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Joining the Southern Appalachian-CESU
Home > Joining the Southern Appalachian-CESU

   Joining the Southern Appalachian-CESU   

The SA-CESU is structured as a working collaboration among federal agencies and non-federal partners.
A non-federal partner can be a university, a non-profit organization, a resource association, an institute, a museum or aquarium, a state agency, a tribe or a tribal organization.

To go directly to the application process, click here.

Continue to read about the benefits and what is expected in joining the SA-CESU.



 About Joining the Southern Appalachian-CESU

What is the benefit in joining the Southern Appalachian CESU?

Non-federal partners in the SA-CESU can benefit in the following ways:

  • Collaboration with a federal agency increases the opportunities for other potential research projects. Long term relationships often develop since federal land management agencies have a high interest in researchers with specialized skills or knowledge that are not found within the agency. Multi-agency projects expose the researcher to several agencies and multiple inroads for potential research projects.
  • Graduate students benefit from participating in the development of real life research, and the introduction to federal land management agencies as potential sources of employment or federal resource management issues.
  • Federal scientists are available that can facilitate, direct or cooperate on research projects; serve on graduate student committees; contribute to scholarly activities; and teach in their areas of expertise.
  • Private sector research programs benefit from consistent and comprehensive agreements that maximize opportunities for research, create broadened scope of contacts with federal agencies and offer a voice in establishing research agendas within the SA-CESU. In addition, the skills and expertise within the private sector organization are easily accessible by federal resource managers throughout the country.

Federal agencies in the SA-CESU can benefit in these ways:
  • Delivery of usable knowledge in a timely manner.
  • Facilitation of long-term collaborative relationships to solve resource issues.
  • Addition of depth and breath of expertise to federal units.
  • Staying alert to emerging science issues and concerns.
  • Transcending the boundaries of federal agencies.
  • Ability to focus on multi-disciplinary problem solving.
  • Provision of a forum for exchange of information and delivery of new information.
  • Opportunities for professional development of federal employees.
  • Increase in efficiency for collaboration.


What is a new CESU partner expected to provide to the SA-CESU?

Each federal agency in the SA-CESU is expected to seek cooperation with non-federal partners in programs of research, technical assistance and education. This includes providing appropriate funds to support some projects and joint funding between the federal agency and a partner(s) for other projects. In addition, the federal agencies are to provide opportunities for research on federal lands or using federal facilities when and where practical.

A non-federal partner is expected to cooperate, jointly develop projects and supply the research, technical assistance and/or education expertise requested by the federal agency.

The Southern Appalachian CESU is based on a single federal financial assistance agreement called the SA-CESU agreement. Federal agencies are expected to use the SA-CESU agreement to transfer the necessary funding needed to conduct the research, technical assistance and/or education.




The Application Process

The CESU Network Council, as allowed under the CESU Memorandum of Understanding, has established the following standardized new member application and approval process that is applicable to all 17 CESUs.

The host university, the University of Tennessee, oversees the administrative services of the Southern Appalachian CESU. The SA-CESU director oversees the inclusion of new members.

The SA-CESU director is: Dr. Keith Belli
Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries
The University of Tennessee
425 Plant Biotech. Bldg
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-7989
Fax: 865-974-2085
kbelli@utk.edu


Step 1: New Member Application

Interested parties are welcome to contact the CESU Network National Office or the SA-CESU director (see above contact information) at any time with inquiries. The SA-CESU director sets the deadline(s) for receiving an application (e.g., accepts new member applications throughout the year or on a semi-annual or annual basis). Additionally, the SA-CESU director may invite an applicant to attend the annual SA-CESU partner meeting for an in-person presentation and interview as part of the application process.

The following outlines the required elements for the application for enrollment in the Southern Appalachian CESU.

Federal Agency Partners

Federal agency applicants must be members of the CESU Network Council and signatories on the national CESU Network Federal Agency Memorandum of Understanding. To check whether your agency is on this council, click here. These federal agency partners are eligible for enrollment in the SA-CESU, to support collaborative activities aligned with the mission and goals of the CESU Network and the SA-CESU.

