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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

28 November 2007, 2:00 pm, FH 313
(Approved at the Liberal Arts Council meeting held on 1/23/08)

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
Guest: Joe Meyer

1. Approved LAC minutes for meeting on 10/31/07 (IT support, online CVs, HR issues, SACS update, Graduate College Information Day).

2. Congratulations: (a) To Denis Johnson, winner of the National Book Award in fiction for Tree of Smoke, a novel completed during his tenure as the 2006-2007 Mitte Chair in Creative Writing. News of the award was carried nationally, with stories appearing in The New York Times (11/15) and Austin-American Statesman (11/15). (b) To Marilynn Olson (ENG), who, along with Donald Olson (PHYS), has received the 2007 Joann Cole Mitte Faculty Grant for Excellence. (c) To Frank de la Teja (HIST), who has been invited to join the prestigious Philosophical Society of Texas. (d) To five POSI students who received awards at the Model Organization of American States competition on 11/2-11/3. Rick Zuniga, Brazos Mason, Sein Leon and members of Team Nicaragua were named Outstanding or Distinguished Delegates. (e) To Angela Ramirez, student worker in the Liberal Arts office and a Biology major, who has been named the National Representative of the Southern Region of the Hispanic Business Students Association. She was recently recognized as the winner of the competition and its scholarship at the Association’s National Leadership Conference in Chicago. (f) To POSI for its streaming video version of Meet the Professor, featuring a discussion of water policy in Texas. (g) To Vince Luizzi and the Department of Philosophy, for the General Education Council’s approval of Philosophy 1320 (Ethics and Society) as an alternative to 1305 in the University’s inventory of courses that fulfill core requirements. (h) To Barbara Trepagnier (SOCI), who was invited as a “leading voice on and researcher of ways to improve racial equality” to attend a corporate-sponsored roundtable on “Women, Race, and Beauty” (11/27) at Glamour magazine in New York City.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Books section (10/28) featured MFA graduate Michelle Detorie’s postmodern chapbook, which shapes poetic text and music in voice recognition software that spontaneously constructs poems. (b) University News Service featured the work of Anthropology alumna and primatologist Jill Preutz, who has confirmed tool-use by chimpanzees when hunting vertebrates; she presented a lecture November 5 for the College of Liberal Arts Alumni Speaker Series. (c) University News Service featured a panel of speakers assembled by Rebecca Raphael (PHIL) on 11/7 to discuss “What Every American Needs to Know about Religion—and Why.” (d) The Austin American Statesman (11/4) ran a letter by Frank de la Teja (HIST) encouraging school teachers to use online resources to supplement history textbooks in order to make Texas history relevant to students and to encompass more completely its richness and diversity. Stories featuring comments on Dr. de la Teja’s advocacy of a broader curriculum for Texas history in public schools appeared in The Dallas Morning News (11/17) and in the Austin American-Stateman op-ed page (11/18). (e) The University Star (11/1) featured Nancy Wilson (ENG) and tutor Courtney Steen discussing the need for and creation of a new satellite of the English Department’s Writing Center, located in McCoy 226. (f) University News Service (11/1) noted the appreciation that Amjad Abunseir, coordinator of Texas State’s program in Arabic, expressed for Robert Fischer (MLAN) and his support of classes in Arabic language and culture. (g) University News Service (11/5) featured Steve Wilson (ENG) in an article about Fulbrights and International Education Week. (h) Gary Hartmann (HIST) was interviewed on the program Texas Music Matters, which aired on Austin’s KUT (11/16), as an expert on the history of the Broken Spoke and other Texas honky-tonks. (i) Joe O’Connell, MFA in Creative Writing graduate, was featured in an article in the San Marcos Daily Record (11/15) and recently read from his new novel Evacuation Plan at the San Marcos Public Library.

4. The Dean’s Thanks: To English faculty Libby Allison, Sue Beebe, Mike Hennessy, Becky Jackson, and Nancy Wilson, who offered workshops this fall to a broad range of faculty who assign writing in Liberal Arts courses. In evaluations, participants praised the faculty presenters for introducing approaches and techniques that will help them develop and evaluate writing assignments.

5. Harvesting data with Pivot Tables. Joe Meyer, Director of the Office of Institutional Research, explained and demonstrated the use of the online pivot tables that have taken the place of the University’s paper-based Fact Book. They will also play a part in the development of a Texas State “data warehouse.” Tables now available at the Institutional Research website include data over ten years concerning student enrollments, demographics, program levels, course instructional modes and enrollment data, and degrees awarded. Mr. Meyer indicated that his office is working to develop additional pivot tables that will permit access to data concerning retention rates for certain core classes, such as History and composition, as well as information about faculty and staff. Institutional Research hopes to implement the new tables by the end of Fall 2007.

