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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

7 February 2007, 2:00 pm, FH 313

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.

1. Approved LAC minutes for meeting on 1/24/07 (Student Computing Resources, summer budgets, Liberal Arts Awards Day, other).

2. Liberal Arts in the News. The San Marcos Daily Record (2/6) featured “Protest and Dissent: Religion and Civil Rights in the African-American Community,” an upcoming Common Experience event (2/15, 7 pm) hosted by the Catholic Student Center, with Dan Lochman (ENG) as coordinator.

3. Tenure and Promotion: review of policies and procedures. Dean Ellis reported that the Provost is reviewing policies concerning the weight of academic and professional service for tenure and promotion. She also reported on and led a brief discussion concerning the composition of College Review Groups. Some Council members noted that the University’s policy on tenure and promotion has been revised recently and therefore needs no change at this time.

4. CAD update.

(a) Graduate College Policies. The Dean noted that SACS has reviewed and approved the Graduate College’s policies and procedures concerning faculty status for non-terminal faculty. It has no request for additional reports.

(b) Proposed changes to PPS 2.03. Dean Ellis distributed proposed changes to PPS 2.03 concerning nominations and evaluations of graduate faculty. Several Council members expressed concern about the defined categories of graduate faculty. They are to write their objections and forward them to the Dean, who will in turn forward them to all appropriate offices.

(c) Graduate admission requirements. The Dean circulated copies of a Graduate Admissions Requirements form that specifies graduate programs’ policies regarding admissions and use of GRE/GMAT scores. Departments are to submit this form to her by Wednesday, February 14; all forms are to be forwarded to the Graduate College by February 20. The Dean noted that, although departments may choose not to require GRE/GMAT scores of all applicants, they may nevertheless choose to allow them when considering admission in some cases.

(d) Online payment reports. During a brief discussion of policies concerning online payment reports, several chairs expressed alarm at the lack of training provided for faculty, staff, and student workers unaccustomed to the SAP system. Dr. de la Teja moved and Dr. Day seconded the following motion as an alternative to the present procedure: The monthly SAP time report should be transferred from its current online site and become a menu item listed under “Business” in CATSWEB. Council voted unanimously in support of this motion.

(e) Deans’ Open Forum. The Dean briefed Council on a draft outline of the Deans’ Forum on planning. The Forum takes place Friday, February 23, at Centennial Hall Teaching Theatre. All faculty are invited to attend.

5. Programming space for the new building. Dr. Brittain, chair of the Building Committee, explained that she plans to meet with departmental chairs interested in moving all or part of their programs to the new academic building. She has compiled a notebook detailing projected space needs for these offices and academic programs. Dean Ellis identified programs most likely to move to the new building as Political Science, Sociology, the Liberal Arts Advising Center, and the Writing Center.

6. College Plan and Learning Outcomes. Dean Ellis asked Council to discuss departments’ and centers’ plans to address the first goal in the Liberal Arts 2007-2012 Academic Plan:

Educating students so that they may develop well-rounded and well-developed
minds, strong ethical standards, a desire for life-long learning, a willingness to
contribute to the community, and a commitment to a diverse society.

We expect students to read with care, write effectively, think cogently and coherently, speak intelligently, make decisions ethically, and contribute to a diverse community outside the university. During FY 2006-2007, Liberal Arts departments will continue to explore and develop plans to better achieve these objectives and, where applicable, measure the results through learning outcomes.

The Dean asked each program to offer specifics that will help her develop her presentation to the University community on February 23.

She outlined several categories and received the following responses during discussion:

Workshops with students to improve academic skills: Recently History hired staff for the Student Learning Assistance Center to help students in HIST 1310 and 1320 improve their writing on essay exams; the department plans to expand the service to all history courses. Anthropology has hired a graduate student to assist students to improve their writing for assignments. Recently English initiated a program of placing writing tutors in the dorms and plans to expand it. Philosophy has hosted a series of short-takes wherein writing faculty provide advice for assigning and evaluating writing assignments in varied classrooms, including teaching theatres.

New ways to measure learning outcomes: History is working to develop ways to guide faculty to evaluate essay examinations efficiently and accurately.

