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The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics
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The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics

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  • 1. The Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics The Graduate Program in Genetics Texas A&M University And The Texas A&M Health Science Center ---------------- Administered By The Council of Participating Deans Dr. Elsa Murano, Agriculture & Life Sciences, Chair Dr. H. Richard Adams, Veterinary Medicine Dr. H. Joseph Newton, Science Dr. Christopher Colenda, Medicine Administrative and Programmatic Support by the Department of Biochemistry And Biophysics ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 2. FACULTY OF GENETICS Self-study Report for the External Review Committee Dr. Mark Sorrells (Ph.D.) Cornell University, Chair Dr. Lucia Rothman-Denes, (Ph.D.) University of Chicago Dr. Gary Splitter (DVM, Ph.D.) University of Wisconsin Executive Committee Of the Faculty of Genetics – 2007 Dr. James R. Wild, Chair (Biochemistry) Dr. Michael Benedik, Vice-Chair (Biology) Dr. Craig Coates (Entomology) Dr. James E. Womack (Vet. Int. Biosciences) Dr. Geoffrey Kapler (Molecular & Cellular Medicine) Dr. Clare Gill (Animal Sciences) Dr. Bruce B. Riley (Biology) Dr. David L. Adelson (Animal Sciences) Dr. Paul Samollow (Vet. Int. Biosciences) May 13–15, 2007 ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 3. TABLE OF CONTENTS page I. Introduction A. Welcome to the Genetics Program at Texas A&M University……………........................4 B. Charge to the Review Committee……………………………………………........................5 C. Schedule of the Review.....................................................................................................6 D. Faculty Liaison (Executive Committee Members)…………………………......................10 II. Background A. Organizational Structure of the Intercollegiate Faculty…………………….....................11 B. The Graduate Program in Genetics……………………....................................................11 C. Association with the Undergraduate Program of Genetics……………….......................16 D. Relationships WITH Institutes and Centers…………………………………………….......17 III. Current State of the Graduate Program in Genetics A. Mission and Unique Contributions to TAMU Graduate Program…………...................19 B. Accomplishments of the Faculty ………………………………….....................................19 C. Faculty Organization……………………………................................................................22 D. Budget and Available Resources …………………………………………………………...26 E. Programmatic Stability ……………………………………….............................................29 F. Graduate Training Program Application ……………………………................................31 G. Seminar Series………………………………….................................................................39 IV. Strategic Plan A. Issues of Concern...............................................................…………………..................41 B. Programatic Goals for the Next Five Years…….………………………………...............44 C. Special Items…………………………………...................................................................45 V. Appendices A. History of the Genetics Program at Texas A&M University (1876 - 2006)………….A-1 B. Administrative Framework for Interdisciplinary Programs……………………………..B-1 C. Bylaws of the Faculty of Genetics (June, 2006)….…….…………………………….…C-1 D. Genetics Graduate Core Curriculum Syllabi………..…………………………………...D-1 E. Current Student Information by College and Department……………………………...E-1 F. Information on Alumni…..……………………………………………………………….….F-1 G. Graduate Student Handbook…………………...…………………………………………G-1 H. Seminar Schedules…………………………………………………………………………H-1 I. Other Intercollegiate Faculties at TAMU…………………………………...........……….I-1 J. Recruiting Weekend Schedule of Events………………………………………………...J-1 K. NIH-style Biosketches………………………………………………………………………K-1 ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 4. I. Introduction A. Welcome to the Genetics Program and the Faculty of Genetics 1. Mission and Unique Contributions to the Texas A&M University and Health Science Center Graduate Programs. The principal function of the Faculty of Genetics is the administration of the graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Genetics, in conformance with the rules of the Office of Graduate Studies of Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M Health Science Center. The Faculty also serves to promote and facilitate communication among geneticists and to foster the development of genetics at Texas A&M University. The Faculty of Genetics arranges for the periodic assembly of geneticists and provides a forum for them and for others with interests in genetics. The organizational and operational characteristics of the Faculty of Genetics are intended to be broad enough to permit consideration of all academic aspects of genetics and all other matters affecting the position and progress of the discipline at Texas A&M University. In addition, many members of the Faculty of Genetics participate in teaching and advising students in the undergraduate program in genetics. The Faculty of Genetics is currently composed of 104 Full Faculty Members from 4 Academic Colleges and 19 Academic Departments, and there are 66 Graduate Students currently studying for their M.S. or Ph.D. graduate degrees in Genetics distributed across 4 Academic Colleges and 14 Academic Departments. Fifteen new doctoral students were accepted for Fall 2006, and fourteen are expected for Fall 2007. Finally, there are ~165 undergraduate majors in Genetics and 21 members of the Faculty of Genetics are involved in teaching undergraduate genetics courses. The undergraduate program is administered by the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 2. Most Recent External Review – June 1999 The last comprehensive external review of the Faculty of Genetics at Texas A&M University occurred in June of 1999. The self-evaluation by the Faculty and the critique generated by that review invoked a series of specific recommendations regarding an aggressive 5-year plan for substantially improving the national reputation of genetics at Texas A&M University. Concern was expressed about the size of the Faculty at that time (74 Full Members and 22 Associate Members), and it was suggested that Associate Member status should be dropped. (It was.) Furthermore, it was obvious that achieving that goal would require organizational re- structuring and the investment of significant resources. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the investment of resources required by the plan was not forthcoming. While the program has survived, it has begun to stagnate under uncertain lines of governance and increased departmental stress on faculty members for success in obtaining harder-to-obtain grant resources and recognition. 4 ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 5. B. Charge to the Review Committee (Office of Graduate Studies) As part of the evaluation, please consider the allocation of human, physical, and fiscal resources, and comment on current and potential leveraging of these resources, as appropriate. Once the review team completes the on-site review, the team has 30 days from their return home to transmit the final report to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The following format has proven effective in previous reviews; however, reviewers are not constricted to this format. • Preamble • Status of the Department • Relationship of this Program to others in the College • Strengths of the Program • Weaknesses of the Program • Evaluation of Program’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) • Recommendations Overall Programmatic Strengths and Balance Fiscal and Personnel Resources Organizational Structure The program review should provide answers to the following questions: • Is the program productive and effectively pursuing its goals? • Is the program advancing the state of the discipline/profession? • Is the teaching and education of students useful and effective? • Does the program meet the interdisciplinary goals of Texas A&M University? • Does the program have adequate resources and support to reach its goals? • How is the program viewed by experts in the field? 5 ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 6. C. Schedule of the Review Itinerary for Doctoral Program Review Team May 13-16, 2007 Hotel Reservations: Reveille Inn, 4400 Old College Road, Bryan, TX 77801 (979) 846-0858 Sunday, May 13 (Arrival) 2:25pm Mark Sorrells arrives at Easterwood Airport on AA Flight #3287 Mes12@cornell.edu 607 255-2180 Jim Wild will escort to Reveille Inn from Easterwood Airport. 4:50pm Gary Splitter arrives at Easterwood Airport on AA Flight #3279 splitter@ahabs.wisc.edu 608 262 1837 Jim Wild will escort to Reveille Inn from Easterwood Airport. 6:50pm Lucia Rothman-Denes arrives at Easterwood Airport on CO Flight #9549 lbrd@uchicago.edu 773 702 1083 Jim Wild will escort to Reveille Inn from Easterwood Airport 7:30pm Dinner at Bell Ranch Steakhouse for the review team with Jim Wild, Executive Committee members: Clare Gill, Bruce Riley, Jim Womack, & Michael Benedik Jim Wild will escort to Bell Ranch Steakhouse and then to The Reveille Inn. Monday, May 14 (Day 1) 7:30 -8:30am Breakfast and entry meeting at Reveille Inn with: David Prior, Provost Jim Calvin, Executive Associate Vice President for Research Rick Giardino, Dean of Graduate Studies Jack Vitek, Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies Martyn Gunn, Dean of Undergraduate Studies Jim Wild will pick up review team from Reveille Inn and escort to Room 302, Jack K. Williams Administration Building 9:00-10:15am Gene Nelson, Executive Associate Dean, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences Michael Hall, Executive Associate Dean, College of Science Garry Adams, Associate Dean of Research, College of Veterinary Medicine Van Wilson, Associate Dean, Texas A&M Health Science Center Jim Wild will escort to the Biochemistry/Biophysics Building. 6 ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 7. 10:30-:12:00pm Overview of the Faculty of Genetics—Jim Wild & Mike Benedik Room 403, Biochemistry/Biophysics Building 12:00-1:30pm Catered lunch by Jason’s Deli with select Graduate Students, Room 403, Biochemistry/Biophysics Building. Sarah Black will escort to Faculty Group meetings. 1:30 - 2:30pm Bioinformatics & Genomics Faculty Group Host: Clare Gill Room220, Kleberg 2:45 - 3:45pm Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Genetics Faculty Group Host: Craig Coates Room440, Heep 4:00 - 5:00pm Medical Genetics—Human & Animal Faculty Group Host: Jeff Kapler Room 162, Reynolds Jim Wild will pick up review team and escort to the faculty Social 5:30 - 7:00pm Faculty Social at the J. Wayne Stark University Center Gallery Jim Wild will pick up review team and escort to dinner. 