Annual Report 2003

Annual Report
2002-2003 Academic Year

Table of Contents

 

I. Overview .................................................................................................................. pgs 1-3

II. Membership 2002-2003 ...................................................................................................... pg 6

III.  Focus Issues – Academic Year 2002-2003 ................................................................ pg 9

IV. Attachments

- Letter to Dr. Gates on travel restrictions for graduate recruiting ......................... pg 10-11

- Letter to Dr. Gates on graduate assistant health benefit change .......................... pg 12-13

- Letter to Governor Perry on the cancellation of the ARP program ..................... pg 14-15

- Revised Form 5G….........……………………………………………….................. pg 16-17


Overview

Purpose/Mission:

 

The Council of Principal Investigators (CPI), consisting of elected PIs representing each Texas A&M college and various A&M System affiliations such as the Health Sciences Center (HSC), Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (TAES), Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), serves as a liaison between university administrators and faculty. The mission of CPI is to recognize and evaluate potential means for improving teaching and research at Texas A&M University in efforts to bring to realization the university's goal of being nationally recognized and competitive in these areas. http://cpi.tamu.edu

 

 

Activities and

Accomplishments:

The 2002 academic year was the first year of Dr. Robert M. Gates' Presidency at Texas A&M University . This change in university leadership ushered in a new administrative team with a “corporate” style management approach. Dr. Gates made it clear from the outset of his administration that he was going to rely more heavily on the advice and council of his Deans and the university faculty. As a result of this change, the level of CPI involvement in a wide range of issues impacting the research community was at an all time high. This coupled with the fact that FY 2002 was also a legislative session year, resulted in a very busy and productive year for our group.

During FY 2002 the CPI addressed numerous issues brought forth by faculty and university administration. The most noteworthy of these issues, which will continue to be monitored throughout the upcoming Fiscal Year, are outlined below:

Fostering Relations with University Administrators

The CPI welcomed numerous opportunities to interact with university administrators. Dr. Gates addressed the October meeting of the CPI and outlined his plans for running the university during his administration. Shortly after this address, Dr. Gates established four councils to advise him on a variety of issues (Finance Council, Research Environment Council, Educational Environment Council and the Built Environment Council). These four councils included faculty representation, with the CPI being on the Research Environment Council, and were designed to respond quickly with advice to the President on a wide variety of issues related to the areas covered by these councils.

The Executive Committee had routine interactions with the administration through monthly meetings with Dr. David Prior, Provost, Dr. Richard Ewing, Vice President for Research, and Dr. J. Richard (Rick) Giardino, Dean of Graduate Studies.

During the past year the CPI has worked closely with the Office of the Vice President for Research to develop a more PI friendly 5G document. This is the form that the university uses for making changes in all research supported positions. While this took a bit longer than we had expected, we were able to arrive to the point of having a new form (see attachment) that will be tested during the fall 2003 semester in the College of Science.

Undergraduate Research

The CPI continued its efforts to establish a new position to oversee and develop undergraduate research on campus. With support of Dr. Mark H. Weichold, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs and Dr. Richard Ewing, Vice President for Research a new position has been established in the Undergraduate Programs Office. The position of Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Research has been established, but as a result of budget cuts and hiring freezes earlier in the year, filling this position was put on hold until the start of the FY ‘03. It will be the responsibility of this person to strengthen undergraduate research programs on campus, increasing visibility of such programs and opportunities for student participation. The ultimate outcome will be to achieve compliance with Vision 2020 , that students during their undergraduate experience will have the opportunity to be involved in research.

Research and Graduate Studies

Dr. Wilford D. Gardner continued to lead the CPI's efforts in support of direct graduate admissions. The graduate student direct admissions feasibility study, initiated during the 2001-2002 academic year was adopted as the default admissions process for the 2002-2003 recruiting season. While there was worry that this change over might be too big a step too soon, with the efforts of the Admissions Office this experiment has succeeded and now departments have the tools to allow them to respond rapidly to graduate student applications.

