NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD
|National Science Foundation
May 7-9, 1997
Richard N. Zare, Chairman
John A. Armstrong
Marv K. Gaillard
Sanford D. Greenberg
Charles E. Hess
John H. Hopcroft
James L. Powell
Frank H.T. Rhodes
Ian M. Ross
Robert M. Solow
Bob H. Suzuki
Warren M. Washington
John A. White, Jr.
Neal F. Lane. Director
F. Albert Cotton
Eamon M. Kelly
Eve L. Menger
Diana S. Natalicio
The National Science Board convened in Open session at 11:40 a.m. on Thursday, May 8, 1997, with Dr. Richard N. Zare. Chairman, presiding (Agenda NSB-97-97). In accordance with the government in the Sunshine Act, this portion of the meeting was open to the public.
AGENDA ITEM 5: LONG RANGE PLANNING
Dr. Neal Lane, NSF Director, provided an overview of the long-range planning discussion and its integration into the planning for the FY 1999 budget, which will focus on the most important directions for the National Science Foundation (NSF) over the next five years.
The Director discussed the current budget environment which, though improved from the recent past, is still somewhat turbulent. The Director reviewed the March NSB discussion, reminding the Board that NSF's budget has grown rapidly over the last 10 years relative to some indicators, such as the discretionary R&D budget, and tracks well with Federal investment in universities in general, a trend he expected to continue. The Research and Related Activities budget, however, has grown more slowly than the investment in universities in general, with a compensating rapid growth in NSF's education budget. He reminded the Board that under the terms of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) it would be necessary to submit to Congress a strategic plan by the end of summer committing NSF to certain measurable outcomes over a five year period. The draft strategic plan was submitted to Congress in mid-March, and the NSB/NSF Task Force on Government Performance and Results Act reviewed a revision during Wednesday's committee meeting. The budget submission for FY 1999 will require a performance plan that states objectives and how activities will be measured.
The Director explained that the breadth of NSF's mission and overarching goals requires that NSF act as a catalyst or agent of change for progress in its areas of responsibility, working in partnership with the science and engineering community, academic institutions, other agencies, private sector, and other countries.
He reviewed the "outcomes," outlined in the GPRA Strategic Plan, which are more explicit realizations of the core strategies described in the NSF Strategic PlanNSF in a Changing World: (1) Discoveries at and across the frontier of science and engineering; (2) vital connections between discoveries and their use in service to society; (3) development of a diverse, productive, globallv-oriented work force of scientists and engineers: (4) and facilitation of achievement of proficiency in essential mathematics and science skills for all Americans.
The FY 1998 budget translates some of these ideas. First, it reflects selective enhancements in all directorates. An effort was made across directorates to identify commonality among emerging areas and priorities, and three major categories of enhanced activity were defined: (1) Knowledge and distributed intelligence (KDI); (2) Life and earth's environment; and (3) Educating for the future. Each of the three emphases was designed to produce outcomes in one or more of the four "outcomes" in the GPRA Strategic Plan. KDI is the highest priority for incremental funds in the FY 1998 budget, reflecting opportunities and priorities across the agency in almost every field of science and engineering, as well as many educational activities. He requested that the Board provide guidance on whether the identified emphases capture the important cross-cutting thrusts for the next five years and also on the appropriate balance among these emphases.
He explained that NSF budgeting looks at priorities and balance within and among each four major function categories: research project support, research facilities, education and training, and administration and management. He explained further that now there will be an added layer of complexity with regard to how changes in priorities are likely to affect GPRA performance plan outcomes. Also, it will be necessary to lay out milestones for NSF's planned investment and emphasis areas based on the expected outcomes of those investments. He explained that the summary matrix prepared for the budget submission will have to allow for double counting to reflect overlapping impacts of investments. Dr. Lane asked for input from the Board on the NSF priority setting process, and whether the outcomes identified for the GPRA Strategic Plan capture NSF's key contributions to science and engineering research and education. He asked particularly for input from the Task Force on GPRA with regard to the Performance Plan.
Dr. Mitchell-Kernan noted the language of the Performance Plan, depicting NSF as a partner, stops short of the GPRA Task Force's desire to position NSF as a leader on certain dimensions. Dr. Jaskolski concurred with Dr. Mitchell-Keman, and noted further that the committee had identified information technology and communications as an emphasis in all four of the major outcome categories, as a critical tool for all these emphases. Dr. Greenwood cautioned that depicting NSF as a leader in one area, and by implication other agencies as leaders in other areas, may create undesirable tension among agencies.
