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Liberal Arts Council Minutes


1 October 2008, 2:00 pm, FH 230
(Approved at the Liberal Arts Council meeting of 22 October 2008)


Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Dennis Dunn, Bob Fischer, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Shirley Ogletree, Mark Carter for Philip Suckling
Guest: Debbie Thorne

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 9-10-08 reviewed and approved (NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor, SACS, graduate enrollment, departmental goals 2008-2009)

2. Congratulations. (a) To Tom Grimes (ENG), whose story "Atomic Facts" has been featured as "Story of the Week" in Narrative, which will soon publish other stories by him. (b) To MFA fiction student Marc Watkins, who has been named book review editor for Texas Review. (c) To the Department of Anthropology, whose September 2008 issue of the Forensic Anthropology newsletter, The Cranial Chronicle, offers information about new faculty, staff, graduate students, Texas body recoveries, and other topics of interest.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) The 9/15 Austin American-Statesman included an op-ed commentary, "Remember the Roots of Independence" by Frank de la Teja (HIST) as Texas State Historian. (b) Events connected to the opening of Texas State's Forensic Research Facility led to interviews of ANTH faculty Jerry Melbye, Kate Spradley, and Michelle Hamilton in various media: The Dallas Morning News (9/14), San Antonio Express (9/15), two televised reports on News 8 Austin (9/24), and The University Star (9/25 and 9/30). (c) The University Star (9/24) featured the Philosophy Dialogue Series and its connection with the Common Experience theme of "Democracy, Patriotism, and the Constitution," including interviews of Chair Vince Luizzi and faculty members Jo Anne Carson and Paul Wilson (all PHIL). (d) In the 9/30 University Star student op-ed columnist Travis Wolfe praised philosophy classes and their relevance to all disciplines.

4. The Dean's Thanks. To Career Service Advisors Rachel Grimes, Chris Jones, and Karen Julian for their successful International Internship Fair and involvement in the placement organization, Cultural Embrace (see The University Star, 9/30). On 9/23, 125 students attended the event.

5. Online programs and developing international connections. Debbie Thorne, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, visited Council to discuss distance learning initiatives at Texas State. She announced that the University's Distance Learning Committee has been reconstituted this year to include faculty and staff closely involved with distance education. This Committee met recently to review principles and good practices to assist faculty as the number of online courses grows. To address a SACS requirement, chairs/directors must monitor online courses to ensure that, should the number exceed 25% or 50% of degree requirements in any program, they report or apply to SACS for approval to offer the courses and program. Dr. Thorne stated that Mr. James Andrews, Director of Correspondence and Distance Education, has developed a template to help chairs/directors complete the lengthy approval form for programs at the 50% level or above. Dean Ellis asked Dr. Thorne to continue the helpful practice of notifying programs that are approaching the threshold of online courses that requires notification of SACS.

Dr. Thorne also discussed the uses and distribution of the required electronic course fee. Dean Ellis distributed a chart showing how such fees have been allocated to Liberal Arts departments that offer online courses and encouraged Council to consider possibilities for developing additional electronic offerings. Dr. Thorne confirmed that electronic course fees must be used to support initiatives related to online instruction, such as related faculty development, software, equipment, student workers, graduate assistants, and course development support for faculty. Programs must link expenditure of funds to the delivery and development of electronic courses. Dean Ellis stated that the rationale should be indicated on PCRs drawing on accounts for these funds. Dr. Thorne also observed that the Office of Distance Education has some funding to assist programs with start-up costs for online instruction; she emphasized that the University's principal interest is to develop online instruction at the graduate level and reach new populations of in-state and out-of-state students.

Dean Ellis asked Dr. Thorne to comment on the University's commitment to internationalizing Texas State. Dr. Thorne noted that, though specific numeric goals have been dropped, the goal of increased internationalization remains in the Texas State Academic Plan. That said, the University has immediate needs in other areas, and international education has received added burdens and expense due to increased federal regulations and security requirements. In response to a question, Dr. Thorne observed that the University remains interested in assisting faculty hired from foreign countries, but finding sources of funding for legal/immigration expenses poses obstacles. Dean Ellis confirmed that Liberal Arts remains very interested in internationalizing the campus through Fulbrights, exchange programs, or other means of supporting visiting foreign scholars. She noted that there is need for facilities to house visiting scholars and to offer hospitality to international faculty and students. In discussion, Dr. Dunn noted that internationalization is compatible with an emphasis on development of new programs, and Dr. Thorne agreed that this is particularly the case in engineering and business. Dr. Thorne also noted that the University is continuing to develop and engage in new memoranda of understanding for exchanges with foreign institutions, and she briefly addressed Texas State's study abroad programs.

