Past Coffee Conversations


February 12 | The What, Why and How of the Office of the Provost.

As the university’s “Chief Academic Officer,” the Provost is responsible for all aspects of the vibrant teaching and research conducted at Texas A&M University. Having served in the Office of the Provost for several years, Mr. Pettibon will provide an overview of the Office, talk about the organizational structure of the Division of Academic Affairs, and describe the Provost’s overarching responsibilities. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Joseph P. Pettibon II, Associate Vice President, Division of Academic Affairs

March 11 | Staff Engagement Initiatives at Texas A&M: Why Staff are Important to President Young

Often referred to as the “wheels on the bus,” staff at Texas A&M play an integral role in the success of the university. Ms. Mary Schubert, Engagement Coordinator in the Office of the President, will provide an overview of what engagement means, why it’s important to President and Mrs. Young, what initiatives are on the horizon, and why this is vital to the Aggie Family. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Mary Schubert, Engagement Coordinator, Office of the President

April 15 | Understanding & Supporting our Student Veterans: Serving Well Those Who Have Served!

Texas A&M strives to be a veteran friendly campus, but what does this mean? This session will help us gain an understanding of our student veterans, their perspectives, and the university’s veteran support services. Col. Smith will also address some common stereotypes and offer tips on how we can all support our student veterans. Additionally, Ms. Ingram will address maximizing veteran benefits and financial resources. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenters: Col. Gerald "Jerry" L. Smith '82, USMC (Ret), Director, Veteran Resource & Support Center, and Ms. Bridgette Ingram ’99, Director, Scholarships & Financial Aid and Veteran Services Office 


November 13 | We’re All in this Together, So Now What? Sustainability at Texas A&M

Come learn about efforts to make sustainability an Aggie Tradition! The Office of Sustainability was founded to enhance efforts on campus to respect, protect, and preserve the financial, environmental, and people resources that make Texas A&M great, not only for today, but also for future generations of Aggies. This session will introduce the concept of sustainability, provide an overview of the Office of Sustainability, and offer ideas on how we all can make a difference for ourselves and our community. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Kelly Wellman, Director of Texas A&M’s Office of Sustainability

October 9 | Department of Visualization: Merging Art and Science for the On-Demand Generation

How do we nurture the next Leonardo Da Vinci in an age when information and entertainment is at every student’s fingertips? The Department of Visualization’s mission is to fuel the creative spirit of our students by providing strategies for turning their passion for science, technology, art, and design into opportunities to create experiences and explore ideas. If you've watched Inside Out, How to Train Your Dragon, Ice Age, and The Avengers, you've seen the work of its graduates who are now creating for DreamWorks, Pixar Animation, Lucasfilm, and the like. Tim McLaughlin, whose filmography includes Pirates of the Caribbean-Dead Man's ChestMen in Black II, and Star Wars Episode I, will provide an overview of the department and the programs that produce leaders in the fields where art and science merge. Video

Presenter: Timothy McLaughlin, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Visualization, College of Architecture

April 10 | The Norman Borlaug Institute – Can world hunger be eradicated?

It started with the research of Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize recipient who is known as “the father of the Green Revolution,” and has developed into the world prominent Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture. Come hear how Texas A&M engages in agricultural research, partnerships and international training in its mission to find solutions that meet the challenges of worldwide hunger and poverty. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Dr. Elsa A. Murano, Director, Norman E. Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture

March 13 | Texas A&M University:  Galveston:  Aggies by the sea

From the depths of the ocean to the shores and inland waterways, this island campus is nationally recognized for its ocean-oriented academic education, research and service. Its Maritime Academy, one of only six in the United States, prepares graduates for serving as officers aboard merchant vessels, cruise ships and in the U.S. Merchant Marine and Navy.  Learn about Texas A&M University’s Galveston campus and its unique blend of engineering, marine sciences and maritime administration and transportation programs. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Rear Admiral Robert Smith III, USN (Ret.), Chief Executive Officer, Texas A&M University at Galveston

February 13 | The Texas A&M Foundation: The gift($) that keep($) on giving

What exactly does the Texas A&M Foundation do? Is it public or private?  Why is there a need for private gifts and who determines the fundraising priorities?  What is an endowment?  If you have found yourself asking these questions, then join us as we learn about the history, the impact and the future of the Texas A&M Foundation.

