Aerial view of TAMU

President’s Brief - March 2024

General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III

March 27, 2024

Members of the Aggie Family,

It's great to be back in Aggieland! Last week I was in our nation's capital along with representatives from The Association of Former Students for “Aggies on the Hill.” This biennial event gives us an opportunity to reconnect with former students who live in D.C. and connect with members of Congress about issues that are important to Texas A&M University and the role higher education is playing in the lives of our students and people across the state and country.

There are more Aggies in the greater D.C. area than anywhere else outside of Texas – from former students, many of whom are answering the noble calling of public service, to current students learning through the Public Policy Internship Program, Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Internship Program and our growing teaching site in D.C. As beautiful as D.C. is this time of year with the cherry blossoms in bloom, nothing compares to coming back to Aggieland and being here with all of you.

In an effort to keep you all informed of the latest happenings, here are a few important things you should know:


As part of our ongoing commitment to prioritize the mental health and well-being of our students, I'm proud to share that Texas A&M – alongside fellow Texas A&M University System schools – is partnering with the Jed Foundation (JED) to become an official JED campus. Over the next four years, the university will collaborate with JED, a leading nonprofit that helps universities like ours evaluate and strengthen existing mental health systems. As an initial step, we will soon launch a Healthy Minds Study to provide us with a starting point for the work ahead with JED. A random selection of students, faculty and staff will be surveyed as part of the confidential study to gather information and perceptions about mental health and access to campus resources. Please be on the lookout for follow-up emails requesting your participation in the study, and remember, your voice matters!


Our leads for the main campus assessment continue to make great progress, and I'm happy to share the first status updates submitted by leads of our Galveston campus decisions. Below are a few key updates:

  • As you'll recall, one of my decisions in the quick-look assessment was to retain a centralized academic advising model at the college level. Thanks to the work of the Centralized Advising Committee, under the direction of EVP and Provost Sams, the centralized advising model has been adopted by all colleges and schools, which has allowed existing academic advisors to be transitioned to the new universitywide career ladder. While the quick-look assessment prioritized undergraduate advising, a graduate advising career ladder is being worked on in collaboration with the Graduate and Professional School.
  • Work continues on the capacity and student experience studies:
      • The Capacity Study Committee – composed of faculty, staff and students – has been formed to identify campuswide impacts of enrollment growth and capacity constraints. The committee is now meeting regularly and has formed the following five subcommittees: instructional capacity, research and faculty spaces capacity, student and event spaces capacity, transit and mobility capacity, and operational capacity.
      • The Student Experience Study Committee – also composed of faculty, staff and students – has been formed and meets regularly. This committee is looking at how we ensure Aggies have the No. 1 student experience in the country, and beginning next month, the committee will begin seeking input from our student body more broadly. Committee members and student volunteers will be “popping up” around campus during the first week of April to gather input and gauge students' interest in participating in a more in-depth listening session. I hope each of you will stop and take a moment to engage with these folks as they seek your feedback. Together, we can shape the student experience to make it the very best in the nation.
  • Leads for the Galveston campus quick-look report were assigned last month and many have already made excellent progress. Status updates for all decisions can be found here, but I wanted to provide a quick update on one of the ideas that emerged from the assessment: organizing the marine and maritime academic degree programs of the Galveston campus as a college under a dean. I agreed with this recommendation as a way to elevate the research, teaching and outreach mission of the campus and charged the Chief Academic Officer at Galveston, Dr. Debbie Thomas, to work with EVP and Provost Sams on standing up a College of Marine Science and Maritime Studies at Texas A&M University at Galveston. A committee has already been formed and has begun meeting regularly. Requests for approval of the new college have been routed to the Texas A&M System and, pending approval, will be sent to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. I look forward to sharing additional updates on the creation of this proposed new college as they become available.
  • Finally, earlier this month, I visited the Higher Education Center at McAllen to relay my decisions stemming from that campus' quick-look assessment. Later this week I plan to share the final report, along with leads and deadlines, with McAllen faculty, staff and students.


We continue to work on plans to wind down operations at our Qatar campus over the next four years and are collaborating closely with the Qatar Foundation in that process. Together, we are working to ensure that our current students maintain the same high-quality educational experience as those who came before them and that we support our faculty and staff. Recently, there has been more public commentary about the research taking place at our campus in Qatar, and as I said months ago, there is no credence to these false reports. In fact, I asked EVP and Provost Sams to extend letters of support to the 23 faculty members who were identified in those reports, just to be sure they knew we fully supported their research. Those letters have been distributed. We are proud of the work going on at Texas A&M University at Qatar and proud of our excellent faculty and staff who make that campus a very special place, as well as our Texas A&M at Qatar students who continue to do amazing things.


President's Cabinet

I'm pleased to share that Lisa Akin joined the President's Cabinet last week as our new Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), following Kevin McGinnis' retirement. A Regents Fellow, Lisa has almost 20 years of experience within the Texas A&M System, most recently serving as the Chief Operating Officer for the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station and College of Engineering. Lisa brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role, and I'm confident she will support the needs of the university well. I also want to extend my appreciation to Henry Judah for stepping in to lead the division during the search for the permanent CCO, and doing a superb job in the interim role.

In case you missed it, last week, we welcomed Trev Alberts as our new Director of Athletics. A former consensus All-American and first-round NFL draft pick and ESPN broadcaster, Trev has served as the Athletic Director (AD) at the University of Nebraska since 2021. Prior to that, he served 12 years as the AD at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I want to thank the search committee members, chaired by Dave Dunlap '83, for their incredible work screening, reviewing and interviewing candidates. Thanks to their dedication, I believe we found the perfect leader in Trev for Aggie Athletics. He knows the business of athletics; he has a profound understanding of collegiate sports; and he lives his life in a way that resonates with Aggies and truly aligns with our core values. And I'd be remiss to not express my deep appreciation to Coach R.C. Slocum for his willingness to step into the breach as our interim AD during the transition. Thanks, Coach!

Finally, our search for the permanent Chief Operating Officer continues. The search committee, chaired by Deborah Wright, is currently accepting and screening applicants. I look forward to sharing updates in the coming weeks as we seek to fill this important leadership role.

Dean Searches

I mentioned previously that spring is a busy time, chock full of some our university's greatest traditions and opportunities to come together as an Aggie Family. This past weekend, the university hosted The Big Event – the largest one-day, student-run service project in the nation. And nothing illustrates the Aggie core value of selfless service and our university mission quite like The Big Event. For the past 42 years, Aggies have participated in this annual event to show their appreciation to our community and the many citizens who support Texas A&M. On Saturday, more than 16,000 volunteers completed nearly 2,300 service projects across Bryan-College Station. It's really an incredible undertaking and display of unity between local community members and students. Thank you to all who volunteered their time this weekend to continue The Big Event's four decades of success.

And last but certainly not least, please save the date for April 10 as we come together to celebrate our employees and students at the 2024 Staff and Student Excellence Awards ceremony. I'm honored to recognize our dedicated staff and amazing students as recipients of our President's Meritorious Service Awards, Student Employee of the Year Awards and Community Engagement Awards. Our partnership with The Association of Former Students and fellow departments across the university allows us to highlight members serving our Aggie community. I'm looking forward to sharing more about each of our awardees as they take the stage next month. More information will be sent your way soon.

Please read on to see a few other great things happening across our campuses. And don't forget, I want to hear from you. Email me at, or follow me on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn for more real-time updates.

Thanks and Gig 'em!

General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III, President

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