Fellowships Advisory Committee Summer 2013 Minutes

ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
Date/Time: Wednesday 1 May 2013; 2:30 p.m. -- 4:30 p.m.
Location: AAAS, 1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC; Revelle
Members Present: Julie Callahan, Elizabeth L. Grossman, Heather Kelly, Kei Koizumi, Sam Rankin, Brad Strickland, Dorit Zuk
Members Calling in: Daniel Deckler, Anish Goel, Sharon Hays
Members Absent: Diane Berry, Greg Downing, Apriel Hodari, Kenneth Ludwa, Stephen Nelson, Jeffrey Urbach, Bill Valdez
Fellowships Staff: Rick Kempinski, Kristina Lawrence, Cynthia Robinson, Sage Russell, David Young


I. Welcome and Introductions Chair Dorit Zuk opened the meeting and welcomed committee members. Several committee members called in using Go-To Meetings.
II. Committee Administration
a. Minutes: The Committee voted unanimously to approve the October 2012 meeting minutes.
b. Committee Membership: Terms for five committee members will expire on August 31: Diane Berry, Kei Koizumi, Sam Rankin, Dawn Thomas, and Bill Valdez. Cynthia Robinson recommended and it was approved that the terms for Diane, Kei and Sam be extended for a second three-year term. It also was recommended and approved that the term for Bill be extended for two years. This allows more staggering of terms for less change over each year. Dawn Thomas has been absent from committee meetings the past year, despite attempts to contact her, thus her slot is open. It was recommended and approved that this slot be held for another federal agency representative. Cynthia will follow-up with a recommendation. Kenneth Ludwa, an alumni representative, resigned due to lack of time for the commitment. Alumnus Philip “Bo” Hammer from the American Institutes of Physics, was recommended and approved for that slot. Steve Nelson will retire from AAAS in early September, leaving an open position on the Committee. Cynthia proposed Joanne Carney, director of the AAAS Office of Government Relations as Steve’s replacement. The members concurred. It was recommended and approved that Dorit Zuk will serve another year in the position of committee chair.
c. Meetings: It was proposed to move to three meetings a year from the current two. This will allow more timely connections on items that arise through the year. The Committee voted unanimously to approve the change. All meetings will be in-person with accommodation for teleconferencing as necessary. The meetings will generally be planned for September/October, January/February, and May/June.