Dr. Washington questioned whether the balance of key functions could be adjusted to take advantage of Congressional and Presidential interest in education in a way that would not impact research. Responding, Dr. Lane expressed interest in the Board's view, noting staff activities with other agencies to ensure that all Federal investments in this area are mutually reinforcing. He noted further that Foundation staff are active in responding to the Presidential Directive on Education.
Dr. Suzuki raised questions on how "outcomes" from individual investigators' research grants would be defined, noting that negative outcomes can also be significant stepping stones to major discoveries; and as a related question, does the Foundation fund enough high risk projects that could serve as critical building blocks to major discoveries?
Dr. Jaskolski concurred with these concerns, noting that the scientific literature does not adequately convey the importance of "failures" and requested that the GPRA plan express that funding discovery involves both positive and negative finding. Dr. Lane responded that outcomes from individual investigator grants could be expressed collectively across the Foundation, and expressed confidence that with expert opinion the case can be made for outcomes from such collective support.
Dr. Rubin questioned how achievement in education would be measured. Dr. Lane explained that outcomes could be measured in education of teachers, in implementing standards in larger communities, and other issues important to education, and that these outcomes can be shown quantitatively. The Committee of Visitors role would be expanded on an experimental basis to fulfill the need for expert evaluation of outcomes, and Dr. Lane noted that some experiments using this method were now underwav to test its utilitv. He also explained that the Systemic Initiatives include an evaluation component, so there is ample information on outcomes of those programs.
The Chairman recessed the meeting at 12:30p.m. and reconvened the Open Session at 1:OOp.m.
AGENDA ITEM 6: Government Funding of Scientific Research
Dr. Zare introduced the afternoon session on with a review of NSB national policy activities over the last few years, including:
The 1993 Task Force on the Role of the National Science Board, which considered issues of priority setting for research and NSB operations, and prepared the Board statement "In Support of Basic Research" (NSB-93-127) in May 1993;
Two additional Board statements in 1995, "Federal R&D Budget Realignment" (NSB-95-26) and "Federal Investments in Science and Engineering" (NSB-95-254), expressing concern with budget reductions implemented without first considering cumulative impacts of cuts on national S&E capabilities;
The Board Liaison Group, Fundamental Science, which worked with the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Fundamental Science to develop a high level "Leadership Exchange," March 28, 1995, among senior level staff and advisory group members in Federal agencies funding research and education programs; and finally,
In March 1996, the NSB meeting at the University of California, Davis, focusing on Science and Engineering Research and Education for the 2l"Century.
These previous efforts set the stage for the current discussion of issues, spearheaded and focused by the Ad HocCommitteeon Strategic S&E Policy Issues, Chaired by Dr. Ian Ross with members Drs. Mary K. Gaillard, Eve Menger, James Powell, and Robert Solow, using as a vehicle a draft White Paper on Government Funding of Scientific Research. Dr. Zare noted also contributions from distinguished invited guests Drs. Edward Davis and Frank Press at the February 1997 meeting, both of whom urged the Board to take a more active national policy role. The NSB Committee on Board Operations, whose report was accepted by the Board at its March 1997 meeting, likewise strongly supported a more assertive national policy role for the NSB, working with other organizations, and provided a meaningful framework to allow greater time to focus on this role.
Dr. Zare explained that the discussion would cover two topics: (1) The White Paper; and (2) the draft Resolution "Analyses to Assist in Preparation and Enactment of Federal Budgets for Science and Engineering Research and Education" discussed at the March meeting. Dr. Zare then asked Dr. Ross, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic S&E Policy Issues, to lead the discussion of the White Paper.
Board Discussion of the White Paper
Dr. Ross noted two objectives for the Board discussion: (1) to achieve a consensus on the Board position with respect to the main issues in the White Paper, and (2) if consensus were reached on the issues, determine what actions the Board should take. He explained that the four issues that had been chosen by the Committee for Board discussion were ones on which the Committee felt the Board could reach consensus in an area of importance to national policy, without resorting to special studies or other external resources. These included: (1) the definition of R&D, focusing on the distinction between research and development and their interrelationship: (2) the continued justification for government support of scientific research: (3) centralized coordination of Federally financed research, and (4) guidelines on setting priorities for research.
