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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

22 March 2006, 2:00 pm, Flowers Hall 313
(Approved at LAC Meeting, 3/29/06)

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Kenneth Margerison for Frank de la Teja, Robert Fischer, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Theron Stimmel, Philip Suckling.
Guests: Ron Brown, Dean of the University College; Mark Carter (GEO)

1. LAC minutes of 3/1/06 approved (CAD update, calendar for strategic planning, merit, and equity, review of University Scholar applications, study abroad update).

2. Congratulations. (a) To Sandra Mayo and the Multicultural and Gender Studies program for hosting the Women’s History Month Awards Luncheon (3/2/06). The event celebrated the achievements of women at Texas State in conjunction with National Women’s History Month 2006. (b) To Christ Frost (PSYC), for bringing Spike Lee to campus as part of the 2005-2006 examination of the theme of “Courage” for the Texas State Common Experience and in association with Diversity Month. Lee addressed an audience of about 2,500. (c) To Craig Hanks (PHIL), who chaired the host committee for the 9-11 March 2006 meeting of The Society of American Philosophy in San Antonio. (d) To Gary Hartman (HIST) and Texas State’s Center for Texas Music History, as well as the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association, who hosted a tribute to Texas songwriters such as Kris Kistofferson, Sonny Throckmorton, and Freddy Powers at Hill’s Café in Austin on March 12. Congratulations to The Center for Music History also for sponsoring Texas Music History UnPlugged 6, March 21, at the LBJ Student Center Ballroom. (e) To Steve and Nancy Wilson (ENG), recipients of the first Ralph Waldo Emerson Society grant promoting Emerson’s ideas in a community. The grant supports an illustrated booklet illustrating flora and fauna in the Nature Conservancy reserve near Rio Vista Dam. Texas State technical communication students are combining artwork by local youth and texts from Emerson. (f) To Frank de la Teja (HIST), co-author of American Anthem, a U.S. History Program for secondary education published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. (g) To Doc Augustin (GEO), who has been invited to be one of fifty professors in Texas serving as a Scholar / Speaker for the Texas Council for the Humanities. Doc is only the second Texas State professor to receive this honor.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) An article in the San Antonio Express-News (2/12/06, 1B) featured Frank de la Teja (HIST) as an expert commenting on the origins of the city of San Antonio. (b) A review of MFA graduate Christine Granados’s first book of fiction, Brides and Sinners in El Chuco, appeared in the Rockdale Reporter (2/2/06), which observed that Granados “spent much of the past five years earning her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Texas State University, which is becoming one of the top programs in the country.” (c) An article in Catholic Spirit, a publication of the Diocese of Austin (3/06, p. 13), featured a forum linking the Common Experience theme of courage to historical and contemporary issues in religion and science. Participants included Robert Gorman (POSI), Dan Lochman (ENG), Dana Garcia (BIO), and Patricia Becker, M.D.

4. Changes to procedures for course withdrawal: PPS 4.09. University College Dean Ron Brown addressed the Council regarding proposed changes in PPS 4.09 regarding withdrawing from courses. Dean Brown stated that the University needs a single, consistent policy for withdrawals and that faculty must provide students with adequate opportunity to review graded work prior to withdrawing from a course. He indicated also that members of the Faculty Senate have expressed concern about students being evaluated for group work when a member drops late in the semester. The revisions he has proposed to PPS 4.09 would allow students to drop with a W through 60% of any term. Thereafter, students could only withdraw by withdrawing from all classes with the faculty determining a grade of W or F determined by their grade at the time of withdrawal. In the case of certain special medical needs, chairs would be required to determine a student’s withdrawal status (W or F) after 60% of the course is complete. Several chairs expressed concern about procedural problems and the number of appeals the proposed revisions may generate, as well as the difficulty of maintaining consistency. Dean Ellis suggested that Liberal Arts could develop its own policies to ensure consistency when chairs administer the policy in their departments. Drs. Day and Luizzi asked Dean Brown to clarify sections 13 and 14 in the revised PPS; Dr. McGee noted that the Senate’s current approach to withdrawals seemed radically different from that advocated only a few years ago. Following discussion, Dean Brown asked chairs to forward any suggestions to him. The Council expressed its gratitude to Dean Brown for the opportunity to discuss this issue with him.