Presenter: Dr. Ed Davis, President, Texas A&M Foundation


November 14 | Beam Me Up Scotty!

Exactly what is "the cloud"? With all the recent news concerning cybersecurity and data breaches, we all ask ourselves if we are at risk. If so, what is the one thing you should know or do differently? Join the Department of Information Technology as they "initialize" discussion on today's top issues and how it relates to you and TAMU. Video

Presenters: Cheryl Cato, Director, IT Infrastructure & Operations, Computing Information Services, and Willis Marti, Director, Networking & Chief Information Security Officer, Networking and Information Security

October 10 | Texas A&M University School of Law: The Past, Present & Future

Come learn about Texas A&M’s newest college as Dean Morriss discusses “who we are, where we have been, and how we became part of Texas A&M.” And, find out what the country's newest law school with 137 years of tradition is doing to educate the upcoming generation of Aggie lawyers who will serve the citizens of Texas and beyond. Video

Presenter: Andrew P. Morriss, Dean, Texas A&M University School of Law

September 19 | Who Are These People and How Did They Get Here?

Have you noticed a population growth on campus lately? Come learn about how the Office of Admissions handles well over 30,000 applications each year and the process in place to give hopeful incoming Aggies the "thumbs up." Adobe PDF of Presentation 

Presenter: Scott McDonald, Assistant Vice President for Academic Services and Director of Admissions, Division of Academic Affairs

May 16 | What's New about the Newest Immigration? Very Little!

With the vast amount of A&M’s global research, the exchange of scholars with universities worldwide, and our large foreign student population, immigration is a topic of interest throughout the university community. "Immigration" is a touchstone for debate, as there are varying points of view regarding the immigrants' impact on the U.S. Dr. Kamphoefner, an historian specializing in American Immigration with research interests in ethnic politics as well as bilingual education and immigrant language transition, will separate myth from fact, as he demonstrates that many of today’s immigration issues and concerns are not new.

Presenter: Dr. Walter D. Kamphoefner, Professor, Department of History, Texas A&M University, and Distinguished Lecturer, Organization of American Historians, Senior Fulbright Lecturer, Germany, 1986, 1998

March 21 | It's real, it's us, and it's going to be bad

Learn about what climate your children and grandchildren are going to inherit from us and how Texas A&M's College of Geosciences has been and is contributing to climate research and to educating the public on Global Warming. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenters: Dr. Gunnar Schade, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, College of Geosciences, and Dr. Gerald North, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography, College of Geosciences

February 21 | Offices of the Dean of Student Life – Supporting [YOU]

College isn’t just about “books and tests.” The life of a college student can present many first-time challenges, such as how to live independently, manage finances, work in a diverse environment, balance priorities, and make responsible decisions. Come learn how the Offices of the Dean of Student Life can assist you in helping students participate fully in the university experience so that they are successful at school and graduate with skills that will impact their lifelong success. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Dr. Anne Reber, Dean of Student Life, Division of Student Affairs


November 8 | 25 by 25 – Transforming Engineering Education

Learn about Texas A&M Engineering's bold initiative to improve engineering education and meet the critical state and national need for more engineers. Dr. Banks will explain why and how the university plans to increase engineering enrollment to 25,000 students by 2025, and will address how this growth will impact engineering education at Texas A&M. Video

Presenter: M. Katherine Banks, Vice Chancellor for Engineering, Dean of the Dwight Look College of Engineering, Director of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

October 18 | What Do Faculty Do All Day?

The Dean of Faculties, a Regents Professor who maintains an active research program, served as Faculty Ombuds Officer, and is past Speaker of the Faculty Senate, helps solve this mystery for many staff. With a mix of humor and humility, Dr. Benedik will answer such questions as: What does it take to be a faculty member? What do they really do? Why is tenure relevant and important? Why is research a critical component of academia? What are their stressors and struggles? Come with your questions and be prepared to be surprised! Video

Presenter: Michael Benedik, Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost

September 20 | Government and Community Relations in Higher Education

Hear from those who have represented Texas A&M at the federal and state level and the broader community for many years. Informative and engaging, the panelists will captivate you with their experience and perspectives on the importance of fostering relationships with our government, organizations, non-profits, and other stakeholders. Oh...the stories they could tell!

