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Who Are We?
- Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, and Statistics—three laboratory sciences and two mathematical sciences.
- Many centers, institutes, and laboratories including the Center for Math and Science Education, Cyclotron Institute, Institute for Applied Mathematics and Computational Science, Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering, Institute for Scientific Computation, Center for Biological Clocks, Laboratory for Functional Genomics, Center for Surface Science and Catalysis, Laboratory for Biological Mass Spectroscopy, Center for Approximation Theory, Center for Theoretical Physics, the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy, the Center for Statistical Bioinformatics.
- For FY10, approximately $50,000,000 teaching budget and close to $60,000,000 in competitive, peer reviewed research awards.
- For Fall 2010 280 tenured and tenure-track faculty, up from 210 in 2002, 50 non-tenure track faculty in Fall 2010.
- In calendar year 2009 2,320 undergraduate majors (biology 1,623, chemistry 254, math 316, and physics and astronomy 127) and 850 graduate majors (biology: 106, chemistry 288, math 134, physics and astronomy 153, and statistics 170).
- In calendar year 2009, awarded 420 bachelor’s degrees, 62 MS degrees, and 75 PhD degrees.
- In calendar year 2009, approximately 202,000 undergraduate Semester credit hours (SCH’s), approximately 84% of which are for non-college of science majors. Also, 23,400 graduate SCH’s, about 1/4 for non-majors. All of these are up at least 10% since 2002.
How do we define faculty excellence?
Across the college faculty are judged on:
- Teaching, including classroom teaching, providing undergraduate research experiences, doing graduate and post-doctoral mentoring, and creating new curriculum materials—texts, laboratories, technology-based, etc.
- Scholarly activities, including creation and dissemination of new knowledge. Typically, this dissemination is done locally in undergraduate and graduate courses, and internationally by publishing papers and books, and hosting and attending national and international scientific meetings. Faculty are also judged on their ability to obtain external funding for their scholarly activities, including support for the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral teaching and mentoring they do.
- Engagement, including chairing or serving on college, university, state, national, and international advisory committees, serving on editorial or grant review panels, providing educational outreach activities, etc.
How do our departments stand relative to peer institutions?
- Chemistry was one of the two departments to be ”signature” departments in the 1960’s when Texas A&M chose to become a research university, and it remains in the top 20 or so of all chemistry departments in the U.S.
- Mathematics has rapidly progressed over the past 15 years to become a top 15 or 20 department in public universities, a remarkable feat given that all universities have math departments.
- Physics has similarly progressed rapidly so that they are now top 20 or 25 public. Thanks to the reinvestment program and the generosity of George Mitchell, in the past six years, physics has gone from having no astronomy program to one which should be highly ranked in the near future.
- In terms of statistics departments, there are only two public statistics departments in the U.S. that outrank ours in most rankings. This is out of 40 such public statistics programs.
- Because of the way the life sciences are split up into many departments across campus, it is difficult to determine rankings for our biology department, but the recent reinvestment program helped it build strong programs in biological clocks, neurosciences, and developmental biology.
How do we define student success?
- For our undergraduate majors we seek (in a timely fashion) to enhance their ability to either go to graduate school, professional school, industry, government, etc.
- For the students taking our courses solely as part of their general education requirement, our courses must meet the national standards in terms of learning outcomes. For non-majors taking our courses as part of the requirements for success in their major, we must meet such national norms, but also collaborate with the other colleges to ensure we are helping them meet their definition of success.
Some faculty highlights
- Two Nobel Prize winners, four National Academy of Science members, the only three American Academy of Arts and Sciences members, half of the 60 Texas A&M Distinguished Professors, a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator, a Jefferson Fellow, many, many young investigator awards such as CAREER awards, Sloans, etc.
- We have doubled the number of women tenured and tenure track faculty since 2002, including now having our first five female distinguished professors. Chemistry Professor Sherry Yennello is the Principal Investigator of a five year $3,500,000 NSF ADVANCE grant to enhance the status of women at A&M.
- Four of our faculty are among the 14 Presidential Professors for Teaching Excellence, the highest teaching award available at Texas A&M.
- Faculty are leaders in five of the eight Initial University Multidisciplinary Research Initiatives (IUMRI) on campus.
- Our faculty are instrumental in Texas A&M at Qatar (both teaching and research) and leaders in the $25,000,000 Texas A&M center at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia—the other universities involved are Stanford, Oxford, and Cornell. A large number of faculty collaborate with faculty in other countries.
- Very large educational outreach programs for K–12 students, including running the Texas Science Olympiad, the Chemistry Road Show, the Physics festival, math competitions and camps, and so on.
Some student outcomes highlights
- Produce more students entering medical professional schools than any other university in Texas.
- Produce more STEM teachers than any other university in Texas, in part because of our college’s nationally recognized AggieTeach program.
- Have nationally known and federally funded huge ”first year programs” in each of our departments to enhance the learning experience of almost every student on campus, whether they be taking a core curriculum course, or the required courses for their major. One example is a large federally funded program for class placement of entering freshman engineers.
- Math has the only distance master’s degree in the country, and statistics has one of two nationally, by far the most successful.
- Chemistry produces more PhD’s than any other department on campus—hugely important for academia and industry in Texas and nationally.