7:00-8:30pm Dinner at Cenare’s with former Genetics Executive Committee chairs: Jim Derr, John Gold, Jeff Kapler, Loren Skow, and Jim Wild Jim Wild will escort review to The Reveille Inn Tuesday, May. 15 (Day 2) 8:00-9:15 am Breakfast provided by Reveille Inn Jim Wild will pick up review team from The Reveille Inn and escort to Biochemistry/Biophysics Building 9:30-10:30am Meet with Genetics Recruiting and First-Year Advising Committee members: Clare Gill, Chair (recruiting), Dan Ebbole, Carlos Gonzalez Craig Coates, Chair, (first-year advising) Paul de Figuereido, Paul Hardin, and Keith Maggert. Room 403, Biochemistry/Biophysics Building 10:30-12:00pm Meeting with Genetics Leadership: Executive Committee Members and Standing Committee Chairs Room 403, Biochemistry/Biophysics Building 12:00-1:30pm Catered Lunch by Blue Baker with IDP Chairs: Bob Burghardt, Jean Gould, Rhonda Miller, Suresh Pillai, Nancy Turner, Jim Wild, and Mark Zoran Room403,Biochemistry/Biophysics Building. Jim Wild will escort to Faculty Group meetings. 7 ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 8. 1:30- 2:30pm Conservation Genetics & Population Biology Faculty Group Host: Paul Samollow Room162, Norman E. Borlaug Center 2:45- 3:45pm Microbial Genetics Faculty Group Host: Michael Benedik Room162, Norman E. Borlaug Center 4:00 - 5:00pm Plant Genetics Faculty Group Host: Bruce Riley Room162, Norman E. Borlaug Center 5:00 pm Jim Wild escort to The Reveille Inn. 5:30-6:30pm Catered Dinner from Epicures to reviewers work room at The Reveille Inn. 6:30-9:30pm Reviewers’ work session, preparation of draft report for exit meeting, faculty debriefing Wednesday, May. 16 (Day 3) 7:30 -9am Breakfast and exit meeting at Reveille Inn with: David Prior, Provost Jim Calvin, Executive Associate Vice President for Research Rick Giardino, Dean of Graduate Studies Jack Vitek, Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies Gene Nelson, Executive Associate Dean, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences Martyn Gunn, Dean of Undergraduate Studies Team checks out of Reveille Inn Jim Wild will escort to the Biochemistry/Biophysics building; will bring team luggage along. 9:30 – 10:30 am Reviewers make final changes to draft report, as necessary, Room 403, Biochemistry/Biophysics building. 10:30-11:00 am Reviewers debrief Genetics Executive Committee Room 403, Biochemistry/Biophysics building. 11:15-11:45 am Reviewers debrief faculty, staff and students on final report, Room107 Biochemistry/Biophysics 12:00-1:00 pm Lunch at La Bodega with Jim Wild, Genetics Executive committee members: Michael Benedik 8 ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 9. 2:05pm Lucia Rothman-Denes departs Easterwood Airport; CO Flight #9568 Jim Wild will escort Easterwood Airport. 2:55pm Gary Splitter departs Easterwood Airport; AA Flight #3286 Mark Sorrells departs Easterwood Airport; AA Flight #3286 Jim Wild will escort Easterwood Airport. Contact: J. Wild (979-255-0197) or M. Benedik (979-220-1923) 9 ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 10. D. Faculty Liaison and Executive Committee Members Dr. James R. Wild, Chair (Molecular Genetics) Dr. Michael Benedik, Vice-Chair (Bacterial Genetics) Dr. Craig Coates (Insect Developmental Genetics) Dr. James E. Womack (Animal Genomics) Dr. Geoffrey Kapler (Mol. & Cell. Medicine) Dr. Clare Gill (Animal Sciences) Dr. Bruce B. Riley (Biology) Dr. David L. Adelson (Animal Genetics) Dr. Paul Samollow (Vet. Int. Biosciences) Administrative Associate: Julia Williams, room 109A Bio/Bio, 458-2284 Jim Wild, Chair Michael Benedik, Vice-Chair Office 979-845-6539 Office 979-845-5776 Home 979-689-1548 Home 979-776-7105 Cell 979-255-0197 Cell 979-220-1923 j-wild@tamu.edu benedik@tamu.edu 10 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 11. II. Background A. Organizational Structure of the Intercollegiate Faculty The Faculty of Genetics is an intercollegiate academic unit of The Texas A&M University System. It is administratively associated with four Colleges through a Council of Participating Deans (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Sciences, College of Medicine, and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biosciences. The Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (COALS) serves as the Chair of the Committee. The Dean of the College, Dr. Elsa Murano, is also the Vice Chancellor for Agriculture. As Dean, Dr. Murano reports to the Provost, Dr. David B. Prior, who in turn reports to the President of Texas A&M University, Dr. Eddie Davis (Interim President). As Director of TAES and Vice-Chancellor of Agriculture, Dr. Murano reports to the Chancellor of the Texas A&M System, Dr. Robert McTeer. There are fourteen Faculties of varying natures and function; some oversee the granting of Degrees while others are strictly interdisciplinary. (see Appendix I) B. The Graduate Program in Genetics The principal function of the Faculty of Genetics is the administration of the graduate program leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Genetics. The organization also serves to promote and facilitate communication among geneticists and to foster the development of genetics at Texas A&M University. It arranges for the periodic assembly of geneticists and provides a forum for them and for others with related interests. The organizational and operational characteristics of the Faculty of Genetics are intended to be broad enough to permit consideration of all academic aspects of genetics and all other matters affecting the position and progress of the discipline at Texas A&M University. Admission to the Faculty is determined by the Executive Committee after 1) nomination by the Head of the faculty member’s administrative department and 2) recommendation by the Committee on Membership of the Faculty of Genetics. Full members of the Faculty of Genetics must be full members of the graduate faculty at Texas A&M University and must have significant research, teaching and service activities in genetics. Full members are expected to participate in research, teaching and 11 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 12. service components of the Faculty. Members are reviewed every three years, and must maintain active involvement in both academic and service functions of the Faculty of Genetics. These expectations must integrate into the expectancies of the home departments, institutes, and colleges. (See Table 1) Table 1. Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics Departmental Listing April 2007 College of Agriculture and Life Plant Pathology (PLPA) Sciences(COALS) Martin Dickman Daniel Ebbole Animal Science (ANSC) Paul de Figueiredo David Adelson Carlos Gonzalez Christine Elsik Clint Magill Clare Gill Brian Shaw Andy Herring Heather Wilkinson Nancy Ing Thomas Spencer Poultry Science (POSC) Huaijin Zhou Biochemistry & Biophysics (BCBP) Mary Bryk Soil and Crop Science (SCSC) Jorge Cruz-Reyes Javier Betran Sumana Datta Russell Kohel James Hu C. Wayne Smith Gary Kunkel David Stelly John Mullet John Yu Vladislav Panin Hongbin Zhang William Park David Peterson Wildlife and Fishery Science (WFSC) Michael Polymenis Thomas Dewitt Dorothy Shippen John Gold James Wild TAMU Health Sciences Center (MSCI) Entomology (ENTO) Craig Coates Institute of Biosciences and Technology Linda Guarino (IBT) Spencer Johnston Richard Finnell Keyan Zhu-Salzman Mingyao Liu Laura Mitchell Forest Science (FRSC) Robert Wells Jean Gould Konstantin Krustovsky Molecular & Cellular Medicine Carol Loopstra Lori Bernstein Allison Ficht Horticulture (HORT) Jeff Kapler Stephen King Steve Maxwell Creighton Miller 12 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 13. Microbial & Molecular Pathogenesis Veterinary Integrative Biosciences Helene Andrews-Polymenis (VIBS) Jeffrey Cirillo David Busbee Julian Leibowitz Bhanu Chowdhary James Samuel William Murphy Jon Skare Terje Raudsepp Vernon Tesh Paul Samollow Van Wilson Loren Skow Jane Welsh College of Science (COS) Veterinary Pathobiology (VTPB) Biology (BIOL) Ellen Collisson Rodolfo Aramayo James Derr Deb Bell-Pedersen Thomas Ficht Michael Benedik Keith Murphy Vincent Cassone Susan Payne James Erickson Joe Templeton L. Rene Garcia James Womack Ira Greenbaum Guan Zhu Timothy Hall Paul Hardin Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology Robyn Lints (VTTP) Keith Maggert Charles Long Thomas McKinght Edmund Rucker III Alan Pepper Steve Safe Brian Perkins Friedhelm Schroeder Hongmin Qin Mark Westhusin Bruce Riley Kathyrn Ryan New faculty to be added: Deborah Siegele Mariana Mateos (WFSC) Statistics (STAT) Penny Riggs (ANSC) Ruzong Fan Joseph Sturino (ANSC) Warren Zimmer (MSCI) College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Large Animal Hospital (VLAM) Noah Cohen Full members are entitled to: 1) serve as chair of a thesis or dissertation committee for a Genetics graduate student; 2) teach graduate GENE courses; 3) serve on the Faculty of Genetics Executive Committee; 13 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 14. 4) vote on matters requiring a vote of the Faculty of Genetics; 5) serve on the Faculty of Genetics Membership and Nominating Committee; and 6) chair standing or ad hoc committees of the Faculty of Genetics. The responsibilities of members are detailed in the Faculty Bylaws (see Appendix C). The Faculty of Genetics is currently composed of 104 tenure-track faculty members from 19 different departments affiliated with the four colleges. A list of Genetics Faculty by area of interest is shown in Table 2. Short, Two- page NIH-style biosketchess for the Full Members are attached to this document as Appendix K. Fifty-three graduate students are currently associated with the Faculty of Genetics. Fourteen new graduate students are expected for Fall 2007, and it is expected that eight to ten will complete their degree studies. Table 2. Genetics Faculty by Area of Interest _________________________________________________________________________ Bioinformatics & Genomics Derr, James N. Adelson, David L Dewitt, Thomas Aramayo, Rodolfo. Busbee, David L. Gold, John Chowdary, Bhanu Greenbaum,, Ira Coates, Craig J. Derr, James N. Murphy, Williams I. Ebbole, Daniel J. Krutovsky, Konstantin Elsik, Christine Fan, Ruzong Samollow, Paul B. Gill, Clare Wilkinson, Heather Gold, John Hu, James C. Johntson, J. Spencer Plant Genetics Kapler, Geoffrey M. Dickman, Martin Kohel, Russell J. Gould, Jean Maggert, Keith A. Hall, Timothy C. Mullet, John E. Kohel, Russell J. Murphy, William J. Loopstra, Carol A. Panin, Vlad Magill, Clint W. Siegele, Deborah McKnight, Thomas Skow, Loren C. Miller, J. Creighton Templeton, Joe W. Mullet, John E. Wells, Robert Shaw, Brian Womack, James E. Shippen, Dorothy E. Yu, John Z. Smith, C. Wayne Zhang, Hong-Bin Stelly, David M. Zhu, Guan Yu, John Evolution, Conservation, & Medical Genetics--Human & Animal Population Biology Binas, Bert _______________________________________________________________________ 14 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 15. Chowdary, Bhanu Schroeder, Friedhelm Cohen, Noah Siegele, Deborah Datta, Sumana Skare, Jon Fan, Ruzong Wild, James R. Ficht, Allison R. Wilson, Van Gill, Clare Zhu, Guan Greenbaum, Ira F. Guarino, Linda A. Molecular, Cellular, & Ing, Nancy H. Developmental Maggert, Keith A. Adelson, David L Mitchell, Laura Bell-Pedersen, Deb Murphy, Keith