Council Minutes
March 17-19 2000

Council Members present: Margo Anderson, Stephen Fienberg, Diane Geraci, John Korey, Scott Long, Paula McClain, Huey Perry, Jim Sweet, Bo Wandschneider, Hal Winsborough


Open Session

After introductions of new and returning Council members, ISR Director, David Featherman, joined Council to provide background on ISR's request to ICPSR for help in funding an addition to the Perry Building.

Featherman first talked about the growth of the Institute for Social Research. About five years ago the ISR budget was 30-35 million; it is now 50-55 million. Future growth is expected, but probably not to this extent. The increase in programs and projects has resulted in a staff that no longer fits within the ISR building, as evidenced by ICPSR's move in the fall of 1998. ISR currently has 100,000 square feet of usable space; over the next five to seven years it is projected that an additional 100,000 square feet will be needed. More immediately, in the next two to three years, ISR needs 50,000 square feet to handle current projects. The more immediate building plans are Phase I; space beyond the 50,000 square feet would be accomplished during Phase II.

To alleviate the space shortage in the near term, the University of Michigan gave ISR the Perry Building, which will have to be renovated prior to ISR use. Of its usable 29,000 square feet, ISR will have access to about 19,000 square feet; the University will use the remaining 10,000 square feet for the next two years. Once the renovations are completed, ISR will then move into that additional space. In addition to renovating the existing building, ISR is proposing to the University provosts the building of a wing with 27,000 square feet, bringing the total square footage at Perry to 56,000. Plans call for the completion of the renovations and addition in two to three years if the regents approve the addition, which Featherman termed likely.

Phase II calls for the construction of a new building of 50,000 square feet. These plans need to be started now so that when Phase I is done in two or three years, Phase II can kick in, assuming the anticipated additional space is actually needed at that time. Phase II would be a 4th wing at ISR and would entail purchasing real estate when it becomes available. Phase I and II would provide the needed 100,000 additional square feet.

The ISR funding request before Council pertains to Phase I. Since the University will not assume any debt for ISR buildings, ISR needs to create a building fund and have a cash account before any construction contacts are signed. Total costs for Phase I are estimated to be 11 million. The ISR Policy Committee determined that each center should contribute an amount to the building fund that is based on their proportion of the ISR equity reserves which totals 22.5 million. (Featherman noted that this is their book value, not market value.) ICPSR's share of the equity fund was stated to be 7.8%.

The ISR Policy Committee recommended, and Featherman approved, that all of the Director's controlled equity should be allocated to the building fund. The market value of the Director's share is 3.4 million, leaving 7.6 million to be assessed to other ISR units. Adjusting each center's initial share of the equity fund to take into account the removal of the director's share, each center was then assessed a portion of the 7.6 million. ICPSR's portion was 8.5% or $647,000.

These advanced funds would be repaid by the year 2018 at 5% interest. ISR would use internal charges for space to pay off the loans.

ICPSR's current equity fund is around 1.9 million, with $750,000 of that set aside for "shutting down" expenses if ICPSR ceased to exist, per the Memorandum of Agreement. Council considered loaning this portion of our equity fund and discussed the liquidity of the funds were they to be loaned. Discussion also centered on allocation of the new space, specifically Phase I space. Every ISR unit will be invited to submit a proposal outlying their needs for space and why current space is inadequate. The ISR Policy Committee and Featherman will make final decisions. An important factor in the allocation of space is the integration of units. Units that have intellectual connections, staff that work across projects, and projects jointly funded with other units will have space needs that place them in proximity of each other. Collaborations of this sort are highly favored.

Further deliberations on the request for funds were tabled for an executive session.

Member Relations Committee Minutes

  1. End User Survey. It was reported that Heitowit is still contacting ORs and end users about the survey.

  2. Membership Adds and Drops. Figures on membership growth were distributed. Since September 1999 fifteen new schools have joined the Consortium; for the most part, they are S category schools. Humphres continues to get inquiries almost daily; a new email address on the website might account for the increased activity.