Dr. Eva Sevick-Muraca brought to the attention of the CPI a problem that her students faced when traveling in connection with their academic/research programs. Student travelers were being required to sign an indemnity waiver as part of their Travel and Leave processing, and several of her students questioned the rationale for requiring the signing of this waiver in light of the fact that this was authorized/required travel for University business. After consulting with Dr. Giardino, Rick Floyd and the System attorneys, a revised policy was developed that dealt with the issue of these waivers in a more rational fashion.

Early in the 2003 calendar year, the University received a directive from the Governor's Office to stop all but essential state supported travel in an effort to reduce the budget deficit in the current FY. The CPI was concerned about how the University would be able to successfully recruit incoming graduate students for the fall 2003 semester without access to these travel funds. The CPI working through the Office of Graduate Studies was able to assist all departments needing help to support their recruiting efforts.

As a result of the legislative session, part time graduate assistants working in research labs or classrooms had their benefit support from the state reduced by 50%. Initially the University had responded by restoring some of these lost benefits, but the CPI worked with the Provost's Office, who was eventually able to find a way of restoring ALL of the lost benefits for our graduate assistants using local funds.

Review of Rule Changes/Proposed Legislation Impacting PIs

During the past year the CPI This past year was a year during which the state legislature met to prepare legislation for the next biennium. The CPI's Executive Committee was asked to comment on a wide variety of proposed bills being considered by the legislature. Two bills of particular interest modified the benefits being paid to part time state employees like graduate assistants. While the University was not able to convince the legislature to defeat these bills, the administration did work with the CPI after the fact to find ways to restore these lost benefits (see discussion above on benefits for graduate assistants).

When it was announced that Governor Perry had approved legislation that removed funding for the Texas ARP program during the final budget approval process after the close of the legislative session, the CPI sent a strongly worded letter to the governor pointing out the “short sightedness” of this particular budget balancing action. The text of that letter and the Governor's response is appended to this report.

Invited Speakers

The CPI also had the opportunity to have presentations from a broad spectrum of guest during the year at our monthly meetings. These guests included: 1) Dr. Robert M. Gates who met with us in our October meeting; 2) Drs. Ewing and Giardino, who met with us on a routine basis keeping us apprised of various issues impacting research and graduate studies; 3) Mr. Mario Rojo del Busto, Director of International Services Department, who met with us on two occasions to discuss the changes in the operation of INS as a result of the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security; 4) Michael Dennis and Associates who described the work that they had been doing on the campus Master Plan; 5) Dr. Fred Heath and Dr. Martha Bedard addressed the CPI to present plans for future initiatives in the services that our libraries will be able to provide to the research community on campus; 6) Dr. John Fackler, Chair of the Quality Enhancement Plan Council addressed the group to describe the activities of this group; 7) Mr. Rodney Weiss, Director of Transportation Services who updated us all on the modernization of his department; 8) Dr. Jerry Strawser, Chair of the Presidents Finance Council, who described to the membership the activities of his council over the past FY.

Membership 2002-2003

Member

College

Department

E-mail

Phone

Term Ends

 

Evan Anderson

Business

Business Analysis

(M.S. 4217)

eanderson@tamu.edu

845-1616

2005

Tom Blasingame

Engineering

Petroleum Engineering

(M.S. 3116 )

t-blasingame@tamu.edu

845-2292

2005

Dave Burnett

Engineering

Petroleum
Engineering

(M.S. 3116 )

burnett@gpri.org

845-2274

2003

Craig Coates

COALS

Entomology

(M.S. 2475 )

ccoates@tamu.edu

458-1219

2004

Sumana Datta

COALS (temp. replacement for Williams )

