January 15, 2021

Read what deans and leaders across campus are resolving to do in 2021 to increase opportunities for Aggieland’s students, faculty and staff.


College of Agriculture and LIFE Sciences: 

Dr. Patrick Stover

2020 posed unprecedented challenges for each of us. Chief among these is the impact of COVID-19 on our livelihoods, our health and our food systems. But with challenges come opportunities, and agriculture—and more specifically, Texas A&M—is poised to be a solution. 

Our students and their families need us now more than ever, and a quality higher education is their key to the future. My wish for 2021 is that we continue to attract the best and brightest students to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M, regardless of financial limitations. To make this possible, we need to increase our focus on scholarship programs. We have two primary scholarship programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: 

  • The Norman Borlaug Endowed Research Scholarship (NBERS) program is the college’s most esteemed scholarship aimed at attracting students interested in furthering research for the advancement of agriculture. This scholarship program offers matching funds for both undergraduate and graduate scholarships.
  • In 2021, we are unveiling a new focus on first-generation student scholarships. With an added purpose of advising, mentorship and interaction designed to promote transition and retention, this scholarship program will enhance undergraduate education opportunities for students who are the first in their families to attend college.

If there is a silver lining to the last year, it is the spotlight the pandemic has shone on the role land-grant universities like Texas A&M play in addressing grand challenges. With your partnership, we can educate the next generation of future leaders who will protect our health, livelihoods, food security and nutrition for the world.

Dr. Patrick Stover
Vice Chancellor, Texas A&M AgriLife
Dean, Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Research

College of Architecture:

Dr. Jorge Vanegas

My New Year’s resolution is to strengthen the college’s capacity to address our new post-pandemic reality proactively and strategically, while continuing to improve the quality of life, place and human endeavor.

We will strengthen and expand our current infrastructure and collaborative environments for interdisciplinary learning for students and scholarly activities for faculty. We will look for innovative ways to support research and creative work across the college. We will amplify our impact to society through engagement, outreach, service and practice with the communities and professions we serve. We will chart new paths to increase diversity, equity and inclusion. 

And, if 2020 taught us anything, we will treasure the opportunities to gather in person, exchange ideas, share our lives and celebrate over meals, as we are stronger and more resilient together!

Dr. Jorge Vanegas
Dean, College of Architecture

The Bush School of Government and Public Service:

Gen. Mark Welsh III

2021 is going to be a great year! We are focused on ensuring every member of our faculty, staff and student body feels valued, is treated with respect, has a voice and understands how critically important they are to our success.  

In January, we will begin teaching students in our nation’s capital for the very first time! Our new teaching site there gives the Bush School and Texas A&M a platform to connect with policymakers, think tanks and government agencies in new and innovative ways. 

On main campus, we look forward to continuing our efforts to renovate and enhance our home in the Allen Building to reflect the legacy of our namesake. We also plan to stand up a Program in City and County Governance and establish a pipeline that provides talented men and women to proudly lead and serve Texas communities into the future. We can’t wait to get started! 

Happy New Year, Aggies!

Gen. Mark Welsh III
Dean, Bush School of Government and Public Service

College of Dentistry:

Dr. Lawrence Wolinsky

My New Year’s resolution for the College of Dentistry in 2021 is to open our new community dental clinic in South Dallas. The Hatcher Street Clinic brings affordable, accessible oral health care to the residents of one of the most underinsured and underserved regions in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The new clinic will be located adjacent to one of Parkland Hospital’s community medical clinics, so we will be working in partnership with those health care professionals to bring an integrated “whole health” model to a neighborhood that suffers much higher rates of chronic disease due to a lack of access to health care.

Dr. Lawrence Wolinsky
Dean, College of Dentistry

College of Education and Human Development:

Dr. Joyce Alexander

My New Year’s resolution is to help mitigate the learning losses felt by students across the state of Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will achieve this through our four-pronged literacy initiative, to be launched in 2021, that will help support learners and teachers through:

  • Continued deployment of an intelligent tutoring system developed by one of our own faculty members, Dr. Kay Wijekumar, across Texas ISDs to support reading comprehension for native and Spanish speaking English learners
  • A system to support strategies for writing
  • A training system for teachers with active practice and expert feedback on teaching reading and writing
  • A homework hotline connecting struggling online learners with Aggie students to help solve their homework challenges

Through the continued work of our college’s amazing faculty, staff and students, coupled with the generosity Aggies are known for, I am confident that our literacy initiative will greatly benefit our state’s teachers and classrooms!

Dr. Joyce Alexander
Dean, College of Education and Human Development

College of Engineering:

Dr. Katherine Banks

I am so proud of the resilience of our faculty, staff and students during the COVID-19 pandemic and look forward to returning to more in-person interaction soon. The Zachry Engineering Education Complex is the heart of engineering education at Texas A&M University and I resolve to ensure that once conditions are safe, the Zachry Complex is reopened, fully functional and the place where creativity and innovation result in unique hands-on, experiential learning for our engineering students. We worked hard to create a first-in-class learning facility, and I am eager to see our engineering students thriving again in that environment.