  3. Nonacademic requests for affiliation. At the November 1999 Council meeting, Council adopted a $15,000 rate for nonacademic institutions. Staff brought two such inquiries before the committee, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Federal Reserve Bank. Staff was instructed to offer affiliation to each, for the annual $15,000 fee. The structure of the Federal Reserve Bank, with twelve regional banks, was discussed with the notion that possibly they should be treated as multiple institutions, rather than one. The committee, though, decided to offer affiliation at this rate and revisit the fee issue at the end of a year.

  4. Membership outreach. Heitowit has two outreach/recruitment visits planned in the near future. A two-person team is visiting Wake Forest University in late March for a one-day workshop. The morning session is for faculty at Wake Forest and the afternoon session introduces ICPSR to faculty and staff from surrounding colleges and universities. ICPSR and the Wake Forest OR have sent invitations to 12-14 schools in the immediate area. In early April, four staff will be at the Florida Political Science Association to make a presentation.

    The need for a formal budget to fund this activity was again raised. Perry indicated that Heitowit suggested $25,000 for the first year, which would cover travel accommodations, publications, and posters. Additionally, part of Heitowit's salary and all of Humphres' salary should be transferred to this budget. Other staff members identified for outreach are currently paid out of their unit budgets. Winsborough was asked to present this item in the Budget committee and Gray was asked to present it to the Planning and Policy committee. If those committees were agreeable, then a recommendation would be made to Council to establish such a budget.

    The issue of evaluation of the outreach effort was discussed. Staff should identify the purposes of the outreach effort and decide how to determine whether or not those goals are being met.

  5. John Gray joined the committee for the discussion about expanding access to data on member campuses, i.e., allowing students, staff and faculty direct access to all our holdings. The main issues are technical feasibility and user support. Gray indicated that opening access to all individuals on a campus is not difficult technically; he estimated a one-half FTE for this project. ORs would identify IP addresses on their campus networks and those addresses would be allowed access; one of the management tasks would be to keep the list current. It's likely that universities have different levels of security in terms of who can access university computers. Obviously, that would not be something over which ICPSR or individual ORs would have any control. An initial download screen could require the user to provide his name and agree not to redisseminate the data.

    The user support issue is more complex and was discussed at length. How will opening up access impact the workload and scope of work of the OR and of ICPSR? Will the OR be inundated with calls for assistance in downloading data and analyzing data? Will ICPSR be inundated with such calls? Although the webpage can be designed to provide information that the OR supplies about local support for users, the impact on local staff and ICPSR staff will not be clear until open access on campuses is tested.

    Therefore, the committee will recommend to Council an open access experiment, to include a dozen or so schools. Working with a small number of schools for a year to two should allow ICPSR to identify and resolve any problems in this distribution mode and better enable us to offer such access to all schools, assuming the experiment will warrants expansion. Possibly the schools involved in the experiment could report their experiences at the fall 2001 OR meeting.

  6. Perry asked that the topic of exploring changes in membership categories, fees and federated arrangements be tabled until the fall council meeting when more time can be devoted to the issue.

Member Relations open session report to the council; Huey Perry took a moment to formally recognize Michelle Humphres for her excellent work in the Membership Coordinator position. The new members increase is certainly influenced by her efforts.

Council voted to offer affiliation to each Federal Reserve organization for $15,000 and/or authorize Heitowit to negotiate an appropriate fee.

Council voted to budget $25,000 for outreach activities and to keep all membership activities within the Administrative budget, but to be tracked separately.

Information Technology Committee Report not available at this time. The following are the general impressions from the Open Council session.

The monies for the replacement of the Sun Servers has already been allocated.

With in the Strategic Technology Plan there are no monies set aside for technological innovations. The Council replied that they need to see the plan before implementing a line item.