E. Bryk, Mary Murphy, William J. Busbee, David L. Perkins, Brian D. Coates, Craig J. Terje Raudsepp Collisson, Ellen W. Samuel, James E. Datta, Sumana Skare, Jon Guarino, Linda A. Skow, Loren C. Hall, Timothy C.. Wells, Robert Ing, Nancy H. Welsh, Jane Jiang, Yi Wei Wilson, Van Kapler, Geoffrey M. Womack, James E. Kunkel, Gary R. Leibowitz, Julian Microbial Genetics Liu, Mingyao Aramayo, Rodolfo Loopstra, Carol A. Maggert, Keith A. Bell-Pedersen, Deb McKnight, Thomas Benedik, Michael J. Murphy, Keith E. Bryk, Mary Panin, Vlad Cirillo, Jeffrey D. Perkins, Brian D. Cohen, Noah Peterson, David O. Collisson, Ellen W. Polymenis, Michael de Figueiredo, Paul Riley, Bruce Ebbole, Daniel J. Shippen, Dorothy E. Ficht, Allison R. Spencer, Thomas E. Ficht, Thomas A. Stelly, David M. Gonzalez, Carlos F. Templeton, Joe W. Guarino, Linda A. Welsh, Jane Hu, James C. Yu, John Z. Leibowitz, Julian Zhang, Hong-Bin Payne, Susan Zhu-Salzman, Keyan Pepper, Alan Polymenis, Michael Samuel, James E. 15 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 16. C. Association with the Undergraduate Program in Genetics through the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics In Fall 2005, Texas A&M University enrolled 36,066 undergraduates, of whom 5,862 were life science majors. The Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics administers two of these majors, a B.S. in Biochemistry (BICH) and a B.S. Degree in Genetics (GENE), with a typical average annual enrollment of 300 to 400 students. The in B.S. in Genetics was instituted under the College of Agriculture in 1985. As of Spring 2006, there were 356 students in the two majors, with 203 in Biochemistry and 153 in Genetics. The two majors, which are designed to allow a double major by taking on approximately 14 credit hours of extra course work from the required material of either major, are considered the most challenging life science majors on campus. The students who graduate with these majors are thus in general at the top end of motivation, ability and accomplishment scales. The median GPA of the senior class is 3.37 for Biochemistry and 3.03 for Genetics. In the last 5 years these majors have accounted for 1 Rhodes Scholar, 2 Marshall Scholars, 1 Udall Scholar, 1 NIH-Cambridge Scholarship, and 7 Goldwater Scholars. In addition, in the three years that A&M has had a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, 33 students have been inducted. In recent graduating classes, 40% matriculated in medical/professional schools while 40% went on to graduate school. Medical school acceptances included several in M.D./Ph.D. programs at UT-Houston, UT-Galveston and UT- Southwestern. Matriculating graduate school students include attendance at UCSF, Stanford, Berkeley, John Hopkins, Rice University, Wisconsin (Madison), and MIT, to name a few. The undergraduate students at Texas A&M University are highly sought for post-baccalaureate studies. Twenty-one members of the Faculty of Genetics are involved in teaching and advising undergraduate majors in Genetics. (Table 3) Table 3. UNDERGRADUATE COURSES IN GENETICS Texas A&M University - FALL 2005/2006 COURSE TITLE INSTRUCTOR DEPT GENE 105.500 Gene Perspectives Mary Bryk BICH GENE 285H.2xx Directed Studies All Genetics Faculty ALL GENE 285.5xx Directed Studies All Genetics Faculty ALL GENE 301.501-8 Comp Genetics John Ellison BICH GENE302H.200 Principles - Genetics John Gold WLFS 16 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 17. GENE302.501-3 Principles - Genetics Jim Wild BICH GENE302.504-6 Principles – Genetics Vlad Panin BICH GENE 310.500 Principles – Heredity Clint Magill PLPM GENE 315.500 Plant Genetics Jim Price SCSC GENE 320.501 Biomed Genetics D. Busbee VTPP GENE 320.502 Biomed Genetics R. Venkatraj VTBS GENE 405.500 Mammalian Gene James Womack VTPP GENE 406.500 Bacterial Genetics Mike Benedik BIOL GENE 412.500 Pop/Ecol Genetics Spencer Johnston ENTO GENE 431H.200 Mol Genetics Cheng Kao BICH GENE 431.501 Mol Genetics Jorge Cruz-Reyes BICH GENE 431.502 Mol Genetics Cheng Kao BICH GENE 432.500 Mol Gene Lab K. Zhu Salzman SCSC GENE 452H.200 Mol Mammal Dev Patrick Dunne VIBB GENE 452.500 Mol Mammal Dev Patrick Dunne VIBB GENE 481.500 Seminar – 1 Spencer Johnston ENTO GENE 482.501 Seminar – 2 Clint Magill PLPM GENE 482.502 Seminar - 2 Jim Price SCSC GENE 485H.2xx Directed Study All Genetics Faculty ALL GENE 485.5xx Directed Study All Genetics Faculty ALL GENE 491.5xx Research – Genetics All Genetics Faculty ALL D. Relationships with Institutes and Centers The purpose of institutes, centers, laboratories and service facilities at Texas A&M University is to more fully develop interdisciplinary opportunities for research, academic, and service programs and to provide for more effective recruiting and competition for extramural funding than could be achieved solely through traditional departments. The creation of 'official' institutes and centers requires development and approval of a governing document by the College of Agriculture and Life Science and the Board of Regents. Laboratories and service facilities are administered through a specific center, institute or department. 17 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 18. On-campus research institutes with strong connections to the Faculty of Genetics: Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology: Marty Dickman, Director The Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology (IPGB) (ipgb.tamu.edu) hosts faculty from 7 different departments, including 2 from Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. In addition, the IPGB provides service to TAMU researchers through the Laboratory for Crop Transformation (i.e., plant tissue culture), the Laboratory for Crop Genome Analysis (i.e., DNA sequencing), and the Laboratory for Molecular Cytogenetics (i.e., FISH). The IPGB is guided by an advisory committee comprised of 14 unit heads and is providing leadership for the development of genomics at Texas A&M University. Texas Institute of Genomic Medicine : Richard H., Director A new building is underway to house the Institute which has developed from the transfer of collaborative research efforts with Lexicon Genetics from the Woodlands. Interdisciplinary Life Science Building Texas A&M University has also broken ground (May 26, 2006) for the construction of a new Interdisciplinary Life Science Building. This building will be located on the western border of the East Campus, approximately 7 minutes walking time from the Bio/Bio Building. 18 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 19. III. Current State of the Graduate Program in Genetics. A. Mission and Unique Contributions to TAMU Graduate Programs The principal function of the Faculty of Genetics is the administration of the graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Genetics, in conformance with the rules of the Office of Graduate Studies of Texas A&M University – College Station. The organization also serves to promote and facilitate communication among geneticists and to foster the development of genetics at Texas A&M University. The Faculty of Genetics arranges for the periodic assembly of geneticists and provides a forum for them and for others with interests in genetics. The organizational and operational characteristics of the Faculty of Genetics are intended to be broad enough to permit consideration of all academic aspects of genetics and all other matters affecting the position and progress of the discipline at Texas A&M University. In addition, the Faculty of Genetics participates in the undergraduate program in genetics. B. Accomplishments of the Faculty (January 1, 2005 – May 31, 2006) a. Educational Activities of the Faculty i. Courses/Instructional changes (FY2005-06) 1. 14 Graduate-level courses 2. 3 New graduate-level courses a. GENE689 – “DNA Microarray Analysis (Zhu) b. GENE689 – “Critical Analysis of Genetics Literature” (Fall 2004 Siegele; 2005 Kladde) 3. 16 Undergraduate courses each semester See Fall 2005 offerings – Table 3 ii. Undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded 1. Total Graduate degrees since 1988 a. 132 Ph.D. degrees b. 65 M.S. degrees 2. Graduate degrees (2005–2006) a. 8 Ph.D. degrees b. 4. M.S. degrees 3. Total undergraduate degrees since 1986: ~900 4. Undergraduate degrees (FY2005-06): ~65 19 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 20. iii. Student recruiting 1. 13 new graduate students – Fall 2006 (See Appendix E ) 2. 13 new graduate students expected – Fall 2007 3. 48 new undergraduate students – Fall 2005 4. 45 new undergraduate students expected – Fall 2006 iv. Enrollment (current and past two previous years) 1. Graduate student enrollment a. Fall 2004 = 64 b. Fall 2005 = 65 c. Fall 2006 = 72 2. Undergraduate genetics students in June 2006 (153) 3. New undergraduates expected Fall 2006 (~45) v. Diversity of Student 1. Current graduate student demographics June 2006 a. 43 domestic; 21 international b. 34 women; 30 men c. 2 African-Americans; 4 Hispanic 2. Current undergraduate student demographics (153) a. 140 domestic; 13 international (estimate) b. 84 women; 69 men (55% female) c. 25% Under-represented minorities (estimate) vi. Industrial partnerships – None vii. Student placement 1. Graduate student placement (A-9) a. ~10 percent in academia b. ~80 percent in industry c. ~10 percent in policy or regulation 2. Undergraduate student placement estimates a. 1/3 medical/ health care education b. 1/3 graduate school in sciences c. 1/3 other (e.g. law, MBT, industry) b. Research Activities (See Appendix K) The research survey for FY2005-2006 requires integrating reports from individual Faculty members; the following summary represents the responses of 60% of the members of the Faculty of Genetics (53/89) i. Publications (See Appendix K) 1. Number of 2005-06 Publications – 53 members a. 261 Publications b. 4.92 per Faculty Member 20 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 21. 