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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

5 September 2007, 2:00 pm, Evans 245
Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis

Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman

Council Members: Frank Barrios, Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Frank de la Teja, Dennis Dunn, Lucy Harney for Robert Fischer, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Philip Suckling
Guests: Ambassador Gregory W. Engle, Rachel Grimes, Karen Julian, Pam Lemoine, Yvette Morales, Curtis Schafer, Liberal Arts Internship Coordinators

1.   Approved LAC minutes for meetings on (a) 7/18/07 (GAMS, APR, Learning Outcomes, May 2007 candidates, University Council representatives, CAD updates) and (b) 8/15/07, LAC Retreat (annual performance report, graduate programs, new academic building, research targets, development update, retention initiatives, communications, departmental goals for 2007-2008, grade distribution in large classes, SACS reaffirmation, college policies).

2. Congratulations: (a) To Byron Augustin (GEO), one of three Texas State faculty among six Texas State University System faculty to receive the first Regents’ Professor Awards for exemplary performance and contributions in teaching, research and publication, and service. (b) To Steve Wilson (ENG), awarded the Everette Swinney Faculty Senate Teaching Award at Fall Convocation. (c) To Julianne Doyen, Psychology major, selected as student commencement speaker for the August 2007 ceremonies (d) To Whitney Milam, graduate student in Public History, who received the prestigious Telly Award for a 2006 television documentary, Sniper 66, on the 1966 Charles Whitman murders. (e) To Hans Freidel, graduate student in Applied Geography, whose work as an intern at Texas Parks and Wildlife was featured in an article in the San Marcos Daily Record (7/12). (f) To Mark Busby, whose edited collection, (John Graves, Writer, received favorable review in The Houston Chronicle (8/19). (g) To the Department of History, together with Northside ISD (San Antonio) and the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, which has been awarded a fourth grant to improve the teaching of American history.

3.      Liberal Arts in the News. (a) The Kyle-Buda Eagle (7/18) features MFA graduate Michael Noll and his wife Stephanie, writers-in-residence at the Katherine Anne Porter house. (b) James McWilliams’s essay-review, “Moveable Feast: Eating Local Isn’t Always the Greenest Option,” appeared in The Texas Observer (8/10). (c) An article in the San Antonio Express-News (8/5) quoted Frank de la Teja (HIST) as an expert on refortification efforts at the Alamo. (d) A study co-authored by Chad Smith (SOCI) has received nation-wide notice through a release from the Associated Press, as featured, for example, in the Battle Creek Enquirer (8/11). The study, to appear in the Journal of Drug Issues, counters stereotypes that Hispanic immigrants bring pre-existing drug habits to the US. (e) The latest book by Kitty Ledbetter (ENG), Tennyson and Victorian Periodicals, has received favorable review in the (London) Times Literary Supplement. (f) Jerry Melbye (ANTH) was featured in a University News Service article concerning the Guanajuato mummies of Central Mexico. 

4.  State Department jobs and internships. Council’s guest, Ambassador Gregory W. Engle, US State Department Diplomat in Residence and Visiting Scholar at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, UT-Austin, presented his background and outlined opportunities for Liberal Arts students interested in foreign service in the State Department. Ambassador Engle discussed his own career, including extensive service to many countries in Africa and the Middle East, and he stated that he now is representing the State Department in visits to universities in Central and South Texas. In its recruitment efforts, the State Department has focused on bringing its messages of job and internship opportunities to a) underrepresented groups and b) students studying in certain disciplines of high need, particularly economics and languages, including Spanish, Hindi, Farsi, and Arabic. The State Department offers language training but prefers those with pre-existing skills.