John Gray is in the process of finalizing the strategic plan, but a new director could greatly impact the plan.

The Council suggested that we will need the plan by the June meeting and that we can wait until the new director is in place, we must proceed. They are looking for a strategic technology plan for hardware, software and staff. They would like to see an analysis of the future of technology, trends, directions, which will lead to predictions which will prescribe a plan.

Computer Support is working on the Web redesign proposal and now has information on the architecture and a graphic templates update.

Concerns were expressed about our data dissemination policies. We need to make clear what the principals are and what should and should not be done, specifics about giving out passwords etc.

This is a complicated issue and engages several committees, Technology, Planning & Policy and perhaps a Constitutional review.

We need a Good House Keeping Seal on our data so you can tell where it came from. We need a stamp or signature a watermark so that when the data has been changed it no longer is ours.

We should be clearing stating that this information is not for resale. Maybe we need to look at the Bylaws and rewrite them. We need to take a broader look at this issue and revisit it.

Policy and Planning Committee Minutes

Most of the discussion in the committee meeting concerned buildings (the proposed addition to the Perry Building, and the facility at 311 Maynard--the Borders Building). At the request of ISR Director David Featherman, the Council at this meeting was to decide upon using some of ICPSR's reserve funds as its contribution to building an addition onto the Perry Building. This building, located three blocks from the main ISR complex on Thompson Street, will be used to accommodate an ISR staff that has outgrown the space on Thompson Street. Building an $11 million addition was proposed by ISR, with funding to come internally from resources retained by ISR, the four research centers, and (should council approve) ICPSR. Calculations from the ISR Director's Office pegged ICPSR's "share" of the building fund contribution at $643,000. The committee discussed the advantages to ICPSR in participating financially in the ISR building fund, chief of which was constructing office space that would be better than the rented space in the Borders Building. All agreed that this was in ICPSR's interest. As to the amount of ICPSR's contribution, committee members discussed and then endorsed the sense of an alternative contribution amount initially proposed by staff member John Gray. That amount is $750,000, which total is required (by the Memorandum of Agreement between ICPSR and ISR) to be set aside as a contingency fund to cover close-down costs should ICPSR go out of business or move to another institution. The committee agreed that this amount should be offered to ISR as ICPSR's share, and a proposal to the full Council was drafted for presentation at that day's plenary session

Director Featherman had also called for proposals from the research centers and ICPSR for use of the space to be created in the Perry Building addition. Staff present at the committee meeting noted that the majority of ICPSR staff would prefer office quarters somewhere other than in the Borders Building. The committee endorsed the staff suggestion that ICPSR propose to use the Perry addition space to relocate ICPSR there.

Discussion next turned to environmental conditions in the Borders Building. While radon levels have been reduced to acceptable levels, and a humidifier added to the building's HVAC system, air quality problems (chiefly exhaust fumes) continue to plague the ICPSR staff. The committee urged staff to take a proactive stance on air quality improvement, including exploring reconstructed air intakes and the use of local air filters to mitigate the air quality problems. Most of all, the staff should keep the issue of poor air quality in the Borders Building on the radar screen of ISR.

The next agenda item discussed was the future of the DDI grant. With Principal Investigator Richard Rockwell moving from ICPSR to the Roper Center, some thought has been given to mechanisms for continuing the activity in Richard's absence. The committee endorsed a staff proposal that the project continue under ICPSR aegis, with the permanent ICPSR Director as PI, and with a consulting arrangement with Richard Rockwell to permit his continued intellectual contribution to project activities.

The final agenda item was discussion of a "think piece" crafted in December, 199 by outgoing Executive Director Richard Rockwell. Entitled "Current and Future Issues Before ICPSR," this document highlighted some basic issues that the Council, new Director, and staff will need to wrestle with in coming years. The committee talked generally about the piece, and its use in recruiting the next Director of ICPSR. The committee referred the document to interim Director Hal Winsborough to revise as he sees fit, and then to present to an incoming permanent Director for "due consideration" of the issues raised in the document.

