Management and evaluation

F&I incorporates a thorough and responsive management structure overseen by highly qualified Leadership and Management teams (see table), assisted by three panels of authorities and experts and by annual feedback from two groups of evaluators.

F&I adopts a shared leadership model proven effective in large team science projects, with five Management Team members providing day-to-day management and another eight providing science and outreach leadership (see table.) The Project Director will provide strategic guidance and lead synthesis discussions. The Project Administrator will oversee project coordination. A Financial Manager will provide financial oversight, a Communications Manager will coordinate external engagement, and a Data Visualization Specialist will lead Vis Space activities. Science leadership comes from the Coastal Margins and Boreal Fires co-leads, the DEW lead, and UAA and UAS campus liaisons. Science leadership comes from the Coastal Margins and Boreal Fires co-leads, the DEW lead, and UAA and UAS campus liaisons. Principal responsibilities of the Leadership and Management teams are to ensure F&I meets goals and objectives set forth in its Strategic Plan; to respond to external evaluations and NSF recommendations and implement appropriate changes; to award seed funding; to compile NSF reports; and to oversee the management and dissemination of data and data products generated by the project.

Three different groups offer input and oversight to the Leadership Team. A State Committee for Research (SCoR), consisting of leaders from government, agencies, academia, and the private sector, semi-annually reviews F&I progress and provide guidance to assure the program achieves state S&T goals. The Leadership Team also draws on recommendations from an External Advisory Council (EAC) consisting of four outside experts in F&I fields: Michelle Mack, Professor at the Center for Ecosystems and Society at Northern Arizona University; Dar Roberts, Professor of Geography at the University of California Santa Barbara; Phil Levin, Lead Scientist of the Nature Conservancy; and Phil Higuera, Associate Professor of Fire Ecology at the University of Montana. Leadership Team members also meet with leaders of the three main UA campuses and of the UA system once a year to update them on F&I progress, issues, and accomplishments and to solicit feedback.

External evaluators of the project as a whole are Julia Melkers, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Eric Welch, Director of Arizona State University’s Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies, serving as independent consultants. An additional DEW evaluation is being undertaken by Angela Larson of the Goldstream Group LLC, a Fairbanks-based planning, development and evaluation company. Both Melkers/Welch and Larson provide annual reports, including summaries of data, findings, and recommendations, which are shared with the F&I Leadership Team and with the NSF. F&I leaders institute annual midcourse changes based on these evaluations as appropriate.