As we move into the holiday season of this unusual year, I want to provide you with an update on events at UCAR and NCAR.
Our campuses remain closed to all non-essential scientific visitors, as well as to the public. The organization continues to be in an expanded essential staff phase, which means that about 5-15% of staff are on site while the rest of us are teleworking. With COVID-19 cases increasing here in the Boulder area as well as across the country, we have decided that the majority of staff will continue to telework at least through the end of March. As I have said since the beginning of the pandemic, my top priority is the health and safety of staff.
I was very pleased with the success of our first-ever virtual Members Meeting in October. Sessions that were held by the UCAR Community Programs highlighted ways they can further help the community through remote teaching best practices, collaboration with university partners, and data resources. The NCAR sessions focused on initiating discussions with the broader community to get feedback on specific scientific themes that are being explored as part of the new NCAR Strategic Plan, such as convergent science and unified modeling.
The members elected three new institutional trustees:
- Shuyi Chen, University of Washington
- Susan Lozier, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Sandra Yuter, North Carolina State University
The members also elected two new trustees-at-large: Rita Colwell, the former NSF Director who is now with the University of Maryland, and Patty Leslie, who previously served as UCAR Chief Financial Officer and is now with the University of Colorado Foundation.
I am excited that UCAR also added a new member, University of Texas, El Paso, which is a minority-serving institution. In addition, the Board of Trustees, which held a virtual meeting during the same week as the Members Meeting, expressed its appreciation of UCAR’s ongoing pandemic response and planning. The trustees noted that UCAR’s finances remain strong, as evidenced by Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings and Moody’s Investor Service recently reaffirming UCAR’s A2 an A+ long-term bond ratings.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the February Board of Trustees meeting will also be held virtually.
I am excited to report that NCAR has named three new lab directors after conducting international searches. Each of the new directors is highly distinguished in her field and will bring fresh perspectives to NCAR research: