2016 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:

2016 Fall Regular Meeting Agenda

2016 Fall Regular Meeting Minutes – October, 2016

Early (informal) Meeting

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

William Bernsen declared there was no quorum when the board meeting was called to order at 11:10 a.m.  All voting will be held off until the open meeting at noon when Chip Urban is due to arrive.

  1. By-Laws: Billy Bernsen told the board that language in the bylaws had been changed to allow for the AAC to advise and oversee the Master’s Geospatial Surveying Engineering Program as well as the Undergraduate program.  Primarily the language will now reflect that the Board will be allowed to advise “any TAMUCC program related to the sciences of Geographic Information Science”.  There will also be a deletion of the definition of GIS now that there is only one track and there would be a change to the wording “degree plan” to “degree plans”.  In addition section 2.01 regarding who can serve on the Board, the language will read, “A member cannot be a student currently enrolled in the College of Science and Engineering”. [A note from the Chair: As I recall, we discussed the amendments to the bylaws in the early meeting, but since we did not have a quorum, we didn’t vote on them.  Everything in the preceding paragraph which refers to past tense should be future tense.  We were supposed to vote on them in the formal meeting.  In my notes, I have a check mark by that agenda item which indicates to me that we covered the subject, but there is nothing in the minutes about having actually voted on an approving the proposed amendments.  Does anyone actually remember voting on the bylaws once Chip joined us?  I would like to verify.]
  2. It was noted to all members that Mr. Brent Jones wants to be on the AAC. He comes highly recommended by Dan Stone and his resume has been previously sent by Billy Bernsen to all members.  A discussion was held on expanding the diversity of the AAC Board.  A suggestion was made as to adding someone in the research area, an oil and gas person, and a Texas General Land Office person as well.  This will be looked at by members of the current board and suggestions of actual people to fill these areas should be sent to William Bernsen so that proper vetting can take place and then a vote will be held.
  3. A discussion was held on the number of meetings per year. After a lengthy discussion, if was decided to continue on with the Fall annual meeting and if the need arises, a meeting can be called in the Spring.

At noon the Board was joined by the following faculty Ms. Seneca Holland; Dr. Richard Smith, Program Coordinator; Dr. Gary Jeffress; Dr. Lucy Huang; Dr. Michael Starek; Mr. Dan Urban, adjunct; Bryan Gillis, President of the student organization GISSO;  and Anna Neumann, Vice-President of GISSO. Dr. George Zhou and Dr. Scott King, Chair of the Department,  arrived late.

Chip Urban arrived and a quorum was declared.

Lunch was served from noon to 12:30.  During lunch a presentation by students showing the AAC and faculty the presentation they will be making at the NSPS competition in Washington, D.C.  This competition will be March 13, 2016.  It has been several years since the students have competed in this competition and the members who will be making the trip are Anna Neumann, Chris Reynolds, Austin Burklund, Daniel Martinez, Mitchell Grimm, and Josh Cohen.

