February 3, 1997 Meeting Minutes

Southern Association of
Agricultural Experiment Station Directors
February 3, 1997

Sheraton Civic Center Hotel
Birmingham, Alabama


John Beverly (TX)
Jim Boling (KY)
Jack Britt (NC)
Bill Brown (LA)
Bob Cannell (VA)
Brett Carver (ESCOP Intern, OK)
Jerry Cherry (GA)
George Cooper (CSREES)
D.C. Coston (OK)
Nancy Cox (MS)
Larry Crowder (OK)
Elwyn Deal (SC)
Everett Emino (FL)
Jim Fischer (SC)
Frank Gilstrap (TX)
T. J. Helms (Exec. Dir.)
Richard Jones (FL)
Fred Knapp (KY)
Ken Koonce (LA)
John Neilson (FL)
Bill Ocumpaugh (ESCOP Intern, TX)
Graham Purchase (MS)
Anna Marie Rasberry (Asst. to ED)
Don Richardson (TN)
Larry Rogers (LA)
Charles Scifres (AR)
Ike Sewell (TN)
Helen Shaw (NC)
Dan Smith (SC)
David Teem (AL)
Fred Tyner (MS)
Philip Utley (GA)
Vance Watson (MS)
Greg Weidemann (AR)
Johnny Wynne (NC)
Eric Young (NC)



8:00 – Opening Remarks and Introduction of Participants – D. C. Coston

8:10 – Agenda Item 1: GPRA – William H. Brown and George Cooper

8:30 – Agenda Item 2: SAAESD Planning Session – Richard Jones

  • Introduction – Richard Jones
  • Overview Presentation – James Boling
  • Discussion – Richard Jones

9:10 – Breakout Session I – Identify weaknesses, problems, improvements, etc.

  • Group 1 – Planning (Bill Brown, Facilitator)
  • Group 2 – Regional Research (David Teem, Facilitator)
  • Group 3 – Meetings (Don Richardson, Facilitator)
  • Group 4 – Partnerships, Program Integration (Johnny Wynne, Facilitator)

10:10 – Break

10:30 – Reports from Breakout Session I – Discussion and added input

11:30 – Decisions – D. C. Coston

12:15 – Lunch (catered)

1:30 – Breakout Session II – Identify actions to address issues from Breakout Session I

2:30 – Report actions to group – Discussion and added input

3:30 – Break

4:00 – Final Discussions

  • Roll up action items into goals – Richard Jones
  • Discuss next steps of planning – D. C. Coston

4:45 – Agenda Item 3: Distribution of CRIS data – T. J. Helms

5:00 – Adjourn

Agenda Item 1
Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)
Presenters: William H. Brown (LA) and George Cooper (CSREES)


In order to respond to questions of accountability under the Government Performance and Results Act (GRRA), CSREES is planning regional training sessions to provide information on the new planning and reporting system. Each institution is being asked to send a team of three individuals to one of the regional sessions. These sessions will provide participants an understanding of the GPRA planning and reporting framework, including the framing of goals, objectives, outcomes, outputs and performance measures and indicators. In turn, participants will then be able to transfer this knowledge within the context of their own institutions and other institutions within their region.

More information about GPRA can be obtained on the GPRA homepage.

Action Requested:

For information only.

Action Taken:

The following presented for information only.

Presenters noted that GPRA framing of goals, etc. is located on the GPRA homepage (see above) and urged participants to view that information and provide feedback by February 7, 1997. A GPRA list serve is established at CSREES to receive comments. The address for comments is GPRA@reeusda.gov.

Dates/locations for the four regional GPRA training sessions are:
Western Region – March 26-27, 1997 – Denver, CO
Southern Region – April 9-10, 1997 – Memphis, TN
NC Region – Week of April 14, 1997 – Milwaukee, WI
NE Region – April 24-25, 1997 – Newport, RI

Up to three team members are expected from partner institutions. In the Southern Region equal participation is expected from both 1862 and 1890 institutions. Participants should have administrative responsibilities for planning and reporting, a broad understanding of research, extension and/or higher education issues, or play a major role in completing reports submitted to CSREES. Participants from any region who cannot participate at the session scheduled within their region, can select a convenient date from among the remaining training sessions.

