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Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs
 

FACULTY MEETING

March 3, 2000
GANNETT AUDITORIUM

MINUTES 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

The minutes of the February 4, 2000 meeting were approved as written.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

President Studley said that the preceding month has been particularly rich and interesting at Skidmore. Among the many events, the highlights included the Moseley Lecture given by Professor Susan Lehr, the Phi Beta Kappa Lecture discussion of the future of liberal education led by James Freedman, former president of Dartmouth, the Honors Forum induction, training on diversity and sexual orientation, a forum on the students’ bill of rights, and a student-mounted AIDS benefit revue.

President Studley’s main task was to report on the February meeting of Board of Trustees. She explained that the Board meetings have been reinvented to incorporate more substance and education, noting that Board members have an insatiable desire to share the experiences of the classroom and campus life to learn more about what goes on at the College. The program included two academic presentations, one about technology in the classroom and its use as a teaching tool and the second about the educational programming and interdisciplinary mission of the Tang Teaching Museum.

In February the Board discusses and blocks in key budget directions and priorities. FPPC and the President began this process by identifying a goal for compensation and then working through the entire budget to see if it would be feasible to achieve that objective. There are four key parameters by which the Board directs the overall shape of the budget. The first parameter is the comprehensive fee. Initial discussions were based on a projected rate increase of 4.9%, which FPPC and the Budget Committee had reluctantly accepted. In light of the goal of reducing fee increases, and a series of raises – the class of 2001 has seen a 16% increase since its freshman year and will be paying $4,300 more next year than they paid as first year students – President Studley has proposed reducing the comprehensive to 4.8 % as a small but symbolic commitment to control fee increases.

The second revenue item is enrollment. Next year’s budget will be built on a base of 2,140 students which exceeds the College’s enrollment goal of 2,100 but is realistic given our current student population. This decision gives the College $1 million of flexibility for next year’s budget, but this is a short-term situation. We cannot become dependent upon that $1 million in meeting future expenses.

On the expense side, financial aid is at the top of the list of institutional priorities. The College will soon discuss goals and strategies in the area of Admissions and Financial Aid, but in the meantime this year’s budget does not include policy changes or increases above natural growth in financial aid.

As far as compensation is concerned, President Studley stressed that she wanted both to recognize the substantial effort and commitment the faculty and staff have made and to build loyalty and support for the future. Last May the Board set a target of 2.5% for a general salary adjustment. She made it clear that increasing that figure was an important priority for FPPC, the administration, and herself. The current budget proposal contemplates a total compensation increase of 5.5%. That pool includes new positions, equity adjustments, promotions, and a GSA of 3.5%. The increase of the GSA to 3.5% comes at a price, and savings need to be found that will not harm educational programs. President Studley observed that the budget had already been pared significantly over the years and reductions will require real management, some new efficiencies, sharing, and planning. Cuts in categories like student wages, entertainment, overtime and temporary wages, and equipment will affect everyone. President Studley will be asking FPPC and others to help work through the final allocations to achieve the needed savings in the most sensible, least painful ways with the greatest understanding of the effects on programs and people.

In addition, the Board looked at the financial implications of the Tang Teaching Museum. The Board is excited about this project and members increased their personal financial support for it. There was useful discussion of how the Tang will be integrated with the entire curriculum and will engage faculty and students. President Studley said that a financial context for the Tang might be helpful. The estimate for the initial program budget is $900,000 and the building operating expenses are estimated at $150,000. These costs are offset by revenue sources for the Tang Teaching Museum, including $100,000 from endowment for both the Dayton Chair and for operating expenses, $150,000 in existing expenses of managing the permanent collection, $150,000 (or more) from the Friends of the Tang program, $200,000 from a bequest that will be used as a venture capital fund or collateral against program expenses (and if not needed, then placed in Tang endowment), and $40,000 – $100,000 for specific program and exhibit support.

The clearest message from the Board is that it expects us to set priorities and make choices. The IPC planning process will address these issues. The President and FPPC will be discussing the allocation of resources, such as use of undesignated bequests.

Benefits Committee and FPPC recommended that the College add health coverage for same and opposite sex domestic partners effective January 2001. The Board was told about the recommendation, and their comments were invited. The recommendation will be brought to them for action at the May meeting.

President Studley thanked the two search committees who are working on filling two critical positions at the College. The Vice President for Institutional Advancement search committee includes Polly Kisiel (Trustee), Lynne Gelber, Bob DeSieno, Marny Krause, Pat Oles and Chris Kaczmarek. The search committee for the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, chaired by Professor Mary Ann Foley, is working hard and thoughtfully to fill the position as quickly as possible.

Dan Hurwitz, Chair of FPPC, clarified that about $600,000 more is going into financial aid this year from last year, reflecting the increases in comprehensive fee charges. 