Ambassador Engle explained that foreign service is a career available to Liberal Arts students and that it is worth considering. He noted that 70% of the 200-400 people hired annually by the State Department hold a graduate degree, and their average age is 31 with at least four to five years of experience beyond college. He visits universities to introduce the idea of foreign service to students, discuss the possibility of internships, and help students prepare themselves for a career with the State Department. Foreign service offers many opportunities for internships, with more than one thousand assigned during the summer of 2007 and over half involving foreign postings. Ten-week summer internships are not paid, and, with the exception of assignments in Africa, students pay for transportation to and from the destination. Consulates provide housing and local transportation. Internships are offered to students who expect to continue degree programs the following semester. Some internships take place during the spring and fall, but most foreign assignments occur during the summer. The Ambassador, who resides in Austin, offered to visit classes or campus groups in order to speak about careers in foreign service.

The application form and information are online at with an early deadline for summer 2008 of November 1 due to extensive procedures for security clearance. Applicants may specify regions or countries of interest, although keeping preferences broad and flexible increases the likelihood of an assignment. In response to Dr. Harney, Ambassador Engle identified Spanish-speaking and African countries as areas of special need. He named two programs that support graduate students who have financial need: the Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program, which supports twenty-five students and requires a commitment to the foreign service after graduation, and the Rangel Fellowship, which supports twenty students in two-year master’s programs. Because these fellowships are highly competitive, university officers are to nominate strong applicants.

Council discussed these internships in relation to Liberal Arts programs, including Spanish, Political Science, and International Studies. Dr. Dunn noted that several International Studies students hold these internships. Dean Ellis questioned whether Texas State’s study abroad programs can work together with foreign service appointments. [UPDATE: Dean Ellis has learned that State Department interns have been awarded Study Abroad scholarships and can do so as long as they receive academic credit for their experience. DTL 9/11/07]

5. Career Services for Liberal Arts students. Pam Lemoine, the Dean’s Assistant for Special Projects, distributed a Liberal Arts Career Services Calendar. The schedule includes events in departments that are still tentative, but as these become definite it will offer a means of planning for upcoming events. Karen Julian, Assistant Director of Career Services, outlined a number of upcoming events of interest to Liberal Arts majors considering internships or careers, including an international internship fair to take place in late September and the fall job and internship fair on October 10. In late October, Career Services will sponsor a workshop on applying to graduate schools; on November 15, it will sponsor “back pack to brief case” presentations by alumni (names of alumni about five years after graduation are being sought). Registration will begin soon for the Winter Break Job Shadowing Program (for returning students only), with assignments in major Texas cities and the Central Texas corridor. A communication internship fair, of interest to some Liberal Arts majors, is new this year. Dean Ellis noted that the Liberal Arts Career Center will be open approximately thirty hours per week this fall.   

6. Avoiding low enrollments by promoting classes through the Advising Center. Yvette Morales will contact departmental chairs and advisors to discover how the Advising Center can help manage enrollments. The Center has begun forwarding emails listing open classes to Liberal Arts students and to advisors outside Liberal Arts, and it will continue to do so in the future. The Center will study and report current enrollment numbers for each Liberal Arts course before and after the 12th day report, check for changes in prerequisites, new course titles, or other changes that may affect enrollment. Dean Ellis asked Ms. Morales to identify dates by which chairs should report to her classes that may need assistance to fill. For this purpose, Ms. Morales has established deadlines of January 8 for Spring 2008 and August 10 for Fall 2008.

7. Responses to students’ grade appeals. Council continued to discuss whether to devise a College policy regarding grade appeals and whether to place it on the College website. Dr. Lochman will re-send the proposed text for Council’s review.

8. CAD update. Dean Ellis reported preliminary enrollment figures for the fall semester and indicated the success of the summer’s Emerging Stars program in enrolling participants this fall (Dean Ellis has asked for a follow-up two years out to monitor the students’ progress). Dr. Hennessy noted that English graduate students who worked with the cohort found them engaged and interested in maintaining their networks.

Dean Ellis also reported on changes being considered for faculty development leaves, including providing an amount above salary for a number of faculty and encouragement of some faculty to apply for full-year leaves. She noted that the Provost hopes to see more faculty taking developmental leaves as a way to increase outstanding research. Dr. de la Teja recommended that the University reconsider use of the title “visiting assistant professor” rather than “lecturer” for temporary faculty who are hired to replace faculty on leave; Dean Ellis asked Council members to consider drafting a memorandum to that effect.

