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This USUCGER meeting was held concurrently, during the
Conference of the Transportation Research Board in the Atrium 1 conference
room, Exhibit Level, Sheraton Washington Hotel, Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
At 5:05 p.m., the meeting of the U.S. Universities Council on Geotechnical
Engineering Research (USUCGER) was called to order by outgoing President
Thomas Zimmie. The meeting was attended by 33 delegates from US
universities and seven board members: T. Zimmie, L. Anderson, P.W. Mayne,
M.T. Tumay, R. Finno, F. Townsend, and W.D. Kovacs.
The first issue of business was the establishment of a new reign of
officers, following the recent elections of representatives by email. Two
new elected board members: Professor Deborah Goodings of University of
Maryland (currently on leave at Cambridge Univ., U.K.) and Professor Bill
Kovacs, University of Rhode Island were welcomed. Outgoing members:
Professor Loren Anderson of Utah State and Professor Frank Townsend were
thanked for their service to USUCGER over the past several years. Exiting
President Zimmie also turned over the USUCGER leadership to incoming
President Mehmet T. Tumay, Director of Research at Louisiana Transportation
Research Center. Prof. Zimmie of RPI remains as board member of USUCGER.
Richard Finno (Northwestern) and Paul Mayne (Georgia Tech) remain on the
board as treasurer and secretary, respectively, for the next year.
The commendable job of Prof. Roman Hryciw (University of Michigan) in
establishing and maintaining the USUCGER website with email addresses of
some 500 geotech researchers throughout the U.S. and Canada was acknowledged.
A previous closed meeting of the USUCGER Board was held during the ASCE
Geotechnical Specialty Conference on Uncertainty in the Geologic Environment
Uncertainty '96) at Madison, Wisconsin, on August 1, 1996 to discuss
arious financial matters and item topics to be addressed at this open
meeting on January 13, 1997.
An open USUCGER Forum was held on Friday August 2, 1996 during Uncertainty
'96 and was well-attended by approximately 60 participants. The guest
speaker was Mr. David E. Schulz, Director of the Infrastructure Technology
Institute at Northwestern University, who spoke on "The Role of Research in
the Year 2000: University-Government-Private Sector Responsibilities".
R. Finno gave a summary of the USUCGER budget report. Currently, the CD
account holds approx. $20k, an remaining account at Univ. WI holds approx.
$11k, and a general banking account at $8k, giving a total value of $39k.
Operating expenses have been running at about $7000/year. The annual dues
generally provides the revenues for the annual operating expenses.
A proposal has been submitted by USUCGER to NSF for a 3-year funding period.
One intention is to host a general meeting of USUCGER member universities
and subsidize a portion of each university member's travel expenses (say up
to $500 limit). The last such meeting was held at University of
Texas/Arlington in March of 1991. Additional possible funding from FHWA and
AFOSR was also discussed at that time.
The payment of dues by USUCGER member universities was discussed. Several
universities have still not paid past dues and often several notices must be
sent to remind members to pay. Prof. M. O'Neill (Univ. of Houston) pointed
out that a formal invoice notice would be more effective and easier to pay
than current informal procedure. An invoice with tax ID#, amount of dues,
etc. can be issued by the Treasurer via email and this would facilitate
payment by the business offices of each university.
NEW PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Two new geotechnical professional organizations have been formed within the
past year: the ASCE Geo-Institute and the GeoCouncil. Brief descriptions
of the makeup and roles of each organization were discussed, primarily for
The Geo-Institute was formerly the ASCE Geotechnical Engineering Division
which has separated itself as a more self-controlling body. Now, there is
some degree of accountability of funds allocations, conference agenda, and
professional decisions made by a committee of geotechnical types. ASCE will
still play a major role in producing publications and assisting the
Geo-Institute in conferences, journals, and related matters. Membership
dues will be handled by ASCE. As the Geo-Institute matures, elected
officials will replace the current Geotech Executive Board.
The GeoCouncil is "an organization of organizations" in a move to have more
powerful representation on the behalf of all industries and peoples involved
with geo-engineering concerns. The GeoCouncil will incorporate member
organizations from academe, industry, consulting, and government, including
DRI, GRI, ADSC, the above Geo-Institute, ASFE, USUCGER, FHWA, USAE, and others.
UPCOMING USUCGER Sessions at GeoLOGAN '97 CONFERENCE
The first specialty geotechnical conference under the new Geo-Institute
jurisdiction will be held July 16 to 19, 1997 at Utah State in Logan, Utah.
A number of specialty sessions on topics ranging from pile foundations, site
investigation, modeling, and other topics were discussed by Prof. Loren
Anderson. Details may be found at website:
A USUCGER Session is planned at the GeoLogan'97 conference that will address
the issue: "Research: Who's Responsibility?" and the program will have
four keynote speakers to represent academe (President G.Wayne Clough,
Georgia Tech), state government (Gov. Levett, Utah), private industry (Dr.
Neil Williams, GeoSyntec Consultants), and Federal Agencies (undecided).
REPORT BY THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
An update of the NSF Geomechanical, Geotechnical, & Geoenvironmental program
was given by Dr. Priscilla P. Nelson. A new head of the NSF Engineering
Directorate is Ron Sack. They will be stressing more interdisciplinary type
research activities, particularly with multiple PI's. More funding will be
directed at cross-disciplinary efforts. Our program runs about a 1 in 5
success rate for proposal funding. The Research Education Undergraduates
(REUs) is receiving a high priority and most all requested REUs have been
funded. Note: REU requires an existing contract in place and "piggie-backs"
an award of about $4000/undergrad.
A new GOALIE proposal program is available. This promotes partnerships
between academic and industry researchers. An upcoming new funding budget
will be inititated this spring concerned with Environmental Technologies,
particularly new monitoring devices, concepts, and evaluation of in-situ
NSF would like USUCGER to be more active in promotion of the National
Geotechnical Experimentation Sites (NGES) that have been established for
research activities. Use of NGES data for educational purposes would be
welcomed. A formal listing of USUCGER members on the move would be helpful
(i.e., list of faculty member who have changed addresses/universities).
NEXT ELECTIONS OF OFFICERS/MEMBERS
Some brief discussion concerning the effectiveness of a one-year term for
the USUCGER president was made. It was pointed out that the officers would
be more effective in a multi-year term. Rather than change the bylaws, it
was noted that nothing prevented re-appointment of officers to the same term.
The USUCGER meeting was closed at 6:35 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Paul W. Mayne, Secretary.
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