2015 Fall Regular Meeting Minutes

Once again, thanks to Dee for recording the minutes.  If there are any additions or corrections, please submit them now in the comment form below, or come prepared with them at the meeting.  There will be opportunity at the meeting to discuss the minutes prior to approving them.

These minutes are for the meeting with this agenda:

2015 Fall Regular Meeting Agenda

2015 Fall Regular Meeting Minutes – November 13, 2015

11:00 Private Board Meeting:

Members:William Bernsen, Chair, Brandi Lowe, Vice Chair, Shelia Steffenson (absent),Noela Garza,Ken Gold,Keith McNease,Davey Edwards (via phone),Mike Beavers, Dan Stone, Stephen Blaskey, Sonia Gover, James Carr, Miguel Escobar (absent), Chip Urban, and Donny Sosa.

11:10 meeting was called to order by William (Billy) Bernsen.

Introductions were made by all with Donny Sosa being the newest appointed member.

Mr. Bernsen and Brandi Lowe have both agreed to continue with their appointments.

Mr. Dan Stone is currently in the process of registering for online courses in the Master’s program here at TAMUCC which, when done, will make him ineligible for sitting on the Academic Advising Committee.  Until he is an official student, he will remain on the AAC.

Mr. Bernsen informed the members that the purpose of this committee is to advise the program from an industry standpoint which is required by the ABET accreditation which the program holds. The group voluntarily gives input on curriculum based on the needs of the industry and the knowledge that the committee feels is needed to be successful in the GIS and Geomatics fields.

Mr. Bernsen inquired of the committee if they felt a Spring meeting would be useful. He would like for this meeting to follow a less formal format. Possibly this meeting could be a more question and answer time rather than a reporting time as in the Fall. He would like to see more student attendance as well. This will be suggested to the faculty when they join after lunch.

12:00-12:30 Lunch

Full Board Meeting

Joined at 12:30 by the following: Dr. Richard Smith, Dr. Lucy Huang, Dr. Gary Jeffress, Dr. Michael Starek, Dr. Ruizhi Chen, Dr. Scott King, Dr. Tony Nettleman, Mr. Bryan Gillis, Ms. Na Lin, and 4 GISC Students. Ms. Seneca Holland arrived at 1:15 due to a previously scheduled meeting.

