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Liberal Arts Council Minutes


25 June 2008, 2:00 pm, FH 230
(Approved at the 16 July 2008 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, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Philip Suckling
Guests: Cesar Cantua, Matt Greengold, Mitch Mangum, Stacie McGee; graduate program directors and assistants

1. Minutes of Liberal Arts Council meeting on 6-4-08 reviewed and approved (grants and contracts, course proposals, NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor, Undergraduate Classroom Building, CAD update)

2. Congratulations. (a) To Angela Murphy (HIST), winner of the 2008 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Assistant Professor / Lecturer level. (b) To Mark Busby (ENG), who has been formally announced as the first Jerome H. and Catherine E. Supple Professor of Southwestern Studies at Texas State. (c) To Paul Hart (HIST), who has been formally announced as the Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies at Texas State. He will team-teach Southwestern Studies courses, work on the Center’s projects, and organize and assist with symposia and other regional projects. (d) To Paul Hart, also, for mentoring Christina Salinas, a predoctoral fellow in History from the University of Texas-Austin. (e) To Shirley Ogletree (PSY) and Karen Bryson (ENG), named the 2008 Muir Mentoring Award Winners for faculty and staff, respectively. They will be recognized at the Fall Faculty Convocation. (f) To Arny Leder (POSI), named to the Board of Editors of The Public Manager, a national publication for Public Administration. (g) To John Blair (ENG), who has won the 2008 Arts and Letters Rumi Prize for Poetry.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) University News Service (5/28) featured a Creative Writing Camp for high schools organized by Nancy Wilson (ENG) and hosted by the English department’s Writing Center. (b) The News Service (6/6) has also featured retiring former VPAA and member of the Sociology department, Professor Rollo Newsom. (c) “Chapbook Corner” in Rain Taxi: Review of Books (Summer 2008), cited a collection of poetry edited by Julia Drescher and Chris Martin (both lecturers in ENG and MFA graduates), describing it as the “most stunning chapbook” recently published. (d) A Los Angeles Times blog (6/10) notes that the MFA program’s online Front Porch Journal “makes the most of its mutimedia-ness” while publishing new fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. (e) Dagoberto Gilb (ENG) is the focus of a long interview posted on 6/16 at identitytheory.com: a literary website (http://www.identitytheory.com/interviews/birnbaum180.php)

4. Demonstration of the GENASYS Student Enrollment Database: Council invited graduate program directors and assistants to FH 228 to view a demonstration of the Graduate Enrollment Application System (GENASYS). Stacie McGee, Liberal Arts Graduate Enrollment Coordinator, and five CIS students collaborated to create an enrollment database and tracking system. Although GENASYS was originally developed for Ms. McGee’s use, the students expanded its design so graduate advisers and their assistants may use it to network with the Enrollment Coordinator as they contact potential students, receive applications, record enrollments, track submitted application materials, consult the record of email reminders, and review individualized correspondence. Users may search the database for information concerning individuals and groups. The system maintains confidentiality for all records and correspondence, allows for ongoing updates of information, and offers means to denote students as inactive and, as necessary, to purge records. The system is currently limited to PC users, but Ms. McGee hopes to work with others to make it compatible soon for Apple users and to develop capabilities that track students’ progress past the current limit of the twelfth class day of the semester of initial enrollment.

Council thanked Ms. McGee and the five CIS students (Kyle Beam, Cesar Cantua, Jared Dannhaus, Mitch Mangum, and Jonathan Scruggs) who collaborated to develop a user-friendly system that will increase efficiency, mobility, and reduce wasted space and paper. Dean Ellis also thanked faculty and assistants who attended the demonstration, including Ashley Bourgeois, Paul Cohen, Mary Gibson, Jo Ellen Korthals, Beverly Pairett, April Torres, Tina Villareal, Dodie Weidner, and Damon Wright.

5. Alumni visits and candidates for 2009 Distinguished Alumni. Dean Ellis announced that Pam Lemoine, the Liberal Arts Outreach Coordinator, invites departments to assist her in arranging alumni visits to departments during the 2008-2009 academic year. In addition, departments should consider graduates who may be recognized as Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumni in the spring of 2009.

