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Liberal Arts Council Minutes


23 January 2008, 2:00 pm, FH 313
(Liberal Arts Council approved electronically 15 February 2008)


Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Frank Barrios, Mark Busby, Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Frank de la Teja, Robert Fischer, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Philip Suckling
Guests: Nico Schüler, Beth Wuest, Hassan Tajalli; Jennifer Small

1. Approved LAC minutes for meeting on 11-28-07 (Data at Institutional Research, Target of Opportunity candidates, summer budgets, CAD update)

2. Congratulations: (a) To Denis Johnson, whose novel Tree of Smoke, completed during his tenure as the 2006-2007 Mitte Chair in Creative Writing, has been named one of the ten Best Books of 2007 by The New York Times (12/9) (b) To MFA graduate Thomas Morin, whose poetry appears in the prestigious anthology, Best New Poets 2007. His work will be featured during a reading in Austin at Follett’s Intellectual Property (12/12). (c) To MFA graduate Diana Lopez, whose second book, Confetti Girls, has been accepted for publication in 2009 by Little, Brown, one of the best national publishers of literary fiction. (d) To Owen Egerton, MFA graduate, who read from his new book, How Best to Avoid Dying: Stories (2007) at a fundraiser held at the Katherine Anne Porter House (12/7). Proceeds of the sales of his books and of prints of a painting by fellow-MFA graduate Matt, were donated to LiveStrong, Lance Armstrong’s organization, in the name of Nathan Altman, a Texas State graduate student who died last fall. In the Acknowledgements, Owen thanks all his “fine writers and teachers” and singles out Paul Cohen (ENG) for praise. (e) To Byron (Doc) Augustin (GEO), whom the National Resource Center for First-Year Student Advocates has named one of three Honor Roll Advocates in our institutional category, selected from faculty across the nation. He will be honored in February at the Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience, San Francisco. (f) To Nancy Wilson (ENG) and Writing Center counselors who staff the Rattler Writing Center at San Marcos High School. Grace Delgadillo of the High School writes, “I can’t say enough good things about the partnership Texas State has brought to the high school through the Rattler Writing Center.” (g) To Steve Davis, graduate of the Literature MA program, and Mark Busby, director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest, who worked with Alkek Library and the Writers’ Collection Advisory Committee to bring to Texas State the archives of renowned fiction writer Cormac McCarthy. (h) To Modern Languages, Political Science, and Psychology, each authorized to hire an assistant professor, and to English, authorized to hire two senior lecturers, for FY 2009.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) The Austin-American Statesman (1/14) featured an anthology of Texas detective fiction, Lone Star Sleuths, co-edited by Rollo K. Newsom (SOCI), Steve Davis, and former Texas State Regent Billy Cunningham. (b) The Fall/Winter 2007 issue of Hillviews features many Liberal Arts faculty, with articles on Jerry Melbye (ANTH) and his work on the Guanajuato mummies; Vince Luizzi (PHIL) as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in South Africa; Kathleen Peirce (ENG) as recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship, and Sandra Mayo (MCGS), who as Director of Texas State’s Multicultural Transformation Project was invited to advise Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa as it develops a similar program. In addition, the issue features Dennis Dunn (CIS) and his involvement in the Texas State-Royal University of Phnom Penh exchange program, as well as James Housefield (ART), the current NEH Distinguished Teacher in the Humanities. Several features were authored by Texas State alumni, Steve Davis and Ann Friou (both ENG). Many other Liberal Arts faculty are featured in articles and as award winners or authors of books. (c) Jerry Melbye’s work with the Guanajato mummies was also featured on FOX 7 News on 1/22.

3. Assessment issues: Quality Enhancement Plan & Program Learning Outcomes.

Drs. Nico Schüler and Beth Wuest, co-chairs of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) team, visited Council to discuss this new requirement for reaffirmation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Dr. Wuest noted that SACS requires the QEP to be completed in addition to a compliance report that documents whether the University meets standards in areas such as instruction, faculty credentials, institutional organization, and administrative procedures. The compliance report will include some new emphases, such as measurable learning outcomes, implemented action plans to improve learning, and a plan to measure outcomes of General Education courses. SACS intends the new QEP to focus institutions’ efforts on the future, in contrast to the compliance report, which focuses on what universities have done or are doing. The QEP is a university-wide, long-range, intensive focus on an issue related to student learning. Selected by the institution, the QEP must identify a problem or deficiency that is measurable and can be improved: examples of topics at other institutions include undergraduate research, learning in a technology-rich environment, engaging students for success in a global society, and ethics. Although SACS has established no specific time-table to complete the QEP, the plan must extend at least five years at which time the University must file a report evaluating its success.

Dr. Wuest noted that a SACS team will review Texas State’s online compliance report off-site during Fall 2009; a team will be onsite during Spring 2010 in order to address any areas of the compliance report that may generate recommendations and, as now required by the federal government, to review ten specific categories in the compliance report, including program learning outcomes. Dr. Wuest emphasized that all programs must work now to develop and implement appropriate program learning outcomes.

Dr. Schüler noted that by the end of February 2008 each college is to nominate a representative for Texas State’s QEP committee. This committee will discuss possible topics and seek the views of colleagues and students. He indicated that anyone may forward an email with a suggested theme: suggestions are to be sent to sacs-qep@txstate.edu. During the latter half of the Spring 2008 semester, the committee will review suggested themes and forward recommendations to the Provost and President. By the end of May, another team with expertise in the chosen area will form to study the selected theme and draft the QEP. The plan must be completed and submitted in Fall 2009, prior to the on-site review in Spring 2010.

