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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

Minutes of the Liberal Arts Council Meeting
3 June 2009, 2:00 pm, FH 230
(Approved at the meeting of Liberal Arts Council on 10 June 2009)

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
Guests: Emily Edwards, Keith Hickman, Jacqueline Todd, Ted Trip

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 4-22-09 reviewed and approved (transition, Graduate College Scholarships, plagiarism policy, outcomes assessment, curriculum issue, CAD update).

2. Congratulations. (a) To the 2008-2009 Liberal Arts applicants for tenure and promotion, all successful: for tenure—Christine Conlee (ANTH), Vicki Smith (ENG), Miriam Williams (ENG), Matthew Juge (MLAN), Joe Etherton (PSY), Kyong-Hee Chee (SOCI); for promotion to full professor—Kitty Ledbetter (ENG), Brock Brown (GEO), Carole Martin (MLAN), Craig Hanks (PHIL). (b) To Frank de la Teja (HIST), who has been awarded the Medallo de Acero al Mérito Histórico, Capitán Alonso de León en al ámbito Internacional (i.e., The Captain Alonso de León Medal for Historical Merit, International Field) by the Historical, Geographical, and Statistical Society of Nuevo León. (c) To Professor Craig Hanks (PHIL), named the NEH Distinguished Teacher in Humanities, 2009-2012. (d) To the four Liberal Arts faculty selected to participate in 2009 Multicultural Curriculum Transformation Institute: Audwin Anderson (SOCI), Chad Hammett ENG), Deborah Harris (SOCI), and Nancy Wilson (ENG). (d) To Kent Reilly (ANTH), Director of the Center for Arts and Symbolism of Ancient America, who sponsored the successful 16th Annual Mississippian Iconographic Workshop at Texas State, 5/27-5/31. (e) To Libby Allison (ENG), who has been appointed a Texas State Service-Learning Fellow for 2009 to develop a service-learning component for a graduate course in Medical Rhetoric and Writing, whose students will provide consulting in writing and editing for local nonprofit heath-care organizations. (f) To Becky Jackson and the Department of English, for their course contributions to the proposed doctoral program in Developmental Education, which has received preliminary authority from the Coordinating Board. (g) To Nancy Wilson (ENG) and English graduate student Amy Kuehl, who will open a satellite Writing Center at the Round Rock Higher Education Center. (h) To the Geography faculty and staff for another successful reunion, which brought together hundreds of alumni and students for an event that included a celebration of retiring legend, Doc Augustin. (i) To Michael Trice in MATC, the Outstanding Graduate Student in the Department of English who has been awarded a 2009 Fulbright Fellowship to pursue graduate study in the United Kingdom. (j) To Jessica Spangler, an undergraduate major in Geography and German, who will received a 2009 Fulbright Fellowship to Germany. (k) To Liberal Arts Alumnus and current Liberal Arts Career Advisor Chris Jones, who has been named Elected Public Official of the Year by the Centex Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.

3. Liberal Arts in the news. (a) The University Star (4/29) quoted Greg Andrews (HIST) on efforts to preserve Cheatham Street Warehouse as an historical site. (b) The University Star (4/30) featured interesting new courses and comments about them from students and faculty, including Shirley Ogletree (PSY) and James Garber and Ana Juarez (both ANTH). (c) The University Star (4/30) also quoted Kitty Ledbetter (ENG) about the reliability of online sites that rate professors. (d) The periodical Truth about Trade & Technology cited James McWilliams (HIST) as an authority on the controversy surrounding genetically-modified foods in “GMO Rejection: Fatal ‘Rush to Judgment’” (5/26). (e) The Texas Observer (4/15) included a review by Dr. McWilliams on Hank Cardallo’s book Stuffed, concerning questionable practices in the food industry. (f) The online local periodical (5/20) quoted Randall Osborne (PSY) concerning appropriate forensic uses of hypnotism in an article on the hiring of a hypnotist by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office.

