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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

3 September 2008, 2:00 pm, ELA 245
(Approved 10 September 2008 by 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 16 July 2008 reviewed and approved (Career Services, graduate enrollments, program learning outcomes, the Dean’s updates).

2. Congratulations. (a) To Will Ruger (POSI), named a 2008-2009 academic fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The fellowship funded research in Israel concerning its responses to terrorist threats. (b) To Paul Kens (POSI), whose recent book in the Landmark Law Cases and American Society series has earned the 2008 Scribes Award from the American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects. (c) To Susan Hanson (ENG), who co-edited with Susan Wittig Albert, Jan Epton Seale, and Paula Stallings Yost the book What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest, winner of the 2008 WILLA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction. (d) To Nelly Rosario (ENG), winner of the 2008 Sherwood Anderson Fellowship. (e) To three graduates of Geography’s PhD program—Lisa DeChano (2000), Jonathan Herbert (2004), and Cathy Springer (2007)—who serve on the editorial board of Geographical Bulletin, published by the honorary society, Gamma Theta Upsilon. (f) To Ruth Correa, who graduated with a BA in International Studies and served as the Student Commencement Speaker for the August ceremony.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) The Austin American-Statesman’s Insight section (7/20) featured a lengthy opinion essay by James McWilliams (HIST) related to the subject of his recent book, American Pests. (b) Fox’s Channel 7 News (7/29) presented a tour of the Forensic Research Facility at the Freeman Ranch, with an interview of its director, Jerry Melbye (ANTH). (c) The Austin American-Statesman’s “Editorial Notebook” (8/4) quoted Frank del la Teja (HIST) as an expert on the significance of the Alamo in Texas history. (d) The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise (8/7) named John Lohse and Molly Morgan of Anthropology’s Center for Archaeological Studies as supervisors of a backfill operation designed to preserve kilns recently excavated in a study of Wilson Pottery, a company in Guadalupe County known for its fine ceramics. Established in 1869, Hiram Wilson and Co. was the first Texas business founded by African Americans. (e) The National Public Radio website “This I Believe” includes the essay “The Power of a Good Dad” by Prudence Arcenaux, MFA graduate in poetry and a faculty member at ACC-Riverside.

4. The Dean’s Thanks (a) To outgoing Liberal Arts Faculty Senators Ted Hindson (POSI) and Shirley Ogletree (PSY), to continuing Faculty Senator Steve Wilson (ENG), and to the College’s three new Faculty Senators: Brock Brown (GEO), Sally Caldwell (SOCI), and Rich Warms (ANTH). The College is grateful for their many hours of service on the Senate and for their dedication to Liberal Arts and its faculty. (b) To the public history students in the Department of History who worked on the oral history project “Loyal Recollection,” which opened 8/24 at San Marcos’s LBJ Museum.

5. SACS.

(a) Outcomes assessment.

(i) Program directors to submit offline version of revised outcomes and methods for AY 2008-2009 to the Dean by Wednesday, September 17. Despite the time required for faculty discussion of proposed revisions, program directors generally agreed that they could forward the requested outcomes and methods by September 17. Dean Ellis asked that each director combine and forward program and general education outcomes and methods in a single Word file to help her track them. She offered to attend departmental meetings to explain the importance of assessing outcomes for the improvement of learning in disciplines.

(ii) Research Outcomes for the College of Liberal Arts. Council reviewed a draft of three College Research Outcomes and Methods, newly required by SACS. Dr. Lochman reported that a sample of the same, which includes results gathered from the 2007 Liberal Arts Bibliography and the Office of Sponsored Projects, was recently distributed to the Council of Associate Deans for Academic Assessment and deemed an acceptable model for other colleges. Council members received a list of grants and contracts applied for and awarded during calendar year 2007 and noted several omissions; Dean Ellis asked that reports of omitted data be forwarded to Mike Blanda, Assistant Vice President for Research and Federal Relations.

(iii) SACS consultants Julia Pet-Armacost and Robert L. Armacost on campus, September 29-30. Dean Ellis reminded Council of the consultants’ upcoming visit. She noted that the University will have until about December 1 to make changes based on their recommendations. Council reviewed a checklist the Office of Development and Assessment has devised to evaluate learning outcomes, methods of assessment, action plans, and statements of improvement.

(b) Quality Enhancement Plan Task Force (AY 2008-2009). Dean Ellis announced that she has nominated Professor Brock Brown in Geography as the new Liberal Arts representative on the QEP Task Force. He will bring to the QEP a strong reputation as a mentor and advisor as well as a teacher and scholar, all strengths that fit well with the University’s decision to focus the QEP on mentoring and advising.

6. Search for Associate Deans (2009-2010). Dean Ellis announced that Dr. Lochman plans to return to his faculty position in Fall 2009. She also announced that the Provost will allow the appointment of two new Associate Deans who will join Associate Dean Grayson. The Dean distributed a handout that lists anticipated duties of the new appointees.

7. Graduate enrollment. Dean Ellis noted the Provost’s continuing department-by-department interest in graduate enrollments and his attention to strong growth in the departments of English and Political Science. Several chairs noted errors in data on recent reports of applications and acceptances; many noted that Graduate College reports omit data that should be used to assess growth, including enrollments on the twelfth class-day and graduate SCH. One chair noted the number of existing graduate students, papers mentored, theses advised, and the expected quality of instruction must be taken into account when judging the number of students a program should admit. Chairs also noted that there is a need to increase financial support of students who are accepted and highly qualified. One chair observed that several newly accepted students were forced to defer enrollment due to a lack of available faculty.

