Minutes of the National Space Grant Program Coordinator's Session

Wedgewood Resort, Fairbanks, AK

September 8, 2001


Karen Johnson (LA) called the session to order. Her first action was to submit a proposal to create a video of the session. The proposal was handled as a motion, received a second, and passed on a voice vote. Her second action was to present an overview of topics being addressed during the session.

During introductions of NASA HQ staff, Diane DeTroye received a question on CMIS redesign. This led to a change of the ordered agenda items and initiated discussions of program level topics. DeTroye announced that the redesign effort for CMIS had been on hold while headquarters staff addressed NASA EPSCoR program proposals. She noted that the delay made it unlikely that Space Grant programs would see CMIS changes in the next reporting cycle. Susan Stewart, (NASA HQ) notified the session of increased interest in uses of CMIS data. DeTroye highlighted these by citing a recent report prepared for the Office of Management and Budget where the archived data proved very beneficial. The superior performance over EDCATS data was noted. DeTroye then cited the use of CMIS in preparing briefings to the NASA Administrator prior to a state or affiliate visit. Parenthetically, she noted that most of these briefings involved state director input as well. Finally, DeTroye noted the use of CMIS in supplying requests for information from congressional sources. These generally are summary reports for district activity or support issues involving NASA enterprises. Susan Stewart recounted a current delay in processing an OMB report request for this fiscal year due to late CMIS filers.

In questions from the floor, Jackie Reasoner (AL) asked for information concerning timing and planning for the next five year review cycle. The response indicated that the review must be completed by 2004 and that planning the process would begin next year.

Susan Brew (AZ) asked if student interns could be helpful in handling part of the National Space Grant load. This question generated several discussions on the floor in parallel. No definitive response to the question was reached.

Reasoner (AL) asked for input on how to handle ambiguous category projects. The answer noted a state's choice would be honored, but caution should be taken to avoid double counting.

Lori Rountree (NV) noted that the data period for the five-year review, 1998 to 2003, would see the conversion of CMIS to EDCATS and asked how conversions would be handled. The response indicated some form of CMIS archive would remain but that it would also be useful for states to maintain summary data for the years CMIS would be used.

Reasoner (AL) noted the desirability of keeping CMIS through the five-year cycle. The response indicated that this would not happen as the EDCATS conversion was mandated by Frank Owens.

Following the question and answer session, Karen Johnson stated that the Salt Lake City and Honolulu meeting minutes were now on the web and asked participants to supply any missing information. A motion was entered and seconded to accept the minutes from the previous Utah meeting and the motion passed on a voice vote.

Under the Old Business item, Johnson addressed the request for explanations of various parts of OMB circulars. She then introduced Janet Lingo from the Sponsored Programs Office at LSU. She led the group through an extensive set of slides concerning OMB topics. An electronic version of the presentation exists and only certain key points raised in the discussion are recorded here. Click here to download the PowerPoint Presentation.

OMB's definition of equipment generated much consideration. DeTroye said efforts to study the question should result in a definition of "equipment" for training grants (including Space Grant). The official definition will circulate when the Grants Office has issued the findings. Institutions are free to set more stringent limits in their definitions.

Other question topics centered on the appropriate final authority in interpretation questions. No definitive answer was offered, and the session adjourned for a short break.

Once the break ended, several presentations commenced.

Jay Staker presented a briefing on the Space Week activity in Iowa. Staker represents an Iowa extension service employee funded through Iowa's Space Grant. The Space Week activity has a very significant potential audience via radio and web activities.

Douglas O'Handley (Ames) and David Rosage (Goddard) briefed attendees on NASA Academy programs. Stressing leadership, the academy programs will remain a strategic investment opportunity for Space Grant and this role separates the Academy programs from conventional research programs such as USRP. A brief discussion ensued on the status of the Marshall academy that now languishes because of the absence of a champion. The presentation also included a tribute to Academy founder, Gerald Soffen, who passed away in November 2000.

David Cole presented an overview of the Stargazer program at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Stargazer is a multicultural program spanning lore, archeoastronomy, rocketry, and astronomy for ages nine to twelve. Cole stressed the need to fund transportation for participants and to select participants with commitment to avoid "no-shows."

Karen Johnson reported on a retailored scholarship program in the Louisiana Space Grant. The new approach capitalizes on a state-funded tuition program. The opportunity allows using all available scholarship funds for mentored study activities.

This final report triggered additional discussions on program management practices, reporting classifications and CMIS reporting.

Johnson then asked the floor for input on organizing itself for the Puerto Rico meeting. Some initial discussions occurred, but no definitive solution was reached. The possibility of a CMIS-EDCATS session was included.

The last item raised was from Sharon Brandt who congratulated Karen Johnson for her organizational efforts and noted the intrinsic value of the session to participants.

The meeting adjourned for lunch.