activities
10. Web sites for regional projects
11. Report on S-009’s Southern Region Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit
12. Image Enhancement Activity Report
This document is currently a part of the SAAESD Guidelines and can be located at http://www.msstate.edu/org/saaesd/infobook/guide/soplan.htm. Discussions indicated that the document can be a valuable part of the Association’s Guidelines with needed modification. A suggestion for immediate change is to eliminate the word “strategic” from the title. Further discussions of the plan and needed modification will be added to the agenda for the spring meeting of the directors.
This document is located in the current SAAESD Guidelines at http://www.msstate.edu/org/saaesd/infobook/guide/nonrrf.htm. Dr. Helms indicated to the group that the policies outlined in this document have not been utilized. Other strategies, such as the Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding adopted at the Spring, 97 meeting, are effective in dealing with non-rrf interests of two or more states. The Executive Committee voted to eliminate this document as an Association project/activity. (The affirmative vote was based on a motion by Boling and second by Watson).
S-065 is the region’s coordination project that supports current research activity at the individual station level. It is currently being used by a number of stations as a successful management tool to support faculty and/or administration travel for Development Committee meetings, IEG meetings, off-the-top travel, etc. The current S-065 will be terminating in 1999. The Executive Committee agreed that revision and approval for another term is desired. Further, it was agreed that this process need not include the usual review by SRRC since this management project does not meet the same CSREES guidelines as do other projects funded with RRF.
Administrative Heads (AHS), meeting at SAAS, will submit a resolution to REE (Miley Gonzalez’ office) that submission requirements be changed and/or eliminated. The AHS will ask Dr. Helms to suggest ways that CRIS might be used to develop a basis for estimating research facilities in the states. Thus, for the time being, no action on the questionnaire is necessary.
A draft of the southern region’s report to be given at ESCOP on Feb. 12 was circulated. The “1997 Activities Summary” items are: National and regional presentations of Data Support System Project; CSREES contract to support GPRA; SERA-TF-10 on Image Enhancement; and CRIS Taxonomy. Executive Directors’ office requested input for changes, additions, or deletions to the report. As Senior ESCOP representative, Dr. Jim Boling will present the report to ESCOP.
Traditionally, the various regions have handled this issue differently. The Southern Region has a policy that all projects should be assigned a new number, and therefore are “replacements” for any previous project. In order to accomplish this, technical writing committees, administrative advisers, and the Regional Research Committee must indicate that the submitted project is a “replacement for S-XXX”. Part of the philosophy behind this southern policy is that it reflects sense of accountability because the association has taken deliberate steps to approve a new concept in the formation of a Development Committee. The general feeling of the group was to continue this practice in the Southern Region.
Dr. Helms indicated that ESCOP’s Regional Research Partnership Committee will address the issues presented in Dr. Cooper’s memo suggesting that there be three submission dates for regional project outlines and thus three different annual initiation dates for RRF projects. Southern Directors prefer a standard termination date of September 30 to coincide with closure of the federal fiscal year.
Dr. Helms summarized a recent meeting in Washington where a demonstration of software for paperless management of research was presented. The Southern Directors expressed a consensus in building on CRIS capabilities rather than generating another new system.
Directors were asked to review proposed changes to CRIS taxonomy if they had not already done so. A meeting in Washington on Feb. 11 will resolve conflicting opinions concerning the recommendations of the Taxonomy Task Group with ideas expressed by individual directors. Dr. Eric Young has been asked by the national CRIS Enhancement Chair, Colin Kaltenbach, to participate in these discussions. Southern Directors are asked to provide immediate feedback to Dr. Young or to Dr. Helms.
It was noted during these discussions how cooperative and helpful the CRIS staff has been during the recent CRIS Enhancement activities. Dr. Helms pointed out that some of the Task Force groups’ recommendations to make CRIS more “user friendly” had been implemented by CRIS even before the final Task Force reports were made public. Southern Directors suggested that a note of appreciation to Ted Bauer would be appropriate.
Regional research project technical committees are beginning to utilize the web for dissemination of information regarding their project. Questions were raised as to who should maintain these sites and who should pay for initiation and updating a site. It was suggested that the responsibility should lie with each technical committee and that an interested member of that committee might be responsible for development and maintenance of a site. It was further suggested that this item be included on the Director’s spring meeting agenda to amend our Operational Guidelines such that regional projects’ technical committees are encouraged to develop a web site. These web sites would be linked to the Association homepage.
A joint ARS/SAES review of S-009 was conducted in August, 1997. The review team for SAES consisted of Dr. Everett Emino, Chair, Dr. Frank Gilstrap, and Dr. David Knauft (approved replacement for Dr. Johnny Wynne).
Drs. Emino and Gilstrap presented four major recommendations as a result of the review. The recommendations are: 1) SAAESD increase its support of the S-009 Southern Region Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit by $200,000 for a total of $450,000; 2) addition of a new Curator position at the Unit who is skilled in molecular genomics; 3) significantly greater leadership from the current curators in developing priorities and initiating actions in respective crop genetics; and 4) a decision before the February 28, 1998 deadline, on the proposal to move the Griffin Unit to Athens.
Following discussions of these issues, Drs. Emino and Gilstrap were asked to draft a letter for Jones’ signature to Floyd Horn, communicating the feelings of the Southern Directors regarding the proposed move, current employee situations, etc. Concern was expressed about an earlier indication by ARS that Southern Directors supported the move. This was not the case. Reference to discussions during the April, 1997 meeting of Southern Directors was highlighted.
The Executive Committee officially received the report from the Review Team and will bring forward to the April, 1998 meeting for acceptance.
Dr. Helms reported on the regional activities of SERA-TF-10, an outcome of the national Image Enhancement effort. The southern team met in Baton Rouge in January and developed regional statements which will be promoted on a web site and entitled “Southern Successes”. Dr. Helms further noted that the work of the team is very impressive and the results of their work as evidenced on a web site will set a high standard for other regions. When available, their web site will be linked on the Association homepage.
Meeting adjourned at noon.