2012 Fall Regular Meeting Minutes

As always, thanks to Dee for recording the minutes.  We will not read these at the meeting.  Please submit changes now in the comment form below, or come prepared with comments at the meeting.  There will be opportunity at the meeting to discuss the minutes prior to approving them.

Early Meeting

Academic Advising Committee

Nov. 9, 2012 – 11:00 a.m.

Blucher Conference Room

Attendees:  William Bernsen, Noela Garza, Ken Gold, Brian Autio, Dan Stone, Tim Alford, Mike Beavers, Sonia Gover, Stephen Blaskey, Michael Parma,  Dr. Gary Jeffress, Dee Edgar, Recording Secretary

Absent:  Bradi Lowe, Sheila Steffenson, Keith McNease, Davey Edwards

Meeting was called to order at 11:10 a.m. by William (Billy) Bernsen.  Quorum declared.

Introductions were made.

Dr. Gary Jeffress had been invited to discuss the arrangements for labs for the Geomatics online courses.  Dr. Jeffress informed the group that he had talked with Dr. Steve Frank, who is a board member of the board on the Applied Science division of ABET, Inc. who is our accreditation agency regarding what ABET looks for in those programs who offer online accreditation.  Dr. Frank informed Gary that to be accredited under the same umbrella as the classroom course the courses would have to be exactly the same.  To compensate for labs, most programs that have received this accreditation are holding a 2 week field camp for each course.  The same contact hours must be made for in-class and online.  Currently our total lab contact hours total 56.

A question was asked as to why the need to go online.  Dr. Jeffress told the group that while this is a solution for many people who are currently working and want to expand their knowledge it is also necessary for any coastal University that has the issue of hurricanes.  He reported that much was learned about continuing education after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike.  To assure students of continued classes the Internet is the best way to have continuity.  TAMU-CC has infrastructure currently set up in Laredo and a Network Operations Center (third floor hurricane resistant bunker) here on the Island for our servers which means that faculty could conduct their courses even if they are not on campus to do so.

Continued discussion was held on various ways to cover all the same material that was covered in the on campus labs with suggestions of a once a month Saturday and Sunday lab session or several mini camps.  Still the discussion led back each time as to the reason to offer the courses online and whether there would be enough interest to actually form a class.  Dr. Jeffress did inform the group that in order to offer any undergrad course there must be no fewer than 10 students; but by use of cross listing our courses we do feel these courses would make.

Concerning the core curriculum, several had questioned as to whether or not these courses would be offered online.  Dr. Jeffress told the group that at the present time, none of the core is offered online through TAMU-CC.  However, with the State of Texas having a common course numbering system, many offerings can be found online already.

The prospect of having professionals “sub-contract” to offer the lab portion of the course was mentioned.  Dr. Jeffress said that choosing that approach comes with several built-in problems particularly with quality control.  Many of the business owners in attendance said they would be reluctant to allow an untrained student to use very expensive equipment which is vital to their business without time consuming one on one attention.

A consensus from attendees who owned surveying businesses said they would rather allow their employees spend one or two days a month getting trained than to have them leave for one or two weeks.  To leave for one or two weeks would be even harder for small companies who rely on every employee to be at work.

After further discussion, the group came to the decision to wait until Dr. Jeffress and Dr. Lyle return next summer (June 2013) from the Surveying & Geomatics Educators Society (SAGES) meeting in June before a decision is made.  Dr. Jeffress also suggested for any board members to please feel free to attend this meeting as well to hear important information that will be discussed regarding this issue.

It was noted that any student who wanted to get their 32 hours of course work to be eligible to take their SIT exam can do so via the currently offered online GIS courses.

Dr. Jeffress also told the group that the legislature is looking at only paying for 120 credit hours for programs.  Anything above this limit, the students will have to pay in full.  Our current program stands at 130 credit hours.  Dr. Jeffress said no firm decisions have been made at this time but he will keep the AAC informed.

The Executive meeting was adjourned at 12:15 to break for lunch.

The open meeting began at 12:45 p.m. and joining this meeting were the following:

Professors – Dr. Stacey Lyle, Dr. Peter Kuntu-Mensah, Dr. Lucy Huang, Dr. Richard Smith

Adjuncts – Mr. Dale Moore, Ms. Jamie Pyle

Instructor – Ms. Seneca Holland

GISSO Officers – Ms. Christina Drysdale, Mr. Julian Clifford

Surveyor for Texas Height Modernization and graduate – Mr. Greg Hauger

ABET Coordinator – Ms. Christine Allman

7.  Faculty Presentations

This item has been moved up on the agenda to facilitate those who needed to return to work.

