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NOVEMBER 2019

I want to welcome you to my new quarterly email. In "From the UCAR President," I will highlight recent events that I believe are significant for our community. I look forward to any feedback that you may have. Please email me at tonyb@ucar.edu with comments or suggestions. 

Sincerely, Tony
Tony BusalacchiIt is a great privilege to welcome three new members to the UCAR consortium. The additions of Clemson University, Michigan Technological University, and Indiana University, approved at the annual Members Meeting last month, brings us to 120 members. Our consortium is made stronger with these additions, bolstering our mission to support world-leading research for the betterment of society. The entire Earth system science community benefits from the excellent research and education done at each of our member universities.

One of the highlights of the Members Meeting was a visit by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. Sen. Whitehouse, who has a strong interest in climate policy, gave a lunchtime address on how researchers can be better advocates for science. He took a number of questions from members about such issues as potential congressional initiatives on climate change. Then, he took a tour of the Mesa Lab and listened to presentations about new scientific research into water, wildfires, and other climate-related topics. In all, Sen. Whitestone and his staff spent six hours with us, learning about our priorities and new research directions.
Sen. Whitehouse during a break at the UCAR Annual Members Meeting in October. (Image: Simmi Sinha/UCAR)
In other policy-related news, we continue to work with the larger community and our NOAA colleagues on priorities for the Earth Prediction Innovation Center, or EPIC. These efforts are supported by a new bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators John Thune of South Dakota and Brian Schatz of Hawaii, called the Learning Excellence and Good Examples from New Developers, or LEGEND, Act. It would clarify and strengthen efforts by EPIC to develop collaborative models, based on the senators' belief that contributions from outside experts, including scientists and engineers in academia, will lead to new insights that will improve operational models. We strongly support the legislation, and we stand ready and willing to help as the nation leverages the breadth and depth of the academic community in order to advance Earth system science.

Finally, as you may know, I was inspired by the example set by Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, who will no longer accept any speaking invitation where attention to inclusiveness is not evident. I recently made the decision as the president of UCAR that I will also decline to serve on any speaking panels for which attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion is not evident in the composition of the panels. If women, people of color, and other traditionally marginalized groups are passed over for panels, it can do real damage to their careers, and we also lose a diverse range of perspectives. At UCAR, we have established a formal program to support and enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment also extends to the composition of advisory panels at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and UCAR Community Programs (UCP), both of which are managed by UCAR. In this regard, I do know that both NCAR Director Everette Joseph and UCP Director Bill Kuo are sensitive to the importance of having those that advise us be representative of the community we serve.(Read my full statement.)

When Dr. Collins issued his powerful statement, he challenged other leaders in the biomedical enterprise to join him. Although diversity within and among meteorology, oceanography, and hydrology is different than the health sciences, I accepted his challenge. It is now my turn to challenge other leaders in Earth system science to join me.

Sincerely,
Antonio J. Busalacchi
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