8. End-of-semester grade reporting. Dean Ellis reported solutions to scheduling difficulties given the unusually late calendar this fall. The University has decided to preserve adequate time for faculty to grade final examinations and accommodate the late date of the December commencement. Advisors will likely work through 12/23.

9. CAD Update.

(a) PPS 7.22, Faculty Responsibilities: the role of research professors in classroom
teaching. The Dean asked Council whether departments who hire full-time research professors would have a reason for them to teach since a statement in PPS 7.22 would seem to exclude them from doing so. Council saw no problem with the policy as written.

(b) Income-generating accounts. Dean Ellis informed Council that the Office of Accounting had received notice from the IRS inquiring about untaxed income-generating activities not directly related to the University. Sales of goods directly related to teaching and the University’s mission are tax-exempt, but Texas State’s Office of Accounting has identified several accounts in Liberal Arts that require additional assurance. Following discussion, the Dean stated she will report that all income-generating accounts in Liberal Arts directly relate to education and the University’s mission.

10. Goals for AY 2008-2009. Dean Ellis distributed a handout listing her goals for the College in 2008-2009. These include increasing graduate enrollments; encouraging increased resources to fund graduate assistants and student travel; developing new programs; refining equitable allocation of faculty time; improving assessment of learning outcomes; continuing to prepare for SACS; contributing to development of the QEP; focusing on development with the aid of the Liberal Arts Advisory Board, faculty, and alumni; planning for the General Classroom building; mentoring an interim chair; and conducting a space audit of the Psychology Building.

(a) Reports of accomplishments and goals of chairs and Director of IS. Dennis Dunn, Susan Day, Vicki Brittain, and Vince Luizzi distributed handouts and reported on their programs’ accomplishments during AY 2007-2008 and plans for AY 2008-2009. Reports from other programs were deferred until the next meeting.

(b) Mapping departmental faculty: reports of needs due to the Dean by October 15. RTA.

(c) Fuel expenses for adjuncts. RTA.

11. Other. (a) Dean Ellis noted that some chairs and faculty may be asked by offices outside Liberal Arts to participate in events related to the upcoming capital campaign. She encouraged Liberal Arts chairs and faculty to participate and share news of their activities. (b) She urged chairs to consider departmental needs that could be funded through the capital campaign.


(a) LBJ: The White House Years. Exhibit related to Common Experience runs 8 am – 10 pm M-F, through September 25, at the art gallery on the second floor of the Joanne Cole Mitte Building. Co-sponsored by the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Fine Arts. Dean Ellis reminded Council to forward information about upcoming Common Experience events to Nico Schuler.

(b) Common Experience event with Timothy Jacob Wise, October 28 (Susan Day). RTA

(c) American Studies Association of Texas meeting, November 13-15. Mark Busby has announced that graduate students who present papers will receive $50 for travel; faculty are invited to chair sessions that will feature scholarly papers and readings of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. RTA

(d) Other announcements:

• Wednesday, September 10, 3:30-5:00 pm, Alkek 105/106: Workshop on Research Enhancement Grants and tips for applicants
• Tuesday, September 16, 3:30-5, Alkek 105/106: Refining Student Learning Outcomes: Working Strategies (Beth Wuest)
• Wednesday, September 17, 1-4 pm, LBJSC, Dine 1: Refining Student Learning Outcomes: Open Forum and Consultation (Beth Wuest)
• In September: University Strategic Plan Progress Report completed
• In September: Planning session for all departments undergoing Academic Program Review in 2009
• Wednesday, September 17: Deadline for program directors to submit offline versions of revised student learning outcomes and methods to the Dean
• Tuesday, September 30: Deadline for chairs and directors to revise (if necessary) and approve 2008-2009 Program Student Learning Outcomes and Methods of Assessment
• Tuesday, September 30, 10-11:30 am, JCK 1100: On Campus SACS Consultants’ Presentations and Open Forum for Chairs and Directors (Julia Pet-Armacost and Robert L. Armacost)
• Wednesday, October 8, 5 pm: Deadline to submit proposals for Research Enhancement Grants; information and the application form are available at
• Wednesday, October 15: Deadline for chairs to submit reports of faculty needs to the Dean
• Wednesday, October 15: Deadline for receipt of applications for Faculty Development Leave by the office of the Faculty Senate
• Thursday, October 16, 1:30-3:30 pm, JCK 420: Introduction to GAMS
• Monday, October 20, 3-4:30 pm, JCK 460 or Tuesday, October 21, 9:30-11 am, Alkek 105/106: SACS Annual Update presented by VP for Institutional Effectiveness Cathy Fleuriet with QEP Co-Chairs Beth Wuest and Nico Schuler
• Thursday, October 30: Deadline for deans to review and approve revised and Program Student Learning Outcomes and Outcomes Assessment Revisions for 2008-2009
• Friday, October 31, 9 am to noon, JCK 1100: Legal Update for University Administrators (Bill Fly)
• Friday, January 16, 2009: Deadline for 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