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

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

The Battalion

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President Banks, university leadership holds coffee chat with faculty

Photo by Photo by Jack Lee

President Kathy Banks at Coffee + Conversation in the AgriLife Center on Wed. March 22, 2023.

On March 22, Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks, Ph.D. and other members of university leadership gathered at the AgriLife Center to informally meet and chat with university faculty.

One of the main goals of the administration, Banks said, is increasing their contact with the broader A&M community. 

“We were really thinking, especially last year, about ways we can be more transparent and accessible,” Banks said. 

In the future, Banks said she intends to work more closely with student leaders, such as incoming Student Body President Hudson Kraus and the Yell Leaders.

“We’re working with student leadership,” Banks said. “The student body president, the student senate, the Yell Leaders, I’m very close with those groups … We’re also working with former students, the alumni foundation, as well as the faculty senate and the staff group.”

Banks said her personal reason for holding the chats is to get to know more people around campus.

“We brought most of the team here,” Banks said. “We can’t meet this many people just sitting in the office.”

Regarding the several debates held in the faculty senate regarding the ACES Plus hiring diversity program, professor of mechanical engineering and Vice President of Faculty Affairs N.K. Anand said the university remained committed to meritocracy.

“We have always hired based on merit,” Anand said. “We want to move the needle. We want to hire the best faculty to teach and to do research and to represent us at the national level so that we can move the needle forward, so we never deviated from meritocracy.”

Another objective of the chats, Anand said, is to hear complaints from faculty firsthand.

“The idea is to meet people, to hear from ground up what the issues are so that we can solve them,” Anand said. “Plus, people will get to know the leadership team.”

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Marketing & Communications at Texas A&M AgriLife Holly Shive said the chat was intended to foster greater communication between university leadership and faculty.

“It’s very informal,” Shive said. “It’s meant to be. Grab some coffee, mingle around the room and folks are welcome to come up and to chat with her. No speech or anything like that.”

Shive said the chat is the second in a series of multiple informal discussions and was hosted in the AgriLife Center so West Campus faculty from business and agriculture could easily attend.

“This is our second one,” Shive said. “Our first one was in February at the Academic Building [Banks] is just getting around campus to meet with faculty and staff. We’re strategically going to different locations across campus so that she can catch different groups.”

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