Council discussed possible themes for the QEP as well as issues related to program learning outcomes, particularly those related to General Education courses, and considered strategies for devising measurable outcomes.

Dean Ellis and the Council expressed gratitude to Drs. Schüler and Wuest for the informative presentation.

5. Student Computing Proposals.

Dr. Hassan Tajalli (POSI), the Liberal Arts representative on Instructional Technology’s (IT’s) Academic Computing Committee informed Council that standards and criteria governing the Committee’s review of Student Computing Proposals have remained largely the same as last year’s. Allocated funding is intended mainly to support existing computing labs, which now number close to one hundred across campus. Moreover, IT calculates that approximately 90% of Texas State students have their own laptops, reducing the need for new labs and altering the uses of exiting ones. Dr. Tajalli emphasized that funded proposals must enhance student computing. He noted, for example, that new hardware and software requirements for Microsoft Vista may produce successful requests for upgrades to existing equipment in student computing labs.

Liberal Arts chairs and directors presented and submitted seven proposals for review by the Dean. Council members also submitted their rankings of the proposals to the Dean.

Council thanked Dr. Tajalli for his observations, his time-consuming work with faculty developing proposals, and his support of the College on the Academic Computing Committee.

6. Curricular issues: Proposed Changes to Programs in International Studies.

Liberal Arts Council reviewed a series of proposals for changes to the undergraduate and graduate programs in International Studies. All of the following proposals had been reviewed and approved previously by Liberal Arts Faculty Advisory Council (11/2/07):

Deletion of Minor Requirements for BAIS Degrees
Change in Requirements for International Studies Minor
Addition of Electives to the BA Science Requirements
Deletion of Courses from the BAIS Program
Addition of Courses to the BAIS Program
Changes to Requirements for the MAIS

In addition, Council reviewed a proposal (Change of Major GPA for BAIS Degrees, revised 1/14) approved in its original form (11/2) by the Faculty Advisory Council.

Liberal Arts Council unanimously approved all the proposed changes to International Studies programs.

7. Discover Texas State, February 29. Dean Ellis presented a handout and discussed an upcoming event sponsored by Texas State Development Office. During their visit to campus on February 29, invited guests are to visit with deans as well as chairs and some faculty.

8. Other. Dean Ellis presented a response to Council’s prior inquiry about on-campus facilities for breakfast with faculty who are candidates and guests. Mr. Bill Nance suggested that space is available for such meetings in the Commons cafeteria. She also distributed a handout with policies governing the Joann Cole Mitte Faculty Grant for Excellence, including some changes, and noted that Associate Dean Lochman will serve as this year’s Liberal Arts representative on the selection committee. Dean Ellis noted that she must miss the upcoming Alumni Scholarship Gala due to a prior commitment, but Liberal Arts will support the event with a donation to the Alumni-Scholarship Fund.

9. Around the Table. Dean Ellis thanked the chairs for their hard work on upcoming issues such as program learning outcomes and SACS, and she emphasized that she is willing to visit departments if faculty wish her to do so. Dr. Frank de la Teja observed that faculty in History are now posting all course syllabi on TRACS, eliminating the need for paper copies. Several chairs expressed an interest in learning the amounts of funds reserved for University scholarships. Dean Ellis will follow up.

Announcements:

• Friday, January 25, 5 pm: Deadline to file proposals for Student Computing Resources
• Friday, January 25, 3 pm, Evans 245: College Review Group meets for final recommendations and vote. Materials are available for review in the Liberal Arts conference room.
• Tuesday, January 29: Paperwork due to chairs from personnel committees / departments for review of untenured faculty in the first year
• 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 nominees’ Vice Presidents. For information see UPPS 04.04.36 at http://www.txstate.edu/effective/upps/upps-05-04-36.html
• Friday, February 1: Deadline for chairs to submit paperwork concerning untenured continuing faculty in the first year to the Dean
• Friday, February 1: Deadline for College and departments to establish procedures for reviewing and maintaining Texas State CVs
• Friday, February 1: Deadline to submit material for the Regents Award to the Office of the Provost, attention: Dr. Cathy Fleuriet. This is a self-nomination, with no copies submitted to the chair or dean. For information, contactDr. Fleuriet at 245-8113 or via e-mail at cf07@txstate.edu
• Tuesday, February 5: Chairs to notify first-year faculty of action taken during the review by the department and college
• 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
• Wednesday, February 13, 2 pm, FH 313: LAC to meet with Provost
• Friday, February 15, 2 pm, FH 313: Faculty Advisory Council meets to review course proposals
• 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
• Wednesday, February 27, 2 pm, FH 313: LAC meets
• Monday, March 3: Deadline for departments and chairs to submit annual review decisions to the Dean
• Monday, March 17: Faculty submit sixteen copies of Developmental Leave applications to the Dean for review and approval
• Friday, March 21, 2 pm, place TBA: Study Abroad Council
• Friday, March 28: Deadline for departments to submit Presidential Upper Level Scholarship applications to the Dean’s office
• Tuesday, April 1: Deadline to submit request to use faculty-authored materials in the summer sessions (2008). For information on the approval process see http://www.txstate.edu/academicaffairs/pps/pps4/4-10.html
• Saturday, April 19, 10:15 am -12:15 pm, LBJSC Ballroom: Bobcat Day
• Thursday, April 24, 6 pm, Centennial Hall Teaching Theatre: Liberal Arts Awards Ceremony