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11 July 2002
TO: AAPG Foundation Grants-in-Aid Committee Members
FROM: Denise M. Cox - Out-going Chairman Grants-in-Aid
SUBJECT: 2002 Annual Report and Farewell
The AAPG Foundation Grants-in-Aid committees Annual Meeting was held in Houston on 11 March 2002. The meeting was held with appropriate happy hour beverages and appetizers. Committee members in attendance were Raul Garzon, Tony Grindrod, Francois Gauthier, Richard Lorenz, Pete McKenzie, Bob Sneider, Brett Fossum, Melissa Coleman, Lee Fairchild, Walter Grun, Nick Harris, Jean Hsieh, Brian Keith, Russell Stands-Over-Bull, Henry LeGarre, Matt Pranter , Rebecca Griffin (AAPG Coordinator), George Grover (GIA Vice Chairman), and Denise Cox (GIA Chairman).
We began with a review of the finances and award demographics for the 2001-02 year. The Grants-in-Aid Annual Report is included as a separate attachment. In general we continue to see a decrease in the number of applicants. This may reflect the trend in students electing not to pursue careers in the geosciences. However, it was the opinion of the committee that the overall quality of the applications has improved. This may reflect the quality of students choosing to continue with graduate studies or the time advisors can devote to fewer students. The Grants-in-Aid program continues its growth as an international program. We received slightly more non-US applications than US applications and had a fifty-fifty distribution of US and non-US award winners.
Application and Review Process
General. The committee commented again on the value of presorting of applicants by chairman. This allows for an even distribution of US and non-US applications covering all the geoscience specialties.
Budget. The area of the application in the greatest need of improvement is the Budget Section. Future applications will list as many items as possible that are not covered under the GIA program. The committee also needs broad guidelines about what costs are reasonable for analytical costs and lodging.
Student Financial Need. The committee would like the application to have the student list all other sources of funding. In addition, the same question should be directed to the advisor. It was requested that this section also be awarded more points.
Transcripts. Transcripts were not included with this years review packet. They are on file at AAPG headquarters and verified by the GIA administrator. Although obtaining an official copy of transcripts is difficult for some non-US schools, it is the opinion of the administrator that it is the one way to validate the authenticity an application and identify fraudulent applications. If the review process can be done digitally, transcripts will be scanned and made available to the review teams.
GIA Application Help. The committee discussed the feasibility of offering a GIA application seminar. It was decided that most locations would favor US schools and provide an unfair advantage over non-US schools. An alternative is to provide information on the website to students about filling out the form, especially budget section. We must be careful to keep the information general or all the applications will come back with a variation on the "example budget". It was also suggested that a HELP number and e-mail be listed on the application. Frequently asked questions should be listed on the GIA web site.
Review Process. The committee reiterated that 15 applications is the limit for each reviewer. They would like the chairman and GIA administrator to compile a list of tips for reviewers. The tips should be posted on the committee web page. The committee would also like the normalization process to be reviewed so that the highest scoring applications from each team are assured to be award recipients.
Publication. Abstracts from the GIA award winners will not be published in paper copies of the Bulletin this year due to space limitation. The abstracts will be made available digitally and posted on the web.
Explorer. The committee has requested that an ad be placed in and an article written for the Explorer to increase the visibility of program. The ad should list the 2002 award winners by school and in the fall announce the 220-03 GIA program. Ideas for the Explorer article include successful International Region Named Grants and the online GIA application (see discussions below).
Academic Contacts. The GIA committee needs to work with the Academic Liaison committee to update a list of schools and contacts for notification about the GIA program. Rebecca will send out the current GIA list of all universities and the department chairmen receiving notification of the 2002-03 GIA program before the start of the fall semester. Individual committee members are encouraged to contact academic institutions in their area and provide updated information to Rebecca.
Web site. The AAPG Executive Committee has been relentless with requests to keep our committee websites up to date. Please take the time to visit the GIA website http://www.aapg.org/foundation/gia/index.html (make sure to click on recipients for 2002) and our Committee web page http://infosystems.aapg.org/committees/commprofile.cfm?CMCMTNO=242.