Service learning & ethics: Philosophy has initiated a discussion of the importance of ethics in core courses. Psychology is instructing majors about methods of and the need for protecting human subjects in research. Sociology has begun a discussion among faculty of how to integrate ethics into courses, and it is evaluating ways to measure the effects of doing so. Starting this spring, English students seeking teacher certification are tutoring secondary students to help them prepare for college.

Diversity: English, Political Science, and Psychology plan to develop new multicultural courses; Psychology plans to increase the diversity of its faculty; Philosophy is offering discussion of diversity in its Dialogue Series; Anthropology plans to revise and revamp about half of its curriculum to meet diversity criteria established by the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies.

If they have not already done so, chairs and directors of centers are to forward a written statement of their plans to Dan Lochman by Friday, February 9.

7. Other: Dean Ellis provided an update on summer budgets for Liberal Arts departments. She asks chairs to forward information about projected summer IA costs to Jamie as soon as possible.

8. Liberal Arts Personnel: new faculty and retirements.

Liberal Arts welcomes a number of recent hires. Anthropology has hired Dr. Midori Albert, formerly an Associate Professor at University of North Carolina-Wilmington. English has hired a specialist in children’s literature, Dr. Graeme Wend-Walker, who has completed his PhD at Macquarie University in Australia. History has hired Dr. Leah Renold, who holds a PhD from UT-Austin; a specialist in modern India, Dr. Renold has taught at universities at several locales in the United States and India, and she has led study abroad programs to India.

Dean Ellis noted that she recently received a letter of resignation from Dr. Lydia Blanchard, a Professor of English and long-time chair of the Department of English. The Council thanks Lydia for her many contributions to the University and wishes her well in retirement.


• February 5-16: Deans share college plans with chairs and faculty
• Thursday, February, 2-3:30, JCK 460: Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Workshop
• Friday, February 9: Deadline for new, extended, modified goals related to College Plan; forward to Dan Lochman (dl02)
• Friday, February 9, 2:00 pm, FH 313: Faculty Advisory Council meets to review course proposals
• Thursday, February 15: Chairs forward to Pat Heath the list of awards/scholarships to be given at Awards Day, list of new scholarships/awards to be given out this year
• Monday, February 19, 5 pm: Deadline for required documentation (nomination letter and cv emphasizing achievements in award areas) from faculty nominated by departments for Presidential Awards
• Wednesday, February 21, 2:00 pm, FH 313: LAC meets; selection of Presidential Award nominees
• Friday, February 23, 2:30, Centennial Hall Teaching Theatre: Deans present drafts of college plans
• Friday, February 23: Deadline for students to register for the 9th annual Spring Break Job Shadowing Program. For information, contact Karen Julian, Assistant Director in Career Services at 512.245.2645 or
• Thursday, March 1: Deadline for nominations for all of the following: LBJ Outstanding Senior Student Award, Sallie Baretta Award, Alumni Teaching Award, and Walter Richter Award
• Friday, March 2: Provost presents draft academic plan in open forum
• Friday, March 2: Applications/Nominations for Outstanding Undergraduate and Graduate students due to departments/IS
• Wednesday, March 7, 2 pm, FH 313: Milt Nielsen meets with chairs regarding
IT (Drs. Barrios, Day, Fischer, Hennessy, and McGee); LAC to follow at
• Friday, March 9, 5 pm, Dean’s office: Deadline for Applications/Nominations for Outstanding Undergraduate and Graduate Students & for names/addresses of students receiving Academic Excellence Certificates
• By Monday, March 19, 10 am: Liberal Arts Presidential Award nominees to turn in four-inch binders with supporting documents
• April 9-13: Draft of revised and extended University plan presented to University community
• Thursday, April 19, 6 pm, Alkek Teaching Theater: Liberal Arts Awards Ceremony
• Wednesday, April 25, 2 pm, FH 313: Liberal Arts Council meets to review measurements of learning outcomes
• May 30: President’s Cabinet approves division plans and University plan
• By June 30: Chairs and directors to submit results and any needed follow-up actions to the Dean for review