Minutes of the USUCGER Board Meeting
April 20, 1998 
Held 5:30 pm to 8:15 pm,
Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, Atlanta GA
Minutes of Board Meeting Submitted by Ahmed Elgamal

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Board Members in Attendance:

Dr. Mehmet T. Tumay, President USUCGER, LTRC, Baton Rouge, LA
Dr. Rich Finno, Treasurer USUCGER, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL
Dr. Paul W. Mayne, Secretary USUCGER, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
Dr. Bill Kovacs, Univ. Rhode Island, Providence, RI
Dr. Deborah Goodings, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD
Dr. Tom Zimmie, Rennsalaer Polytechnic Inst., Troy, NY
Dr. Ahmed Elgamal, Univ. of California-San Diego, CA
Dr. Kyle Rollins, Brigham-Young University, Provo, UT

Additional representatives and members of various universities.

1. Meeting opened at 5:30 p.m. by Pres. Tumay and welcomed the two new
board members, Dr. Kyle Rollins and Dr. Ahmed Elgamal.
2. Past service of Prof. Sandra Houston of Arizona State and Prof. Tom
Zimmie of RPI was acknowledged.
3. Prof. Roman Hryciw of Univ. of Michigan was cited for his excellence in
service in maintaining the USUCGER Website & Email Listing.
4. Brief report by Treas. Finno on the USUCGER budget, now includes funds
from NSF to hold an update USUCGER Workshop & Proceedings.
5. Briefing was provided on a number of issues:

5.1 ASTM discussions with the Advocates for Professional Judgment in
Geoprofessional Practice (APJGP). This coordinated through the GeoCouncil
and spokesman, Peter Smeallie. Update on info may be found at:
This issue involves some specific wording on ASTM "Standards of Practice",
or preferably called "Practice Guides", in order to avoid the prescription
of professional engineering responsibilities. Member of the audience, Jeff
Farrar of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, offered his opinion that the
geotechnical community should not be so vocal & visible about the ongoing
ASTM-APJGP debate. Perhaps to some, the difficulty is semantics, while to
others, it is an important distinction between setting irreversible
legalization of professional practice rules. It was pointed out that ASTM
Standards for Individual Test Methods (e.g., moisture content, etc.) are
palatable and reasonable, yet a prescribed "Standard Practice for
Geotechnical Engineering" would stifle innovation, creativity, and judgment.

5.2 Dr. Tumay discussed the questionnaire on National Geotechnical
Experimentation Sites (NGES). Results have been posted on the USUCGER
Bulletin Board (see 5.4 below).

5.3 The issue of a possible alliance between the Geo-Institute & USUCGER
was again raised. General feeling was held that the two organizations would
continue informal communications, as now, without the need for a formal
mechanism at this time.

5.4 The USUCGER Bulletin is now available at the website:

5.5 The membership directory is interactive and located at the USUCGER
Bulletin, available to dues-paying members of USUCGER.

6.1 The 1998 USUCGER WORKSHOP will be held November 15-17 (Sunday-Tuesday)
in Newport, Rhode Island. The event is the third USUCGER Workshop
(Houston/TX, 1987; Arlington/TX, 1991). Prof. Bill Kovacs of the Univ. of
Rhode Island (Email: kovacsw@egr.uri.edu) is our entertaining host who is
coordinating this magnificient gathering of geotechnical researchers in the
beautiful fall season in Rhode Island. For your convenience, accommodations
are available for November 14 as meetings will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m.
on Sunday morning.
Each University will provide a written summary to be published in the
Workshop Proceedings/CD that included the names of the faculty, listing of
the graduate courses, and a summary of the past, ongoing, and future areas
of research.

In this year, as in the past, USUCGER will support one member from each
institution by providing accommodations for three nights at the Conference
Hotel and a complimentary registration to the event. This includes three
Continental Breakfasts and lunches, two dinners (Sunday and Monday), one
reception (Sunday) and six refreshments breaks, all conference sessions, and
one copy of either a CD-ROM or traditional hard copy proceeding.
Interactive registration may be made by internet at:

The registration fee for non-supported attendees is $265. Registration is
handled by URI Conference Office (401-874-2170), P.O. Box 123,
Kingston, RI 02881-0123. Checks should be made payable to URI and returned
to the URI Conference Office address below. Please make your your own
arrangements with the hotel. The Doubletree Islander Hotel, Goat Island,
Newport, RI 02840 (401-849-8342). Please mention the Geotechnical
Engineering Conference when making your reservation to receive the
conference rate of $81.00/night.

7. New Business. Several comments on the format of the Workshop arose
from the general audience. In past USUCGER workshops, each university was
given 5 minutes to present their program. With over 70 university members
of USUCGER, this is a sizable allotment of time. Presentations by
representatives from funding agencies were also planned. Recommendations
from the floor asked the following alternatives be also considered in the
Workshop format: concurrent breakout sessions of the proposed 5-minute
presentations; panel discussions; motivation seminar; invited guest
lectures; discussions of textbook selection, legal aspects, how to obtain
funding, education issues, mentoring for junior faculty, re-statement of the
USUCGER mission, and expectation from the GeoCouncil.

8. The general meeting was adjourned circa 7:00 p.m.

The USUCGER Board remained to discuss the details on the USUCGER Workshop.
Details are given below.

Minutes supplied by P.W. Mayne

9. USUCGER Board Meeting Minutes

Present: Elgamal, Finno, Goodings, Kovacs, Rollins, Tumay, Zimmie (Mayne in
attendance until 7:45 p.m.)

The Board Proposed the following Draft Schedule for the Upcoming November

Sunday (Nov. 15, 1998)
10.00-10.30 Welcome and Introduction
10.30-12.00 Funding Agency Inputs
12.00- 1.00 Lunch
1.00- 2.30 USUCGER expectation from GeoCouncil
2.30- 3.00 Break
3.00- 4.30 Two or Three parallel sessions (5-minute presentations from
    university representatives).

Monday (Nov. 16, 1998)
08.30-10.00 Survival for Jr. Faculty (education and research tips)
10.00-10.30 Break
10.30-12.00 Mission of USUCGER revisited
12.00-1.00 Lunch
1.00-2.30 Two or Three parallel sessions (5-minute presentations from
    university representatives).
2.30-3.00 Break
3.00-4.30 Future of NGES (National Geotechnical Experimentation Sites).

Tuesday (Nov. 17, 1998)
08.30-10.00 Research/practice interaction (ADSC, et al.)
10.00-10.30 Break
10.30-12.00 Funding Agency Inputs
12:00 Adjourn
An additional session on ASTM & Standards of Practice was also mentioned
as a possibility)

10. Next USUCGER Board meeting tentatively scheduled during August 3-6,
1998 along with
ASCE Geo-Institute Conference in Seattle. [See USUCGER "links"].

11. Other issues: New Board Positions

Present: Elgamal, Finno, Kovacs, Rollins, Tumay, Zimmie

11.1 Mehmet Tumay elected (unanimous) as President for 2nd year.
11.2 Paul Mayne nominated and elected (unanimous) as "President Elect".
11.3 Ahmed-W. Elgamal nominated and elected (unanimous) as Secretary.
11.4 Kyle Rollins nominated and elected (unanimous) as Treasurer (Starting
    Jan. 1999).

Meeting Adjourned at 8:15 p.m.