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Liberal Arts Council Minutes


9 December 2009, 2:00 pm, FH 230

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Lucy Harney

Council Members: Nancy Grayson, Vicki Brittain, Shirley Ogletree, Philip Suckling, Bob Fischer, Jon McGee, Vince Luizzi, Susan Day, Mike Hennessy, Dennis Dunn, Britt Bousman


1. The minutes for the LAC meeting on 2 December 2009 were unanimously approved.

2. Congratulations: a) To Phil Suckling (GEO) for being elected as one of two representatives of the Council of Chairs on the General Education Council for next year; b) to Dwight Watson (HIST), Elizabeth Makowski (HIST), Ken Margerison (HIST), Mark Fonstad (GEO), Natalie Ceballos (PSY), Augustine Agwuele (ANTH), Omar Sanchez (POSI), Ty Schepis (PSY), Jennifer Jensen (GEO), and Ogaga Ifowodo (ENG) for receiving 2010 Research Enhancement Grants.

3. Liberal Arts in the News: Sven Fuhrmann (GEO) was quoted in the San Marcos Daily Record (sanmarcosrecord.com, 12/5/09) in the article, “By the numbers, SM a safe city,” regarding the analysis of local crime statistics by geography students working with Fuhrmann and Niem Huynh (GEO).

4. Thanks: To staff members Mary Gibson (ANTH) and Kathleen O’Keefe-Braun (HIST) for volunteering to serve as ushers for fall commencement.

5. Political Science Proposal: Center for Research, Public Policy, and Training: Dr. Brittain discussed and fielded questions about the proposal to establish the CRPPT to pursue research on public policy issues with a focus on matters affecting Texas and the U.S.

Dean Ellis suggested that the center could integrate all Liberal Arts departments. Dr. Day requested that any reference to the Department of Sociology be removed from the research center proposal before it goes forward. Chairs discussed the qualifications for the position of Center Director. The proposal to move ahead with the establishment of the center was approved unanimously.

6. Provost’s Review of Master’s Degree Needs: Dean Ellis distributed a draft report for the Provost aligning the predictions and goals from departments in Liberal Arts with suggestions for new graduate programs and existing graduate courses that might be appropriate for a master’s degree in Liberal Arts.

Certain omissions from the draft report were noted. Dean Ellis will amend the document for future review.

Dean Ellis distributed a rating sheet for assessing the probability of success for various potential graduate programs and certificates (M. Liberal Arts, M.A. Public History, M.A. Applied Philosophy and Ethics, M.S. Geoinformatics, as well as certificates in Diversity Studies, Gerontological Studies, Forensic Psychology, Global Studies, International Volunteerism, Sustainability Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, European Studies, and Interamerican Studies).

Dr. Day suggested the addition of a graduate certificate in statistics, which would potentially integrate courses from Sociology, Psychology, and Math.

Council members discussed options for administering a master’s degree in Liberal Arts. Dean Ellis proposed that the College might be able to administer this program, but would require an increase in staff. It was noted that students in interdisciplinary master’s programs or certificate programs may not have sufficient background to complete certain graduate-level course work, especially when attending the same classes as students in more specialized and comprehensive programs. Chairs also expressed concern that students in interdisciplinary graduate programs may feel entitled to acceptance into single-discipline programs. It was suggested that it might be preferable, where possible, to create special courses for the students in interdisciplinary and certificate programs.

Dr. McGee noted that the increasing ethnic diversity in the U.S. (particularly the growing Hispanic and Asian populations) as well as the strong movement toward internationalization might be more critical than the aging U.S. population when targeting potential students and developing future programs.

Chairs discussed creative approaches to the delivery of courses in applied or vocationally-oriented graduate programs. Some options discussed were on-line instruction, weekend courses, remote instruction (in other cities), and intensive summer courses.

Council members tentatively agreed that certificate programs should require a minimum of 15 hours. Dean Ellis recommended that these programs have a least one core course required of all students.

Dr. Dunn suggested that the proposed certificates in area studies be listed as foci under a single certificate heading. Dr. McGee recommended adding Middle Eastern Studies as a focus. The proposed certificate in global studies would also offer tracks to address international volunteerism and non-region-specific issues such as international law and health psychology.

Dr. Luizzi detailed a proposed interdisciplinary master’s certificate in sustainability studies to be administered in the Department of Philosophy and bookended by two philosophy courses (addressing environmental ethics and problems in sustainability); the remaining three courses would be taken in other Liberal Arts departments. Dr. Brittain noted that two professors in Political Science are interested in developing graduate course work in sustainability studies. These efforts might articulate with Dr. Luizzi’s proposed certificate and/or with an interdisciplinary certificate (proposed by Nancy Nusbaum) that would integrate at least four colleges.

Dean Ellis will edit the proposed list of graduate programs and certificates for presentation to the Provost. She reminded chairs to send her the following documentation by January 15: a) Response to Provost Questions (using the template for Health Psychology), and b) Spreadsheet: Master’s Degree Needs, Fall 2009.

7. Research Incentives: Dr. Bousman distributed Policy and Procedure Statement 5.06 regarding the availability of incentive compensation for faculty who buy out from 25 to 50 percent of their base salary with externally-funded sponsored program funds.

Dr. Bousman distributed a hand-out on indirect cost funds to stimulate grant proposals. In addition to salary buy-outs for the development of complex proposals, items included: support for travel and equipment purchases designed to lead to grant writing, graduate assistants to assist in preparation of grant proposals, and summer stipends for writing grant proposals.

Dr. Bousman will look into the Provost’s plan to provide assistance with writing/editing proposals. Dean Ellis noted that the subcontracting of assistance for editing and “shopping” grant proposals in Washington D.C. will be added to the list.


