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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

16 August 2006, 2:00 pm, FH 313
(Approved by LAC, 30 August 2006)

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Frank Barrios, Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Frank de la Teja, Robert Fischer, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Philip Suckling.
Guests: Elizabeth Denton, Yvette Morales

1. Approved LAC minutes for meeting on 8/2/06 (core requirements and 120-hour rule, requests for President’s and/or Provost’s attendance, draft Liberal Arts policy for faculty credentials, graduate enrollment) and for Retreat on 8/8/06 (graduate programs, credentials of faculty, capital campaign planning, planning Liberal Arts PhD programs, retention, alternate sites for degree programs, new academic building, college web redesign, study abroad, M&O increases, and faculty issues).

2. Fall enrollment history and update on core requirements and the 120-hour rule: Dean Ellis reported that the Provost has asked departments to report on the effects of the current (46-) and possible 43- or 42-hour core requirements on undergraduate majors in Liberal Arts. The reports will aid the University as it determines the best ways to meet the state’s new requirement that students must be able to complete most programs in 120 hours. Reports from chairs and deans are due directly to the Provost, with copies forwarded to the Dean and Dr. Lochman, by 9/15. The Council reviewed a sample report provided by Dr. Hennessy. Yvette Morales, Director of the Liberal Arts Academic Advising Center, distributed tables showing that virtually all Liberal Arts majors can now meet the state’s requirement without changes to the core and that the few exceptions will be able to do the same with some realignment.

Dean Ellis noted that by October 31 chairs are to report their views about possible changes to the core to Dr. Ron Brown, Dean of University College and chair of the General Education Council, as well to the Council’s Liberal Arts representatives, Dr. Shirley Ogletree and Ms. Sue Beebe. Dr. Luizzi, who represents departmental chairs on the General Education Council, noted that the Provost recently clarified his preference to enlarge the range of courses suited to complete the Humanities core requirement by adding the critical thinking requirement to a menu of literature courses. By consensus, the Council indicated its support for critical thinking as a requirement for all students.

The Council again discussed the effects of this rule together with state legislation limiting the number of hours eligible for in-state tuition to 30 beyond the minimum required for a degree. Transfer students from community colleges who bring in more hours than the minimum for their associate’s degrees may face unexpected out-of-state tuition costs as they come to the end of their coursework.

Ms. Morales discussed with Council a table that details fall-semester enrollment history at Texas State. She noted that the table highlights the University’s wish to increase the number of students who advance register. Ms. Morales also asked departments to review procedures for students, especially candidates, who register very late, in order to identify circumstances when students may not enroll or must seek instructors’ permission. Departments should communicate such procedures to the Academic Advising Center.

3. Travel allotments and reimbursement of candidates. Dean Ellis noted that the College has received a one-time increase of 26% ($101,460) to its travel allotment and asked chairs by next week to assist distribution by confirming with Pat Heath the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty in departments.

4. Facilities schedule and procedures for requesting allocations and alterations of Spaces. Dean Ellis reviewed a schedule of planned construction and renovations through 2015 and urged programs to follow a new UPPS intended to expedite the scheduling of such projects. To report any needed renovation or alteration, programs must complete and submit to the Facilities Committee the form entitled Space Allocation and Alteration Request Procedures. By following this procedure, one department has already accelerated needed renovations.

5. Revised departmental policies for faculty without terminal degrees. Chairs are to forward to Dr. Lochman today electronic revisions of departmental policies for faculty without terminal degrees, consistent with the uniform Liberal Arts policy approved on 8/8/06.

6. Avian Flu plans: By 9/5, the College must report to the Provost its policy for handling an outbreak of Avian Flu if 10% of a department’s students were to miss class due to the illness and 2 to 3 faculty were unavailable for a limited time. The Council discussed possible strategies, including the following: requesting help from healthy faculty to act as substitutes and conduct classes temporarily; maintaining detailed syllabi on file; suspending ordinary attendance policies; accommodating the needs of ill students; using online means of communication such as TRACS, email, and the Internet; and funding development and staffing for on-line correspondence-type courses in departments with few faculty or those with a high percentage of ill faculty.

7. CAD update:

a. Strategic Planning calendar. Dean Ellis reviewed a handout that provides a new timeline for Strategic Planning and extends current plans through 2012. Revised and extended plans are to be approved by faculty; programs are to submit new plans to Liberal Arts Council on October 4. The plans may build upon those of 2004 by eliminating goals completed or no longer needed and by introducing goals that extend beyond the prior limit of 2009. The Dean noted that one new goal for the College is the development of a career advising center; she has recently received permission to hire a graduate assistant to offer career advisement and to work in the College and with the University’s Career Service. A second graduate assistant will assist the College by providing research and data collection focused on graduate recruiting and undergraduate retention. The new capital campaign will also affect College planning as programs plan new ways to bring alumni/ae to meet faculty and students. In addition, the Dean suggested development of a Liberal Arts career speaker series that would bring one prominent alumnus/a to campus each month to address a class and others invited to sit in.

b. Graduate program growth. Dean Ellis asked programs to investigate ways of recruiting new graduate students and of encouraging admitted students to enroll. For example, professors or graduate students might develop personal contacts with prospective or admitted students. Liberal Arts will investigate the feasibility of developing a CD with general information about the region and the University and clips providing information about our graduate programs.


• Wednesday, August 16: Deadline for revised departmental policies for faculty without terminal degrees
• Tuesday, August 22, 9:00 am, Evans Auditorium: University Convocation; Liberal Arts Fall Faculty Meeting to follow immediately in Flowers Hall 341
• Friday, August 24, 6-8:30 pm: LBJ Welcome Back Picnic
• September 4-October 27: Dean, chairs, directors, and faculty develop priorities to extend University planning priorities to 2012
• Tuesday, September 5: Deadline for College to submit practices and policies for prolonged absences due to an epidemic or other ongoing emergency
• Friday, September 15: College and departmental reviews of degree requirements due to General Education Council
• Friday, September 22, 3 pm, Evans 245: Liberal Arts Study Abroad Council meets
• November 1-4: Texas State hosts the Third International Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference
• Late November: Nominations for Outstanding Women Graduates due to or MCGS, Flowers Hall, Room 336.
• January 2007: Dean shares College plans and faculty
• February 5-9: Deans present draft college plans in open forum
• February 16: Provost presents draft academic plan in open forum
• May 30: President’s Cabinet approves division plans and University plan

Around the table

Dr. de la Teja announced that the Department of History has received approval to rename Taylor-Murphy 105 in honor of Everett Swinney; a celebration is scheduled for 3:30 pm, October 5, in the Taylor-Murphy courtyard.
Dr. Grayson noted that this year scholarships will be requiring more involvement from the College and departments.
Dr. Hennessy inquired about procedures for distributing service awards to departments; Dean Ellis will distribute pins to chairs on 8/17.