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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

22 October 2008, 2:00 pm, FH 230
(Approved at the Liberal Arts Council meeting on 5 November 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, Philip Suckling
Guests: Joe Meyer, Milt Nielsen

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 10-1-08 reviewed and approved (online programs, Scholarship Committee assignments, student learning outcomes, CAD update)

2. Congratulations. (a) To Alberto Giordano (GEO), whose grant and study concerning the Holocaust has been featured by University News Service (UNS) and in the Austin American-Statesman (10/2). (b) To Jerry Melbye (ANTH) and the Anthropology department for the successful lecture by Bill Bass, delivered in conjunction with the grand opening of the Forensics Research Facility. (c) To Nelly Rosario (ENG), who has been named recipient of the 2008 Sherwood Anderson Writer’s Grant. In announcing the award, the President of the Sherwood Anderson Foundation praised Nelly’s writing as “fearless.” (d) To Gary Hartman (HIST) for leading a symposium at the American Music Awards conference, as noted in Austin 360 (9/19). (e) To Political Science and MPA graduates Rebecca Britain and Joya Haynes, who have accepted positions at the City of Austin working with the Chief of Staff and the Assistant City Manager. (f) To Sophia Hurtado (Gonzales) and Erin McAuley, Geography students who won the best paper award at the 2008 Applied Geography Conference in Wilmington, DE.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) Barbara Trepagnier (SOCI) was recently interviewed for a 30-minute program to air on WGVU, Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, on 11/23; the interview will be distributed on I-Tunes and made available to other PBS stations. The interview took place in conjunction with a presentation made to nearly 300 people on the subject of her recent book, "Silent Racism." (b) Don Inbody (POSI) was quoted in the Huffington Post (10/9) regarding a study of preferences for the Democrats' ticket among younger military personnel and families with mixed political affiliations. (c) The Austin American-Statesman (9/12) featured a reading by the Russian poet Kiya Kaminsky in the English department's Therese Kayser Lindsey series. (d) The University Star (10/9) featured Political Science faculty and students concerning the Discourse in Democracy series and events related to the upcoming elections. (e) The University Star (10/21) also featured Kendall Kelly (ENG), who has developed an approach to teaching writing and research through alternative reality gaming. (f) The Texas City Attorneys Association (TCAA) News (3.9, October 2008) includes a link to the Texas State ecommons site and praises Texas State’s MPA program, which “has received both national and regional recognition for the quality of its student research.”

4. The Dean's Thanks to Nancy Wilson and the Writing Center, who have been invited by the College of Business to offer writing support as an outreach to undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Business Administration. Ms. Wilson and the Writing Center have also received a grant from the Parents Association to help fund Center's annual conference for tutors across campus.

5. Instructional Technology (IT) news and updates. Milt Nielsen, Assistant Vice President for IT Support distributed materials developed to introduce new instructors to the services of IT at fall faculty orientation. He also provided information and updates:
• As of this fall, Texas State has replaced Blackboard with TRACS, providing a substantial savings. Faculty can still transfer materials from Blackboard to TRACS if they still need to do so.
• Most Liberal Arts departments report that Phase I of the implementation of Magnolia, Texas State’s system for website development, is going well. Across campus, 179 sites were operational as of 9/17/08. He reported on plans to implement Phase II and develop new Texas State website features.
• IT will fund four grants this fall for services and materials to conduct projects using technology for instruction.
• The service Turn It In is working well to identify and control local and external sources of plagiarized work.
• IT is working with Computer Science to develop High Performance Computing (Internet 2) that will run much faster than the conventional internet, be capable of transmitting large files, and allow parallel computing on up 650 CPUs simultaneously (departments can hire a graduate student through CS to set up a parallel computing network).
• This fall, the Academic Computer User Committee will once again seek proposals to maintain existing computing labs. IT will fund $500,000, with proposals to be reviewed by the Faculty Senate. Dr. Nielsen noted that Liberal Arts last year received grants totaling more than $55,000.
• Texas State’s two video recording studios are being upgraded with digital/HD/streaming video capabilities to replace out-dated analog resources. Equipment for a large studio will be available next summer; for the smaller studio, next fall. Faculty may use the studios’ editing decks and receive aid from an IT assistant without charge.
• IT has acquired Second Life, a virtual program that used created avatars and digital simulation as an aid to teaching.
• IT will sponsor three workshops this summer and others during the year on website development. At the end of May, participants in one-week workshops on software options for the first time will receive $600 stipends, while those completing a two-week workshop in August will again receive a $1200 stipend while developing online course.
• The statistics software SPSS is available for installation on Texas State computers at no cost due to the University’s purchase of a site license.
• IT is experimenting with a system designed to track daily attendance in large classrooms and send results directly to TRACS or similar systems.
• Texas State has purchased and is piloting the program Papercut 12 to count and limit the number of student prints. The program has a function that tracks student accounts.
Council thanked Dr. Nielsen for the useful information.