Administrators should submit the names of team members to CSREES by February 28, 1997 to the GPRA Training Coordinator by FAX (202-720-4730) or e-mail (gpra@reeusda.gov). The Southern Rural Development Center is coordinating registration for the Southern Region Training Session. The session begins at 8 am on April 9 and adjourns at noon on April 10. For hotel and conference registration information, contact bonniet@mces.msstate.edu .

Agenda Item 2
SAAESD Planning Session
Presenter: Richard L. Jones


  • Purpose – To initiate a planning process for the SAAESD that addresses the needs of the association. This process is not another program planning process. The principal objective is to define a set of actions for implementation by the association.
  • Method – To use two breakout sessions of four groups to identify: 1) weaknesses, problems, needed improvements, etc., and subsequently to identify: 2) specific action steps to alleviate items identified in 1). Each of the four groups will address one of the following four components of SAAESD activities:
    1. Planning Processes
    2. Regional Research Projects
    3. Meeting Structure
    4. Partnerships-Program Integration
  • Rationale – SAAESD has for several years conducted a programmatic planning process that identified priorities, analyzed fund allocations, and identified needed changes. Some frustration resulted because implementation occurred at the state level and action items were not a regional reality. Recent discussions concluded that a strategic plan was needed that addressed directly the activities of SAAESD. Moving from goals and objectives to action items and implementation was identified as a high priority.To accomplish this, we have organized the planning day to focus on identification of items upon which we need to act. This will be done in the format of identification of problems, weaknesses, needed improvements, etc., in our current structure, priorities, and operating procedures. Subsequent to this process, we will formulate action items that can resolve the items identified above. These items can then be rolled into objectives and goals.

    For today’s purposes the activities of the SAAESD have been broken into four major areas:

    1. Planning – SAAESD has conducted annual program planning processes. There is a body of opinion that this is an ineffective process, that SAAESD has no power of implementation, that the priority setting process is broken, etc. Additionally, accountability is now an important aspect of programs. We need to answer such questions here as in what way is this not working? What are the problems? What’s broken?
    2. Regional Research – There are a large number of issues about regional research that have been raised in the past. These include timing of reviews and approvals, quality of research, priorities, travel, fund inflexibility, off-the-top funds, fund visibility to PI’s, termination, etc. We should itemize all of the problems and pose action plans to change. Accountability must be addressed here also.
    3. SAAESD Meetings – How can we optimally use our time at these meetings? What things can be omitted? What things can be handled in written format? What should be priority agenda items?
    4. Partnerships, Program Integration – We have spent large amounts of time in recent years interacting with our partners within our own institutions, e.g. CES and APS, and also sister institutions such as the 1890’s. Many feel that however well intentioned, these sessions have not been as productive as possible. What is wrong with these processes and how can we fix it? What specific problems should be addressed by cooperative efforts?

Action Requested:

Participation by attendees via Work Groups to determine issues and identify action steps to resolve those issues.

Action Taken:

Participants in each of the four work group areas (Planning, Regional Research, Meetings, and Partnership-Program Integration) identified problems, weaknesses, needed improvements, etc. in our current structure, priorities, and operating procedures. Subsequently, decisions were made as to which issues could be addressed with specific action items to address the issues raised. Those decisions are as follows:

  1. Empower the Executive Committee to handle operational responsibilities as follows:
    • Appoint Administrative Advisers and representatives to groups.
    • Make recommendations on off-the-top funding.
    • Make recommendations to establish DCs, IEGs, TFs, etc. (In effect, this review/recommendation will replace that previously done by Planning Groups. Those groups were fashioned around the ESCOP Initiatives which no longer line up with GPRA goals).
    • Set meeting agendas.
    • Act for Association between meetings, especially on issues of national importance.
    • Provide oversight of ED’s activities.
    • Provide management information to Association.