2. Percentage collaborative (multiple authors) ~ 90% 3. Percentage involving graduate students ~ 92% ii. Grants (Appendix K) 1. Number of total grants active during time reference a. 129 total grants (53 respondents) b. 2.43 grants per reporting Faculty Member 2. Total Grant Funding per year a. $9,900,000 (53 respondents) b. $199,000 per reporting faculty member 3. Percentage collaborative: 12% (data uncertain) iii. Awards (University-level or external recognition – 2005-2006) 1. Sumana Datta – NIH Senior Ruth L. Kirschstein Fellow 2. Paul de Figueiredo – Sloan Foundation Fellow 3. Allison Rice-Ficht – TAMU Regents’ Professor 4. Deborah Bell-Pedersen – AFS Excellence in Teaching 5. Richard Finnell – TAMUHSC Regents’ Professor 6. R.Finnell - Margaret Alkek Professor of Medical Genetics 7. Carlos Gonzalez – Alfred Sloan Minority Grad. Mentor 8. Keith Murphy – Pfizer Animal Health Award – Research 9. Stephen Safe – AFS Distinguished Faculty - Research 10. Thomas Spencer – Sigma Xi Young Investigator 11. James Womack – Texas Genetics Society Service Award iv. Presentations – See Appendix K c. Service (See Appendix K) 21 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 22. C. Faculty Organization The Faculty of Genetics is governed by an Executive Committee which consists of nine members. Four members serve as college representatives and are elected by the Full Members of the Faculty of Genetics of that academic college. The five other members serve at-large and are elected by all Full Members of the Faculty of Genetics. All terms are for three years. The terms are overlapping, with three members being elected each year. Executive committee members are eligible for re-election. The Executive Committee elects from among its membership a Chair (two-year term) and a Vice-Chair (two-year term). After the first year of leadership by these two members, a Chair –Elect will be chosen. (See the governing bylaws in Appendix C) The Chair of the Faculty of Genetics has responsibility for the following: 1) provide leadership for the program and represent the Faculty in College and University meetings; 2) work closely with Heads of Departments to secure teaching and research assistantships for students in Genetics; 3) approve degree programs, thesis and dissertation proposals, and theses and dissertations of genetics graduate students; 4) recommend the budget and approve expenditures for teaching functions in Genetics; and 5) ensure that teaching evaluations are completed for Genetics undergraduate and graduate courses. The Vice-Chair replaces the Chair and serves as the chief officer of the Faculty of Genetics in the absence of the chair and assumes the position of the Chair for two years after completion. The Academic Advisor of the Faculty of Genetics, Mrs. Julia Williams, serves as an ad-hoc member of the Executive Committee and is responsible for the preparation and distribution of minutes of the Faculty of Genetics and Executive Committee meetings and maintenance of records of Faculty and Executive Committee activities. The Academic Advisor is also expected to prepare a report for distribution to the Faculty and the Administration near the end of each Spring Semester. The Executive Committee members implement policy and make decisions to maintain and advance academic quality. In addition, they administer and coordinate the M.S. and Ph.D. graduate programs including admission of prospective graduate students, assignment of fellowship stipends, rotation of new students in faculty laboratories, and advising of all Genetics students. The Executive Committee appoints the chair and other members of Genetics standing 22 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 23. committees and special committees. Committee members for the past twelve years are shown in Table 4. Table 4. Intercollegiate Faculty of Genetics Executive Committee Members 1994/95 Jim Samuel (Secretary) Loren Skow (Chair) Flora Katz Linda Guarino (Vice-Chair) Jim Giovannoni Clint Magill (Secretary) Jorge Piedrahita Thomas Ficht Dorothy Shippen John Gold Dave Stelly Ira Greenbaum Claire Williams Rodney Hunnicutt Mike Manson 1999-2000 Doug Struck Linda Guarino (Chair) Jim Derr (Vice-Chair) 1995/96 Jim Samuel (Secretary) Loren Skow (Chair) Flora Katz Don Jarvis (Vice-Chair) Jorge Piedrahita Clint Magill (Secretary) Dorothy Shippen Rick Finnell Deborah Siegele John Gold David Stelly Ira Greenbaum Claire Williams Rodney Hunnicutt Mike Manson 2000-2001 Jim Samuel James Derr, (Chair) Jorge Piedrahita (Vice-Chair) 1996/97 James Samuel (Secretary) Loren Skow (Chair) Linda Guarino Linda Guarino (Vice-Chair) Geoffrey Kapler Jim Samuel (Secretary) Flora Katx Jim Derr Clint Magill Mike Manson Deborah Siegele Jim Giovannoni David Stelly Jerry Taylor Don Jarvis 2001-2002 Rick Finnell James Derr, (Chair) Jorge Piedrahita (Vice-Chair) 1997/98 James Samuel (Secretary) Linda Guarino (Chair) Linda Guarino Jim Derr (Vice-Chair) Geoffrey Kapler Jim Samuel (Secretary) Clint Magill Mike Manson Alan Pepper Jim Giovannoni Deborah Siegele Jorge Piedrahita James Wild Dorothy Shippen Andy Paterson 2002-2003 Claire Williams Geoffrey Kapler (Chair) Deborah Siegele (Vice-chair) 1998/99 Sumana Datta (Secretary) Linda Guarino (Chair) Nancy Ing Jim Derr (Vice-Chair) Clint Magill 23 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 24. Keith Murphy Geoffrey Kapler (Chair) Alan Pepper Deborah Siegele (Vice-chair) Jim Samuel Sumana Datta (Secretary ) Jim Wild Michael Benedik Nancy Ing Mike Kladde 2003-2004 Keith Murphy James Womack Thomas Ficht James Wild Glare Gill Geoffrey Kapler 2004-2005 Bruce Riley Geoffrey Kapler (Chair) Deborah Siegele Deborah Siegele (Vice-chair) James Womack Sumana Datta (Secretary ) Michael Benedik 2006-2007 Nancy Ing James Wild (Chair) Mike Kladde Michael Benedik (Vice-Chair) Keith Murphy David Adelson James Womack Craig Coates James Wild Paul Samollow replacing Thomas Ficht Glare Gill 2005-2006 Geoffrey Kapler James Wild (Chair) Bruce Riley Michael Benedik (Vice-Chair) James Womack Craig Coates replacing Mike Kladde The Chair of the Faculty of Genetics, like all interdepartmental faculty chairs, reports to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, on issues relating to graduate students. However, on issues relating to the undergraduate program in Genetics, the Chair of Faculty of Genetics reports to the Head of the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics (BioBio), the administrative home of the Genetics Undergraduate Degree. The Undergraduate Program Committee of Genetics is appointed by the Head of BioBio, usually considering recommendations of the Executive Committee of Faculty of Genetics. Thus, the Executive Committee and the Chair of the Faculty of Genetics do not have administrative authority for the undergraduate program in Genetics, but they do serve in advisory roles. Most of the work of the Faculty of Genetics is done by the standing committees (Table 5). Committee assignments are made based on indicated preference of all members yearly. Terms are for one year and are renewable. There is at least one member of the Executive Committee on each standing committee and he/she reports to the Executive Committee monthly. The chairs of the standing committees report to the Faculty of Genetics at the annual meetings. In addition, the Executive Committee elects a nominations committee 24 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 25. which is charge to nominate to at least two people for each open Executive Committee position. No member of the Executive Committee can serve on the Nominating Committee. Table 5. Faculty of Genetics Standing Committees 2006-2007 Recruiting Committee Michael Polymenis Bruce Riley Clare Gill (Chair) Flora Katz Bhanu Chowdhary Clint Magill Craig Coates Tom Spencer Dan Ebbole Dave Stelly Carlos Gonzalez Membership Committee Seminar Committee Michael Benedik (Chair) Brian Perkins (Chair) Ira Greenbaum David Adelson Laura Mitchell Bhanu Chowdhary Tim Hall Undergraduate Curriculum Committee Geoffrey Kapler (Combined committee with Biochemistry Department) Clint Magill Nancy Ing Brian Perkins Loren Skow Jane Welsh John Yu HongBin Zhang Awards Committee Keyan Zhu-Salzman Bruce Riley (Chair) Brian Perkins Graduate Curriculum Bonny Butler—grad representative Rodolfo Aramayo Tom Dewitt First-Year Advising Committee Dan Ebbole Chris Elsik Craig Coates (Chair) Thomas Ficht (Chair) Paul de Figueiredo Konstantin Krutovsky Paul Hardin Carol Loopstra Keith Maggert _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 25 __________________________________________________________________________________ Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 26. D. Budget and Available Resources Source of Funds Operational Funds (Table 6) for the Faculty of Genetics are provided by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies (ORGS), the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (COALS), the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and the College of Science (COS). Although the Health Sciences Center (HSC) provided support us in the past, they have declined to contribute in the past five years. In some years, the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics has allocated Graduate Student Enhancement Funds to the Faculty. The Office of Research and Graduate Studies provides funds for Regent’s Fellowships annually which are awarded by us on a merit basis to first-year student or students. All of these funds that support the Faculty of Genetics must be requested annually and there is no guarantee of continued support. The resources seem to be “in limbo” and funding for 2006 has arrived sporadically. The additional resources provided by BioBio include salaries for 66% of our Academic Advisor (Mrs. Julia Williams), and 13 Genetics teaching assistantships for the undergraduate teaching labs in GENE 301/302/302H (Principles of Genetics). The Genetics Program provides the other 34% of Julia’s salary. BioBio also handles the bookkeeping for the Faculty of Genetics which includes graduate assistants’ salaries and benefits for first year Genetics graduate students, reimbursements for genetics seminar speakers, and travel costs for prospective graduate students. Table 6. Expenses and Allocations Commitments for Genetics Program as of 4/23/07 FY2006 FY2006 FY2006 DEPT Commitments Amt. Committed Account Amt. Rec'd Balance College of Agriculture & Life Sciences $ 21,000.00 163815/ 130066 $21,000.00 $ - College of Science $ 5,000.00 290206 $ 5,000.00 $ - College of Veterinary Medicine $ 5,000.00 130056 $ 5,000.00 $ - Vice President for Research/OGS $ 58,000.00 246100/130056 $58,000.00 $ - IBT $ 2,000.00 $ - $ 2,000.00 HSC (last received in FY2005) $ 5,000.00 06-203153 $ - $ 5,000.00 $ 96,000.00 $89,000.00 $ 7,000.00 __________________________________________________________________________________ 26 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 27. FY2007 FY2007 FY2007 DEPT Commitments Amt. Committed Account Amt. Rec'd Balance College of Agriculture & Life Sciences $ 21,000.00 $ - $21,000.00 College of Science $ 5,000.00 $ - $ 5,000.00 College of Veterinary Medicine $ 5,000.00 $ - $ 5,000.00 Vice President for Research/OGS $ 58,000.00 130056/130066/246100 $58,000.00 $ - IBT $ 2,000.00 $ - $ 2,000.00 HSC $ 5,000.00 06-203153 $ - $ 5,000.00 Pathobiology (FY2005) $ - 240905 $ - $ - Other - vendor contribution (FY2006) $ - 553181 $ - $ - $ 96,000.00 $58,000.00 $38,000.00 FY2008 FY2007 FY2007 DEPT Commitments Amt. Committed Account Amt. Rec'd Balance College of Agriculture & Life Sciences $ 21,000.00 $ - $21,000.00 College of Science $ 5,000.00 $ - $ 5,000.00 College of Veterinary Medicine $ 5,000.00 $ - $ 5,000.00 Vice President for Research/OGS $ 58,000.00 $ - $58,000.00 IBT $ 2,000.00 $ - $ 2,000.00 HSC $ 5,000.00 $ - $ 5,000.00 $ 96,000.00 $ - $96,000.00 FY2007 4/23/07 Genetics Balances Account Balance Genetics funding 203153-08306 $ 3,112.25 Faculty of Genetics - BCBP 02-130056 $ 2,041.31 Grad Program Enhancement -Fac. of Gene 02-130066 $ 5,182.48 Enhancing Excellence in Genetics 02-217360 $ 21,787.90 Genetics funding 02-240905-GRAC $ 7,358.94 Regents Fellowship - Genetics 02-246100 $ 30,000.00 State AUFGenetics Grad Program 02-290206 $ 15,960.58 Unrestricted Genetics funding 02-553181 $ 103.77 $ 85,547.23 __________________________________________________________________________________ 27 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 