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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

14 May 2008, 2:00 pm, FH 230
(Approved at the 4 June 2008 meeting of Liberal Arts Council)

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

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 4-23-08 reviewed and approved (FARS updates and backups, drop procedures and advising issues, representative on University Council, approval of Learning Outcomes for LA General Education courses, Distinguished Alumni event and Speaker Series, LA graduate scholarships, CAD update)

2. Congratulations. (a) To Brock Brown (GEO), recognized by President Trauth and the University on 5/6 as a 2008 Piper Professor, an award bestowed upon the most outstanding college teachers in Texas. (b) To Augustine Agwuele (ANTH), who is working with the Department of Anthropology to co-sponsor the 37th New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) conference in linguistics and linguistic anthropology, to be held in Houston during November. (c) To the Department of Geography, which hosted more than 400 alumni, friends, faculty, and students at its annual reunion, with a donor luncheon hosted by Doc Augustin (GEO). (d) To Kitty Ledbetter (ENG), whose book Tennyson and Victorian Periodicals: Commodities in Context was awarded the Robert Colby Scholarly Book Prize from the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. (d) To Nancy Wilson (ENG), named Faculty Member of the Year by the Office of Disability Services. (e) To Jaime Mejia (ENG), who is mentoring Patricia Trujillo, a PhD student at UTSA and one of six predoctoral fellows sponsored by the Texas State Graduate College. (f) To Jose Silvan-Cardenas, PhD student in Geography, who was awarded first place by the 2008 Remote Sensing Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers for a paper submitted to its student competition. (g) To Jon Marc Smith (ENG), who has co-written with Smith Henderson the screenplay, Dance with the One, to be produced by UT-Austin students at The University of Texas Film Institute. (h) To MFA poetry student Laura Young, who has received two NEH grants to support participation at summer workshops on Zora Neale Hurston and Eudora Welty.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. The Texas State homepage has added Tim O’Brien, MFA Chair in Creative Writing, to the University’s “Rising Stars.” The website has a link to a biography and description of his work.

4. The Dean’s Thanks: (a) To Marc Turner (PSY), who visited the 4/23 LAC meeting and provided helpful explanations about and ways to improve FARS. (b) To Pam Lemoine, the Dean’s Outreach Coordinator; Ann Friou, Liberal Arts Communications Consultant; and others who supported or participated in the highly successful Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumni event on 5/2. The event honored H. S. Buddy Garcia, BA Political Science ’90; Mark Gimenez, BA Political Science ’76; Ronald A. Johnson, BA International Studies ’97; Timothy Robert Staskus, BS Psychology ’85; and Mary-Agnes Taylor, Professor Emerita of English. Additional information is available at (c) To Associate Dean Nancy Grayson, Kathy Scott, Pat Heath, Yvette Morales, and others who helped prepare and host the annual Liberal Arts Awards Day ceremonies.

5. Review of Awards Day, Commencement, and Distinguished Alumni ceremonies. Awards Day: Dr. Day suggested moving Awards Day earlier next year to avoid the rush of activities at the end of the semester. Council agreed to advance the date to early April. Dr. McGee suggested returning next year to the Alkek venue pending refurbishment of the Centennial Teaching Theatre; Dr. Fischer will inquire as to the party responsible for improvements to the facility in Centennial. Commencement: Dr. Hennessy suggested distributing diplomas to General Studies graduates first in order to reduce an awkward avoid a sense of disproportion between the small and large number of graduates in the colleges; Dr. Luizzi suggested that colleges awarding few degrees might be mixed with students from large colleges such as Liberal Arts rather than receiving diplomas separately. Distinguished Alumni event: the Dean presented photographs highlighting the event held on 5/2/08, reviewed the proceedings, and discussed the possibility of hosting a similar event next year. The Dean invited all Council members to inform her of alumni who could be recognized. She also asked members to inform her of ways to improve all three ceremonies.

6. Eligibility for Liberal Arts student awards. Following discussion, Council determined to maintain current eligibility criteria. Council accepted an offer by Dr. de la Teja to discuss with staff in the Registrar’s office ways to expedite determination of students’ eligibility. Council considered ways to recognize at Awards Day majors who are on the Dean’s lists but who lack the number of credit hours needed to receive an award.

7. Liberal Arts graduate scholarship policy. Continuing discussion from the meeting on 4/23/08, Dr. Grayson presented information received by graduate students about eligibility for graduate scholarships, and she distributed alternatives intended to increase the weight of performance in graduate courses for continuing graduate students. By consensus Council chose to forward the following recommended changes (as marked below) to the Graduate College’s scholarship guidelines for the specified Liberal Arts students:

Delete text as marked from the current statement: Master’s students in the Colleges of Education and Liberal Arts must have earned a 3.50 GPA on master’s course work.

Add text as follows: Master’s students in the College of Liberal Arts who are reapplying or who have completed at least 6 graduate hours and are applying for the first time must have a 3.5 GPA on master’s course work.

During discussion, the Dean noted that Stacie McGee, Graduate Enrollment Coordinator, has developed a useful software program that tracks prospective graduate students and alerts them of scholarship opportunities. Dr. Dunn discussed a need for graduate assistantships and prompted a general discussion of similar needs resulting from the University’s emphasis upon increased graduate enrollments.

