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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

Minutes of the Liberal Arts Council Meeting
8 July 2009, 2:00 pm, FH 230

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, Shirley Ogletree, Philip Suckling

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 6-10-09 reviewed and approved (CAD update, learning outcomes).

2. Congratulations. (a) To Mary Brennan and Jimmy McWilliams (both HIST), 2009 Presidential Award Winners in Teaching and Scholarly/Creative Activity. Dr. McWilliams will also offer this year’s Presidential Seminar. (b) To John Blair (ENG), Mark Carter (GEO), Peter Siegenthaler (HIST), Rich Earl (GEO), Dan Lochman (ENG), Deb Morton (ENG), Marc Turner (PSY), Kent Reilly (ANTH), Christina Conlee (ANTH), and Rob Tally (ENG), all receiving University Awards for achievements in Teaching, Scholarly/Creative Activity, or Service.

3. Liberal Arts in the News. (a) KLRU-Austin replayed a 2008 history of Juneteenth narrated by Frank de la Teja (HIST) on 6/18/09. (b) NPR’s All Things Considered (7/3/09) featured Michelle Hamilton (ANTH), graduate students Laura Ayers and Teresa Gotay Nugent, and the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility in a segment, “In Texas, A Living Lab for Studying the Dead.”

4. Target of Opportunity candidates. The Departments of Anthropology, Geography, History, Philosophy, and Sociology each presented a candidate for this year’s Target of Opportunity program, which is designed to increase the diversity of faculty. Candidates selected for hire may start any semester from Fall 2009 through Fall 2010. Following the presentations, the Dean commended Council members for their encouragement of uniformly strong applicants. She asked Council to forward their rankings of the candidates to her by email as soon as possible.

5. Dean’s Award candidates. The Dean asked that all departments submit to her by next Monday, July 13, nominees for the 2009 Dean’s awards.

6. Retreat agenda: managing outcomes assessment, strategic goals.

(a) Having reflected on this year’s assessment of learning outcomes, Dean Ellis has determined to find ways to simplify and better manage the workload for them as they continue past next year’s SACS review. To that end, she asks that chairs photocopy and, at Liberal Arts Council Retreat, share with one another one outcome from their assessment this year that seemed to be valid, worthy, and readily measurable; they are also to share a second outcome that, though perhaps valid, proved time-consuming and difficult to implement and/or assess. She hopes that Council’s discussion will assist programs as they revise outcomes and methods.

(b) The Dean also asked chairs to review distributed copies of the 2009 Update of the Liberal Arts Academic Plan and be prepared to discuss goals that have been achieved, changed, or are needed. At the Retreat, members will report on annotations to the Update. Concerning planning, Dr. Day noted that she hopes for more information about plans to encourage participation in the newly formed MITC in San Antonio. Dean Ellis stated she would seek more information during an upcoming meeting with the Provost, when she will also discuss allocation of space in the new building, the College’s Target of Opportunity candidates, and needed staff. Council discussed the University’s commitment to support hires of adjunct faculty to teach classes added due to enrollment demand.

(c) Dr. de la Teja, Dr. Day, and other Council members are interested in developing departmental policies for student civility, plagiarism, and electronic devices in classrooms. Those developing drafts of such policies should bring them to discuss and share with others at the Retreat.

(d) The Dean invited Council to submit to her other items for discussion at the Retreat.

7. Student commencement speaker. Dr. Grayson distributed a handout from the Liberal Arts website describing the criteria and current process of nominating student commencement speakers. She asked for advice about how to increase the number of nominees and how to simplify the nominating process. She also urged Council to encourage coordinators of honor societies to nominate students that meet the posted criteria. Dr. Suckling inquired about developing some form of rotation to ensure students from all departments are represented; Dr. Day requested that lists of students who have applied for graduation by the deadline be provided to chairs so they may consider potential nominees from their departments. Dr. Ogletree and others suggested that a list of GPAs of students who have completed a minimum of 60 hours at Texas State would help departments select nominees. Council also discussed the feasibility of changing criteria, including the possibility of encouraging nominations of graduate students, who now attend commencement alongside undergraduates. Dr. Grayson will investigate whether the Registrar’s office can provide GPAs of students who have applied for graduation.

8. FARS updates. Dr. Lochman distributed a memorandum detailing Marc Turner’s plans to upgrade the Liberal Arts FARS site, and he discussed possible improvements to the section for reporting external grants, contracts, and program funding. He asked Council members to notify of him of suggestions for improving the system prior to a scheduled meeting with Dr. Turner.

9. CAD update: Dr. Lochman reported on a CAD meeting held on 30 June. Nico Schüler and Beth Wuest provided an update of the University’s QEP, outlining various initiatives: (a) developing a Personalized Academic and Career Exploration (PACE) Center intended to help first-year students clarify career goals and develop and implement an educational plan, (b) creating and assessing curricula and experiences that enhance students’ first year, (c) reinforcing career planning, (d) improving the hardware and software available to advisors, and (e) improving advisors’ training and development. The Associate Provost discussed current and expected allocations of advisors to University College and academic colleges. The Associate Provost also entertained discussion of proposed revisions to PPS 8.08.

Around the Table:

Dr. Ellis announced that she has begun visiting departments to observe the availability
and preservation of required SACS materials. Having visited Political Science earlier in the day, she presented Dr. Brittain’s organization of materials as a model for other departments.

In reference to the possibility of moving Philosophy to Derrick during the renovation of the Psychology building, the Dean emphasized the importance of keeping departments that teach courses in the core on the Quad to enhance the coherence of students’ experiences.

Deans Ellis and Grayson reported on a recent discovery that there is a standardized “conversion table” when transcripting European courses. In a recent case, a 5-hr. course was transcripted as 2.5 hrs. at Texas State.

• Wednesday, July 15: Target of Opportunity candidates due to Provost
• Saturday, August 1: Deadline for Fulbright lecturing and research applications
• Wednesday, August 19, 10 am to 2 pm, FH 230: 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/ 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
• 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