28. Expenditures The Faculty of Genetics supports graduate student activities. These activities include 1) funding Table 7. General Budget Expenditures to attend scientific meetings at the regional and Regents’ Fellows $26,000 national levels, 2) a seminar series each semester Graduate Recruiting $20,000 with local, national, and international speakers, 3) Advisory Office $14,000 Seminar Program $12,000 graduate recruiting of prospective students), 4) salary Graduate Assistant $12,000 supplements and insurance benefits for Fellowship GGSA $ 4,000 students, and 5) a welcome reception for new Web Maintenance $ 2,000 FOG Notes $ 2,000 students. Miscellaneous $ 1,000 In 1998, the Executive Committee voted to Available Funds $ 3,000 award the Chair with support for a one-half time TOTAL $96,000 graduate assistant, with the provision that was matched by the College for Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Dean declined to match the funds and the Faculty made the decision to discontinue this benefit to the current Chair because we could not sustain it as a recurring expense for future Chairs. A financial report for FY07 and a projected budget for FY08 are provided in Tables 5. Budget expenditures are provided in Tables 7 and 8. Graduate student recruiting has been. Students apply for travel grants on an “as- needed” basis due to uncertainty of when funds will be transferred to the Genetics program accounts. In the past five years, the Faculty of Genetics has been more proactive; however, inconsistent funding and the variables of volunteer leadership in the faculty interfere with building the graduate program. Funding Summary Table 8. Expenses to Date (May 31, 2006) The overall evaluation of resources can be summarized by Travel (seminar & recruiting) $9,446.22 computing the expenditures per full member of the Faculty of Genetics Student Payroll $7,200.00 (Shawn Christensen) Genetics, per graduate student, and the combination of the Office Supplies $ 557.67 two. It would be interesting to determine the amount of Fedex $ 181.85 Lecturers Honorarium $5,313.00 indirect costs generated by the genetic components of their Food (seminar & recruiting $6,907.34 Scholarships $1.683.00 research project; most of the research funding is related to the Copies $ 524.00 genetics nature of their research. Grad Student Awards $1,139.00 Miscellaneous $32,952.08 (1) $1,078.65 per Faculty Member Regents Fellows $34,414.00 (2) $1,333.33 per Student Total to date $67,366.08 (3) $530.39 per Student and Faculty __________________________________________________________________________________ 28 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 29. E. Programmatic Stability Visions The Faculty of Genetics wants to be recognized as one of the top ten Genetics Graduate Programs at the national level. This goal is in line with The Vision 2020 Plan of Texas A&M University that seeks “to continue the academic evolution of Texas A&M University so that it is generally considered one of the ten best public universities in America by 2020, while maintaining, or even enhancing, the unique features that make Texas A&M University distinctive.” As part of Vision 2020, the University has identified molecular life sciences as an area of strength on campus, and has budgeted two million dollars for a Molecular Life Sciences Initiative. Programs represented by the Faculty of Genetics can make major contributions to the success of the University Molecular Life Sciences Initiative. Strengths 1. Breadth of expertise. The range of expertise represented in the Faculty of Genetics is extensive, covering all critical systems both eukaryotic and prokaryotic. 2. Faculty dynamism. The members of the Faculty of Genetics are enthusiastic, dynamic, and interact well with each other. This is particularly true of the younger faculty. 3. Excellent infrastructure. The facilities and human and physical infrastructure available to members of the Faculty of Genetics are some of the most comprehensive in the United States. Weaknesses 1. Confusion regarding structure and reporting lines with the Council of Participating Deans and the Office of the Executive Associate Vice-President for Research 2. Inconsistent transfer of resources from the University and the Council of Participating Deans 3. Difficulty in gaining access, interest, and direction from the Council of Participating Deans 4. Lack of interaction and appreciation of common goals with the Heads of the various departments 5. The volunteer leadership of the Faculty is inconsistent without support and reward for providing their efforts 6. Little career support for the involvement of TAMU faculty members in interdepartmental programs Goals To achieve national prominence we have identified the following specific goals for the next five years. These include organizational as well as educational and scientific goals. In some areas these are not yet consonant with the current position of the Genetics program in the University structure. ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS. To stabilize and increase the visibility of the Genetics program, we need to: 1. Attract a permanent chair. The Chair of the Faculty of Genetics should be appointed for a four-year renewable position, comparable to department heads at TAMU. The Chair/Head should receive 1) salary compensation minimally equivalent to that of associate head and, 2) a graduate assistantship position in support of the Chair’s research program. These compensations will allow us to attract a faculty member who is wiling to assume a __________________________________________________________________________________ 29 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 30. longer-term leadership position for our Faculty. This in turn will help us to develop stronger relationships with the University administration. 2. Obtain a stable source of funding with a 50% increase above current levels. Possible sources of funds include: 1) a portion of overhead returns from extramural grants awarded to Faculty of Genetics members; 2) tuition remission from GENE courses; and 3) a portion of the allocation for the Molecular Life Sciences Initiative. None of these funds are currently available to the Faculty of Genetics. These funds would allow us double our graduate student program. We are currently limited to 15 new students per year (12 teaching assistants and 3 Regents fellows). This is inadequate for the size of our program. The Faculty of Genetics has 74 Full faculty, and most are actively seeking graduate students. It would also allow us to offer 3-yr research assistantships which would make us more competitive in recruiting nationally. Bridge funding is needed to support graduate students when laboratory funding lapses or when faculty members leave. Previously Genetics students could be given Teaching Assistantships if the need arose, but all of our TA positions are currently used to recruit new students. 3. To have a permanent source of funding incentives for faculty to teach graduate Genetics courses. Continuity of instruction is required to maintain stability in our Core Curriculum. This could also give us the leverage to participate in search and hiring of faculty expected to teach in Genetics. EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING GOALS. To achieve excellence in Genetics education, we aspire to: 1. Provide continuity in our core curriculum by ensuring a long-term vision and availability of appropriate faculty to teach Genetics courses. This goal is inextricably linked to the organizational goals above. 2. Emphasize integrated genetics education across the spectrum from statistical genetics to molecular biology and promote use of case study, problem solving and active learning methodology in the training of our students. The ability to control the quality our core curriculum will give us the freedom to recruit and select the best instructors who are committed to quality education. 3. Obtain interdisciplinary training grants for graduate students and postdocs. One mechanism is for a new standing committee to identify and pursue funding opportunities. 4. Provide an introductory graduate genetics course for non-majors. Genetics is a major component of all modern life sciences disciplines and this would make an important contribution to the Molecular Life Sciences Initiative and the University’s Vision 2020 Plan. SCIENTIFIC GOALS. The quality of our graduate program is defined by the individual research programs that comprise our faculty. To strengthen the breadth and depth of these research programs, we must identify areas of strength and facilitate development of strong collaborative program projects. This will enable us to: 1. Enhance scientific interactions among our students and faculty. 2. Attract new sources of funding that will provide needed research facilities and increased compensation for our students and faculty. 3. Enrich the training environment and create a community-based training program which encourages open exchange of ideas. __________________________________________________________________________________ 30 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 31. F. Graduate Training Program Graduate Education The graduate program currently has 60 students (48 doctoral and 12 masters students). Incoming graduate students are supported by TA positions for GENE 301, Principles of Genetics (13 positions per year) and Regents fellowships (3 fellowships per year which are allocated by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies). After fall/spring semester, students are supported by grant funds from individual research labs. Previously, some TA positions were reserved for senior students who needed funding, but 1998 we decided to use all available positions for first year students. Recruiting of new graduate students is the responsibility of the Graduate Recruiting and First Year Program Committee of the Faculty of Genetics. This committee also reviews applications from graduate students who want to transfer to Genetics from other programs at TAMU. Oversight for the graduate curriculum is provided by the Genetics Curriculum Committee. The curriculum requires Ph.D. students achieve a grade of ‘B’ or higher in 4 of the 5 Genetics ‘core’ courses which includes Gene 603, Introduction to Genetics; Gene 612, Population Genetics; Gene 613, Quantitative Genetics, Gene 620, Cytogenetics; and Gene 631, Biochemical Genetics (see Appendix D for course syllabi). M.S. students are required to complete three of the core courses with a grade of B or better. Students must also register for GENE 681, Genetics seminar (two semesters for Ph.D. students, and one semester for M.S. students). Genetics students are also required to take two semesters of graduate-level statistics. In addition to the core curriculum, most students register for 2-3 additional GENE courses (Table 7) or classes that have a strong genetics component which taught through other programs (see Appendix E). These additional classes are chosen by the student and advisor and are subject to the approval of the student’s thesis committee Table 9. Genetics Courses 603 Genetics. (4-0). Credit 4. Development of fundamental concepts related to the structure, function, organization, transmission and distribution of genetic material. Prerequisite: GENE 301. Instructor: Clint Magill, Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology 606 Phylogenetics (2-3). Credit 3. Designed to provide students with the theory and tools required for inference of phylogenetic (evolutionary) relationships among biological taxa using various types of comparative data including morphological characters, biochemical and molecular characters, and DNA sequences; hands-on analysis of data using contemporary tools. Prerequisite: Entomology 601 or approval of instructor. Cross-listed with GENE 606. Instructors: Mariana Mateos, Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Science and Jim Woolley, Department of Entomology 610 Mammalian Immunogenetics. (3-0) Credit 3. Basic immunogenetics concepts derived from mouse, rabbit, and human, and applied to domestic and other laboratory animal species; theory and techniques in immunohematology, histocompatibility genetic, genetics of immunoglobulins, genetics of immune responsiveness. Prerequisites: GENE 301; BIOL 458. Staff __________________________________________________________________________________ 31 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 32. 