Skip to Content

Liberal Arts Council Minutes

10 December 2008, 2:00 pm, FH 230
(Approved at the 1/14/09 meeting of Liberal Arts Council)

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Frank de la Teja, Dennis Dunn, Bob Fischer, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Shirley Ogletree, Philip Suckling

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 11-5-08 reviewed and approved (containers for tenure and promotion, CAD update, DTPH)

2. Congratulations. (a) To Byron Augustin (GEO), who was honored for his 10 years of commitment to PAWS Preview, contributions to the retention of freshmen, and dedication to student services. Ron Brown, Dean of General Studies, and the PAWS Preview program sponsored the award at an event featured in The University Star (11/18). Dean Brown observed that through PAWS Preview Dr. Augustin has helped more than 25,000 freshmen adjust to life at Texas State. (b) To Howard Balanoff (POSI), who is to receive the 2009 Paul P. Van Riper Award for Excellence and Service at the March conference of the American Society for Public Administration. (c) To the Liberal Arts awardees of Research Enhancement Grants: Joaquin Rivaya-Martinez and Elizabeth Bishop (both HIST), Laura Stroup and Kevin Romig (co-PIs, GEO), Elvin Holt and Sandra Mayo (co-PIs, ENG and MCGS), Martha Spradley, Elizabeth Erhart, and Michelle Hamilton (all ANTH). (d) To Kerrie Lewis (ANTH), Elizabeth Makowski (HIST), and Kathleen Peirce (ENG), each of whom has been awarded an Alkek Library Research Grant. (e) To the Department of Political Science, which sponsored a campus-wide election party in conjunction with the Common Experience and the Discourse in Democracy series. More than 900 students attended, with another 650 virtual visitors from around the globe. (f) To Mark Busby (ENG) and the Southwest Regional Humanities Center, for their successful meeting of the American Studies Association, November 13-15, featuring a presentation by author and UT-Austin J. Frank Dobie Regents Professor, Don Graham. (g) To poets John Blair, Cyrus Cassells, Roger Jones, Kathleen Peirce, Miles Wilson and Steve Wilson (all ENG), who participated in the reading "Learning the Language: Poems about Education and Growth," a Common Experience event. (h) To Frank de la Teja (HIST), who has been named to the Boards of Trustees of both the San Jacinto Museum of History and the Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association. (i) To Brock Brown (GEO), who is to be recognized as a “Rising Star” on the Texas State home page. (j) To two English graduate students, Sarah Olivas (MA Literature program; mentor: Jaime Mejia) and Bettina Ramon (MA in Rhetoric and Composition program; mentor: Becky Jackson), two of only ten in the nation receiving the Scholars of the Dream Award, an honor sponsored by the Conference of College Composition and Communication that supports scholarship by students from historically underrepresented groups. (k) To the Ethics Bowl team in the Department of Philosophy, which received a high first in a regional competition. Coached by Jo Ann Carson (PHIL), the team advances to the nationals in Cincinnati, Ohio. (l) To Anthony Villanacci, a student in the Department of History who has been selected to deliver the Liberal Arts student commencement speech at the fall ceremony. (m) To the Department of Sociology, for its 100% participation in the Reach for the Stars program.

3. Liberal Arts in the news: (a) The New York Times (11/17) ran an opinion column by James McWilliams, who argues the US needs to examine the presence of melamine in our food system and its potential health effects. (b) The University Star (11/11) featured Britt Bousman (ANTH) and the results of a dig in South Africa that uncovered skeletal remains of what is likely an extinct giant zebra apparently hunted by the primitive Khoisans. (c) The Star (11/12) also featured the work of Drs. Sandra Mayo (Director of the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies) and Elvin Holt (ENG), who are collaborating on a number of research projects exploring the history and development of black theater and black theatrical companies in Texas. (d) Archaeology (November/December 2008), a publication of the Archaelogical Institute of America, quoted Kent Reilly (ANTH) as an expert on Native American culture and the ancient mound city of Etowah, the site of an important archaelogical study of the Mississipians. (e) The University’s website features Richard Earl (GEO) who, in collaboration with three biology professors, received an award of $2.3 million from the National Science Foundation for Project Flowing Waters, a program to support aquatic research and outreach to SMISCD students and teachers. (f) The University Star (11/20) interviewed John Blair (ENG), an instructor of many large sections of literature surveys. Dr. Blair offered his views about the student-to-faculty ratio at Texas State, reputedly the highest in the state. (g) The PBS program, Inner Compass, features an interview with Barbara Trepagnier (SOCI) at Calvin College on the subject of her recent book, Silent Racism: the program may be viewed at

