Skip to Content

Liberal Arts Council Minutes


10 June 2009, 2:00 pm, FH 230
(Approved at the 8 July 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, Beth Erhart for Jon McGee, Crystal Oberle for Shirley Ogletree, Philip Suckling

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 6-3-09 reviewed and approved (e-procurement system, Graduate College scholarships, learning outcomes assessment).

2. Congratulations. (a) Congratulations: (a) To Theron Stimmel (PSY), named Distinguished Professor Emeritus by the Texas State Board of Regents in recognition of a 40-year career during which he served as chair of the Department of Psychology and as Faculty Senator; Theron has received numerous awards for teaching. (b) To Howard Balanoff (POSI), who has received the Terrell Blodgett Academician Award from the Texas City Management Association for contributions to the education of students pursuing careers in local government. (c) To Pat Shields (POSI), who has been invited to lecture at the Swedish National Defense College on 6/17.

3. CAD Update:

(a) Commencement. The Dean reported that in May 2010 Texas State will add another commencement ceremony, for a total of five. Ceremonies will take place at 10 am, 2 pm, and 6 pm on Friday and at 10 am and 2 pm on Saturday. The additional ceremony will accommodate an increasing number of guests, with more than 40,000 attending May commencement in 2009. To print an adequate number of programs and prepare for the large number of guests, graduating students in the future must apply for graduation by the announced deadline in order to participate in commencement, with exceptions allowed for needed transcripting of transferred or correspondence credits and few other exceptions. Dr. Brittain and other Council members asked that students be informed by email about the need to apply for graduation and the deadline, since many do not know of this requirement. Dean Ellis will inform University officials of this need.

(b) Travel on state funds. The Provost has reminded faculty that the University does not reimburse side-trips conducted for personal interests while they are traveling for professional reasons. The activities of faculty traveling abroad for more than seven days will receive particular scrutiny to ensure that reimbursements are for business-related activities only. The Dean emphasized that Texas State does not reimburse the purchase of liquor.

(c) Tuition increase. Dean Ellis reported that the planned 2009-2010 tuition increase approved by the Regents will go into effect following the recent legislative session.

(d) University Budget Committee. The Dean reminded Council that the University provides an online link to institutional budgets. In addition, the University is forming a new Budget Committee for Academic Affairs with membership likely to include deans and others who report directly to the Provost.

(e) Target of Opportunity program. The Dean outlined the 2009-2010 Target of Opportunity program. Using the definition of diversity, requirement of need, and procedures in the Provost’s email of 10 June 2009, Liberal Arts departments are to identify candidates so Council may vet them at a meeting on 8 July, prior to the deadline for the first stage of the selection process, 15 July. Dean Ellis suggested that departments consult nation-wide data distributed by the Provost’s office on the number and field of diverse doctoral students.

(f) Green cards for international faculty. An issue raised by a Liberal Arts department has led to clarification of responsibilities for costs incurred by international faculty applying for permanent residency. Texas State pays attorney fees and the department pays filing fees for the I-140 petition that begins the process to receive permanent residency (a “green card”). The I-140 is in effect up to three years, but new faculty may have already completed some or all of that time prior to employment at Texas State; chairs should inquire about the residency status of candidates in order to determine whether the University can assist with the cost of establishing residency. The faculty member initiates and normally bears the cost of the next step in the process—filing an I-485 to change one’s status to that of permanent resident. The University’s International Office can recommend legal assistance and informally review application materials at the employee’s request. The Dean noted that immigrants hired as adjuncts, faculty supported by grants, post-doctoral employees, and teaching faculty must be paid at a rate commensurate with the prevailing national wage.

(g) Facilities:

(1) Undergraduate Classroom Building: QEP/PACE Center, University College. The Dean noted that offices for the QEP, to be known as the Personalized Academic and Career Exploration (PACE) Center, and University College will join those for Liberal Arts departments, now including Psychology, to be located in the new undergraduate classroom building.

(2) Derrick Hall and renovated Psychology Building. Dean Ellis reported that the University intends for the Department of Philosophy to move to Derrick Hall during the renovation of the Psychology building and for the Department of Computer Science to occupy the renovated Psychology building. Dr. Luizzi noted that faculty in Philosophy have expressed grave concern about the plan to move the Department of Philosophy to Derrick.

(3) Faculty offices / research and commercialization spaces. The Dean reported that the Provost advises departments to look carefully at the possible conversion of space for faculty offices. Any space allotted for a faculty member’s personal use must be converted to other productive uses. She noted a concern that psychologists moved to the new building be allotted adequate space for research. Some areas, though likely not in Liberal Arts, may require space for commercialization related to the discipline as well as research space.