Afternoon (formal) Meeting

  1.  GISSO Report
    1. 12:35 p.m. Open meeting began with Bryan Gillis, President of GISSO, stating that membership currently stands at 42 students with 23 who are regularly active.  This is up from last year.  However, with an anticipated large graduating class in Spring of 2017, efforts are currently being made to get more freshmen and sophomores integrated into active participation.  This year 17 students participated in attending the TSPS conference.  Attendance has been at the American Petroleum Surveying & Geomatics (APSG) group and in their upcoming map competition. They have been working with the Society of American Engineers, Society of Arc Users, and they are planning on sending 2 students to the ESRI conference this summer.   During this year they have re-written portions of the GISSO Bylaws to conform to the current University standards.  They will be participating in GIS Day Nov. 16th and again offering the S.I.T. prep course which is a big fund raiser for GISSO.
    2. As reported in the past there was a concern of the online program going away.  However, it has been noted that many students now are taking more interest in the local happenings of the program because they are here on campus and participating more in student activities.  Many of our undergrad students are now very interested in obtaining their Master’s degree.  Currently 5 students from Spring graduation have indicated that they are going on to get their Master’s.  Bryan reported that due to the high quality of our programs this speaks volumes of why our students are seeking to continue their education.
    3. Bryan reported that at Field Camp II he will be going for a second time.  He feels he can help other students and last year he was the organizer and he felt he did not get the full benefit due to the duties of getting everything together for the class.  Ken Gold suggested that a position on the GISSO board should be “Past President” to help usher in the new President.   Bryan stated he will still be around and will glad to lend a hand and to encourage younger students to get involved.
  2. Minutes of Last Meeting:  a motion was made by Stephen Blaskey to approve the minutes of the last meeting, seconded by Noela Garza.  Minutes were approved.
  3. Reappointment of Board Members:  With a quorum now met there was no objection to William Bernsen re-appointing Ken Gold, Noela Garza, James Carr, and Donny Sosa to the Board.  Moved to approve by Stephen Blaskey and seconded by Miguel Escobar.  All approved.
  4. Discussion on Expansion of Board: As was discussed in the closed Board meeting Billy Bernsen asked for input from the faculty as to the expansion for diversity of the Board.  Several names were mentioned and various individuals will get in contact with these individuals and see if they have an interest in serving.  If so, their names and resume will be sent to Billy Bernsen to be sent out to the Board membership.  A vote will be taken at a later time.
  5. New Member Election:  A vote was taken to approve Brent Jones from ESRI to be added to the Board to replace Davey Edwards.  This vote was unanimous.  Dan Stone will notify him.

ACTION:  William Bernsen will develop a paragraph defining the work of the committee to be included in any correspondence to potential members.  This will be based on the current definition in the bylaws but more clearly defined. 

