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Liberal Arts Council Minutes 2011

25 May 2011, 3:00 pm, FH 229

Presiding: Dr. Mike Hennessy (for Dean Ann Marie Ellis)
Recording: Associate Dean Lucy Harney

Council Members: Dennis Dunn, Susan Day, Vicki Brittain, Shirley Ogletree, Mary Brennan (for Frank de la Teja), Bob Fischer, Jon McGee, Vince Luizzi, Phil Suckling, and Associate Dean Nancy Grayson

Guests: Mr. Terry Ondreyka, Mr. James Webb, Mr. Sergio Rey, Ms. Joyce Munoz, Ms. Chantelle Elder, Ms. Madelyn Patlan, Ms. Elizabeth Prado, Ms. Jessica Koesler, Ms. Jamie Donaldson, Ms. Emily Edwards

1. Congratulations: a) to Bill DeSoto (POSI) for receiving a Fulbright Scholar Grant for Spring 2012, during which he will teach and conduct research in the Ukraine; and b) to Jim Petersen (GEO) who will be awarded the George J. Miller Award at the National Council for Geographic Education conference in Portland, Oregon in August. This award, which recognizes a distinguished record of service to geography education, is the highest honor given by the NCGE.

2. Liberal Arts in the News: The CNN segment "My City, My Secret," hosted and narrated by Twister Marquiss (ENG), recently aired on CNN Headline News, featuring visits to Wake the Dead Coffee House, Aquarena Center, and Cheatham Street Warehouse.

3. TRAVELTracks: Terry Ondreyka, Associate Vice President for Financial Services, introduced his team and made a brief introduction regarding the upcoming implementation of TRAVELTracks, the online travel application system at Texas State.

James Webb, Director of Accounting, provided an overview of the new system, highlighting changes from the paper system: 1) faculty will be required to “sign and send” applications electronically for encumbrance and reimbursement; 2) reimbursement requests that fall within the approved amount or exceed the approved amount by less than 10% will be approved automatically without chair review; 3) meal receipts will no longer be required, with a pre-calculated per diem for meals assigned instead. Per diem for first and last day of travel are calculated at 75%, with all days between at 100%; 4) there will be an automatic calculation as to the most cost effective transportation option for ground travel; 5) for the conversion of foreign currencies, plans are in place to accept an average rate during the days of travel as provided by (recommended as the preferred source). Travelers may still submit receipts or credit card statements that indicate the exchange rates for individual purchases.

Sergio Rey, Assistant Director of Accounting, conducted a demonstration of the TRACKSTravel system.

Council members and guests raised serious concerns over the planned overage allowance. It was pointed out that departmental budgets don’t have sufficient funds to cover such overages. Mr. Ondreyka suggested that chairs approve 10% less for travel applications as a work-around for this problem. Council members expressed their preference that the system be adjusted to restore chair approval for overages of any amount.

Council members observed that many faculty members will find the SAP system and the TRAVELTracks process difficult to use, and will rely increasingly on administrative assistants, thereby increasing their workload considerably. Some members recommended allowing continued use of paper applications for faculty who prefer it. Other Council members requested that travel assistants be allowed to “sign and send” travel documents as proxies for faculty, provided the faculty member signs a paper copy of each application (to be kept on file by the travel assistant and/or scanned and uploaded as part of the documentation process).

Noting the increasing array of online systems that faculty are required to navigate, Council members requested that a universal sign-in procedure be designed for all online systems to be used routinely by faculty. Joyce Munoz, Associate Director of Enterprise Systems and Technology Resources, informed the Council that possibilities for providing a universal sign-in are being investigated.

Team members recommended that all faculty be urged to submit travel applications prior to travel dates so that they will be insured by the University in the event of an accident or other incident while on university business. For this same reason, even faculty who are not requesting reimbursement for travel expenses should submit travel applications and receive approvals prior to departure.

Mr. Ondreyka asked that Dr. Harney compile and forward him a list of suggestions from the Council, which he will convey to the appropriate Vice Presidents and councils. He also noted that the team will conduct a follow-up evaluation of the new system 90 days after implementation.

The meeting was adjourned.

Announcements and Reminders

Chair/Director/Faculty Deadlines:

• June 15: Deadline for chairs/directors to convey 10-year goals/predictions to Dean Ellis
• June 17: Summer Session II PCRs due to Jamie (
• July 1: Deadline to apply to use faculty-authored materials in Fall 2011 (
• July 15: Deadline to apply for National Integrated Water Quality Program grants (
• July 20: Deadline to submit proposals for NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resource Grants (
• July 27: Deadline to apply for NSF CAREER grants (
• August 1: Application deadline for Faculty Fulbrights ( (further information: Steve Wilson
• October 17: Application deadline for Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program ( (further information: Steve Wilson
• November 1: Deadline to apply to use faculty-authored materials in Spring 2012 (

Liberal Arts Events:

• August 12: Summer Commencement (6 pm, Strahan)
• August 23: University Convocation and Annual General Faculty Meeting (9 a.m., Strahan)

Professional Development:

• Summer 2011 Professional Development Workshops: (
• June 20 (2:30-4:30) or June 21 (8:30-10:30): Workshop: Mobile Device Security (JCK 460) (
• June 22: Workshop: EEO Training for Employees: Non-Supervisors(8:30-12, JCK 1100) (
• June 28 (1:30-4:30) or June 29 (9-12): Workshop: Payment Requirements for International Employees and Independent Contractors (JCK 460) (
• July 11-20: Workshop: Creating and Teaching an Online Course (w/stipend) ( by 3/25)
• August 1-12: Workshop: Technology Integration (w/stipend) ( by 6/1)
• October 14-15: Grant Writing Workshop (


• July 1: Last class day Summer I
• July 6: 1st class day Summer II
• August 5: Last class day Summer II
• August 24: 1st class day Fall Semester