Aerial view of TAMU

President’s Brief - April 2024

General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III

April 19, 2024

Members of the Aggie Family,

As we grow closer to the end of the spring semester, it’s once again time for one of our most cherished and meaningful traditions: Muster. On Sunday, families and friends will gather together to reflect on and celebrate the lives of Aggies who have left us over the last year. Muster reminds us that no Aggie is ever alone and that every Aggie will be remembered.

A ceremony this precious to the Aggie Family takes a lot of hard work. I want to thank the men and women of the Aggie Muster Committee, who put an incredible amount of time and energy into preserving this signature tradition for current and future generations of Aggies.

For many of us, the road to Muster began earlier this week with a visit to the Reflections Display in the Memorial Student Center to learn more about this year’s honorees ahead of Sunday’s ceremony. Each of these Aggies has a story, and their families brought those stories to life in a beautiful way by displaying personal items – photographs, letters, Aggie Rings and more. I was honored to learn about the remarkable lives we will celebrate at this year’s Muster. If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll take time to visit the Reflections Display in the MSC Flag Room. It will be open until noon on Sunday.

As we come together this week to re-embrace the spirit and traditions that make this place so special, here are a few additional updates for your awareness:

Quick-Look Implementation

Our leads for the main campus, Galveston and McAllen campuses are making great progress thanks to the collaboration and support from our faculty and staff. Below are a few highlights:

  • As you’ll recall, one of my decisions was to allow our academic units to determine whether they want to be a “college” or a “school.” I’m happy to share that we’re one step closer to these units being able to utilize their preferred designation. Requests for name changes were approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, effective Aug.15, for the following units: College of Architecture; College of Dentistry; College of Education and Human Development; College of Medicine; College of Nursing; College of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts; Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy; and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Please note, the units mentioned above should continue using their current naming structure until the Aug. 15 date. Rebranding plans are being developed as we speak, and next steps will be communicated directly with these impacted units.
  • I’m happy to share that the work to transition the biomedical sciences program back to the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is now complete.
  • Under the direction of Ethan Braden, our Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, 164 full-time equivalents or ~$9 million of marketing and communications talent, were redeployed to the colleges, schools and divisions as part one of the transformation of Texas A&M’s central marketing and communications team. This reorganization will allow the central team to focus efforts externally on building Texas A&M’s national reputation, while empowering unit teams to perform value-added unit-level marketing and communications duties.
  • Work also continues on our science projects – the capacity and student experience studies – to look at how growth has impacted our faculty, staff and students, and what we can do to address issues affecting the university as a result of that growth.
    • The Capacity Study Committee recently met with both the City of Bryan and the City of College Station to discuss how our enrollment growth has impacted the local community. This committee continues to analyze data to better understand the challenges and opportunities for addressing capacity issues on campus.
    • Last week, the Student Experience Study Committee conducted a pop-up survey on campus that garnered more than 3,000 responses, and this week, students engaged in listening sessions across campus to help us gather feedback and course correct if and where needed to ensure the Aggie student experience is No. 1 in the nation.

Research Identity and Academic Roadmap:

I outlined eight priorities for our future in my State of the University address, noting three of these priorities as “near-horizon” items we need to tackle first: 1) fix the foundation (which is being addressed through our science projects), 2) define our research identity and 3) build our academic roadmap. Below are updates on these priorities:

  • Dr. Jack Baldauf, Vice President for Research, is working with Ethan Braden to define our research identity, that is, what we want Texas A&M – an established research powerhouse in numerous fields and disciplines – to be known for. A committee, composed of university, System and agency representatives, has made excellent progress since their formation in February. To date, an analysis of Texas A&M’s share of volume and engagement across earned and social media has been conducted, and this week, the committee hosted a series of update and listening sessions to gather feedback on the progress and developments made thus far.
  • Dr. Tim Scott, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, is working with a team of 24 faculty, staff and students to help craft an Academic Roadmap for our undergraduate, graduate and professional students for the next five years. I’ve charged the group to suggest innovative and futuristic programs that address workforce needs. Plans should address interdisciplinary needs and different learning modalities. The group is also discussing badging and micro-credentialing, special populations such as veterans and first-generation students, and distance and continuing education. I would like to use the work provided by this group to guide the Vision 2040 process which I intend to kick off in fall 2024.

Leadership Updates:

  • President’s Cabinet –
    • Our search for a permanent Chief Operating Officer continues. The search committee, chaired by Deborah Wright, has reviewed all 120 applications and narrowed the overall candidate pool to 17 candidates. These candidates are now undergoing biographical interviews to help narrow the pool once more. I expect that we’ll have a chance to meet finalists for campus visits in May and will share further details on these visits as they are available.

As we begin to wind down the spring semester, I’m reminded that this is the time of year when we recognize the accomplishments of our campus community through celebrations of faculty, staff and student excellence.

Just last week, we came together for our Staff and Student Excellence Awards ceremony. If you weren’t able to attend, I encourage you to view the recording and photos. It was a good time for all with plenty of cheering (and even a few celebratory posters made by doting colleagues). And at the end of the month, the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs will host the inaugural Faculty Affairs Spring Awards ceremony to celebrate Texas A&M faculty and staff achievements.

We should also celebrate our spring Aggie sports teams because they’re killin’ it! Women’s Tennis won the third-straight regular season SEC championship and will hopefully be playing for the SEC Tournament title on Sunday in Athens, Georgia. The Men’s Tennis team is currently ranked No. 14 with the SEC Tournament just getting underway. Women’s Golf just missed completing a rare back-to-back conference championship run, finishing second by the tiniest of margins. Men’s Golf is No. 22 nationally with the SEC championship just getting underway. Softball is also on a roll and is ranked No. 12 in the country and second in the SEC. Women’s Track and Field is consistently setting new records and is currently ranked No. 2 in the country, while both Men’s Track and Field and Baseball are ranked No. 1 in the country! And finally, the fourth-seeded Equestrian team is at the NCEA Championships in Ocala, Florida, where they have advanced to today’s semifinals with the national champion being determined on Saturday. Gig ’em!

I really mean it when I tell people that Texas A&M is blessed with incredible faculty, unbelievable staff and the best students on the planet. You make us proud. I hope you’ll take time to celebrate and recognize colleagues in your colleges, schools and units for their accomplishments and dedication to our mission. And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back. You deserve it!

Please read on to see a few other great things happening across our campuses. And don’t forget, I want to hear from you. Please share your thoughts, questions and concerns at

Thanks and Gig 'em!

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

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