Skip to Content

Liberal Arts Council Minutes

16 July 2008, 2:00 pm, FH 230
(Approved at the 9-3-08 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, Beth Erhart for Jon McGee, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Carole Martin for Bob Fischer, Shirley Ogletree, Philip Suckling
Guests: Chris Jones, Karen Julian, Yvette Morales

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 6-25-08 reviewed and approved (GENASYS Student Enrollment Database, alumni visits and 2009 Distinguished Alumni in LA, comments on reappointment forms, program and general education assessment, commencement speaker nominations, CAD update)

2. Congratulations. (a) To John Tiefenbacher and Ron Hagelman (both GEO), whose paper on bi-national responses to emergencies received the Outstanding Paper Award at the International Emergency Management Society conference in Prague, Czech Republic. (b) To Kay Hofer (POSI), named Faculty Advisor of the Month by the Inter-Fraternity Council at Texas State. (c) To James McWilliams (HIST), who participated on two panels and discussed his book, American Pests, at the 4th Aspen Ideas Festival. (d) To Chance Sparks, a graduate of the MPA program and recipient of the 2008 Student Project Award from the Central Texas Section of the American Planning Association. (e) To David Parr, a Geography master’s student who was one of six graduate students nation-wide invited to read an academic paper at the summer assembly of the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science in Minneapolis. (f) To Geography doctoral student Nancy Tian, who has been selected to receive a scholarship from the Young Women’s Alliance Foundation. (g) To Barbara Trepagnier (SOCI), whose well-received book, Silent Racism, led to her being invited to participate in a May workshop for the Disproportionality State Task Force, under the auspices of the State of Texas’s Child Protective Services. Subsequently, she was named a member of the Task Force. Her book has also prompted invitations to speak at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Cultural Center at the University of Kentucky and at a retreat sponsored by Trinity Methodist Church in Austin.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) Dr. Trepagnier also received recognition in the San Marcos Daily Record (6/26) as recipient of the “Yard of the Month” award from the Spring Lake Garden Club. (b) Frank de la Teja (HIST) recorded a segment for KLRU in Austin on the history of the Juneteenth celebration. The program, which aired June 19, may be accessed at (c) The Gonzales Inquirer (7/3) featured a presentation on GIS technology and planning by Geography students Alicia Murphy, Asia Davidson, and Grant Cox; they made recommendations to the Gonzales City Council and planning and zoning officials.

4. Career Services to LA Students. Ms. Karen Julian, Assistant Director of Career Services, and Mr. Chris Jones, a Career Services advisor, visited Council to review their plans for the upcoming year. They will soon visit each Liberal Arts chair to offer information about Career Services, discuss ways to increase student participation at its events, and encourage departmental support for outreach initiatives. This fall, representatives from Career Services will be stationed on the Quad to inform more students about the help they provide. Ms. Julian reported that attendance by students and businesses at job fairs has increased; companies have already reserved about 75% of the space available for the October job fair despite the sluggish economy. During the fall, Mr. Jones plans to visit advanced classes as another means of increasing awareness of Career Services. Ms. Julian is designing a new fair for careers in non-profit organizations and is working to develop a University award for an “Intern of the Year.”

Ms. Julian distributed information about new internship opportunities, adding that additional informational will be posted online and distributed through a variety of media. Her office is now surveying internship coordinators to ensure that her office and other career counselors have correct information regarding contacts and other matters.

Mr. Jones described a number of upcoming events whose locations, dates, and times will be identified in a poster now being developed. In September, Career Month, workshops are scheduled to help students find companies and internships and develop resumes and interviewing skills. These lead up to the fall recruitment fair on October 8. Career Services also maintains an online job fair where students at any time may submit resumes and arrange interviews with employers. A fall Teacher Fair will be held November 4; in December, Career Services is preparing to increase the number of students participating in its successful job shadowing program.

The Dean observed that some Liberal Arts students perceive that recruitment fairs mainly target majors in other fields. Ms. Julian noted that many companies that may seem oriented to business students recruit students with the abilities and skills of Liberal Arts students. She intends to provide more information to students in Liberal Arts about companies that seek to hire students with their backgrounds and is exploring ways to make the fairs more inviting to them. Ms. Morales, Director of the Liberal Arts Advising Center, noted that many students need to prepare for job searches earlier in their programs than is presently the case.

Council thanked its guests for their helpful information and expressed interest in encouraging students to make use of Career Services staff and facilities.

