August 2013 Newsletter

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CPI Newsletter August 2013

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Included in this issue:

 

Update from Dr. Reza Langari, CPI Chair
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The list of questions submitted by PIs for the August 14th CPI meeting with Chancellor Sharp and Mr. Mark Stone, Chief Information Officer of The Texas A&M University System, are available with the agenda and other meeting materials at goo.gl/9cBYFL. If you are not a CPI member or guest member and would like to attend as an observer, please notify us at your earliest convenience by emailing cpi@tamu.edu, so that we may ensure additional seating is available. The meeting will also be webcast live at ttvn.tamu.edu/webcasts on Channel 20.

Transition of CPI Officers

The August 14th meeting will be my last as CPI Chair. On September 1st, Dr. Niall Slowey, current Vice Chair of the CPI, will begin his term as Chair; Dr. Mary Bryk will begin her term as CPI Vice Chair; and I will transition to the role of CPI Past Chair. For reference, the list of issues and presenters from the 2012-13 CPI session, including meeting materials and videos, can be found at goo.gl/uk2Bsl.

CPI Executive Committee

I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the 2013 CPI Executive Committee (EC) (goo.gl/PNUMu) for their service and counsel over the course of the last year. There is a significant commitment of time to serve on the EC, including the numerous monthly meetings of the full Council and EC; quarterly meetings with the Texas A&M University President and Provost, the Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, Congressman Bill Flores; as well as vital meetings and coordination with other faculty constituent groups across campus.

Outgoing CPI members

I would also like to recognize those outgoing CPI members, whose terms on the Council expire on August 31st, for their service and effort to continually represent the interests of their PI constituents. The outgoing CPI members are Dr. Clair Katz (Liberal Arts); Dr. Rafael Lara-Alecio (Education and Human Development); Dr. Lynne Opperman (Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry); Dr. J. N. Reddy (Engineering); & Dr. Mary Jo Richardson (Geosciences).

Next CPI meeting

The next CPI meeting on September 11th will be held in closed session with the 2013-14 elected CPI membership (goo.gl/BbOmyv) to plan for the coming year. A PI survey will be distributed later this month to solicit input from the PI community about potential issues to address during the CPI monthly meetings for 2013-14.


CPI sponsors
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The Council of Principal Investigators extends its gratitude to the Division of Research at Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research for the annual and equal funding contributions they provide the Council for its annual operating expenses, as well as the salary of the CPI support staff.

Summary of August 7th CPI Executive Committee (EC) meeting
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The CPI Executive Committee (EC) held its monthly coordination meeting on August 7th. Research administration representatives from Texas A&M, AgriLife Research, HSC, TEES and TTI are invited to these coordination meetings. Attendees discussed possible mechanisms to provide PIs with a searchable database of accessible shared equipment across campus. The discussion will continue to the next EC meeting on September 4th.

The EC discussed follow up items related to the August 2nd EC meeting with the Chancellor regarding the search committee for the next Texas A&M President. The Chancellor met separately on August 2nd with the executive committees of the Faculty Senate, Distinguished Professors and the CPI to solicit input on the search committee and process for the hiring of the next President of Texas A&M. The CPI EC and the Executive Committees of the Distinguished Professors and Faculty Senate worked in unison to submit a list of faculty representatives for consideration to serve on the search committee for the next Texas A&M President.

The EC also discussed PI issues relating to SRS. The EC will work in unison with Dr. Terry Thomas, Chair of the SRS PI/Faculty Advisory Committee (PIFAC), to coordinate a meeting with Mr. Leo Paterra and Dr. Jon Mogford to discuss PI issues brought forward relating to SRS.

EC members also discussed additional questions to provide to the Chancellor and Mr. Mark Stone in advance of the August 14th meeting where the Chancellor has been asked to provide updates on the Texas A&M President search; the RFP for the overview of all non-faculty positions; and other System initiatives to enhance research at Texas A&M; and Mr. Stone, as System Chief Information Officer, was asked to provide an update on the System IT audit.

