Minutes of Program Coordinators' Meeting

Salt Lake City

October 16, 2000


(This meeting is available for reviewing on VHS. Contact Karen Johnson to borrow a copy.)


Item 1. Welcome, Introductions, and Definition of Meeting Process - Karen Johnson (LA)


Attendees: The list of attendees is included as Attachment 1. The meeting was well attended, with representatives from 35 states, as well as from NASA Headquarters.


Karen Johnson (LA) welcomed the group and presented the agenda (see Attachment 2 for Agenda.) She introduced the other meeting facilitators and described their roles (see below.)


Ellie Weiss Rosenbloom (TN) is the timekeeper.

Heidi Davis (VA) is action item taker.

Darlette Powell (AK) is taking minutes


Johnson requested permission and received no objections to videotaping the meeting. She is using her Hi-8 camera and offered to convert the tape to VHS format for anyone to borrow and for the convenience of those program coordinators who were unable to attend this meeting. Johnson asked Davis to record an action item for the production of this video.


Motion: Karen Johnson introduced a proposal for the Louisiana Space Grant to post a Program Coordinator's Web page. This site will serve as a repository of information of common interest to coordinators, and will also, hopefully, serve as a forum for information exchange. It will contain Q&A from the Hawaii meeting, minutes of the Salt Lake City meeting, a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section, as well as links to the Directors' page and other links. Johnson showed a slide of the "splash page" and gave the url. Motion made to accept this idea, seconded, and passed. Johnson accepted an action item to continue this project.


Johnson noted that in preparation for this meeting, she conducted an e-mail survey that addressed the range of duties undertaken by persons serving in a "program coordinator" role. In the interest of keeping the meeting on time, no details were given, but the results were available for the asking. That survey is included as Attachment 3.


Learned in Hawaii how useful these meetings are in terms of sharing ideas and common practices. Johnson commended Jackie Reasoner (AL) and others who were responsible for planning and conducting the Hawaii meeting. A summary of that meeting was presented by Jackie Reasoner (AL) as the next agenda item.



Item 2. Presentation of Results of Hawaii Coordinators' Meeting - Jackie Reasoner (AL)


a. Affiliate Relationships - Mark Fischer (TX)

b. Expanding Consortiums - John Annexstad (MN)

c. Industry Programs - Ellie Weiss Rosenbloom (TN)

d. Web sites - Darlette Powell (AK) and Irene Svete (WA)

e. CMIS data used for other than statistical data - Katie Pruzan (HQ)

f. Non-CMIS administrative issues - Jackie Reasoner (AL)

g. How to categorize program and cost sharing - Mark Fischer (TX)


Jackie Reasoner (AL) gave a brief introduction and summary of the first Coordinators' meeting, held in Hawaii. Anyone who would like information on these topics (especially those who were not at the meeting in Hawaii) should call on those coordinators listed above. Jackie introduced those points of contact listed above. She reported that there surfaced other interesting ways that CMIS data can be used. Another topic of discussion was how each university processes and interprets grants differently. She reported that a whole day was spent just on CMIS issues and it was very useful time. Everyone in Hawaii thought the information shared was useful enough to request that this group be given time at each of the fall meetings.


Before moving on to the next agenda item, Johnson (LA) thanked everyone for responding to her online survey of coordinators' duties and indicated that the survey will be posted on the new coordinators' Web site.


Item 3. CMIS Re-design and Other Issues - D. Detroye (HQ) and Susan Stewart (HQ)


Diane established that she has no specific prepared notes for this session and no new report other than what was discussed in the Directors' general meeting that morning because she wanted to be sure that any information brought before one group would also be available to the other group. Therefore, her approach to this session would be to entertain specific questions. She then acknowledged the members of the CMIS re-design team.


Question: regarding $5000 decision. Virginia has 78 awardees and two programs no one else offers - community college and teacher scholarships. Many of these awards are much less than the $5000 threshold. Might be overlooking people who are getting significant support, with "significant" interpreted differently by different states.


Answer: Mark Fischer (TX) - The whole philosophy is to give headquarters as little as we possible can – just what they need. If Heidi (VA) feels like she wants to let headquarters know about all awards, there is flexibility to do that. Diane indicated that if it's significant in your state, please do so.

Michaela Schaaf (NE) asked for a round of applause for the committee working on CMIS. Diane commended the group and said that when they met in Denver, they stayed right near airport and no one rented cars. Worked until 9 p.m., etc.


