2009 Fall Teleconference Meeting Minutes

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TAMU-CC AAC Fall Meeting Minutes – September 18, 2009, 11:30 pm, Teleconference Call

Committee Members in Attendance

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

Guests in Attendance

  • Dr. Stacey Lyle, Program Coordinator
  • Dr. Gary Jeffress
  • Dr. Lucy Huang
  • Richard Smith
  • Dr. Peter Kuntu-Mensah
  • Dr. Joseph Loon
  • Greg Hauger
  • Ms. Ida Olivarez

Call to Order

All participants were on conference phone by 11:35.


Billy Bernsen welcomed everyone and began by asking Dr. Lyle to go over the latest information regarding the issue of “low producing programs”.

Dr. Lyle explained that in the last legislative session a ruling came down that the State of Texas wanted each University to look at “low producing programs.”  Each program has a reporting number assigned to it representing the area where class sizes, graduates, etc. are reported.  Our administration was reporting two separate degrees rather than only one degree.  Our Geographic Information Science classes were reported under code 45 which is Geography; this was incorrect.  The remained were classified under code 15 which is surveying.  This was a coding error and we have responded to this clerical error and have been advised by Dr. Robert Nelsen, Associate VP for Academic Affairs, that our response will fix the problem.

Out of the above discussions on our coding, Frank Pezold, Dean of College of Science & Technology wants to make sure we do not lose the Geographic Information Systems emphasis.  Therefore, it has been suggested that we come up with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Geographic Information Systems(BAS).  It will have 45 core hours, 63 GIS classes, and 12 electives.  This would also demand that we would offer courses over both summer sessions.  By doing this we would allow more importing of students from community colleges.  BAS students would not take the surveying classes and their electives will serve for their additional credit hours needed to complete the degree.

Naming of Programs

The topic then turned to the name of the actual programs.  Lengthy discussion was held on what to call the program to avoid confusion regarding GISc  and GIS.  The group made a recommendation to call both undergrad and graduate programs Geospatial Engineering.  However, later in the meeting this item was revisited and the final name that was chosen for both programs was Geospatial Systems Engineering (GSEN).

Further Comments on the Actual Degree Plan

Billy Bernsen had a question regarding whether enough is being taught on the boundary aspects of surveying.  He feels the degree plan needs more detail in either the undergrad or graduate program.  Dr. Lyle responded by saying he feels we are doing a good job of covering this in GISC 4371, Texas Land History where the students get great detail in boundary instruction; GISC 4410, Cadastral Mapping, being taught by Jamie Pyle, ( PE & RPLS) and in GISC 4305 Legal Aspects where they are taught overriding legal aspects of boundary construction.

Action:  Dr. Lyle will provide Billy with a more detailed lesson plans for his review.

Shelia Steffenson questioned if we are teaching only Texas State legal cases or Nationwide cases.  Dr. Jeffress told her that laws differ greatly State to State and we only concentrate primarily on Texas.   Each state requires that before a surveyor can be licensed in each individual State they must pass a comprehensive exam within that State.

A question was asked by Brian Autio concerning what was being taught in Field Camp 1 and 2.  Dr. Lyle explained that in Field Camp 1 the students learn traversing, leveling and stake out.  In Field Camp 2 they have a full blown survey on land  owned by Dale Moore in Gonzales, TX.  The students begin researching at the county offices, performing an actual survey, recover corners, and even overlay aerial images over a property plat.  In addition to Mr. Moore, Dan Hampton and Henry Kuehlem other registered land surveyors come to the ranch and give actual hands on experience for our students.  ABET has cited us highly due for the participation of students in both field camps.

Shelia Steffenson stated she still thinks the Geographic Information Systems program is a little light but she is pleased with the basic program and glad to see it addressed to keep numbers of students rising.

Lengthy discussion of the Geographic Information Systems standards for future personnel descriptions was held.  Questions were asked such as, “How do we compare with the likes of Texas State University?”  It was noted that at Texas State University the GIS program is part of the Geography Department.  The students are taught ESRI software but actually have few classes in actual programming.  We teach the structuring of programming and how to learn to write programming.


Dr. Lyle will pursue the name change to Geospatial Systems Engineering for both the Master’s and the Undergrad degrees.  He will let the Committee know if he will need a letter of support to endorse this change.

Also Dr. Lyle, as noted, will send to Mr. Bernsen more detail on the high accuracy base lines that we teach in the curriculum for his consideration.

Reading of Minutes from previous meeting

Previous minutes will be approved by email.  Also minutes of today’s meeting will be sent to Mr. Bernsen and he will distribute to the committee for email approval.

Concluding Remarks

Dr. Lyle took a moment to thank the Academic Advising Committee for their input.  He wanted the members to know that we take very seriously their suggestions and advice regarding our program and how important their input is in regard to our standing with the American Board of Engineering Technology (ABET).


The meeting was dismissed at 12:55 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Dee Edgar, Recording Secretary

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