August 2012 Administrative Updates

August 8, 2012

In case of emergency

The Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) is in compliance with Texas House Bill 2758 (Chapter 51, Section 51.218 Education Code), which requires institutions of higher education to disseminate critical information from an authorized source during campus emergencies. Our particular system, HSC Alert, is also used to inform of weather cancellations and delays by location.HSC Alert symbol

Each year, as mandated, the HSC Alert database is repopulated with only the TAMHSC email addresses of all faculty, staff and students. Alternative email addresses and mobile phone numbers may be added by following the steps in the Emergency Alert Tutorial, or you may opt out of preselected choices by unchecking boxes found next to each component location. Please note that unchecking all boxes prevents any notifications from being sent to you, so do so at your own risk.

All TAMHSC personnel participating in state contracts or receiving reimbursements for phone and PDA services are required to participate in the text messaging option. Everyone is highly encouraged to add a mobile number to allow alerts by text message. Your mobile phone/device must be able to receive text messages, and your service plan must support receiving them. If you are unsure, please check with your service provider.

A connection to the future

The TAMHSC is utilizing the LEARN high-speed optical network to link its six academic units throughout Texas. With campuses in nine cities, the institution uses LEARN connections for valuable videoconferencing capabilities that serve to educate students and effectively transfer information.

Among the TAMHSC academic units, a recent shift in support and products has allowed a uniform experience for all of its users, regardless of their locations. The institution now has more than 125 video endpoints spread across Texas from Dallas to McAllen.

The videoconferencing capabilities of the entire TAMHSC, which are enhanced by its affiliation with LEARN, are an important part of bringing together its multiple locations. Since fall 2006, the institution has managed more than 28,925 scheduled video connections with a total duration of 57,573 hours. Last year alone, more than 6,090 video connections were done to facilitate education, communication and data transfer within the institution – almost twice as many as the prior year.

With a focus on the future, the TAMHSC values LEARN’s impact on the institution’s effectiveness and efficiency.

TAMHSC at your fingertips

Each day, more and more people are accessing TAMHSC websites using mobile devices. Since mobile devices download data at slower speeds, there was a definite need to optimize the functionality of our sites for mobile access.

A Web Task Force at our institution – composed of communications, marketing and information technology representatives – worked together to develop mobile sites for each component. This is not a mobile app but a website for mobile devices such as iPhone and Android smartphones. Using your phone’s web browser (Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.), you might choose to bookmark it or make it your homepage.

The optimized mobile sites allow individuals to seek information while on the go, including contact information, email addresses, search functions, maps and much more. If you need assistance with our new mobile sites, please contact

More OIT news

  • Find information technology information from any TAMHSC webpage. Just click on the orange “IT” in the upper right-hand corner to find a wealth of information, FAQs and tutorials.
  • Sometime this summer, expect to receive more email storage capacity. The size of standard email boxes will double for all TAMHSC faculty, staff and students.
  • An institution-wide upgrade to Blackboard 9.1 took place in May. Several visual differences and an improved user interface are apparent, including a new login with message board, new default theme, course-to-course navigation and more.
  • In an effort to make visits to the Office of Information Technology website a more user-friendly experience, web services will be modifying content and streamlining navigation paths during the coming months. If you experience difficulties navigating to bookmarked pages, try utilizing our search box in the right-hand corner of the TAMHSC site to find what you’re looking for. Still can’t find it? Please contact local support or the Help Desk.
  • Try Google+ Hangouts before your next remote meeting. All you need are your TAMHSC credentials and meeting participants with Google accounts. You can enter your TAMHSC email address and password to get started, and then invite guests. If you need assistance, contact local support or the Help Desk.


— Marketing & Communications