December 2, 2020
Board Meeting (12/2/2020)
Meeting Minutes and Notes
North Carolina Board for Licensing of Geologists
Minutes • December 2, 2020 • 9:30 a.m.
Virtual Meeting held by Zoom
Call to Order/Conflict of Interest Statement/Welcome and Introductions
The meeting was called to order at 9:33 a.m. by Board Chair Steve Stadelman. Other Board members present included Rachel Kirkman, Dennis LaPoint, Robert Mensah-Biney, Richard Spruill and Kenneth Taylor. Peer Review Committee Chair Neil Gilbert, Executive Director Barbara Geiger and Board Counsel Sarah Zambon were also present. Dr. Stadelman read the Conflict of Interest Statement as required by the State Government Ethics Act. Dr. Taylor noted that, as the State Geologist and employee of the NC Department of Environmental Quality, he would refrain from participating in the deliberation or taking any action by the Board with respect to any matter involving an employee of the Department. A quorum was established.
Welcome and Introductions
Dr. Stadelman welcomed Board members and Board Investigator Neil Gilbert to the meeting.
Counsel Zambon reminded the Board that during virtual meetings, each member should state their name when voting, to ensure accuracy of the record or that Dr. Stadelman call for a vote from each member.
Approval of Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes of the August 5, 2020 meeting was made by Dennis LaPoint and seconded by Dr. Mensah-Biney. The motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Taylor presented the first quarter balance sheet and profit and loss statement along with the 2019-2020 financial audit. Following an overview, motion was made by Dr. LaPoint and seconded by Dr. Spruill to accept the report as presented. The motion carried.
Ms. Geiger reported that there are currently 1085 active individual licenses and 231 active corporate licenses. There are 223 licensees on inactive status.
Ms. Zambon and Ms. Geiger informed the Board that they continue to work with the procurement specialist at ITS and that the agency would negotiate the final contract with Certemy.
Legal Report and Board Training
Sarah Zambon provided an overview of the rulemaking process, specifically the permanent, emergency and temporary rulemaking processes.
Continuing Education Report
The Continuing Education Committee met just prior to the Board meeting. There were 9 applications for review. The Committee approved all applications with no changes. Following a report of those CE activities that were approved, motion was made by Dennis LaPoint and seconded by Robert Mensah-Biney to approve the report.
There was discussion regarding a request from a licensee that a specific requirement for ethics training be added to the rules regarding continuing education. It was noted that the CE guidelines currently allow for the approval of activities that involve ethics training. The consensus of the Board was not to add a specific requirement at this time.
Dr. Spruill suggested that as the CE requirement has been in effect for more than three years, that in the near future the Board seek feedback from licensees regarding the requirement of CE as a condition of renewal, in order to evaluate the efficacy of the program. He suggested asking specific questions through a survey developed by an outside source, therefore eliminating potential bias, i.e. does the requirement for CE play a role in performing their day-to-day duties? Dr. LaPoint suggested that the Board work with ASBOG®, realizing that other Boards may be facing the same issue.
Ms. Geiger gave a report for the October 2 administration of the ASBOG® exam. There were 99 total candidates, 69 who took Part 1 and 42 who took Part 2. The exam results were as follows: Part 1 – 48 passed; 21 failed. Part 2 – 35 passed; 7 failed. Ms. Geiger noted that the passing rate was in keeping with the National average. Thirty-five individuals qualified for license.
Dr. Spruill, who was present and provided assistance to staff on exam day, gave his thoughts regarding the administration, giving accolades to Ms. Geiger and her staff for the attention to detail, culminating in the ultimate success of the administration.
Dr. LaPoint gave an overview of the ASBOG® Annual Meeting held virtually on November 4, 2020, noting that Ms. Geiger and Dr. Taylor were also in attendance. Dr. LaPoint noted that the event was well organized and went smoothly with more than 60 attendees. Dr. LaPoint shared that the highlight of the meeting was that NCBLG member Rachel Kirkman was elected as Secretary of the organization for 2021.
The Council of Examiners Workshop (COE) was held following the Annual Meeting. The number of Subject Matter Experts (SME) was limited and were chosen and invited by ASBOG®, with 24 members participating. Dr. LaPoint and Ms. Kirkman served as SMEs, with Dr. LaPoint taking the FG and Ms. Kirkman taking the PG. Since this COE Workshop was the first time that the activity was held virtually, ASBOG® used the opportunity as a “test” for future virtual administration of the exam. ASBOG® has indicated that the exam may be offered virtually as soon as Fall 2021, but that Spring 2022 is more realistic.
Ms. Geiger informed the Board that the ASBOG® Task Analysis planned for 2021 has been postponed until 2022 due to Covid-19.
The 2021 Spring COE Workshop is scheduled for April 8-9, 2021 in Madison, WI. Board members were asked to be prepared at the January meeting to declare interest in attending.
Update on Scott Brame Matter
The Board discussed the matter of unlicensed practice by Scott Brame. Mr. Gilbert informed the Board that the video had been removed from YouTube by the landowner. Following discussion, it was decided that a letter would be sent to Professor Brame encouraging him to seek licensure as a geologist, should he wish to practice or offer to practice in NC. Dr. Stadelman thanked Mr. Gilbert for his work and expertise as an investigator for the Board. Mr. Gilbert left the meeting.
Changing Geologic Curriculum and Licensure
There was lengthy discussion regarding the changing geologic curriculum in institutions across the Nation. Dr. Spruill noted that the profession has not changed, but that the geologic curricula and the profession have changed, specifically since the last Task Analysis Survey (TAS) done by ASBOG®. Dr. Spruill suggested that these changes be taken into consideration when the TAS is performed in 2022. Dr. Stadelman asked that Ms. Kirkman give thought to the issue and take the ideas discussed by the Board back to ASBOG® for discussion. Dr. Spruill noted that psychometrician Jack Warner would be a superlative resource.