(4) Renovations of classrooms and some teaching labs. The Dean announced that in FY 2010 the University is planning to allot $.5 million for classroom renovations to enhance the experience of students. Departmental chairs with renovation needs should prepare request forms soon.

(5) Northeast San Antonio: teaching incentives. The Provost has expressed interest in extending Texas State’s participation in the Alamo University Center, a newly formed MITC involving eleven universities. The Center, which will offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in northeast San Antonio, is housed in a 75,000 square-foot modern facility equipped with classrooms, offices, labs, and a library and located on Pat Booker Road, near Loop 1604. Texas State’s Occupational Education program will move into the facility this fall. Interested departments should determine advanced classes to offer at the facility next spring and summer since Texas State must request space. The Provost will fund an incentive for departments to participate. As at the Round Rock campus, participating faculty will be reimbursed for mileage.

(h) Departmental meetings and University Convocation. The Dean announced that departments must not schedule faculty meetings between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm after faculty convocation on Tuesday, August 25. The time is reserved because Presidential Awardees are requested to attend a luncheon on their behalf.

(i) Other. The Dean noted that, due to excessive costs, the Provost has suggested that any faculty or staff using a cell phone on state contract must keep average expenses under $50/month.

She also noted that, although the number of new transfer students seems stable, accepted and confirmed freshmen enrollments for Fall 2009 are up 7.42%. The University will provide funds to hire needed adjuncts, with the increase likely to have a greater effect on departments such as Modern Languages. Dr. Fischer expressed concern about the availability of classrooms for additional sections.

The Dean reminded chairs that some employees have been listed as still needing evaluation for 2008-2009.

4. Learning outcomes: progress and looking ahead. Dean Ellis indicated that the College is making progress as it reports the results, action plans, and evidence of improvement for all Liberal Arts programs. She hopes that all material will be online and ready for approval by June 17. She urged chairs who request the College office to upload material online to proofread the final document in the event that errors are introduced due to the cumbersome process of loading data onto the web.

Looking ahead, Dean Ellis indicated that she will visit all program offices in Liberal Arts from July 15 through August 15 to ensure that documents are available for the upcoming SACS review. She urges programs to have print-outs of programs’ online outcomes assessments to use as executive summaries. In addition, programs must have available the names of all persons within departments responsible for each outcome, samples of all rubrics and/or checklists used to assess student work, and all available assessed materials. One department has already placed all such material on TRACS; other departments may do likewise or retain paper copies in offices.

Concerning revisions of outcomes and methods for next year, Dr. Lochman confirmed that the dates for approvals will remain the same as last year’s: departmental approvals must be completed by the end of September and deans’ approvals by the end of October. Dean Ellis indicated that chairs should highlight changes to outcomes and methods in color and forward them as soon as they are available to Pat Heath (ph09) to be printed.

Dr. Lochman has learned from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness that the offsite review is to occur during a three-day period in November. The SACS review team will make recommendations, if any, from that review in or after the first part of December; the University will draft a Focus Report that responds to any recommendations and submit it to SACS by February, prior to the on-site review by the SACS team, 22-25 March 2010.

Announcements:
• 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
• Wednesday, June 15: Deadline to submit online nominations for the 2009 Texas Higher Education Star Award, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s recognition of exceptional contributions toward achieving one or more goals of Closing the Gaps by 2015. See for information http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/StarAward/
• 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.
• Saturday, August 1: Deadline for Fulbright lecturing and research applications
• Wednesday, August 19: LAC Retreat
• Tuesday, August 25: Fall Convocation and Liberal Arts Faculty Meeting
• Tuesday, September 1: Deadline to submit a nomination for the Texas State Alumni Association’s Walter Richter Humanitarian Award. See http://www/TxStateAlumni.org for nomination forms
• Tuesday, September 1: Deadline to submit a nomination for the Texas State Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award. For nomination forms see http://www.TxStateAlumni.org
• Wednesday, September 30: Revisions to Academic Affairs Learning Outcomes and Methods for 2009-2010 reviewed by chairs/directors
• Wednesday, September 30: Revisions to General Education Learning Outcomes and Methods reviewed by chairs’ directors prior to approval by the Dean of University College and General Education Council
• 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: Revisions to Academic Affairs Learning Outcomes and Methods reviewed by deans
• Friday, October 30: Revised General Education 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