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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

26 April 2006, 2:00 pm, FH 313
(Approved at LAC meeting of 10 May 2006)

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Frank de la Teja, Robert Fischer, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Theron Stimmel, Philip Suckling.
Guest: Milt Nielsen

1. LAC minutes of 4/19/06 approved (Liberal Arts Awards Day, budget development, CAD update, Liberal Arts Strategic Plan Update, 2006-2009).

2. Congratulations. (a) To Dennis Dunn (CIS), whose proposed undergraduate certificate for Inter-American Studies (formerly NAFTA Studies) was approved by the University Curriculum Committee. (b) To Dennis Dunn and the Center for International Studies for a gracious donor dinner and honors induction ceremony held Sunday, 4/29/06. (c) To Phil Suckling and the Department of Geography for a fine 12th Annual Alumni Reunion and Student Celebration. More than 400 people attended the department’s awards day and other fun events at Aquarena on Saturday, 4/22/06. (d) To Jordan Cayton, a Geography major, whose leaderships skills helped him to win the Arizona State University Commander’s Cup, the national-level Arnold Air Society award to the best squadron commander in the country.

3. Liberal Arts in the news. Columnist Bud Kennedy cited Frank de la Teja (HIST) as an authority on Juan Seguin and the role of Mexicans in Texas history in “Hotheads Ignorant of State History” appearing in the 22 April 2006 issue of the Fort Worth / Arlington Star Telegraph, available online at

4. Update on IT. Milt Nielsen, Associate Vice President for Instructional Technology, addressed the Council and distributed a handout summarizing IT projects completed during 2005-2006 and listing innovations in the process of implementation. He emphasized ongoing projects, including TRACS (with 95% of the faculty expected to have migrated to it by next year) and its unique features, such as the development of portfolios; Vignette to support development of University websites; and the creation of a simple application form for grants in Instructional Technology intended to help individual faculty develop projects. Dr. Nielsen noted that summer workshops on Technology Tools (5/15-5/19) and Integrating Technology (7/31-8/11) are nearly filled, and he reported that Liberal Arts computing labs received substantial support this year from the Academic Computing Committee. Dr. Nielsen observed that classroom technology projects are ongoing in several Liberal Arts departments but that development of additional smart classrooms faces limited funding. He added that a new 120-seat open computer lab will be opened in Derrick Hall after the opening of the McCoy Building in May. Dean Ellis asked Dr. Nielsen to return to LAC on Wednesday, May 24, to provide additional information about and examples of features of Vignette that may improve departmental and center websites. Dean Ellis encouraged departmental staff also to attend that meeting.

4. Merit / Faculty Salary Review. Dean Ellis announced that the process of assigning merit is to proceed as it has in preceding years, with department personnel committees or budget advisors helping chairs to make data-driven decisions. Faculty are to help develop departmental principles guiding allocation of merit, and chairs are to show faculty how funds have been allocated.

Dean Ellis summarized the Provost’s specific instructions regarding merit and distributed faculty salary data to the chairs. Departmental merit should equal 3% of a department’s aggregate base faculty salary plus BRP. Faculty hired fewer than three years ago are to be considered for merit, although Dean Ellis specified that in all other cases the Provost’s guidelines require that merit should consider activities in 2003, 2004, and 2005, with personnel committees determining methods of distribution. To complete the procedure, chairs are first to certify the rolls of eligible faculty, including those on leave, and the amount of the departmental allocation. They are to inform Pat Heath and Dean Ellis of errors immediately and should review exceptional cases with the Dean. Chairs are to consult with personnel committees, and, by May 8, chairs should forward completed and signed spreadsheets with departmental recommendations to Ms. Heath and the Dean. On May 10, Dean Ellis will present an overview of merit recommendations to Liberal Arts Council and on May 12 to the Faculty Advisory Council.

5. Liberal Arts Awards Day redux -- Dr. Grayson distributed and explained a list of deadlines designed to assist departments and centers to identify and invite recipients of awards distributed on Liberal Arts Awards Day. The Liberal Arts office is to notify and invite students awarded certificates for academic excellence, while departments are to notify those awarded departmental scholarships. Dr. Grayson asked chairs to provide her with updated lists of “fully funded” departmental scholarships whose descriptions should be included in the Awards Day program, and she will coordinate with Ann Friou to ensure that scholarships listed on the program are consistent with those on the Liberal Arts website. Ms. Elizabeth Denton, the Liberal Arts Development Officer, will review all endowments in the College and provide annual updates to chairs of those that are fully supported. The Council discussed methods of presenting awards to students in attendance on Awards Day and considered asking students to announce themselves to a departmental representative at the awards site a half-hour before the beginning of the program. The Council agreed to return to these issues next February.

