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

FACULTY MEETING

May 19, 1999
Gannett Auditorium

MINUTES

President Roth called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.

President Roth informed the members of the faculty that she would be leaving early to attend graduation rehearsal and that the IPC report, which she was to give later in the meeting, would instead be sent on e-mail. 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – April 9

The minutes were approved as submitted.

Dean Pat Oles gave his report on Opening Convocation to the faculty early because he, too, had to leave the meeting for rehearsal. He asked the faculty to take a look at the abbreviated first-day schedule he proposed. After taking suggestions from the faculty, he indicated that he would talk further with the English and Music departments to find a schedule that would work for them and would then come up with a compromise over the summer. The faculty will receive the revised schedule over the summer or upon their return.

On behalf of the faculty, Acting Dean Bender thanked Phyllis for her service during the spring semester as Interim President.

President Roth reported on the May Board meeting. The Board gave final approval to the 1999-00 budget; the Academic Affairs Committee received a report on the year’s work from CEPP; CAPT and CAFR met with the Academic Affairs Committee; and the Board endorsed theCEPP proposal to make Classics a department. When the board has conversations about its structure over the summer, it will discuss the role of the faculty observers and how best to use faculty time in recognition that the current procedure is inadequate.

President Roth mentioned that during Reunion the Surrey would be re-named the Surrey Williamson Inn in honor of Susan Kettering Williamson ’59 – valued alumna and friend, and most generous donor.

President Roth stated that she has been working on salaries and enhancement dollars. The unofficial ambition of FPPC and IPC this year has been to try to place the faculty in 10th place within our peer institutions. With regard to enhancements, she is looking at adding $1,000 enhancement on top of the three percent general salary increase to the ranks of the full professors and the assistant professors. She is also doing a great deal of work on equity adjustments. More information will be sent via e-mail.

President Roth noted that the Women’s tennis team won the NCAA doubles championship. She also noted that the Skidmore Equestrian Team won another national championship this year, the fifth championship won in the 1990’s.

President Roth also recognized those members of the faculty who are leaving at the end of this semester: Brian Black, Jeannette Oppedisano, Gary Don, Madeline Alvarino, Lori Jo Anderson, Margaret Fogarty, Laurie Freeman, David Griggs-Janower, Karen Kirk, Michael Korzi, Rachel Malinow, Bethann Handzlik, Stephen Perkinson, Bernard Torres, and Ken Williams. She also thanked department chairs, program directors as well as committee members and chairs for their hard work. In particular she thanked those chairs who are concluding their terms: Joanna Zangrando, American Studies; David Domozych, Biology; Pat Lee, History; Roy Ginsberg, International Affairs; Sheldon Solomon, LS1; Carolyn Anderson, Theater; Kate Berheide, Women’s Studies.

President Roth thanked Gerry Erchak for organizing the Consilience Symposium, which was held May 18 and also thanked Tina Levith for her hard work behind the scenes in assisting the students, who designed the Academic Festival.

President Roth also thanked Fran Hoffmann, Ann Henderson, Jon Ramsey, Bob DeSieno and Sue Bender for their hard work throughout the past academic year. 

CONFERRAL OF DEGREES

Ann Henderson made the following motions:

RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to 283 students of the Class of 1999 to be awarded on May 23, 1999. (Attachment A)

RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Science degree to 168 students of the Class of 1999 to be awarded on May 23, 1999. (Attachment A)

The motions were seconded, voted on and carried. 

RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to 28 students in the Class of 1999 upon satisfactory completion of the degree requirements by August 31, 1999. (Attachment A)

RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Science degree to 28 students of the Class of 1999 upon satisfactory completion of the degree requirements by August 31, 1999. (Attachment A)

The motions were seconded, voted on and carried. 

Jon Ramsey, Dean of Studies, reported that 31% of the class of 1999 received honors this year; in 1998, 38% of students received honors; and in 1997, 33% received honors. This year 28% received departmental honors; in 1998, 31.5% of the class received departmental honors; and in 1997 there were 31.8% receiving departmental honors. He proposed the following motion:

RESOLVED that the faculty of Skidmore College approve departmental honors for ten students from the Class of 1998 and 128 students from the Class of 1999 as presented on the lists provided by the Registrar. (Attachment B)

The motions were seconded, voted on and carried. 

RESOLVED that the faculty of Skidmore College approve five students from the Class of 1998 and 107 students from the Class of 1999 for cum laude distinction. For magna cum laude distinction, three students from the class of 1998 and 24 students from the class of 1999; for summa cum laude, 10 students from the class of 1999. (Attachment C)

The motions were seconded, voted on and carried. 

Professor Adrienne Zuerner made the following motion on behalf of the External Master of Arts Committee:

RESOLVED, that the faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Master of Arts degree to twelve students. Of these, four students receiving the Master of Arts degree will do so contingent upon completion of all degree requirements by August 31, 1999. (Attachment D)

The motions were seconded, voted on and carried. 

