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From the desk of Dean Kate Miller
April 25, 2012 

Dear Colleagues,


Last week was a very busy one for the College with 

lots of out of townDean Miller visitors. Our College Advisory Council met all day on Wednesday. In the last year, we have doubled the number of members on the Council in an effort to obtain a range of view points in advancing the College. Highlights of the meeting included presentations from Fred Chester (calling in from offshore Japan where he is on the Chikyu as co-chief scientist for the Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project) who spoke about activities in the Center for Tectonophysics, Debbie Thomas, Don Collins and students from the GEOS 405 class who described undergraduate research opportunities, Ron Kaiser, who filled the Council in on our interdisciplinary water programs, and Pamela Plotkin, who outlined her new plans for Sea Grant. We very much appreciate the continued support of the College by our Council members.


On Thursday, the Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum and Sedimentary System sponsored its third annual workshop and honored professor Dr. William (Bill) Bryant for his lifetime of achievements in oceanography. A full day's program included 24 students presenting their research and special honors to Bill Bryant, including recognition from six of his former students. The week was capped of Friday with a meeting of the Geology and Geophysics Advisory Council and the G&G student research symposium. Heck of a job, folks.


We had an excellent turnout at our Parent's Weekend open house on Saturday, March 31, in conjunction with Texas A&M's yearly event. Parents met with the academic advisors and faculty members, learned about high-impact learning opportunities for our students and got acquainted with some of the rules and regulations to help their children maneuver through the Texas A&M process. The event was coordinated by the academic advisors: Roxanna Russell, Michael Rivas, Emily Dykes, and Christine Arnold.


The five faculty searches we have going are drawing to a close, and offers are going out. Here are the positions:

  • Atmospheric Sciences: assistant professor (mesoscale and synoptic meteorology and weather forecasting) 
  • Geography: professor (Geographic Information Science) 
  • Geography: assistant/associate professor (Geographic Information Science)  
  • Geology and Geophysics: assistant professor of siliciclastic sedimentology/stratigraphy  
  • Geology and Geophysics: assistant professor of reflection seismology  
Thanks to everyone who has participated. Recruiting the best possible faculty for our students is one of the most important things we do.


Have a good close to spring semester 2012.




Kate Miller



 College Announcements

The College of Geosciences will hold a reception honoring the undergraduate and graduate Class of 2012, from 3 to 5 p.m., Thursday, May 10, in the Halbouty building lobby. The awards ceremony will begin at 3:30 p.m. Please RSVP to Roxanna Russell by May 7. Commencement exercises for the College are at 9 a.m., May 11.

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents have approved the following faculty members for emeritus status: Dr. Wayn Ahr (G&G) [posthumous], Dr. John Spang (G&G), Dr. Bill Bryant (OCNG), Dr. Robert Stickney (Sea Grant) and Dr. Chris Mathewson (G&G).



A reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 3, at the College Station Hilton, will honor the College's current and newly named holders of endowed chairs and professorships. All College of Geosciences faculty and staff are invited. Professors being honored and their titles are: 



Ping Yang, David Bullock Harris Chair in Geosciences

Renyi Zhang, Harold J. Haynes Chair in Geosciences

Kenneth Bowman, David Bullock Harris Professor of Geosciences 



Luc Ikelle, Robert R. Berg Professor in Geology

David V. Wiltschko, Michael T. Halbouty Chair in Geology

Fred M. Chester, David Bullock Harris Chair in Geology

Mark E. Everett, Howard Karren Endowed Professorship in Geology and Geophysics

Richard L. Gibson, Jr., Francesco Paolo di Gangi/Heep Endowed Professorship

Ethan L. Grossman, Michael T. Halbouty Chair in Geology

Bruce E. Herbert, EOG Teaching Professor in Geosciences

Ernest A. Mancini, Dan A. Hughes '51 Chair in Geosciences

Hongbin Zhan, Ray C. Fish Professorship in Geosciences

Franco Marcantonio, Robert R. Berg Professor in Geology

Yuefang Sun, Mollie B. and Richard A. Willford Professorship in Petroleum Geology



William W. Sager, Jane and R. Ken Williams '45 Chair in Ocean Drilling Science, Technology and Education

Wilford D. Gardner, Earl F. Cook Professorship in Geosciences

George A. Jackson, E.D. Brockett Professorship in Geosciences

Ping Chang, Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Chair in Oceanography

Thomas Bianchi, James R. Whatley Chair in Geosciences



Christine Arnold, academic advisor in Atmospheric Sciences, is one of five to receive the prestigious President's Award for Academic Advising. Established in 2004, the awards recognize outstanding individuals who exemplify the qualities and practices of exceptional academic advising and service to students. Each of the recipients will be recognized with a $2,000 cash award and a plaque, to be presented at the University Advisors and Counselors Awards Breakfast on May 2. 