    *Association will have deliberate discussion in a year to revisit the workings of the Executive Committee as newly empowered.The Association membership would then:

    • Vote on recommendations of Executive Committee.
    • Provide discussion for agenda items.
    • Approve association budget (by Operating Officers).
    • Evaluate the Executive Director annually (by Operating Officers).
    • Vote on any funding commitments and policy changes.
  2. Have an orientation on regional research presented at the spring meeting prior to that portion of the meeting when Development Committees are approved.
  3. Fully support the concept of a memorandum of agreement to encourage and enhance regional research between a small number of states and request that Dr. Helms look into the legality of using regional research funds in this manner.
  4. Have SRRC look at further streamlining the regional research process (e.g. DCs can be submitted only one time each year — it used to be four times/year)
  5. Hear reports from national level agencies/organizations – CSREES, AESOP, ESCOP via:
    • April meeting of Southern Directors, invite CSREES, AESOP, and our ESCOP delegates to report to membership – live face-to-face presentations – use some time prior to these reports to update our membership on issues in order that meaningful dialogue occurs and that Southern Research Directors have opportunity to shape national views/agenda.
    • Follow CSREES/AESOP presentations with a discussion with our ESCOP delegates to ensure they have the benefit of Southern Regional thoughts.
    • Electronic presentations by CSREES and/or AESOP are okay at other meetings of SAAESD, but prefer their presence at the Spring meeting.
  6. Have regular Joint Meetings with our sister units (CES, ARD, and ARS):
    • CES
      • Reactivate practice of exchanging liaison member/officer.
      • Attempt to have a joint session at the Mini Land-Grant meeting.
    • ARD (1890)
      • This group is now functionally a 5th National Region of Research Directors.
      • They are a participant in mini land grant.
      • SAAESD and ARD should practice exchange of liaison officers (Exec. Directors).
    • ARS
      • Need to have input from all three ARS regions that are in the SAAESD area – not just one ARS region.
      • Suggest that ARS provide a written programmatic-oriented summary as an Agenda Brief.
  7. Reports from representatives of SAAESD to various groups; e.g., Beltwide Cotton Group, seed organizations, cotton breeders, etc.
    • Identify who among SAAESD is attending various groups as representatives of Southern Directors.
    • Manage annual reports as a series of written Agenda Briefs under same agenda category.
    • No individual oral reports, but allow 10-15 minutes for specific question/answer format for the entire collection of reports.
    • Note the liaison is responsible for submitting Agenda Brief material.
  8. Current Issues Deliberations (information sharing – problem identification – solution) This workgroup suggested that during meetings agenda time be devoted to discussing issues of concern to multiple states. Focus on areas where collaborative action of SAAESD could accomplish goals in three-five years. Examples:
    • Fast track Regional Project Development.
    • Issues surrounding Intellectual Properties.
    • Swine/waste management/odor control, etc.
  9. Regular Meetings with Partners:
    • CES – Action Step: CES must be part of process when planning on how to work together — suggest professionally facilitated meeting on how to work together.
      • Recommend joint planning of agenda by Chairs (give each organization equal opportunity to bring issues to table.
      • Suggest that one meeting for strategic planning, GPRA, etc. be held with CES.
      • Need to explore possibility of inter-working meeting schedules.
    • ARD, APS – Action Step: Executive Directors on ARD, APS discuss agenda and schedule meetings at Mini Land-Grant or irregular basis as needed to discuss issues.
  10. Input into National Agenda:
    • Communication Process
      • Input into ESCOP to affect national agenda.
      • Executive Director is key person in process.
      • Ask Executive Director to post issues on WWW after meeting and post newsletter on monthly basis on activities as well as ESCOP issues.
      • Discuss on list server if time is short — if not urgent time-wise, schedule for discussion at next meeting.
    • What to communicate
      • Issues from planning process and meetings
    • When
      • On-going process


Agenda Item 3
CRIS Data for Southern Region and Individual States
Presenter: T. J. Helms


Data sets compiled specifically for SAAESD by the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University will be distributed. This material includes a Southern Region report as well as individual state data. (Individual state data will be distributed only to a representative of the respective state). These data sets are sorted by GPRA goals and objectives. An additional report outlining funding sources of Southern Region RRF projects will be distributed.

Action Requested:

For information only.

Action Taken:

Benefits of sharing state-specific information with other states in the region were discussed. Individual state data related to assets and capabilities could enhance efforts for multi-state collaboration. Thirteen states represented at the meeting agreed to allow sharing of their specific data with other Southern region states. (Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were subsequently contacted and expressed concurrence).