Teaching Laboratory Safety Committee
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The Teaching Lab Safety Committee has not met in several months.  Two recent changes in teaching lab safety procedures are noteworthy.  1) Students must sign a Lab Safety Acknowledgement form when they register for a lab class.  2) Teaching labs that use biohazardous materials are required to obtain Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) permits.  The Office of Research Compliance and Biosafety is facilitating the application process for teaching labs and providing training materials to instructors, teaching assistants and students in these labs.

Contact:
Dr. Mary Bryk, bryk@tamu.edu

Council for Strategic Budgeting and Strategic Reallocation Sub-Council
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The charge to the Council for Strategic Budgeting (CSB) is to make recommendations to the President on all aspects of the campus budgeting environment in support of the university’s core missions of teaching, scholarship and research, and engagement, as well as to support the realization of the goals contained in Vision 2020.  In Oct 2012, the CSB voted to reallocate $10M to strategic priority areas.  With guidance from the President and Provost, the Strategic Reallocation Sub-Council (SRSC) ranked twelve priority areas.  The top three priority areas for funding were: 1) Recruitment, retention and recognition of faculty and staff (at least 50% of funds for up to a 3% merit pool); 2) Facilities maintenance (up to $3M); and 3) IT and libraries to maintain services (up to $2M).  The remaining nine priority areas were ranked in case additional funds were made available.  The recommendations of the SRSC were presented to, discussed in detail by and voted on by the CSB in March and April 2013.  The Council’s recommendations were forwarded to President Loftin in April 2013.  The full charge and additional materials are available at http://csb.tamu.edu/.

Contact:
Dr. Mary Bryk, bryk@tamu.edu


Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS)
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TIAS will announce the 2013-2014 class of TIAS Faculty Fellows this September; the negotiations with selected nominees are nearing completion.  This second class will be about twice the size of the first, we anticipate about 10 Fellows this coming academic year.  The credentials of this class are most exceptional, again.  We anticipate one Nobel Prize winner and all of the Faculty Fellows to comfortably exceed the “National Academy” standard of excellence in their respective disciplines.  Commanding plans for engagement with the faculty and students have been established for each prospective Fellow.   At this point, all ten colleges have participated significantly in recruitment of Faculty Fellows, and with this second class recruitment outcome, we anticipate that seven of the ten colleges will have attracted one or more Faculty Fellows.  This Fall and spring, we will have an opportunity to hear the TIAS fellows give Eminent Scholar Lectures and multiple College-level presentations for broad engagement.  This Fall there will be an invitation for the third round of nominations for the 2014-2015 class of Fellows. There will also be a call for nominations for membership on the TIAS Advisory Board, the current membership can be reviewed at this link; recall that the Advisory Board takes the lead in evaluating nominees and selecting nominees for recruitment as TIAS Faculty Fellows.   The nominations of both Advisory Board Members and TIAS Faculty Fellows must be submitted by a member of the TIAS Electorate; nomination forms will be circulated this Fall to make the process clear.  Now is a good time to be thinking about potential nominations.

Main contact number for SSC/Compass
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Mr. Bob Casagrande, Vice President for Operations at SCC/Compass, provided a main contact number for the PI community to use regarding inquiries about Texas A&M University service requests (Dining Services, Landscape, Facilities Services) that are now managed by SCC/Compass. The main number for SCC/Compass service inquiries is 979-458-5500.

Limited Submission Proposal opportunities
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Up-to-date limited submission proposal opportunities, including deadlines for required letters of intent, are available on the website of the Division of Research at vpr.tamu.edu/researchdevelopment/funding/lsp/lsp/#limited-submission-proposal-opportunities.

Did you know?
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The CPI is a faculty-elected and faculty-governed council, made up of almost 50 elected researchers, who are elected to three year terms to represent the interests of over 2200 researchers throughout Texas A&M, TEES, HSC, TTI and AgriLife Research.

The CPI meets regularly with administrators to bring forward issues and solutions that have a direct impact on principal investigators throughout the Texas A&M research enterprise.

Any of the 2200 researchers represented by the CPI can be elected to Council when a seat is open for their respective college or unit. To find out more, see cpi.tamu.edu or email cpi@tamu.edu or call 979-458-1861.