HOME > WHO WE ARE

WHO WE ARE

The Office of the Dean of Faculties strives to achieve and preserve a university environment in which faculty feel inspired and enabled to reach their full potential. This office facilitates and observes fairness and equity in the recruitment, evaluation and advancement of faculty and academic administrators. The Office of the Dean of Faculties is committed to academic freedom, shared governance, excellence and the common good.
 
  • Improve faculty climate to attract high quality faculty, increase retention, enhance creativity and productivity, and facilitate the advancement of all imperatives and goals of Vision 2020 and the Academic Master Plan.

  • Improve all forms of faculty evaluation protocols, including their implementation and monitoring to ensure adequate and full consideration of individual faculty merits, fairness and equity, and respect for academic freedom.  Texas A&M University cannot aspire to become a leading, world-class university without preserving the most basic tenets of fair play and freedom of inquiry.

  • Align indicators of faculty excellence with Vision 2020 and the Academic Master Plan with the goals to:

    • Elevate our faculty’s teaching, as well as their research and scholarship endeavors;

    • Diversify and globalize the A&M community;

    • Strengthen the scholarship and diversity of our graduate programs;

    • Enhance the undergraduate experience through exposure to better and more diverse scholarly teachers, and

    • Meet our commitment to Texas by augmenting the relevance, quality and quantity of the service and engagement activities of our faculty.

  • Monitor, prioritize, demand and improve the commitment to and the quality of faculty participation in shared governance. Vision 2020 calls for transparency and collaboration between the administrators of the System and the University and all other university constituencies.
  • Elevate and diversify the quality of the faculty through development and training initiatives aimed at improving our hiring, mentoring, faculty evaluation, teaching, and engagement practices.
Service: We operate with an attitude of excellence in all that we do and we are committed to providing the highest quality customer service.  We are passionate about our work and we strive to go the extra mile.

Teamwork: We value diversity and we promote collaboration, information, and unity.    We are dedicated to our team and to working generously toward our common goals.
 
Accountability: We uphold the highest moral and ethical standards. We demonstrate a commitment to honesty, integrity, and discretion.
 
Respect: We value differences and we exhibit sensitivity and compassion. We treat everyone with dignity and courtesy
  • Promotion, Tenure and Development of Faculty
  • Appointment, Evaluation and Development of Academic Administrators
  • Advocacy for Women and Minority Faculty
  • Recruitment and Retention of Faculty
  • Faculty Development Leave
  • Appointment and Evaluation of Endowed and Distinguished Professors
  • Retirement Preparation Programs
  • Recognition & Awards Programs
  • Partner Placement
Texas A&M University is committed to enriching the learning and working environment for all visitors, students, faculty, and staff by promoting a culture that embraces inclusion, diversity, equity, and accountability. Diverse perspectives, talents, and identities are vital to accomplishing our mission and living our core values.
 

MEET THE ADMINISTRATION

Blanca Lupiani, Ph.D.
Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost
blupiani@tamu.edu | 979.845.4274


Dr. Blanca Lupiani received her Ph.D. in 1994, as a Fulbright Scholar, from the University of Maryland, College Park.  She subsequently did post-docs at the Agriculture Research Service in Beltsville, MD, and East Lansing, MI and at Michigan State University.  Dr. Lupiani joined Texas A&M University as an Assistant Professor in 2002 and is currently a full Professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
 
Dr. Lupiani was appointed Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost on March 1, 2019 after serving as Executive Associate Dean, Interim Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost for 7 months, and as Associate Dean of Faculties from March 2012 to February 2019.  Dr. Lupiani has received numerous honors and awards including ADVANCE Administrative Fellow, SEC Academic Leadership Development Program Fellow, and Fulbright Scholar.
 
