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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

18 July 2007, 2:00 pm, FH 313
(Approved at LAC meeting, 9/5/07)

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Frank Barrios, Vicki Brittain, Frank de la Teja, Brandi Simchak for Dennis Dunn, Jennifer Forrest for Robert Fischer, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Kent Reilly for Jon McGee, Philip Suckling
Guests: Kay Beauchamp, Cathy Fleuriet, Jacqueline Miles, Yvette Morales, Becky Northcut, Beth Wuest

1. Approved LAC minutes for meeting on 6/6/07 (Staffing changes, research targets, requests for new faculty lines, summer agenda and retreat).

2. Congratulations: (a) To James Pohl and Anadelia Romo (both HIST), recipients of the 2007 Presidential Awards for Teaching at the Professor/Associate Professor and Assistant Professor/Lecturer ranks, and to David Butler (GEO), recipient of the 2007 Presidential Award for Scholarly Activity at the Professor/Associate Professor rank. (b) To Mary Brennan (HIST), recipient of a 2007 Mariel M. Muir Excellence in Mentoring Award. (c) To Gregg Andrews, Gary Hartman (HIST), and Dee Lannon Albrecht (Center for Texas Music History), sponsors of a new music magazine from Nashville (<>). (d) To Mike Young, Geography alumnus and member of the Liberal Arts Development Advisory Board, recently named a 2007 Distinguished Alumnus of Texas State. (e) To Susan Hanson (ENG), recipient of the Portaro Award for Creative Expression and Intellectual Enquiry, presented by the national organization, the Episcopal Campus Ministry Community. Ms. Hanson has also co-edited with former English faculty member and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Susan Wittig Albert, and two others What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest (2007), an anthology whose focus on the Story Circle Network has inspired an exhibition (through 7/31) of manuscripts, excerpts, photographs and related books at Alkek Library’s Southwestern Writers Collection. (f) To Shirley Ogletree (PSY) and Steve Wilson (ENG), who have recently begun their terms as Liberal Arts representatives elected to the Faculty Senate. (g) To Frank de la Teja and the History faculty who have received funding from the US Department of Education for a three-year Teaching American History (TAH) grant proposal with Northside ISA (San Antonio), the fourth grant the department has received from TAH since 2003. (h) To MA (Literature) graduate Brian Cordell, named managing editor of a new literary online journal, Live Earth, with MFA graduate Mike Matthews, now teaching at Central Texas College, also named an editor. (i) Mary Curtis, a Geographic Education PhD student and a teacher at Clear Brook High School in Friendswood, has received the Distinguished Teaching Achievement Award (high school category) from the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE); she will receive the award at the 2007 NCGE annual meeting to be held in October in Oklahoma City. (j) To Joe O’Connell, a graduate of the MFA program, who will be featured at a release party and book-signing on July 26 at Bookpeople in Austin, for his novel, Evacuation Plan: A Novel from the Hospice.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) National Public Radio presented a long feature about 2006-2007 Mitte Chair in Creative Writing Denis Johnson and his collection of stories, Jesus’ Son (7/6). (b) The University News Service (6/27) and the San Marcos Daily Record (7/5) featured Barbara Trepagnier (SOCI) and her book Silent Racism (6/27). (c) Dagoberto Gilb’s anthology Hecho en Tejas received a favorable review in the Austin Chronicle (6/29). (d) Kent Reilly (ANTH) and Texas State graduate student Johann Sawyer are featured in an article about remote sensing at an archaeological project for Etowah Indian Mounds, featured in the Bartow County, Georgia, newspaper, The Daily Tribune (5/31). (e) Both the new book by Mark Busby (ENG), John Graves, Writer, and Graves’ new book, My Dogs & Guns, received favorable review in the Austin American-Statesman (7/15).

4. Grant Application Management System (GAMS): routing and training. Kay Beauchamp, Proposal Coordinator, and Becky Northcut, Compliance Specialist—both from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)—explained and reviewed handouts concerning Texas State’s new Grant Application and Management System (GAMS). The system, to appear online by late August/early September of 2007 with features added throughout the fall, assists faculty as they create, submit, update, and route grant proposals and expedites the approval process. It automates calculation of costs such as fringe benefits and indirect rates, simplifies retrieval of data from previous proposals, facilitates keyword searches, enhances security, and improves data collection and tracking of proposals during the approval process. Beginning this summer, OSP will offer training, individual support, and workshops to assist faculty and staff who use GAMS. Dean Ellis noted that Stephanie Sonnier, Liberal Arts Grants Assistant, will serve as a resource for GAMS for chairs and faculty within the College. This fall, OSP will offer two training workshops for Liberal Arts faculty.

5. Academic Program Review (APR) and approval of Program Learning Outcomes Assessment. Cathy Fleuriet, Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, and Beth Wuest, Director of Academic Development and Assessment, visited Liberal Arts Council.