Ms. Geiger was asked to research past applications for examination that were reviewed by the Board, that did not have Board recommended and required coursework.
Dr. LaPoint suggested that the Board gather their thoughts and put them in writing in order that Ms. Kirkman can take the issue to ASBOG® for review. He indicated that the issue must be brought before the right people who can champion the campaign, in order to make the necessary changes.
During discussion regarding the Certemy contract, Board members were updated regarding the status of the website. It was determined that Dr. Stadelman would sign the contract with IMP Designs.
Board members were asked to submit any photos that they have that they have that might be used on the new website.
January 27 Meeting & Virtual Presentation
It was determined that the January meeting of the Board would be held by Zoom. A potential virtual presentation with NC universities was discussed. YouTube videos that could be watched on demand and would open up to a broader audience were discussed. Ms. Geiger informed the Board that she has created a Twitter account and a LinkedIn account for the NCBLG, where this type of presentation could be advertised/noticed. FaceBook and Instagram accounts could also be established.
Rules Review and Updates
Board members were asked to review the rules of the Board and to make recommendations regarding those rules that should be revised, removed or added. Dr. Stadelman asked that Ms. Geiger prepare a spreadsheet in order to capture and track when the Board has suggested deletions, changes or additions of rules. This document would be useful in future rules reviews, as required by statute.
Licensing of academic geologists was discussed. Ways to encourage those in academia to seek licensure were discussed. The possibility of a permanent rule regarding the licensing of those in academia and a mentoring process was discussed. There was consensus among members of the Board that this would be a worthwhile project. Dr. Taylor noted that NCGS § 89E-9(4)(c) “The Board may consider in lieu of the above professional geological work the cumulative total of professional geological work or geological research of persons teaching upper level geology courses at the college or university level, provided such work or research can be demonstrated to be of a sufficiently responsible nature to be equivalent to the professional requirements set forth in this section” would allow the Board to approve applications for license, by those in academia who meet the requirement. Dr. Stadelman suggested that the Board keep this statute in mind in the future when reviewing and considering applications for license.
Dr. Stadelman summarized the discussion by noting that the Board would: 1) Invite students, NC university geology departments & NCBLG licensees to attend a licensing presentation to be offered in the spring; 2) Prepare and present a webinar for licensees once the CE guidelines are finalized and approved; and 3) Communicate with geology faculty across the state regarding their ability to get licensed per NCGS § 89E-9(4)(c). Dr. Stadelman suggested that the Board draft timelines for when and how these goals could be accomplished during the January meeting. Ms. Kirkman suggested that the Board consider the use of another online platform other than Zoom for a large crowd. Microsoft Teams or GoToMeeting were suggested.
Ms. Geiger was asked to send the most recent licensing presentation to Board members for their review and that the Board be prepared to finalize the presentation with any suggested updates at the January meeting. She was also asked to contact Deana Snyed at ASBOG® to inquire if they have any presentations that they use that could be shared with the NCBLG.
Dr. Spruill noted that Randy Kath has done pioneering work with statistics, as a part of his role with ASBOG®, that academic geologists are most likely not aware of and have not yet embraced. He suggested that the NCBLG work closely with ASBOG® to obtain NC specific data and then to present this data to geology departments in NC, reminding them that the data is held by ASBOG® and that they are able to obtain these statistics as to how their students are performing. This would perhaps encourage promotion of the examination and licensure to students. Dr. Spruill pointed out that being able to share this data might be better accepted by academic departments if it comes from NC Board and ASBOG®. It was suggested that the Board revisit obtaining this data from ASBOG® and then to prepare a presentation that could be used as a presentation during university faculty meetings. Dr. LaPoint noted that he feels confident that UNC-CH is receptive to the concept and that others may be as well.
The Board asked that Ms. Geiger and Ms. Kirkman begin the conversation with ASBOG® to discuss in greater detail the possibility of working together to provide information regarding how the exam can be effective and useful for geology departments and to inquire of Dr. Kath or someone from within the ASBOG® organization, to see what can be gleaned from data.
Dr. LaPoint will contact Dr. Kath and will coordinate with him and Dr. Spruill regarding available resources that ASBOG® may have in the way of presentations or information.
Per NCGS § 143-318.11(6), motion was made by Dr. LaPoint, seconded by Ms. Kirkman and carried, to move into closed session to review applications.
Motion was made by Dr. Taylor and seconded by Ms. Kirkman to resume the open session. The motion carried.
Motion was made by Dr. Taylor to accept those actions taken by the Board in closed session regarding applications for examination, comity, reinstatement and corporate license. The motion was seconded by Dr. LaPoint and carried unanimously.
There was discussion regarding NC State regulations for various agencies where a licensed geologist is required. Dr. Stadelman asked if any members of the Board were aware of the recent rules changes regarding groundwater regulations. Dr. Spruill indicated that his firm is following the proposed changes closely and that he would be able to share findings at the next meeting. Dr. Stadelman indicated that he would have more detailed information to share with the Board in January. He suggested that a committee be formed to review and keep tabs on regulatory updates affecting the rules and regulations that involve the practice of geology. This would be a good way to engage licensees and to alleviate some of the burden for Board members.
There being no further business, on motion by Dr. Spruill and second by Dr. Taylor, the meeting was adjourned at 2:02 pm.
Kenneth Taylor, Secretary/Treasurer