Date of Last Assessment: October 2001
The Communication and Public Affairs functional areas received an excellent rating in the performance measure areas currently agreed upon between SLAC and DOE-OAK in the FY 2001 Annual Appraisal. We had no 'marginal' areas in our last Assessment.
The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) is dedicated to experimental and theoretical research in elementary particle physics and in those fields that make use of its synchrotron radiation facilities, including biology, chemistry, geology, material science and electrical engineering. This includes the development of new techniques in particle acceleration and detection, and of synchrotron radiation sources and associated instrumentation. The laboratory is operated as a national user facility for the Department of Energy by Stanford University.
Since the group has gone through major reorganization, it is important that the mission statement reflect these changes. Our goal for FY 2003 is to generate a new mission statement incorporating the group's commitment to effective internal and external communication.
The SLAC Communications Task Force’s final report in September 2000 made a strong recommendation to centralize all communication functions. The Laboratory Director created the SLAC Office for Communications. This initiative is the catalyst for a transition in community outreach and related functions. Communications Director, Neil Calder, joined the laboratory in January 2002, bringing vision and leadership to this vital area. He has excellent capabilities to implement effective improvements in both internal and external communication.
Neil Calder oversees internal and external communication. External relations include liaison with DOE, Stanford University, local communities, media representatives, and local educational institutions. Education programs are based on available funding each year. Internal areas include management of information channels (such as web-based information vehicles and staff newsletter) and support functions (including conference management and multimedia services).
Current initiatives include development of a cohesive strategy for public information vehicles; production of literature and publications including the laboratory newsletter “The Interaction Point” and the “SLAC Beam Line”; conference management; the tour program and multimedia services. The Communications Group works with the scientific community to communicate our achievements to the laboratory community, the international scientific community, the media, local and national government, science educators, and the general public.
The Laboratory tour program hosts a broad range of educational, professional and government, and international visits. The continued high demand for the tour program, and the increase in public information requests are two strong indicators of SLAC's reputation as a world famous laboratory.
Our current efforts include an analysis to assess our programs and to improve communications, including community outreach programs.
Identification of Self-Assessment Report Staff
Names, titles, affiliations of participants
Neil Calder, Director for Communications
Nina Stolar, Public Affairs Office Manager
Helen Quinn, Science Education Program Coordinator
Performance Objective: The Communications Group will have systems in place to effectively communicate the mission of the laboratory both internally and externally and to support the scientific programs and achievements.
The Communications and Public Affairs Office maintains SLAC’s position as a constructive participant with the general public, neighbors and media representatives. We provide information to the public on the laboratory’s scientific programs and achievements. We conduct community relations programs with minimum impact on laboratory operations. The new Communications Group organization has built up appropriate staffing and resources for development of effective communication processes and informational materials. These will support our proactive community relations and outreach efforts and assist us to convey the laboratory mission, scientific programs and achievements.
The Communications Group actively maintains the Laboratory’s position as a constructive participant with staff members and the international scientific community. We provide information to the community on the laboratory’s scientific programs and achievements. One example of developing effective internal processes is the transformation of the laboratory newsletter to a bi-monthly newspaper format. This change, along with web information channels, streamlines the internal communication mechanisms and facilitates participation by members of the laboratory community. This is providing the centralized communication effort called for by the Communications Task Force.
We are assessing our programs and resources to improve and extend our outreach efforts in a proactive manner. These plans include developing a strategic direction for public information vehicles that serve local, national and international audiences.
Our goal to provide information reflecting the current science and administrative developments of the laboratory has yielded improvements in literature, brochures, laboratory visits, internal communication, and our web presence. A focus of this effort is putting in place a continued process of improvement for upgrading and maintaining public information materials to assure consistent dissemination of information through different media outlets and formats.
Essential resources are required to successfully meet the high demand for laboratory tours, by both the internal and external groups. This includes increasing the tour guide staff and improving the tour facilities. In conjunction with the above focus on public information vehicles, upgraded materials will be integrated with tour guide training materials.
The laboratory's 40th Anniversary in Spring 2002 provided a theme for events throughout the year. There were regular SLAC History columns in the laboratory newsletter. The Anniversary Open House will serve to showcase the pioneering role of the laboratory and our future in high energy physics, accelerator development, particle astrophysics and the diverse fields collaborating in our synchrotron radiation science programs.