6. Development of data warehouse. Joe Meyer of Institutional Research demonstrated an online system under development to replace the existing pivot tables as the University’s principal data source. He demonstrated many features of the new data warehouse, which has the ability to adjust, add, and delete variables relating to student information on tables and charts. At Mr. Meyer’s invitation, five Council members expressed interest in joining the test group. Although the warehouse currently includes student information only, Mr. Meyer plans to add new, secure data concerning the enrollment census and the faculty. The system will be able to interface with SIS and other Texas State data systems. Mr. Meyer reported that his office is working to ensure that features will be adapted for Macs and PCs.

Council thanked Mr. Meyer for his informative demonstration and discussion.

7. Endowments. Dean Ellis announced that she will be forwarding information about Liberal Arts endowments to the departments that house them, and she led a discussion about the role of the Development Foundation Board in maintaining Liberal Arts endowments. The Dean also distributed a packet with nomination materials for the Alumni Achievement Awards for spring 2009. The Dean urged Council to consider appropriate nominees.

8. SACS update: Pre-2005 Liberal Arts assessment. The Dean reported that she will soon upload Liberal Arts outcomes and methods for approvals. She discussed emphases at a forum on SACS preparations and drew the following points from them: 1) Programs should develop a paragraph listing assessment activities completed prior to the implementation of the present system in 2005 so that they can demonstrate an ongoing development of assessment. Chairs should compose lists and forward them to Drs. Ellis and Lochman by 10/29/08. 2) Departments should reflect on questions such as the following: Do you have documentation for each variable in the rubric? What are you looking for when the rubric states “exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” “does not meet expectations”? Council discussed related topics, including the specification of learning outcomes on paper and online syllabi and the retention of documents related to assessment. The Dean noted that the University’s Testing Center recently administered the CLA exam to the first group of students as an assessment of General Education. 3) Programs using embedded questions should specify in statements of methods the number of questions and their relation to outcomes. 4) Faculty must make learning outcomes accessible on the syllabus, either including them in full on paper copies or publishing them as electronic extensions to syllabi, accessible as URLs or other links.

Around the Table

Dean Ellis noted that the Graduate College has an internal review underway.


• Wednesday, October 22, 2 pm, FH 230: Milt Nielsen and Joe Meyer visit LAC
• 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 (
• Thursday, October 30: Deadline for deans to review and approve revisions of Program 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:
• Monday, November 3: Deadline for 2007-2008 Faculty Developmental Leave recipients to submit written reports to the Provost
• Thursday, November 6, 3-4:30, ELA 245: Dean's Open Door
• Tuesday, November 11, 7 pm, Centennial Hall: Liberal Arts and the Department of Anthropology sponsor a lecture by Dr. Carolyn Boyd on rock art of the Lower Pecos.
• Monday, November 17: Deadline to submit forms and recommendations to the Dean for tenure-track faculty in the second year
• Thursday, November 20: Chairs to have notified tenure-track faculty in the second year of the results of departmental action
• Monday, December 1: Deadline for chairs to submit tenure and promotion recommendations to the Dean
• 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
• Tuesday, January 20: First day of classes, Spring 2009
• Friday, January 30, time TBA, FH 230: College Review Group meets
• 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
• Thursday, April 2, 6 pm, Alkek Teaching Theatre: Liberal Arts Awards Day
• Monday, May 4: Last day of classes, Spring 2009
• Friday, May 29: Department chairs review FY 2008-2009 student learning outcomes results
• Wednesday, June 10: Offline learning outcomes results due to the Dean
• By Tuesday, June 30: Student learning outcomes results approved by Dean and uploaded by the Dean's office
• By Friday, July 31: Learning outcomes action plans and evidence of improvement due online. Lock-down date for SACS materials.
• In September: 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: 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