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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

9 September 2009, 2:00 pm, FH 230

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Lucy Harney
Council Members: Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Lucy Harney (for Bob Fischer), Nancy Grayson (for Michael Hennessy) Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Shirley Ogletree, Philip Suckling, Frank de la Teja

1. LAC minutes of meeting on 8 July 2009 reviewed and approved.

2. Congratulations: (a) For receiving recent external grants/contracts to: Christi Conlee, Steve Black, Jon Lohse (all ANTH), Thomas Longoria, Ed Mihalkanin (both POSI), Dennis Dunn (CIS), Robert Larsen, and Richard Boehm (both GEO). (b) To Frank de la Teja (HIST) for being named one of six expert reviewers charged with making recommendations to the State Board of Education in its ongoing review of Texas’ social studies curriculum standards. Frank was also invited to be UT-Pan American’s commencement speaker (8/22/09), addressing students from the colleges of Arts and Humanities, Education, and Health Sciences and Human Services. (c) To Yongmei Lu (GEO), whose PhD student (Tianfang Fang) won 3rd place in the 2009 Best Student Paper Award competition of the CPGIS (International Association of Chinese Professionals in Geographic Information Sciences). (d) To Steve Wilson (ENG) for receiving the Everette Swinney Faculty Senate Award for Teaching Excellence. (e) To 2009 Honorary Professors of International Studies: Byron “Doc” Augustin (GEO), Dennis Dunn, Joseph Yick (both HIST), and Robert Gorman (POSI). (f) To Byron “Doc: Augustin (GEO) for receiving the Muir Mentoring Award. (g) To Dean’s Excellence Award recipients: Richard Dixon, Sven Fuhrmann (both GEO), Elvin Holt, Stephanie Noll (both ENG), Natalie Ceballos, Reiko Graham (both PSY), Michelle Hamilton, Ana Juarez (both ANTH), Nieves Pujalte, Sharon Ugalde (both MODL), Shannon Duffy, Elizabeth Makowski (both HIST), Rebecca Raphael (PHIL), Cynthia Opheim, Lynn Crossett (both POSI), and Kelly Mosel-Talavera (SOC). (h) To Liberal Arts award recipients for Grants and Development: Robert Larsen, Byron “Doc” Augustin (both GEO), Jon Lohse (ANTH), and Tom Grimes (ENG). (i) To all LA Service Award pin recipients. (j) To Jimmy McWilliams (HIST) for being invited to a talk and book signing (8/26/09) at BookPeople in Austin for his new book, Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly. Jimmy also received the Valero Award of Excellence for being selected to deliver this year’s Presidential Seminar. (k) To Lawrence Estaville, Angelika Wahl (and all Geography students, faculty, and staff who participated in Texas State’s drive to register bone marrow donors) for receiving the 2009 National Marrow Donor Program's Collegiate Award.

3. Liberal Arts in the News: (a) The Wall Street Journal ( 7/14/09), The Dallas Morning News ( 7/9/09), the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ( 7/20/2009), and the Houston Chronicle ( 8/17/09) cited Frank de la Teja’s (HIST) remarks as expert consultant for the State Board of Education. (b) Vicki Bynum (HIST) was cited in The New York Times ( 7/29/09) regarding the ongoing debate provoked by the publication of a new book on Jones, an anti-confederate county in the Old South, which reportedly sensationalizes (in service of a potential film script) material that was presented in Bynum’s book (2001), also optioned (2007) by Universal Pictures. (c) Jimmy McWilliams (HIST) had an article posted on Slate Magazine ( 8/5/09 “Are Organic Veggies Better for You?”) addressing the controversy over the efficacy of consuming organic foods. The editors also referred readers to his Slate piece from last year (“Rusted Roots”) regarding the threat of heavy metals in organically-grown products. The Wall Street Journal ( 8/22/09) and the Austin-American Statesman ( 8/26/09 [linked to Texas State web site]) reviewed Jimmy McWilliams’ new book, Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly. The Statesman piece also referred to McWilliams’ 2007 New York Times article addressing the controversy over “food miles”. (d) The Austin Business Journal and Community Impact News: Georgetown/Taylor/Hutto (6/23/09) summarized the findings of a three-year evaluation, which Toni Watt (SOC) was commissioned to perform, of two local integrated behavioral health programs. (e) The Desert Sun ( 7/25/09) and The Press-Enterprise ( 8/10/09) cited a study co-authored by Kelly Haskard Zolnierek (PSY) on the correlation between the effectiveness of physicians’ communication skills and the adherence of patients to treatment regimens. (f) The Houston Chronicle ( 8/15/09) cited Michelle Hamilton (ANTH), director of Texas State’s Forensic Anthropology Center, in a piece detailing the work of the center, and national interest from potential donors. (g) The University New Service (Texas State web site) ran a piece on the certificate program in Southeast Asian studies to be developed within the Center for International Studies by Dennis Dunn (HIST/CIS) with a DOE grant of $88,000. (h) Featured in the latest edition of Hillviews: Brock Brown, Piper Professor (GEO); Jonnie Wilson, Freedom Riders (MCGS); Dennis Dunn, International Studies Director (HIST/CIS); Valentina Glajar (MODL), Mark Fonstad (GEO), Susan Morrison (ENG), and Mark Busby (CSSW) for recent publications. (A special thanks to Ann Friou for the excellent pieces written for Hillviews.)

4. CAD Update:

(a) T&P Issues: Dean Ellis discussed her plans for lunches with tenure-track professors and noted that chairs are welcome to attend. Comments by the Associate Provost recommending 1.5 article submissions per year were discussed. Dean Ellis commented that his recommendation does not alter the stated minimum of 5 refereed journal articles in Liberal Arts, but noted that candidates should try to exceed this minimum to improve their chances for tenure/promotion.