Dr. Lupiani’s research focuses on investigating molecular mechanisms of virus pathogenesis and better understanding the ecology and evolution of avian influenza viruses.  Her research has resulted in over 70 peer reviewed publications and has been funded by grants from federal and state agencies, as well as private foundations. Dr. Lupiani’s research has led to the development of vaccines to control leukemia in chickens for which two U.S. patents have been granted. She serves on the editorial board of the journal Avian Diseases, has been on the guest editorial board of a number of special issues, and has served as a reviewer for numerous national and international scientific journals and funding agencies.

Wilkinson-Photo2.jpgHeather Wilkinson, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Faculties

h-wilkinson@tamu.edu | 979.845.4274

Dr. Heather Wilkinson graduated in 1996 with a Ph.D in Biology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She subsequently trained as a postdoctoral scholar and Research Assistant Professor in Plant Pathology at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Wilkinson joined Texas A&M University as an Assistant Professor in 1999 and is currently a full Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
 
Dr. Wilkinson was appointed Associate Dean of Faculties in March 2017. Her responsibilities are faculty development focused, including direct development and implementation of programming, oversight of the Director the Center of Teaching Excellence (CTE), and engagement with faculty committees and taskforces that inform strategic design of faculty development opportunities. In 2016 Dr. Wilkinson received the Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award at the College-Level for Teaching.  She served as a Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Provost, an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow, and an AgriLife Advanced Leadership Fellow.
 
In her research Dr. Wilkinson and her students investigate the genetic basis of adaptation for a wide variety of microbes, including genetic models, plant symbionts, and soil communities from extreme environments. Throughout her career Dr. Wilkinson has emphasized providing training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in her research program. Dr. Wilkinson has served as an Associate Editor for Fungal Genetics and has served as a reviewer for many scientific journals and funding agencies. Dr. Wilkinson has developed four courses and taught seven in the Bioenvironmental Sciences (BESC) program. Further, she has played an instrumental role in the design and implementation of the curriculum, assessment, and the industry-partner outreach programs for her department. She continues to lead the Curriculum and Assessment Committee, serve as faculty liaison for the Bioenvironmental Sciences Professional Board, and teach three BESC courses.

 

Claire Katz, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Faculties

ckatz@tamu.edu | 979.845.4274

Dr. Katz earned her bachelor’s degree in 1986 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, an M.A.T. in the Philosophy for Children program in 1987 from Montclair State University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Memphis. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M in 2006, she was an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at Penn State University.  

Informed by contemporary French philosophy and in particular her work on the 20th century French, Jewish philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas, Dr. Katz conducts research and teaching at the intersection of Jewish Philosophy, Feminist theory, and Philosophy of Education. She is the author of three monographs: Levinas, Judaism, and the Feminine: the silent footsteps of Rebecca (Indiana 2003); Levinas and the Crisis of Humanism (Indiana 2013); An Introduction to Modern Jewish Philosophy (I.B. Tauris, 2014) and the editor, with Lara Trout, of Emmanuel Levinas: Critical Assessments vols 1-4 (Routledge, 2005). Publishing on diverse themes, including feminist theory, phenomenology, philosophy of education, ethics, technology, and modern Jewish philosophy, her articles have appeared in Telos, Jewish Thought and Philosophy, The Journal of French and Francophone Studies, and Shofar. She is completing Growing Up With Philosophy Camp, an edited collection of essays from various organizers of pre-college philosophy camps run in the US and abroad (Advanced Contract, Rowman and Littlefield). She is currently working on a monograph tentatively titled, Unrepentant Women: Gender, Justice, and the Limits of Forgiveness (Advanced contract with Indiana UP).  