  1. Introductions were made with Mr. Donny Sosa the newest member of the AAC.
  2. There was no unfinished business.
  3. The minutes of the last meeting were approved with no changes.
  4. Bernsen reappointed 5 members (Shelia Steffenson, Mike Beavers, Brandi Lowe, Dan Stone, and Sonia Gover ) and the committee unanimously gave their consent.
  5. Both officers, William Bernsen and Brandi Lowe, have agreed to continue and the committee agreed unanimously.
  6. GISSO Report
    1. Bryan Gillis gave the GISSO report beginning with the membership which is now at approximately 25 students. Of that number, 15 attend the meetings regularly. This year the group sent students to TSPS and intends to attend the Beaumont Symposium as well. Donations for these events have come from TSPS due to the excellent performance of the students at TSPS events in the past. Our students show a great maturity when attending these events and it has been recognized by the State organization. There is also a surveying competition in March and GISSO will be looking for funding for this event.   Students are allowed to attend this function if they are GISSO members and maintain a 3.5 GPA.   Discussion was held on how and who to approach for future funding.
    2. The group will be participating in GIS Day, Nov. 17. They have 25 volunteers which will demo several aspects of surveying and GIS to approximately 800 high school students who will be in attendance. The group is also participating in a poster presentation at this same event. There will be a professional track this year during GIS day and this gives our students a chance to network with individuals who are currently working in the GIS and Geomatics field.
    3. Bryan also reported that GISSO officers positions have been updated and specific duties are now defined within those positions.
    4. While Freshmen are being encouraged to attend the GISSO meetings, they are not attending as often as would be preferred. Even though all students are signed up from the beginning for the GISSO list serve where they receive notices of all events, participation is still low. However, joining GISSO cannot be mandatory so therefore all that can be done is to encourage those to attend.
    5. Concerns were raised by students concerning the announcement of the intent to close undergraduate online courses. It was reported that many of the Junior and Seniors are now choosing to take courses online and go to work. However, faculty advised that only one or two students per online class are not worth the time and effort involved in offering the course. Since the University administration is not giving any funding or help in putting these courses online, the professors feel that the five years we have spent on putting these courses online is not in the best interest of the program at the current time. The professors did not rule out the possibility of adding them back at some point and time but unless something unexpected changes, the courses will not be offered as of Fall 2016. It is important to note however, that current “full time online students” will be given special help so that they can complete their courses. Currently the program has only four (4) full time online students.
    6. Na Lin, the graduate representative, said that while at the TSPS convention the Master’s program was promoted.   Most of the Master students are fully online with only about 4 or 5 students in face-to-face courses. International students must take the majority of their courses face-to-face if they are in the United States according to Homeland Security.
  1. Bernsen had sent to all members of the AAC the class schedules prior to the meeting. He asked if anyone had any comments or questions regarding this handout. Mr. Steve Balskey discussed suggestions for course requirements. AAC members were told they could go to http://catalog.tamucc.edu/index.php?catoid=3 and look over the requirements and course descriptions if they choose.
  1. University Updates
    1. Richard Smith reported on the program as a whole. Enrollment, compared to Fall 2014, is up from 84 to 101. This is the first time the program has over 100 enrolled. Adding to that number is 10 minors and 1 Bachelor of Applied Science student. There are six students scheduled to graduate in December.  Rick also reported the following stats for undergrads:
      • 21 females, 80 males
      • 3 black  26 Hispanic, 4 International, 64 White (non-Hispanic) 4 not reported
      • 50 are from Corpus Christi, 47 from other parts of Texas, 1 from Wisconsin, Washington, Utah and Illinois
    2. Graduate numbers are:
      • 17 graduates of which 5 are female and 12 males
      • 1 Asian/Pacific Islander, 4 Hispanic, 1 International, and 11 White(non-Hispanic)
      • 4 are from Corpus Christi, 1 Arkansas and 12 from other parts of Texas.
    3. As far as recruitment, the faculty and some students continue to participate in TSPS events, Island Days, GIS Day, visiting colleges and high schools, and Dr. Tony Nettleman has been working on Articulation agreements with Lone Star College, Del Mar College, Oklahoma State University, Texas State Technical College, and Austin Community College. Dr. Nettleman will be visiting all colleges in Spring 2016. We have discontinued advertising in the ESRI magazine due to cost and are using a program called AdWords instead.
    4. Dr. Smith said that the minor in GIS has been restructured and the same is currently being done for the Geomatic minor.
    5. Also mentioned was the consideration of moving from the Applied Science ABET Accreditation to the Engineering Accreditation. The Engineering programs are looking to open a Civil Engineering area. No decision has been made at this time. The program is currently under the Computing Sciences of which Dr. Scott King is the chair. The AAC had concerns that the GISC program would be overtaken by the Engineering program and would not like to see that happen since the GISC program was established before any Engineering programs.