Issues relating to early promotion and years credited to experienced junior faculty were discussed. Dean Ellis recommended against applications for early promotion except in extraordinary cases, and advised that these candidates have roughly twice the number of publications as those candidates applying in the regular time frame; she also commented that grant activity would be considered important. It was pointed out that some junior faculty may now feel uncertain about policies regarding early promotion and publication requirements. Concern was expressed that restrictions on early promotion may damage the University’s retention of strong tenure-track faculty. Dean Ellis commented that letters from outside reviewers, while not required, are extremely useful in justifying the recommendation for (or against) tenure/promotion, especially in cases of early tenure and promotion. A discussion followed about various methods for choosing outside reviewers.

It was pointed out that close approval votes in departments or within the college review group, or votes that recommend tenure without promotion make approval at higher levels unlikely.

Dean Ellis reminded chairs that one bucket of materials per candidate is preferred.

(b) Requests for New Lines: Dean Ellis distributed a handout indicating the format she recommends for the request of new faculty and TA/IA lines. A discussion followed regarding the relative advantages/disadvantages of opting for senior lecturers instead of tenure-track hires. Dean Ellis pointed out that Liberal Arts has experienced more growth of late in the hiring of lecturers and Target of Opportunity candidates than in the hiring of traditional tenure-track faculty.

(c) Requests for New Graduate Programs/Certificates: Ongoing Liberal Arts initiatives such as the MA in Applied Philosophy and Ethics and the PhD in Anthropology with a concentration in Forensics were mentioned. It was noted that Geography has begun consideration of an MS in Geo-informatics to be offered jointly with Computer Science. Philosophy is considering pursuing an interdisciplinary graduate certificate, major, or minor in sustainability studies. History may consider offering an MPH (Master’s in Public History). History hopes to have a PhD program in the future. Dean Ellis raised the possibility of a graduate certificate for the behavioral sciences. The advantages/disadvantages of these types of certificates were discussed. The possibility of attaining school status for International Studies was revisited. There was general agreement that International Studies should have its own thesis course numbers.

(d) Learning Outcomes: Chairs please send changes (revisions to last year’s documents) to Lucy and Emily by September 21 in a Word document with tracked changes. Dean Ellis will review Anthropology’s changes on Beth Wuest’s reporting site.

5. Strategic Plan Updates: Chairs please send changes (e.g. new lines, staff, TA’s) to Lucy and Emily ASAP with “Strategic Plan” as the header.

6. Facilities:

(a) UAC Update: Dean Ellis commented on the Facilities Committee meeting; she will continue to follow up with Nancy Nusbaum about concerns that the UAC construction will create dust problems in Evans.

(b) Need for Special Seats for Students: Some students have reported that they can’t comfortably use the standard classroom desks. Nancy Nusbaum has funds for alternative seating if needed.

7. Accommodations for foreign exchange students at Texas State: Dean Ellis will approve only those exchange proposals that demonstrate a commitment to provide support for foreign students during their time here.

Around the Table:

Dr. Ogletree distributed responses to her survey of departments regarding MA exam
procedures. She also distributed invitations to an upcoming event that will celebrate the Psychology Department’s 40th anniversary as well as honor its founder, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Dr. Theron Stimmel.

Dean Ellis clarified LA procedures regarding staff performance awards; she will try to clarify a recent memo on this matter from Bill Nance to department chairs.

Dr. de la Teja reminded those invited to be members of the Mexico 2010 committee to respond to him or Dr. Jaime Chahin.

Dean Ellis reminded chairs that funding is still needed for Common Experience.

There was agreement to move ahead with installing a projector (available from Sociology) as well as a drop-down screen in FH 230.

The meeting was adjourned.


• ASAP: Departmental Changes to Strategic Plan to Lucy and Emily
• Thursday, September 10: Compliance certification due to SACS
• Thursday, September 17, 2-4 pm, Alkek 105/106: “Building Faculty Credentials and Documentation for Promotion and Tenure”
• Friday, September 18, 9-11 am, TMH Swinney Room: Planning session for all departments undergoing Academic Program Review in 2010
• Monday, September 21: Revisions to Academic Affairs Learning Outcomes, Methods, and Missions for 2009-2010 due to Lucy and Emily
• Friday, September 25: Student appointments to LASAC and LAGradSAC to Nancy Grayson
• Wednesday, September 30: Revisions to Academic Affairs Learning Outcomes, Methods, and Missions for 2009-2010 reviewed and approved by chairs/directors
• Wednesday, September 30: Revisions to General Education Learning Outcomes, Methods, and Missions reviewed by chairs/directors prior to approval by the Dean of University College and General Education Council
• Wednesday, October 7, 5 pm: Deadline to submit proposals for Research Enhancement Grants
• October 10: Strategic Plan Progress Report completed
• October 15: Deadline for receipt of applications for Faculty Development Leaves by the office of the Faculty Senate
• October-November: Off-site SACS review
• Friday, October 30: Revisions to Academic Affairs Learning Outcomes, Methods, and Missions reviewed and approved by deans
• Friday, October 30: Revised General Education Learning Outcomes, Methods, and Missions 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 23-25: On-site SACS peer review conducted
• May 29: 2009-2010 Academic Affairs Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Results reviewed/approved by chairs/directors
• June 15: 2009-2010 Academic Affairs Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Results audited by Associate Deans for Academic Assessment
• June 30: 2009-2010 Academic Affairs Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Results reviewed/approved by Deans
• December 1-7: Review by Commission on Colleges