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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

Liberal Arts Council Minutes

September 13, 2017

2:00 PM—Flowers Hall 230

Presiding: Dean Mary Brennan
Present: Council members:
Audwin Anderson, Susan Day (recording), Dennis Dunn, Beth Erhart, Alberto Giordano, Ken Grasso, Craig Hanks, Lucy Harney, Bill Kelemen, Dan Lochman, Angela Murphy, Aimee Roundtree, Chad Smith.

Absent: John Mckiernan-Gonzalez

Guests: Dr. Gloria Martinez, Michelle Sotolongo, Dr. Kambra Bolch, Dr. Maria Resendiz, Dr. Bob Vasquez, Micky Autrey, Dr. Beth Wuest, Dr. Mark Turner


Dean Brennan welcomed the Council to the new academic year, and members and guests introduced themselves.


A brief report on the status of the Latino Studies minor was presented by Dr. Gloria Martinez, chair of the committee to create the program proposal.  The committee has held meetings and is creating a proposal. Dr. Smith reported that the Department of Sociology is willing to house the minor.  Plans are to hire a faculty member at the Associate Professor level whose major research is in Latino Studies, and who would be tenured in the Department of Sociology.  The new faculty member would build the program and teach in the Department.  Dr. Grasso moved and Dr. Kelemen seconded the motion to house the minor in Sociology.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.  Dean Brennan clarified that the new faculty member would not “count against” the College or the Department of Sociology when requesting future new lines.  It was suggested that the Committee’s proposal include language that would promise that the new faculty member would not “count against” the College or the Department of Sociology when requesting future new lines.


Dr. Kelemen and Dr. Lochman moved and seconded approval of the 7.26.17 minutes.


Dr. Brennan reported on undergraduate research ideas offered by the Honors College.  Students should be encouraged to submit their undergraduate research for publication, and to apply for research travel funds.  Faculty members are encouraged to assist students’ in scholarship and research at all stages of their college careers, not just in the senior year.


Presidential Fellow Dr. Dana Garcia will create a Bobcat Days’ display of undergraduate research to demonstrate students’ work at Texas State.  The possible format of that display was discussed; Dr. Garcia wants the display to be “visual.”  Dean Brennan will discuss College ideas about the format with Dr. Garcia.  Chairs were encouraged to send examples of student research and creative work to Dr. Garcia. 


A report by Gary Ray about a 2017 Texas high school survey of seniors included the perception that Texas State academic standards are seen as lower than many other universities, including local comparisons. Possible explanations and solutions for the perception were discussed. Dr. Roundtree indicated that she will help to publicize the successes of COLA students.


The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award gala will be held on April 7, 2017.


Step Up for State crowd funding will take place on September 20-21, 2017.


Dr. Kelemen reported on a Liberal Arts Computer Lab proposal to reconfigure the lab, changing the function of the lab to utilize the space in different ways.  A brief discussion of the consequences of this repurposing ensued.  Dr. Grasso will supply data about usage, as well as computer and printing costs.  Student capacity of ITAC labs will also be investigated.


Time-keeping records are of concern to auditors in JCK.  If administrative assistants enter time for administrators, the administrators should also keep paper copies of time records. Since the PPS does not require paper copies, this issue will be revisited.


Dr. Beth Wuest and Dr. Mark Turner discussed the SACS-COC process and learning outcomes.  Their handout is attached.  SACS-COC faculty issues include whether faculty who teach are qualified to teach the courses they are teaching.  Dr. Wuest reported that 93% of universities flunk this standard during the off-site review, although the issues are often resolved on-site review.  Sixty-five percent of universities pass the off-site review, and reviewers can ask about all standards when they come to campus for the on-site review.   


Dr. Wuest made the following points:

  • Outcome reports for 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 will be submitted for the next review. 
  • Continuous improvement should be discussed as a story of improvement in one or two areas.
  • Methods that have led to 100% success should be dropped and new methods created. 
  • Mission statements for different academic levels (BA, MA, PhD) should reflect those different levels. 
  • Departments can simplify targets for the methods, reports of results, and reports of improvements. 
  • Action plans should be based on improvement reports. 
  • Action plans do not have to include more than one or two targets
  • Evidence of improvement can focus on one or two outcomes. 
  • Changes can be made this fall to method sections. 
  • Administrative outcome data will be available in December.
  • Administrative outcomes can be changed this fall. 
  • Departments can select new administrative outcome targets and methods.
  • Targets should be fixed (e.g., “in 4 years”) or directional (e.g., higher or lower) and appropriate to the program. 
  • Data can be found in self-service tools, (e.g., University Enrollment Explorer) and CatStats. 
  • Data from Academic Program Review tables can be used and can be found in CatStats. 


Around the Table:

Dr. Harney announced that sponsors for the Modern Languages Cold War Spies panel will be noted on a poster to be created later this week.


Dr. Day noted that she is willing to visit with departments about assessment issues next week.  Ms. Aikawa will make organize the appointments.


The meeting ended at 4:35 p.m.

Minutes 9.13.17 (DOCX, 22 KB)