Debz DeFreitas (GERG) reports on the University Staff Council meeting, held April 17


The USC learned about Energy Action Plan 2015 through a presentation from Utilities and Energy Management (UEM). The office oversees the procurement, transmission, production, distribution, metering/billing, and demand-side management of the campus. Over the years, millions of dollars have been invested in the University's energy system infrastructure. As a result, even though the campus has grown, energy use has gone down. Although the UEM leads efforts to save energy and reduce costs, the entire University community is responsible for taking part and using resources wisely. To learn how to make a difference, visit, and click on Energy Action Plan 2015. The presentation shared is available at USC Presentations.


The TAMU Staff Scholarship application closes May 31, 2012. Eligibility information and the application are available on the USC websiteRecipients will be notified by the beginning of July.


The USC executive officers met with Dr. Bowen Loftin on March 22 to share their concerns over the request for proposals (RFPs) for outsourcing four University service units. The group requested that staff be well represented on the review committees. The USC is concerned about both the welfare of the staff currently employed by the potentially impacted areas as well as maintaining excellent service to the campus community.


The next USC meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., May 15, in 401 Rudder Tower.  


The Texas A&M University Staff Council meets each third Tuesday of the month. All staff are welcome and encouraged to attend monthly meetings. Details on upcoming meetings can be found on the USC website.


Professional Activities


Graduate students Sireesh Dadi and Brandon Bush (G&G) recently competed in the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Challenge Bowl competition for the Gulf Coast Section at the GSH/SEG (Geological Society of Houston) Symposium. They took first place out of eight teams, including the University of Houston, University of Texas, UT San Antonio, Rice University and the University of Tulsa. The SEG Challenge Bowl is an international contest testing students' breadth and depth of knowledge about the field of geoscience. The quiz show format features intense competition as the contestants attempt to buzz in first to answer challenging geoscience questions. Dadi is a third-year Ph.D. student and master's graduate in geophysics. Bush is a first-year master's student in geophysics. The team will next compete in November at the Challenge Bowl Finals during the SEG Annual Conference in Las Vegas.


An editorial written by Dr. Mahlon "Chuck" Kennicutt (OCNG) was recently  featured
in the Bryan-College Station Eagle and the Houston Chronicle.

Senior meteorology major Stephanie Stevenson (ATMO) was recently featured in TAMUtimes for her work forecasting weather for a pair of Iditarod sled racers.

Dr. Adam Klaus (IODP) and Dr. Heath Mills (OCNG) were recently featured in the Battalion for their work beneath the ocean floor with the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.


Calendar items are posted on the College of Geosciences' Facebook page.   


April 30

4 p.m., O&M 112, Hothouse Climate During the Early Eocene- Implications for Future Climate Change, Arne Winguth, University of Texas- Arlington   


May 1

3:55 p.m., O&M 112, Greenhouse Gases versus Aerosols: Who Did What to the 20th Century Climate?, Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, Princeton University 


Last day of Spring Semester Classes


May 2 and 3

Reading days


May 3

Chairs and Professors Reception, 5:30-7:30, College Station Hilton


May 4 through 9

Final exams    


May 10

Grades due by 6 p.m.


3 p.m., Halbouty Building Lobby, Class of 2012 reception and awards ceremony 


5:30 p.m., Rudder Auditorium, Commencement Convocation, Chancellor John Sharp 


May 11

9 a.m., Reed Arena, College of Geosciences Commencement   

The next issue is May 7. Please submit items of general interest to the College to Karen Riedel no later than Wednesday, May 2.   
 Featured Articles

Message by Kate Miller
Chairs and Professorship Reception
Class of 2012 Graduation Reception and Awards
 and Programs