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Liberal Arts Council Minutes


31 October 2007, 2:00 pm, FH 313
(Approved by Liberal Arts Council at its meeting on 11/28/07)

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: Milt Nielsen, John McBride, Michelle Moritz, and Floyd Quinn

1. Approved LAC minutes for meeting on 9/26/07 (Liberal Arts update to 2004-2012 Academic Plan, Reach for the Stars campaign, open meetings for graduate students, College policies and procedures for grade appeals, CAD update) and 10/17/07 (GAMS training).

2. Congratulations: (a) To Byron Augustin (GEO), who has been named the recipient of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in International Education for 2007, awarded by members of NAFSA: Association of International Educators at Texas State. He will receive the award on November 15, 3:30 pm, FH 341. (b) To Frank de la Teja (HIST), for his presentation at the Southwest Writers’ Collection in Alkek (10/22) on development of archives. (c) To Howard Balanoff (POSI), who had more than 185 participants registered for a meeting of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and Certified Public Managers (CPM) held 11/2 at the LBJSC Teaching Theater. Paul Hobby addressed the assembly at 11 am, with a lunch following and comments by Senator Krueger on his service as ambassador to Burundi. (d) To the Writing Center and departments of Geography and Political Science, all having received awards from the Texas State Parents Association. (e) To Liberal Arts professors teaching in the Mitte Honors Program, who have increased the number of Liberal Arts students enrolled in Honors courses to 5.1%, meeting a goal of the Mitte Honors Program

3. Liberal Arts in the News. Dagoberto Gilb (ENG) was interviewed and featured alongside Rolando Hinojosa-Smith in the Austin Review of Books section of the Austin-American Statesman (10/31). Both writers will receive the 2007 Texas Book Festival Bookend Award, Gilb receiving his for the edited collection Hecho in Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature and for lifetime achievement.

4. Discussion of Instructional Technologies (IT) Support. Dr. Nielsen, Assistant Vice President for IT support offered an update in the areas listed below and asked Council for comments and suggestions.

(a) TRACS: The migration from Blackboard to TRACS is proceeding smoothly, with 82% of faculty already making the change. New features for and improvements to TRACS will be added over winter break. By Fall 2008 Blackboard will no longer be available; faculty who have not yet converted course materials to the new system
must do so soon.

(b) Magnolia: Phase 1 of the conversion of Texas State websites to the Magnolia content management system continues, with 101 sites online, 50 in progress, and another 20 beginning the transition. Phase 2 will introduce websites designed by Marketing for new students and an online master calendar listing all Texas State
activities.

(c) Technology grants: Dr. Nielsen announced a new round of IT grants for programming, site design, and other instructional needs.

(d) Technological support: The University will renew its subscription to Turnitin, the online service that indicates likely instances of plagiarism, but Dr. Nielsen encouraged faculty to increase its use. He noted that instructors in English and other departments who assign writing use the service frequently, while sciences use it to check spreadsheets and Word documents that use scientific symbols. Jimmy Rico will set up accounts for faculty who wish to use the service. In addition, Texas State’s streaming video server capacity will be tripled due to strong demand.

(e) Workshops: Information on IT’s summer workshops may be found at its website. In May, IT will sponsor a workshop on developing online courses and one designed to introduce new software applications. At the end of the summer, faculty participating in the Integrating Technology workshop will receive stipends to attend a two-week session supporting individual projects.

(f) Computing labs: Eventually the University must change to the new Microsoft Vista system, since some major programs require it; however, widespread use has been delayed due to a lack of compatibility with some common software. Perhaps by next fall, Texas State may move to the new system, but doing so will require additional computer memory and hardware. Faculty and staff having difficulties due to Vista should report them to Dr. Nielsen in IT. Computing labs should consider submitting ACC proposals this year to upgrade RAM.

(g) Classroom technology: Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 are now being dual-loaded in classroom PCs so that faculty can make presentations in either format. Because the Board of Regents has established standards that correlate classroom technology and room usage, IT urges colleges and departments to change the designation of some classrooms to ensure continued technological support.

(h) Printing: Texas State will eventually move to allotting students a set number of sheets for printing prepaid by the Technology Fee, with accounts tracked by a centralized system that will differentiate printing performed on plotters, black and white or color printers.

Dr. Hennessy inquired about IT’s offering laptops as an alternative to desktops in the refresh cycle due to increasing parity in cost and the interest of many faculty. Dr. Nielsen reported he will investigate the feasibility of so doing.

Dean Ellis and the Council expressed their thanks to Dr. Nielsen for his visit and informative presentation.