Question: What does "tracking students" mean?


Answer: None. The question was not addressed.


Question: regarding new budget and grant numbers.


Answer: Diane said all of us would be getting new grant numbers this year. Lots of groans. Met with Goddard people to figure out how to work the grant multi-year problems, and how to get the funding to coincide with the five-year reviews. Goddard was also putting inconsistent multi-year wording on the awards. The way to solve it will be getting new grant numbers. Understanding of the agreement is we will all get three-year multi language grants. The group was appreciative.


Question: Why three years and not five?


Answer: to coincide with 15 year report.


Discussion: Diane asked for those who were experiencing a problem with the multi-year wording to explain the problem. Jackie Reasoner (AL) explained multi-year language problem in her state - it apparently centers around Space Grant's funding cycle being from February to January, and the academic year at her institution is from August to August. This is problematic for scholarship recipients. Also, she cannot get paid past January and paperwork must be done again every January for her and every student under scholarship. This is a significant problem because subcontracts must be re-done also, creating lots of paperwork.


Question: Do we have to spend all the money by the end of the fiscal year, or can we carry over the money?


Answer: No, you don't have to spend all the money. No cost extensions for one year are available for those of us that need it until we all catch up with new program numbers. A sign-up sheet was sent around for those who wanted a NCE. Everyone wanted a NCE so this sheet also became the attendance list.


Dick Henry (MD) said that, at the beginning of space grant, when the granting was done out of HQ, we could carry over money from year to year. Now that the granting is done out of Goddard, we are pressured to spend all the money every year. Diane pointed out that he might be confusing this with the recent pressure on NASA, in general, to account for and not to have "uncosted" funds at the end of the fiscal year. This was not something directed at space grant. If we can keep uncosted funds low, we can fly under the radar screen.


Discussion: Karen has the same problem in Louisiana. Wording on the grant does not allow payment to anyone until the start of the grant date. Program end year date makes it impossible for her. Diane thinks that there are few states with this problem. Karen expressed incredulity that other states do not have the same problem, for we all must follow the same OMB Circulars. Lorna Ramiscal (HI) pointed out that Training Grants and Research Grants are different, and that training grants are harder to administer. She suggested to continue to work with your grants and contracts people to educated them about the nature of this grant. She also suggested reading A-21.


Question: How do we submit budget to her - hard copy signed by everyone, etc. We also enter it on CMIS - for reporting reasons.


Answer: We will definitely still have to send hard copy signed, etc. This hard copy is the actual piece of paper that gets us our budget. These are two things goijg on and she is trying to make them coincident. Whether we do it on CMIS this year is a question she doesn't know, yet. It will be due Nov. 30.


Question: When is budget due?


Answer: Thursday, November 30. CMIS instructions will come along as soon as they have them. Right now, don't enter budget on CMIS. Can do it but you may have to do it again.


Question: when do you anticipate the new contract grant numbers?


Answer: Doesn't know - there is a new grant officer at Goddard.


Question: Do you still want us to zero out?


Answer: They want to see on the report zeroed out - anticipate where you will spend that money and report it that way. No slush funds.


Question: Should we worry about security with SS#'s?


Answer: We won't be asking for SS#'s again.


Question: How will we be trained on the new CMS?


Answer: It should be pretty self explanatory - if you could do the old CMIS, this should be a walk in the park. The Educator Resource Center uses EDCATS. EDCATS is absolutely simple - if you can read you should be able to enter the data. VERY SIMPLE.


Question: Is this information in the system closed out and never available to us like always?


Answer: In the current EDCAT system there are different applications, not just CMIS. In EDCATS they have what is unknown as an archive system – you can go and look and run reports against the archived data. We actually also have access in CMIS. It would be ridiculous not to.


Question: Is it Mac user-friendly?


Answer: It is internet based.


Question: Should we be worried about the security of student information?

Answer: For NASA use only.


Question: Should there be a disclaimer that if a student receives $5000 or more, they may be contacted by NASA?


Comment: If you don’t have to report all information on those students getting small awards, underrepresented group will be lost.


Answer: The only people we report that for now are fellowships and scholarships and that probably won't change - EDCATS is set up so that you can capture cross-listed students in fellowships, research, training, etc. The idea of EDCATS is to streamline process and information.


Question: Are you afraid of an audit by some congressman? John Wefel is worried about an audit because we zero out the matrix to satisfy CMIS.


Answer: Make your data as accurate as possible.


