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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

From campus to coral reef

Jim+Woosley
Photo by Shelby Knowles
Jim Woosley

THE BATTALION: As speaker of the Faculty Senate, what are some responsibilities you hold?

WOOSLEY: Well as speaker of the Faculty Senate I lead the executive committee of the senate and then 120 faculty total that represent all of our colleges, including the new health science center and law school that we recently joined up with. The speaker is the leader who is representative of their colleges and faculty within each person’s responsibilities. As a group we make decisions and try to comment and help the administration work through situations and concerns related to various things but mostly academic initiatives.

THE BATTALION: How long have you worked with the Faculty Senate? How long have you held the position as speaker?

WOOSLEY: Let me give you a little background of the Faculty Senate. When you’re elected as a senator from your college, you serve a three-year term and then you can be reelected multiple times. I have been elected probably six terms as a representative and I have been at the university for 32 years. The speaker is just a one-year position, but … you serve one year as speaker elect, then you serve a year as speaker and then you serve a year as former speaker, so it is kind of a three-year position. I’ve served on the executive committee of our Faculty Senate about six years at various times throughout my 18 years. Next year I will be former speaker and then I plan on staying involved with the senate even after that.

THE BATTALION: What are some issues the Faculty Senate is facing at the moment?

WOOSLEY: Recently the state has mandated a review and a change in our core curriculum requirements for university students throughout the state, so the senate has really been involved in working with developing a new core curriculum. We also of course are very involved with our new president and we, the faculty, have been involved with looking for and bringing in a new president. Those are two of the biggest things we’ve been doing this last year. We are very happy to see Dr. Young come in.

THE BATTALION: What interested you to get included with the Faculty Senate?

WOOSLEY: I think its just that I like leading people. I feel like I make a pretty good leader; I listen. I like to think I’m really good at listening and mediating. That’s why I think I’m here.

THE BATTALION: You are also the scuba instructor at A&M. How long have you known how to scuba dive?

WOOSLEY: I learned when I was in college, and that was a long time ago. From that point, by the time I graduated as an undergraduate I was assisting in the university classes. Then I became an instructor soon after that. Then I moved to Australia for five years and taught there, at the Great Barrier Reef.

THE BATTALION: Have you dived in any cool places?

WOOSLEY: The Great Barrier Reef is the largest barrier reef in the world. There are very pristine places still left there. Off in Indonesia and Micronesia, I’ve taught, traveled in Asia for extended periods. I also taught in Japan for a year — Texas A&M University used to have a ranch campus in Japan for a short time and so I taught over there for a year and dove in that area. Over the time I have become a master instructor, which is the highest ranking level. I’ve taught and worked with many divers, I’ve instructed people from the beginning level all the way up to advanced, rescued and dived master’s instructor level. They serve around the world too.

THE BATTALION: Can you explain the feeling one experiences while scuba diving, for those who have never done so?

WOOSLEY: A lot of people kind of feel like if they could experience what it would be like in space, it would be like that underwater, because you’re weightless — freedom of movement. Which brings me to a reason why I spend some time with disabled people at scuba diving — because it’s a new world for them. They’re free to gravity while they’re under water. People feel like if they could experience what it would be like in space, that’s what it’s like underwater, only with beautiful fish and color.

THE BATTALION: Can you explain more about working with disabled people?

WOOSLEY: There’s an organization that I’m an instructor for called the Handicap SCUBA Association, and it works with people that are handicapped in various ways. We train people to be their partners so that even though they propel themselves in the water, other people can guide them through the water so that they can experience the freedom from gravity and the underwater world.

THE BATTALION: Being involved in two very different things at Texas A&M University, do you believe they have any similarities?

WOOSLEY: They’re two completely different things except for the ability to work with people and try to help them understand some complicated issues. Those are similar areas, to be able to mediate between concerns, and to help work their way through problems, which is what I really love to do.
 

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