Planning and Policy general session Council report; Margo proposed that we issue a clear statement that we strongly support the Perry Building project and would like to invest the equity in the building fund. But we must not loose sight of the fact that when our lease is renewed here we need to leverage improvement of out current conditon. We strongly encourage that the environmental issues be improved upon immediately. The Council would like to see a copy of the lease.

Budget Committee Session and Integrated Council Report Minutes

  1. The chair of the budget committee and the chair of council should be able to see a list of ICPSR salaries as needed. The purpose of this is NOT to set salaries or to micromanage in any way the daily activities and decisions of ICPSR, rather it is to help review and provide advice to the Director of ICPSR and ISR regarding senior staff salaries, and general differentials in salaries, and is especially relevant for that of the Director.

  2. The new ICPSR director should have a discretionary account of $50,000 for a new research initiation fund. (annually?) The intent is to provide the capacity for the new Director to do some creative things.

  3. The new Director, or potentially other ICPSR project directors, should receive 50% of the net indirect cost recovery for new, externally funded, research grants which are specific to that investigator's personal research agenda. This does not apply to general ICPSR research grants.

  4. Membership funds should be expended for activities secondarily to other funds, such as general funds.

  5. The FY 2001 budget should include a method to break out marketing activities within the administrative area. This "budget" would include line items for relevant salary efforts and fringes (e.g. Michelle, Hank) plus $25,000 for travel, postage, etc. A second item would be for conference related activities to include relevant salary effort and fringes (e.g. Julie) and expenses for travel, postage etc. for conference attendance (estimated at $50,000 in FY 2001). These items would be shown in the budget as a footnote to the administrative budget. At a later time the committee will discuss if other activities would belong here as well, for instance publishing.

  6. The membership sub-budget should be separate but remain in the administrative functional area.

  7. The set aside for computing capital improvements should be $300,000 in the FY 2001 budget.

  8. Assuming this is possible, ICPSR should invest the monies required by the Memorandum of Agreement to potentially shut down ICPSR as our contribution to the building fund - $750,000. This is an 18-year "mortgage" investment with ISR at 5% interest.

  9. ICPSR should transfer $300,000 into UM quasi-endowments funds, including reinvesting the dividends, in order to try to receive a larger return on some of our fund balance. The amount of $300,000 should be revisited in a year. More could be invested if the situation warrants it.

  10. Money should be spent for a pilot project on user direct access, i.e. for individuals at member institutions to receive data directly rather than through their institution's OR.

The Council observed that the contemporary budget is a useful policy tool, that it is effective to get further information, a great accomplishment.

Archival Development Committee Minutes

  1. ICPSR Acquisition and Collection Development Policy

    Libbie Stephenson sent a revised copy of the policy to the committee along with other supporting materials for review. It was suggested that committee members, in particular the staff to the committee, read the four-page policy itself in detail, point by point, to determine whether ICPSR can perform its acquisitions activities adequately within the guidelines presented. The policy should be general enough that it is not constraining, but at the same time permit staff to develop more specific policies that are consistent with the language of the broader document. Some sharpening of the text may be necessary in terms of assigning responsibility to each statement of the policy and changing passive to active voice. The point-by-point review and the rewriting should be completed before the June meeting so that Council can vote on the policy at that time. It was further suggested that the final version of the policy be presented without the supporting documents except for the bibliography (Appendix D). This will enable readers to get to the substance of the document quickly. As Libbie suggested, the final version should also be presented in relation to the NAPA and SIMI policy statements. The committee will review these two policies as well and perhaps prepare condensed versions of them in time for the June meeting.

    It was noted that the acquisitions policy has the potential to push us in certain directions, so we need to be very clear on what we want to express in the document. It should be an "owner's manual" for data acquisitions.

