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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

14 January 2009, 2:00 pm, FH 230
(Approved at the 21 January 2009 meeting of Liberal Arts Council)

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Dennis Dunn, Bob Fischer, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Shirley Ogletree, Philip Suckling
Guest: Stephanie Sonnier

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 12-10-08 reviewed and approved (Correspondence and Study Abroad, endowments, curricular issues, CAD updates)

2. Congratulations. (a) To Dagoberto Gilb (ENG), whose book The Flowers has been named by the San Francisco Chronicle (12/21) as one of the fifty best books of fiction and poetry in 2008. (b) To History MA student Roque Planas, who has been named a Senator Gregory Luna Fellow of the Texas Senate Hispanic Research Council and will serve as a legislative aide in the 81st session of the Texas Senate. (c) To Political Science students Rick Zuniga, Kaitlyn Luck, Javier Reyes, and Daniel Palomo, all of whom earned first place awards at the recent 12th Model Organization of America States competition at St. Mary’s University, San Antonio. Texas State’s teams will go on to compete nationally in Washington, DC, in April.

3. Liberal Arts in the news: (a) Cyrus Cassells (ENG) will be featured in a Texas State ad scheduled to appear in Texas Monthly. (b) University News Service is featuring the Public History Program’s January 14-15 symposium on historic preservation, to be held on campus. (b) The Los Angeles Times (1/5) favorably reviewed the album Undone: A Musicfest Tribute to Robert Earl Keen produced by the Texas Center for Music History; the reviewer commented, “If all higher-education programs were as lively and illuminating as this one, university enrollment would mushroom.”

4. Liberal Arts Mission Statement. Council discussed and unanimously approved the following revision of the Liberal Arts mission statement, adding explicit reference to research as requested by the Office of Development and Assessment:

The College of Liberal Arts prepares graduates to think independently, to choose freely, to serve others, and to base personal and professional decisions on a broad understanding of history, culture, and science. The College pursues its mission with a commitment to teaching, learning, and research that is academically rigorous and ethically grounded.

Dr. Lochman will forward the revised Mission Statement to the Office of Assessment, to Ann Friou so it may be added to the Liberal Arts website, and to Yvette Morales, Director of the Liberal Arts Advising Center, for distribution to the Center’s staff.

5. Student mental health. Dean Ellis distributed an article from a December issue of the Austin American-Statesman that reported a high rate of mental disorders among young adults nationwide; a study shows that only a quarter of this group receives treatment. Council discussed specific factors affecting college students and noted that the University’s Counseling Center is an appropriate place for faculty to refer troubled students. Faculty may also consult with counselors at the Counseling Center for advice about specific cases. The Dean urged chairs to include discussion of this issue at faculty meetings during the spring. Chairs noted that current procedures require departments to refer unresolved cases to a Behavioral Assessment Team assembled by the Office of Student Affairs; the Team will review each case and make recommendations to the department and other appropriate offices. The Dean asked chairs to inform her immediately of any cases involving threatening behavior so she may notify Student Affairs and work with the interim or incoming Dean of Students to assure the safety of all concerned. Dr. Fischer reminded Council to call UPD for any emergency.

6. Scholarship endowments / Case statements for the capital campaign. Chairs and directors received information showing the effects of the downturn in the economy upon endowments and scholarships administered by the University or the Development Foundation. An algorithm projecting available revenues for 2009-2010 reveals that many accounts are likely to face reduced or even canceled disbursements. Although figures will be adjusted as more is learned, the downturn is certain to have a major effect on endowment accounts, with the full effect to be felt in 2010 when scholarship funds may be reduced or withheld pending a recovery in the financial sector. Following discussion, Dean Ellis determined to inquire whether data concerning endowments administered by the Development Foundation include funds encumbered for spring 2009. She asked Council members to identify faculty and staff whose salary derives in whole or part from endowments.

Concerning the upcoming capital campaign, the Dean announced that the University’s development office is creating “case statements” to promote areas of distinction across campus and will soon develop one for Liberal Arts. This spring, she plans to visit departments to discuss with faculty important goals for the campaign, such as graduate and undergraduate student scholarships. She also suggested areas for possible endowed professorships and chairs as well as for endowed centers. Other possibilities include endowed programs and endowments to support student travel and symposia. As soon as possible, chairs are to forward to Dr. Lochman bulleted items listing their departments’ most outstanding areas of distinction so they may be considered for inclusion in the case statement. Staff in Liberal Arts and Media Services will draft text and tag-lines, and they will work with photographs and layout. Following discussion, the Dean indicated she will advocate featuring each department in the College’s case statement.

Dean Ellis provided some details related to the Liberal Distinguished Alumni event, scheduled for April 3.