612 Population Genetics. (3-0). Credit. Biological approach to genetic characteristics of populations dealing with genetic equilibrium, allelic variation, determination of genetic variation in populations, effects of mating systems, selection, mutation and drift on population parameters. Prerequisites: GENE 301; STAT 651. Instructors: Tom Dewitt, Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Science or Konstantin Krutovsky, Department of Forest Science 613 Quantitative Genetics I. (3-0). Credit 3. Quantitative genetics concepts particularly dealing with partitioning of phenotypic variance into genetic and environmental components, selection, response, effects of systems of mating, genetic covariance and threshold effects. Prerequisites: GENE 612; STAT 652. Instructors: Clare Gill or Andy Herring, Department of Animal Science 614 Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Genetics. (3-0). Credit 3. Theoretical and analytical approaches to the application of maximum likelihood for the estimation of parameters under linear and onlinear modes; single and ploygene genetic models including Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, linkage analysis and quantitative trait loci detection. Prerequisites: STAT; STAT 652 or 601; Gene 603. Cross-listed with ANSC 614. 620 Cytogenetics. (3-0). Credit 3 Examination and analysis of variation in chromosome structure, behavior and number; developmental and evolutionary effects of this variation. Prerequisite: GENE 603 Instructors: Bhanu Chowdhary, Department of Veterinary Integrative Science or David Stelly Department of Soil & Crop Science 626 Analyses of Gene Expression. (0-3). Credit 1. Proficiency in handling DNA and RNA gained during exercises used routinely in analyses of gene expression; RNA preparation and analysis on Northern blots; in vitro transcription and polyacrylamide gel analysis of nucleic acids; sub-cloning and mRNA quantitation using polymerase chain reaction. Prerequisites: BICH/GENE 450 or approval of instructor; radiation safety training. Cross-listed with ANSC 626. Instructor: Nancy Ing, Department of Animal Science 631 Biochemical Genetics. (3-0). Credit 3. Genetic control of cellular metabolism. Mechanism of gene action; gene- enzyme relationships; regulation of gene expression; structure and organization of genomes; biochemical manipulation and characterization of genetic molecules. Prerequisite: BICH 604 or GENE 431. Cross-listed with BICH 631. Instructors: Gary Kunkel, Department of Biochemistry/Biophysics 643 Quantitative Genetics and Plant Breeding. (3-0). Credit 3. This course is a review of applied aspects of quantitative genetics in plant breeding. We will examine methodologies to analyze quantitative variation in crop species; genetic phenomena (inbreeding heterosis and epistasis); quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping and marker- assisted selection (MAS); genotype by environment interaction, heritability, multiple traits and selection theory with implication in plant breeding. Prerequisites: AGO 641, STAT 652, STAT 619, GENE 613. Cross-listed with AGRO 643. 654 Analysis of Complex Genomes. (3-0). Credit 3. History and current status of genetic and molecular analysis of higher eukaryotic genomes; coverage of techniques for dissection of genomes into manageable parts; investigations in genetics, breeding and evolution; emphasis on quantitative inheritance, genetic mapping, physical mapping, map- based cloning, with examples drawn from a wide range of organisms. Prerequisite: GENE 603. Cross-listed with AGRO 654 and PPHY 654. 662 Eukaryotic Transcription. (1-0). Credit 1. Intensive short course in molecular mechanisms of eukaryotic transcription and its regulation. Prerequisite: BICH/GENE 661 or approval of instructor. Cross-listed with BICH 662. Instructor: Gary Kunkel, Department of Biochemistry/Biophysics 681 Seminar. (1.0). Credit 1. Reports and discussions of topics of current importance in genetics; reports to be prepared and presented by graduate students enrolled in course. __________________________________________________________________________________ 32 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 33. Selection and Recruiting Figure 1. Incoming Graduate Students Graduate student recruiting is the most crucial factor in 1999-2006 20 determining the quality of our graduate program. Figure 1 18 shows a graph of the makeup of incoming graduate since 16 the last review in 1999. In general, the number of 14 12 incoming students has held steady with approximately Domestic 10 Internationa 15-16 per year, most of whom are U.S. citizens. Over the 8 past five years, the average total GRE scores has been 6 approximately 1200, with verbal scores typically around 4 2 550 and quantitative scores somewhat higher at 650 0 (Figure 2). The average GPA for our students has seen a 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Year decline from 3.5 in 1999 to 3.25 last year (2006). Nevertheless, the scores of the incoming class of Genetics students are either better or very competitive with students that enter the Biochemistry & Biophysics or Biology Departments at TAMU, the two largest life science departments on campus. As the number of faculty members in the Genetics Program has increased, so has the demand for graduate students. In past six years, we have continued to take an aggressive stance in recruiting students by increasing the visibility of the Graduate Program through hosting an annual prospective graduate student Figure 2. Average Scores for Incoming Students, 1999-2006 recruiting weekend. 1400 3.8 3.7 1200 3.6 1000 3.5 3.4 Verbal 800 Quantitative 3.3 Total 600 3.2 GPA 400 3.1 3 200 2.9 0 2.8 199920002001200220032004 20052006 Year __________________________________________________________________________________ 33 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 34. Increasing visibility of the TAMU Program in Genetics to prospective graduate students The Genetics Program at Texas A&M is one of the few interdisciplinary genetics programs in the U.S. and we have taken several strategies to increase our visibility to students over the past five years. The recruiting committee updated the Program in Genetics WEB site(homepage http://gene.tamu.edu/) by adding a pre- application form and including deadlines for invitations to our February symposium. We also optimized our links with the TAMU University Web. In addition we assigned the Genetics Graduate Students Organization (GGSA) to target the senior undergraduate students on the A&M campus in the fields of biochemistry, biology, genetics, biomedical science. The GGSA did brief presentations in the classrooms of senior students’ courses encouraging them to submit their application materials in a timely manner to the program for review and a possible invite to our symposium. Table 10. Agenda Genetics Graduate Symposium Thursday Evening, Feb. 15 7:00pm Welcome Dinner with grad. students and selected faculty Friday, Feb. 16 8:00 am Full Breakfast, Room 106A, 1st Floor, Biochemistry/Biophysics Building 8:15 Overview of Genetics—Jim Wild Faculty Talks: Molecular, Cellular & Developmental—Dan Ebbole Microbial—Michael Benedik Medical (Human & Animal)--Bhanu Chowdhary Plant—John Yu Bioinformatics/Genomics—Clare Gill Evolution, Conservation, & Population Biology—Bill Murphy 10:15 - 12:00 pm Pre-scheduled appointments with faculty Lunch at noon Guests, Genetics Recruiting Committee and Genetics faculty 1:15-2:45pm Pre-scheduled appointments with faculty 3:00 - 5:15 pm (Oral) Research Competition among current Genetics graduate students Biochemistry and Biophysics Building, Room 108 Shuttles will return guests to LaQuinta Inn Friday Evening 6:30 Dinner with current graduate students Saturday, Feb. 17 9:15 am - 9:45 am Breakfast snacks, Biochemistry/Biophysics, Room 106A 10am - 11 am Interviews with Recruiting committee members Biochemistry/Biophysics building, Rooms 106A, 203, 403, 405 11am - 11:45 am Facilities Tour--TAMU Vet. School—Alison Starr & Dr. Lees Lunch (12:30-1:30 pm) Tailgate Party Biochemistry/Biophysics Building, Room 106A 2 pm Saturday Activities w/grad students: baseball game, campus/city tour, Rec Center, bowling, mall, rest Saturday Evening 7pm Dinner with current graduate students __________________________________________________________________________________ 34 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 35. Program in Genetics Graduate Student Recruiting Symposium To make our program more attractive to a larger pool of qualified applicants, the recruiting committee continues to host a Genetics Graduate Student Symposium which is has been doing since1998. This year we brought in 21 prospective students from around the country to attend a Friday and Saturday workshop this year. (Table 11). Our visitors were able to learn more about the research opportunities at TAMU in short talks from faculty representing different areas of Genetics. Because we think it is important for prospective students to interact as much as possible with the current graduate students in the Genetics Program, the recruiting committee sponsored a Graduate Student Oral Research Symposium/Competition (with cash prizes) that was held Friday afternoon of the symposium (Table 12). The prospective students mingled with the graduate student competitors and learned more about the research opportunities in the Genetics Program. Our first recruiting weekends has proven to be extremely successful. Of the 21 students who attended, 10 will enroll in Genetics for fall of 2007. In addition, we interviewed an additional six candidates the following month due to the influx of domestic and foreign national applications this year. Table 11. Invitees Genetics Graduate Symposium Name Affiliation Decision Autumn Brawley University of West Florida No Offer Matthew