4. Correspondence and Study Abroad: budgets and MOU. Dr. Lochman summarized the discussion of a meeting he attended on behalf of Dean Ellis (12/5/08). Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Debbie Thorne met with staff from the Study Abroad office and program directors to discuss new requirements for mandatory insurance for faculty-led programs and the need to support Study Abroad salaries and M&O through budgeting of future faculty-led programs. A subgroup of those attending volunteered to meet during Spring 2009 to discuss ways to increase support of international study. Dean Ellis distributed a table compiled by the International Office, listing existing exchange programs maintained through memoranda of understanding (MOU). She emphasized the University’s need to provide appropriate hospitality to international students.

5. Endowments. Dean Ellis reviewed a table indicating the effects of turbulence in the financial markets on University Endowments. Given the loss of market value of some endowment accounts, some College scholarship funds and other endowments are likely to face adjustments during the current year. Dr. Hennessy stated that the Department of English will not award scholarships from accounts whose corpus may be harmed due to the economic downturn.

6. Curricular issues. Dr. Lochman asked chairs to present their proposed changes or requests and circulated copies of the proposals for review.

a. PSY: A proposal to drop 3300 as a prerequisite for admission to the major. Dr. Ogletree presented the proposed change as part of a plan to ease the access of advanced courses to Psychology majors. Council voted unanimously (9-0-0) to approve the proposed change.
b. GEO: A request to add GEO 1305/1105 (Meteorology/Lab) as courses acceptable for General Education Natural Science credit (subject to review by the General Education Council). Dr. Suckling discussed the reasons for the request. Following discussion, Council voted unanimously (9-0-0) to approve it.
c. CMGS: A request to change the name of the U.S. Ethnic Studies minor to Diversity Studies. Dr. Lochman explained the request. Following brief discussion, Council voted unanimously (9-0-0) to approve it.
d. ENG: A request to offer a Distance Education Program. Dr. Hennessy noted that the request is the result of new SACS requirements to request approval for distance education programs whose curricula are taught more than 50% online. Council voted unanimously (9-0-0) to approve the request. Dean Ellis congratulated Dr. Hennessy and Dr. Libby Allison, MATC director, for developing a document that will serve as a model for similar requests in the future.

7. CAD updates

a. Proposed calendar changes to go to Council of Chairs: Having substituted for Dean Ellis at CAD on 11/25, Dr. Lochman reported that Dr. Heintze has proposed a schedule to move back the fall semester by one week every four years in order to avoid delaying commencement and extending the schedules of advisors, happened in the current semester. Following a question, Dean Ellis noted that faculty must meet classes during assigned final examination periods in order to fulfill state requirements for instructional time. Council suggested that the Dean address a memorandum on this subject to all faculty in the College. The Dean will bring the issue to the Associate Provost.

b. SACS: Dr. Lochman reported Dr. Fleuriet’s comments at CAD concerning assessment of General Education courses offered through correspondence, distance education, extension, and study abroad. Assessment of such courses must be conducted by instructional faculty and use the same outcomes as—and methods that are as similar as possible to—those for the same classes taught on campus. Dean Ellis distributed a memorandum to Council on four related issues: 1) In general, Liberal Arts departments should avoid employing outside faculty to teach correspondence courses, since doing so complicates evaluation of teaching and courses. Council discussed the need for some exceptions. Council discussed the difficulty of evaluating syllabi and faculty of correspondence courses given that faculty for such courses are not hired directly by departments; course packs are revised only intermittently. Chairs reported that they have the opportunity to approve such courses only when proposed or revised. 2) Assessment data is to be gathered and analyzed for all Liberal Arts courses, including courses offered off campus. Departments are to assess and analyze data for such courses as appropriate, retain all records, analyze the results, and demonstrate whether the courses yield the intended results. 3) The Dean distributed a draft template for recording results, action plans, and evidence of improvement for data gathered in AY 2008-2009. She encouraged departments to use the template as a guide. At the suggestion of several Council members, the Dean plans to meet in the spring with all Liberal Arts chairs and faculty involved in analyzing and drafting results of assessment data.