5. CAD update.

a. Release of classrooms: follow-up. In an inquiring regarding first-call classrooms controlled by Liberal Arts departments, Dean Ellis asked whether and when such rooms may be released to the Registrar if not scheduled for use. Chairs identified several classrooms of this type. Dr. Day suggested that confusion occurs due to a lack of clarity about when a room may be released to the Registrar. Dr. Carter observed that in the past the second edit of class schedules has been the point at which control of rooms has been transferred from departments to the Registrar.

b. Graduate programs offered offsite. Dean Ellis reported that the Provost has expressed interest in offering incentives for graduate programs at sites other than Round Rock. Such programs, like the downtown Austin Hobby Center for the MPA program, could be integrated into departmental strategic plans. Sites in San Antonio are particularly attractive due to future development of a new Alamo Community College site.

c. Dean and staff evaluations. Dean Ellis stated that in the future open-ended comments about deans will not be posted on the web and that the Provost is reviewing procedures for evaluating staff to improve in the future a process that some find cumbersome. For this year, chairs are to follow existing procedures.

6. EEO training for supervisors and hiring managers. Having attended a recent workshop on EEO training, Dean Ellis reported that EEO guidelines dictate that an employee given accommodation for disability must not have that documentation placed in a personnel file. Instead, the supervisor must maintain the record in a separate file.

7. Workloads for new tenure track faculty. Dean Ellis reported that the Provost has announced a policy allowing 2-2 workloads for new tenure track faculty in their first year. Dean Ellis indicated that the policy must be applied college-wide to ensure that future candidates receive comparable consideration.

8. 2006-2007 Continuing and Transfer Scholarship Applicants. Dr. Grayson distributed
datasheets for students who have transferred recently or who have held scholarships previously. Departments may use the data to determine appropriate candidates for scholarships.

9. Applications for Professor of International Studies. Dean Ellis distributed to departmental chairs application sheets for full, tenured professors for a three-year honorary appointment as Professor of International Studies

10. Curricular issue: Proposed change in hours to Graduate History Minor. Returned to agenda.

11. Graduate program learning outcomes. Chairs distributed examples of their departments’ proposed program learning outcomes to facilitate discussion and share ideas.


• Thursday, March 23: Applications for Spring 2007 Faculty Development Leave due to the Dean
• By Friday, March 24: LAC to evaluate and rank applicants / nominees for Outstanding Graduate / Undergraduate Student.
• By Friday, March 24: Departmental committees are to consider candidates for Upper Level Scholarships. For applications, information about the number of candidates allowed for each department, and other details, see PPS 6.05.
• Tuesday, March 28: Chairs complete selection of finalists as Student Commencement Speakers, if necessary.
• Wednesday, March 29, 2 pm, ELA 245: Dr. Joanne Smith will present to Liberal Arts Council “Millennials Come to Campus: A New Generation of Students.”
• Wednesday, March 29: Nomination packets for Student Commencement Speakers are due in the Provost’s office.
• Friday, March 31: Deadline to submit student learning outcomes and measures for all undergraduate and graduate programs to Dr. Fleuriet.
• Friday, March 31: Deadline for updates of strategic plans
• By Monday, April 3: Dean Ellis will name and convene a College Selection Committee to consider all departmental Upper Level Scholarship nominees in Liberal Arts.
• Friday, April 7: Materials for chairs’ annual reviews due to Dean Ellis.
• Friday, April 7, 5:00 pm: Deadline to submit proposals for Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 lecturers or other activities sponsored by the University Lecturers Committee. Send proposals via email to Pat Heath (
• By Wednesday, April 12: Chairs should have completed the review process (begun March 21) for reappointing untenured faculty in their second and subsequent contract years (see PPS 8.01).
• Wednesday, April 19: Dean Ellis will announce to LAC her top priorities for a revised Liberal Arts Strategic Plan.
• Thursday, April 20, 6 pm, Alkek Teaching Theater: Liberal Arts Awards Day
• Wednesday, April 26, 2:00 pm: LAC to review the revised Liberal Arts Strategic Plan
• Friday, April 28: Chairs to submit recommendations to the Dean for reappointments of untenured faculty in their second and subsequent contract years.
• Wednesday, May 31: Deadline for the College to finalize and approve department policies for the employment of faculty without terminal degrees in the discipline.

Around the table.

Dr. Lochman reported on reminders from Pat Heath about due dates for faculty development leave applications and the need for departments to begin the process of reviewing second- and third-year tenure candidates.