Question: We get refunds for unspent money. How do we handle this?


Comment: They put it back in.


Answer: If it's already been reported, there is no reason to report it again.


Question: How involved are web designers in this redesign process?


Answer: When we kicked the process off, we met with them off and on during the process. They are on board with everything so far.


Question: Because fiscal and academic year are different - we are usually six months off. Will there be a change in CMIS to accommodate this problem?


Answer: It all balances out.


Thanks to Diane – Diane thanks the team.


Summary - Karen Johnson - any action items?

1. Diane will investigate the issue of the due date on front of the training grants.

2. Agreed on budget due date.

3. A Susan Sullivan issue. Diane needs to discuss with Julius.


Responses will be posted on FAQ web page.


Item 4. Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope as a Teaching Tool GAVRT

- Martin Simon - Physics - Auburn -


BUAC - Bringing the Universe to America's Classrooms

A partnership between state Space Grant consortia and the Southeastern Regional Space Education Center SRSEC) at Auburn University


What - Promote awareness, interest, and involvement in Space and Space related activities


How - Real-life space related science experience - six hours on a radio telescope in NASA's deep space communication complex.

Who - middle and secondary science teachers


When - July 15-20, 2001 training.


Where - Auburn University


Cost - one day - less than 1/2% of budget. $1000 per school. Housing - $350. R/T expense.


Start - Information packet - fill out a "Keep me informed" form


If interested - Contact Martin Simon


Item 5. Protein Crystallization: Student/Teacher Opportunities - Greg Jenkins - Alabama


Eight experiments in microgravity on space station.


Protein crystal growth - what they do with NASA


Trying to understand and obtain knowledge in order to be able to produce the drugs to fight disease.


Pilot program - loaded 150 samples on space station - first one to go inside.


First researchers to use the space station.


Space Grants can help with workshops to train teachers.


Looking for partners to help get teachers in, learn how to do the kits, get kids involved.


Students are doing real science with potentially publishable results.


Question: How much do you think it would cost? A few thousand dollars for a teacher inservice, etc.


Answer: Depends on how you go about it. Get student to Huntsville or sending trainers to schools. $1500 or $500 per student.




Item 6. Undergraduate Research at Small Colleges and Universities: Problems and Solutions - John Annexstad - Minnesota




Lack of undergraduate time


Lack of professor time


Lack of financial support


Lack of guidance and training


Lack of resources and facilities


Lack of ideas for research




Work-study options


Projects and course work


Student help


Simplified data gathering


What is do-able


Use of affiliate assistance


Localized projects


Projects at Bemidji


Cosmic spherules in glaciogenic sediment deposit


Comparison of bench standard lines and deltaic deposits. Mars N.W. Minnesota


Location, weathering, thermo luminescence, pairing, terrestrial residence time, and glaciological parameters of antarctic meteorites.


Purification of astronaut wastewater using nitrifying bacteria.


Presentation of Results


Space Grant forums and symposia


Regional S.G. symposia


National/international meetings



- Geological Society of America

- Lunar and planetary science conferences

- Meteorical society




- Demonstrations

- Written reports/thesis

- Oral presentations

- Posters

- Present to K-12 students



Item 7. Discussion of E/O Opportunities and Problems


Problem: Karen discussed problems with sending teachers to things like Lift-Off, etc. Likes to pay all out of pocket expenses for trips like that. Has tried to get advance checks for these teachers...LSU won't do it.


Comment: advantage to the teachers - IRS problem - not university problem.


Possible Solutions: Use the foundation.


Personal services contract - check is issued in advance. 1011 issued unless they submit receipts.


Everyone wishes that Julius and Diane could hear this discussion about how difficult it is to administer the grants at the state level.



Item 8. Presentation on Using CMIS Data - Lori Roundtree (Nevada)


Wonderful discussion on how to use CMIS to run reports, etc. All information (including sequences) are available on the handout distributed during the meeting.


Problem: Jackie has tried to merge it into Excel - doesn't work.


Solutions: Was told to put it into word first and then go into Excel. Lori is more comfortable with Access.


Sort it by year, different things, but it's relatively restrictive. If you want to do something different than is in the report, you can't.



Item 9. Meeting Summary, Action Items, Plan for Next Meeting


Action Items were summarized and are included as Attachment 4.


Many people are attending. Hope you found it beneficial, fun, and useful. Thanks to Heidi, Ellie and Darlette for your help!