2016 Annual Business Meeting Minutes


2016 CAP Congress DNP Annual Business Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order at the University of Ottawa by DNP Chairperson Reiner Kruecken (RK) at 12:06 on Tuesday, 14 June 2016. Twenty DNP members and one observer from the Particle Physics Division (PPD) were present.

RK moved that we approve the agenda, the motion was seconded by Chairperson-Elect Gerald Gwinner (GG), and in the absence of objections or additions the agenda was adopted. The chairperson pointed out that the minutes of the 2015 business meeting could be found on the DNP website at http://dnp.phys.uregina.ca/content/2015-annual-business-meeting-minutes . Secretary-Treasurer Barry Davids (BD) moved that the minutes of the 2015 meeting be approved and they were, unanimously. RK then introduced the 2015-2017 CAP DNP Executive Committee:

Reiner Kruecken TRIUMF & UBC Chairperson
Gerald Gwinner Manitoba Chairperson-Elect
Zisis Papandreou Regina Past Chairperson
Barry Davids TRIUMF Secretary-Treasurer

RK introduced Garth Huber (GH), the Executive Director of the Canadian Institute of Nuclear Physics (CINP), who briefly reported on the status of the NSERC 2017-2021 Subatomic Physics Long Range Plan (LRP). The slides presented at the CINP annual general meeting are available at http://cinp.phys.uregina.ca/node/302 . A draft of the LRP was circulated and comments solicited. The opportunity to comment on the first draft is now closed, but a revised draft is anticipated to be released in the next few weeks. The community will have a week to comment on the new draft. The final draft must be submitted by July 31st for French translation. LRP committee chairperson Dean Karlen requested that photos featuring highly qualified personnel (HQP) be submitted to NSERC’s Sarah Overington. GH mentioned that in order to comply with federal privacy laws, those appearing in photos must consent to their use. Nigel Smith said that some photos have implicit permission, in that visitors to SNOLab sign a document which consents to their being photographed and approving the use of these photos. GH said this was probably fine but suggested consulting Sarah Overington to be sure.

BD presented a financial and membership report which is summarized below.

In the year from Jan 1 2015 - Dec 31 2015, we began with a bank balance of $3727 and ran an operating deficit of $837, leaving a year end balance of $2890. Our operating expenses during 2015 were $1500 for travel support to 2015 CAP Congress plenary speaker Wick Haxton (proposed by the division), $250 for student support at the Symmetries in Subatomic Physics Symposium, $250 for student prizes at the 2016 Winter Nuclear and Particle Physics Conference (WNPPC), $300 for student prizes at the 2015 CAP Congress, and $47 for the 2nd place winner of the student awards to attend the banquet at the 2015 CAP Congress. Partially offsetting these expenditures of $2347 were $1510 in revenue, which included $1260 in membership fees from 126 members paying $10 each and $250 from Manitoba for the 2015 Division of Theoretical Physics (DTP) thesis prize. The latter was the result of a CAP error, which we are told will be corrected effective January 2016. We have been promised monthly accounting statements starting in July, but the same promise made last year was not fulfilled.

RK stated that the CAP is aiming to hold a cash reserve of about 6 months of its operating expenses. Holding a balance of $2000 for the DNP would roughly correspond to the expenses for one year. BD stated that due to the larger relative size of the fluctuations in DNP expenses from year to year this would be a good level. There was general agreement.

As of June 9th, 2016 we had 121 full members and 147 student members, for a total of 268 members. This represents a 14% increase from 2015’s 126 full members and 110 student members. There are currently 51 graduate student members and 96 undergraduate members. Total membership has increased by 24% over 5 years, primarily due to a large increase in student members. The number of full members has been rather constant, varying between 120 and 130. The current number of full members is the smallest in recent years, but it is still 97% of the average number over the last 6 years. Fewer full members does however mean reduced revenues. With respect to last year, there was a 19% increase in graduate student members and a 45% increase in undergraduate members.

Nigel Smith (NS) asked if it is expected that student members will become full members. BD answered that likely only a small fraction of these will become full members as most do not stay in the field. Nevertheless it is felt that active recruitment efforts to bring students into the DNP should be continued.

The outstanding expenses known to the Secretary-Treasurer but not yet reflected on accounting statements are $1000 for the 2014-2015 DNP thesis prize and $1000 for support of the Direct Reactions with Exotic Beams conference to be held in Halifax next month. Last year we were approached to support the “The Neutron Star Radius and All That Jazz” workshop held in Montreal but we declined due to financial constraints.

If membership remains roughly constant as it has recently and dues remain at the current level, we can expect revenues of ~$1200 per year. With the usual annual expenditures of $1000 for the DNP thesis prize, $300 for CAP Congress student prizes, $250 for WNPPC student prizes, and an average of $400 to support registration fees and travel for DNP-invited speakers, we can anticipate deficit spending of circa $750 per annum. Although the thesis prize is not awarded every year as there must be at least 3 entries for a competition to be held, we should encourage student submissions and be prepared to pay for the prize every year.

In order to help meet operating expenses, maintain adequate reserves of ~$2000, and possibly support other conferences, BD moved that we raise our annual membership fees from $10 to $12. The motion was seconded by Corina Andreoiu. A friendly amendment was offered by Elie Korkmaz to increase the fee to $15/year. Several members spoke in favour of this larger increase to maintain the support of students and an annual thesis prize. The amended motion to increase the annual membership fee to $15 was carried unanimously.