Dr. Ross recalled earlier Board discussions of the third issue, centralized coordination had failed to result in consensus. He noted too that, should the Board determine to support centralized coordination for Federally funded scientific research, that would imply some further study with regard to criteria for priority setting across fields of science, the subject of section 4 of the White Paper. Drs. Hopcroft and Armstrong had contributed the suggested charge for a yet to be identified group to examine methods for priority setting, included in section 4. Possibilities were explored in previous discussions for the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Academies of Science and Engineering, a task force, a study group, workshop or NSB commission to evaluate priority setting methodologies. No agreement had been reached on an appropriate vehicle. Dr. Ross noted his support for section 1 defining R&D, section 2 on continued justification of government support of scientific research, and stated that Board support for coordination of the budget would represent a major step forward. The fourth section would stimulate action, should coordination be something the Board could support.
Responding to Dr. Rhodes' question on the audience for the paper, Dr. Ross indicated that the paper should be addressed to the stakeholders in the R&D budget, including Congress, Administration, and leadership of the research community. He acknowledged Dr. Rhodes' concern that the third section be revised to be clearly independent of the report, Allocating Federal Funds for Science, Engineering, and Technology (the "Press"report). Responding to Dr. Greenberg as to whether the establishment of a Commission would take away from the Board's ability to participate in discussion of the issues in the national policy arena, Dr. Ross stated that the Boardis poorly constituted to undertake a study on priority setting itself and might be viewed by other stakeholders as partial to the National Science Foundation. A Board position supportive of central coordination and priority setting would be a substantial national policy contribution.
Dr. Rubin thanked Dr. Ross for the history of the White Paper, commended the R&D definitions, and recommended that research and development be contrasted as to their funding levels to help the reader understand more precisely the topic of concern. She urged caution in taking any action. Dr. Malcom likewise commended the definitions of R&D and suggested as a separate project an expansion of the document to be a primer for the public at large--a kind of financial statement to the public on its investments in research.
Dr. Lane noted that the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) must be considered when discussing Federal budgets, and urged greater clarity in articulating the dimensions of the Federal funding that are being considered in the White Paper. He further noted that the NSF education programs do not now appear in the R&D budget, though closely linked to part of the R&D enterprise and to academic research. Several members expressed support for including a few sentences about the integration of education and research in the discussion of R&D. Dr. Solow noted there were already some statements on universities and higher education in the document that could be expanded to make the connection between the health of the research establishment, health of education, and Federal funding.
Dr. Ross cautioned that the more complex the area of discussion, the more difficult to gain consensus among members of a large body like the Board. He stated his preference to produce a more limited, focused document that the Board could defend and consider doing more later, rather than trying to be comprehensive in a single work.
Dr. Armstrong expressed support for adopting the paper as a working paper of the Board, leaving open the question of next steps. He suggested further that Drs. Zare and Lane take the document and initiate discussions with other potential participants to test the level of interest in examining coordination in federally funded research, and to identify an appropriate mechanism for exploring methods for priority setting. Dr. Gaillard urged that a few sentences be added to not only defend science against attacks but also be more positive with respect to its contributions to quality of life.
Drs. Greenwood and Mitchell-Keman questioned what portion of the Federal R&D budget would be covered in a coordinated Federal research budget, noting the multiplicity of crosscuts in currently available reporting systems. Several Board members cautioned that it would be undesirable to be too rigid or narrow in the definition of funding to be included in consideration of priority setting. Dr. Greenwood offered to clarify the alternative budget categories and statistics for the next meeting.
Dr. Malcom noted that there are different ways of looking at methodology for priority setting, whether in terms of the categories into which fiends are placed or with respect to the articulation of decision roles. She suggested that articulating decision roles and developing tools and methodologies for analysis would be a useful contribution. She urged also the development of a strong statement addressed to the general public, including OMB and Congress, arguing for research as a public investment
Dr. Suzuki cautioned that NSF not appear to be politicizing the process of allocation in taking a leadership role in coordination, and questioned how such a reaction on the part of other stakeholders could be avoided. Dr. Hess suggested the possibility of a competitive program requesting proposals from experts to create a methodology for making allocations across fields of science. Results could be then be applied to NSF, where appropriate, which would serve as a model for other agencies. This would avoid the question of NSF trying to make allocation decisions for all Federally funded scientific research. Dr. Solow concurred, noting that the methodology now used for NSF allocations could be expanded to include a larger arena. He stated that, typically, decisions on allocation are not determined by direct competition between fields but rather by a decision as to where incremental funding might be invested to best advantage. The Issues Committee had hoped to extend this kind of thinking so that NSF and other agencies might include in their allocation decisions resources for science beyond their own programs.