4. Sci-Quest/E-Procurement Presentation. Mr. Keith Hickman, Assistant Director of Purchasing, and Mr. Ted Trip, Director of Administrative Information Services, described new online procurement process to be implemented Fall 2010. The new service uses Sci-Quest software that Texas State will configure as an e-procurement system designed to lower costs for routine purchases by pooling orders from across campus and buying in volume. Other institutions, including UT-Austin, Texas A&M, other nearby universities, and prestigious universities nationwide are also implementing purchasing systems using Sci-Quest, so Texas State’s Purchasing Office may be able to pool orders to achieve greater savings. Mr. Hickman distributed handouts with flow-charts of current Texas State procurement procedures for P-cards and purchase orders and stated that both will remain in place following implementation of e-procurement; he predicted, however, that users of existing methods of purchasing will find that the new e-procurement process for purchasing will speed acquisitions when compared to existing methods and will provide lower costs when compared to P-cards. E-procurement is similar to the COOL system some now use but will increase the number of vendors, simplify ways to compare quality and price, and facilitate online shopping at the lowest cost. The system is expected to improve workflow by allowing electronic approvals and completion of automated purchase orders for vendors; it may also be configured to check budgets to see the effects of purchases.

Anticipating implementation in October, the Purchasing Office asks account managers to identify features that will improve workflow and to contribute to a list of appropriate vendors. Mr. Hickman and Mr. Trip emphasized that the speed of purchasing should approximate that of P-cards for orders under $5,000 and should have the added advantage of not requiring paper receipts. The logo for the Texas State system will be BobcatBuys, with other logos selected for subsections, including BobCatalog, BobcatBids (for purchases over $5,000), and BobcatForm (for smaller vendors who wish to gain approval). Mr. Hickman and Mr. Trip announced that their office will conduct usability testing in selected offices and lead focus groups for administrative assistants who will use the system.

Council expressed its appreciation to the visitors from Purchasing for their helpful information and their willingness to respond to questions.

5. Liberal Arts Graduate College Scholarships. Following the meeting of April 22, Dr. Grayson investigated the Graduate College’s procedures for notifying students of scholarship awards when they have not been accepted already into graduate programs. Currently, the Graduate College does not notify students of awards until admission to a graduate program; notification is completed only following admission. Dr. Grayson added that the Graduate College is considering implementation of an online application and review process, but such a system is unlikely for the upcoming academic year. Dr. Grayson also distributed samples of Graduate College letters sent to scholarship applicants. Dr. Hennessy suggested that the Graduate College should add a sentence clarifying that awards from the Graduate College are distinct from other scholarships and awards available through departments. Dr. Grayson will bring the suggestion to the attention of the Graduate College.

6. Learning Outcomes. The Dean stated she is now reviewing Liberal Arts assessment results, actions plans, and statements of improvement in student learning. She noted that programs evidence much hard work by Liberal Arts faculty, and results show that the College is working to improve students’ learning. Nevertheless, every program needs to do more to clarify results and provide data that appropriately support conclusions. Dean Ellis distributed a table that Emily Edwards has devised to track the progress of revised assessments, and she announced that each chair and program must report progress on outcomes assessment each Friday at noon until all assessment materials have been posted and approved online. She must see and review all revisions that have not already been approved, and, to facilitate record-keeping, she requests that the date of each draft be included in the subject-line of pertinent emails as well as the top of attached documents.

Around the Table

In a late addition to the agenda, Dr. Lochman distributed a proposal to offer a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology at the Round Rock campus, which will replace a Bachelor of Science degree that has become impractical because students cannot enroll in a sufficient number of science courses given the restrictions imposed by the State’s 120-hour rule. Dr. Crystal Oberle, who represented the Department of Psychology, briefly described the proposal, and Council unanimously approved it.

Dr. Hennessy noted that the Department of English is hosting its third summer pre-doctoral fellow, Marquess Redd, ABD at the University of California at Berkeley. Under the mentorship of Dr. Rob Tally, Mr. Redd will conduct research on the writings of Herman Melville at Texas State. Dr. Day noted that the Department of Sociology will host its second pre-doctoral fellow this summer, Ms. Chao, who is ABD at Texas A&M. Ms. Chao will be mentored by Barbara Trepagnier.

Dean Ellis stated that in future all candidates for fellowships will be brought to Council for consideration so that all members will be aware of the candidates. Several chairs recommended changes to improve matches between fellows and mentors and assess the program’s success in encouraging fellows to apply for positions at Texas State. Dean Ellis asked that the topic return to a future agenda.

• 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
• 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
• September 30: Revisions to Academic Affairs Learning Outcomes and Methods for 2009-2010 reviewed by chairs/directors
• 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