Crabtree University of Washington Declined Brian Davis Texas A&M University Withdrew Jorge Del Aguila Stephen F. Austin State Declined Rashmi Dokey University if Calcutta No Offer Kory Douglas Baylor University Accepted Thomas Gawriluk University of Illinois Accepted Kristina Golub Georgia Tech Accepted Jessica Hottenstein Our Lady of the Lake No Offer Eun Young Hun Kyung Hee University—Korea No Offer Megan Hussey Louisiana State University No Offer Jooha Jeong West Virginia State Accepted Michael Johanson Brigham Young University Accepted Gayle Linger Texas A&M University Accepted Melissa Long University of California—Davis Declined Krystle Pierson Texas A&M University No Offer Lauren Schilling Texas A&M University Accepted Avery Solco Iowa State University Accepted Eric Strickland Texas A&M University Accepted Robert Vaughn Texas A&M University Accepted Mary Wallace Texas A&M University No Offer Casey Waneck Texas A&M University No Offer __________________________________________________________________________________ 35 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 36. Table 12. Winners of 2007 Oral Research Competition Prize Student Advisor Department Poster Title 1st Place Bonny Bruce Riley Biology atoh1 genes play a classic Millimaki proneural role in hair cell specification and are induced by Fgf and Pax 2nd Place Darren Craig Coates Entomology Identification and Characterization Hagen of Germline-specific Promoters for Remobilization of Transgenes in Mosquitoes 3rd Place Kris Clare Gill Animal Structural and functional Wunderlich Science characterization of the polled interval on bovine chromosome 1 GRADUATE STUDENT COMPENSATION As we increased our efforts to attract more and better graduate students, it became clear that a significant impediment was the low stipend we offered to incoming graduate students (Figure 3). The graduate student stipend (approximately $11,000/year minus tuition, fees and insurance) had remained stagnant for the 8 years. In 1998, the recruiting committee successfully lobbied the faculty of Genetics to increase the annual stipend to $15,000/year (minus tuition, fees and insurance). In 2001, the stipend was increased to $17,000 and then again increased to $20,000 in 2003 (minus tuition, fees and Figure 3. Graduate Student Stipends insurance). Currently, all of the first year graduate 1999-2006 students now receive an approximate stipend of $18,500 $25,000 during their first year (as a TA in the Bio/Bio dept.) with $20,000 the University paying tuition only leaving the students to pay their own fees. and the faculty who accept a $15,000 Stipend Tuition/Fe Genetics Graduate Student into their lab must pay the Net Stipen $10,000 student at this level. While $18,500 is still $2-3,000 lower than stipends given to TAMU graduate students in $5,000 Bio/Bio and the Medical School (tuition and fees and $0 insurance covered), it is significantly more than the 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 graduate stipends in several of the Departments in the Yea College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (where many of the Genetics Graduate Students currently work). __________________________________________________________________________________ 36 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 37. Entrance Requirements Several criteria are taken into consideration in admitting Figure 4.Genetics Degrees Awarded students to the Graduate Program in Genetics. In addition, to 1999-2006 10 GRE/GPA scores, essentially all of the students admitted to 9 the program have laboratory research experience. Hence, 8 7 letters from their research advisors weigh heavily in our 6 Ph.D. decision. We also look for a clear statement of interest in 5 M.S. 4 Genetics in the student's narrative. 3 2 1 Transfer Students 0 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Year Of the 53 students currently enrolled in the Genetics Graduate Program, 5 were initially admitted to TAMU through another Graduate Program. The recruiting committee considers applications of students would like to transfer their affiliation to the Genetics Program in the same manner as new students. The student must meet the same entrance requirements, be in good academic standing, and have a letter from their advisor indicating that financial support will be provided for that student during their duration at TAMU. To continue to build and strengthen the Graduate Program, the Genetics Executive Committee has reserved all of the TA positions for incoming Graduate Student support until these students finish their laboratory rotations and join a research lab at the end of their second semester. Laboratory Rotations All of the students who enter the Genetics Graduate Program and are supported by either a TA or a Regent's Fellowship are required to participate in three 7 week laboratory rotations. The rotations give students an opportunity to see the breadth of Genetics expertise at TAMU. To provide students with more information about research labs for rotations, we host a Fall Poster Session during week before classes begin. All graduate students and faculty in the Genetics Program are invited to present a poster to attract rotation students to their laboratories. Later in the Fall, the Recruiting Committee and the Genetics Graduate Student Organization co-sponsor a picnic for all graduate students and faculty in the Genetics Program. __________________________________________________________________________________ 37 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 38. Current and Past Students Currently there are 53 students enrolled in the Ph.D. or M.S. programs. They are mentored by 33 different Genetics faculty, representing the four different colleges. Information containing the names of our current students, their lab affiliations, their GRE scores and their undergraduate GPAs is presented in Appendix E. The laboratory facilities available to most Genetics students are excellent. In addition, we have a number of specialized facilities at Texas A&M, and students have access to them either through their departments or through their colleges. Most Genetics students complete a master’s degree in 2 to 3 years, and a doctoral dissertation in 5 to 6 years. The numbers of Genetics students receiving their degrees per year is shown in Figure 4. Information on Genetics alumni, showing where they went after leaving Texas A&M and their current positions is summarized in Appendix F. Undergraduate Education The undergraduate major in Genetics began in 1986, and the former Head of BioBio, Dr. James Wild, was a major factor in its initial organization and development. The number of Genetics majors has increased steadily during the past decade, and there were 250 students in the fall of 1997 which is equal to the number of undergraduates in the Biochemistry Program. Advising of undergraduate Genetics students is the responsibility of the Associate Head of BioBio (Dr. David Peterson) and Ms. Vanessa Nordell, the undergraduate advisor. The undergraduate office is responsible for all academic advising issues, as well as the summer programs for incoming freshmen in both Genetics and Biochemistry. Curricular issues in the undergraduate program are overseen by the Genetics Undergraduate Program Committee, which is appointed by the Head of BioBio, following recommendations by the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Genetics. The curriculum is challenging, requiring organic chemistry, biochemistry, quantitative genetics and molecular genetics courses. There is considerable overlap between the Genetics and Biochemistry curricula, so that a double major can be pursued by adding Physical Chemistry to a Genetics degree plan, or Population Genetics and Statistics to a Biochemistry degree plan. The biggest course in the Genetics Undergraduate Program is GENE 301, Principles of Genetics, a full-semester general genetics course with a laboratory component. More than 1000 students take GENE 301 each year, and __________________________________________________________________________________ 38 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 39. this requires 16–18 sections per semester of the 3-hour laboratory. Most of our first year graduate students are supported by Teaching Assistantship positions. These studentsa re required to teach one laboratory section per week, assist in one section, and occasionally are asked to help grade exams for the lecture courses. TAs must also attend one laboratory training session per week. During the first semester, this training consists of discussion of the laboratory topic and the TAs perform the laboratory exercise under the supervision of Dr. John Ellison, who is a lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics and one of the GENE 301 instructors. This year, we have initiated a new program which consists of teacher training from the Center for Teaching Excellence and some of the other GENE 301 instructors. The undergraduate teaching labs are located in the BioBio building. The physical facilities in the Genetics lab classrooms are excellent, and institution of a $50/student equipment fee several years ago has enabled us to upgrade the equipment. The amount of the laboratory teaching space in the BioBio building is limited, and we cannot offer more than 18 laboratory sections. Saturation of the lab sections contributed to the decision by the largest life science undergraduate major, Biomedical Science, to allow substitution of GENE 320, Biomedical Genetics, a course taught by CVM faculty with no laboratory component, for GENE 301. As a result, the pressure on GENE 301 has been reduced and GENE 302 now has more than 350 students enrolled each year (Fall/Spring). The instructors for GENE courses come from COALS, from CVM, and, to a lesser extent, from the Health Science Center and the College of Science. Some of these courses are cross listed with Departmental courses, and so faculty receive recognition for their teaching from their home departments. Some courses are only listed as GENE courses, and in some cases this presents problems for the instructors. A list of Genetics undergraduate courses can be found in Appendix I. G. Seminar Program The seminar program is designed to serve the students and faculty in the Genetics Program. Satisfying the diversity of interests in the Genetics program poses a significant challenge in arranging the schedule. The Genetics Graduate Student Association invites one or more speakers per semester. A student representative hosts the visit and coordinates the speaker’s schedules. Faculty members in Genetics host the remainder of the seminars. The hosts are asked to provide the opportunity for students to meet all of our seminar speakers. This is an excellent opportunity for students to learn more about the speaker's research and their approach to science and education. The students can also use this opportunity to get advice on career opportunities. A list of the seminar speakers for the last two years is shown in Appendix H. __________________________________________________________________________________ 39 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 40. Overall the seminar program has been successful in putting together a balanced program that exposes the audience to diverse topics in the subfields of Genetics. Attendance at Genetics seminars by faculty and students in the Genetics Program was in decline for several years. This is unfortunate, because the seminar series should serve as a focus for students and faculty across campus to gather in one place. Two years ago, we instituted several changes in the structure of the seminar program in an attempt to improve attendance. Participation in the seminar series has increased recently but, overall, there still is poor attendance by faculty and students. The specific changes were as follows: 1) Scheduling of seminar speakers 4-6 months in advance. This means that for the Fall Seminar series speakers are invited (and airline tickets are purchased) even before the money is allocated to the Faculty of Genetics. 