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NOAO Newsletter - KPNO Operations - June 2000 - Number 62

WIYN Update

Richard Green and Abi Saha

Two major events have drawn the focus of the WIYN Consortium this spring--one was the five-year performance review of the WIYN Observatory; the other was the announcement by David Sawyer that he would be phasing out as WIYN Operations Manager to pursue other career interests.

The WIYN agreement called for a review of the Observatory after five years of scientific operations. We were fortunate to engage Jeremy Mould, the Director of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University, as Chair, along with Craig Foltz, Director of the MMT Observatory, and Rich Kron, Director of Yerkes Observatory at the University of Chicago, as the review committee. They received a charge from the WIYN Board and a self-assessment prepared by Abi Saha and the WIYN Scientific Advisory Committee. The review committee met on 17-18 April in Tucson, including a visit to the telescope. Their summary and recommendations are in the accompanying article.

The WIYN Board and SAC are grateful for such an incisive and prompt review, full of valuable and constructive suggestions.

Caption: The WIYN 3.5-m Telescope on Kitt Peak

David Sawyer announced in February that he is phasing out his involvement with the WIYN Consortium, being available only half-time until June 30th, then one-quarter time until he leaves the position on October 31st. Dave's role in achieving the operational stability cited by the review committee has been invaluable; his ability to build confidence among the partners in the management of WIYN operations has nurtured the trust and cooperation characterizing WIYN.

From now until November, we have in place an interim management plan. Charles Corson, the WIYN site engineer, will take full responsibility for the daily technical support issues at the telescope. Dianne Harmer is now the Coordinator of Observing Support for WIYN. As such, she is the primary point of contact for both the NOAO observers (Queue and dedicated-time) and the university observers, including the scheduling of (and participating in) instrument setups, observer starts, and ORP follow-ups. Dave Sawyer will continue his responsibilities for resource management and reporting, as well as supervision of the summer shutdown activities at WIYN, including aluminizing the primary mirror.

Watch this space for further reports on the next generation of WIYN management.

Next: Report of the WIYN Review Committee
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