2018 Spring Regular Meeting Minutes

Once again thanks to Dee for recording the minutes (she says again, for sure this time, she will be leaving in August).  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:

2018 Spring Regular Meeting Agenda

2018 Spring Regular Meeting Minutes – April 2018

Early (informal) Meeting

Friday, April 27, 2018

11:00 a.m. Closed meeting

Attendees:  William (Billy) Bernsen, Brandi Lowe, Shelia Steffenson, Ken Gold, Mike Beavers, Dan Stone, Sonia Gover and Miguel Escobar

Billy Bernsen opened the meeting at 11:10 and at that time there were not enough members present to call a quorum.  Several members had notified him that they would be arriving later and a few of those listed above came in after the beginning of the meeting.   Member re-appointment and officer re-election was discussed and tabled until the full meeting at 12:30.  We also discussed the format for the afternoon session.

Afternoon (formal) Meeting

The committee reconvened at 12:30.  Additional Attendees were:  Committee Members Noela Garza, Keith McNease and James Carr; Faculty: Dr. Gary Jeffress, Dr. Lucy Huang, Dr. Hongzhi Song, and Dr. Michael Starek; Faculty Adjunct Bryan Gillis, GISSO President Mitchell Grimm and student Anna Neumann also joined.

  1. There was no unfinished business
  2. A motion was made to approve the 2017 Fall Minutes by Shelia Steffenson, seconded by Noela Garza and all approved.
  3. There was a brief discussion on member reappointments and with no objections, five members were reappointed.
  4. A motion for re-election of offices of Chair, William (Billy) Bernsen and Vice-Chair (Brandi Lowe) were made by Noela Garza, seconded by Miguel Escobar.  The vote was unanimous in favor of keeping them both.
  5. University Updates
    1. Dr. Gary Jeffress explained to the committee the GISC program would be adding two more courses to their current curriculum.  Currently the program falls under the ABET Accreditation of Applied Science which will go under review this year.   By adding 2 more either math or fundamental science electives this will enable the program to meet the requirements for being accredited under Engineering for the following review.  Advantages to this will be to allow a student who completes the program to also apply for their Professional Engineers license.  Therefore, the total number of credit hours will move from 120 to 126.  There was some discussion as to if this will bring in students or move them away due to more credit hours compared to other degrees.  Dr. Jeffress explained that all faculty had agreed to this as being advantageous to our students.  Dr. Jeffress asked the committee to endorse the change.  A motion to support this change was made by Noela Garza and seconded by Shelia Steffenson.  The motion passed.
    2. Dr. Jeffress was questioned about enrollment numbers.  He explained that with the economy doing well more people were working and less enrolling in higher education so numbers are down.  While our enrollment in Spring was down to 57 students he feels the program is still very viable as the average age for a surveyor now stands at 58 years of age compare to 56 last year.  The need for surveyors is still great.
    3. Dr. Jeffress informed the committee that his intention is to retire at the end of the year but his final decision will not come until August.  He announced that Hongzhi (Jessica) Song would be coordinator of the undergrad program and Lucy Huang would be graduate coordinator beginning in Fall.  He will be working with both until they are acclimated to their additional positions.   The committee had concerns about the continuity of the program with Dr. Jeffress intended retirement and the retirement of Dee Edgar, Dr. Jeffress assistant, at the end of August.  Dr. Jeffress informed the committee that a new hire, Dr. Antonio Medrano, has been hired and a final selection of another faculty member will be made in the next few weeks.  He feels certain the program will continue as always.
    4. He also informed the committee the program was working on a memo of agreement with Kline School District.  They have a tech school and we are working with them for a pathway into our program.
    5. He also discussed the structure of the GISC program and spoke of the relationship of the Blucher Institute with the faculty.  All of this is positive reasons for the program to continue.
    6. A Surveying Management Solution program, Cardinal, was presented to the committee.  This program was originally created by Stephen Blaskey a board member and former GISC student.  Mr. Blaskey turned over this software to the Conrad Blucher Institute to handle.  This software allows a company to add new clients, track the progress of work, deliver the survey, and receive and pay invoices all in one package.  The program can be individualized for each company.  This program is currently being run one of our graduate students, Bradley Koskowich, who is the designer and handles the computing side of the website and software.  Bryan Gillis demonstrated the website, http://cardinal.spatialquerylab.com/.  The cost is $5000 to start and $800 monthly.  The monies from this program will be used for graduate students.  The University fully supports this effort.   Committee members felt this was a great program and felt it would be very beneficial to engineering and survey companies everywhere.
  6. GISSO Report
    1. Mitchell Grimm and Anna Neumann reported to the committee that, at the NSPS student competition, the group was awarded second place this year, one point behind Oregon whom they beat last year.  The committee asked several questions and had discussion with the students.
    2. Student concerns and comments were then address by the committee and Mitchell Grimm, president of the Geographic Student Organization.
      1. Lack of Computer Resources – With Center for Instruction 229 being used quite often for courses it is difficult for students to get to computers that have ArcMap, ArcGIS, and Carlson.   Some students also still do not have computers of their own.  There was discussion of remedies of which Dr. Jeffress will check to see if more computers can be loaded in Corpus Christi Hall that contain the software.  Students reported that currently only two fill the need.  Also, it was suggested by committee members that students who do not have a computer of their own consider leasing one by the month from Google.  The cost is very reasonable for a very powerful computer.
      2. Students requested more electives – This will no longer be a problem with the additional credit hours now added in electives.  However, some students may want a different selection rather than math and science but that would only add additional credit hours which the program is currently reluctant to do.  Students can at any time take additional electives but they will not count toward their degree.
      3. Students had a request to add a survey based business class for project management. That was discussed but again a new course would add additional credit hours to the program and the committee and faculty felt to drop any other course to accommodate this request and keep hours at 126 would not benefit the students even though they could understand the reason for the request.
      4. Complaints regarding faculty were brought up by students and were told by Dr. Jeffress that their concerns were already being addressed by the Chair, Dr. Scott King.
      5. The committee thanked Mitchell Grimm, Anna Neumann and Bryan Gillis for their input and attending the meeting.
  7. The next meeting will be in late October with Billy Bernsen emailing committee members a choice of dates later.

Meeting adjourned at about 3:00 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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