  1. Blucher Institute Update:  Gary Jeffress gave the Board an update on the Blucher Institute and its support of the GISC program: The Institute continues to support some travel for faculty, up-keep of equipment, and $20,000 in scholarship monies for undergraduates.  The Institute has supported 24 students who are currently working on projects for the Institute or in teaching assistant positions.  Blucher also helps with advertising and administrative help for the faculty. The Institute has brought in 2.4 million dollars in research dollars during 2016.
  2. Introduction of New Faculty: Dr. George (Guoqing) Zhou introduced himself to the Board.  He came to the campus in Fall of 2016.  He teaches Software Systems I in the undergrad program and Remote Sensing in the Environment in the Graduate program.
  3. ESRI Initiativ: Dan Stone told attendees that ESRI has a new initiative to give out 100 paid internships across all of its divisions.  Several years ago ESRI sponsored a Survey Summit to attract surveyors into the GIS area.  TAMUCC is a designated ESRI center and they would like us to take the lead in re-establishing this Survey Summit.  Dr. Jeffress stated he felt this would be better in San Antonio due to airfare availability but was open to further discussion.
  4. Smith reporting on Updates of Programs:
    1. Dr. Richard Smith began by thanking the AAC for their continued support of our programs and for the regular attendance at our meetings. He again pointed out the hiring of Dr. George Zhou who was added to the faculty in Fall 2016.
    2. Enrollment for Fall 2016 shows 78 undergraduates with 63 being male and 15 females, 25 students are Hispanic, 4 International, 42 White, 1 Black and 6 other and we anticipate 2 graduates in December.  There are also 12 minors and 2 Bachelor of Applied Science students.  In the Master’s program there are 12 students with 7 females and 5 males 2 Hispanic, 1 International, 2 Asian, 7 White.  In the new Ph.D. program, Geospatial Computing Science, there are currently 6 students.  We are anticipating a significant number of transfer students in Spring 2017.  We have 3 schools where we have an agreement for transfer and are working on 6 others that are under draft at this time.  Dr. Smith reported that while our numbers are somewhat down this semester we are the 2nd largest ABET accredited GISC program in the nation with Ferris State being 2 students ahead of us at 80.
    3. Dr. Smith also reported on our curriculum which is now down to 120 credit hours as directed by the State.  Since we were at 121 we simply reduced Internship to 1 credit hour rather than 2 to reach our goal of 120.  Also in Plane Measurement I we will no longer require CAD but we will continue to require before registration.  Mathematics Techniques will no longer require Calculus II but will require Probability and Statistics. Comps and Adjustments still does require Calculus I and II.  Remote Sensing will now require Probability and Statistics and Physics I.    Our courses now are divided among 10 surveying courses, 7 GIS courses and 3 shared courses.  With one track all students are exposed to a well-rounded education.
    4. Our 5 Year Program is now officially being called, “Fast-Track”.  It is now a 150 credit hour program minimum.  Each student will take their regular courses with the exception of Project and one elective.  In their senior year they can take up to 2 graduate courses at the undergraduate cost rate then all others will be taken including either a Thesis or Project at the end.
    5. In the past there was only one minor in Geomatics; now we have added the minor in GIS.
    6. ACTION:  Dr. Smith will send a link to Billy Bernsen to then be sent to the Board.
    7. This year the College has taken ownership of the Geography degree from Liberal Arts as well.
    8. Our online classes continue to wind-down.  We continue to support students who have begun in our program online and will do so until they graduate.
    9. GIS Day will be held on Nov. 16 at the Del Mar Economic Development Center.  Last year there were only 800 students due to bad weather but they are expecting up to 1200 middle and high school students this year.  There are 2 tracks, one for students and one for professionals.  There will also be a poster contest with cash prizes, a UAS demonstration, and stations where the students can actually use the survey equipment.
  5. Rick Smith reported that by using HEAF funds the program was able to buy 5 new Total Stations, 5 new levels and 1 new GPS unit.  This is great news for us but we still need to have funds for keeping this equipment in good working order.  We are receiving some support/donations, such as field books from Urban (thank you) but we certainly would be open to additional opportunities.  If no options become available the only option will be to raise fees to students.  Stephen Blaskey mentioned “Adopt a Total Station Program” that might be possible from survey companies.  This will be looked into.   Mention was made by students of the lack of each individual students getting time on the machines. Recommendation:  After discussion it was recommended that a practical student-by-student practicum for each student should be done to make sure that every student has the ability to run the equipment.  There was also discussion on ethics with particular time spent on undercutting.  Bryan Gillis pointed out that this is fully covered in Legal Aspects and in Cadastral Mapping as well.  Suggestions under new technologies to cover were made to offer a Wetland Delineator, a Drone License –Part 107 of the FAA, a mobile technology and planning, and business aspects to be added into our current courses.
  6. Request was made by Dr. Smith to have the AAC be the overseers of the Master’s program.  Since a quorum was now here Stephen Blaskey motioned to agree to overseer the Master’s program in addition to the undergrad program, seconded by Noela Garza, vote unanimous in agreement.
  7. Discussion then turned to the renaming of the programs.  As had been previously discussed in AAC in the past the decision to change the name of our undergrad and grad program to Geospatial Systems Engineering was brought forward.  There was much discussion but a motion was brought forth to support the name change by Stephen Blaskey and seconded by Chip Urban.  More discussion was held and a vote was taken with 4 yes votes, 3 Nays and 1 abstention.
  8. Lastly, a request for ideas for building our program came from Dr. Smith to the board.  The board members suggested
    1. Offer a Boy/Girl Scouts Surveying Merit Badge Day in Surveying and UAV
    2. Attend PTA meetings where you can talk to parents of students about surveying perceptions and GIS opportunities
    3. Social Media videos
    4. Talk with counselors in Middle and High Schools about programs and scholarship monies available
    5. Articulation agreement with military – T.A.P.S. Program
    6. Attend TSPS Chapter meeting with the potential for TSPS to sponsor (gas and meal money) for a student to travel to chapter meetings outside of local area.
  9. Next Meeting will be in Fall 2017 unless a special session needs to be called in Spring.

Meeting dismissed at 4:00 p.m.

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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