Council Minutes
October 6-8, 2000

Council Participants: Margo Anderson (Chair), Charles Betsey, Stephen Fienberg, Diane Geraci, Ann Green, John Korey, Scott Long, Paula McClain, Huey Perry, Steven Ruggles, James Sweet, Bo Wandschneider, Hal Winsborough

ICPSR Staff Participants: Zack Allen, Erik Austin, Chris Dunn, Peter Granda, John Gray, Hank Heitowit, Peter Joftis, Stacey Kubitz, James McNally, Mary Morris, Kathleen Thomson, Mary Vardigan, Janet Vavra

European Observer: Lennart Brantgarde, Director, Swedish Social Science Data Service (SSD), Göteborg University


Quantitative Research and Training Committee

ICPSR Council Members Present: Paula McClain (Chair), John Korey; Scott Long

Summer Program Advisory Committee Members Present: Michael Berbaum (University of Illinois, Chicago), John Fox (McMaster University), Charles Franklin (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Scott Long, Michael Sobel (Columbia University), Stanley Wasserman (University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana)

ICPSR Staff Present: Henry Heitowit, Dieter Burrell, Chris Dunn

The Council Committee was joined by members of the Summer Program Advisory Committee, which had met earlier in the day.

  1. Review of the 2000 Summer Program: The Advisory Committee reiterated its stance from its earlier meeting that the 2000 Program had been successful. It was noted, however, that attendance in the 2000 Program had dropped slightly from previous programs. This was attributed to two factors: Two specialized (and externally funded) workshops offered in 1998 and 1999 had not been offered as part of this year's Program. In addition, two short (3-to 5-day) workshops did not draw as many participants as they had in recent years. Otherwise, the attendance patterns appeared similar to other Program years.

    This led into a general discussion of the composition of the Program's instructional staff. There was some sentiment expressed that more members of the staff should be recruited from the discipline of statistics. The Advisory Committee had discussed this in depth during its meeting, and concluded that no specific hiring goals should be established based on disciplinary background. The individual skill of the instructor should remain the primary focus. However, where a formal background in statistics is needed or desirable in terms of program and curricular needs, such individuals would be recruited and included on the staff. It was also pointed out that a number of existing Program faculty have a mix of degrees and academic appointments that include formal training in statistics and affiliations in statistics departments and programs.

  2. External Review Committee of the Summer Program: There was some question as to whether or not the regular Summer Program Advisory Committee could perform this function. It was noted that most of the questions raised about the Program were routinely part of the Advisory Committee's annual review process. Nevertheless, it was the consensus that an external review committee was desirable, so long as their charge was carefully constructed, they accepted ICPSR's mission for the Program, and that they gained adequate familiarity with the Program by being in Ann Arbor while it was taking place.

    The Committee concluded that it would recommend to the full Council that:

    • A formal review should not take place before a new ICPSR Director was on board.

    • The Advisory Committee and the staff do some groundwork to prepare for the review.

    • Staff would compile documentation on the Program.

    • H. Heitowit will prepare a draft external review plan and charge, which should be reviewed by the Advisory Committee and Council Committee.

    The Committee and the Advisory Committee recommended that the review panel include a member of the Advisory Committee, a representative of the Council (perhaps a current or past member), as well as representatives of the methodology communities from political science, sociology, and the University of Michigan campus. In addition inclusion might also be considered for a past program participant (representing the consumer).

  3. Plans for the 2001 Program: H. Heitowit indicated that it would largely be a continuation of the things that had been done in 2000. However, there would be two changes:

    • The Program would relocate back to its traditional home base at Helen Newberry House. The Advisory Committee asked that the advances in computing facilities that had evolved over the last two years at the Borders Building site be integrated into the Newberry location.

    • A new course would be added to the curriculum on Bayesian statistics.

  4. Instructional Materials and Information Subcommittee: John Korey described the activities and plans of the Instructional Materials and Information Subcommittee, which was created to encourage and develop data products oriented toward instructional applications and use.

  5. Fees for the 2001 Program: There was a sense of Council that in general fee increases should be kept to a minimum, in recognition of the burden that the fees imposed upon participants and their sponsoring institutions. It was moved and seconded that:

    • For member institutions, the fees would be increased for attendees at one week and other short workshops, and four week courses to $50 more than the fees charged for the 2000 Program.

