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Liberal Arts Council Minutes 2016


Liberal Arts Council

3 February 2016, 2:00 pm, FH 230


Presiding: Dean Michael Hennessy

Recording: Associate Dean Lucy Harney

Council Members: Bill Kelemen, Dennis Dunn, Mary Brennan, Beth Erhart, Alberto Giordano, Craig Hanks, Chad Smith, Dan Lochman, Ken Grasso, Associate Dean Britt Bousman, and Associate Dean Nancy Grayson

Guests: Manda Andersen, Jamie Donaldson, Jeremy Peña, Elizabeth Prado, Deb Howell, Treena Herrington, Madelyn Patlan, Katie Alonzo, Camrie Pipper, Dontae McGaugh, Danielle McEwen


1.  Approve LAC minutes:

      Council members unanimously approved the minutes of the Liberal Arts Council      meeting of January 13, 2016.

2.  P-card waivers:

Jamie Donaldson distributed a hand-out and briefed LAC members and department admins on guidelines for the use of P-cards, purchase orders, and e-NPOs. She also discussed advantages of purchasing through the University Marketplace, and provided a list of local caterers approved for Texas State events.

3.  Research Expenditures Report:

Dean Hennessy followed up on AVP Mike Blanda’s CAD presentation on Funded Research at Texas State (PowerPoint slideshow distributed via email), including current and projected research expenditures. Britt Bousman distributed a hand-out indicating research expenditures by Liberal Arts faculty, departments, and research centers for 2015 totaling $1,920,874. Research expenditures across the University rose by 30% in FY15.

4.  Open-access publishing:

Council members discussed the recent increase in open-access publishing of scholarly journals and the implications of the required fees for researchers and institutions. Britt Bousman noted that Texas State’s Council on Funded Research is also considering this question.  

5.  REP:

Britt Bousman distributed a summary of Research Enhancement Program funding for FY16. AVP Blanda reports that the total available funds for this cycle were increased to $520,000, with a funding rate of 43% for all colleges.  

6.  Program proposals:

Beth Erhart presented two program proposals from Anthropology, one to raise the graduation GPA requirement for BA students, and one to raise the graduation GPA requirement for MA students.

Dan Lochman presented two program proposals from English, one to introduce minor changes in the program admission requirements for the MA in Technical Communication, and one to change the course requirements for the BA students seeking a second teaching field in English.

Alberto Giordano presented two program proposals from Geography, one to replace specified courses for the PhD with elective coursework, and one to require a minimum grade of C on all major coursework for undergraduate Geography majors.

Chad Smith presented a program proposal to create an interdisciplinary MA and MS in Sustainability, to be administered by Sociology.

Council members voted unanimously to approve all proposals.

7.  Public Policy Center Feasibility Study:

Dean Hennessy distributed information and provided an overview of a feasibility study (currently underway and coordinated by the consulting firm of Attain, LLC) exploring the creation of an interdisciplinary, bipartisan public policy research center at Texas State. Preliminary brainstorming sessions have already taken place. Attain representatives will conduct interviews and consultations on campus the week of February 8-12.

8.  Other business:

Lucy Harney distributed a draft of the study abroad and assessment sections of the Liberal Arts strategic plan progress report, and asked chairs to advise her of needed alterations by February 5.


Around the table:

Chairs discussed whether annual awards are given in Liberal Arts departments for outstanding faculty accomplishments. No departments currently give internal faculty awards. However, outstanding faculty from across all Liberal Arts departments are nominated each year for University- and College-level recognition.

Bill Kelemen asked if any programs have a minimum GPA requirement for declaring an undergraduate major. There are no Liberal Arts programs with this requirement.

Dennis Dunn announced that International Studies and History, among others, will sponsor a major conference at Texas State on the Obama legacy in the coming year. More details and sponsorship opportunities to come.

Nancy Grayson reported that financial difficulties are causing increasing numbers of students to apply, in some cases very late, for dean’s approval registration.


The meeting was adjourned.