Presenters: Michael O'Quinn, VP for Government Relations, Office of the President, and Robert Bisor, III, Assistant VP for External Affairs

May 17 | Texas A&M College of Architecture: Enhancing the Quality of Life and Place in the Natural, Built, and Virtual Environments

Texas A&M College of Architecture: Enhancing the Quality of Life and Place in the Natural, Built, and Virtual Environments. Regarded as one of the premier design research institutions in the world, the Texas A&M College of Architecture is at the forefront of research, creative work, and scholarship, of learning and teaching, and of engagement with practice through outreach and service, within the natural, the built, and the virtual environments. Learn about its innovative programs that range from urban planning and landscape architecture, through architecture and construction science, to visualization and fine arts. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Dr. Jorge Vanegas, Dean, Texas A&M College of Architecture 

April 19 | Protecting Our Coast: The Texas Sea Grant Program

Protecting Our Coast: The Texas Sea Grant Program: From teaching aboard its innovative floating classroom to supporting hurricane preparedness and protecting the Texas coast, the Texas Sea Grant promotes the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources. Hear its director, a marine scientist with particular expertise in sea turtle research, describe A&M’s leadership in marine-related education and research for the benefit of the economy and environment. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Dr. Pamela Plotkin, Director, Texas Sea Grant Program 

March 22 | Making a Difference in Veterinary Medicine

From leading edge discovery in the laboratory to dynamic classroom experiences and the compassionate care provided in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, learn how Texas A&M is leading the way in shaping the future of veterinary medical education and veterinary medicine. Also learn about One Health, a recently designated grand challenge by Texas A&M University. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenters: Dr. Eleanor M. Green, Dean of Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, and Carl B. King, Dean of Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences 

February 15 | Animal Embryo Transfer: Cloning and Genetic Engineering at Texas A&M

Come learn about Texas A&M’s preeminent research in the field of genetic engineering and assisted reproduction in animals. Dr. Kraemer, the first scientist to successfully transfer nonhuman primate embryos resulting in offspring, and his long-time collaborator Dr. Westhusin, are no strangers to controversy! They will share their pioneering research in cloning and explain how the reproductive sciences research performed at Texas A&M is helping to produce disease resistant livestock and even preserve endangered species. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Dr. Duane Kraemer and Dr. Mark Westhusin, Collaborators in the Texas A&M Reproductive Science Laboratory, Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology 

January 18 | Emergency Operations and Response Protocols at Texas A&M University

Emergency Operations and Response Protocols at Texas A&M University. Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes during a campus crisis? Get an in-depth look into how Texas A&M University prepares and responds to emergency situations on campus. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenters: Monica Weintraub, Emergency Management Coordinator, Texas A&M University Office of Safety and Security, and Allan Baron, Lieutenant, Texas A&M University Police Department


November | What is Texas A&M AgriLife?

What do the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas AgriLife Research, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Forest Service and Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory all have in common? They are all part of Texas A&M AgriLife! Learn as Dr. Dugas explains how Texas A&M AgriLife’s extensive network of teaching, research, extension and laboratory facilities have helped it become a recognized leader in agricultural, natural resources and life sciences. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: William A. Dugas, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Business and Strategic Operations and Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

October | Texas A&M Health Science Center – Programs Spanning the Health Professions & Campuses Spanning the State

Did you know that the Health Science Center has campuses from McAllen to Dallas and Round Rock to Houston? Do you wonder what the difference is between public health and medicine? Have you heard what the Health Science Center is doing to help address the state’s current shortage of health professionals? Come learn about the comprehensive Health Science Center, including its role in health professionals education, outreach and research as well as its extended presence throughout the State of Texas. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Roderick E. McCallum, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, Texas A&M Health Science Center

September | What Does the Bush School Do … and Why Does It Matter?

From its Master’s programs in international affairs and public service & administration, to certificate programs including homeland security and nonprofit management, and its renowned research institutes, come find out why we are ranked by US News & World Report as a leading university in Public Affairs. The former Chief of Staff for President George W. Bush will also share his own journey from managing in the private and public sector and serving three U.S. presidents to his current position as the School’s leader.