The steps for the federal agency partner application process are:
  1. Notify the CESU Network National Coordinator of intent to enroll in the SA-CESU.
  2. Establish initial contact with the SA-CESU director (contact information above) to begin dialog regarding enrollment as a new federal agency partner.
  3. Submit a formal letter of interest and application (e.g., no more than 10 pages) to the SA-CESU director including:
  • Expression of desire to enroll in the SA-CESU as a new federal agency partner.
  • Confirmation that the agency is a member of the CESU Network Council.
  • Confirmation that the agency has read the SA-CESU agreement and agrees to support the SA-CESU mission and goals and fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a federal partner, as described in the SA-CESU agreement.
  • Description of the federal agency, its mission, and the primary focus of collaborative activities to be supported through the SA-CESU in the context of the SA-CESU mission.
  • Description or list of the primary agency programs, departments, or other institutional divisions that will likely be engaged in SA-CESU activities. Include website addresses for further information, as appropriate.
  • Agreement to pay the required one-time $10,000 enrollment fee to support host university CESU administration (e.g., hosting annual meetings, maintaining website, facilitating communications among partners, coordinating periodic reporting).
  • Designation of a technical representative (with full contact information Ė name, title, full address, phone, fax, email) to serve on the SA-CESUís federal managers committee, participate in CESU annual/semi-annual partner meetings, and facilitate internal and external communication, promotion, and response to CESU correspondence and administrative actions (e.g., announcements, new member applications, processing agreements/amendments, five-year reviews).
  • Designation of an administrative or grants and agreements representative (with full contact information Ė name, title, full address, phone, fax, email) to serve as financial assistance point of contact.
  • Agreement to relay agency-specific research, technical assistance, and educational needs among SA-CESU partners.
  • Signature (or endorsement) from an appropriate agency official, with authority to commit agency resources in a binding multi-year federal cooperative and joint venture agreement (e.g., agency administrator, regional director, division or branch chief).

Nonfederal Partners

Tribal, state, and local governments, academic institutions, museums, nongovernmental conservation organizations, and other nonfederal organizations are eligible to apply for enrollment in the Southern Appalachian CESU, to participate in collaborative activities aligned with the mission and goals of the CESU Network, and the SA-CESU. (Note: The SA-CESU accepts nonacademic nonfederal partners.)

The steps for the nonfederal partner application process are:
  1. Establish initial contact with the SA-CESU director (contact information above) to begin dialog regarding enrollment as a new partner institution/organization/agency.
  2. Submit a formal letter of interest and application (e.g., no more than 20 pages) to the SA-CESU director including:
  • Expression of desire to enroll in the SA-CESU as a new partner.
  • Confirmation that the institution/organization/agency has read the SA-CESU agreement and agrees to support the SA-CESU mission and goals and fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a nonfederal partner, as described in the SA-CESU agreement.
  • Description of the institution/organization/agency, its mission, and the primary focus of collaborative activities to be supported through the SA-CESU in the context of the SA-CESU mission.
  • Description or list of the primary programs, departments, or other institutional divisions of relevance to federal land management, environmental, and research agencies that will likely be engaged in SA-CESU activities. Include website addresses for further information, as appropriate.
  • A list of and brief description of the staff or faculty with expertise in disciplines and subject areas of relevance to federal land management, environmental, and research agencies (do not submit CVs).
  • For academic institutions, include a description of student demographics and the institutionís status as a minority-serving institution (e.g., as defined by the U.S.Department of Education).
  • Description or list of facilities, equipment, centers, or institutes that would provide support to the research, technical assistance, or educational activities of relevance to federal land management, environmental, and research agencies that will be engaged in SA-CESU activities.
  • Description or list of past research, technical assistance, and educational services supported through federal financial assistance awards that are of relevance to federal land management, environmental, and research agencies that will be engaged in SA-CESU activities.
  • Description or list of current formal agreements and informal relationships with federal agencies that are of relevance to federal land management, environmental, and research agencies that will be engaged in SA-CESU activities.
  • Confirmation of the institutionís/organizationís/agency's willingness to accept a limited overhead rate of 17.5% and cost items to which the rate is applicable for activities conducted through the SA-CESU, including research, technical assistance, and educational services (this overhead rate applies to the entire institution/organization for CESU activities).
  • Designation of a technical representative (with full contact information Ė name, title, full address, phone, fax, email) to serve on the SA-CESU steering committee, participate in SA-CESU annual/semi-annual partner meetings, and facilitate internal and external communication, promotion, and response to CESU correspondence and administrative actions (e.g., announcements, new member applications, processing agreements/amendments, five-year reviews).
  • Agreement to relay agency-specific research, technical assistance, and educational needs and associated funding opportunities to other institutional/organizational members (e.g., faculty, students).
  • Signature (or endorsement) from an appropriate official, with authority to commit institutional resources in a binding multi-year federal cooperative and joint venture agreement (e.g., president, executive director, chief financial officer, vice president for research, director of sponsored programs).
  • Letter(s) of support from one or more SA-CESU federal agency partners sponsoring the new partnerís application, including a description of successful past collaborative work supported through federal financial assistance awards.


