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Liberal Arts Council Minutes 2020

Minutes—Liberal Arts Council

March 11, 2020—2:00 p.m.



Presiding: Dean Mary Brennan
Present: Council members: Manda Anderson, Susan Day (recording), Beth Erhart, Ken Grasso, Craig Hanks,
Lucy Harney, Paul Hart (late), Bill Kelemen, Yongmei Lu, John Mckiernan-Gonzalez, Angela Murphy, Aimee Roundtree, Vicki Smith, Chad Smith

Guests:  no one

Absent:  Audwin Anderson,


The amended minutes of 2.12.20 were unanimously approved by a vote of the Council on a motion by Dr. Grasso and a second by Dr. Lu.


Dean Brennan asked the Council to consider previously discussed policy drafts.  The draft travel policy was discussed and amended and adopted on a motion by Dr. Kelemen and a second by Dr. Hanks passed.  The adopted policy is included at the end of the minutes


The proposed Workload policy will return at a future meeting.


CAD update

The discussion of Heather Aidala’s “mental health of students” presentation centered on the desirability of it being put on line.


Dean Brennan circulated a national 2018 survey of earned doctorates by subfields of area of study, citizenship status, ethnicity, and race.


Dean Brennan reported that Scott Bowman is working on template to allow departments to complete a diversity snapshot of their departments.


Dean Brennan announced that the B.A. in Religious Studies has been approved by the Board of Regents.


Dean Brennan also announced that she will nominate the incoming new chairs to attend the Texas Academy of Academic Leadership. 


Dean Brennan asked for volunteers to be graduation marshals.  Chairs said they would ask their faculty.


Dean Brennan discussed issues related to summer administrative appointments.  The 2020 COLA summer budget is higher than the 2019 budget.  Dean Brennan notified chairs that she will send a letter to them to be sent to their faculty explaining her decisions about program directors’ summer salaries.


Problems related to COVID-19 will result in a CAD meeting on Friday 3-23-20.  Dean Brennan announced that she must be prepared to share actions taken in COLA departments to create contingency plans in preparation for a closed campus.  She asked for chairs to email (1) their essential questions about the university’s potential closure to her and all members of LAC and (2) steps taken by departments to plan and operate for a potential closure.  Business continuity plans previously created for emergencies may be consulted for ideas about the situation.  Dr. Lu distributed two handouts from chairs already affected by university closures. 


Around the table

Dr. Roundtree has received Student Expo names from only four units.  She garnered additional names from lists of Honors thesis students.  She asked chairs to provide names of students who would be nominees for the Student Expo.  She has potential names from everyone now except Geography, Anthropology, World Languages and Literature, and Diversity and Gender Studies.  She noted that Earth Day Austin has requested support.  A publisher is willing to provide a workshop for how to create publishing proposals. 


Dr. Kelemen announced that the Temple Grandin presentation is still expected to be held.


The meeting ended at 3:25.






  1. Policy Statements


01.01  The purpose of this policy is to provide the College of Liberal Arts at Texas State University with a common process for allocating faculty travel expenses for activities pursued away from the Texas State University campus.


    1.  In addition, it provides a rationale for compensated faculty travel.
    2.  It recognizes that travel is part of the numerous activities that support faculty development, which includes research, teaching and service.
    3. Because department plans, goals, and cultures vary, this policy allows for differences between departments.  Nevertheless, it seeks to emphasize equity and faculty obligations as important aspects of fund allocation.
  1. Faculty responsibility

02.01  In order to receive travel funds, faculty must familiarize themselves with university guidelines.

02.02   Currently, in line with university guidelines, faculty must

            a.  Comply with university guidelines for travel

            b.  Submit domestic travel requests at least 14 days in advance.
c.  Submit international travel requests at least 30 days in advance.


02.03  Faculty are responsible for ensuring that teaching occurs in their assigned classroom when they travel.  Notifying students that class will not be held is an insufficient accommodation to travel plans. 


02.04  Faculty must ensure that no more than one week of classes at a time are interrupted because of travel, whether travel is for research, teaching or service.


02.05  Faculty must ensure that no more than two weeks of classes each semester are interrupted because of travel, whether travel is for research, teaching or service.


02.06  When a faculty member expects not to be present in the classroom, the faculty member must notify the department chair in writing, either through a travel application or email.



  1. Procedures for policy creation and implementation

03.01  Departments will create a written travel policy covering the following issues related to travel:     

a.  Which faculty members are eligible to receive travel funds;

b.  What constitutes eligible travel (e.g. paper presentation, research, etc.);

c.  What constitutes evidence of eligible travel;

d.  Deadlines for requesting travel funds;

e.  How often travel funds can be received (per specific period of time);

f.  The amount of funds available to faculty members (per specific period of time);

g.  Exceptions to the written policy;

h.  A process for faculty appeals of the written policy.


03.02   The department travel policy will have received final Personnel Committee

approval, although other groups may also participate in the drafting of the policy.

03.03   Upon acceptance by the chair, the policy will be made available to all faculty.

03.04   All departmental international travel policy must conform to university guidelines.


03.05   Travel conducted for university and department administrative responsibilities may be considered separately from individual travel allocations.


03.06   Final travel decisions rest with the department chair who is expected to act within the policy and to provide written explanations for a decision in exception to the policy.








Minutes 3.11.20 (DOCX, 19 KB)