2009 Spring Regular Meeting Minutes

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TAMU-CC AAC Spring Meeting Minutes – June 26, 2009, 12:30 pm, Conrad Blucher Institute conference room

Committee Members in Attendance

  • William Bernsen, Chair
  • Jeff Myerson, Vice Chair
  • Sheila Steffenson
  • Noela Garza
  • Ken Gold
  • Bill O’Hara (absent with notice)
  • Keith McNease (absent with notice)
  • Brian Autio

Guests in Attendance

  • Dr. Stacey Lyle, Program Coordinator
  • Dr. Gary Jeffress
  • Dr. Lucy Huang
  • Richard Smith
  • Greg Hauger
  • Thomas Nance, rep. of GISSO
  • Lauren Weatherly, rep. of GSEN
  • Thomas Davis, GIS student
  • Dr. John Fernandez, Chair of CSI
  • Absent:  Dr. Peter Kuntu-Mensah
  • Absent:  Dr. Joseph Loon

Informal Meeting (11:30)  (Committee Only)

  • Discussion of consent agenda
  • Discussion of new Member nominee qualifications or guidelines
  • Preparation for discussion of the need for catalogue changes

Lunch

Call to Order

Meeting was called to order at 12:46

Welcome/Introductions

Billy Bernsen welcomed everyone and each individual introduced themselves.

Announcements

No announcements

Reading of Minutes from previous meeting

Minutes read and approved with no changes.

Consent Agenda

Adopted and approved. Attachment A

Report and action items from Informal Meeting

  • Official Appointment of Secretary , Dee Edgar
  • Member Reappointments (unanimous consent)
  • Officer Reappointments (unanimous consent)

GISSO Report

Ian Gates is the new president.  Thomas Nance sat in place of Ian who could not attend.   Currently there are 48 members including 6 graduates.  This year’s 5-K Fun Run was one of the best and most profitable.  There were 18 participants in Fall and 14 in Spring for the SIT prep course.  GISSO participated in the TSPS short course in October, 2008, Teacher appreciation and going away for Mr. Mulcare, crawfish boil for recent graduates and the Guadalupe Mountains highest peaks elevations.

Future plans are to attend TSPS in Austin, and participate in GIS day in the fall.  GISSO participation is still about 20 to 30 students.

Questions were asked about the trip to Guadalupe Mountains with explanation of trip given by the students.

Dr. Fernandez  asked, “ What is split between GIS and Geomatics?”  Thomas reported there are  31 Geomatics, 10 GIS,  4 Masters,  and  1 Certificate seeking student.  Overall current enrollment is 64 students in the undergrad program.

Unfinished Business – Handled with Consent Agenda ( Attachment A)

  • Letter to TBPLS(Attachment B)
  • Study of Catalogue – action item designated for spring meeting will be addressed below

Agenda Items

  • Discussion of need for catalogue changes
    • New university rule regarding minimum class enrollment
    • Discussion of “developing” problem involving enrollment in GISc classes
    • Discussion of need for new catalogue and suggestions

Dr. Lyle took the floor and began to explain the new university rule regarding minimum class enrollment.  Each class must have 10 enrolled to make in the undergrad program and 5 in the graduate program.  The program has also gone from 120 hours to 129 hours based on the AAC recommendations beginning Fall 09.

Handout #1 shows the new plan to keep GIS and Geomatics classes above minimum enrollment.  Page 2 of the handout shows the new plan.  The first 45 credit hours is the core,  where it is required  that students take Calculus and Physics I & II as part of the core.  Before, students had to have 48 hours for core but university officials have asked us to drop to 45.  To do this the lab component for Physics I & II are now part of Foundations of the Program for both emphases.

Cadastral Systems is a new course incorporating Public Info with Cadastral Mapping.  GIS II & III are new for Geomatics, and GIS Systems Project Design are now part of the Geomatics emphasis also.  Students have had a lot of input into the substance of this class.

GIS now is taking Survey II, Comps and Adjustments, Texas Land History and Geospatial Systems Project Design.  Field camp will remain the same but Geomatics will go to Dale Moore’s ranch and GIS will stay here for a week and Dr. Lyle will teach it here.   Discussion was held on how this will be handled with co-teachers.

Further discussion on why we need the two emphases or what is the benefit of both?  Dr. Lyle said a lot of people come here because of GIS but they jump into Geomatics.  If we remove it, we remove the attraction of GIS.  However, now GIS has lost some of its marketing ability, and discussion was held on whether or not to continue.  The draw is the name, GIS, and whether you call it an emphasis or not really doesn’t matter.    Jeff Myerson asked , “Is it fair to claim two emphases when there is only a one class difference?”  Also,  to what degree will we separate the two emphases?  Would the only differences be in Field Camp?  Dr. Fernandez said that Engineering differentiates the projects whether mechanical or electrical.  It needs to be written somewhere that students will do their project in their area of emphasis.  Noela Garza said that she feels the two names will draw in more students.  Thomas Davis, incoming freshman, thinks two emphases will still be more attractive to incoming students.  Rick Smith suggested keeping the Geographic Information Science Program  name and by keeping the class names the same will still show the two areas.  Jeff Myerson said he still feels strongly that with only a one course difference it is hard to truly state that there are two true emphases.   Continued discussion was on-going with several suggestions continuing.