    • For member institutions the fees would be increased for eight-week participants by $100 more than the 2000 fee.

    • For nonmember institutions, all categories of fees would be made twice the amount as for member institution participants.

    This motion was unanimously approved.

    A motion was made to consider the establishment of the 2002 fees at the same time that Council reviewed the 2001 ICPSR budget and the proposed 2002 ICPSR budget, at its next meeting in March. This motion was unanimously approved as well.

  6. Assistant Director of the Summer Program: H. Heitowit announced that Dieter Burrell had officially been given the position of Assistant Director of the Summer Program.

Archival Development Committee

ICPSR Council Members Present: Diane Geraci (Co-Chair), Charles Betsey (Co-Chair), Ann Green, Steve Ruggles

ICPSR Staff Present: Peter Granda, Mary Vardigan

  1. ICPSR Acquisition and Collection Development Policy: The Committee recommended a few additional editorial changes to the existing document as well as a change in its name to "Collection Development Policy". A separate document outlining ICPSR's preservation policies was also suggested as a future task. Staff will make the required changes to the policy document and submit it to the Committee by November 1 for final review. Soon thereafter, it will be sent via email to the full Council for approval.

  2. Census 2000 Advisory Committee: The Census Bureau has agreed in principle to enter into a new memorandum of agreement with ICPSR. This would permit the Consortium to archive all of the 2000 Census files in ASCII format and make them available to its members. The final wording of the memorandum is awaiting completion by officials at the Bureau. Issues related to whether the files will be available to members only or for public distribution are still to be decided. The question of member redistribution of these files was also raised. The Committee emphasized, as it had at the previous Council meeting in June, that these issues required careful thought and consultation before any policy was decided. Council expressed its view that public access should only occur if outside sources of funding are realized. It was also recommended that, in view of proposed later dates for the release of PUMS files, ICPSR request that the memorandum of agreement extend until September 30, 2004.

  3. Economic/Financial Data: Following up on Committee suggestions at its previous meeting, staff sent letters to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and the American Economic Association (AEA) to see if ICPSR could preserve some of their data. A response was received from NBER. The Bureau did not have or know of any data collection that might be in danger of not finding a proper archival home. Bureau staff were receptive to the idea that ICPSR establish a Web link to the NBER website and stated that ICPSR could archive some of their collections as well. If the Consortium wanted to archive any collections produced by individual principal investigators, we should seek their formal permission to do so. Charles Betsey will recommend which, if any, data collections we might acquire.

  4. Recent Grant Proposals: The Committee reviewed the summaries of recent grant proposals, all of which have been funded. These included additional funding for four topical archives (SAMHDA, NACDA, NACJD, and IAED) as well as pending requests to NSF for a supplement to the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and for collaboration with the University of Minnesota on a National Historical Geographical Information System.

    Steve Ruggles sought Council support for a proposal he is about to submit to create a National Demographic Data Archive as a joint project between the University of Michigan Population Studies Center and the Minnesota Population Center. At this point, he wanted ICPSR to support this initiative in an advisory role. Council decided that staff should discuss this matter further and seek additional information from the Michigan Population Studies Center before any decision is made.

    Council also stressed the importance of moving ahead with an outside evaluation of the DDI project as soon as possible. It recommended that staff proceed with the evaluation even without outside funding. Erik Austin will call NSF to inquire about the status of the proposed supplement to our existing grant.

Policy and Planning Committee

ICPSR Council Members Present: Margo Anderson (Chair), Huey Perry, Jim Sweet, Bo Wandschneider, Hal Winsborough

Additional Participant: Lennart Brantgarde, Director SSD, Göteborg University

ICPSR Staff Present: Erik Austin, Kathleen Thomson

  1. Director Search: This seems to be a little slow but is still running on track. Myron Gutmann had three trips here recently. In July he met with ICPSR and ISR staff, in August he came primarily for a house hunting trip, and in September he met with the history department and gave a talk there. David Featherman is talking to him and we are awaiting word on the tenure situation in history.