III. Updates
a. Image/marketing campaign: Cynthia presented the new image/marketing materials, which combined the “I Can, You Can Too” and the “Monumental Experience” directions presented a year ago into “I Had a Monumental Experience, You Can Too” as the final direction.
b. 40th Anniversary activities: The Committee was provided a brief overview of the past and upcoming events highlighting the 40th Anniversary, including the “40@40” series, the speaker series, and the program for the May 3rd commemoration event.
c. 2013-14 selection and placement: Statistics on the 2013-14 selection and placement process were presented. Noteworthy were the record high of 841 applications – a 13% increase -- and the fact that, once again, the number of placement opportunities for incoming fellows exceeded the number of finalists.
d. World Bank and other partnership opportunities: Staff from the World Bank met with Cynthia and Sage Russell to discuss the World Bank’s interest in a possible partnership with the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships. The World Bank representatives were going to follow up with a series of internal conversations, and have not contacted AAAS on the results of those discussions. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is establishing a fellowship program modeled on the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships. The program will be independent of AAAS, but the plan is for the first 7-8 ASEAN Fellows to participate in the AAAS Fellowships orientation, provided none of them come from countries on the State Department’s watch list. A former mentor of AAAS Fellows at the EPA facilitated this connection; the former mentor currently serves at the US Embassy in Jakarta.
e. Early Departure of 2nd Year Fellows: The Committee received data on the number of second-year fellows withdrawing early from the program since 2007-08. The figure includes renewal fellows, but not extensions or fellows who withdrew during the summer. Although we have an increased number of fellows staying for a second year, the data shows that the actual number leaving the program has remained the same, and the percentage of fellows withdrawing from the total number of 2nd year fellows has decreased. Therefore, it was agreed that no action needs to be taken to address this beyond the greater clarity provided to Selection Committee members about the “higher bar” expectation for current/alumni fellows to present a compelling case for the rationale for a second fellowship opportunity.
f. New Fellowship Areas: Cynthia announced the launch of a new fellowship program area focused on “Big Data & Analytics” in the 2014-15 fellowship year. This fellowship will have a thematic focus and all agencies participating in the fellowships will be able to draw from it. The Committee discussed possible challenges for recruitment, because individuals with this background are in high demand and typically paid beyond what fellows are compensated. Also, they stressed the need to be sure that the assignments have true policy relevance rather than simply “number crunching.” Cynthia also reported that a Judicial Branch program will be piloted in 2014-15 with funding for one fellowship slot from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. Anticipated assignments will be in the Federal Judicial Center or the DC-regional federal court.
IV. Vision-Mission Statement: The Committee approved the Vision, Mission, and Strategy statements. The approved text will be updated to the website for stakeholders to disseminate, when needed.
V. Partner Society Topics
a. Application Review of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME): The committee revisited the SME partnership application. Daniel Deckler provided detailed feedback on the scientific merit of the publications and annual meeting of SME, and clarified that SME has a variety of disciplines represented within its membership. The Committee emphasized that SME must agree to follow the policy of accepting only masters of engineering candidates for the non-doctoral applications. With that understanding, the Committee approved SME as a new partner society.
b. Annual Leave Policy: The Committee reviewed data presented on leave policies from partner societies and other fellowship programs. The large majority of partner societies make no explicit statement on leave, and only one fellowship program of the seven reviewed does so. AAAS’s legal officer strongly advised against instituting a specific leave policy, including family and other extended leave. This is partly to avoid any appearance of being in an employer role. The Committee agreed and supported the position that no specific leave policy should be placed on the AAAS Fellowship program.
c. Partner Society Eligibility Criteria Enforcement: The three partner geological science societies (AGI, AGU, and AGS) have expressed their view that master’s level geologists should be considered equivalent to a master’s in engineering and therefore eligible for the fellowships. The geological societies have informed us that their Boards are not happy with this information, and they will have to think of how to proceed with the program going forward based on this newly-enforced policy. Unfortunately the master’s in engineering policy had not been consistently enforced over the years. In the past decade, one geological society has presented a master-degree geologist as a fellow. The decision was made last year to be firm on this point when AIP approached AAAS about expanding eligibility to individuals with master’s degrees in physics. The Committee members agreed the ruling should stand to maintain the consistency and reputation of the S&T Policy Fellowships. The program needs to weigh the pros and cons of losing these societies in exchange for maintaining the criteria. It was agreed that the ultimate decision should be made by Dr. Leshner.
VI. Operations Topics
a. Fellowship Compensation Equity: It was agreed to table this topic until 2014, when the staff will provide a more thorough document and data on the issue.
b. Stipend Levels: Cynthia informed the Committee of the new P-STEM-F program to be launched in 2014. They may offer GS-12 and GS-13 level salaries. There is concern about the S&T Policy Fellowship stipends remaining appropriate to doctoral level participants. However, it was agreed to table this topic until the point that the federal government removes the freeze on annual increases, as approaching agencies about increasing stipend levels at this time is not appropriate.
VII. Upcoming Events/Meetings Cynthia briefly reviewed upcoming events that Committee member are encouraged to participate in, as follows:
a. 2013 S&T Policy Forum: 2-3 May 2013
b. 40th Anniversary Commemoration Event: Friday, 3 May, 6:00-9:30pm
c. 2013-14 Welcome Gathering: Monday, 9 September
d. Fall FAC Meeting: October 1, 2, or 3 from 3:00-5:00pm – A poll will be sent later in the summer.
e. AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago, 13-17 February 2014
The meeting was adjourned at 4:25.