5. Graduate enrollment: Fall recruiting. Dean Ellis distributed and reviewed the 7/13 graduate report and stated that she is satisfied with the percentage of students Liberal Arts programs have accepted thus far for 2008-2009. Noting the continuing importance of graduate enrollment in the Provost’s plans, she asked each department to report on ways it expects to increase graduate enrollment this fall and in the future. Departments’ responses varied widely but included the following: (a) Additional faculty are needed to teach increased graduate enrollments. (b) Some departments need to reconsider appropriate class sizes in graduate courses. (c) In part, declines and increases in acceptances are due to the uneven sizes of cohorts entering graduate programs. (d) Several programs are currently at the maximum size if they are to maintain quality. (e) In some cases departments receive an inadequate pool of qualified applicants. (f) Many programs already are achieving significant growth. (g) One department plans to define a niche in order to build the reputation and pool of applicants in its program. (h) Among the most important needs are additional assistantships and/or tuition scholarships that can help students afford graduate study. The Dean asked chairs to inform her of what she may do to assist departments as they improve rates of recruitment, enrollment, retention, and completion of students in graduate programs. She outlined several options and noted that the Graduate College is now undergoing a performance review.

6. Program learning outcomes. Dean Ellis informed Council of recent efforts to improve Liberal Arts program learning outcomes as well as their measures, results, and action plans. She has learned that two consultants hired to review the University’s preparations for SACS have backgrounds in assessment and are likely to comment on the University’s readiness to meet SACS requirements. In the meantime, chairs have an opportunity to edit current results and action plans; soon they will be able to revise outcomes and measures at the Development and Assessment website. The Dean stated that the College will continue to improve outcomes assessment for Liberal Arts programs and for general education courses.

7. The Dean’s updates. (a) Dean Ellis drew attention to a San Marcos Development Map highlighting the many projects underway or being planned in and around the city and campus. (b) She encouraged departments to send representatives involved with scholarships to an upcoming workshop tied to University Advancement. Concerning the process of awarding scholarships, the workshop (July 24, 2-3 pm, JCK 460) is to provide information about new and updated forms and processes. (c) She solicited comments about two recently edited PPSs—one concerning faculty responsibilities and titles, the other faculty grievance changes. (d) The Dean noted that the University seems to be doing a good job articulating SACS compliance issues. One of twelve standards the SACS on-site reviewers will examine concerns program learning outcomes, and she urged chairs to be sure to have available pertinent rubrics, data, and student work that may be used to substantiate assessments. Dr. Day observed that the SACS reviewers may wish to discover faculty’s knowledge of academic goals or outcomes by initiating conversations with them. Dean Ellis noted that learning outcomes must be placed on syllabi of general education courses. Dr. Hennessy has verified that the Dean of University College has approved that syllabi may be made available online rather than as paper copies. (e) The Dean noted that two display cases and a large table located outside Flowers Hall 230 are to be removed; they were reassigned to other units in Liberal Arts.

Around the Table

Dr. Lochman circulated a draft of the University’s faculty-authored book list, subject to minor revision.
A chair requested that, to avoid confusion, a memo explaining the Faculty Senate’s requirement that all are to receive copies of the annual evaluations of the departmental chair should in future be available to faculty, together with the evaluation’s results.


• Friday, August 1: Deadline for Fulbright applications for traditional lecturing / research grants and for Fulbright Distinguished Chair awards
• Friday, August 8, 6 pm, Strahan Colisseum: Liberal Arts Summer Commencement
• By early August: The Development And Assessment website should be ready to accept changes to Program Learning Outcomes and Methods for 2008-2009
• In August: SACS Leadership Team appoints QEP Task Force, with plan to be completed in October
• Wednesday, August 20: LAC Retreat, Inn Above Onion Creek
• Saturday, August 23, 5:30 pm, Strahan Colisseum: Faculty encouraged to attend the New Student Convocation
• Tuesday, August 26: Convocation (9 am) and College’s Fall Faculty Meeting, immediately following)
• Wednesday, August 27: Fall classes begin
• In September: University Strategic Plan Progress Report completed
• In September: Planning session for all departments undergoing Academic Program Review in 2009
• Tuesday, September 30: 2008-2009 Program Student Learning Outcomes and Methods of Assessment reviewed by chairs/directors
• In October: SACS Annual Update presented by VP for Institutional Effectiveness
• Thursday, October 30: Program Student Learning Outcomes and Outcomes Assessment Revisions reviewed by deans
• 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
• Tuesday, June 30: Program Student Learning Outcomes Assessment reviewed by deans
• 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 revisons 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