Dr. Zare summarized the discussion by noting general support for the definitions of R&D. the history and rationale for Federal support of scientific research, and for some sort of central coordination of the budget. These views could be distributed as a working paper of the Board. A second phase could then explore methodologies for setting priorities working with other stakeholders. Board members and the Director could meet with other stakeholders to set their input on an appropriate vehicle--whether a commission, workshop or request to some group--for undertaking a study. The Board concurred with this approach, and asked that discussions with other stakeholders be initiated in parallel with completion of the paper.
Resolution on Analyses to Assist in the Federal Budget Process for S &E Research and Education
After a short presentation by Dr. Zare and discussion by the Board, the Board unanimously APPROVED a "Resolution Concerning Analyses to Assist in the Preparation and Enactment of Federal Budgets for Science and Engineering Research and Education" (NSB-97-71, attached as Appendix A).
AGENDA ITEM 7: Minutes, March 1997 Meeting
The Board unanimously APPROVED the Provisional Open Session Minutes of the March 26-28, 1997 meeting (NSB-97-96, Board book, Tab E).
AGENDA ITEM 8: Closed Session Agenda Items, August 1997 Meeting
The Chairman reviewed the Closed Session Agenda items and presented a resolution to close portions of the August 1997 meeting (NSB-97-84, Board book, Tab F). The Board's action on the proposed resolution and certification is attached to these minutes as Appendix B
AGENDA ITEM 9: Chairman's Report
a. NSB Executive Committee
The Chairman announced that the Board reelected Drs. Hess and Malcom to the Executive Committee for two-year terms expiring May 1999.
b. Announcements about Board members
The Chairman reported that Dr. Cotton will be awarded the 1998 Priestly Medal, the American Chemical Society's highest honor, for his profound contributions to inorganic chemistry, particularly to understanding the chemistry of transition metals. He made important contributions, as well, to chemical education as a teacher for more than four decades and coauthor of an enduring chemistry textbook.
Dr. Zare announced that Dr. White accepted an appointment as Chancello, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, effective July 1, 1997.
Dr. Zare also announced the death of Dr. Howard E. Simmons, Jr., Wilmington, Delaware, class of 1996, on April 26, 1997, and Dr. Sophie Aberle, Albuquerque, New Mexico, in October 1996. Dr. Aberle was the last surviving Charter Board member and died just a few days after her 100th birthday. She was also the first woman appointed to serve on the Board.
c. NSF Electronic Custom News Service
The Chairman noted that instructions for subscribing to the electronic custom news service were mailed to Board members in April (NSB-97-83). Subscribing to this service can greatly reduce the amount of paper mailed to the Board from the Foundation.
d. NSB Committees
(1) Task Force on Merit Review
The Chairman discharged the Task Force on Merit Review chaired by Dr. Washington, with Drs. Gaillard, Kelly and Malcom as members. Mr. Paul Herer, Senior Advisor for Planning/Technology Evaluation, Engineering Directorate, served as Executive Secretary. The Chairman thanked the Chair, Task Force members and NSF staff for a superb job on the report.
(2) Ad Hoc Committee on the Vannevar Bush Award for 1997.
The Chairman discharged the Committee, chaired by Dr. Cotton. with Drs. Malcom and Solow as members. Mrs. Susan E. Fannonev, Staff Assistant, National Science Board, served as Executive Secretary.
(3) The Chairman announced the establishment of a NSF/NSB Committee on the 50th Anniversary of NSF. Membership of the Committee will be announced shortly.
(4) The Chairman announced the establishment of a Committee to plan the Board's October 1997 off-site meeting. The Chairman also asked Board members to submit suggestions regarding possible locations for this meeting to Dr. Cehelsky, NSB Executive Officer. Membership of the Committee will be announced shortly.
e. Mr. James McCullough
The Chairman announced that Mr. James McCullough, Senior Policy Officer, National Science Board Office, would be retiring this year after 35 years of government service. Mr. McCullough came to NSF from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where he served a term as a senior analyst to the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. The Chairman thanked Mr. McCullough for his work at the NSF, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and other organizations, and for his valuable assistance to the Board, including assistance on the Strategic Policy and Planning Committee, and the Merit Review Task Force.
AGENDA ITEM 10: Director's Report
The Director stated that on May 2 White House and Congressional leaders announced agreement on a plan to balance the Federal budget by the year 2002. The plan includes reductions in entitlement spending, significant reductions in certain areas of the Tax Code, and reductions in domestic spending from projected levels and Congressional plans. The agreement will significantly influence the allocation that each Appropriations Subcommittee will receive.