  2. Facilities: Air Quality, Lease, and Fire Alarm

    Air quality. Several people from ICPSR, ISR, Borders, the UM plant department, and an outside engineering firm met in late August to discuss possible solutions to the fumes problem in the Maynard Street building. This was followed by a walk-around to check out locations of machinery, ductwork, etc. We have received preliminary word from the outside engineer that it may be possible to redirect the problem air vent off to the side, up to the roof of the building, which should fix the problem and only cost about $10,000 to $15,000. There may also be a second solution involving carbon filtering. This, however, would be much more expensive and would require periodic maintenance. We are awaiting a written proposal and also approval from the University of Michigan to proceed with this project, presumably with the first solution.

    Lease. The new Perry School addition will not be finished until about a year after our lease on the Borders building is finished. Discussions are under way with Borders to see if we can extend our lease for an additional year so that we do not have to move twice. This is consistent with the Council discussion at the June 2000 meeting.

    Fire alarms. The Borders building does not have an audible, visible fire alarm system. This was looked into in Spring of 1999 and the city code does not require it for this building. Staff, however, remain concerned about this issue. A meeting was held with ICPSR, ISR staff, and an outside contractor to explore the possibility of adding such a system to the building, especially if we will remain here for another three years or so. Such a system is possible and would cost about $30,000 - $40,000. We are awaiting a proposal to detail out such a system and the exact cost. Additionally, however, money and feasibility aside, it is not clear whether we would be allowed to do this since it affects University of Michigan policies in terms of rental buildings and other leases. Other lower tech solutions such as boat horns might work but are problematic because they cause potential liability issues more complicated than just leaving the building as is. So far, Borders has not wanted to pay for building improvements. One potential solution might be to include all or some portion of the price of the system in the renegotiated lease agreement (for the one year extension). This would release UM from any liabilities or complications resulting from this building change and spread the cost out over time.

    Margo Anderson will send a letter to David Featherman stating the importance of having an audible fire alarm within the Borders building. She would like to have an answer as to what it would take to get this problem fixed.

  3. Meeting Time: The issue of holding Council meetings over a weekend was discussed. In the past this was needed because of the great difference in price between regular airfares and Saturday night stayover airfares. With some of the recent changes in airline prices, this is much less of an issue. The issue can be looked at more in terms of increasing attendance to the meeting and allowing Council and staff to have more of their weekends free for other activities. The issue of how this would affect people's teaching schedules was included in the discussion as was how the scheduling of committee meetings might change to accommodate this.

    It was decided that the March 2001 Council meeting be changed to meet March 22-25, 2001. Members will arrive Wednesday, March 21, and the meeting will start Thursday morning.

  4. Associate Director (Honorary) Positions: There are three holdover, primarily honorary positions listed for the Council. These are for people (Heinz Eulau, Norval Glenn, Kent Jennings) who used to be very involved with Council but for a variety of reasons have not been for the last several years. At least two of these people have voiced surprise that they still receive Council meeting materials and in fact at least one thought that he had received a letter a while ago saying he was no longer a part of the Council. Staff do not believe such a letter was ever written. However, there does not seem to be a need to retain these positions. The Committee decided that these positions probably were not needed but wished to be sure that the three people involved did not want to be on the Council roster anymore.

    Margo Anderson will send a formal letter asking if they would like to continue serving as an ICPSR Associate Director or be relieved.

  5. Archivist Position: We have been successful in appointing seven of the ICPSR staff as archivists. These are dry (no money attached), joint appointments in the primary faculty track that allow these people to apply for grants as PIs, but do not affect their regular titles, appointments, or benefits. The seven people are: Erik Austin, Chris Dunn, Peter Granda, JoAnne McFarland O'Rourke, James McNally, Mary Vardigan, and Janet Vavra.

  6. Web Resources Development Unit: Creation of a new major area at ICPSR was proposed. This unit would focus on the development and presentation of information describing ICPSR and its data holdings on the Web and in print, as well as the Web-based tools provided to facilitate resource discovery. Its establishment signals the importance at ICPSR of Web-based information for locating and using social science research data. This unit will be directed by Mary Vardigan, and encompasses the Publications division, previously a part of Archival Development; the Web development position; and the group of individuals working on the NSF Finding Aids/Infrastructure project. The committee agreed with this request and agreed to take this to the full Council for official approval.

