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Liberal Arts Council Minutes 2014


Liberal Arts Council

 28 May 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, Vince Luizzi, Susan Day, Dan Lochman, Vicki Brittain,  Associate Dean Britt Bousman, and Associate Dean Nancy Grayson

Guests: Manda Anderson, Craig Hanks, Ken Grasso


1.  NEH DTP search:

Dr. Grayson briefed Council members on the upcoming search for the next National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor search at Texas State. She noted that tenured faculty in any Liberal Arts department may apply as long as the proposal includes a humanities emphasis. Chairs/directors will soon be asked to appoint a tenured faculty member to serve on the committee to recommend external reviewers for the process. Applicants are not eligible to serve as committee members. Council members discussed the possibility of online interviews with applicants as part of the evaluation process.

2.  Curriculum:

Lucy Harney asked Council members to review the LA Curriculum 2014-2015 TRACS site and inform her of faculty and staff who should be added or removed. Chairs/directors should also notify Lucy as soon as possible if they intend to submit course change requests for the curriculum cycle beginning in September 2014.

3.  CAD update:

      Dean Hennessy briefed Council members on the CAD meeting of 5/27:

  • Trend Summary (handout) on student demographics at the University and state-wide. Dean Hennessy reviewed recent trends, including the projected rise in first-generation college students in Texas, declining mean SAT/ACT scores for college-bound students, and future challenges to maintaining/improving retention and graduation rates for lower-income students.
  • UPPS 04.04.06 Outside Employment and Activities (HO). Dean Hennessy reviewed portions of the current draft of UPPS 04.04.06 involving the requirement for faculty to report and gain approval for outside employment as well as for several types of non-compensated activities. Council members agreed that these requirements might discourage faculty from engaging in professional service. Dean Hennessy noted that the administration is pursuing the possibility of a reporting cap that would exclude honoraria of smaller amounts. Council members further discussed the feasibility of processing such a large number of requests, given the high level of engagement of faculty in professional and community activities. They also expressed concern over potential infringements on free expression outside the workplace.
  • Commencement follow-up. The recent over-reportage of Texas State graduates has led to a review of the current procedures by which students apply for graduation. Manda Anderson, director of Liberal Arts advising, reported that PACE dean Dann Brown is working with advising centers to clarify application procedures and methods used for certifying graduates.
  • Tk20 Annual evaluation rubric/reporting line (HO). Dean Hennessy provided updates on the annual faculty evaluation process. Council members voted unanimously to retain the current overall evaluation rubric for the College, with departments continuing to use their own rubrics to provide more specific assessments of faculty performance. Council members also agreed to continue with the current reporting line procedures.

It was noted that inclusion of adjunct faculty in the FARRS system has been problematic. Dean Hennessy clarified that all faculty, including per-course faculty and program faculty, should be reviewed using the FARRS system.

  • Admissions and registration reports. Projections for both graduate and undergraduate fall enrollments are encouraging.
  • Announcements.

                   -- Sociology’s MS in Dementia in Aging has received approval from the Board of Regents.

-- Title IX training will soon be required for all faculty and staff of the Texas State University System.

                  -- Summer school budgets have now been approved as submitted.

4.  Other business:

  • The President has approved a 3% merit raise pool for faculty and staff for the coming year.
  • The current system for conducting staff evaluations at the University is under review.

Around the Table:

Dean Hennessy will send around a digital copy of the full report on demographic trends in Texas.

A Council for University Retention will soon be formed. Dr. Grayson will represent Liberal Arts. Dr. Day noted that raising admissions standards would increase success and retention of students.

Due to staffing shortages in the LA office, the chair/director deadline for approving learnings outcomes reports has been extended. Lucy will contact chairs/directors when reports are ready for approval.

Dean Hennessy discussed plans for staffing the Liberal Arts office beginning next spring, when Kathy Scott will retire.


The meeting was adjourned.