NSF completed hearings before both the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees, both of which went well. In the House there was considerable interest on topics such as Japanese investment in R&D, needs not met in the current Budget proposals, supercomputing, Internet domain name registration, math and science education programs for women and minorities, and NSF’s support for two-year colleges through the Advanced Technology Education Program. The U.S. Senate discussions focused on prioritysetting, particularly as related to the Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence (KDI) Initiative. .Also discussed were plant genome research, particularly regarding mustard, corn and plants, and the Year 2000 computer issue. On May 7 hearings were held by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation focusing on education and research.
The House of Representatives passed an NSF authorization bill for FY 1997. It is a two-year bill, with a 7.2% increase in the year FY 1998 over FY 1997, and a 3% increase for FY 1999. In FY 1998 the bill provides a 5% increase in the Research and Related Account and in FY 1999 a 7% increase in the Research and Related Account. The Education & Human Resources (EHR) Account is at the President's request in FY 1998, and 3% in FY 1999.
The Senate has shown more interest this year in the NSF authorization bill, which is overseen by the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. NSF’s most recent authorizing bill was enacted in FY 1989 and expired at the end of FY 1993.
b. President's National Medal of Science
The Director stated that on April 30 the White House, the National Science Foundation, and the Technology Administration, Department of Commerce, jointly announced the 1997 National Medal of Science and National
Medal of Technology recipients. The Science recipients are: Drs. William K. Estes, Harvard University; Darleane C. Hoffman, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Glenn T. Seaborg, Institute for Transactinium Science, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Harold S. Johnston, University of California, Berkeley; Marshall N. Rosenbluth, Professor and Research Physicist, University of California, San Diego; James D. Watson, President, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Robert A. Weinberg, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology; George W. Wetherill, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC, and Shing-Tung Yau, Harvard University. A posthumous award will be given to Dr. Martin Schwarzschild, Princeton University, who died on April 10.
The individual Technology recipients are: Mr. Norman Augustine, Lockheed Martin: Mr. Ray M. Dolby, Dolby Laboratories, Inc., and Dr. Robert S. Sledley, Georgetown University Medical School. One team award will be presented to Mr. Vinton Cray Cerf, MCI Communications Corp., and Mr. Robert E. Kahn, National Research Initiatives.
c. Dr. Richard N. Zare
The Director announced that Dr. Zare will be presented the National Aeronautics & Space Administration's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal on June 17 at a ceremony in Washington, DC. Dr. Zare will be recognized for his exceptional scientific contributions that resulted in the discovery of possible ancient life on Mars.
AGENDA ITEM 11: Executive Committee Annual Report
In accordance with the requirements of Section 7(d) of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended, Dr. Lane, Chairman, NSB Executive Committee, submitted the annual report of the Executive Committee (NSB/EC-97-15, Board Book, Tab G). Dr. Lane noted that the 1997 report was more extensive than usual because of the numerous quorum problems at recent Board meetings. Thirty separate actions were taken by the Committee, with all but three taken in the context of three Board meetings in July and August 1996, and March 1997.
AGENDA ITEM 12: Calendar of Meetings 1998
The Chairman called the Board's attention to the calendar of Board meetings for 1998 (NSB-97-100, Board Book, Tab H). He noted that the February meeting will include a retreat and the October meeting will be held off-site from the NSF. The calendar and resolution were unanimously adopted and are attached to these minutes as Appendix C.
AGENDA ITEM 13: Reports from Committees
The Chairman called for Committee reports.
a. Audit and Oversight Committee (A&O) .
Dr. Hess, Chairman, A&O, reported that in the supervisory session the Committee heard a presentation by
Dr. Bordogna, Acting Deputy Director, and Mr. Joseph Kull, Director, Office of Budget, Finance and Awards Management, and Ms. Linda Sundro, Inspector General (IG), on the financial audits required under the Chief Financial Officer Audit legislation on plant, property and equipment. Three options were provided to resolve the problem of accounting for the off-site equipment part of NSF grants. The Committee agreed that the first option presented--to do nothing and make no investments in terms of audit costs until there is additional written guidance from OMB, FSAEB, or GAO--was the appropriate course of action at this time.
The Committee reviewed the Inspector General's semiannual report No. 16 and instructed the Director's Liaison to the A&O Committee to prepare the NSB's Management Report for transmittal by May 30.
The Inspector General and the NSF Director will testify before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, to explore management issues with a representative of the Foundation's management, OIG, and cognizant GAO staff on May 14. Issues to be explored at the hearing were identified by GAO and include the Foundation's implementation of GPRA, misconduct in science, the resolution of audit exceptions identified in the Foundation's COF audit and the SBIR Program.
