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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

4 April 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
Guest: Michael Heintze

1. Approved LAC minutes for meeting on 3/7/07 (graduate student reception, IA/TA preferences, status of Mitte Honors Program, Awards Day, Dean’s updates).

2. Congratulations: (a) To the Department of Geography for the well attended Ninth Annual Lovell Center Distinguished Lecture, “Water’s Edge: Profits and Policy behind the Rising Catastrophe of Flooding,” presented by Marshall Frech on 2/27; (b) To faculty affiliated with the Center for the Study of the Southwest—Mark Busby (ENG), James Kimmel (GEO), Rollo Newsom (SOCI), and Brock Brown (GEO)—who hosted a conference on the Pecos River; (c) To the Center for Texas Music History’s Gary Hartman (HIST), Gregg Andrews (HIST), and Dee Lannon, who co-hosted and co-produced the Texas Songwriters’ Homecoming at Hill’s Café, honoring Aaron Barker, Billy Joe Shaver, and Larry Gatlin (3/11). (d) To James McWilliams (HIST), who has been awarded a year-long postdoctoral fellowship in Agrarian Studies at Yale University for 2007-2008. (e) To Victoria Bynum (HIST), who is to serve as a consultant for a feature film about Civil War-era resistance to the Confederacy in Mississippi. (f) To Elizabeth Makowski (HIST), whose book, “A Pernicious Sort of Woman”: Quasi-religious Women and Canon Lawyers in the Later Middle Ages,” has been named the 2007 Winner of the Distinguished Book Award by the History of Women Religious. (g) To Susan Morrison (ENG), who has received a support grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art for her project, "Images of Excrement in Late Medieval England." (h) To Paul Hart (HIST), who received the Harvey Johnson Book Award from the interdisciplinary Southwest Council on Latin American Studies. (i) To Jerry Melbye (ANTH), who has been honored by the Mayor of Guanajato, Mexico, with an invitation to visit the city and analyze the Guanajuato mummies featured in National Geographic magazine in 2002. (j) To Kathleen Peirce (ENG), who received the Honors Professor Award, Nancy Wilson (ENG), who received the Goodbread Award as a mentor and advisor of Honors students, and Brandi Simchak, Administrative Assistant for International Studies, who received the Honors Staff Award. (k) To Dagoberto Gilb (ENG), who has been awarded a semester-long Distinguished Visiting Professorship at California State University, Fresno, Spring 2008.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) The San Marcos Daily Record featured the Lovell Lecture and Marshall Frech in the article, “Water’s Edge” (2/23). (b) Jerry Melbye and his students are featured in an article and photographs concerning forensic research facilities in Evidence Technology Magazine (January-February 2007). (c) The University Star (3/22) featured Roberto Galván (ML) and his retirement after forty years as a faculty member at Texas State. (d) Frank de la Teja (HIST) will be featured in the May issue of Texas Monthly magazine.

4. The Dean’s thanks (a) To Phil Suckling, Richard Boehm, Ben Zhan, Mark Fonstad, Joanna Curran (all GEO), and Geography students who demonstrated their work to and hosted members of the Liberal Arts Development Board on 3/9. (b) To Nancy Wilson (ENG), who is developing a Creative Writing Club at San Marcos High School. (c) To Jeff Gordon (PHIL), whose two-year effort culminated in the Common Experience event, “Julliard Joins Texas State” (3/8) with additional support from the Department of Philosophy and College of Liberal Arts. (d) To Ted Hindson, Vicki Brittain (both POSI), Frank de la Teja (HIST), and Mark Busby (ENG), who collaborated to develop the 2008-2009 Common Experience proposal, “Legacy of LBJ.”

5. Student Information System and Website Project. Dr. Michael Heintze, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, visited Council to discuss two projects related to development of information technology at Texas State.

He stated that the University plans to update the current Student Information System (SIS), which incorporates online administrative and informational services the University provides to students as well as faculty and staff who access information about students. He reported that requirements guiding the selection of the new system include efficiency, student-friendliness, and ability to integrate with other offices and systems, such as the Cashiers Office and SAP. Dr. Heintze emphasized that the University will act deliberately when selecting an SIS, with the decision to be made only after the SAP system has been fully implemented. During Phase I of the selection process, the University will offer a series of Business Process Workshops intended to develop flow charts and narratives of procedures concerning existing student services and information. The University will also sponsor focus groups, forums, and surveys to learn what features deans, associate and assistant deans, chairs, directors, and administrative support staff believe the new SIS should include. By late fall 2007, Phase II will begin a process of determining and procuring the best system for the needs identified in Phase I. Dr. Heintze asked Council members to report features of an SIS that are important to them and to students. They are to direct questions or comments to Mr. Joe Williams, IT Project Manager (245-7336,;

Dr. Heintze also provided an update on the University’s Website Project. He projected samples of a new template designed for University, college, and department websites and announced these are being developed with the advice of the Provost’s new Website Workgroup. The latter is examining university websites around the US, considering ways to enhance the presence of the University’s new logo on the website, and developing features to improve recruitment of prospective undergraduate and graduate students as well as to present the University effectively to the general public. Dr. Brittain expressed hope that the University will provide adequate support for staff when departments redesign home pages; Dean Ellis also noted that the ongoing, high costs of updating and maintaining departmental and college websites strain M & O budgets. Dr. Heintze said he would report these concerns to the Provost and Website Workgroup.

6. Off agenda. Dean Ellis reminded chairs that faculty may only approach donors after informing and receiving approval from their departmental chair and Elizabeth Denton, the Liberal Arts Development Officer, who clears requests with the President’s office.

7. Faculty experts list. Dean Ellis sought the advice of chairs for a list of qualified and willing faculty “experts” from each department she may forward to the University News Service.