Discussion was also brought up concerning removing Calculus II  by Billy Bernsen, which is now overed in Dr. Loon Mathematical Techniques.  However, it was mentioned that Physics II requires Calculus II.  General Physics does not require Calculus II but Physics I does require the Calculus.    Mathematical Techniques requires Calculus II; which would need to be changed it we dropped requirement.  Ken Gold said there is just not a need in business practices for Calculus II.   Discussion was then held on what would replace Calculus II.   By dropping Calculus II it gives more flexibility to students and could add more computer science electives, geology, or environmental electives.

Jeff Myerson noted that the GIS students who graduate from here know a lot about Geomatics as well as GIS which is a selling point of this program that we cannot afford to lose, the combination of Surveying and GIS together.  Shelia Steffenson said she feels that the GIS and Geomatics balance is currently a complete offering  and best for the students.

Summary of Talking Points:

The AAC will take discussed catalog changes under advisement.  They will be talking with individual professors by committee or sub-committee.  If another meeting is required in Fall, Billy Bernsen will make arrangements for a Fall meeting well before the catalog changes are due, which is October 15th.

Five Year Plan:

Dr. Lyle gave conceptual plan for “5 year plan” that would have 120 credit hours in undergrad and 36 in Master’s to equal 156 credit hours; thereby allowing students to complete their master’s in 5 years.  Courses would be shuffled i.e. GIS III will go under the Master’s with a full blown graduate class in future.  There would be no emphasis option.  In the student’s Senior year they can take graduate courses and roll into the Master’s program the next year.   You can get a master’s without a project or thesis; but there is a 9 hour capstone class that will be required.

Questions were asked regarding “what is a capstone?  How is it different from thesis or project?”  Dr. Lyle addressed these questions.   “Would this be pure academics or would they go out into business and do capstone project?”  Dr. Lyle replied this can be done.  He noted there will probably not be many who will take this option; but it will be there for those who would like to do so.  College Station has done this in their programs and it has been successful  which is the reasoning behind this change.  Question:  When does this have to be declared?  Answer:  Anytime up to the Senior year.

Catalog & Course Descriptions are online for Master’s.  Dr. Lyle will put Syllabi and CV’s of professors on line.  Committee was advised to look this over and discussion will be held at future meetings.

New Business

  • Expanding committee membership.

Discussion was held on extending invitation to TSPS president, GITA or TGIC for the GIS.  Dr. Jeffress said TGIC is very focused on Texas.  Dr. Lyle stated the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientist would be another choice.  Recommendations were considered by the AAC of Professional Associations.  These members would have to be one year members since the presidency of these professional organizations are only one year appointments.  Idea was tabled for later discussion.

  • Enrollment Comments

Enrollments of all GIS programs are down nation wide.  Other programs that are gaining enrollment are generally where requirements are less and classes are cheaper.  These programs generally do not require Calculus but only require Algebra.

Final thoughts and comments

Research Side – Dr. Lyle stated there are several grants established with TXDOT, NGA grant, and a big NGA out for acceptance.  He told about systems developed for Stennis Space Center, and how projects such as the Guadalupe Mountains Project get the students involved.    He also told of the Texas Spatial Reference Center obtaining an NGS, 3.2 million dollar grant, to improve the Geoids in the State of Texas and $300,000 for Tx. Height Mod earmarked from Kay Bailey Hutchinson.  Also proposed to NSF is a grant for $380,000 for equipment.

Dr. Jeffress told group that the Blucher Institute is writing a proposal for stimulus money to build research building.  The total grant is anywhere from 10 to 15 million to replace the current Blucher building.  The outlook looks good for receipt of this grant with the University backing this endeavor.  Final awards will be made in February, 2010.

Dr. Jeffress reported that the DNR is progressing very well with a lot of work with the Corp of Engineers due to hurricane Ike damage repairs amounting to $1.8 million dollars worth.   Right now the research work there is about 9 million dollars so far this year.

Stimulus earmarks have also been requested to have seed money for the Ph.D. in Geospatial Computing Science program which has been approved for development.

Faculty was dismissed from meeting at 3:12 p.m.

Next meeting.

Stacey will need to get digital syllabi and CV’s as soon as possible.  Sub-committee meeting will be held Early August, full committee Fall meeting mid – September, 2009.  Questions will be submitted to faculty one week in advance of sub-committee face to face meeting.   All faculty members will meet with 30 minutes and have a 15 minute break between each professor.  Billy Bernsen will determine next best available date for meeting and he will coordinate meeting with Dee Edgar.

Adjournment

Motion to adjourn Jeff Myerson, 2nd Shelia Steffenson  Adjourned 3:32 p.m.

Term Expirations

  • April 2009 – Jeff Myerson, Dale Lipps, Sheila Steffenson
  • April 2010 – Noela Garza, Ken Gold, Bill O’Hara
  • April 2011 – William Bernsen, Brian Autio, Keith McNease

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William B

William

I am a Registered Professional Land Surveyor and work for a small land surveying and mapping business called Absolute Land Surveying, Ltd., located in Plum, Texas. I am a 1999 graduate of the Geomatics Program and was the 6th graduate overall of the Program. I am also a member of the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveyors' Item Writing Committee that develops questions for the Board's legal and analytical exams.

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