Dr. Katherine Banks
Dean, College of Engineering

College of Geosciences:

Dr. Debbie Thomas

As a former Division I Athlete, my New Year’s resolutions always focused on training harder and smarter to achieve my potential on the court and in the classroom. As Dean, I resolve to work harder and smarter to make the Texas A&M University College of Geosciences a household name, because we improve individual lives while at the same time improving the quality of life for billions of lives.  

So, for 2021, I resolve to increase the number of students who seek and receive a degree from the College of Geosciences by improving access to higher education through awareness and financial support.

In Summer 2021, we plan to offer our GeoX camp for high schoolers both in-person and remotely, vastly enhancing the number of students who will be inspired to attend the College of Geosciences. Additionally, to ensure that the best and brightest students can attend the College of Geosciences, we seek to create 21 new scholarships in 2021.

Just like athletes, academic leaders require support to achieve their New Year’s resolutions—you can help us become the household name and achieve these goals by contributing endowments in support of GeoX and our 21 in ’21 goal! 

Thank you and Gig ’em!

Dr. Debbie Thomas
Dean, College of Geosciences

Texas A&M School of Law:

Robert Ahdieh

In 2021, I expect our School of Law to continue finding ways to serve as a resource and for the rest of the university, for its former students and for the entire state of Texas through joint degrees, collaborative programs and engaging events. We will continue our meteoric rise in ranking, reputation, student quality and student success. Finally, I resolve to do everything I can to establish a broader platform for the university to engage more robustly with Fort Worth and the entirety of North Texas.

Robert Ahdieh
Dean, Texas A&M School of Law

College of Liberal Arts:

Pam Matthews

I’ll be honest: setting personal New Year’s resolutions isn’t really my thing, as I find they reduce my ideas about my personal growth to a few vague possibilities. However, because I believe the possibilities for the College of Liberal Arts are limitless, I am happy to share my 2021 goals for my college, where I work with the best faculty, staff and students I have had the pleasure of knowing in my years in higher education.

First, I’d like to finish our strategic plan for the next five years: “Shape the Future: The College of Liberal Arts 2020-2025.” We were rolling along beautifully before the pandemic and are now beginning to get back on track. Second, I’d like to establish the Center for Social Science Research Impact, a place for interdisciplinary scholarship and world-changing research. Finally, I’d like to ensure a smooth transition to a new dean after my retirement at the end of August 2021, and I’m excited to see where a new dean will lead the college in the future. I plan to find ways to continue supporting my college and university after I retire. (OK, so maybe I do have one personal New Year’s resolution!)

I look forward to experiencing all the future has to offer! 

Pam Matthews
Dean, College of Liberal Arts

University Libraries:

Dr. David Carlson

In the strange year that was 2020, the University Libraries learned that even in a pandemic, with reduced seating capacity and no browsing of the stacks, we continued to be an essential resource for faculty and students. We were a lifeline to students who had nowhere else to go to attend online zoom classes, and we provided electronic resources—the perfect “contact-less delivery” option—for those papers that still had to be written. 

So, for the New Year, the Libraries resolves to be a dynamic physical space that is capable of meeting the changing demands of campus for learning and discovery while ensuring the physical safety and well-being of all our faculty, students and friends.

Dr. David Carlson
Dean of University Libraries

Mays Business School:

Dr. Eli Jones '82 '86 '97

My New Year’s resolution is to advance the world’s prosperity—our vision at Mays Business School! I’d like Mays to keep advancing our mission in 2021 by:

  1. Developing Transformational Leaders, like Bruce Broussard ’84, CEO of Humana (a 2020 Fortune Businessperson of the Year)
  2. Being a vibrant learning organization, like how our Center for International Business Studies has been getting creative during a global pandemic
  3. Creating impactful knowledge, like setting the bar as a pioneering institution of Responsible Research for Business and Management

I’d like to achieve all of this while advancing the building expansion campaign to facilitate lifelong learning at Mays Business School.

Dr. Eli Jones ’82 ’86 ’97 
Dean, Mays Business School

College of Medicine:

Dr. Amy Waer

The Texas A&M University College of Medicine is building a military medicine tradition befitting of Texas A&M’s military legacy by serving well those who have served. We are answering the nationwide call for more military physicians through efforts such as these:

  • We have established clinical training sites for our more than 700 medical students at some of the nation’s largest military medicine training sites: Darnall Army Medical Center in Ft. Hood, Brooke Army Medical Center and 59th Medical Wing in San Antonio, and the Central Texas Veterans Affairs Health Care System.  
  • Students in our own Texas A&M Corps of Cadets who wish to become physicians can apply for pipeline programs that grant early admission to our medical school.
  • We continue to actively recruit veterans and their family members who are interested in careers as physicians, as well as shepherd our current veterans through their education in our military-friendly culture.
  • We have formed research agreements with Army Futures Command at The Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus and Uniformed Services University along with our other military affiliates as a congressionally designated Senior Military College to directly benefit service members and veterans.

