July 31, 2008

Panel May Relieve Dean of Duties

By The Eagle, Bryan, Texas

Jul. 31--The Texas A&M System Board of Regents will meet this week to consider the dismissal of the founding dean of the Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health.

Dr. Ciro Sumaya has served in his post for the past decade and helped celebrate the school's 10th anniversary this year.

It remained unclear Wednesday why Sumaya -- the only Latino dean working at the main and medical campuses in College Station -- apparently will be relieved of his duties.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday, and the meeting agenda indicates that the panel will consider confirming Sumaya's dismissal and granting him a four-month paid development leave.

Health Science Center President Nancy Dickey on Wednesday declined to comment through a spokesman, saying she couldn't comment on the personnel matter until after regents had voted on the issue.

If his dismissal as dean is confirmed, Sumaya is expected to return to teaching and research. He said Wednesday that he would retain his status as a tenured full professor with an endowed chair in medicine.

"Serving as the founding dean of the School of Rural Public Health has been a real joy for me. My background in medicine, public health and federal level administrative appointment -- and being a Texan to boot -- helped me assemble a team of quality faculty, staff and students in developing this innovative School of Rural Public Health at Texas A&M," Sumaya said in a statement he released Wednesday.

"There are still some infrastructure items and academic programs that I would have liked to complete."

Sumaya's possible termination is among several personnel issues the regents will tackle during their meeting this week, according to the agenda. Regents also are expected to consider amending the employment contracts for A&M women's basketball coach Gary Blair and women's soccer coach G. Guerrieri, as well as the contract and salary for athletic director Bill Byrne.

The group also is expected to authorize several new hires -- including the recent selection of Purdue Science Dean Jeffrey Vitter as A&M's provost and executive vice president for academics and those of several associate directors for various state agencies run by the A&M System.

The panel also is expected to hear several presentations, including one focused on the master plan for the Health Science Center's Bryan campus and another updating regents on the investigation into the capsizing of the Cynthia Woods sailboat.

The panel also is expected to sign off this week on the A&M System's five-year capital plan.

The Board of Regents is expected to meet briefly in open session Thursday in the Memorial Student Center Board of Regents meeting room before adjourning to closed session for the rest of the morning. Regents are expected to return to open session at 2 p.m. Thursday in Room 292 of the Memorial Student Center.

The public meeting is expected to last until 5 p.m., at which time the regents will resume their closed-door talks. The panel will return to open session at 8 a.m. Friday in Room 292.


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Copyright (c) 2008, The Eagle, Bryan, Texas

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