Among the important features of the existing pivot tables Mr. Meyer demonstrated to Council is the ease of selecting, arranging, and reconfiguring data by category, column and row on spreadsheets. He also showed how the spreadsheets may be easily converted to one of many formats for charts (the latter feature not yet being available for Apple computers).

Council discussed the accessibility and security of existing and planned pivot tables; Mr. Meyer indicated that all tables are currently open to the general public. It may be possible to protect some sensitive information for tables undergoing development, but at this time he can secure data only for broad categories of users, such as all faculty or staff—not by college, department, or other sub-groups.

Several Council members inquired about the source of enrollment figures. Mr. Meyer replied that the sources of data vary. Not all tables are based on 12th-day enrollments. Data by major codes, for instance, refer to enrollments on the last day of the semester because students may change majors from the time of 12th-day enrollments to the end of the semester. Mr. Meyer, added, however, that Institutional Research may change that method of collection because some units have requested receiving current data earlier in the semester.

Dean Ellis and other Council members asked whether it is possible to develop pivot tables that record SCH/FTE ratios in colleges and departments over several years, in order to facilitate planning. Mr. Meyer indicated that he is working to devise such tables.

Dean Ellis and Council members expressed their gratitude to Mr. Meyer for his clear and helpful presentation and discussion.

6. Liberal Arts Target of Opportunity candidates. Chairs submitted ballots concerning six Target of Opportunity candidates presented to Council. Dean Ellis will take these recommendations under advisement as she develops her own recommendation to the Provost.

7. Summer Budgets. Dean Ellis reported that Liberal Arts’ tentative summer budget for 2008 is the same as that for 2007 plus an adjustment of 4.5% for increased salaries. She noted that Associate Provost Bourgeois has stated that the tentative budget will appropriately fund faculty and graduate assistants, with funds for classes receiving the highest priority. The Dean expressed concern that the specific mix of Liberal Arts faculty planning to teach in Summer 2008 has increased the funds required to offer instruction comparable to last year’s. To meet the constraints imposed by the budget and the need to fund faculty, graduate assistants, certain special assignments, and costs related to new hires, departments must offer only those classes that fill during advance registration. Chairs should plan to have additional staff on hand to teach classes if additional sections are needed during late registration. Council discussed ways to reallocate funds to eliminate the potential deficit.

8. CAD update: Faculty Background Checks. Dean Ellis reported that the Provost has determined that criminal background checks will be required of all faculty moving to full-time status, beginning in January 2008.


• By Friday, November 30: Chairs submit recommendations for tenure and/or promotion to the Dean
• Friday, November 30: Deadline for the Dean to approve departments’ revised Program Learning Outcomes and Methods of Assessment
• Friday, November 30: University Curriculum Committee meets to consider the proposed MAAPE and other programs
• Monday, December 10, noon, Cool Mint Café: Liberal Arts Holiday Luncheon
• Friday, December 14: Extended deadline to nominate faculty, staff, and graduate students as Outstanding Women
• Saturday, December 15, 10 am, Strahan Colisseum: Liberal Arts Commencement
• Thursday, January 10: Annual evaluation / post-tenure review cycle of Liberal Arts faculty begins, ending in March
• From January 10 to January 25: Departmental personnel committees meet to review continuing faculty in their first year
• Friday, January 18: Deadline for departments to add proposals to add, drop, or change courses to the TRACS site, “LA Curriculum”
• Friday, January 25, 3 pm, Evans 245: College Review Group meets for final recommendations and vote (NB: CHANGE IN TIME)
• Thursday, January 31: Deadline for recommending to the Dean faculty nominated for the Mariel M. Muir Mentoring Award. Staff are to be nominated by this date to the nominee’s Vice President. For information see UPPS 04.04.36 at
• Friday, February 1: Deadline to submit paperwork to reappoint continuing faculty in their first year
• Friday, February 1: Deadline for College and departments to establish procedures for reviewing and maintaining Texas State CVs
• Friday, February 1: Deadline for nominations for the Jesse H, and Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies, 2008-2011
• Friday, February 8: Nominations for Presidential Awards for Excellence due to Dean (PPS 6.11)
• Friday, February 8: Dean submits recommendations for tenure/promotion to Provost
• Friday, February 15: Presidential Upper Level Scholarship applications due to departments (PPS 6.05)
• Saturday, February 16, 10:15 am -12:15 pm, LBJSC Ballroom: Bobcat Day
• 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
• Saturday, April 19, 10:15 am -12:15 pm, LBJSC Ballroom: Bobcat Day