The meeting began with presentations that had been requested in the last AAC meeting showing how we teach boundary construction.

Ms. Jamie Pyle presented her GISC 4318 Cadastral Systems course.  She covered how she teaches boundary construction, law, legal descriptions, searches, working sketches, and water boundaries.  Slides attached.  Samples of student work and text books were passed around.

Dr. Stacey Lyle presented his GISC 2470 Plane Spatial Measurement I course where he covers Purpose, Transfer of Title, Errors in measurements, Distance, Azimuth Bearing, and OLG True North using “MAWET.  Slides attached.  Text books were passed around.

He also presented GISC 4305 Legal Aspects and GISC 4371, History of Texas Land Ownership.  Slides attached.

Mr. Dale Moore presented his GISC 4250 Field Camp II information, which consisted of a boundary definition of his ranch and includes county court research, fieldwork, boundary reconstruction, plat preparation, and legal description.

The Committee was pleased with the presentation and thanked the professors and adjuncts for making the presentation.

1. Unfinished Business

There was no unfinished business

2.  Approval of the Spring 2012 meeting minutes

Motion to approve as written by Noela Garza, Seconded by Stephen Blaskey, Motion Carried.

3.  GISSO Report

Christine Drysdale, President of the student organization reported that membership is up between 50 to 60 students.  Attendances at the bimonthly meetings are running approximate 20 to 30 students.  The GISSO students are also attending Island Days,  where they help recruit new students, SOAR where they are given opportunities to receive laptops and tablets, and where they help demonstrate Geocaching with new students, and they have attended the TSPS conference and had a booth representing the program.  The group will also be participating in GIS Day which will be held at Del Mar on Thursday, Nov. 15, where they are anticipating over 1000 students in attendance.  The students had no questions for the Committee.

4.  University updates

a.  on the status of CBI Endowed Chair

Dr. Jeffress reported that on-campus interviews were held with 3 candidates and the top rated, Dr. Ruizhi Chen, was offered the position and he accepted.  He is currently a Professor of Geodesy at the Finnish Institute of Geodesy and is originally from China, graduating fro Wuhan University, China’s premier surveying and mapping university.  He is very well published with a lot of experience in research but he does not have any hydrographic background as we had hoped.  However, he was well suited for our new Ph.D. program.  Billy Bernsen asked what effect not having the hydrographic background might make to the program and Dr. Jeffress replied that the University wants to become a Tier 1 research facility and none of the other candidates had the background to help us achieve this level.  With Dr. Huang and Dr. Smith both getting research grants, this is taking away from their teaching load.  We are due one more professor but so far that has not been approved.  Dr. Chen will be required to teach one Master’s level course and other courses if he chooses but his main role will be to foster research.  This Endowed Chair position is a 5 year appointment with the option of renewal.
Questions were asked how this this appointment was financed and Dr. Jeffress gave the Committee an overview of the Blucher Endowment and how it supports the GISC program.  It was stated that the funding for Dr. Chen will be coming from the Blucher Endowment.

b.  Enrollment

Enrollment is up this year to an all-time high of 82 students in the undergrad program and 33 in the graduate program.  Of the 82 undergrads, 17 of those are Bachelor of Applied Science students with most transferring in from the local community college, Del Mar.

c.  Approaching ABET site visit

Dr. Jeffress reported that we are ready for the visit and feel we are in good shape.  Christine Allman, ABET Coordinator, stated she was very impressed with the GISC program and its readiness and corporation in preparing for the site visit.   There will be a team chair and an evaluator who will be at the University beginning Sunday, Nov. 18.

5.  Resignation of Jack Avis

Billy Bernsen told the Committee that Jack Avis had resigned the Committee.  It was noted that currently there are 14 members and that while the need to replace Jack was not urgent, Billy would like for all members to refer any new prospects to him.  The Committee distribution now stands at 7 Geomatics persons, 6 GIS persons and 1 who is considered both.  With this even balance it was decided the vacated position will be kept open till further notice.

6.  Continued Discussion concerning online labs

Discussion was once again held concerning online labs for Geomatics.  The final conclusion was for all to wait until after the June SAGES meeting where Dr. Jeffress and Dr. Lyle will obtain more information.

8. Final Thoughts and Comments

The next meeting of the Academic Advising Committee will be called by Billy Bernsen.

Term Expirations

Billy Bernsen will send notifications of reappointments.

Motion to adjourn was made by Stephen Blaskey and second by Noela Garza.  Meeting adjourned at 2:05 p.m.

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