Dr. Katz has received numerous honors, recognitions and awards throughout her career. From 2011-2015 she was a Liberal Arts Cornerstone Faculty Fellow; from 2011-2012, she was a Copeland Faculty Fellow at Amherst College; and in 2017 she was appointed the Murray and Celeste Fasken Chair in Distinguished Teaching in the Liberal Arts.  In 2019, she was awarded an AFS University Level Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching.  She serves on the board of PLATO: Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization, as an ambassador to Philosophy Ireland, and on the Pre-college Teaching Committee of the American Philosophical Association. She serves on the editorial board of New Directions in Jewish Philosophy (Indiana University Press) and Levinas Studies.  An advocate for the faculty, she has been a member of the AAUP since 2005 and started an AAUP chapter at Penn State.
Mario Rojo del Busto, LL.M.
Associate Dean of Faculties & Chief of Staff
Director of Immigration Services for Faculty and Scholars

mrbusto@tamu.edu  | 979.845.4274

The Associate Dean of Faculties and Chief of Staff is responsible for directly assisting and providing the necessary recommendations to the Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost as it relates to faculty hiring processes, risk and compliance matters, policy review, development and implementation, HR matters, business plans, processes and procedures, and any other matters as required by the Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost. The Associate Dean of Faculties is also responsible for overseeing the operational area of Faculty Administration and Records as well as all facets of the daily operations of the office ensuring compliance with System policies, regulations and rules. In addition, the Associate Dean of Faculties is responsible for directing the University's nonimmigrant and immigrant faculty, scholar, and staff employment caseload, including the Galveston and Qatar campuses, and providing assistance to 18 Texas A&M University System members (universities and agencies) regarding immigration employment matters.
Wilkinson-Photo2.jpgCynthia Werner, Ph.D.
Director of ADVANCE

werner@tamu.edu | 979.845.4274

Dr. Werner earned her bachelor’s degree in 1989 from Texas Christian University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University Bloomington. She held visiting appointments at the University of Iowa and Pitzer College prior to joining Texas A&M University as an assistant professor in 2001.

Dr. Werner’s research is geographically based in the region of Central Asia, an area that includes the former “Muslim republics” of the Soviet Union. From the 1930s to the 1990s, the region was radically transformed by Soviet rule, yet closed to ethnographic research. Dr. Werner was among the earliest cohort of “Western” anthropologists to conduct ethnographic research in the region, beginning in the early 1990s. Her publications cover a variety of topics, including rural household survival strategies, memories of nuclear testing in Kazakhstan, the repatriation of ethnic Kazakhs from Mongolia to Kazakhstan and the unusual marriage practice of bride kidnapping. These different areas of inquiry are united by an interest in how relatively marginalized groups have adapted to changes brought about by Soviet and post-Soviet states. In her publications on bride kidnapping, she argues that institutions can and do have an influential role in changing cultural attitudes and practices towards gender equity.

Dr. Werner has received numerous honors, recognitions and awards throughout her career. She received fellowships and grants from the National Research Council, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Science Foundation and the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research. She is the past president of the Central Eurasian Studies Society. She currently serves on the editorial board of the journal Central Asian Survey and the book series Research in Economic Anthropology. She has been a reviewer for numerous scientific journals and funding agencies. She has also been appointed as an SEC Academic Leadership Development Program Fellow. 
Debra Fowler, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence

dfowler@tamu.edu | 979.845.0717

As Director for the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) at Texas A&M University since August 2016, Dr. Debra Fowler works closely with the Dean of Faculties Office as well as academic administrators and faculty to assess the organizational program needs in teaching. Her role also consists of handling the day-to-day operations of the CTE. The content areas for which she provides programming include: program design and (re)design, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, and promoting critical thinking and inquiry skills. 

She has served as Visiting Assistant Professor teaching a graduate course on college teaching in the Department of Education Administration and Human Resource Development at the University and is currently a graduate faculty member in the Department of Educational Psychology. Dr. Fowler has served in leadership roles in the national and state faculty-development organizations and has presented workshops at numerous conferences, as well as authored or co-authored publications in various journals and a book chapter.

Dr. Fowler received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering, with specific emphasis on engineering education, from Texas A&M University. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she spent sixteen years with The Dow Chemical Company in a variety of roles from technical service and development to overseeing the technical hiring for North America before returning to graduate school. She has taught undergraduate and graduate students at both Georgia Institute of Technology and Texas A&M University. 

