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Liberal Arts Council Minutes 2014


Liberal Arts Council

 16 April 2014, 2:00 pm, FH 230


Presiding: Dean Michael Hennessy

Recording: Associate Dean Lucy Harney

Council Members: Bill Kelemen, Dennis Dunn, Mary Brennan, Beth Erhart, Bob Fischer, Alberto Giordano, Craig Hanks, Vince Luizzi, Dan Lochman, Susan Day, Vicki Brittain, Associate Dean Britt Bousman, and Associate Dean Nancy Grayson

Guests: Craig Hanks, Ken Grasso


1.  Awards day follow-up:

Council members discussed possible refinements for enhancing future Liberal Arts student award ceremonies, including: 1) moving students toward the podium more efficiently (perhaps using alphabetical signs to group students by last name); 2) encouraging late-comers to be seated; and 3) introducing first those students receiving special awards (and announcing all honors for multiple award-winners at the same time), to facilitate the photo process. Other issues discussed: excessive applause, stage lighting, position of the podium microphone, the Dean’s visibility on stage, and the condition of the restrooms in the Alkek teaching theater. Nancy Grayson noted that the PPS for the Liberal Arts awards should be updated.

2.  Tenure and promotion follow-up:

Dean Hennessy informed Council members that President Trauth has approved all tenure and promotion recommendations from Liberal Arts. He reminded chairs of the importance to the process of written reports from chairs, personnel committees, and deans. 

3.  Annual review of chairs:

Dean Hennessy discussed with Council members the preferred method(s) for making annual chair reviews available to department faculty.

4.  CAD update:

      Dean Hennessy briefed Council members on the CAD meeting of 4/15:

·   The application for faculty development leaves will soon be online. There are ongoing discussions regarding the role of chairs and deans in the approval process.

·   Enrollment lists are coming soon from Dean Daniel Brown.

·   Dr. Robert Gratz, Special Assistant to the President, has announced his upcoming retirement. An internal search is underway to fill this position.

5.  Program change proposal from Geography:

Alberto Giordano distributed and reviewed a proposed course option addition to the PhD in Environmental Geography. After discussion Council members unanimously approved the proposal.

6.  Registrar: new grades:

Council members reported significant confusion among faculty regarding a new grade category recently announced in an email from the registrar’s office. They expressed concern over the apparent lack of prior consultation with academic units. Dean Hennessy will follow up with AP Cynthia Opheim.

7.  Other business:

President Trauth has approved MCGS director Audwin Anderson’s request to change his center’s name from the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies to the Center for Diversity and Gender Studies.

Council members discussed their units’ general practices regarding honoraria offered to guest speakers.

Dennis Dunn encouraged all departments to work on developing international exchanges for faculty and students.

Alberto Giordano will visit Texas State’s exchange partner, Rennes II University, in France this summer. Chairs are encouraged to send him any questions or proposals that he might pursue with Rennes II representatives.

Chairs expressed concerns over recent issues related to study abroad for students. It was noted that a new administrative position (to begin in fall 2014) has been created to oversee study abroad and other international initiatives.

Around the Table:

Nancy Grayson will send out a list of graduate students who will receive Graduate College scholarships for 2014-2015.

Mary Brennan announced History’s spring book reading with faculty authors Ron Johnson and John McKiernan-Gonzalez (4/16, 5:00, FH 230).

Council members should report to Susan Day any instances of chronic underfunding from the current M&O formula. Bill Kelemen, Beth Erhart, and others requested clarification of the current formula to help explain yearly fluctuations and other aspects of the apportionment process.

Bob Fischer, Vince Luizzi, and Vicki Brittain recommended changes to the funding award procedures for academic computing that would reduce or eliminate yearly competition for labs supplying essential services to students. Dean Hennessy will follow up with CAD and AVP Milt Nielsen in Instructional Technologies.


The meeting was adjourned.