There is still far more we want to do, but building our military medicine initiative and its impact on our clinical, educational and research missions will continue to be an integral part of the vision of the College of Medicine in 2021. Specifically, we want to stand up our military medicine department with an endowed chair and recruit a leader with a military medicine background who can focus and maximize our efforts.

Dr. Amy Waer
Interim Dean, College of Medicine

College of Nursing:

Dr. Nancy Fahrenwald

I want to build our Nursing Resilience Initiative to support students, faculty, staff and the health care workforce in the face of uncertainty, risk and burnout due to the demands of the coronavirus pandemic and other disasters.

Dr. Nancy Fahrenwald
Dean, College of Nursing

Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy:

Dr. Indra Reddy

My New Year’s resolution is to support the College of Pharmacy’s faculty and staff in nurturing an inclusive culture of excellence; fostering an intellectually stimulating learning environment that centers on student engagement and success; and creating a healthy balance between their work, lives and overall growth. 

Dr. Indra Reddy
Dean, College of Pharmacy

School of Public Health:

Dr. Shawn Gibbs

My New Year’s resolution for the Texas A&M School of Public Health is to increase the amount of funding that we can utilize to support additional Doctor of Public Health and Ph.D. students. The School of Public Health only has enough funding to support a total of about 20 doctoral students each year. This yields only five continuing and new incoming doctoral students combined per department. 

Each year, our school loses great doctoral students because they either receive funded offers from other universities or because they are unable to continue their dreams of earning a Texas A&M University doctoral degree due to financial constraints. 

In today’s complicated environment, there is a clear need for high-level public health expertise in corporations, government and many other organizations. Our School of Public Health is ideally positioned to provide these critical public health skills combined with exceptional and principled leadership training, resulting in doctoral-trained Aggies serving as the vanguard of protection for the public’s health.  

I would like to help our school and our students secure pre-doctoral fellowships either from competitive national programs or through philanthropic efforts. It would be wonderful if we could find generous donors who were interested in endowing pre-doctoral fellowships in epidemiology, environmental health, health promotion and community health sciences, and health services research.   

Dr. Shawn Gibbs
Dean, School of Public Health

College of Science:

Valen Johnson

The College of Science has a number of goals for 2021. First and most importantly, I would like to see the college continue its progress toward retaining all of our undergraduates and providing them with the highest quality education possible. This is a particular challenge this year as our faculty continue to adapt to new teaching environments and technologies forced upon us by the pandemic.  

In support of this goal, I would like to see the college expand the opportunities it provides for undergraduates to participate in on-campus and virtual research projects. I would also like to see the college continue its effort to provide a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. Finally, it is my hope that the college will find success in attracting financial resources to provide world-class research facilities for our world-class faculty, and that these resources will permit us to recruit more outstanding faculty to Texas A&M University in the future.

Valen Johnson
Dean, College of Science

Division of Student Affairs:

Dr. Daniel Pugh

With 2020’s unfortunate COVID-19 diminishment of in-person engagement for students and student organizations, we resolve in 2021 to prioritize “the other education” for which Texas A&M is historically renowned by our current and former students and elevate leadership, tradition and engagement experiences for all Aggies for the betterment of their wellness and well-being.  

Dr. Daniel Pugh
Vice President for Student Affairs

Veteran Affairs:

Col. Jerry Smith '82, USMC (Ret.)

In 2021, the Don & Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource and Support Center staff will implement a new strategic plan to refine programs that create greater impact for our student veterans and their families. 

With greater emphasis on new collaboration and creativity in the post-COVID 19 landscape, we will enhance services as we proactively enroll more students. By measuring and communicating student veteran success, we will create unique opportunities that are naturally aligned with the selfless passions of our generous Aggie Family. Together, as we continue to transform and sustain Texas A&M as the ‘destination of choice’ for student veteran success, we will rely on the Aggie Core Values and our Aggie Spirit to truly Serve Well Those Who Have Served!       

Col. Jerry Smith ’82, USMC (Ret.)
Director, Don & Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource and Support Center


College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences:

Dr. John August

My New Year’s resolution for the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences is that in addition to continuing the important and impactful work that our faculty, staff and students do every day in our college, we continue to make great strides in our professional education and research initiatives; in our Veterinary Education, Research, & Outreach initiative; in our biomedical sciences undergraduate program, both in College Station and at the Higher Education Center in McAllen; and within our Small Animal Hospital, all of which have greatly benefited from the generous support of our donors.

Dr. John August
Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences