September 2013 Newsletter


CPI Newsletter September 2013


Included in this issue:



Update from Dr. Niall Slowey, CPI Chair
Principal Investigators can find their 2013-14 CPI representatives (listed by college/unit) at On September 11, 2013, the CPI membership met in executive session to review the results of the recent PI survey (see and discuss priorities and issues to address in the coming year, including topics and guest presenters to invite to upcoming monthly meetings.

Some of the items discussed, in addition to those in the PI survey, were relating to issues with System Research Services; faculty involvement at the ground level decision-making process of System initiatives; advocacy on the value of research at Texas A&M; costs that are pushed down to PIs; and the effects of undergraduate growth on research.

While this is not an exhaustive list, it does represent broad issues that are currently affecting the PI community at Texas A&M and are a starting point to focus on for the semester. As these items are addressed and administrators are engaged on these issues, we will update the website to provide our PI constituents with information about meeting topics, agendas and videos to meetings. The 2013-14 CPI meeting schedule is available at

CPI members serving on external committees across campus
One of the ways the CPI can have an impact is through representing the perspectives of PIs when serving on committees across campus. The list of external committees with CPI representatives can be found at

CPI Executive Committee
I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the CPI membership for ratifying the 2013-14 CPI Executive Committee (EC) ( Membership on the CPI EC requires a significant commitment of time that not only include attending the full monthly CPI meetings but also the monthly EC coordination meetings; 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 other meetings and coordination with other faculty constituent groups across campus.

Next CPI meeting
The next CPI meeting will be on October 9th in Rudder 610 at 11:30 a.m.  The meeting will also be webcast live at on Channel 20.

CPI sponsors
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 have provided to the Council for its 2013-14 operating expenses and staff support.


Summary of CPI Executive Committee (EC) meetings with administration and other entities
The 2013-14 CPI Executive Committee (EC) held its first monthly coordination meeting in closed session on September 4th. The EC reviewed the results of the PI survey and issues to address for the 2013-14 CPI session.

On September 5th, the CPI Executive Committee met with Congressman Bill Flores and discussed ways the Texas A&M PI community can serve as a resource when constituents submit questions to the Congressman’s’ office about the value of various types of research; the increase of administrative burdens on PIs; the benefits of research for tax payers; impacts of budget cuts and how they are applied to universities; and information about REU programs on campus and the Student Research Week in the Spring.

The CPI EC also met with President Loftin and Provost Watson on September 11th and discussed faculty involvement in System initiatives; CPI priorities for the year; other issues to address in 2013-14, and an update on the Initial University Multidisciplinary Research Initiatives (IUMRI).

Graduate Student Copyright / IP Policies Review Task Force
The newly appointed Graduate Student Copyright/IP Policies Review Task Force had its first meeting Wednesday, September 4. The persons present at the meeting were Dr. Karen Butler-Purry (Co-Chair), Dr. Laura Hammons (Co-Chair), Brittany Bounds (GSC President), Gail Clement (Texas A&M University Libraries), Tek Dangi (GSC representative), Dr. Jean-Luc Guermond (CPI), Dr. Patricia Hurley (Graduate Operations Council Representative), Deena McConnell, Katherine Rojo del Busto (Division of Research), and Sandy Tucker (Texas A&M University Libraries/ Council of Principal Investigator (alternate). TBD, Faculty Senate Representative.

The charge of the task force is to examine inconsistencies in and identify issues with current graduate student intellectual (including copyrightable works) property rules and policies, recommend changes, and consider crafting scenarios that address who owns copyright in a variety of circumstances (e.g., independent research, funded research, as a result of/or in the course of on-campus employment, etc.).

The copyright task force has been created after some members of the faculty complained that it is not appropriate that PhD students be required to put a copyright statement on the front page of their dissertation.  It has been argued by that everything ``we do are “works for hire”, since supported by various grants, hence PhD theses belong to the State of Texas, the Federal State or the major professor who funds the student.''  In consequence, putting a copyright statement on a PhD dissertation would be contradictory to current copyright laws.  It seems that this is not the case, since by this argument no PhD student in the US would be owner of his own dissertation and thus should never be allowed to defend his/her thesis. In conclusion the notion of “works for hire” has been refuted by the experts present in the room.  It was also said that the copyright laws are not well understood by faculty. Putting a copyright statement on the dissertation is not incompatible with the fact that some material inside the dissertation (some chapters for instance) is own by other parties (adviser, co-authors, etc.) provided it is ``is clearly indicated''.

The idea of the copyright statement on the front page is favored by the library. The library claims that stating clearly the ownership of the dissertation is important since the material will eventually be put on-line for public access.

Everybody agreed that the language is still not clear and the task force will try to come up with a language that is agreeable to all parties, but that still defends the copyrights of the students. It seems that TAMU is one of the rare institutions that started this process. There are some institutions, like MIT, where the PhD theses are the property of the university.

Dr. Jean-Luc Guermond,

President Search Advisory Committee
As announced on the A&M System website (, Chancellor Sharp announced a nine-member team, seven voting and two ex-officio to begin the search for the next president of Texas A&M. The search process will be led by Korn/Ferry International, a recognized leader in senior executive search with a specialty in higher education. Kenneth Kring, co-managing director of the Global Education practice, will lead the search process and work directly with the search advisory committee.

The search advisory committee will deliver a minimum of three recommended candidates to The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. Members of the search committee include:

Voting members

  • Regent Cliff Thomas (Victoria, Texas) – Chairman of the Committee and CEO of Thomas Petroleum, LLC
  • Regent Elaine Mendoza (San Antonio, Texas) – President and CEO of Conceptual MindWorks, Inc.
  • Dr. John Gladysz (College Station, Texas) – Distinguished Professor and Dow Chair in Chemical Invention, Texas A&M University
  • Dr. Joanne Lupton (College Station, Texas) – Distinguished Professor, Regents Professor, University Faculty Fellow and William W. Allen Endowed Chair in Nutrition, Texas A&M University
  • Dr. John Stallone (College Station, Texas) – Professor in the Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Texas A&M University
  • Dan Allen Hughes (Beeville, Texas) – President and CEO of Dan A. Hughes Company, LP and Hupecol Operating Company, LLC
  • Cindy Taylor (Houston, Texas) – President and CEO of Oil States International, Inc.

Ex-officio members

  • Lisa Blum – Chair of Staff Council, Texas A&M University
  • Reid Joseph (Dallas, Texas) – Student Body President

PESCA – Program to Enhance Scholarly and Creative Activities
The 2014 PESCA grant program will begin accepting proposal submissions on Monday, 2 September 2013. All tenured and tenure-track faculty who are in need of funding for research, scholarship, or creative projects in the humanities, arts, social sciences, or other closely related fields are eligible to submit proposals. Program details may be obtained from Jim Izat, program coordinator at: PESCA website:

Giroir named Interim Executive Vice President for Texas A&M Health Science Center
President Loftin announced on September 9th that Dr. Brett Giroir will assume the role of Interim Executive Vice President for the Texas A&M Health Science Center (HSC), effective October 1 and will be nominated by Chancellor Sharp to become the Interim CEO for the HSC at the next regularly scheduled meeting of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

FCOI update
Effective August 30, 2013, the Chancellor has revised System Regulation 15.01.03 – Financial Conflict of Interest in Sponsored Research.   The revisions include:

1)      Lifting the October 18, 2012 suspension regarding the implementation of the FCOI requirements for privately-funded research.  The FCOI requirements will be applied to new awards received on or after August 30, 2013.  This will include, but not be limited to, continuations and task orders awarded on or after August 30, 2013.

2)      Applying the FCOI requirements to subcontracts in the following circumstances:  a) all PHS-funded research; and b) all non-PHS research in which an Investigator subcontracts a portion of the research to a covered family member or an entity in which the Investigator or a covered family member has a financial interest.

3)      Requiring Investigators to submit their Financial Disclosure Statement online via Maestro.

Please note that SRS accounts may  be frozen if the project  out of compliance with the FCOI regulation on October 1, 2013.

Please contact Lesa Feldhousen at or 862-7986 with any questions.

Main contact number for SSC/Compass
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
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