    Recognizing that some of our directors are approaching potentially retirement age, ICPSR would like to formalize having assistants to some of the current directors so that it would be clear who would take over should the need arise. At this time two assistants were proposed--Dieter Burrell as an Assistant Director for the Summer Program area and Mary Morris as an Assistant Director for the Technical Services area. Others might be appointed some time in the future.

Budget Committee

ICPSR Council Members Present: Margo Anderson, Charles Betsey, Jim Sweet, Hal Winsborough

ICPSR Staff Present: Erik Austin, Stacey Kubitz

  1. Funding and Anticipated Costs for Census Data Distribution: The committee was asked to refer to the proposed Memorandum of Agreement Establishing a Joint Project Between the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce and the University of Michigan, an Archival Development agenda item. ICPSR is expecting to receive the following funding for the 2000 Census: $150,000 in-kind contribution from the Census Bureau, proposal awarded funding from NSF and NICHD, and ICPSR membership assistance. ICPSR staff will present a proposed fiscal year 2001 membership contribution for this activity at the March 2001 Council meeting. This proposed budget will be a subset of the Archival Development budget. Staff is not anticipating substantial expenses during fiscal year 2001 since the first of the products from the Census will not be available until March 2001. Staff is expecting to receive 3,000 CDs containing data from the 2000 Census, including (for some series) one set of adjusted data and another set of unadjusted data.

    The committee also discussed the collaboration between the Advisory Committee and the Census Bureau on summer training possibilities, including offering a one-week workshop with hands-on applications of the data (to be funded by the Infrastructure grant), on-line courses, and possibly a one-day workshop.

    For reference, the committee also reviewed the 1990 Census funding that ICPSR received: $250,000 in-kind contribution from the Census Bureau, approximately $400,000 from NSF, NICHD, and NIA, and roughly $300,000 membership contribution (totaling about $1,000,000 over a four-year period).

  2. Fiscal Year 2000 Results: The committee reviewed the financial reports for fiscal year end 2000 results and discussed the reasons for variation from the approved budget. Staff explained the expected variations from the approved fiscal year 2001 budget. The committee recalled that the salary of the next ICPSR Director needs to be built into the annual budgets starting in fiscal year 2002 and every year there after. Some committee members are concerned that the current fund balance may be too low for an organization of this size. Staff will look into what a reasonable fund balance should be and report to Council at the March 2001 meeting. This discussion led to how ICPSR could increase its fund balance. Some ideas shared were raising Summer Program fees and investing more money into the quasi-endowment to earn more interest income. Staff estimated that the fiscal year 2004 move to the Perry building would cost $300,000 ($50,000 miscellaneous expenses + $250,000 furniture purchases).

  3. Category distribution of member institutions/Equity in Members Fees: Council members have looked into JSTOR's fee structure for comparison to ICPSR's membership fee structure. Council needs more time to do a full analysis on the comparison but feels that an overall review of the current ICPSR membership fee structure is needed. Currently, the federated members get a discount for taking on what used to be the burden of administrative duties that would otherwise be ICPSR's responsibility. Now that we are heading toward giving access to all users on all member campuses, does it make sense to offer federated memberships?

  4. OR Meeting Costs: Staff presented an exhibit summarizing the expenses related to hosting the 1999 Official Representatives meeting. Expenses exceeded budget by approximately $47,000. Most of the excess was due to staff charging their time to the account, which gives Council a more accurate figure for how much an OR meeting costs.

  5. Budget Committee Reports: The Council unanimously passed the motion to allocate $10,000 to support the activities of the Instructional Materials Committee and the Data Enclave Committee ($5,000 to each of the committees).

Information Technology Committee

ICPSR Council Members Present: Ann Green (Co-Chair), Paula McClain (Co-Chair), Scott Long, Steve Ruggles, Lennart Brantgarde

ICPSR Staff: John Gray, Peter Joftis, Mary Vardigan, Jan Vavra

  1. Strategic Plan: A copy of the Strategic Plan was first distributed to the Committee at the June 2000 meeting. Copies of the June plan were available for comments. There were no additional items suggested for the plan nor were any deletions proposed.