8. Learning outcomes and student success. Dean Ellis noted that the Provost has agreed to fund a project designed to identify variables influencing student success in large classes. In Fall 2007, faculty teaching large classes in the Department of History will conduct pre- and post-assessments to measure the relationship of student success to variables such as reading and writing skills, regular attendance, and campus assistance services used during the semester. Council members briefly discussed other variables, methods, and classes that may be assessed. Dean Ellis asked that the item return to a future agenda.

9. Election procedures for Liberal Arts representatives on General Education Council. Dean Ellis noted that the terms of both Liberal Arts alternates to the General Education Council expire this year. Chairs of the current alternates are to report to Dr. Lochman whether their representatives are willing to stand for re-election. Chairs of departments not otherwise represented on the Council (GEO, HIST, ML, SOCI) should report nominees to Dr. Lochman by noon, Wednesday, April 11. He will then devise a ballot to distribute to all Liberal Arts faculty.

10. Liberal Arts Awards Day Ceremony. Dr. Grayson reviewed procedures for awarding certificates at the Liberal Arts Awards Day Ceremony. Council determined that late-arriving students will receive awards following distribution to those who sign in on time.

11. CAD update:

a. Academic M & O budget reform. Dean Ellis distributed to chairs a preliminary calculation of M & O using a new algorithm developed in the Provost’s office. The Associate Provost will explain the algorithm and allocations at the meeting of the Council of Chairs on 4/5/07. In the future, M & O will be calculated according to the new algorithm annually, with variations in any given year moderated by calculations of 5-year rolling averages and by the provision that no budget will increase or decline by more than 5% in any year. Other changes to the distribution of M & O are intended to increase departments’ flexibility in the use of these funds.

b. Graduate assistantships. Dean Ellis reported that the University will offer no new assistantships during 2007-2008 but will continue to fund those added last year, with reallocations possible depending on graduate programs’ growth in enrollment and assistantship positions that have been vacated. She emphasized that the Provost encouraged programs to hire graduate assistants for teaching, research, or service (especially for advising). She asked chairs to report to her any positions that are to be vacated next year and to record any graduate students admitted from out-of-state who have not received assistantships.

c. Summer budgets. Chairs in need of funds to open summer classes due to high enrollment demand should inform Dean Ellis, who will report the need to the Associate Provost. She will investigate the reasons for low enrollments in some classes.

d. Doctoral programs. Dean Ellis reported that by May 7 the Provost needs abstracts for all master’s and doctoral programs proposed for the current planning cycle.

e. 120-Hour policy. Dean Ellis reported on a long discussion of the policy. Dr. Bill Stone explained to CAD the results of the Faculty Senate vote in favor of retaining the current core. As a consequence of faculty recommendations, the Provost intends to ask all programs to specify how they propose to meet the limit of 120 hours without cutting the core, a prospect made difficult for some programs, such as Heath Sciences, due to reports that similar programs at other universities will meet the state’s new limit without seeking waivers. Dean Ellis reported to CAD that programs in Liberal Arts can maintain the existing core by cutting electives. Yvette Morales, Director of the Liberal Arts Advising Center, is to consult with chairs about any needed changes to degree plans for new and transferring students, beginning Fall 2008.

f. TSUS Regents’ Professor Award. Dean Ellis announced a new award from the Texas State University System to honor full professors. Regents Professors are to receive $5000 and a commemorative medallion. Information about nominations is forthcoming; application materials will be due May 15.

g. Student service fee requests. Dean Ellis asked Council about plans to seek support from student service fees and indicated her interest in requesting funds to support student travel to professional activities.

12. P-Card audit / review process. Dean Ellis reported on new procedures the University requires for reviewing and auditing University P-Cards. Faculty and administrators who hold P-Cards must have monthly statements reviewed and signed by designees and submitted via administrative assistants.

13. Other. The Dean reviewed data regarding fall graduate applications and admissions and distributed flyers announcing the 2008-2009 Fulbright Scholar Program. She also distributed workload reports that chairs must make available to each faculty member in Liberal Arts. Because she must certify that procedures regarding these reports are followed, chairs are to notify her by Wednesday, April 11, of the reports’ dissemination. The Dean also distributed a draft of programs for the Liberal Arts Awards Ceremony. She asked chairs to review them and forward needed revisions to Pat Heath (ph09).


• Wednesday, April 4, 7:30 pm, 4th Floor Teaching Theatre, LBJ Student Center: John M. Fahey delivers the 9th Annual Grosvenor Distinguished Lecture
• Friday, April 6, 5 pm: Deadline for submitting proposals to the Coordinating Board for Phase II of the Texas Course Redesign Project (Fast Track Projects) and qualifications for Phase III (Full Course Redesign) of the same. For information see
• April 9-13: Draft of revised and extended University Plan presented to University community
• Tuesday, April 10: Dean forwards names for Upper Level Scholarship to the University Scholars Coordinator
• Wednesday, April 11, 2-3:30 pm, JCK 460: Liberal Arts Budget Development Workshop for FY08
• Wednesday, April 11, 3:30-5 pm, LBJSC 3-9.1: Public meeting to discuss Forensic Research Facility
• Friday, April 13: Deadline to submit applications for Hispanic Policy Network scholarships. See
• Friday, April 13: Dean to complete chairs’ annual review
• 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
• Friday, May 25: Deadline for scholarship applications for the Hispanic Association of College and Univerrsities. See for information.
• Wednesday, 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

Around the table:

Dr. Fischer distributed flyers about the Gender and Enlightenment Symposium to be held April 10, 2007, 8:30 am to 5 pm, at the Southwestern Writers Collection, Alkek Library, 7th Floor.