In the Open Session the Committee received reports from (1) Dr. Susan Cozzens, Director, Office of Policy Support (OPS), Office of the Director, on the Proposal Review Advisory Team, an external group considering options for the Merit Review System; (2) Dr. Robert Webber, OPS, on the plans for redesigning the work of the Committee of Visitors (COVs) to incorporate examination results, along with the process examination COVs now carry out: and (3) Dr. Judith Sunley, Assistant to the NSF Director, about the treatment of merit review in the GPRA strategic plan, where it is the first critical factor for success. On the Federal definition of misconduct, Dr. Sunley reported that the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) had received comments from the agencies and was beginning to revise its draft report.
b. Education & Human Resources (EHR)
Dr. Malcom Chair, EHR noted that the Committee save a unanimous positive recommendation for the Foundation to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to obtain contract services to support operation of the Graduate Fellowship program. The Committee heard an update on the activities of the Science and Engineering Indicators Subcommittee, which summarized the process being used to prepare and review chapters. The Committee also discussed ways in which the Indicators Program might act as an engine for generating policy related pieces.
The Committee received a briefing on current Foundation activities in cognition and learning. The Committee also endorsed a staff plan to ask the Acting Deputy Director to establish a Foundation-wide working group on cognition and learning to develop an interdirectorate plan.
EHR Subcommittee on Science and Engineering Indicators (S&EI)
Dr. Mitchell-Kernan, Chair, S&EI, reported that the next volume is progressing well, and the subcommittee now has a schedule for production of first drafts of each chapter. She noted that a lulu meeting would probably be held by telecommunication. The Subcommittee received a briefing on the status of chapter 8 (economic and social impacts of science and technology. She noted that the subcommittee hoped to have the entire Board involved in reviewing chapters, with one lead reviewer and two secondary reviewers for each chapter, and further explained that Board members would be asked for suggestions for selection criteria and candidates for outside reviewers on each chapter. She reported that a workshop is being planned for the fall for an international conference focusing on the use of scientific and engineering indicators in other countries in policy development, by government, and by other sectors. She expressed the hope 0 that the conference might inform several Board policy activities.
c. Executive Committee (EC)
Dr. Lane, Chairman, EC, reported that the Executive Committee reviewed the agenda for the May Board meeting, including items of annual NSB business: approved the Executive Committee's annual report for transmission to the Board as required by law; and considered and agreed to present to the Board a resolution regarding the NSB Executive Officer. With Dr. Zare absent from the room, the Committee received a report from the NSB Executive Officer with respect to a proposal submitted to NSF by Dr. Zare. The Board members had all received the review package and reported no concerns.
d. Programs & Plans (CPP)
Dr. Hopcroft, Chair, CPP, reported that the Committee reviewed the proposed construction of two high energy detectors for the proposed Large Hadron Collider (LHC) facility in Geneva, Switzerland. The Committee asked that the proposed resolution be amended to be contingent upon Congressional approval of US participation in the LHC project.
The Committee was informed that the Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes Program would be recompeted after the current renewal cycle, and reviewed the proposed award for bridge funding for the two existing institutes for three years. The Committee also discussed long-range facilities planning regarding the major research equipment (MIRE) budget and Board policy on recompetition. A small subcommittee of CPP including staff will be assigned to structure a discussion of recompetition policy, perhaps at the August meeting. Dr. Hopcroft noted the consensus of the committee that recompetition improves quality and should be the norm, but for the inevitable exceptions there should be well-documented explanations. Due to time constraints, the status review of the Gemini, Arecibo, and Greenbank telescope projects and the discussion of the Partnerships in Basic Plasma Science and Engineering were deferred to the August meeting.
e. NSB/NSF Task Force on GPRA
Dr. Mitchell-Kernan, Acting for Dr. John White, Chair of the Task Force who was absent, reported on Task Force discussion of the draft GPRA Strategic Plan. The Task Force indicated its support for the draft and revisions that had been made to it, including a shorter list of outcomes, crisper language, and tighter conceptualization. The Task Force gave the following guidance concerning additional revisions: (1) To the extent possible, insert language to convey NSF's leadership role in appropriate areas, while being sensitive to avoid the appearance of "mission creep," perhaps using phrases such as "collaborative leadership;" (2) Information technologies should be emphasized, as an area where NSF has taken a substantial lead; (3) It should be conveyed more forcefully that NSF supports cutting-edge research on the frontiers.
