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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

15 November 2006, 2:00 pm, FH 313
(Approved at the 29 November 2006 meeting of Liberal Arts Council)

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Frank Barrios, Vicki Brittain, Audwin Anderson for Susan Day, Frank de la Teja, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Philip Suckling
Guest: Marc Turner

1. Approved LAC minutes for meeting on 11/1/06 (Testing Center procedures, nominations for Presidential Awards Selection Committees, Target of Opportunity proposals, LA Plan Update and Extension, 2004-2012).

2. Congratulations: (a) To Lawrence Estaville and all the other Geography faculty and staff, especially Angelika Wahl, who helped to organize and develop the highly praised Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference III, November 1-4, noted for its diversity of sessions and activities as well as the warmth and hospitality of the department and University. (b) To Michelle Detorie, a 2004 MFA graduate in poetry, who has been awarded a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. (c) To Lydia Garner (HIST), who has received an invitation to participate at the spring Oxford Round Table, “Today’s Migration of Peoples: The Insularity of Nations.”
(d) To Richard Boehm (GEO), who hosts in Austin today a statewide poster contest for K-12 students sponsored by the Texas Alliance for Geographic Education to celebrate National Geography Awareness Week.

3. Liberal Arts in the news: (a) Jimmy McWilliams (HIST) contributed an Op-Ed piece, “Out of Our Gourds,” to the New York Times (10/24), on the origin of the historical transformation of pumpkins from a staple food to jack-o’-lanterns. (b) The University Star (11/9) featured a presentation by author Paul Schneider, who read excerpts from his new non-fiction chronicle of the explorations of Cabeza de Vaca, A Brutal Journey: The Epic Story of the First Crossing of North America (2006). Alkek’s Southwestern Writers Collection and the Center for the Study of the Southwest co-sponsored the event.

4. Annual Review policies and reporting system modifications. Marc Turner visited Council to report on changes in the formatting and accessibility to the Faculty Annual Reporting System (FARS). He noted that FARS is now more compatible with MACs and the Safari web browser, includes a prompt requiring users to save before jumping to a new screen, and features a new print button that prevents text from running beyond the printed page. He also raised an issue of policy, since prior years’ reports may now be made available to FARS users. Following discussion, Council agreed to make it possible for faculty to review their own annual reports for the two preceding years to help them prepare reviews for promotion or merit. Members of departmental personnel committees or designated members of review committees will also have access to information for the same three-year period as they consider merit awards, the latter typically based on three years of activity. In all such cases, reports from prior years will appear without the evaluative comments or assessments of the personnel committee, departmental chair, or dean. Only chairs and the dean will have access to annual reports beyond this three-year limit.

Dean Ellis and other Council members thanked Mr. Turner and applauded his many contributions to the development of the FARS site in our College.

5. Proposed elimination of Graduate College GRE requirement. The Dean asked chairs to consider possible changes to graduate admissions policies in light of Dean Willoughby’s recommendation to remove the GRE as a blanket requirement for all students applying to Texas State’s graduate programs. Individual departments and programs may choose to continue to require the GRE, and, if so, they must specify that policy in the Graduate Catalog. Alternatively, departments or programs that choose to drop the GRE requirement must ensure that clearly presented alternative admissions criteria will appear in the catalog. During discussion, Council members expressed varying opinions about retaining the GRE for specific programs. Dean Ellis asked chairs to incorporate decisions about each program’s admissions in the copy they will forward to Dean Willoughby for the revised Graduate Catalog. In addition, she asked that changes to programs’ admission policies be forwarded to Stacie McGee and Dan Lochman by December 7 so that the College will have an accurate record of current admissions requirements.

6. General Education Council Recommendation. Dr. Luizzi reported on a draft memorandum recommending changes to the core curriculum as a way to address the state’s 120-hour rule. Ron Brown, Dean of University College will forward to the Provost a proposal to eliminate a one-hour course from the core and collapse the now separate Philosophy and English requirements into a single Humanities requirement. Dean Brown’s recommendation is independent of the General Education Council’s, which proposes no cut or a cut of only two hours from the General Education core as a means address the state’s 120-hour rule.

Announcements:

• Wednesday, November 15: Deadline to forward nominations from Liberal Arts for Presidential Seminar Awards (see PPS 6.03). Submit nominees before this date to receive the Dean’s review.
• November 16-22: Deans present to the Provost colleges’ priorities for 2004-2012
• Late November: Nominations for Outstanding Women Graduates due to mcgs@txstate.edu or MCGS, Flowers Hall, Room 336
• Wednesday, November 29, 2 pm, Evans 245: LAC meets
• Friday, January 26, noon: Deadline for College course proposals; bring to the Dean’s office
• Wednesday, January 31: Deadline for faculty to submit recommendations to their Dean and staff to submit recommendations to their VP for the Mariel M. Muir Excellence in Mentoring Award (PPS 04.04.36).
• February 5-16: Deans share college plans with chairs and faculty
• February 19-23: Deans present draft college plans in open forum
• March 2: Provost presents draft academic plan in open forum
• April 9-13: Draft of revised and extended University plan presented to University community
• Thursday, April 19, 6 pm, Alkek Teaching Theater: Liberal Arts Awards Ceremony
• May 30: President’s Cabinet approves division plans and University plan

Around the table

Dr. McGee discussed his difficulty in scheduling class times and places for labs for Fall 2007 due to the new class schedule. Council members considered a variety of possible solutions.

Dr. Grayson indicated that a decision about this fall’s commencement speakers will be made soon.