RESEARCH COUNCIL MINUTES


February 22, 1999

Attendees: Bill Blass (chair), Gayle Baker (co-chair), Debra Baldwin, Valerie Bales, Benjamin Bates, Mike Devine, Pat Fisher, ZoŽ Hoyle, Kim Jensen (co-chair), Andy Kramer, Madhu Madhukar, Ron Maples, Lillian Mashburn, Flora Shrode, Phyllis Turner, Ken Walker, Pete Wicks

Opening Remarks - Blass
UTK is now connected to the NSF-BBN network and to the SURA southern crossroads network. Both are high-speed networks.

The Freedom of Information Act is causing considerable amount concern, as far as the release of all raw data that is funded by federal money. According to Science Magazine (2/12th issue) OMB has begun to address some of the serious concerns. The Faculty Senate has asked that the Research Council provide some recommendations.

Remarks and Update on ORNL Contract - Devine and Mashburn
Lillian Mashburn distributed documents on the Research and Development Budget for FY 2000. From this document, the budget numbers look stable. One of the big pushes is the Information Technology for 21st Century, better known as IT2 (Gore's effort) which has a $336 million increase. Detail budgets can be accessed via the web, Lillian's office subscribes to a service known as USBudget.Com, if anyone wants access to this please contact Lillian at 4-2206 or email at lmashburn@utk.edu .

Devine reported on the ORNL Contract proposal effort. UT/Battelle team is still not sure about any competition. The final RFP still due out late March with final proposals due in May.

Update on Visualization & Virtual Reality Center - Walker
Walker reported on the AVVR center that was in involved in the recent DII audit. This was to be a virtual reality center located down on the riverfront, with a partnership between UT and Prosolvia, Inc.; however, UT is basically out of this deal. But, we do want to continue to support this type of activity and are trying to establish a DVL (data visualization laboratory), as a formal center that will be a virtual university-wide resource reporting to the Office of Research.

Post-Tenure Review - Jensen
Jensen handled out a portion of a report from the ad hoc coordinating committee on Tenure Policy. The full document is located at http://web.utk.edu/~glenn/TenureCommittee.pdf. All the coordinating committees formed recommendations on annual performance reviews and the process. The Faculty Senate agreed with all the committee's recommendations. Some of the key points voted and passed by Faculty Senate may be used in a handbook called Tenure/Promotion and Review.

Whether Research Council should distribute our recommendations was discussed. However, Jensen understood that the full document was to be distributed by the Faculty Senate. It was decided that ZoŽ would send a 'research good-news' notices about the locations of the document and Jensen would e-mail Bob Glenn about distributing the whole document. This information could be very useful to departments rewriting their by-laws.

Update on Focus Areas - Walker
Walker discussed the eight focus areas that are the outgrowth of the APEC report. All the focus areas have been meeting on a regular basis. A draft report is due to Dr. John Peters by April 1st. These reports will be delivered to late for this year's budget cycle. However, Snyder has set aside $800,000 to fund some of the efforts that will come out of these reports for next year, however, it is not yet clear about how much of the $800,000 will be distributed among the eight focus areas. Walker presumes that the reports will be available and ready to be included in the budget cycle for FY 2001.

Research Infrastructure Committee Report - Baker
The research infrastructure committee met with Faye Muly to continue the discussion from February's Research Council meeting. The major concern is with desktop computing for faculty members. The committee and Muly agreed that if a plan/proposal could be developed on what should be included in basic connectivity (i.e., e-mail packages, types of software and hardware), DII could cost out the plan and give to administration for review to find possible funding. Baker asked for RC to send suggestions to her on what should be included in this plan.

Discussion/Recommendation to Faculty Senate on Freedom of Information Act - Blass/Mashburn
Blass discussed the Freedom of Information Act. The OMB is giving responsibility back to the agencies. This means all federal agencies will go through some sort of standardization on how requests for data will be distributed. The way the act is currently written there is no criteria for research data information requests. Congressman Brown has submitted a bill to repeal this issue. Lillian confirmed that all the science and engineering deans are asking the Tennessee delegation for a repeal. If this act passes, it will damage our ability to work with the private sector and will also have an affect on the national labs. Lillian suggested that the Research Council send letters to the Tennessee Delegation asking them to continue working on the repeal of the Freedom Information Act. She has copies of sample letters if anyone is interested.

Adjourn.