9.   Other. Dean Ellis reminded Council that Sister Louise Ahrens of Cambodia will visit Texas State on October 5 to address faculty and students interested in study abroad in Cambodia. The Dean recommended upcoming Common Experience events, including a screening at Sewell Park of The Unforeseen and an appearance by Erin Brockovitz. Dr. Lochman distributed the final draft of the 2006 Liberal Arts Bibliography and reminded Council of upcoming Writing Workshops. Ms. Morales announced that on September 20 San Antonio College will host Texas State Day, which will include participation by Texas State advisors and faculty.

Around the table

      Dr. Day recommended that dates for revising learning outcomes be scheduled later

         to permit departments and faculty more time to complete a review of the prior year’s


      Dr. Suckling questioned the need for departmental personnel committees to review

         start-up packages newly hired faculty, as specified in the recently updated PPS


     Dr. de la Teja described upcoming renovations to the Taylor-Murphy courtyard.


      Dean Ellis reported that she is reviewing architects’ proposals for the

         Undergraduate Center, which promises to be a functional, well-designed building.


·   Beginning in September: SACS Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) discussions

·   By Friday, September 7: Email Nancy Grayson names of LASAC representatives (English, History, and Psychology need not reply)

·   Friday, September 14, 9-11 am, McCoy 127: Workshop for chairs and contacts in departments undergoing APR in 2008

·   Friday, September 14: Deadline for departmental updates to College plans; forward to Dan Lochman

·   By Monday, September 17: Deadline for faculty eligible for tenure and/or promotion to notify the chair in writing of their intent to go forward

·   Tuesday, September 18: Chairs submit list of faculty applying for tenure and/or promotion to the Personnel Committee and Dean. The Dean will forward the list to the Provost.

·   By Thursday, September 20: Email Nancy Grayson names of LAGradSAC representatives (English need not reply)

·   Friday, September 21, 3 pm, Evans 245: Fall meeting of Liberal Arts Study Abroad Council

·   By Friday, September 28: Departments and centers submit revisions of learning outcomes and/or methods of assessing learning outcomes, based upon 2006-2007 results. Revisions are to be made at the Development and Assessment website under “Create/Edit Outcomes.”

·   During September: University Strategic Plan Update completed, with progress on University goals submitted to President’s Cabinet and published on Texas State website

·   During October: SACS Annual Update. Forums for questions and answer sessions about progress toward SACS reaffirmation

·   Monday, October 1: Deadline for College to report updates to College plan to Ms. Lisa Garza, Director of University Planning and Assessment

·   By Monday, October 15: Email Nancy Grayson the names of faculty appointed to Graduate Scholarship Committee and Presidential Upper-Level Scholarship Committee. Also, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology are each to appoint a faculty member to the University Scholars Committee

·   Wednesday, October 17, 2:00, JCK 623: First GAMS training workshop: for the Liberal Arts Dean, Associate Deans, Chairs, Directors, and selected administrative staff.

·   Monday, October 22, midnight: Last day for students to drop a course with a “W” assigned

·   Tuesday, October 23, 5 pm: Last day for students to drop a course but remain enrolled in at least one hour

·   Wednesday, October 24, 2-4 pm, Alkek 119: Second GAMS training workshop for up to twenty Liberal Arts grant writers. Chairs are to forward names of participants to Kathy Scott (

·   By Tuesday, October 30: Deans are to have reviewed and approved programs’ revised Student Learning Outcomes and Methods of Assessment. Revisions are to be made at the Development and Assessment website under “Create/Edit Outcomes.”

·   Thursday, December 1: Chairs submit recommendations for tenure and/or promotion to the Dean

·   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

·   February 9: Dean submits recommendations for tenure/promotion to Provost