Professor Peg Tacardon made the following motion on behalf of the University Without Walls:

RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to nineteen students and the Bachelor of Science degree to eleven students for a total of thirty students. Of these, ten students receiving the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree will do so contingent upon completion of all degree requirements by August 31, 1999. (Attachment D)

The motions were seconded, voted on and carried.

OLD BUSINESS

Professor Tad Kuroda spoke for the Committee on Faculty Governance. There are two motions on the floor that were introduced at the April 30, 1999 meeting.

CFG MOTION 4: The CFG moves that the current description for Curriculum Committee contained in the Faculty Handbook 1998-99 be revised as follows:

Current Description

Membership: Six faculty members, each from a different department, at least two of whom are tenured, elected to serve three-year terms; the Associate Dean of the Faculty; and two students selected by SGA. Non-voting members of the committee are the Registrar, and the Dean of Studies. An elected member of the Committee shall chair a self-determined majors subcommittee composed of other members appointed by the Curriculum Committee to represent a reasonable range of academic disciplines."

New Description (In the text below, brackets capture words to be removed and bold indicates worlds to be added.)

Membership: Six faculty members, each from a different department, at least two of whom are tenured, elected to serve three-year terms; the Associate Dean of the Faculty; The Director of Liberal Studies; and two students selected by SGA. Non-voting members of the committee are the Registrar, and the Dean of Studies. A[n] faculty[elected] member of the Committee shall serve on[chair a] the self-determined majors subcommittee, composed of other members appointed by the Curriculum Committee to represent a reasonable range of academic disciplines."

The motion was voted on and carried.

CFG MOTION 5: The CFG moves that the following text be adopted as a preamble to Part Two: Faculty Governance of the faculty Handbook for 1999-2000:

Skidmore College is committed to the principle of shared governance. Shared governance recognizes (1) the unique role that faculty plan in institutions of higher learning by virtue of their special knowledge, experience, interests, and values and (2) the relationship between faculty participation in governance and the protection of academic freedom.

Faculty governance provides the principal structure through which faculty members express their views and inform college policy. Faculty governance is (1) especially concerned with those subjects for which faculty members have primary responsibilities: academic freedom, academic standards, educational policy and curriculum, faculty status, and self-governance, (2) also concerned with those subjects in which faculty members have a major interest and share responsibilities with other constituencies: financial policy and planning and institutional planning.

Broad participation by faculty on committees and task forces improves the chances that diverse expertise, interests, and perspectives will inform decision-making at the College. Such participation distributes the workload, encourages greater accountability, and conveys the message that all faculty are committed to protecting the welfare of the entire institution and advancing the quality of academic life across all the disciplines at Skidmore.

In order for faculty governance at Skidmore College to work effectively and equitably, it is therefore important that all faculty who are eligible to vote exercise that right regularly and that those qualified to serve on committees do so at appropriate times throughout their careers.

CFG believes that the proposed preamble provides an explanation for the system that we currently have; and provides a context for understanding why we have the kinds of committees that we have under faculty governance as it currently exists. The preamble does not establish that system; the system already exists, and the purpose is to provide an explanation to someone who is not familiar with the faculty governance system at the College or who may have forgotten how we got into the system that we currently have.

Professor Kuroda went on to explain that CFG recently met with the Committee of Committees to talk about whether committees like IPC and FPPC should continue to remain under the section in faculty governance or whether they should move to Part III in the Handbook (College Governance). The issue for CFG involves much more than the location of these committees. CFG is very concerned about whether the work of faculty on these committees is effective and whether the committees themselves are functioning as well as they can. CFG is reluctant to move them somewhere else without addressing those more fundamental questions. CFG has pledged to the Committee of Committees that it will look at those particular committees next year to see if we can do something about them to address the question of substance—can they be made to work more effectively; can faculty voices be heard more clearly on those committees. At that time, CFG will come back to the faculty with a recommendation appropriate to whatCFG’s study determines. So, until then, what we have is the existing system, and the preamble simply describes that system.

The motion was voted on and carried.

President Roth left the meeting and turned the Chair over to Sue Bender. 

NEW BUSINESS

Professor Tad Kuroda informed the faculty that CFG has reviewed the 1986-87 and 1997-98 presidential searches and prepared a report to the trustees in order to provide historical context and extract lessons that should inform future searches. This report is on the web and hard copies will be at the Library. This informational report attempts to provide a faculty perspective, and it does not claim to speak for other constituencies that may have an interest in the search process. He asked that faculty provide comments and suggestions for the final draft by Friday, May 29. In the fall, CFG will work with CAPT to translate recommendations into suitable faculty handbook language and will bring it to the faculty meeting for a formal vote.

Professor Kuroda reported on the Committee of Committees. In general, the self-assessments by committees indicated that those committees with faculty majorities and faculty chairs were functioning in a satisfactory way. The others, IPC, FPPC, and Benefits (a College committee that reports to FPPC) have had more difficulties in the past but appear to be doing better now, though issues remain. The Committee of Committees supported the idea of having CFG do an in-depth study next academic year on this subject and come back to the faculty with a recommendation about how these committees might be made more effective and whether they should be situated under faculty governance or college governance in the Faculty Handbook.