Debra's keen interest in meeting the needs of society and understanding how to influence meeting those needs has led her to academia where long-lasting influence is at our fingertips. In her personal time she enjoys nurturing new plants in the garden and experimenting with recipes (it is experimenting after all, guess that is why I first became a chemist).
Jim Snell, D.V.M.
Director 

j-snell@tamu.edu | 979.845.4274

Dr. Jim Snell received his D.V.M. in 1977 from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.  He practiced small animal medicine in the Houston and Dallas areas until returning to Texas A&M University and completing his Master of Science in Computer Science in 1990.  Dr. Snell joined the Texas A&M University faculty as a Lecturer with the Department of Veterinary Public Health in 1987 and is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Integrated Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Snell was appointed Information Systems Coordinator for the College of Veterinary Medicine from 1995 – 2002.  He served as the founding Director for the Department of Instructional Technology Services within the Texas A&M Division of IT from February 2002 to May 2019.  Dr. Snell has received numerous awards and honors including co-author and developer of an original essay winning first place in the International Geneva State Open Competition on the Use of Telecommunications in Education and Training.

Dr. Snell’s research has focused on providing a positive impact on teaching and learning through technology.  His efforts have resulted in peer reviewed publications, regional and national conference presentations and invited seminars and workshops.   He has received funding from federal and state agencies, Texas Advanced Technology Program and university and college level programs.  Dr. Snell’s accomplishments include the development of computer-based training modules for the United States Department of Agriculture for Veterinary Medical Officers, a digital anatomical database, 3D volumetric models based on biomedical anatomical data and has lead the development and experimentation with using virtual worlds in education at Texas A&M University.

MEET THE STAFF

Sandra Harnden
Manager

csh811@tamu.edu | 979.845.4274
dof@tamu.edu
awardsprograms@tamu.edu
facultydevelopment@tamu.edu
dfoc@tamu.edu
advance@tamu.edu
ttlc@tamu.edu

Sandra joined the Office of the Dean of Faculties in January 2014.  Prior to that she worked in the Department of Chemistry Business Office as a Business Coordinator II.  Sandra graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and is the proudest member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2007!
 
As a Senior Faculty Affairs Coordinator, Sandra serves as a senior advisor to academic departments and colleges on tenure & promotion procedures.  Sandra oversees internal faculty awards processes as well as the planning and execution of all faculty events, programming, trainings, and workshops.  Additionally, she leads faculty data processing and reports as well as the preparation and launching of Qualtrics assessment surveys.  Sandra maintains the Office of the Dean of Faculties website and coordinates support for budget matters and day-to-day operational matters.  


 
Rebecca Baker
Senior Faculty Affairs Coordinator

rbaker@tamu.edu  | 979.845.4274

Rebecca joined the Office of the Dean of Faculties in December 2018 as a Senior Faculty Affairs Coordinator.  Prior to that she worked at Texas A&M University College of Medicine for 20 years in the offices of Academic Affairs and Faculty Affairs. 

As a Senior Faculty Affairs Coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Faculties, Rebecca serves as a senior advisor to academic departments and colleges on faculty employment procedures.  Resolves problems involving hiring, recruitment, and retention issues working closely with academic departments and colleges.  Analyzes and reviews documentation received from hiring departments and recommends the appropriate approval to hire.  This includes guidance, planning, and developing a specific strategy for each case based on the particular facts and circumstances.  Verifies employee’s personal, educational, and professional background.  Establishes the hiring department's intent in proposing employment in the pre-hiring; hiring and post-hiring stages of the process; reviewing advertisements, waivers of search and postings with TWC.  Coordinates processes for all hiring requests in the Electronic Faculty Hiring System (EFHS) for all TAMU colleges.  Provides information and assistance to academic departments on System regulation and university rules pertaining to faculty hiring.  Administers the verification of faculty members’ education and experience as it relates to the courses that they will be teaching for the academic year, and ensures that faculty members are in compliance with SACS guidelines. 