The Open House will go beyond a celebration of the accomplishments of the past four decades to take a serious look forward at the technologies and developments needed for the lab to continue to prosper. This milestone is an opportunity for increased public outreach and media visibility, in conjunction with our strategic direction for public information vehicles. This is a valuable short-term opportunity to further strengthen community and laboratory relations.
DOE Field Office and Headquarters Relations
We have been working very closely with the SLAC/Stanford Site Office, the Field Office and Headquarters to keep them informed of relevant activities and have been responding appropriately to requests. SLAC participated in weekly conference calls with the Field Office.
SLAC supported the DOE public activities by participating in the 7th Annual DOE Day in Oakland in October. We hosted the DOE Field Office western region Public Information Meeting at SLAC in April and the DOE Area/Site Managers Meeting in October. Communications staff members are active participants in the DOE-SC Laboratory Communications Council Meetings and represented the laboratory at the AAAAS Annual Meeting and Exposition.
Keith O. Hodgson has been named a recipient of the Department of Energy’s Ernest O. Lawrence Award for 2002. Hodgson is a professor of chemistry at Stanford University and at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) and is the Director of SSRL.
SLAC received a Certificate of Achievement from Energy Secretary Abraham for moving to a paperless operation for technical publications and scientific papers. This was accomplished three years in advance of the goal. The SLAC Alternative Solvents Team received the Champion of Green Government Award in May from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Communications team worked out details for a visit by the President of Catalonia (January). Visits to the laboratory included: Presidential Science Advisor, John Marburger in February, DOE Undersecretary for Energy, Science and Environment in October, Congressman Bob Goodlatte in April and Congressman Mike Honda in October.
One key to improvements in this area was to get a full time writer for the many different placements stories received. Due to this change, we have much more coverage from Stanford University media, both in the Stanford Report newspaper and news online.
Press inquiries were diverse. SLAC was featured prominently in many international news outlets for B Factory scientific results, progress on the Next Linear Collider and computer science achievements. These outlets included the CERN Courier, The Economist, Nature, New Scientist, Physics Web Newsletter, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, BBC News, Physics Web, Washington Post and Nature, Nature online, wired.com and other local newspapers.
There were several television products for various science oriented shows. The Australian ABC presented the program Catalyst which was available by viewing on the web as well. SLAC was included in a photo story on several universities in Via, the American Automobile Association travel magazine.
Communications Group staff members contribute science news updates to the DOE Pulse, the electronic newsletter published by the DOE Office of Science Laboratories Communications Council. We submit articles to the CERN Courier and Fermi News. The spring 2002 special issue of the Beam Line, a quarterly periodical of particle physics and related items had an internal and external distribution with about 3,500 subscribers including funding agencies, state agencies and science teachers. This journal was featured on the public SLAC Welcome web page.
SLAC has many graduate students from Stanford University as well as universities and institutes from throughout the country and around the world participating in our research as a component of their graduate degree work. The annual two-week Summer Institute on Particle Physics offered continuing education for approximately 200 scientists, graduate students and postdoctoral research scientists. This school attracts international participation by both experimentalists and theorists for lectures, discussion sessions and laboratory tours.
SLAC continued participation in the DOE Energy Research Undergraduate Laboratory Fellowships program (ERULF). This 8-week summer program brought 27 science and engineering undergraduates from under-represented groups to SLAC for research activities. Five (5) mechanical engineering and computer science graduate students worked at SLAC during the summer, supported by the Graduate Engineering for Minorities (GEM) program run through the Affirmative Action Office. This year we had a very successful program. For each student an article and photograph were sent to their local home newspapers. Some of these were printed in the hometown papers. (See Appendix I for a listing of the students and their mentors.)
There were several science teachers at the Laboratory through the QuarkNet program. These teachers will then serve as leads for the two-week summer workshop in the coming year. SLAC is a partner in Bay Area Schools for Excellence in Education (BASEE). This eight school district collaboration focuses on improvements in elementary school science education. The laboratory has an on-going program for providing donations of surplus equipment to public schools and non-profit groups. The Science Education Coordinator maintains e-mail correspondence with a list of over 100 high school physics and science teachers, providing them with updates on physics and other resources.