 

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ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
Date/Time: Wednesday 1 May 2013; 2:30 p.m. -- 4:30 p.m.
Location: AAAS, 1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC; Revelle
Members Present: Julie Callahan, Elizabeth L. Grossman, Heather Kelly, Kei Koizumi, Sam Rankin, Brad Strickland, Dorit Zuk
Members Calling in: Daniel Deckler, Anish Goel, Sharon Hays
Members Absent: Diane Berry, Greg Downing, Apriel Hodari, Kenneth Ludwa, Stephen Nelson, Jeffrey Urbach, Bill Valdez
Fellowships Staff: Rick Kempinski, Kristina Lawrence, Cynthia Robinson, Sage Russell, David Young


I. Welcome and Introductions Chair Dorit Zuk opened the meeting and welcomed committee members. Several committee members called in using Go-To Meetings.

II. Committee Administration
a. Minutes: The Committee voted unanimously to approve the October 2012 meeting minutes.
b. Committee Membership: Terms for five committee members will expire on August 31: Diane Berry, Kei Koizumi, Sam Rankin, Dawn Thomas, and Bill Valdez. Cynthia Robinson recommended and it was approved that the terms for Diane, Kei and Sam be extended for a second three-year term. It also was recommended and approved that the term for Bill be extended for two years. This allows more staggering of terms for less change over each year. Dawn Thomas has been absent from committee meetings the past year, despite attempts to contact her, thus her slot is open. It was recommended and approved that this slot be held for another federal agency representative. Cynthia will follow-up with a recommendation. Kenneth Ludwa, an alumni representative, resigned due to lack of time for the commitment. Alumnus Philip “Bo” Hammer from the American Institutes of Physics, was recommended and approved for that slot. Steve Nelson will retire from AAAS in early September, leaving an open position on the Committee. Cynthia proposed Joanne Carney, director of the AAAS Office of Government Relations as Steve’s replacement. The members concurred. It was recommended and approved that Dorit Zuk will serve another year in the position of committee chair.
c. Meetings: It was proposed to move to three meetings a year from the current two. This will allow more timely connections on items that arise through the year. The Committee voted unanimously to approve the change. All meetings will be in-person with accommodation for teleconferencing as necessary. The meetings will generally be planned for September/October, January/February, and May/June.


III. Updates
a. Image/marketing campaign: Cynthia presented the new image/marketing materials, which combined the “I Can, You Can Too” and the “Monumental Experience” directions presented a year ago into “I Had a Monumental Experience, You Can Too” as the final direction.
b. 40th Anniversary activities: The Committee was provided a brief overview of the past and upcoming events highlighting the 40th Anniversary, including the “40@40” series, the speaker series, and the program for the May 3rd commemoration event.
c. 2013-14 selection and placement: Statistics on the 2013-14 selection and placement process were presented. Noteworthy were the record high of 841 applications – a 13% increase -- and the fact that, once again, the number of placement opportunities for incoming fellows exceeded the number of finalists.
d. World Bank and other partnership opportunities: Staff from the World Bank met with Cynthia and Sage Russell to discuss the World Bank’s interest in a possible partnership with the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships. The World Bank representatives were going to follow up with a series of internal conversations, and have not contacted AAAS on the results of those discussions. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is establishing a fellowship program modeled on the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships. The program will be independent of AAAS, but the plan is for the first 7-8 ASEAN Fellows to participate in the AAAS Fellowships orientation, provided none of them come from countries on the State Department’s watch list. A former mentor of AAAS Fellows at the EPA facilitated this connection; the former mentor currently serves at the US Embassy in Jakarta.
e. Early Departure of 2nd Year Fellows: The Committee received data on the number of second-year fellows withdrawing early from the program since 2007-08. The figure includes renewal fellows, but not extensions or fellows who withdrew during the summer. Although we have an increased number of fellows staying for a second year, the data shows that the actual number leaving the program has remained the same, and the percentage of fellows withdrawing from the total number of 2nd year fellows has decreased. Therefore, it was agreed that no action needs to be taken to address this beyond the greater clarity provided to Selection Committee members about the “higher bar” expectation for current/alumni fellows to present a compelling case for the rationale for a second fellowship opportunity.
f. New Fellowship Areas: Cynthia announced the launch of a new fellowship program area focused on “Big Data & Analytics” in the 2014-15 fellowship year. This fellowship will have a thematic focus and all agencies participating in the fellowships will be able to draw from it. The Committee discussed possible challenges for recruitment, because individuals with this background are in high demand and typically paid beyond what fellows are compensated. Also, they stressed the need to be sure that the assignments have true policy relevance rather than simply “number crunching.” Cynthia also reported that a Judicial Branch program will be piloted in 2014-15 with funding for one fellowship slot from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. Anticipated assignments will be in the Federal Judicial Center or the DC-regional federal court.