AGENDA ITEM 14: Systemic Initiatives Review
Dr. Lane opened the presentation by stating that the Foundation's systemic reform in the states, urban and rural areas is critically important to education, and calls for a presentation to the Board of the activities that have occurred recently. He noted Congressional interest and the need to help the nation come to grips with the challenge of K-12 education in undertaking this high risk effort. Dr. Lane called on Dr. Shirley Malcom, Chair, EHR Committee, to comment.
Dr. Malcom welcomed the opportunity to share the EHR Committee's insights and perspective with the Board so that all members are informed with regard to the problems addressed and approaches taken in resolving the problems in the Systemic Initiatives.
Dr. Luther Williams, Assistant Director, Education & Human Resources Directorate, provided an overview of the systemic initiatives program, which began in the early 1990's. Dr. Williams noted the complexity of the task of reforming the K-12 system for mathematics and science education. The effort is to build a standards-based, quality math-science education enterprise, based on "learning" throughout the entire continuum of students for which the system has responsibility, other than the students with special problems. Dr. Williams noted that implementing a standardsbased operation is a long-term, painstaking task.. It is being approached by three strategies: (1) Six years ago, a statewide version was initiated based on agreements between NSF and states willing to develop a comprehensive proposal to reform their systems. There are now 18 such sites, and 26 sites have been involved in the course of the program; (2) The Urban Systemic Initiative was a response to recognition that urban districts have special problems not shared throughout the state. There are now 20 geographically dispersed programs developed over the last three years; and (3) The rural initiatives. which are interstate, serve a region and not any individual state.
Dr. Williams noted that, although the K-12 math-science education is the largest component of the EHR Directorate budget (61%), only one-third is devoted to the three systemic initiatives. Recognizing that these are high risk ventures, major investments have been made to reduce risk by a thorough review prior to an award, with follow-up reviews over the course of the projects. The proposal review process consists of initial review by an external panel of mathematicians and math and science educators; an external panel site visit to validate the proposal's resources and proposed interactions among players; and a third review of the leadership of the proposed partnership venture. The final decision is made on the basis of these reviews. Following approval by the National Science Board, the NSF Director enters negotiations for a cooperative agreement with the awardee. Dr. Williams explained that there is an emphasis following the outset of the award on holding the systems accountable for implementing the proposal. The greatest challenge is to try to make sure the initiatives do not devolve into isolated projects.
NSF employs a very elaborate process of monitoring and accountability, including interim and endpoint evaluations. The staff undertake a series of site visits, annual reports are required, and there is a midpoint examination after 2.5 years. Technical assistance is offered where needed. The initiatives are reviewed for those characteristics that experience shows are most important to success from the point of view of the classroom or school district: (1) implementation of the standards-based curriculum K-12; (2) requisite competence on the part of teachers to deliver the curriculum; (3) instructional programs used; (4) hands-on inquiry with focused, standards-based instructional material; and (5) standards-based assessment.
Dr. Williams identified six critical developments that measure systemic reform: evidence that the program has increased students' performance in math and science individually and in the aggregate; evidence the program serves all students in the system; implementation of a comprehensive, standards-based curriculum; development of a coherent, consistent set of policies supporting the systemic reform of the educational system; convergence of all resources to support the reform program via a focused and unitary strategy; and broad-based support from all segments of the community.
Dr. Williams reported that educational systems are transitioning toward standards-based operations in a number of cities and states. The value of taking baseline measurements of performance required by the program is illustrated by the ability now to measure performance improvements. He offered one example of the Massachusetts statewide system initiative where $2 million in NSF funds was leveraged to reform a $2 billion system. NSF has primarily supported improvement in the quality of the math and science teachers, adoption and implementation of math and science standards, and development of distributional capacity to expand the reform from a few to many schools.
Dr. Williams identified as a major challenge the rigorous measurement of differences in the performance of students in areas with and without systemic reform projects and the attribution of improvements to NSF efforts.
In response to questions from members. Dr. Williams reported that a report on lessons learned from the statewide and urban systemic initiatives is being prepared and that in the case of cities that prove unable to carry out program, each case must be taken on its own merits. After considerable deliberations and working with the particular school system, the agency must be willing to make the decision to discontinue the initiative.
Responding to a question from Dr. Suzuki on whether initial teacher expectations and attitudes or local empowerment of teachers are important factors, Dr. Williams noted the focus by NSF on professional development of teachers, and rewards for high performance. He stated that he could not judge the influence of local empowerment on success, but that participation in a community of colleagues among teachers via the Internet has been important for professional development. Dr. Malcom noted that efforts providing professional development to teachers and involving partners outside the system, other than the systemic initiatives, also afford tremendous opportunity to learn.