Digital Review Process
The Grants-in-Aid program is working toward a fully digital application and review process. The aim is to increase accessibility to students, more fully explain the application process through pull down menus, and to streamline the review process. Additional benefits include no copying and distribution expense and simplified reporting and analysis for the Chairman. A potential application and review system was presented from Confex. The GIA chairman and Vice Chair are working with the Computer Applications and Internet Committee (CAIC) to select the best company to provide the digital application and review service to AAPG.
Online Application. The committee was very positive about the potential of the digital application. They strongly felt that the pull down menus and spell check would improve the quality of the applications. The largest hurdle for an online application is assuring international students will be able to maintain an internet connection to complete the form. It will be necessary to have a downloadable form that can be completed offline and e-mailed as an attachment. In addition, the GIA administrator will need to be prepared to enter application information from paper copies that will inevitably be submitted.
Online Review. The committee enthusiastically received the electronic review system. The committee liked the organization and ease of review the electronic system will provide. Notable improvements include the readability of the application, completeness of the application, ease of grading, comments sections, and selection of restricted grants.
New Named Grants and Additional Funding
SEAPEX. The South East Asia Exploration Society established a restricted grant for students from SE Asia. Committee member Richard Lorentz is largely responsible for making this much needed grant for students from that region a reality. The Halbouty named grants are no longer restricted to students from China so China will be added to the list of countries that are eligible for the SEAPEX grant.
International Regions. Following the example of the SEAPEX grant, committee members with international connections are encouraged to set up restricted grants for all the international regions. The following individuals are championing efforts to establish restricted grants in their regions: Middle East - George Grover; Mexico and South America - Brett Fossum and Raul Garzon; United Kingdom and Europe -Tony Grindrod. We have no committee members at this time who can set up a restricted grant for Africa.
Individuals. The Chairman made a personal plea to the committee to designate a donation to the GIA program on their annual dues statement each year. Leading by example the Chairman has established the Mruk Family named grant in honor of her parents. She is also looking into the feasibility of establishing the Grants-in-Aid Committees Choice Grant.
Chairman and Vice Chair
I am grateful to announce the new Chair of the Grants-in-Aid Program, George A. Grover Jr. George has been fully involved with the GIA process as Vice Chair this past year and has my support and respect as Chairman. George is elected to a 3-year term and will be assisted by elected vice chairmen Pete MacKenzie (US) and Tony Grindrod (UK). Vice Chair terms are 1 year. I look forward to the new ideas and direction these individuals will bring to the Grants-in-Aid program.
Thank You and Farewell
There are few rewards in life that are as great as service to a good cause. My 9 years on the Grants-in-Aid committee have given me an opportunity reach out to students around the world, fund geologic research, and make new friends. I wish to thank each of you on the committee for your service and commitment to the GIA program. It is because of you that this program has grown in its extent and become a highly competitive and widely recognized grant program.
There are many individuals at AAPG headquarters who help the GIA program. Thank you to the many friends I have had the pleasure to work with through Grants-in-Aid. I want to acknowledge Linda Burris for creating the master databases from each years applications and review sheets. I extend my appreciation and respect to Dee DeChow for stepping in for one year as GIA administrator in addition to her many jobs at headquarters.
I gratefully acknowledge the AAPG Foundation office, Don ONesky, Sherry Hyer, and Diane Keim. These individuals are our link to the Foundation and keep the funds coming to Grants-in-Aid. Thank you for your support, guidance, and understanding. And yes, we still need more money!!
A very special note of recognition to the Grants-in-Aid Administrator, Rebecca Griffin. Rebecca handles the complex administrative aspects of the Grants-in-Aid program. It is through her organization and professionalism that the program remains a flagship program of the Foundation. Rebecca is an incredible resource and inspiration.
Most of all I wish to thank the generous contributors to the AAPG Foundation. I am honored to have had the opportunity to represent you, your loved ones, and your dreams.
Past Chairman Grants-in-Aid Committee 1996-2002