Road Trip: 2008 Annual Meeting Mixes Travel and Business
The 2008 Chancellor's Century Council meeting stayed both informative and mobile as the 200 attendees got a glimpse of The Texas A&M University System’s reach with trips ranging from Prairie View A&M University to Disaster City. The three-day event was capped with a chilly, but entertaining, Aggie baseball season opener.
The meeting began as council members boarded buses for an hour’s drive south to the campus of PVAMU. Upon arrival, they were greeted by university president Dr. George C. Wright and the Prairie View Trail Riders, who led them through the campus to the Juvenile Justice and Psychology Building, where members heard presentations by faculty and students.
After that, council members were treated to a surprise performance by The University Singers and the Prairie View Marching Band (the “Marching Storm”). As a result, the band has been invited to participate at half-time on Sept. 20 during the Texas A&M vs. Miami football game.
Dr. Freddie Richards, interim dean of the College of Agriculture, then outlined PVAMU’s unique goat research program. The university is home to the nation’s first International Goat Research Center, which houses six breeds of goats and provides valuable research to Texas, the United States and Ethiopia through a partnership known as the Ethiopia Sheep and Goat Productivity Improvement Plan.
Dr. Betty Adams, professor and dean of the College of Nursing, discussed the history of the university’s nursing program, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary. The College of Nursing began in 1918 as a two-year program, and has grown into a blend of undergraduate and graduate programs in the Texas Medical Center in Houston.
After returning to College Station, council members attended a reception and visited displays from all the A&M System agencies and universities.
Council members started their second day with a first-hand look at the Texas Engineering Extension Service’s Brayton Fire Training Field. Before the tour, they were welcomed by Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, Texas A&M University’s vice chancellor and dean of engineering. Bennett also presented an overview of the engineering program at Texas A&M, which is entering its final year of a faculty reinvestment plan. The college has hired more than 100 new faculty at all levels and disciplines, has built up their signature programs and is continuing to push undergraduate and graduate student enrollment to 10,000.
The council also heard from Gary Sera, director of TEEX, who described the wide range of services his agency provides, including the delivery of emergency response and workforce training, technical assistance and technology transfer. TEEX’s OSHA Training Institute Southwest Education Center has trained more participants than any other OSHA Education Center in the nation, making it No. 1 for the fourth consecutive year.
Dr. Scott Lillibridge, assistant dean of the School of Rural Public Health, then related his personal experiences with global homeland security. After the briefings, council members boarded buses for guided tours of both Brayton Fire Training Field and Disaster City.
Reconvening at TEEX for its annual business meeting, the council voted on two items: term limits for officers and the addition of a new region. The council vote means that henceforth officers’ terms will be limited to a total of four successive years, except for those of the general chair, general chair-elect and the past general chair. All former officers will be eligible for re-election or appointment after being out of office for a period of four years.
Since Region III was disproportionally larger than the other regions, a new region was created. Region III now includes Bryan/College Station, Austin and surrounding areas, while Houston and surrounding areas will become Region V.
After the business meeting, the group headed to the School of Rural Public Health, where Dr. Nancy Dickey, president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the Texas A&M System, gave an overview and update on her facility.
Dr. Ciro Sumaya, founding dean of the School of Rural Public Health, welcomed council members and explained the institution’s mission to advance the health of Texans, particularly those living in rural communities. The school is celebrating its 10th anniversary and was recently ranked in the top 25 graduate schools for public health in U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools 2008: Public Health.”
Presentations were given by Dr. Catherine Hawes, “Aging, Assisted Living, Longterm Care”; Dr. Barbara Quiram, “Critical Emergency Preparedness Training for Rural Communities”; and Dr. Jane Bolin, “Diabetes Kiosks Pilot Program.”
At the College of Medicine, Dr. Gary McCord greeted council members, who received an update on the college, which has received approval from the Board of Regents to incrementally expand from 80 to 200 students per incoming class. The college’s request stemmed from the need to alleviate physician shortages in Texas and across the nation. In June 2007, the College of Medicine received funding from the Texas Legislature to create a campus in Round Rock to provide clinical training for third- and fourth-year medical students.
Dr. Farida Sohrabji spoke about women’s health issues, Dr. Theresa Fossum gave a presentation on the Texas A&M Institute for Preclinical Studies (TIPS) and Dr. Marty Scholtz discussed the role of the Texas A&M Health Science Center in TIPS.
On the final day, CCC members heard from a variety of speakers from around the System, including Dr. Marlan O. Scully, distinguished professor of applied physics and theoretical quantum optics at Texas A&M; Connor Prochaska, Texas A&M student body president; Dr. Stanton Calvert, vice chancellor of governmental relations; Dr. Frank Ashley, vice chancellor for academic affairs; Thomas Bingham, president of the Chancellor’s Student Advisory Board; and Nick Guillemette, Texas A&M Corps commander. Chancellor McKinney presented an update on the A&M System including the changes of campus presidents at Tarleton State University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas A&M University-Texarkana and Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Following the formal meeting, council members were invited to tour the A&M-Texarkana GO Mobile unit, a custom 42-foot trailer that travels to high schools around the state to recruit students and assist them in completing their college applications.
Council members ended the event-filled meeting with a trip to Olsen Field to watch the Aggies’ season opener. Despite cold and windy weather, council members bundled up and had a great time as the Aggies defeated Northern Colorado, 9-5.
Next year’s event will be held in Canyon, hosted by West Texas A&M University.