  2. Census 2000 Advisory Committee

    It was reported that the Census 2000 Advisory Committee is being constituted. Members of the committee include:

    • Ilona Einowski (UCData, University of California, Berkeley)

    • Kurt Metzger (Michigan Metropolitan Information Center, Wayne State University)

    • John Kavaliunas (Marketing Services Office, U.S. Bureau of the Census)

    • Steven Ruggles, Chair (University of Minnesota)

    • W. Reynolds Farley (Population Studies Center, University of Michigan)

    Additional members may be invited. The committee will hold its first meeting as soon as one can be arranged.

  3. "Shape of the River" Data

    It was reported that Erik Austin and John Gray met with the Mellon Foundation researchers who collected the data that formed the basis for the book The Shape of the River (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998) by William G. Bowen and Derek Bok. Mellon is interested in archiving these data, which concern affirmative action, with ICPSR. After a visit to the Mellon Foundation and a more detailed evaluation of the materials, Erik will write a proposal for the preparation of public use and restricted data files for the "River" data and will also propose some strategies for handling access to the restricted data. Since this is an important data collection, we should also be sure to include in the proposal a provision for training in effective use of the data. The Education Archive would be a natural "home" for this dataset, so we should explore that idea also. ICPSR needs to ask for enough funding to mount the kinds of activities we envision for these data.

  4. Redistribution Requests

    Geolytics has not been back in touch with us since we asked for more information about their request to redistribute ICPSR data. (This item was discussed at the previous Council meeting in November.)

    The U.S. Census Bureau is interested in obtaining access to ICPSR's historical census data, and it's possible that this could become part of a 2000 Census joint statistical agreement. Currently, the Census Bureau site points to the IPUMS site for historical census data. The 2000 Census will be Web-based, so now it's time to talk about how to put it all together to provide a comprehensive research resource.

    A request was received from a Norwegian user to obtain access to data from the Correlates of War project. Peter Granda will get in touch with this person to inform him about where he can get the most up-to-date version of these data.

    No corrections or additions to the Committee minutes at this time.

Training Committee Minutes

The first item discussed by the Committee was a review of the teaching staff for the 2000 Summer Program. Special mention was made of recent changes that have added more women and faculty of color to the staff and efforts to continue this trend.

The second item was an announcement by the staff that a successful resolution was reached with the University of Michigan on the long term home for the Summer Program. Starting in 2001 the Program will again return to its traditional base of operation at Helen Newberry House on central campus. For the summer of 2000 the Program will be centered in the ICPSR Borders building space, as it was for the 1999 Program.

Next the Committee reviewed the courses and curriculum of the Program. Three suggestions were made for future consideration.

  1. Add a workshop on how to use the 2000 Census products. This is a traditional offering of the Program initiated each decade after the collection and distribution of the Census data.

  2. Add substantively based courses utilizing Census material. Examples include such topics as: adjustment procedures for under counts, redistricting, the PL 94 file, transportation, and missing data/imputation.

  3. Increase course offerings using Bayesian methods. A specific example given was to add a course on Bayesian approaches to the analysis of categorical and ordinal data.

The Committee spent a good deal of time discussing ICPSR sponsored "Advanced Topics" conferences. The first of these is likely to be on Spatial Analysis held sometime in the 2000/2001 academic year. Another topic mentioned was on the use of the American Community Survey, a data product of the Bureau of the Census.

The Committee also talked of the need for ICPSR to experiment with more distance learning mechanisms, including web-based, video, and off-site locations.

There was some discussion as well on possible future contacts with the alumni of the Summer Program for fund raising purposes.

Finally it was proposed that the ICPSR Summer Program Advisory Committee be given the responsibility to organize an external evaluation of the Summer Program structure, curriculum, staffing, and finances.

Training Committee Report to the Council; It was reported to the Council by the committee that Hank efforts in regards to space issues, faculty and over all planning for the Summer Program have been outstanding and have resulted in what should be an excellent offering for 2000.

Report a problem