Dr. Fleuriet distributed copies of the Academic Program Review Calendar (PPS 2.13, Attachment A) and noted recent changes to the APR process. (a) With deans’ approval, programs may now alter the PR schedule to coincide with external accreditation reviews and add information required for accreditation to the format of a routine APR. Dr. Fleuriet also noted that deans may make changes to the calendar by simply notifying her and Dr. Wuest of them. Dean Ellis pointed out that presently Liberal Arts has just two programs that require formal accreditation. (b) Other changes in PPS 2.13 simplify the acquisition and reporting of data required for APR. (c) Responsibility to develop action plans for improvement will be centered within each college rather than the Provost’s office, because deans and chairs share primary responsibility in the APR process. The Provost will be brought in only to approve recommendations that require funding. Dean Ellis recommended that PPS 2.13 be revised to require essential information such as the number of majors and minors in the department that undergoes APR; Dr. Fleuriet stated she would initiate pen-and-ink changes requiring such information. Dr. Wuest announced that she has scheduled a workshop for chairs and contact persons in departments undergoing APR in 2008 (including Geography) on Friday, Sept 14. Dean Ellis noted that, given the scope of research and writing required for APR, departments should engage in pre-planning—including the naming of contact persons and committees—well before the fall semester begins.

Dr. Wuest also discussed program assessments of learning outcomes for 2006-2007 (accessible to faculty and staff at These results are for the first of two full years of data preparing for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) review in 2009. In addition, the yearly assessments provide data that will strengthen the long-term program assessments required by APR. Council reviewed an outline of methods of assessment Liberal Arts departments employed during AY 2006-2007. Dean Ellis noted some areas that may be refined in the future, and she discussed the purpose and methods of assessing programs, especially those at the graduate level. Dr. Wuest emphasized that every program should be able to identify five outcomes that express what faculty expect students to achieve/master. Through Septmember 28, programs will have an opportunity to revise outcomes and/or methods based upon their experiences and results in 2006-2007. Council discussed the difficulty of developing a significant sample from programs with only a small pool of students; Dr. Wuest agreed but noted that over time conclusions will become more reliable. Council discussed the possibility of adding program-specific questions to Texas State’s alumni surveys; programs interested in so doing should contact Susan Thompson in Institutional Research. Dr. Wuest emphasized that assessment of learning outcomes should involve all faculty to achieve their purpose of improving students’ education. Dean Ellis stated that Council will continue to discuss learning outcomes and their assessment at its retreat on August 15 and that she plans to meet with chairs individually to discuss assessment plans for 2007-2008.

6. List of May 2007 candidates. Council determined that they now have adequate information regarding the status of Liberal Arts graduation applicants from master’s and doctoral programs in the College and do not require the additional information forwarded to the Dean. Dean Ellis asked Council to inform her of any needed information or data on this or other matters, including admission reports.

7. Liberal Arts representative on University Council. By acclamation, Council elected Dr. Susan Day as the 2007-2008 Liberal Arts representative to University Council, with Dr. Vince Luizzi as her alternate.

8. CAD update:

a. Commencement improvements (6/12). Dean Ellis reviewed a handout detailing a series of improvements to commencement ceremonies, effective Summer 2007. Changes include deans handing out diploma covers as well as streamlining the hooding of master’s students.

b. University Computing Committee priorities. Council reviewed a list prioritizing technical projects for Academic Affairs, as established by the University’s Academic Affairs Computing Priority Committee (see PPS 9.03 for information). Council members are to notify Dean Ellis if they find items that deserve elevated priority.

c. Changes to residency requirements, minimum hours in advanced courses. Yvette Morales, Director of the Liberal Arts Advising Center, led a discussion of changes proposed by the Texas State Advisors’ Council and discussed at CAD. These include maintaining an undergraduate residency requirement of 24 advanced hours at Texas State for transfers and raising from 6 to 12 the minimum number of advanced hours in the major required to meet the University’s residency requirement. In light of another recommendation from the Advisors’ Council, the Provost recommended lowering the total number of advanced hours required for graduation from 39 to 36 as a way to help programs address the 120-hour rule.

By acclamation, Council expressed strong support of the recommendations of the Advisors’ Council and Provost concerning the residency requirement and number of advanced hours. CAD also discussed and supported the existing requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree.

On another matter, Dean Ellis and Ms. Morales sought and received support from the Council to have Liberal Arts advisors direct incoming freshman students to enroll in freshman seminar along with other classes.

9. Fall Liberal Arts Faculty Meeting (8/21) and banners. Dean Ellis reminded Council of the Liberal Arts Fall Faculty Meeting, to be held directly after University Convocation, and asked members to review names and awards to be featured on Liberal Arts banners and the meeting’s program.


• August 10-11: Summer Commencement
• Wednesday, August 15, 9 am to 3 pm, Inn above Onion Creek: LAC Retreat
• Tuesday, August 21, 9 am, Evans Auditorium: University Convocation
• Tuesday, August 21, following University Convocation, FH 341: Liberal Arts Fall Faculty Meeting
• Wednesday, August 22: Classes begin
• Friday, August 31: Nominations for Alumni Achievement, Alumni Star, Key of Excellence and Walter Richter Humanitarian Awards due to the Alumni Association