Council thanked Dr. Thorne for taking the time to visit and provide helpful information.

6. Scholarship Committee Assignments. Nancy Grayson circulated a handout concerning three Liberal Arts scholarship committees. She asked chairs to reappoint or appoint members to the Graduate Scholarship Committee, the Presidential Upper-Level Scholarship Committee, and the University Scholars Committee. Associate Dean Grayson also asked for a representative from Liberal Arts to attend the annual Day of Dialogue.

7. Student learning outcomes: consultants' report. Dean Ellis reported that the Provost has named preparation for SACS reaffirmation the University's highest priority. She noted that the College has an urgent need to respond to the report from external consultants Julia and Robert Armacost of the University of Central Florida, who recently reviewed existing SACS documentation and preparations at Texas State. During their 9/30 visit to the Council of Academic Deans (CAD), they focused on a number of areas needing attention to succeed in the reaffirmation process, particularly the need to improve student learning outcomes and methods. Dean Ellis noted that we must do more to show how we are improving learning by making outcomes and methods specific and using rubrics that allow for specific measurements related to the outcomes. She announced that CAD will permit programs to use data collected this fall as the basis for the 2008-2009 results, action plans, and statements of evidence of improvement, recognizing that many faculty will be off-campus next July when the University must complete work on learning outcomes. The off-campus SACS review is to be conducted in Fall 2009. Dean Ellis also reviewed the consultants' observations about the University's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

In light of the consultants' report, Dean Ellis provided the following guidelines to departments as they revise outcomes and methods: (a) Where appropriate, methods must specify use of a rubric and indicate the particular skills or knowledge related to that method and its outcome. (b) Methods must include "thick descriptions" that include information clearly explaining "who does what to whom…when…and how." (c) Programs must establish targets against which to measure student accomplishments. (d) Those describing results must examine data carefully to ensure that there is no inaccuracy in mathematics or mismatch between reported percentages and other data, and all must retain as much raw data as possible.

Dean Ellis has hired a second year master's student in Psychology, Ms. Emily Edwards, who will work in the Liberal Arts office and assist with projects related to learning outcomes. Dean Ellis acknowledged that the College has done a lot of work but has more to do to develop and measure learning outcomes appropriately. She is sure that will happen. All programs must clarify methods, add rubrics where apposite, and establish targets. The Dean will work with chairs and directors in order to meet the October 30 deadline for approval.

8. CAD update:

a) Final Examination Schedule: Saturday examinations for Spring? Dean Ellis reported on a preliminary discussion of changes to final examination schedules in the spring to assign examination times on a Saturday. Council observed that, in the event the examinations are scheduled, faculty would need administrative support, controlled parking, services at the Testing Center, and availability of student workers; students would need access to buses and other campus services.

b) Graduation Policy: Students’ attendance at commencement. The Dean announced
a change in University policies regarding commencement. Students who
participate in the ceremony must have no more than twelve hours left to complete
in their degree programs.

c) PPS 7.15: Endowed chairs / Professorships. The Dean distributed a handout of changes to policies concerning Endowed Chairs and Endowed Professorships, including the expectation that all endowed chairs/professors (with the exception of the chair in creative writing) will be successful in obtaining external funding.

d) Campus Safety: Keys. The Dean reminded Council of the need to receive back all keys that have been loaned, especially those loaned to students. Students under faculty supervision must establish a way to return them to their supervisors. Keys must never be entrusted to anyone using University property without supervision.

e) FLSA payments. Dean Ellis announced that staff on E & G funding may receive bonus awards. Deadlines will be forthcoming.

f) Certification memos for SACS standard 3.5.4. In preparation for SACS, chairs must recertify that at least 25% of the discipline course hours in each baccalaureate major are taught by faculty holding the terminal degree or equivalent. If needed, Pat Heath will fax a previous memo to each chair. Also, the Dean indicated the need to include a mix of evaluation sources for all faculty evaluations, including part-time adjuncts. Forms of evaluations may include student evaluations, chair’s evaluations, and reviews of syllabi. Pat Heath will collect the certification memos and upload them to the SACS folder on TRACS.

