Faculty       Chairs/Directors    
Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs


OCTOBER 3, 1997


President Porter called the meeting to order at 3:37 p.m.


The September 5, l997 faculty meeting minutes were approved as written.


President Porter reported that we are currently in the process of appointing a review committee to review Karl Broekhuizen and that he would keep the faculty informed during this process. He announced that Joanne Yepsen had been appointed to coordinate the presidential search. The President also announced that the College recently received pledges from two donors: one in the amount of $l million and another in the amount of $l.5 million (to fund an endowed chair), bringing the total of the campaign to close to $63 million. The donation for the endowed chair was given by the parents of an alum (the mother is also an alum) in appreciation for the positive experience their daughter had while attending Skidmore. He said he would announce the names of these donors at a later time.


Peggy Seiden, Chair of the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG), said that a motion introduced by CFG, and which has lain over since last May, will not be voted on at this meeting because some members of the faculty will be observing Rosh Hashana and, consequently, will be absent from this meeting. CFG will bring this motion to the floor for a vote at the November 7, l997 faculty meeting.


Patricia Rubio, on behalf of the University Without Walls Committee, made the following motion:


RESOLVED, that the faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to five (5) students and the Bachelor of Science degree to one (l) student for a total of six (6) students.

This motion carried unanimously.

Adrienne Zuerner, on behalf of the External Master of Arts Program in Liberal Studies, made the following motion:


RESOLVED, that the faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Master of Arts degree to two (2) students.

This motion carried unanimously.

Peggy Seiden, Chair of CFG, reporting on the presidential search, said that "CFG had a wonderful response to the non-binding referendum and to the willingness-to-serve and nomination forms. CFG will make a decision on Monday about that process and that decision will be reflective of the will of the faculty. CFG will be mailing nominating ballots by next Wednesday. I will contact the nominees to see if they will accept the nomination." Grace Burton, Chair of CAPT, reminded everyone that the deadline, as set by the Board of Trustees, for selecting the faculty who will serve on the presidential search committee is October 24, l997.

Daniel Hurwitz commented that CFG does not have any idea what the will of the faculty is because this issue was not debated on the floor of the faculty. He pointed out that the non-binding referendum was simply a poll and that the open forum was attended by a small number of the faculty. Grace Burton explained that they were dealing with a very restrictive time frame and as a result were not able to develop, debate, and vote on the procedures in time to present the result at the October Board meeting. She added that they had tried very hard in two different ways to assess the will of the faculty: by holding an open meeting and through the non-binding referendum.

Grace Burton summarized the procedure for the last presidential search by saying that "the Faculty Council submitted a willingness-to-serve (faculty members could also be nominated) and then CAPT appointed three faculty members from different areas of the College, keeping in mind gender balance as much as possible. Those three members became members of the committee. One process we are considering is that the faculty will be allowed to vote for a final pool of candidates and from that pool, CAPT will make appointments. We are interested in giving the faculty as much input into the process as possible. As a result of the open forum, CAPT incorporated an elective aspect to the appointment process." Daniel Hurwitz said that it is his feeling that an elective procedure is simply preferable. He felt that CAPT and CFG will not know the minds of the faculty about this.

There was some discussion that there needed to be procedures written into the Faculty Handbook for selecting committee members for a presidential search committee. Gordon Thompson pointed out that we have candidate evaluation procedures for every position at Skidmore except for the president and requested that "CAPT and CFG work with the trustees to arrive at a standardized procedure for selecting a president." Grace Burton noted that she would be in favor of that but "the problem that arises is that these committees are established by the Board of Trustees. To what extent do we have the freedom to write procedures into the Handbook that would then bind the Board of Trustees?" Some members of the faculty expressed concern that they were not allowed sufficient time to debate and set into place a procedure for selecting faculty representation on the presidential search committee.

President Porter pointed out that today's meeting was intended for such a debate and that the reason the two committee chairs are here is to tell everyone where they are now and to hear any comments the faculty may have. He added that his announcement about his retirement was made a week earlier than originally intended so there would be sufficient time to have these kinds of conversations within this month and, in particular, to have September l9 as a forum.

Una Bray said that "the concerns of this meeting are mirrored in the motions made and passed in l985. What kind of interview will CAPT conduct with the candidates and what does the wording mean on the ballots 'that CAPT will interview the nominees?' In l985 CAPT met with the nominees and this time CAPT is interviewing them. Would the faculty be given some idea of what kinds of questions CAPT will be asking?" Grace Burton said that CAPT has not compiled a list of questions as yet but she thought they would ask questions centered on what the nominees thought the qualities of the new president should be, what a president does, and how a president goes about doing that, and how a president might represent the economic interests of the college versus the curricular interests, versus the interests of the faculty to the College. It may be possible to circulate a list of the possible topics but said she would need to confer with the committee before making any promises to the faculty.

Phyllis Roth said that "I would like to go back to what we were talking about a couple of moments ago and express some distress at the tenor of this conversation, about comparisons, indeed, statements of identity between the last search and the current search. Relationships between the Board of Trustees and the faculty are very different now from the way they were before. The discussion at the Board meeting in New York on October 26th,about which you heard, was extremely cordial and extremely concerned to consider the perspective of on-campus members of the Skidmore community as well as concern to assure that there would be time for discussion. Yes, it is the case that it would be most convenient for the decision about all of the members of the search committee to be accomplished by the time of and at the October Board meeting. The Trustees did not say, however, that that absolutely had to be the case. That's been what we've been aiming at. So I want that to be very clear; this is not a situation that has been created by the Board in a fashion inconsiderate of the faculty's due deliberation, nor in my view has it been created by CFG and CAPT in ignorance of the faculty's due deliberation. We have now had two processes whereby the faculty could deliberate, could express their views. The conversation that the thirty-five or so of us plus the committee members had on October l9th I think was substantive, thoughtful, and useful for the committees. They have taken these comments into consideration and they have gone the extra step of allowing an opportunity for other folks to respond to the alternatives that they are still considering. I think the concern that is being expressed really has more to do with issues of governance, and the relationship between individuals on the faculty and their elected representatives which are issues that have been with us for a while and obviously still need further deliberation and balancing. I don't think it has to do with the Board having said that this must be accomplished by a certain date, and I do not see this, candidly, as history repeating itself."

Peggy Seiden, Chair of CFG, presented the following motions:

MOTION l: The Committee on Faculty Governance moves that the faculty adopt the l997-98 Faculty Handbook which contains major revisions to Parts One, Two and Seven and minor revisions to Parts Three, Four, and Five (see Attachment A).

MOTION 2: Change Section XI, C, 2 (see Attachment B for complete motion).

Both motions will lie over until the November faculty meeting.

Joseph Tolliver, Dean of Student Affairs, announced that Student Affairs is sponsoring the Faculty/Staff reception and he invited everyone to attend this reception immediately following the meeting.

The President adjourned the meeting at 4:l5 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Renate Knapp
Executive Secretary
Office of the Dean of the Faculty