We have been extending outreach efforts in educational areas. The Gunn High School Robotics team visited the Laboratory, touring shops and experimental facilities. The San Mateo County Office of Education held a Fall Kick-Off and Resource Fair.
SLAC sponsored Take Our Daughters to Work Day in April, for 77 girls (9-16 years of age) and initiated Take Our Kids to SLAC in August, for 158 boys and girls. Participants attended tours, hands on workshops and open houses in various parts of the facility for each event. Laboratory staff members contributed to the organization and implementation of these events.
The Virtual Visitor Center website complements and extends the physical Visitor Center, disseminating information to the general public, particularly students and teachers. The Online Cosmic Ray Detector Data Collection Center is an interactive site for viewing and working with this detector and on-line use of the Electron-Gamma Shower (EGS) program. This allows virtual visitors with access to the web to run simulations that include explanations of the physical processes that particles undergo in a physics detector experiment, with technical details available for classroom use.
Anyone with an interest in the science we study and the tools we use at SLAC is invited to explore this web site to augment laboratory tours and visits. The Virtual Visitor Center pages received 264,376 page views with an average of 22,031 per month. The SLAC Welcome pages received 410,922 page views with an average of 34,244 per month. Combined with other segments of the SLAC web site we received over 5,367,963 hits by people from outside of the SLAC domain.
SLAC continues to be an active participant in the local community, maintaining harmonious relations by responding promptly and appropriately to neighbors concerns. Our representation on the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors continues. Staff members gave off-site presentations to professional and community groups, high schools and universities using visual media provided by the Public Affairs Office and the SLAC website. During the Bike to Work Day Faire (May), Menlo Park Mayor Steve Schmidt gave a noon time presentation on bicycle safety focusing primarily on Sand Hill Road, just outside of our gate.
SLAC Purchasing Representative, Jean Hubbard, received the “Trailblazer Leadership Award 2000” for making a difference in the business, community and environment from American Transitech, Inc. (March).
Community meetings at the laboratory are an important opportunity to demonstrate the lab's openness by providing access and information. Offering SLAC facilities to the community at no charge continues to be a critical aspect of being a good neighbor. Thirteen community groups (including the IEEE, Varian Associates, Math Science Network, the Noyce Foundation and other professional groups and hobby clubs) used SLAC facilities for their meetings, bringing people to the Laboratory.
The SLAC Tour Program accommodated over 6,000 visitors with no impact on laboratory operations. There were over 200 formal laboratory tours, including almost 60 educational groups (K-8, High School and College/University). Additionally, SLAC employees and scientific users hosted tours, facilitated by maintaining a staff-hosted visits web page provided by Public Affairs to assure staff-initiated and supported activities are conducted safely and successfully. The SLAC Visitor Center augments laboratory visits. The Visitor Center contains exhibits with accelerator and detector components and representative displays about SLAC's scientific research, history and physical environment.
Educational, professional and governmental visits from throughout the world included people from various parts of Africa, Australia, Canada, England, Germany, The Netherlands, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Singapore and Sweden. Other tours included visitors participating in DOE reviews as well as other laboratory committees, meetings and conferences. The number and range of international visits are indicators of SLAC's worldwide reputation. A sample of accolades received by the Tour Guides and Visitor Center book comments from throughout the year is continued in Appendix II.
Conferences, Meetings and Seminars
A Web Symposium was held at SLAC in conjunction with the 10th Anniversary of the Worldwide Web reaching the US in December. The purpose of this gathering of technologists, laboratory community and the general public was to prompt stimulating discussion on the next stages of the web’s development. An online exhibit was developed. The Archives and History Office developed an online exhibit recognizing SLAC’s role as the first US web site. For their “farsighted and successful efforts to document and preserve the archives and history of the SLAC Web site”, retired SLAC staff members Louise Addis and Joan Winters received the J. Franklin James Archival Advocacy Award in May.
The Public Affairs Office provides multimedia support for conferences, meetings and seminars including audio-visual services, video production and coordination of streaming-media to the web for scientific and public access. We publicize activities through the web-accessible Seminars database. Seminar entries include meetings, colloquia and seminars of interest to the broad high-energy physics community. There were over 550 entries for FY02. This information is disseminated in a weekly Compendium, distributed internally and by request to an outside distribution of approximately 80 individuals.