In spite of reports indicating that committees are busy and doing their work in a creditable manner, CFG feels there are underlying concerns about the effectiveness of faculty governance that need attention. CFG believes that over the past 15 years or so, the interpretation of existing standards and then the adoption of new standards for continued service have given lower priority to community service. The limitation of a merit pay system in favor of across-the-board increases also diminishes the recognition that might go to service. The demands on faculty time throughout the calendar year make it more difficult, even for those so inclined, to serve on committees in a pro-active fashion. Yet, the demands placed on committees and task forces – reconfiguration, assessment, new curriculum, presidential searches, personnel matters, and the like – are as great or greater than before. Within this larger structural context, CFG believes that there are many large questions yet to be answered: do issues of interest to faculty fall between the cracks, is there sufficient coordination of work among committees, does the faculty own its own governance system, does faculty service make a difference, does the faculty meeting work well? CFG intends to examine these questions as well as its own role in promoting faculty governance next year. 

REPORTS

President Roth will provide the IPC report via e-mail.

Professor Erchak, speaking for Curriculum Committee, reported that Professor Roy Rotheim asked him to announce that the Business Department is changing its name to the Department of Management and Business and the Curriculum Committee has approved the change. 

OTHER

Acting Dean of the Faculty, Susan Bender, understood that a discussion on reconfiguration was desired. Professor Lary Opitz stated that a large number of faculty members have met and expressed concerns, and they wish that nothing proceed any further on the subject of reconfiguration until the faculty is satisfied that it has been discussed fully. There were concerns about whether it is appropriate to make a change that has tremendous impact on the curriculum without full faculty approval and ultimately a vote. The curriculum, a primary responsibility of the faculty, has been taken out of the hands of the faculty and put into the hands of CEPP. He hoped the faculty would vote on a resolution today to commit themselves to send this to an elected committee to deal with faculty concerns.

Dean Bender suggested that the faculty meeting move to a parliamentary position called the Committee of the Whole, to discuss the issues that Professor Opitz raised.

Professor John Thomas moved that the assembly resolve itself as a Committee of the Whole to discuss the matter of reconfiguration. He explained that this allows a more open discussion of the matter than is allowed under regular parliamentary procedures. The present Chair would be removed and a second Chair (Chair of CFG, Tad Kuroda) would be substituted. The procedure would be to hold a discussion, to agree on a motion, if desired, to amend the motion, and then the Chair of the Committee of the Whole would report back to the faculty meeting. The faculty can then act on what the Committee of the Whole reports. None of the discussion of the Committee of the Whole enters into the minutes.

The motion was voted on and carried.

Professor Kuroda, the Chair of the Committee of the Whole, told the faculty that it is important that they feel free to speak and express their views. A lengthy discussion about reconfiguration was then held.

Professor John Thomas made a motion to terminate the discussion.

The motion was voted on and carried. 

Sue Bender resumed the Chair. Professor Kuroda was recognized, and Sue Bender asked him for his report. Professor Kuroda stated, "the Committee of the Whole has met and discussed reconfiguration."

Professor Kuroda asked Dean Bender if it is the intent of the Curriculum Committee to vote on reconfiguration proposals one by one or will it wait until there is a large number of proposals in order to identify problems that may require further discussion.

Dean Bender said that there needs to be a critical mass of reconfiguration proposals from the departments before moving forward. At that time problems will be identified and further discussion may be required.

Professor Lary Opitz made the following motion:

Although we appreciate greatly the goals that underlie the reconfiguration of faculty and student loads, we are concerned that the process of reconfiguration as it has been conducted this year has the potential to create deep divisions among departments and disciplines. We are also concerned about the issues of faculty governance that this process has raised. Since reconfiguration has a significant impact on the student educational experience at the College (reduction in major requirements, fewer courses overall), and since the curriculum is the responsibility of the faculty, we move that the faculty establish an elected sub-committee of CEPP to examine reconfiguration and its curricular consequences. As CEPP puts together a charge for this subcommittee, we would recommend that it consider, among other issues, the following: the possible need for additional faculty lines to accomplish reconfiguration in an equitable fashion, the importance of a timetable that can insure an orderly transition and one that includes all departments, the relationship between faculty load and student load, and the insurance that reconfiguration will not distort curricula to the detriment of accreditation and the integrity of our majors.

The motion was seconded.

Professor Opitz said that time is needed for reflection, and this motion puts the breaks on the reconfiguration "train." He didn’t think today’s discussion was sufficient to air all of the problems. A decision like this has never been made in the past without a special committee being elected.

After some discussion, it was decided that the Curriculum Committee would report to the faculty in October to indicate what they have discovered about the reconfiguration process.

John Thomas moved that the motion made by Professor Opitz be tabled.

The motion was voted on and carried. 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, 

 

Claire Demarest
Executive Secretary
Dean of Faculty’s Office

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