Presenter: Andrew H. Card, Jr., Acting Dean, Bush School of Government and Public Service

June | Local Discoveries, Global Impacts: The Ripple Effect of Research at Texas A&M

Texas A&M stands among the 20 largest research universities in the nation. The University's high concentration of top-tier scholarship generates research that delivers major health, social, and economic benefits locally and globally. Learn about research on campus and its importance to creating meaningful experiences for our students and to fueling Texas A&M's continued rise among the nation's great universities.

Presenter: Dr. Jeffrey Seemann, Vice President for Research

May | One Health Plus Initiative – How Does it Affect Us?

Learn about the world’s first large-scale, integrated program dedicated to interdisciplinary collaborations and research in health care for humans, animals and the environment — housed right here in the Brazos Valley. 

Presenter: Dr. Bhanu P. Chowdhary, Associate Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

April | Sports Matter! How Athletics Contributes to the Success of the University

Learn about the past, present and future of college athletics from someone who has played, coached, and served as an athletic administrator for over thirty years. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Dr. John Thornton, Sr. Associate Athletic Director, Texas A&M

March | SACS, QEP, and OIA (Other Important Acronyms): Why Accreditation Matters

Learn why there is such a fuss about accreditation right now, what it is, why we need it at Texas A&M, and where we would be without it. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Dr. Pamela Matthews, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

February | It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Corps of Cadets.

Learn how the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets has evolved and contributed to the success of Texas A&M over the years, and hear about where it is now and its plans for the future. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Brigadier General (Ret.) Joe E. Ramirez, Jr., Commandant, Corps of Cadets


December | Presenting a United Front: Telling the Texas A&M Story

Hear from a frequently-quoted spokesperson about the importance of timely and accurate communications when representing Texas A&M to the public. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Jason Cook, Vice President for Marketing and Communications

October | Behind the Curtain – Working in the Office of the President 

Do you wonder what happens on the 10th floor of Rudder? The president’s chief of staff will describe the president’s typical day (if there is one), reveal the people working behind the scenes, and disclose some of the interesting requests the president receives. 

Presenter: Matt Fry, Chief of Staff to the President, Texas A&M University

September | Retirement - The Other Benefit!

Hear about retirement resources available to employees of Texas A&M University to help you pursue your "happily ever after." You'll learn things you never knew you didn't know! Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Sarah Tobola, Employee Benefits Manager, Texas A&M

June | Don't be caught wearing orange! Fraud, Theft and other Misconduct in the Texas A&M University System

Hear about what fraud is and how it occurs in the Texas A&M University System, and what your role is in preventing and reducing fraud. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenters: Robin Woods, Manager, Texas A&M University System  Investigative Audit Services, and Debi S. Fincher, Senior Investigative Auditor, Investigative Audit Services

May | What's in it for Me? Understanding the Texas A&M University System Benefits Planning Process

Learn how the Texas A&M University System contracts our employee benefit plans, how plans are administered, and how employees can be involved in the process. Video and Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenters: Kevin McGinnis, Director, Texas A&M University System, Risk Management & Benefits Administration, and Ellen Gerescher, Employee Benefits Manager,   Texas A&M University System Benefits Administration

April | More than Money Can Buy: Recognizing and Rewarding Your Employees

Discover why recognizing your employees is important, learn different strategies for rewarding employees, and see what resources Texas A&M University Human Resources has to help. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Elizabeth Schwartz, Director, HR Workforce Management

March | The Courage to Grow: Developing a Career Development Plan for You and Your Employees 

Learn how to identify career goals and develop a realistic plan to achieve them. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Anne Mayer, Director, Employee & Organizational Development

February | Follow the Money Trail: From Austin to College Station – Understanding Higher Education Finance and the Role of the Texas Legislature 

Hear the Assistant Vice President for Finance discuss the how the Texas Legislature influences funding for higher education, how funds are allocated once we get them, and how the current financial situation in Texas affects Texas A&M. Adobe PDF of Presentation

Presenter: Deborah Wright, Assistant Vice President for Finance – Budgets and Planning