5. Online CVs and availability of FARS for 2007. Dr. Brittain inquired as to the possibility of adding faculty CVs to FARS. In email communications, Marc Turner has indicated it is possible to do so, but he will not be able to work on the system immediately. Council members raised a number of questions related to the technical features of the FARS site, and it determined to table the item until Mr. Turner can discuss options at a future meeting.

6. Discussion of issues in Human Resources. Officials from Human Resources (HR) visited Council to offer updates and answer questions.

Mr. John McBride, Director of HR, explained efforts to make structural adjustments to pay according to the positions held by staff in the University market. Earlier this year, President’s Cabinet approved a plan to base pay adjustments for staff positions in the University market on CUPA data for doctoral institutions similar to Texas State rather than the ten largest public universities in Texas, as had been done previously. Adjustments became effective November 1 and will appear in December paychecks. It is hoped that some funds for staff equity have been distributed to the Vice Presidents, as they had been last May with local market adjustments. In the future, HR will provide annual updates comparing staff salaries for positions in university and local markets.

Ms. Michelle Moritz, Assistant Director, discussed benefits. She urged chairs to ensure that new hires enroll for benefits within thirty days of employment. Information about recent changes in benefits due to legislation, as well as updated handouts and forms for leave and retirement, may be found at the HR website. Ms. Mortiz emphasized a change in Workers’ Compensation: as of September, employees injured on the job can choose physicians so long as the physicians accept Workers’ Compensation. Also, HR staff will train administrative assistants and supervisors to find information regarding employees on SAP: staff who are interested should contact Selma Selvera (ss24). Employees may now elect to enroll in a Roth 403b Tax Deferred Account with any of the University’s four current vendors; information is available in the online HR Bulletin for May 2007, located at the HR website: http://www.humanresources.txstate.edu/bulletin/may2007/page3.html.

Mr. Floyd Quinn, Assistant Director, presented information about staff background checks, noting that the staff employment site will soon have a link to a new vendor hired to receive applications. HR also runs checks on temporary workers and student workers. The state legislature may require background checks during its next session. The Provost is managing policies related to faculty background checks.

Dean Ellis and Council thanked all three visitors for providing informative updates.

7. SACS update. The Dean distributed to Council handouts regarding Texas State’s SACS Reaffirmation Leadership Team, Compliance Certification Team, Quality Enhancement Plan, and an updated Institutional Effectiveness calendar leading up to the completion of the report for off-site review in Fall 2009.

8. Graduate College Information Day: information and staffing of tables. Council asked that Ms. Stacie McGee, the Liberal Arts Graduate Enrollment Coordinator, staff the table for Liberal Arts departments at Information Day, November 7. The Dean urged program advisors interested in assisting Ms. McGee to contact her.

Around the Table.

Dean Ellis announced several upcoming events and visiting speakers as well as the expanded membership of the Development Advisory Board. She reported on a successful meeting of the Liberal Arts Graduate Student Advisory Council coordinated by Associate Dean Grayson. She noted students’ interest in a cordoned area near classroom buildings for graduate students’ parking, especially on Fridays.

Associate Dean Grayson reminded chairs to review nomination folders for commencement speakers by November 7.

Announcements:

• Thursday, November 1, 3-4:30, FH 313: Dean’s Open Door (for Staff)
• Thursday, November 1: Deadline to submit request to use faculty-authored materials in Spring 2008. For information on the approval process see http://www.txstate.edu/academicaffairs/pps/pps4/4-10.html
• Friday, November 2, 2-3:30 pm, FH 313: Liberal Arts Faculty Advisory Council meeting (Please note change in time from previous Reminders.)
• Wednesday, November 14, 2 pm, FH 313: Joe Meyer to demonstrate pivot tables at Liberal Arts Council; members may wish to bring laptops for hands-on practice
• Thursday, November 15: Departments’ and chairs’ recommendations for untenured faculty in second contract year due to the Dean
• Monday, November 26, 3-4:30, ELA 245: Dean’s Open Door (for Faculty)
• By Friday, November 30: Chairs submit recommendations for tenure and/or promotion to the Dean
• Monday, December 3: Liberal Arts Holiday Luncheon
• Friday, January 18: Deadline for departments to add proposals to add, drop, or change courses to the TRACS site, “LA Curriculum”
• Friday, January 25: College Review Group meets for final recommendations and vote
• Friday, February 8: Nominations for Presidential Awards due to Dean
• Friday, February 8: Dean submits recommendations for tenure/promotion to Provost
• Friday, February 15: Presidential Upper Level Scholarship applications due to departments
• Monday, March 17: Faculty submit sixteen copies of Developmental Leave applications to the Dean for review and approval.
• Tuesday, April 1: Deadline to submit request to use faculty-authored materials in the summer sessions (2008). For information on the approval process see http://www.txstate.edu/academicaffairs/pps/pps4/4-10.html