Dr. Grayson praised the work of the Liberal Graduate Scholarship Committee, whose members observed the need to reconsider eligibility and developed helpful suggestions leading to the recommendation above.

8. Results of General Education Council election. The Dean announced that Elizabeth Erhart (ANTH) and Susan Beebe (ENG) were elected as LA representatives to the General Education Council during the recent College-wide election.

9. Approval of revised Liberal Arts Learning Outcomes for General Education Courses. The issue of revised learning outcomes for General Education courses in Liberal Arts returned to the agenda following approval by all departments. Dr. Suckling moved to accept all outcomes as revised, and Dr. de la Teja seconded. The motion was approved unanimously. Chairs are to add the revised outcomes to the Assessment and Development website as they develop action plans based upon the previous year’s assessment.

10. Low productivity programs. The Dean distributed information identifying several programs as having low productivity based on the number of majors and University guidelines. By Monday, June 16, affected chairs and directors are to submit to Dr. Lochman a response that justifies or requests deletion of such programs.

11. Reporting internal grants, contracts, program funding on FARS. Council considered a request to add a text box to FARS to allow reporting of internal grants and contracts. Following a discussion of alternatives, Council determined that a single text box for this purpose should be added to next year’s FARS website. Dr. Lochman will report this request to Dr. Turner.

12. Facilities update. The Dean reported on a number of FY 2009 projects affecting buildings that house Liberal Arts departments and centers, including continuing renovation in Lampasas, installation of a sprinkler-system in Evans, and exterior maintenance to Taylor-Murphy. The Liberal Arts Advising Center will receive some funds to furnish newly created offices in the Dean’s former conference room. Dean Ellis reported on the University’s priorities for new construction requests.

13. CAD update. (a) Dean Ellis reported that the Provost has identified the reporting periods for SACS reaffirmation as Fall 2008, Spring 2009, and Fall 2009. Faculty records and other materials will need to be updated for these semesters. To ensure accuracy, the Dean advised chairs to examine recently distributed faculty records sheets closely. (b) The Dean asked chairs to consider requests for start-up packages and explained that faculty receiving these funds are expected to seek and obtain grants. (c) The Dean received confirmation from all departments that evaluation criteria for faculty are available to all faculty; she recommended that they be published online for access by SACS reviewers. (d) The Dean asked chairs to review course offerings each semester to ensure that faculty with a terminal degree or equivalent teach at least 25% of the courses each department offers undergraduate majors, as required by SACS. (e) She noted that the University requires all transcripts of faculty who have studied at foreign universities to be translated to English. Faculty are to pay for the cost of the translation or for certification of the accuracy of their own translations. (g) The Provost plans to add no new faculty lines in 2009-2010, with tuition increases designated for faculty merit raises in 2009-10 and for hiring some new staff.

Other: The Dean asked Council to submit summer schedules to assist with planning. Also, she plans to ask the Provost’s office for information about rules guiding this year’s distribution of merit so that chairs can plan ahead.

Around the Table: Council members initiated a discussion of salaries at Texas State.

• Tuesday, May 20: Deadline for chairs and directors to forward to the Dean a list of professional development activities for faculty
• Friday, May 23: Summer I PCRs to Jamie
• Friday, May 30: QEP topic selected
• Friday, May 30: Second year Student Learning Outcomes Assessment results reviewed by chair
• May 30-June 20: Chairs and directors review Program Learning Outcomes Assessment Results
• May 30-June 30: Chairs and directors review General Education Outcomes Assessment Results at the “General Education” site on the Academic Development and Assessment website
• June 2-July 30: Summer Session I
• Monday, June 16: Chairs/directors who have programs identified as low-producing are to notify the Dean whether they are to be deleted or retained (with justification)
• Monday, June 16: Deadline for proposals to Parents’ Association FY09 Funding
• Monday, June 23: Summer II PCRs to Jamie
• Monday, June 30: Second year Student Learning Outcomes Assessment reviewed by Dean
• Monday, June 30: Dean reviews and approves results of Program Learning Outcomes assessment and General Education Outcomes Assessment Results; deadline for Dean to request changes to departmental general education outcomes and assessment
• Tuesday, July 1: Deadline to submit request to use faculty-authored materials in the fall session (2008). For information on the approval process see
• Friday, August 1: Deadline for Fulbright applications for traditional lecturing / research grants and for Fulbright Distinguished Chair awards
• July 7- August 7: Summer Session II
• Wednesday, August 20: LAC Retreat
• Tuesday, August 26: Convocation and College’s Fall Faculty Meeting
• Wednesday, August 27: Fall classes begin
• In September: University Strategic Plan Update completed
• In September: SACS Leadership Team appoints QEP Task Force, with plan to be completed in December
• Thursday, October 30: Student Learning Outcomes and Outcomes Assessment Revisions completed in departments
• Friday, January 16, 2009: Departments to mount proposals to change, add, and delete courses on LA Curriculum TRACS site
• Friday, May 29: Department chairs review third year Student Learning Outcomes Assessment results
• Thursday, September 10: Compliance certification due to SACS