    Staff reported on progress being made to select new servers. ICPSR has been in contact with Sun about their program for academic units which awards a matching grant for a second server when one is purchased. ICPSR has put in an application for the current grant cycle, and we should know something by the end of October.

    The Committee noted that the Strategic Plan is useful for both the staff and the Committee and will serve as a historical and planning document. Therefore, the document should record adequate information for each item so that it can be used to build on in the future, while at the same time serving as a record of past plans and decisions.

    The Committee noted the preservation item and asked staff to share some of their concerns in this area. ICPSR has no formal preservation plan in place. There is need for one because of the diversity in data formats and technical materials in the holdings and new ones arriving. Preservation activities go on in ICPSR, such as the conversion of OSIRIS dictionaries that is currently ongoing, but not as a formally recognized activity. The ICPSR archive has data collections that are nearly 40 years old, some with formats of that vintage. Vavra was asked to prepare a status report for the next Committee meeting.

  2. Access to All Users on Member Campuses: The next item was the initiative to open access to all users on member campuses. Staff reported that three institutions are now participating in the beta testing: the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, and Southern University. The University of California at Berkeley will be hooked up next. All indications are that things are going well at these institutions.

  3. Web Site Revisions: Staff briefed the Committee on the current status of the website revisions. It was reported that a web master has been hired, and he is implementing the Web changes suggested by the Argus (consultants) report. ICPSR has licensed InfoSeek as the search engine for the website. The website will have XML capabilities. A great deal of "Help" information has been added to the new website and a great deal more substantive help information is planned. There will be a separate site only for ORs from which they will be able to download data in batch and conduct other ICPSR business. Principal investigators will have a place where they can submit citations for their works.

  4. DDI Project: Staff also updated the committee on the status of the DDI project. The conversion of machine-readable OSIRIS codebooks to DDI has made progress. The markup from these codebooks will be used in the Variables data base that will be developed. There are plans to look for a means to produce DDI markup from PDF documents in the future. ICPSR study descriptions will be converted to DDI in the next phase of the project. Additionally, the aggregate working group of the DDI project will be meeting in November.

    DDI codebooks are now being marked up around the country, and people have been looking for a place to deposit the codebooks. It was estimated that there will shortly be about 1,000 codebooks in DDI format, and developers of these codebooks could be urged to send them to ICPSR to be stored here as part of the DDI project. Staff suggested that this information could come to ICPSR and be handled like the current Publications-Related Archive (PRA). In PRA data and supporting materials for various publications are deposited at ICPSR. ICPSR does nothing with this material, and appropriate disclaimers exist. It might be useful to link to the website where the data reside, if they are not at ICPSR. ICPSR would be able to serve a clearinghouse function for DDI. Consideration would need to be given to whether any of this would require a maintenance function by ICPSR or whether ICPSR would simply handle the initial version of the codebook and links and have no further obligations in the matter.

  5. San Diego Supercomputing Project: Staff reported that the San Diego Supercomputing Project is now finished. To review, this project involved ICPSR and ISR as part of the University of Michigan's partnership in the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI). The focus of the activities was centered at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) with ISR and ICPSR receiving some funds as part of the University of Michigan involvement. Among the activities the project included were training sessions, experiments, and network upgrades. ICPSR involvement was minimal with a small amount of money. There were several one-day lectures in the 1999 Summer Program, which were designed to help train social scientists to use high performance computing. Unfortunately, the lectures were very poorly attended, generating little interest among the Summer Program participants.

  6. Data Archive Initiatives and ICPSR: ICPSR receives a significant number of requests from various groups asking for cooperation with their projects. ICPSR's current policy is to cooperate with anyone who contacts us. Some of the projects that have been in contact with ICPSR are the Census Bureau's FERRET project, the Harvard Virtual Data Center, the San Diego Supercomputing Project, NESSTAR, the developing Minnesota-Michigan Project, the California digital data libraries request that had just arrived before the Council meeting, and Survey Documentation & Analysis (SDA) at the University of California at Berkeley. ICPSR has also been asked to develop a metadata standard for social science data as part of the I2T Project.