6. Comments on reappointment forms for continuing tenure-track faculty. The Associate Provost has written to Dean Ellis that all personnel committees, chairs, and deans are to make substantial comments that name publications and offer evaluative comments when reporting decisions about the reappointment of tenure-track faculty: “For faculty needing to demonstrate future improvement in an area or areas, comments that address deficiencies or shortcomings, as appropriate, are perfectly acceptable and give fair warning to candidates.” Reappointment forms should identify specific areas of needed improvement and those that are critical/necessary for reappointment. The Dean announced that Liberal Arts will comply with this directive.

7. Assessment of Program and General Education Learning Outcomes. Dean Ellis drew attention to recent information from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness concerning the reporting of results of Program Learning Outcomes. Results are to be mounted and approved on the Development and Assessment website by June 30 and should appear in brief paragraphs that incorporate relevant data and provide a thoughtful narrative. Results of assessment cannot include unexplained statements such as “not applicable” or “see above.” The Dean observed that the program learning outcomes in Liberal Arts are likely to draw the attention of SACS reviewers off- and on-site since the College has relatively few programs that receive certification from external organizations. She has learned that SACS reviewers, who will be on campus March 22-25, 2010, will review materials related to twelve principles of accreditation as well as the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Beginning this July 1, the University will review materials already prepared for the SACS study; in September, two external consultants will review our materials and make suggestions. In October, the University will address the consultants’ recommendations; in Spring 2009, revisions of texts will begin in preparation of final drafts, and a SACS official will make a preliminary visit to campus. During March 22-25, 2010, SACS on-site reviewers will be on campus; Deans (and chairs) must be on campus the preceding week. Council engaged in a thoughtful discussion of the purposes of outcomes and measurements, the dates of revising outcomes and measures of assessment, processes by which outcomes may be fulfilled and new ones developed. Several members observed that they would welcome additional guidance concerning formats and valid measures and results, together with models of exemplary outcomes assessment.

8. Nominations for Student Commencement Speaker. Dean Ellis urged chairs to review candidates in their departments who may qualify to serve as Student Commencement Speaker at the August ceremonies.

9. CAD update. (a) Dean Ellis reported that the topic for Texas State’s QEP has not been determined but that it is likely to involve mentoring by faculty, staff, and students; advising and career advising; and student outcomes that result from these activities. By consensus, Dr. Day was selected to represent the College on a University committee charged with development of the QEP, due to her experience with assessment, mentoring, and advisement. (b) The Associate Provost has asked departments to add a preface indicating the commonly accepted degrees in a profession to the recently approved policies guiding the hiring of faculty who lack terminal degrees. The Dean stated that chairs are to draft a sentence that indicates the commonly accepted degrees in their discipline and forward them to her prior to making changes to the policies. (c) Dean Ellis asked chairs to carefully review budgets since there have been a number of changes made to them. (d) Dr. Heintze, Vice President for Enrollment Management, reports that the number of transfers has risen since the previous projections of fall admissions; departments are urged to keep classes open throughout late registration to ensure that seats will be available. (e) The Dean announced that international candidates who are not US citizens and who are not permanent residents must meet with Bob Seese and Jon Ahlberg in the International Office during on-campus interviews. Due to delays in federal approvals, candidates will be encouraged to initiate the process of documentation so that they may begin their work the following fall. Some chairs inquired whether this requirement has been reviewed and approved by the Office of Equity and Access. Dr Lochman will make an inquiry.

Around the Table:

Dr. Brittain proposed that two candidates for positions in Political Science be considered for tenure and hired as associate professors. Following deliberation, Council unanimously approved the proposals to grant tenure to the two candidates and hire them as associate professors.

Announcements:

• Thursday, June 26: Deadline to the Dean’s office for nominations for August’s Student Commencement Speaker
• 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 http://www.txstate.edu/academicaffairs/pps/pps4/4-10.html
• July 7- August 7: Summer Session II
• Tuesday, July 15: Deadline for chairs and program directors to submit a memo to the Associate Provost indicating certification of compliance with SACS standard 3.5.4: 25% of discipline course hours in each major are to be taught by faculty holding the terminal degree or its equivalent
• Friday, August 1: Deadline for Fulbright applications for traditional lecturing / research grants and for Fulbright Distinguished Chair awards
• 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