Announcements:
• By Wednesday, October 1: Chairs to inform personnel committees of reviews of continuing faculty
• Monday, October 6, 1:30-3:30 pm, JCK 460: Workshop on Sponsored Programs Contracts
• Tuesday, October 7, 2:30-4:30 pm, JCK 460: Professional Development workshop on endowments
• Wednesday, October 8, 2 pm, FH 230: LAC meets with Joe Meyer, who will demonstrate the online Data Warehouse now under development
• Wednesday, October 8: Deadline for faculty to submit applications for developmental leave (Fall 2009 and/or Spring 2010) to their chairs
• Wednesday, October 8, 5 pm: Deadline to submit proposals for Research Enhancement Grants; information and the application form are available at http://www.txstate.edu/research/rep2/index.php
• From October 8 to November 10: Personnel committees meet to review faculty in second contract year
• Friday, October 10: Deadline for chairs to submit faculty applications for developmental leave (Fall 2009 and/or Spring 2010) to the Dean
• Friday, October 10: Deadline to nominate a faculty member for an ACE Fellowship; forward nominations by this date to Dr. Patricia Pattison (pp19), Texas State's Ace Fellows Coordinator
• Friday, October 10: Institutional deadline for applications for thesis awards from the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) to graduate students in the Humanities and Fine Arts.
• Wednesday, October 15: Deadline to forward to Pat Heath (ph09) the names of and forms for faculty nominated to serve on the College Review Group. Each department is to nominate one faculty member and an alternate. Chairs may also nominate faculty to serve on College Review Groups outside Liberal Arts
• Wednesday, October 15: Deadline for chairs to forward reports of needs for new faculty to the Dean
• Wednesday, October 15: Deadline for receipt of applications for Faculty Development Leave by the office of the Faculty Senate. N.B.: FACULTY MUST APPLY BY THIS DATE FOR LEAVES SCHEDULED FALL 2009 AND SPRING 2010
• Wednesday, October 15: Chairs to receive complete tenure / promotion files from candidates
• Thursday, October 16, 1:30-3:30 pm, JCK 420: Professional Development: Introduction to GAMS
• Monday, October 20, 3-4:30 pm, JCK 460 or Tuesday, October 21, 9:30-11 am, Alkek 105/106: SACS Annual Update presented by VP for Institutional Effectiveness Cathy Fleuriet with QEP Co-Chairs Beth Wuest and Nico Schuler
• Monday, October 20, 3-4:30 pm, Derrick 111: Dean's Open Door for faculty
• Monday, October 20, by 5 pm, Dean's office: Deadline to submit completed nomination packets for Fall 2009 Student Commencement Speaker. In the event there are more than two nominees, Associate Dean Grayson will ask chairs to review packets and rank nominees by 1 pm, Friday, November 7
• Monday, October 27, 5 pm: Deadline to send electronically FY09 Diversity Plan Funding Requests. Forward them to Cecilio Barrera and the Equity and Access Committee (equityaccess@txstate.edu)
• Thursday, October 30: Deadline for deans to review and approve revisions of Student Learning Outcomes and Assessments for AY 2008-2009
• Friday, October 31, 9 am to noon, JCK 1100: Legal Update for University Administrators (Bill Fly)
• Friday, October 31, 5 pm, Dean's office (FH 313): Deadline for complete application packets (four copies) for the NEH Distinguished Teaching Professorship, 2009-2012
• Friday, October 31: Deadline to apply to use faculty-authored materials in Spring 2009. See PPS 4.10 for information: http://www.txstate.edu/academicaffairs/pps/pps4/4-10.html
• Thursday, November 6, 3-4:30, ELA 245: Dean's Open Door for faculty
• Thursday, December 18, 2008, FH 230: Liberal Arts Holiday Luncheon
• Friday, January 16, 2009: Deadline for departments to mount proposals to
change, add, and delete courses on LA Curriculum 2008-2009 TRACS
site
• Tuesday, January 20: First day of classes, Spring 2009
• Friday, February 13: Deadline to submit nominations for Presidential Awards
for Excellence to the Dean
• Friday, February 13: Applications for Presidential Upper Level Scholarships due
to departments
• Monday, May 4: Last day of classes, Spring 2009
• Friday, May 29: Department chairs review third year Student Learning Outcomes Assessment results
• Tuesday, June 30: Program Student Learning Outcomes Assessment reviewed by deans
• In September: 2009 University Strategic Plan Progress Report completed
• Thursday, September 10: Compliance certification due to SACS
• Wednesday, September 30: Program Student Learning Outcomes revisions reviewed by chairs/directors
• October-November: Off-site SACS review
• Friday, October 30: 2009 Program Student Learning Outcomes revisions to be reviewed by deans
• Monday, February 8, 2010: Quality Enhancement Plan due to SACS
• January-February: Texas State responds to off-site review
• March 22-25: On-site SACS peer review conducted
• December 1-7: Review by Commission on Colleges