7. CAD update:

a. Final Examination Schedule – Summer 2009. Dean Ellis distributed copies of the proposed final examination schedules for the two summer sessions.

b. Research issues. Dean Ellis reported that the Provost wishes to increase external funds and move Texas State closer to an emerging research status by anticipating that faculty awarded internal grants (such as Research Enhancement Grants) go on to seek additional funding from external sources. Ms. Stephanie
Sonnier, the Liberal Arts Grants Assistant, visited Council to offer her help to faculty seeking external funding sources. Council discussed the need for faculty release time to write grants and the role of indirect cost funds
in support support of grant writing. Council also reviewed a draft revision of PPS 5.06, concerning incentive compensation for externally funded sponsored programs, with provisions allowing participation by chairs/directors as well as faculty; Council should report concerns to her.

c. Strategic Planning. Council received an updated template approved by the Provost and CAD to facilitate an update on the 2004-2012 University Plan. For the progress report, the College will review selected University outcomes under the Plan’s six goals and report achievements during AY 2007-2008. Chairs are to complete the template as appropriate and return it to Dr. Lochman by February 1. Results will be compiled and forwarded to the office of University Planning and Assessment by February 23. Dean Ellis also asked chairs to review and update by February 15 the College plan for 2004-2012 in order to help her prepare Liberal Arts’ top goals, to be presented at a Deans Forum on February 27.

d. Formats for Results, Action Plans, and statements of Evidence of Improvement for SACS learning outcomes. Council reviewed a template and sample entries adopted by the Office of Institutional Research and CAD. These are designed to assist programs as they draft results, action plans, and statements of evidence of improvement for 2008-2009 learning outcomes. Dean Ellis raised questions about the examples’ Action Plans and asked Dr. Lochman to direct an inquiry to the Office of Assessment. Council also received drafts of Liberal Arts’ epartments’
results for AY 2007-2008 and their revised form using the new template.

Around the Table:

Dr. Lochman offered updates and reminders about learning outcomes, curricular issues, and student computing proposals.

Dr. Luizzi introduced a discussion of scheduling on MWF afternoons.

Associate Dean Grayson reminded Council of the approaching extended, January 20 deadline for applications for the Distinguishing Teaching Professorship in the Humanities.

Dean Ellis reminded Council of the February 1 deadline for applications for the two open Associate Dean positions

• Beginning January: Call for proposals for University Public Lecture Series
• Beginning January: Faculty online review (deadline March 1)
• Beginning January: Staff appraisals (deadline April 15)
• Friday, January 9 to Monday, January 26: Departmental personnel committees review untenured continuing faculty on first year contract (decision and documentation due to Dean February 2)
• Wednesday, January 14, 2 pm, FH 230: Liberal Arts Council
• Friday, January 16: Deadline for departments to mount proposals to change, add, and delete courses on LA Curriculum 2008-2009 TRACS site
• Tuesday, January 20: Extended deadline for applications for the Distinguished Teaching Professorship in the Humanities
• Tuesday, January 20: First day of classes, Spring 2009
• Wednesday, January 21, 2 pm, FH 230: LAC meets to review Student Computing Proposals: chairs bring twelve copies of descriptions and budgets of each proposal
• Friday, January 23: Deadline for College to submit Student Computing Proposals to IT
• Friday, January 30, 2-4 pm, FH 230: College Review Group meets
• Monday, February 2: Recommendations for Mariel Muir Excellence in Mentoring Award due to Dean
• Monday, February 2: Deadline for departments to forward decisions and documentation concerning continuing faculty in first year of contract to the Dean
• Tuesday, February 3, 2-5 pm, LBJ Student Center Ballroom: Graduate College Information Day for Texas State junior and senior undergraduates
• Friday, February 6, 3-4:30, FH 229: LA Faculty Advisory Council meets to begin review of course proposals in the regular cycle
• 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
• Friday, February 13, 3-4:30 pm, FH 229: LA Faculty Advisory Council meets to continue review of course proposals in regular cycle (if needed)
• Friday, February 27, place & time TBA: Deans’ Forum: updates to Academic Plans
• Friday, February 27: Deadline for nominations for the LBJ Outstanding Senior Student Award. Nomination forms are available at
• Friday, February 27: Deadline for nominations for the Alumni Association’s Teaching Award of Honor. Nomination forms available at
• Friday, February 27: Deadline for Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award. Nomination forms available at
• By February 27: Complete faculty online review
• Wednesday, March 4: Deadline to forward applications for Texas State University System’s Regents Professor Award. Send to the attention of Dr. Cathy Fleuriet in the Office of the Provost
• Wednesday, March 18: Deadline for applications for the 2009 Summer Predoctoral Fellowship Program. Information and application details at
• Thursday, April 2, 6 pm, Alkek Teaching Theatre: Liberal Arts Awards Day
• Wednesday, April 15: Staff appraisals due to Human Resources
• Monday, May 4: Last day of classes, Spring 2009
• Friday, May 29: Department chairs review and approve 2008-2009 student learning outcomes results, action plans, and evidence of improvement
• Wednesday, June 15: Offline learning outcomes results, action plans, and evidence of improvement due to the Dean’s office for review by the Associate Dean
• By Tuesday, June 30: Student learning outcomes results, action plans, and evidence of improvement approved by Dean and uploaded to the SACS site by the Dean's office. Lock-down date for SACS materials.
• In September: University Strategic Plan Progress Report completed
• In September: Planning session for all departments undergoing Academic Program Review in 2010
• Thursday, September 10: Compliance certification due to SACS
• Wednesday, September 30: Program Student Learning Outcomes revisions reviewed by chairs/directors
• Wednesday, September 30: General Education Student Learning Outcomes and Methods of Assessment reviewed by chairs/directors prior to being approved by the Dean of University College and General Education Council
• October-November: Off-site SACS review
• Friday, October 30: Program Student Learning Outcomes revisions reviewed by deans
• Friday, October 30: General Education Student Learning Outcomes and Methods of Assessment reviewed by Dean of University College and General Education Council
• 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