AGENDA ITEM 15: Other Business/Adjourn
There was no other business and the open session was adjourned at 5:55 p.m.
Susan E. Fannoney
Appendix A: Resolution (NSB-97-71)
Appendix B: Closing portions of August 1997 meeting
Appendix C: Calendar of Meetings (NSB-97-100)
Attachment A to NSB-97-114
May 8, 1997
RESOLUTION APPROVED BY THE NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD
AT ITS 343rd MEETING, MAY 7-8, 1997, CONCERNING
ANALYSES TO ASSIST IN PREPARATION AND ENACTMENT
OF FEDERAL BUDGETS FOR SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
WHEREAS investment in science and engineering research and education are critical to the national well-being; and
WHEREAS a balanced, integrated and coordinated Federal budget for science and engineering research and education is needed to safeguard and optimize the Nation’s investment in its future; and
WHEREAS theNational Science Board has been charged in the NSF Organic Act to monitor the health of science and engineering research and education in the United States and to render to the President for submission to the Congress reports on indicators of the state of science and engineering in the United States;
Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED that the National Science Board:
AFFIRMS its strong support for the development of a balanced, integrated, and coordinated Federal budget for science and engineering research and education; and
WILL DEVELOP, in consultation with relevant Federal agencies and other bodies, analyses based on its biennial report Science and Engineering lndicators. infurtherance of this goal.
Attachment B to NSB-97-114
Record of Discussion
National Science Board
May 7-9, 1997
The Chairman, Executive Committee, presented a list of items to be considered in Closed Session at the August 1997 meeting (NSB-97-84). A proposed resolution and a certification from the General Counsel regarding closing these portions of the meeting were also distributed. The Board adopted the proposed resolution as follows:
The Executive Committee DETERMINED that the following portions of the meeting of the National Science Board (NSB) scheduled for August 20-22, 1997 shall be closed to the public:
(1) That portion in which minutes of the closed sessions of earlier meetings will be discussed. An open meeting on that portion would be likely to compromise information and discussions properly held confidential under the Board's resolutions authorizing the closed sessions.
(2) Those portions having to do with discussions regarding nominees for appointment as National Science Board (NSB) members and National Science Foundation (NSF) staff or with specific staffing or personnel actions. An open meeting on these subjects would be likely to constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
(3) Those portions having to do with future budgets not yet submitted by the President to the Congress.
(4) Those portions having to do with pending proposals and proposed awards for specific grants, contracts, or other arrangements. An open meeting on those portions would be likely to disclose personal information and constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy. It would also be likely to disclose research plans and other related information that are trade secrets, and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that are privileged or confidential. An open meeting would also prematurely disclose the position of the NSF on the proposals in question before final negotiations and any determination by the Director to make the awards and so would be likely to frustrate significantly the implementation of the proposed Foundation action.
Susan E. Fannonev
Attachment C to NSB-97-114
April 28, 1997
MEMORANDUM TO MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD
SUBJECT: NSB Meeting Dates for Calendar Year 1998 and Executive Committee dates for 1997-1998
As part of its annual business conducted at the May meeting, the Board approves its meeting schedule for the next calendar year.
At the February meeting the Executive Committee approved, on behalf of the Board, the Report of the Ad Hoc NSB Committee on Board Operations that recommended the Board calendar consist of a total of five meetings: four regular business meetings held at NSF, one off-site meeting held in other parts of the country, and one retreat, held in connection with a Board meeting. The Board also approved the recommendations that committee meetings be scheduled on Wednesdays and, if needed, also on Fridays. We have taken into account possible conflicts with holidays and with major meetings of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and have checked your calendars with your assistants.
The following calendar of meetings will be presented for your approval at the May Board meeting.
1998 Calendar of NSB Meetings
February 25, 26, 27, 28 (fourth week) [including NSB retreat]
May 6, 7, 8 (second week)
August i2, 13, 14 (second week)
October 7, 8, 9 (first week) [off-site, location TBA]
November 18,19, 20 (third week)
Executive Committee Meetings 1997-1998
June 19,1997 (Thursday)
January 23,1998 (Friday)
June 18,1998 (Thursday)
The following resolution is proposed for your consideration:
The National Science Board approves the schedule of Board meeting dates for Calendar Year 1998 and Executive Committee meeting dates for 1997 and 1998 as contained in NSB-97-100.