The laboratory was instrumental conducting about 12 major on-site conferences and workshops involving the international scientific community. These included scientific and technical conferences, the annual Summer Institute on Particle Physics, and annual users’ meetings for the synchrotron and high energy physics scientific communities. We held at least 3 collaboration meetings as well as at least 3 formal committee meetings and technical reviews. The laboratory hosted the OECD Global Science Forum and ICFA Meetings in February.
In continuing to implement the recommendations of last year's Committee, employing a web first strategy allows us to effectively utilize limited staffing and resources to disseminate consistent information both internally and externally. A combination of paper and electronic media continues to function as important sources of news. Consolidation of information channels is leading to more effective internal dissemination of information and greater ease in access.
The newly formatted and now bi-monthly newsletter, “The Interaction Point” (TIP), highlights current scientific achievements, laboratory milestones and personal achievements of staff members. The newsletter is distributed to the laboratory community as well as a mailing list including government representatives, civic leaders and retirees. TIP online was launched in September and has improved indexing for each issue and retrieval of past issues.
Electronic media include the SLAC Events listing laboratory activities, “QuickNews” (published weekly), and Announcements posted by staff members on the laboratory internal home page to better foster internal communication. Announcements can be printed for further distribution to post as flyers, mail to retirees and use for other distribution channels.
Communications and Public Affairs professionals support the Human Resources Department's continued effort for new employee orientations. New staff members are encouraged to participate in a tour following the general orientation. This has helped facilitate the effort to introduce staff members to the scientific endeavors at the lab early in their tenure. We also take this opportunity to introduce the Communications Group and offer our services.
A number of internal events were held for employees. These included the annual award ceremonies for 10, 20 and 30/40 years of service. The second annual Employee Recognition Award program "World Class People Make a World Class Laboratory" received more than one hundred staff nominations. Forty-three (43) award recipients were selected and honored. We held a brief End of Run Milestone event in July to acknowledge staff efforts to support the scheduled physics run for the year.
SLAC’s Family Day was attended by approximately 2,000 staff, friends and family members. There was an abundance of activities for all ages from carnival-style games to science demonstrations. Over 170 people took a general tour of the laboratory. A good time was had by all.
The Communications Director and Public Affairs Manager are active members of the Emergency Public Information Officer (EPIO) team and continue to participate in emergency preparedness activities. The Public Affairs Manager represents the Director's Office on the Operating Safety Committee, a lab wide committee with a broad scope.
Stanford University Relations
SLAC hosted the Stanford Board of Trustees for a meeting and tour of the laboratory for the first time. The event included a business meeting, presentation by the Laboratory Director and a tour of the research facilities. The Hoover Institute held an exhibit To Benefit Mankind: Celebrating the Centennial of the Nobel Prize, 1901-2001. Memorabilia from the three SLAC Nobel laureates was included..
Public Affairs staff members contributed significantly to the first Stanford University Community Day in April . Community Day is a campus wide event held in conjunction with the annual Founders' Day Celebration and featuring lectures, tours and family oriented activities. The laboratory had a display and information area on campus with science demonstrations. Shuttle services offered visits to the laboratory and we hosted approximately 250 people on laboratory tours.
University relations are strengthened by Stanford sponsored meetings at the W.K.H. Panofsky Auditorium Conference Center. The laboratory provided facilities for the Stanford Libraries Association Meeting as well as many union meetings, including the annual picnic for the third consecutive year. Tours were conducted in conjunction with these events.
Approximately 12 Stanford University groups came for formal tours of the laboratory. These included Stanford Parents Weekend, Orientation Weekend, the annual Commencement Tours of the Laboratory, Stanford graduate student orientation, as well as numerous student, staff and alumni groups. The laboratory continues to host quarterly mobile blood drives with the Stanford Blood Center. Mid-way through this year this service was transferred to Human Resources.
Improvement Action Plan/Goals
Goals for FY 2003
Our goal is to provide information about the laboratory that reflects the current science and administrative developments of the laboratory. A focus of this effort will be a continued process of improvement for upgrading and maintaining general laboratory and public information materials to assure consistent dissemination of information through different media outlets and formats.
