2014 CESU Network National Meeting

Session Descriptions

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CESU Agreements: Working Session
Tuesday June 3 10:00 to 3:00 (EST)

This session will engage federal and nonfederal agreements and sponsored programs officials to explore options for revising, standardizing, and streamlining CESU agreement documents and administrative processes. A detailed agenda will be distributed to participants at the meeting. This session is open to all participants. Virtual attendance available via conference call and webinar.

CESU Network Council and CESU Directors: Working Session
Tuesday June 3 3:00 to 5:00 and Wednesday June 4 8:00 to 10:00 (EDT)

These sessions are for the CESU Network Council representatives and CESU Directors and staff, but are open to all participants.

Tuesday June 3 Virtual attendance available via conference call and webinar
3:00-3:30 Participant Introductions
3:30-3:45 Summary of the financial assistance working session, held earlier in the day

Facilitated discussion on the following topics:

  • Host support
  • F&A rate – remain at 17.5% or increase?
  • F&A rate - cost basis for calculating indirect costs (total direct or modified total direct)
  • U.S. Forest Service expanded use of the agreements
  • Increasing Agency Technical Representatives participation at individual CESU meetings
  • National strategic plan and project reporting database
  • Revised expectations for renewals – defining common measures and establishing scoring template
  • Best practices for strategic plans, renewal documentation/template, student accountability, distribution of projects, attending meetings
  • Amending the process for amendments – signature from host and new member only?
  • Improving communication among directors and council
  • Coordinated response to emergencies (Gulf Coast spill, etc.)
Wednesday June 4 Virtual attendance available via conference call and webinar.
8:00 to 10:00 Facilitated discussion continues on topics above

CESU Project Showcase/Media Screening
Wednesday June 4 10:30 to 12:00 (EDT)

Meeting participants at NCTC will enjoy video presentations highlighting CESU projects. A project participant or representative will introduce each short (≤10 minute) film, podcast, or other media production. This session is for all attendees present at NCTC. A link to the media presentations will be available June 3 for virtual participants. 

Plenary Session
Wednesday June 4 1:00 to 5:00 (EDT)

This session is for all attendees. The session will be live video streamed for virtual participants

1:00-1:45 State of the Network Dr. Thomas Fish, CESU Network National Coordinator
  The CESU Network has grown to more than 350 partners. Dr. Fish provides a snap shot of the current status of the Network and introduces the proposed CESU project database and other national office initiatives. 
1:45-2:15 Keynote Address  
2:15-2:30 CESU Network Awards  
  CESU Network Council Members present awards to CESU partners.
2:30-3:00 break  
3:00-5:00 Meet the Council  
  The CESU Network Council members, representing the 14 federal agencies, discuss participation in the CESU Network. The session also includes a question and answer period.

Organized Sessions/Meetings
Thursday June 5 8:00 to 10:00, 10:00 to noon, or 1:00 to 3:00 (EDT)

Thursday June 5 8:00 to 10:00 (EDT)

Session A: Evolving Curricula in the Universities
This session will focus on how CESU agencies and partners can support graduate students and best prepare them for positions in the civil service (federal, state, and local) and allied conservation and technical jobs. While an aging workforce leaves openings at every level, agency leaders have identified potential shortfalls in academic training and required competencies to fill many entry-level positions. Discussion topics will include: agency technical needs; curricula designed to meet minimum OPM requirements; selection of electives to bolster eligibility; temporary federal opportunities for students; field experience through internships, fellowships, and on-the-ground project activities; active agency staff involvement in training and classroom activities; innovative program solutions; matching needs, institutions, and instruction; barriers and bridges; and lessons learned. This session is available for remote participants via conference call and webinar.

Session B: Benchmarking Geospatial Data Management Processes Used By Federal Agencies
Ideally, a federal agency’s geospatial data infrastructure should increase the efficiency with which local, regional and federal staff achieves their programmatic goals and objectives. However, many federal agencies face daily challenges associated with designing, developing and deploying unified or coordinated geospatial databases. This organized session brings together agency personnel, university scientists, database developers and geospatial technical support staff to identify and discuss common challenges and opportunities faced across natural resource management agencies. A benchmarking framework will guide the discussion; this framework involves comparing federal geospatial data management processes and performance metrics to ideal or best practice scenarios. Session participants will jointly contribute to a draft white paper outlining common challenges and opportunities. The paper, along with results of the discussion, will be refined and cooperatively prepared for publication in an applied peer-reviewed journal. This session is not available for remote participation.

Thursday June 5 10:00 to noon (EDT)

Session A: Full STEAM Ahead! Infusing Art and Design into STEM
This session focuses on the inclusion of art and design into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) equation. Art, design, and creativity are essential to the conservation enterprise – informing research, education, and the application of usable knowledge to solve complex natural and cultural heritage management problems. Presentations will include background information, current status of institutional dialog and policy actions, and illustrative examples to engage participants in lively discussion of (1) STEAM relative to innovation in interdisciplinary science, engineering, communications, and technology; and (2) appropriate encouragement and application of art and design in scientific and scholarly activities supported through the CESU Network. This session is available for remote participants via conference call and webinar.

Side Meeting: Business Meeting of the Gulf Coast CESU
This is an opportunity for Gulf Coast CESU federal and nonfederal partners to meet and discuss action items following the national meeting. For remote participation instructions, email

Thursday June 5 1:00 to 3:00 (EDT)
Session A: Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) to New Invasive Species Introductions
Invasive species have directly caused 20% of species extinctions since 1600, and been implicated in 50% of extinctions.  They are partially or wholly responsible for 42% of the current listings under the Endangered Species Act, and cost the American economy an estimated $127 billion each year. This session will discuss the feasibility and value of creating a national network of regional capabilities for early detection and rapid response (EDRR) to new invasive species introductions.  EDRR is a very cost-effective and ecologically sound tool to protect the environment and economy from invasive species. Each regional network would be focused on the priority invasive species risks as collectively identified by the State governments in that region, and leverage the combined research and monitoring capacities of universities, state and federal agencies, local governmental  entities such as weed management districts, the private sector, and non-profit organizations active in each region. This session is not available for remote participation.

Side Meeting: National Park Service CESU Research Coordinator Meeting
This is a side meeting for NPS CESU Research Coordinators and other invited staff. The session will focus on the strategic vision for NPS use of CESUs, succession planning, Regional use of CRs, use of CESUs to engage diverse student audiences, and related topics. For virtual meeting login, email