c. SACS: Dr. Lochman reported that the Associate Provost reminded deans that syllabi for all Texas State courses must be available for the SACS review. Departments and/or colleges must house all syllabi. Dean Ellis requested that each department submit syllabi in pdf format, saved on a CD-rom with four folders, one each for Fall 2008 Undergraduate and Graduate Syllabi and one each for Spring 2009 Undergraduate and Graduate Syllabi. The CD-rom should be forwarded to Pat Heath in the Liberal Arts office, labeled [Department] Academic Year 2008-2009 Undergraduate and Graduate Syllabi.

d. SACS: Dr. Lochman reported that, at a recent meeting of the Associate Deans’ Council for Academic Assessment, Dr. Beth Wuest, Director of Development and Assessment, stated that each college must ensure that its mission statement refer to faculty research, a new category of outcomes assessment. After reviewing the
current statement, Council asked Dean Ellis to draft a revised Liberal Arts Mission Statement for their review.

e. New Rules for ORP & TDA Programs. Council received a handout distributed at CAD listing new federal rules regarding 403(b) plans.

Around the Table:

Dean Ellis distributed a handout compiled by Yvette Morales, Director of the Liberal Arts Advising Center, specifying the number of majors, advisors, facilities, and Liberal Arts degrees, majors, and minors supported by the advising staff. The Dean indicated that the handout is to provide information for a consultant scheduled to visit the College in connection with development of Texas State’s Quality Enhancement Program for the SACS review.

Dr. Day noted that the Sociology’s internship coordinator reported three separate students who thanked Associate Dean Grayson for assisting them as they advanced through their degree programs.

Dr. Ogletree thanked the chairs for visiting with candidates during the search for a chair of Psychology, and she thanked Dr. Luizzi for chairing the search, now in its final stages.

Dr. Fischer initiated a discussion of the status of senior lecturers and procedures for converting lecturers to senior lecturer positions.


• Thursday, December 18, 2008, FH 230: Liberal Arts Holiday Luncheon
• Friday, December 19, 2 pm, Strahan Coliseum: Liberal Arts Commencement
• Friday, December 19: Deadline for nomination packets for Distinguished Alumnus / Alumna
• 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
• Wednesday, January 21, 2 pm, FH 230: Liberal Arts Council meets; chairs bring copies of preliminary pages of Student Computing Resources proposals
• Friday, January 23, 5 pm: Student Computing Resources proposals due to IT
• Friday, January 30: Recommendations to nominate faculty for the Mariel Muir Excellence in Mentoring Award due to dean
• Friday, January 30: Recommendations to nominate a staff member for the Mariel Muir Excellence in Mentoring Award due to director/chair/dean
• Friday, January 30, 2-4 pm, FH 230: College Review Group meets
• Friday, February 6, 1 pm, FH 230: Liberal Arts Faculty Advisory Council begins review of course proposals
• Friday, February 13, 1 pm, FH 230: Liberal Arts Faculty Advisory Council continues review of course proposals
• 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
• Friday, February 13: Faculty and staff nominations for the Mariel Muir Mentoring Awards due to respective vice presidents
• 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 to complete and approve review of FY 2008-2009 student learning outcomes results, action plans, and evidence of improvement
• Wednesday, June 10: Offline learning outcomes results, action plans, and evidence of improvement due to the Dean
• By Tuesday, June 30: Student learning outcomes results, action plans, and evidence of improvement approved by Dean and uploaded by the Dean's office
• By Friday, July 31: 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