2) The number of jointly hosted speakers per year (co-hosted with Entomology, Faculty of Neurosciences, Biochemistry and Biophysics) was increased. 3) Several high profile speakers were invited each year to give talks on consecutive days in Biochemistry & Genetics seminar series (Bill Wickner, Russ Dolittle, Bob Sauer). The provided higher visibility for our seminar series to members of the co-hosting departments. 4) Weekly email notices were sent to all students and faculty members in addition to flyers, which were regularly posted in all, participating departments. 5) The graduate students were more involved and they invited more speakers than in previous years. 6) First year graduate students were required to attend Genetics seminar. __________________________________________________________________________________ 40 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 41. VII. Strategic Plan A. Issues of Concern Academic Issues 1. Maintenance of Curriculum and Core Course quality. Incentive for faculty participation in genetics teaching. At present, all members of our faculty have a primary academic responsibility to a disciplinary department and are often expected to teach a full load in their home department. Their contributions to the genetics teaching are rarely recognized with respect to promotion and tenure in those departments. The Faculty of Genetics, which depends on voluntary teaching by these individuals, has no mechanism to negotiate with the departments or to directly reward the faculty for their contributions. As time is a critical issue in academia, we cannot expect faculty to simply take on additional teaching loads without detriment to their research programs (and sanity). However, without the ability to recruit the most appropriate faculty from among our members to teach our courses, the quality of those courses will inevitably suffer. What incentives/rewards can we provide to our faculty for teaching in genetics? Maintaining the Faculty Diversity and Quality. The Faculty of Genetics does not have any influence over faculty hiring or retention. Consequently, we cannot ensure that there will always be appropriate faculty available to teach in the broad range of disciplines we wish to have represented in our curriculum. For example, two of the key teachers in population and quantitative genetics, a part of our core curriculum, may decide to leave the university. While there are other faculty on campus who could teach these courses, they have other teaching responsibilities in their own departments and may not be willing to take on this additional teaching. How can we ensure the continuity of our Core Curriculum and guarantee the students we are presently recruiting that the curriculum we advertise will indeed be available? Sustaining a balanced and Diverse Genetic Contingency on Campus. THE GENETICS COMMUNITY ON CAMPUS HAS SUFFERED SEVERAL SEVERE EXODUSES IN COMPETETIVE AREAS OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS. THE FIRST INVOLVED THE PLANT MOLECULAR GENETICS COMMUNITY WHICH CONTINUES TO LOSE OUTSTANDING MID-CAREER SCIENTISTS. THE MID-NINETIES MARKED THE LOSS OF SEVERAL MID-CAREER AND SENIOR MEMBERS OF THE ANIMAL SCIENCES COMMUNITY. MOST RECENTLY, THE FLEDGING BIOINFORMATICS FACULTY HAS FALLEN TO A COMBINATION OF ATTRITION __________________________________________________________________________________ 41 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 42. AND TRANSFER TO OTHER UNIVERSITIES. HOW CAN THE FACULTY DEVELOP A POSITIVE ROLE IN REDUCING SUCH LOSES? Organizational issues 1. Administrative authority for the Undergraduate Program in Genetics. The Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics has responsibility for both the Biochemistry and Genetics undergraduate programs. The faculty in BioBio wholly embrace the Biochemistry academic degree, but their view of Genetics is variable and sometimes contentious. Some faculty in BioBio have advocated for an increased involvement in the Genetics program, and want to assume a major role in the teaching of GENE undergraduate courses. Others view genetics as a distinct discipline and feel that increased involvement in the Genetics will divert resources from their primary mission. Many of the members of the Faculty of Genetics want to assume responsibility for the undergraduate curriculum, but the Program lacks the administrative authority and the financial resources to do so. Many members of the Graduate Program in Genetics would like to play a larger role in the undergraduate program, but it is tied BioBio because the major source of support for new graduate students is through TA positions tied to GENE 301 and 302. While conflict between Genetics and BioBio is a long-standing issue, a consistent support has been provided by Greg Reinhart, who is the current head of BioBio and a supporter of the Genetics undergraduate program. The Genetics faculty is very concerned that current changes in many areas of Genetics will not translate into the undergraduate program. How can we resolve these conflict issues with Biochemistry/Biophysics? Who should have responsibility for the Genetics Undergraduate Program? 2. Consistent Funding and Resource Management. The Faculty of Genetics has recurring expenses that are currently funded on an ad-hoc basis. It is not clear to whom responsibility lies. Currently, there is confusion and lack of a clear line of communication with the Office of the Executive Vice-President and the Council of Participating Deans. The teaching credits and resources associated with the Graduate Program are reportedly distributed among the various Departments and Colleges; however, this process is not very transparent and the Faculty of Genetics receives but a few thousand dollars from most Colleges and nothing from individual departments. Without a secure funding source, it is impossible to make long-range plans. How can we establish a stable funding source for the Faculty of Genetics? 3. Compensation for the Chair and stabilization of the Faculty Leadership. A related issue is how to provide an incentive to retain a permanent chair and reward the academic leadership. At present, the chair receives no monetary compensation, relief from teaching, graduate assistant support, or other incentives. The Chair of the Faculty of Genetics has the responsibility of running a large academic program that involves in excess of 100 dispersed faculty members, seventy-five graduate students, and extensive teaching responsibilities with __________________________________________________________________________________ 42 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 43. “volunteer” instructors. How can we create substantive rewards to ensure continuity and quality in this position? Educational and training Issues 1. Reputation. The Faculty of Genetics seeks to establish a national reputation for excellence in Genetics research and education. How might faculty and administrators work together to improve the national recognition of our program? 2. Interdisciplinary Training Grants. The Faculty of Genetics plans to compete for national training grants to support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Is the Genetics program currently competitive for these grants, and if so, in what areas? __________________________________________________________________________________ 43 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 44. B. Programmatic Goals for the Next Five Years A. Programmatic Directions (strategic plan and goals for IDP) EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING GOALS. To achieve excellence in Genetics education, we aspire to: 1. Provide continuity in our core curriculum by ensuring a long-term vision and availability of appropriate faculty to teach Genetics courses. 2. Emphasize integrated genetics education across the spectrum from statistical genetics to molecular biology and promote use of case study, problem solving and active learning methodology in the training of our students. 3. Obtain interdisciplinary training grants for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. 4. Provide an introductory graduate genetics course for non-majors. Genetics is a major component of all modern life sciences disciplines and this would make an important contribution to the Molecular Life Sciences Initiative and the University’s Vision 2020 Plan. SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH GOALS. The quality of our graduate program is primarily defined by the individual research programs that engage our faculty. To strengthen the breadth and depth of these research programs, we must identify areas of strength and facilitate development of strong collaborative program projects. This will enable us to: 1. Enhance scientific interactions among our students and faculty. 2. Attract new sources of funding that will provide needed research facilities and increased compensation for our students and faculty. 3. Enrich the training environment and create a community-based training program which encourages open exchange of ideas. __________________________________________________________________________________ 44 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University
  • 45. B. Budget (Resource needs) 1. The funding made available needs to match the population and goals established by the Faculty (see above). Departments, Colleges, the University, and the Texas A&M University System have funds that correlate with their activities, Interdisciplinary Faculties do not. 2. The Faculty leadership must receive some financial compensation (salary and graduate assistance) to support their efforts. 3. There must be some potential stipend resources (“bridging funds”) for Genetics Graduate Students to allow them to continue their research at times of lean funding. C. Special items Continued support and increased development of Service Technologies (e.g. protein services, DNA technologies, biological imagining) are critical to be at the cutting edge of modern genetics. __________________________________________________________________________________ 45 Genetics Academic Program Review Self-Study Report Texas A&M University

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