Biochemistry and Biophysics

(M.S. 2128 )

sumad@tamu.edu

862-4641

2003

Michael Delp

Education

Health & Kinesiology

(M.S. 4243 )

mdd@hlkn.tamu.edu

845-0515

2004

James Derr

Vet Med

Vet Pathobiology

(M.S. 4467 )

j-derr@tamu.edu

862-4775

2005

John Fackler

Past Chair, FY03

Science

Chemistry

(M.S. 3255 )

fackler@mail.chem.tamu.edu

845-0648

2003

Tom Ficht

Vet Med

Vet Pathobiology – R&G Base (M.S. 4467)

tficht@tamu.edu

845-4118

2005

Wilford Gardner

Geosciences

Oceanography

(M.S. 3146 )

wgardner@ocean.tamu.edu

845-3928

2003

Richard Gibson

Geosciences

Geology

(M.S. 3115 )

gibson@tamu.edu

862-8653

2005

Jean Gould

COALS

Forest Science

R&G Base(M.S. 2135 )

gould@tamu.edu

845-5078

2005

Steve Gregory

TEES

Food Protein

Research Center

(M.S. 2476 )

sgregory@tamu.edu

862-2262

2004

Timothy Hall

Vice Chair, FY03

Science

Biology

(M.S. 3258 )

tim@idmb.tamu.edu

845-7747

2004

Bruce Herbert

Geosciences

Geology

(M.S. 3115 )

herbert@geo.tamu.edu

845-2405

2003

William Hyman

Engineering

Biomedical Engineering

(M.S. 3120 )

w-hyman@tamu.edu

845-5593

2004

Art Johnson

HSC

Medical Biochemistry & Genetics

(M.S. 1114 )

aejohnson@tamu.edu

862-3188

2004

Howard Kaplan

Liberal Arts

Sociology

(M.S. 4351 )

h-kaplan@tamu.edu

845-2411

2003

Alan Love

COALS

Ag Eco & Sociology

(M.S. 2124 )

alove@tamu.edu

845-3270

2005

Mary Meagher

Liberal Arts

Psychology

(M.S. 4235 )

m-meagher@tamu.edu

845-2564

2004

Ozden Ochoa

Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

(M.S. 3123 )

oochoa@tamu.edu

845-2022

2004

George Rogers

Architecture

Landscape Arch

(M.S. 3137 )

rogers@archone.tamu.edu

845-7284

2004

David Russell

Science

Chemistry

(M.S. 3255 )

 

russell@mail.chem.tamu.edu

845-3345

2005

Jim Sacchettini

COALS

Biochemistry and Biophysics

(M.S. 2128 )

sacchett@tamu.edu

862-7636

2004

Marty Scholtz

HSC

Medical Biochemistry & Genetics

(M.S. 1114)

jm-scholtz@tamu.edu

845-0828

2004

Eva Sevick-Muraca

Engineering

Chemical Engineering

(M.S. 3122 )

sevick@che2.tamu.edu

458-3206

2003

Dorothy Shippen

COALS

Biochemistry and Biophysics

(M.S. 2128 )

dshippen@tamu.edu

862-2342

2004

Katherine Turnbull

TTI

TTI Administration

(M.S. 3135 )

k-turnbull@tamu.edu

845-6005

2004

Robert Webb

Chair, FY03

Science

Physics

(M.S. 4242 )

webb@heprb.physics.tamu.edu

845-4012

2004

Claire Williams

COALS

Forest Science

(M.S. 2135 )

claire-williams@tamu.edu

862-3745

2004

Focus Issues - Academic Yer 2003-2004

Timothy Hall, Chair
Jim Sacchettini, Vice Chair
Robert C. Webb, Immediate Past Chair

  • Graduate recruiting, fellowships, etc.
  • Expanding Undergraduate Research Opportunities
  • Post-doctoral issues
  • INS issues
  • Interdisciplinary programs
  • Research Infrastructure
  • Legal Issues for PI's
  • Improving the University's use of the World Wide Web
  • Mission statement and QEP
  • Indirect Costs usage and redistribution
  • CAFRT
  • Research Park and Technology Transfer
  • Enhancing the diversity of the university