IV. Vision-Mission Statement: The Committee approved the Vision, Mission, and Strategy statements. The approved text will be updated to the website for stakeholders to disseminate, when needed.

V. Partner Society Topics
a. Application Review of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME): The committee revisited the SME partnership application. Daniel Deckler provided detailed feedback on the scientific merit of the publications and annual meeting of SME, and clarified that SME has a variety of disciplines represented within its membership. The Committee emphasized that SME must agree to follow the policy of accepting only masters of engineering candidates for the non-doctoral applications. With that understanding, the Committee approved SME as a new partner society.
b. Annual Leave Policy: The Committee reviewed data presented on leave policies from partner societies and other fellowship programs. The large majority of partner societies make no explicit statement on leave, and only one fellowship program of the seven reviewed does so. AAAS’s legal officer strongly advised against instituting a specific leave policy, including family and other extended leave. This is partly to avoid any appearance of being in an employer role. The Committee agreed and supported the position that no specific leave policy should be placed on the AAAS Fellowship program.
c. Partner Society Eligibility Criteria Enforcement: The three partner geological science societies (AGI, AGU, and AGS) have expressed their view that master’s level geologists should be considered equivalent to a master’s in engineering and therefore eligible for the fellowships. The geological societies have informed us that their Boards are not happy with this information, and they will have to think of how to proceed with the program going forward based on this newly-enforced policy. Unfortunately the master’s in engineering policy had not been consistently enforced over the years. In the past decade, one geological society has presented a master-degree geologist as a fellow. The decision was made last year to be firm on this point when AIP approached AAAS about expanding eligibility to individuals with master’s degrees in physics. The Committee members agreed the ruling should stand to maintain the consistency and reputation of the S&T Policy Fellowships. The program needs to weigh the pros and cons of losing these societies in exchange for maintaining the criteria. It was agreed that the ultimate decision should be made by Dr. Leshner.

VI. Operations Topics
a. Fellowship Compensation Equity: It was agreed to table this topic until 2014, when the staff will provide a more thorough document and data on the issue.
b. Stipend Levels: Cynthia informed the Committee of the new P-STEM-F program to be launched in 2014. They may offer GS-12 and GS-13 level salaries. There is concern about the S&T Policy Fellowship stipends remaining appropriate to doctoral level participants. However, it was agreed to table this topic until the point that the federal government removes the freeze on annual increases, as approaching agencies about increasing stipend levels at this time is not appropriate.

VII. Upcoming Events/Meetings Cynthia briefly reviewed upcoming events that Committee member are encouraged to participate in, as follows:
a. 2013 S&T Policy Forum: 2-3 May 2013
b. 40th Anniversary Commemoration Event: Friday, 3 May, 6:00-9:30pm
c. 2013-14 Welcome Gathering: Monday, 9 September
d. Fall FAC Meeting: October 1, 2, or 3 from 3:00-5:00pm – A poll will be sent later in the summer.
e. AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago, 13-17 February 2014
The meeting was adjourned at 4:25.