Around the Table:

Dr. Ogletree asked whether the increase in the per-course minimum would affect the amount paid by departments. Most Council members indicated that they will be relatively unaffected.

Dr. Luizzi inquired whether all PhD applicants for adjunct positions were to be hired before applicants without the PhD could be considered. The consensus of Council members and Dean Ellis was that program needs outweigh the degree status of an applicant in hiring decisions.

Dr. Dunn received confirmation that the University Honors Program reimburses departments $3,000 per course.

Dr. Bousman will follow up with Mike Blanda to determine whether a principal investigator has the option to buy out a course using ICR funds for the purpose of writing more grants.

Dr. Hennessy noted that Texas State’s “Human Power Plant” was featured on the front page of the Austin American Statesman.


The meeting was adjourned.


Announcements and Reminders:

Chair/Director/Faculty Deadlines:

• January 22: Deadline for requests student computing resources (consult Liberal Arts committee representative Marc Turner: 5-3159 or gt05@txstate.edu)
• January 29: Deadline for nominations for Outstanding Student Employees
• January 31: Deadline for nominations for Mariel Muir Mentoring Excellence Awards
• February 1: Deadline for nominations for Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award (http://www.dos.txstate.edu)
• February 12: Deadline for nominations for Presidential Awards for Excellence
• February 18: Deadline for nominations of Outstanding Graduate Student and Undergraduate Student in Liberal Arts due to Dean Grayson
• March 1: Deadline for nominations (from Chairs to Dean Ellis) for the Multicultural Curriculum Transformation and Research Institute (http://www.txstate.edu/mcgs/special-projects/research-instititue.html)
• March 31: Dean completes FARS certification
• April 1: Deadline to apply to use faculty-authored materials in Summer 2010 (http://www.provost.txstate.edu/pps/policy-and-procedure-statements/4-teaching/pps4-10.html)
• May 29: 2009-2010 Academic Affairs Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Results reviewed/approved by chairs/directors
• July 1: Deadline to apply to use faculty-authored materials in Fall 2010 (http://www.provost.txstate.edu/pps/policy-and-procedure-statements/4-teaching/pps4-10.html)

Events:

• January 28: Texas State Blood Drive (9-4, JCK 1100)
• February 20: Bobcat Day
• April 7: Common Experience: Sir Ken Robinson speaks on creativity (8:00, LBJ Student Center Mall)
• April 8: Liberal Arts Awards Ceremony (6:00, Alkek Teaching Theater)
• May 14: Spring Commencement (10:00, Strahan)

Professional Development:

• January 26: Budget Class: Report Fundamentals (http://www.fss.txstate.edu/budget/training/classes-and-sessions.html)
• January 26: Workshop: Databases: Enhancing Your Research with Just a Few Clicks (http://www.ada.txstate.edu/faculty/Workshop-Spring10/databasesreg.html by 1/25)
• January 26: Workshop: Current Issues in College Student Mental Health: What Faculty and Staff Need to Know (www.txstate.edu/pdevelop/Services/workshops/spring2010.html by 1/19)
• January 27: Workshop: Copyright Law and University Policy (www.txstate.edu/pdevelop/Services/workshops/spring2010.html by 1/20)
• January 29: Grant Workshop: Finding Funding – COS Search Engine for Foundations (11-12, MCS 363) (contact Britt Bousman: cb26@txstate.edu)
• February 3: Budget Class: Budget to Actual Report (http://www.fss.txstate.edu/budget/training/classes-and-sessions.html)
• February 3 or 4: Workshop: Information Security – Level I (2-4:30 or 10-12, JCK 460) (www.txstate.edu/pdevelop/Services/workshops/spring 2010.html by 1/27)
• February 10: Budget Class: Budget-Related Reports – Review and Tips & Tricks (http://www.fss.txstate.edu/budget/training/classes-and-sessions.html)
• February 12: Grant Workshop: Research Design & Project Planning with MS Project (11-12, MCS 364) (contact Britt Bousman: cb26@txstate.edu)
• February 18: Budget Class: Budgeting by Position (http://www.fss.txstate.edu/budget/training/classes-and-sessions.html)
• February 26: Grant Workshop: Project Budgets on Excel (11-12, MCS 364) (contact Britt Bousman: cb26@txstate.edu)
• March 19: Grant Workshop: Post Award (11-12, MCS 364) (contact Britt Bousman: cb26@txstate.edu)
• April 2: Grant Workshop: Research Design & Project Planning with MS Project (11-12, MCS 364) (contact Britt Bousman: cb26@txstate.edu)
• April 30: Grant Workshop: Project Budgets on Excel (11-12, MCS 364) (contact Britt Bousman: cb26@txstate.edu)
• May 21: Grant Workshop: Post Award (11-12, MCS 364) (contact Britt Bousman: cb26@txstate.edu)
• May 21-25: Technology Workshop (w/stipend): Creating Your Online Course
• May 24-28: Technology Workshop: Technoshop
• August 2-13: Technology Workshop (w/$1,200 stipend): Integrating Technology (Proposals by May 11; information at http://www.its.txstate.edu/training/tech_int.html)

SACS Information:

• January-February: Texas State responds to off-site SACS review
• February 8: Quality Enhancement Plan due to SACS
• March 23-25: On-site SACS peer review conducted
• May 28: 2009-2010 Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Results reviewed/approved by chairs/directors
• June 15: 2009-2010 Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Results audited by Associate Deans for Academic Assessment
• June 30: 2009-2010 Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Results reviewed/approved by Deans
• October 15: 2010-2011 Student Learning Outcomes, Mission Statement, and Methods audited by Associate Deans for Academic Assessment
• December 1-7: Review by Commission on Colleges

Other:

• May 3: Last day of classes, Spring 2010