GG reported on the 2014-2015 DNP Thesis Prize competition. There were 7 entries, all of which were strong. The nomination due date was extended from October 1st, 2015 to January 15th, 2016 and the procedures are explained on the webpage http://dnp.phys.uregina.ca/content/how-apply-next-dnp-thesis-competition . On account of the late deadline, the prize was not awarded at the WNPPC as is traditional, but at the CAP Congress. GG inquired if we ought to keep the late deadline and continue to award the prize at the CAP Congress. This would have the advantage of bringing the DNP thesis prize timeline in sync with those of the PPD and DTP. RK brought up the point that it was challenging to fit the thesis prize talk into the Congress program. He concluded that it would be feasible to reserve a slot in the program in future years and therefore didn’t oppose continuing the late deadline. Neither did anyone else. Svetlana Barkanova (SB) pointed out that having a common deadline for the three competitions was helpful. There were four submissions to the DTP competition this year. GH inquired as to how many theses were entered into both the DTP and DNP competitions. SB answered that there was none, as the DTP thesis prize rules explicitly forbid entries into multiple competitions. Makoto Fujiwara wondered if it wouldn’t be better to allow such multiple entries and even allow for the same person to win all three prizes. GH and Ritu Kanungo strongly opposed this and there was a consensus that we should not permit entry of a single thesis into more than one competition. This year’s winner, Tim Friesen of the University of Calgary, presented a talk at 16:15 on June 14th.

RK briefly reviewed other recent activities of the division, reiterating the sponsorship of student prizes at the 2016 WNPPC at Banff and the 2016 CAP Congress, as well as support of the DREB 2016 conference. RK also pointed out that he did not request any fee waivers or provide any travel support for DNP-invited speakers. This practice worked well this year and should be continued, in the opinion of BD.

Next RK apprised members of some of the topics considered in the 2016 CAP Council meeting. RK indicated that CAP membership fees rose by 1.6% last year but CAP President Adam Sarty (AS) asserted that the actual figure was 1.7%. RK revealed that the Board would propose a similar cost-of-living increase at the CAP AGM on Wednesday. The operations and financial oversight of CAP and the CAP Foundation are being separated. Neither is obligated to have an annual financial audit. As such audits are expensive, there is a proposal to perform annual review engagements with occasional audits. Review engagements are less extensive and less expensive reviews of the accounting statements of an organization and are considered to provide less assurance of the accuracy of the accounting than are audits.

RK then briefly discussed the CAP 2014-2018 strategic plan and its 2016 communications plan, which was developed by an external expert. The latter may involve hiring a communications specialist. Its goal is to increase our membership rolls and sponsorships to such an extent that they would pay for the salary of the communications professional. NS inquired if the communications professional would specialize in outreach or advocacy. AS suggested that aspects of both would be sought. RK is supportive of the effort and urged the assembled members to support it too.

RK thanked BD for attending the October Congress Program Committee meeting in Ottawa at which BD successfully defended RK’s suggestion of Hendrik Schatz as a plenary speaker. This is the second successive year in which the DNP has had a plenary speaker. RK highlighted our good cooperation with other divisions in organizing joint sessions. In particular, we organized 5 solo DNP sessions and 8 joint sessions with 4 other divisions, PPD (Ch. Kraus), DTP (SB), DMBP (M. Martin), and DIAP (R. Roy). All sessions were filled (modulo a few contributions withdrawn at late dates) and the thesis prize talk was placed in a slot after the overall program had been laid out. RK thanked the other judges for the student competition, GG and Kris Starosta (KS), who joined him in evaluating the 9 oral contributions that were submitted. Only 2 posters were submitted to the competition, which was 3 short of the number needed for a prize to be awarded. RK was quite pleased with the quality of the talks given thus far by our invited speakers, of whom there are a total of 8.

GH asked how we might increase the number of competitors in the student poster competition. RK suggested that we provide more encouragement. AS said we need more students to attend the Congress in general. GH stated that we must dispel the notion that posters are a consolation prize for unselected, would-be oral contributors. There were no bounces from oral to poster contributions this year.

The 2017 Congress will be held at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON from 29 May-2 June. RK solicited input from the division members on session topics, plenary, and other invited speakers. As usual, the Program Committee meeting will be in October. There was a consensus that this year’s mix of sessions was good. AS pointed out that next year’s Herzberg public lecture will be given by Art McDonald.

Next year there will be an election of Chairperson-Elect and Secretary-Treasurer for 2 year terms, 2017-2019. BD will solicit nominations early next year, but will gladly accept unsolicited, early nominations. Elie Korkmaz asked the rhetorical question: has there ever been a female chairperson of the DNP? In fact there has not, and there has never been a female member of the Executive Committee.

RK briefly mentioned the DNP website and asked that we send photos, especially of HQP. RK sought feedback on division finances, conference sponsorships, and student travel support. A brief discussion of social media and how the DNP might avail itself of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter ensued. It seemed that there was not great interest in pursuing these opportunities, which would require dedicated efforts for which nobody volunteered.

Jens Dilling asks if the division might be able to play a role in implementing the CAP’s communications strategy. RK responded that he has’t digested the strategy sufficiently to make a definitive statement. KS asked if there were an example of a successful media presence. RK replied that Art McDonald’s appearance on “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” was an example. He also pointed out that the labs, e.g., SNOLab and TRIUMF, are successful on account of their dedicated personnel. There was a consensus that the division doesn’t make enough news to warrant a separate social media presence.

RK then reiterated the division’s desire to receive PiC stories, thesis award nominations, Congress session and invited speaker suggestions, conference support requests, and photos.

SB mentioned that there would be an imminent announcement of Canada becoming a member of the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics and that a signing ceremony would take place during the Congress.

All business having been discussed, RK moved to adjourn the meeting circa 13:05.