    ICPSR does not have the resources to do everything that may be requested or expected. For example, one request involves developing a special interface to access our databases. The Committee advised that ICPSR should cooperate with these groups, but they should pay for any work requested. The Committee noted that for the next meeting it would be useful if Gray and Joftis prepared a summary of all of the projects that have current requests to ICPSR and what they need from ICPSR.

    Staff noted the need for some mechanism to handle these requests when they come in to help reduce the burden on the Computer and Network Services group. The Committee decided to recommend the creation of a subcommittee that would review these initiatives as they come in.

    The Committee observed that the World Wide Web will not be here forever and asked that ICPSR start planning for this possibility. It was urged that the Committee and staff stay abreast of developments and think about what the future holds and how ICPSR will position itself for this.

    Review of Annual Report, Computing and Network Services Activities: The staff referred the Committee to the draft copy of the Annual Report, 1999-2000, which was part of the Council packet, and welcomed comments and questions.

    The Committee adjourned to view a demonstration of the new website. It was suggested that the website issue a reminder whenever users download data asking them to submit publication citations for their research, and a similar reminder should be issued each time someone deposits data with ICPSR via the website.

Member Relations Committee

ICPSR Council Members Present: Diane Geraci (Co-Chair), Huey Perry (Co-Chair), John Korey, Bo Wandschneider

ICPSR Staff: Hank Heitowit, Mary Morris

  1. Membership Activity Report: The membership activity reports were reviewed. Heitowit indicated that interest by the Federal Reserve Banks and the World Bank has waned and it does not appear likely that either will join the Consortium.

  2. October 25-28, 2001 Official Representatives Meeting: Drawing on feedback from the previous OR meeting and reviewing agenda items from the previous two meetings, the committee proposed tentative agenda topics for next fall's meeting. These included sessions on the following: use of ICPSR data in the classroom, the impact of the open access beta testing, the DDI project, the 2000 Census, use of restricted data, research methodology, and the ICPSR topical archives. An expanded orientation session for new ORs is also planned.

    Presenting the business meeting information and staff introductions in a different manner will be considered, along with identifying a banquet speaker and developing a general theme for the conference. Official Representatives' input on topics or session suggestions will also be solicited. The committee plans to finalize a tentative agenda at the March Council meeting so that presenters can be contacted and arrangements made.

  3. Information to be Collected for Open Access Experiment: Issues of privacy and use of information for reporting purposes were discussed at length. The committee was of one mind that the collection of information from users at the open access campuses is very important to both Official Representatives and ICPSR. User information is critical in determining the use of ICPSR data across a university. ORs are frequently asked to report usage statistics and certainly at membership renewal time, the number of individuals and departments that used ICPSR data can justify continued membership, at least partially. ORs currently collect this information; with a move to open access this record-keeping ability needs to be retained. The information is also useful to ICPSR in grant applications, to document the breadth of our data users.

    ORs also currently use information about which researchers are using which data to link researchers with similar research interests. Likewise, ICPSR might develop topical mailing lists wherein researchers are notified of newly released studies in their areas of interest. The committee recommended that the following information be collected from users: name, title, department and school, and email address. (Council subsequently endorsed collecting names, with the provision that users be informed that the information will be provided to the OR.)

    Methods for conveying usage information to ORs were considered. A copy of each order manifest could be emailed to the OR, or ICPSR could provide utilization reports when requested or, the favored approach, ICPSR could have the information available for direct accessing from our website. Each OR would then be able to access the usage information for her/his institution.

    Finally, the committee recommended that the open access experiment be expanded beyond the initial ten sites, three of which are operational, and identified additional universities and two small federations for the next implementation phase.

    Feedback on the impact of open access at the participating schools should be gathered by ICPSR staff and presented at the March committee meeting. This will involve phone contact with ORs and other support staff identified by ORs as contacts for their data users. Feedback from the ICPSR User Support unit also needs to be reported at the next meeting.