Step 2: New Member Application Review

Following submission of an application for enrollment, the SA-CESU director distributes the application package (via email) to all existing partner technical representatives for consideration. The SA-CESU director determines the timeline and method for review (e.g., comments via email or in person at the annual meeting).

Step 3: New Member Approval (Nonfederal Applicants only)

Once existing partners have reviewed the new member application, the SA-CESU director solicits a vote in favor/not in favor of selection of the applicant for membership. The SA-CESU director shall determine the timeline and method of voting (e.g., via email or in person at the annual meeting). Voting requires a minimum of a quorum of 50 percent of partners. Approval is determined by a super majority (i.e., two thirds or greater) of returned votes in favor of selection for membership. The SA-CESU director informs the CESU membership and the applicant of the outcome of the review and approval process.

Federal applicants do not require a vote for membership. Federal applicants are enrolled upon receipt of an appropriate and qualified application.

Step 4: Amending the Cooperative and Joint Venture Agreement

Upon enrollment of a new federal member or approval of a new non-federal member applicant for enrollment, the SA-CESU director sends the application materials (via email) to the CESU Network National Coordinator with instructions to prepare an amendment to the SA-CESUís master agreement. The CESU Network National Office prepares a draft amendment to the SA-CESU master agreement, formally adding the applicant as a new partner. The draft amendment shall be prepared within four weeks of receipt of materials from the SA-CESU director.

Step 5: Amendment Review and Signature Process

The CESU Network National Office sends the draft amendment to the new partner for review and signature. The new partner reviews and processes the amendment, returning the completed signature page by email to the CESU Network National Office. The amendment must be signed by an appropriate official, with authority to commit institutional resources in a binding multiyear federal cooperative and joint venture agreement (e.g., president, executive director, chief financial officer, vice president for research, director of sponsored programs).

Once the completed signature page has been received from the new partner, the CESU Network National Office works with the SA-CESU director to circulate the amendment to existing partners for signatures. Existing partners shall have forty-five (45) days from receipt of the amendment to sign the amendment or provide comments in writing. The amendment is in effect upon receipt of the host institutionís signature and 100% of partner signatures or after the 45-day signature period has expired, whichever occurs first. If a partner has not responded within the 45-day signature period, its signature will not be required.

Once the amendment is in effect, the CESU Network National Office works with the SA-CESU director to distribute a digital copy of the fully executed amendment to all existing partners for their files and posts the amendment to the CESU Network national website.

Step 6: New Member Actively Participates

Once the amendment is in effect, the new partner is expected to actively participate in the SA-CESU and CESU Network activities (e.g., support/conduct collaborative projects, respond to SA-CESU correspondence and administrative actions, share announcements/funding opportunities with colleagues, participate in annual/semi-annual partner meetings, disseminate project outputs).


 
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