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Liberal Arts Council Minutes 2020

Minutes Liberal Arts Council

Via Zoom Meeting

22 April 2020 2:00 p.m.


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

Guests:  Jeff Helgeson



The meeting began at 2:02 p.m. and was conducted using ZOOM.  All participants were present through their computer screens.  The minutes of 4.15.20 minutes were approved without dissension on a motion by Dr. Grasso and a second by Dr. Erhart.


Online Proctoring for final exams was discussed at CAD.  The University has a contract with Examity and may be willing to add classes if necessary, but the program is not likely to be useful in a large class (110 or more).  Examity is expensive at up to $25 for each proctored student with a lot of “onboarding” for the professor.  Students need the right hardware, etc.  Provider capacity is an issue. Dean Roundtree noted that the program cannot be offered widely and suggested criteria be developed for using the approach.  Challenges and expenses indicate that only people who were using the program from the first should be reported as using it for finals.  Dr. Harney indicated that only people who had “extremely unique” situations should be using it. Dean Brennan must provide name and section of the class in which it will be used by 4.23.20, as well as how the College or departments could pay for the proctoring.  The University is hoping to have more opportunities for on-line proctoring in the fall.


Dean Brennan again asked for names of graduate students to be nominated to serve in the Graduate House as representatives. 

The Geography Department has used an endowed department fund to bequeath more than $7500 to students. 


Dean Brennan announced a Development fund for Liberal Arts students.  She will send a letter to chairs about it; she wants the chairs to forward the letter to their faculty. 


Students are confused about EP grades.  They seem to think a faculty member can award the EP grade now. The Registrar is going to run a report after letter grades are posted to produce the Dean’s List. The Registrar will also run a script for prerequisite courses that will allow students to enroll in the appropriate subsequent class if they have earned the requisite grade.  Manda asked whether the Honors designation will be based on the same process for Dean’s List.  Dean Brennan replied in the affirmative.

The CARES ACT funds are being held up until rules are received from the Federal government.  It is unclear how the money will be distributed or who will distribute it.


As of now, Summer II classes are still face-to-face.  Governor Abbott’s dictum about canceling all classes through August did not apply to colleges.  CAD meetings are now scheduled to be face-to-face for summer II.

Creating a fall class schedule is complicated.  Whether students and their parents will like to take classes (100+) in large classrooms is unknown.  UNT is putting all large classes online.  Even small classrooms that are “packed” with students may be an issue.  President’s Cabinet has a number of working groups focusing on these fall issues.  Chairs suggested that faculty from the Colleges should be included in these working groups.


Lecturers’ schedules should be managed and protected in the fall with realistic class schedules.  We should “make” or fill classes before we add classes. Dean Brennan will help chairs make decisions; a major goal is to keep all lecturers employed.


Cindy Waggoner and Dr. Thorne are looking at summer budgets and making comments on instructional and administrative assignments.  Dean Brennan expects to hear from Ms. Waggoner and Dr. Thorne, especially about administrative assignments. 

The Provost is looking at the possibility of a 4-week delayed start in the fall, with a January final exam schedule.  


Around the Table:


Dr. Day asked chairs to tell her when they upload their assessment documents and to tell her whether she can contact their assessors directly.  The May 15 deadline is firm. 


Dr.  Harney mentioned that Dr. Thorne indicated that professional association standards could be used to decide on class size in the fall. 

Dr. Roundtree indicated that she had circulated COVID-19 funding opportunities.  She will focus on funding opportunities in the fall.  She will also support tenure-track faculty who need publication help.

Dr. Murphy introduced Dr. Helgeson, who will chair the Department of History beginning in the fall.  She asked whether per course faculty should be removed from the schedule. 


Dr. Erhart asked whether funding would be forthcoming for faculty who will replace faculty on developmental leave.  Dean Brennan thought it would be forthcoming.


Dr. Lu asked whether she should cap large classes.  Dean Brennan will ask the Provost what to do about teaching theater enrollment. 

Dean Roundtree asked whether students who had immunity issues could take face-to-face classes online.  Dean Brennan indicated that individual faculty would make that decision.


Dr. C. Smith asked whether chairs are hearing from complaining students now more than in the past.  Responses were mixed.  GroupMe seems to be changing class complaint dynamics.

Dr. V. Smith indicated concern about small classrooms in the fall.



The meeting ended at 3:40.


Minutes 4.22.20 (DOCX, 20 KB)