The 40th Anniversary continues as a theme for laboratory events. This remains a short-term opportunity for strengthening community and laboratory relations. Planning and implementation of this event includes pre-planning for an even larger impact in celebrating the laboratory's 50th Anniversary in 2012.
Appendix I: ERULF Program Participation
Twenty-seven (27) ERULF Participants departed from the laboratory in mid-August. The program coordinator was Sekazi Mtingwa, visiting Theory Group Visitor. Participants and their mentors are listed below. Special media coverage included forwarding their stories to their hometown newspapers.
Victor Acosta Perry Anthony
Zachary Anderson Ana Gonzalez
Nader Bayat John Barger
Diana Carver Steve Wagner
Cynthia Correa Grzegorz Madejski
Sean Corum Azel Brachmann
Nancy Fathali Aina Cohen
Drew Fustin Ron Akre
Ayanah George Tony Johnson
Pablo Goldenzweig Helen Quinn
Elizabeth Greenwood Joe Frisch
Moira Greshm Ray Cowan
Rachael Hodson Graham George
Robert Holdridge Jim Spencer
Fawn Huisman John Weisend
Jennifer Joyce Stanley Herzbach
Carmen Kunz Joe Frisch
Ishihara Tomoko Steffen Luitz
John Lee Pablo Parkinson
Ellie Lin Roger Jones
Lometti Michael Steve Robertson
Jessica Moore Benjamin Scott
Ayodele Onibokun Tony Johnson
Rishik Saxena Derek Tournear
Joseph Scott Graham George
Jose Vallin Paul Bolton
Amy Wung Anders Nilsson
Appendix II: Visitor Center and Tour Program Accolades
Excellent demos on Family Day.
Teresa Briggs (San Jose, CA)
My friends are going to be green with envy when I tell them about this tour.
Philip McCawley, School Tour
Very interesting displays…Inspiring…A video would be really useful here.
Random Visitor Center Log Book Entries
Greetings from CLEO.
Thanks for setting up a tour for our Partners for Academic Excellence program. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and insightful, and was able to explain some incredibly complex information in very understandable language. We were very impressed with the facility and the personnel.
Duane Voigt, Stanford University
48 students > “chaperones”
Fairhaven Middle School (Bellingham, WA)
SLAC 40th!! Proud to be part of SLAC!
Linda Leeg, Hesham Khater, Youssef Khater
My family and I would to express our appreciation to SLAC and our guide. Our host was a knowledgeable, energetic and enthusiastic guide who did an excellent job of giving an overview of the work that goes on at SLAC and ably handled all questions from the group. Thanks again for the instructive and enjoyable tour.
Dennis Jespersen (Internet)
At a recent dinner out a woman asked, “Oh, do you work for SLAC? We had the most wonderful tour there during Parents’ Weekend at Stanford last year. What an incredible place that is!”
Doug Kreitz, SLAC Staff Member
Thank you very much for giving us the tour. It was very interesting. Before I went there I didn’t even know what protons, neutrons and electrons were. It is good to know what goes on around you and how it works. I learned a lot. – Andrea Baron
Thank you for the hard work put into the ASHRAE tour. I thought it was great. SLAC looks like a great place to work. I think you are doing a wonderful service by allowing the public to come visit. You all did a great job.
Dan Hornak (Brisbane, CA)
Thank you for such an interested tour yesterday. I was so happy to see some of the buildings I had a part in constructing. I am very proud of the results.
Al Romine (South San Francisco, CA)
Thank you and your staff for the very memorable tour for University of Minnesota Alumni. I heard nothing but extremely positive comments afterwards. The guides did an excellent job making the visit interesting and educational for both the technical and non-technical alumni. Their enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone. We look forward to future visits as we learn more each time.
Jan & Sofia Laskowski (Internet)
Thank you all for an absolutely outstanding first-class tour that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. The guides infectious enthusiasm for public presentation and high-energy particle physics made the tour all the more dynamic, exciting and accessible for the diverse educational and professional backgrounds of our alumni.
Grant Erickson (President, University of Minnesota Alumni Association, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter)
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For Questions or comments, Please contact Ziba Mahdavi, Last Updated 10/30/02