6. Honor Code -- Nancy Grayson provided a handout drawn from PPS 07.10.01 on the University’s Honor Code. She reviewed relevant procedures and asked chairs to remind faculty to adhere closely to them in cases of suspected plagiarism.

7. Research Professorship. Dean Ellis informed the Council that PPS 7.19, Research Faculty Appointments, has undergone a pen-and-ink change to clarify that research professorships must be supported by external funding sources.

8. Workload Reports. Chairs received new workload reports to correct and make available to faculty.

9. Elevator in Evans. Dean Ellis reported that the elevator in Evans is to undergo repairs from the first week of May through the first week of July. During this period faculty must find ways of assisting their disabled students, perhaps by exchanging classrooms to ensure that students with disabilities have access.

10. Multicultural Curriculum Assessment. Dean Ellis distributed a handout received at CAD detailing Dr. Sandra Mayo’s plan to develop a multicultural curriculum across the campus and the multicultural workshops scheduled for Summer 2006.

11. CAD update. (a) Dean Ellis reported on a presentation to CAD by Dr. Emilio Carranco, Director of the Student Health Center. Dr. Carranco stated that the University is forming a committee charged with developing a PPS that will outline a response to potential outbreaks of serious illnesses such as the avian flu. (b) Dr. Heintze has asked that departments delay decisions about opening classes until late registration to allow students to have more choices, a practice already in place in programs offering core classes. (c) The Provost announced that Dr. Covington, Associate Vice President for Research and Federal Relations, is to review any contractual Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) prior to forwarding them to the University Attorney. (d) Dr. Heintze asks chairs to forward to him ideas that may be featured in prominent ads highlighting the University efforts; examples include excellent programs, distinguished groups, and major research projects conducted by undergraduate and graduate students. Also Don Anders requests additional suggestions for photoshoots to add to his collection of photographs used to promoted the University. The Dean asked departments in Liberal Arts to forward possible subjects. (e) Dean Ellis assured the Council that the University is addressing a temporary backlog at the travel office.

12. Liberal Arts Strategic Plan goals for 2006-2009. The Dean distributed a list of top College Goals to be added to the Liberal Arts Strategic Plan. She will present to the Provost plans to 1) create a Forensic Anthropology Center, Body Farm, and Forensic Research Facility; 2) create a Center for Social Research; 3) provide upgrades to Flowers Hall 230 and 341; 4) initiate preliminary feasibility studies for new doctoral program(s) in Liberal Arts in Anthropology (Archaeology and Forensics), English (Writing and Rhetoric), Political Science (Public Administration), and Applied Sociology; and 5) begin planning for a remodeling of the Psychology Building. (Obviously, the phenomenal growth in the numbers of Liberal Arts students requires new faculty hires, although the updated Strategic Plan goals do not permit requests for new faculty lines.)


• Friday, April 28, LBJSC 3-10.1: Dr. Vicki Brittain (9:30) and Dr. Marilynn Olson (10:20) report on their Grants for Opportunity for Success of First-Year Students
• Friday, April 28: Chairs to submit recommendations to the Dean for reappointing untenured faculty in their second and subsequent contract years
• Friday, April 28, 2:00 pm, FH 313: Faculty Advisory Council meets
• Monday, May 1: Deans are to report equity decisions to the Provost
• Wednesday, May 10: Deadline for chairs to forwards lists of faculty-authored books to Dan Lochman
• By Monday, May 15: Review of merit decisions by deans and vice presidents completed
• Friday, May 26: Deadline for Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
scholarship applications. For information, criteria, and an online application form, see
• By Monday, May 29: Vice Presidents review and approve merit decisions
• Wednesday, May 31: Deadline for the College to finalize and approve department policies for the employment of faculty without terminal degrees in the discipline.
• Save the date: The third international Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference will be held at Texas State University-San Marcos on November 1-4, 2006.

Around the table

Presentation of the updated Strategic Plan led to a general discussion of other Liberal
Arts needs, including faculty and staff for instruction and advising. Dean Ellis will
inquire about the use of course fees for advisors.

Dr. de la Teja introduced a discussion of offsite instructional sites, suggesting that
the public history certificate would be ideally offered at the Bullock Texas History
Museum. Dean Ellis volunteered to forward the idea to the Associate Provost.