University of Vermont

Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering

VASE Board meeting August 18, 2014

Held in Middlebury at the home of VASE president Frank Winkler

Present: Chris Allen, Alan Betts, Dale Critchlow, Jeff Finkelstein, Grace Spatafora, Frank Winkler, Rich Wolfson

The meeting began at 5:10 PM. With 7 of the 9 board members in attendance, Frank declared a quorum present. Frank circulated the agenda, which had previously been made available by email, and the meeting proceeded to the individual agenda items:

1) Meetings and minutes: There was a brief discussion of meetings and minutes; the latter are generally posted on the VASE web site under Events. Chris moved, and Alan seconded, a motion that this meeting would be the annual Board meeting required by VASE bylaws. The motion passed unanimously.

2) Financial report: Frank introduced the financial report, including a proposed 2015 budget. There was considerable discussion of VASE funding, especially for the fall meeting dinner. Nearly all of VASE’s funding comes from the Vermont Technology Council (VTC), which does not permit use of these funds for VASE members’ dinners—although they can be used for Outstanding Teaching in Science awardees and their guests, as well as for the speaker and guest. There was general agreement that VASE needs to become established as a 501.3(c) entity with its own bank account. Chris and Frank described ongoing efforts toward the 501.3(c) designation, and Frank indicated that VASE may have this designation within several months to a year. There was some discussion of VASE’s relation to VTC, with the recognition that VTC’s Board constitutes VASE’s external governing board.

3) Membership: There was a discussion of how to handle members and affiliates with whom VASE has lost contact. A consensus emerged that we should not have a formal procedure for removing members, but we need to do a better job keeping track of when members have moved away, died, or otherwise become inaccessible. It was suggested that VASE send an email to everyone on the members and affiliates list asking if they want to continue to receive notifications of VASE events. Frank will send this email.

4) Board composition: There was general recognition of the need to bring new, energetic members to the VASE Board. At the same time, the importance of founding members and past presidents was recognized for their institutional memory. It was suggested that we might change the bylaws so that past presidents would serve for some limited term following their presidency, then go off the board. It was also deemed advisable to name a new President-Elect in time for that person to serve for a time on the Board before assuming the presidency. No action was taken on these suggestions. Several long-serving Board members expressed their willingness to be replaced. Board members will individually go over the VASE membership and suggest possible Board candidates.

5) Officers: VASE bylaws call for election of officers every two years; this year the positions of Treasurer and Secretary are up for election. Alan moved that Susan Wallace be re-elected Treasurer and Rich Wolfson be re-elected Secretary. There was unanimous consent to these re-elections.

6) New members: As of this meeting we have completed nominations for two candidates, Christopher C. Landry and Stephen F. Knowlton. CVs and supporting letters were circulated before this meeting. Alan moved that we elect Landry to VASE membership, and Jeff seconded. The motion passed unanimously. Dale moved Knowlton’s nomination, and Alan seconded. The motion passed unanimously. There followed a brief discussion of other nominations that might or might not be forthcoming, of the criteria for membership, and of the need to maintain a balance that includes a healthy representation of engineers and scientists from the business sector.

7) Small grants program: VASE received only one small equipment grant application this summer. Grace reported that we have reopened the application window, with a deadline of October 20 and responses before Thanksgiving if possible. An advertisement will be placed in the Vermont Department of Education newsletter, and emails will go to list-servers of school administrators and science teachers. It was suggested that there be a brief description or presentation on grant-supported projects at each fall meeting. There was some discussion of applying for a larger, multi-year grant, possibly from NSF’s nontraditional science education program, to support VASE’s K-12 outreach activities. Also discussed was the possibility of a formal corporate affiliates program—something that was tried informally with some success several years ago. This would become more feasible once VASE establishes its status as a 501.3(c) entity.

8) VASE’s role in advising state government: Board members expressed frustration that Vermont state government does not call on VASE for advice on science and technology issues. There was brief discussion about some reasons that might be behind this. It was suggested that we discuss this issue informally over dinner following the meeting.

9) Web site: Board members recognized that the VASE web site needs to be better maintained, with less convoluted procedures for updating. There was discussion of possibly getting our own domain name and perhaps a site that we can maintain ourselves.

The meeting adjourned at 6:45 PM and those who could stay enjoyed Frank and Janet’s gracious summer dinner.

Last modified September 04 2014 10:16 AM

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