    6. Dr. Gary Jeffress informed the AAC that a new process for evaluating the Master’s program is being developed and wanted to know if the AAC would like to be our external reviewers for our Master’s program. He gave the description of our program and stated that the difference between our program and other Master programs is that our students must do a project or thesis and have a mentor supervise them.   The committee agreed and it was proposed by Steve Blaskey, second by Noela Garza for the following:
      • ACTION: William Bernsen will check the by-laws and see if any changes will need to be made for the AAC to review the Master’s program and if so will let the AAC know before the Spring meeting.
    7. Due to the new Core Curriculum, we have moved 3 lab hours and 3 lecture hours for Calculus 1 and II and Physics 1 and II to the Core. This reduces the overall program hours from 127 to 121. To be in compliance with the State of Texas Law of no more than 120 credit hours, we are proposing to reduce the Internship course from 2 credit hours to 1 credit hour during the next cycle.
    8. Currently there is no ABET activity except for the standard End of Course Memos being evaluated by faculty at the end of each semester.
    9. Dr. Smith elaborated on the previous discussion of the closing of online sessions in the undergrad program. One other unexpected fact that has happened is when the online sessions were opened approximately 5 years ago, it was due to the fact that we had many calls from outside areas where people were already working in the surveying field but wanted to get the 32 hours of credit needed to test for their S.I.T. license. Over the last 5 years however, while these people still call and seem interested, we are not getting the numbers that we anticipated. In fact, the students who are increasing in number are our juniors and seniors who are here in Corpus but are choosing to take online either so they can get a job or because they don’t want to come to campus. Of course in closing the online courses we are seeking the permission all the way up to the Provost. A decision has not officially been rendered at this time but it is the intention of the professors to close the online portion of courses in Fall of 2016. For students who are fully online at the current time (only 4 are fully online), special arrangements will be made so they can finish their degree.
    10. Rick also reported that as of January 2015 we hired Dr. Tony Nettleman, who teaches survey-related courses. He was hired as a Professional Assistant Professor and not tenure track. He will spend 90% of his time teaching and 10% in Research. Dr. Nettleman gave his background information to the committee. Also Rick told the group that we are in the process of hiring a tenure track professor hopefully by Spring 2016. The new Ph.D. in Geospatial Computing Sciences did receive final approval and will begin in Fall 2016. Dr. Lucy Huang will be teaching the first GIS course in that program.
    11. The GISC professors made a decision to stay with the Blucher Institute due to the support they receive from them both monetary and administratively. Eventually, they hope to move to the National Resource Center, next door, when the building reverts to the University in future years.
    12. Scholarships have been awarded this year in the amount of $33,500. From Blucher $4000 has been given, Davidson $20,000, Ball $7,500 Mazurek Memorial $500, and Jeffress $2000. There is $16,000 left to be awarded in Spring 2016 from Blucher funds. Rick encouraged students to apply for this money.
    13. Dr. Michael Starek reported on the UAV research that he and Dr. Ruizhi Chen have been working on. In the magazine “Lidar” there was an article mentioning our program.
      • ACTION: Dr. Starek will send a copy of this article to the AAC.
    14. He also mentioned that last year there was also a very nice article in GIM International magazine.   Each professor told the group that increasing use of UAV’s is being recognized and that their research funding is steadily growing.
    15. Dr. Smith updated the AAC on the purchasing of new survey equipment including one new total station. All other total stations were sent in for calibration within the last six months. However, one has already quit working . He and Dr. Nettleman are working on a depreciation and replacement cycle plan. The aim is to not make the students have to pay since the cost has been calculated at $317 per student per class. They are working on making some type of arrangement with the College to come up with the money.
    16. Steve Blaskey volunteered equipment for Field Camp 1.
  2. Final thoughts and comments (none)
  3. Faculty were told that the AAC would like to have face-to-face Spring meeting and faculty agreed. This will be an informal meeting. The faculty will come up with 2 areas of interest and the AAC will have 2 areas of interest. [The format of the spring meeting was not determined at the meeting.  It will be determined prior to the meeting.]  This will be more of a brainstorming meeting rather than a formal meeting. The committee does not want power-point presentations but rather an informal question and answer session. Mr. Bernsen encouraged student attendees to spread the word so more students could be involved in this spring meeting. As soon as the date is set, Mr. Bernsen will let the committee know and Ms. Dee Edgar will send out notice to the students of the request for their attendance at this meeting. Tentatively this meeting will be held sometime in April, 2016.
  4. Meeting adjourned at 3:14 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Dee Edgar