Rebecca also serves as a senior advisor to colleges and departments with regards to procedures required for compiling the necessary evidentiary documentation in support of their tenure and/or promotion request. Resolves problems working closely with academic departments and colleges. Analyzes faculty bios in accordance with specific protocols and guidelines. Responsible for preparing face sheets of faculty members; preparation of faculty binders with faculty data for the Readers; prepares the dossiers and drafts documentation for the President and Provost to present to the Board of Regents; prepares and drafts Tenure on Arrival faculty package requests for Board of Regents approval, as well as Emeritus packets requests for Board of Regent approval.
 
Maria Murphy
Senior Faculty Affairs Coordinator

maria.murphy@tamu.edu | 979.845.4274
facultyhiring@tamu.edu

Maria joined the Office of the Dean of Faculties in 2013.  Prior to joining the Dean of Faculties Office Maria worked in the Division of Human Resources at Texas A&M University from 2007-2013 where she served as a Program Assistant in Classification and Compensation and then an Employment Coordinator in Recruitment and Workforce Planning.  Maria received her Bachelor of Science in 2006 from Texas A&M University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Human Resource Development & Business Administration.  Maria serves as senior advisor to academic departments and colleges on faculty employment processes, procedures and hiring matters for the Office of the Dean of Faculties.  Maria administers the pre-hiring, hiring and post-hiring stages of the faculty hiring processes.  Maria coordinates faculty hiring requests via the internal Electronic Hiring Systems.  Maria assists with the verifications of educational and professional backgrounds to comply with applicable credentialing requirements.  Maria verifies and audits faculty personal records; oversees and maintains internal records, thereof.  Maria processes business processes that are configured for Faculty in Workday.  Maria analyzes and reviews hiring requests received from hiring departments and recommends the appropriate guidance and support with applicable policies and procedures.
 
Lauren Ware
Faculty Affairs Coordinator

lauren.ware@tamu.edu | 979.845.4274  

Lauren is an Administrative Coordinator for the Dean of Faculties office. She serves as an advisor to academic departments and colleges on faculty hiring and employment procedures. She processes hiring requests for all Texas A&M University colleges and also assists with Dean of Faculties events, training, workshops and faculty development programming. Lauren graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences and a Professional Event Manager certificate. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys traveling, relaxing in any body of water whether it’s pool, lake or ocean, and also playing with her Lab/Rottweiler dog Koda.
 
Dea Polk
Dual Career Program Coordinator II

dualcareer@tamu.edu | 979.458.2583 

Dea Polk is the Dual Career Program Coordinator for the Dean of Faculties Office. She began this role in 2015. Dea is responsible for assisting the partners of potential and existing faculty members find non-faculty employment opportunities. She has over 20 years of expertise in Professional Development/Training and Facilitation and has worked in the corporate, public, private and non-profit sector. Other areas of expertise include employment consultation, resume/CV building, talent services, interview preparation, business etiquette, workforce knowledge and job search. 
 
The San Antonio native holds a BA from Angelo State University in Journalism with a Communications minor. Ms. Polk now serves as VP of Programs for the Brazos Valley Chapter of Talent and Development (BV-ATD) and is a member of the following entities: Brazos Valley Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce, the College of Science Diversity Committee and University as a Committee (TAMU).   


 
Robin Watkins
Administrative Coordinator II

rswatkins@tamu.edu | 979.845.4274  

Robin joined the Dean of Faculties office in May of 2019.  She previously worked in the Vice Chancellor for Health Service’s office at Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center scheduling meetings and serving as an assistant to Health Science Center Administrators.    Robin graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Early Childhood. She worked for Bryan ISD as an Elementary Teacher and for the Brazos Valley Action Agency teaching Pre School in the Head Start Program. 

As an Administrative Coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Faculties, Robin will provide administrative support to the Dean of Faculties as well as three Associate Dean of Faculties.  She will coordinate meetings, prepare daily agendas and supporting documentation for scheduled meetings. She will coordinate travel arrangements, itineraries and prepare presentations for meetings.