  4. Review of Membership Categories: The open access distribution mode has focused attention on the federated member category because open access at federated member schools would, in effect, provide them with the same service that individual members receive. Individual members pay a considerably higher fee than individual federated members. Also, Korey indicated that he had been in contact with a number of community colleges in California that were interested in becoming federated members. No special membership category currently exists for community colleges. Rather than deal with these issues piecemeal, the committee decided to look at the entire membership charging mechanism.

    The committee suggested researching other consortiums, cooperatives, and subscription service organizations to determine fee structure options, and to investigate other classification schemes, such as the Carnegie Commission system.

    Recognizing the enormity and impact of this effort, the committee recommended that additional Council members join the committee in researching and deliberating the issues over the next year or two. Accordingly, the committee recommended that additional time be set aside prior to the start of the March Council meeting for this committee, along with other Council members, to start these discussions.

Open Session

Meeting with ISR Director David Featherman: Featherman met with the ICPSR Council Members on Saturday, October 7, 2000. The following items were discussed:

  • Update on Myron Gutmann recruitment

  • Memorandum of Understanding

Myron Gutmann Recruitment: Featherman is waiting to hear from the Department of History regarding a tenured position for Myron Gutmann. As he understands now, LS&A has a new Dean who requires that a strategic plan be submitted and approved for any new positions within LS&A and at this time no plan for the History Department has been submitted.

Memorandum of Understanding: Council raised some concerns regarding the current Memorandum of Understanding for the Perry Building addition:

  • Can ISR make the final decision regarding the loan for the University of Michigan?

  • Is there a penalty if ISR misses a payment on the loan?

A decision was made by the Council to have an attorney, not associated with the University of Michigan, look over the Memorandum of Understanding. Featherman also informed the Council that ISR will be going to the University of Michigan Regents in December for final approval on the Perry Building addition.

He then concluded that he was very happy that Erik Austin had taken on the role of Acting Director of ICPSR. It was a sign of a healthy working relationship within ICPSR.

NSF Funding: Stephen Fienberg shared information from the NSF conference that he attended. He believes NSF will increase its funding within the next several years. There are no specific interest groups specified for the funding, all are welcome to apply. He noted that Norman Bradburn, Director of Social, Behavioral and Economic Science, said that the social science field is underfunded, and that this would be a good time to start building institutions within this area.

Executive Session

The Council continued its discussion of financial issues, including the financial relationship between ICPSR and the University of Michigan in the MOA. Michigan receives and manages the funds for the Consortium, including membership dues. In recent years, the Council has retained an attorney and bought liability insurance for Council members. These transactions imply a separate identity of Council and by implication ICPSR in special circumstances. There was general discussion of the appropriateness of considering a separate financial identity for such contingencies. The Council expressed willingness to secure an independent opinion of an attorney on the draft Memorandum of Understanding governing the mortgage loan for the construction of the Perry addition.

Director's Report

Acting Director Erik Austin reported to Council on the activities he will give priority to during the period of his interim Directorship. Closest attention will be paid to the Director transition, beginning with assistance in the recruitment of Myron Gutmann, and continuing through the phasing in of the new Director. Austin will also represent ICPSR within the Institute for Social Research and in the University of Michigan more broadly. This representation includes participating in the ISR Policy Committee and Center/Unit Director meetings, as well as attending (in an ex officio role) various functions, events, and presentations. High on Austin's priority list will be pushing forward several efforts on ICPSR facilities. These include the relocation of a fresh air intake in the Borders building, installation of an audible/visible fire alarm system in that building, programming future space that ICPSR will occupy in the Perry Addition, and further developing the ICPSR secure data enclave.

Austin also plans to undertake grant proposals that seek funds for activities rated as very important by the Council. These include obtaining support for ICPSR's 2000 Census activities, and the outside evaluation of the DDI effort to date. (Other funding opportunities may arise, as well, and those will be pursued as they present themselves.) Honing two sets of administrative procedures will also be high priority items for Austin and the staff in coming months. These involve devising better methods of tracking expenditures, and creating a more effective system of monitoring membership dues payments. Planning for the FY 2002 ICPSR budget and the 2001 OR Meeting must also begin by early 2001, and Austin will coordinate staff efforts on those activities. Finally, Austin will address staff morale problems, especially those highlighted in the 1999 ISR Survey on Diversity in the Workplace.

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