DEAN OF FACULTY’S REPORT

Dean Phyllis Roth announced that the Board approved tenure for Paul Arciero, Department of Exercise Science, Dance and Athletics; John Bruggemann, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work; Rob Linrothe, Department of Art and Art History; and Adrienne Zuerner, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

The Board approved the following sabbatical leaves for tenured faculty for the 2000-01 academic year:

For Entire 2000-01 Academic Year:

For Fall 2000

For Late Fall 2000/Early Spring 2001 (Equal to One Semester)

For Spring 2001

For Spring 2001 and Spring 2002

The Board approved the following sabbatical leaves for untenured faculty:


For Entire Year 2000-01

For Fall 2000

For Spring 2001

INTRODUCTIONS

Christine Kaczmarek, Director of Business Services, introduced two new Skidmore employees to the faculty: Dennis Conway, Director of Security and Carol Schnitzer, Director of Purchasing.

REPORTS

Professor Mary Ann Foley, Chair of the Search Committee for VP for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, apprised the faculty of the Committee’s progress. Three open sessions were held and the Committee also received President Studley’s and Dean Roth’s perspectives about this position. Over 60 applications have been received, and eleven individuals have been nominated for the position. Thirty-four individuals were invited to send additional materials. The Committee is looking for a person with administrative experience; experience living the teacher/scholar model; and understanding and appreciation of a liberal arts education. On March 15 the second phase of the screen process begins. By the middle of April the Committee will be bringing individuals to campus, and in early May, the Committee expects to make recommendations to President Studley. Depending upon the search process, a few special faculty meetings may be held. Faculty members are welcome to contact the Search Committee via their email address (vp-acad-list) or by contacting individuals on the Committee.

Professor Gerry Erchak reported that Curriculum Committee and CEPP recently met to discuss the matter of caps for course enrollments. A wide variety of perspectives were aired at that meeting to try and find a common standard for maximum caps across the College. Relevant issues have been identified, but more data needs to be collected and defined in order to have a discussion at the April faculty meeting.

Professor Greg Pfitzer raised two points: first, he has a philosophical problem with Curriculum Committee determining caps on courses; he feels that if we impose caps there should be some discussion about where the right to do it rests. Secondly, much of the reason for introducing these caps has to do with reconfiguration, and ultimately it is for equity purposes. He feels that caps will be counterproductive and will actually be harmful to the intent to creating equity. 

NEW BUSINESS

Dean Roth seconded Dean Ramsey’s recent e-mail request to the faculty about filing Unsatisfactory Work Notices any time during the semester whenever it appears a student is in trouble in a course. They are an important link in the faculty advising system. Faculty should be aware that if these notices are not filed, a student could be in trouble in several courses and no one would know; neither the advisor nor the staff in the Dean of Studies Office would be alerted that the student is at risk. When the "Unsats" are filed, the advisor can act in coordination with the Dean of Studies’ office to get the student’s attention and to supply various combinations of support and caution.

OLD BUSINESS

Jon Ramsey, Dean of Studies, brought specific text to achieve proposed changes to the "Academic Integrity and Academic Honors" legislation, which was originally approved by the faculty in October 1995. Dean Ramsey explained that some problems in the original legislation had come to light: namely, that we need to report infractions more uniformly than we had anticipated to such external agencies as law schools and bar examiners.

A motion to put these changes on the floor was made. It was seconded and the motion carried with all voting in favor. (See Attachment A.)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Claire Demarest
Executive Secretary
Office of the Dean of Faculty


Attachment A

March 3, 2000

The following changes are proposed for pages 2-3 of the faculty legislation of October 1995: "Academic Integrity and Academic Honors":

The Proposal:

The two areas of inconsistency described above seem to us inappropriate to Skidmore's serious commitment to academic integrity, incommensurate with our efforts to raise academic standards and expectations, at odds with the honors earned through honest means by the very large majority of our academically distinguished students, and downright curious from any philosophical perspective. At the same time, we have no desire to treat all academic "crimes," regardless of their nature and severity, with the same sanctions; nor do we want to create a judicial review process so elaborate that faculty would be discouraged from acting upon Honor Code infractions. Our hope is to keep the judicial process relatively simple, as it currently is, to make some workable distinctions among various academic offenses, and to take into consideration the point in the student's personal and academic development when the infraction occurred. There is no entirely consistent and simple means of responding to all these variables, but the following proposal seeks to heal the most glaring anomalies:

1) With certain exceptions, the The Dean of Studies will report all academic Honor Code infractions to the external agencies described above. At the same time, the Dean of Studies will provide an appropriate context for these reports so as not unduly to jeopardize the student's academic and other opportunities before and after graduation. The exceptions will be these: the Dean of Studies, at his or her discretion, will not report minor or moderate-level infractions committed by first-year students. This policy is in keeping with Skidmore's educational mission and recognizes that some students may take longer than others to develop an academic and ethical understanding commensurate with the standards of higher education. Although this limited "forgiveness" policy will be in effect for first-year students, the Dean of Studies will report on all "multiple or subsequent violations" (AIG, p. 53) and all more serious offenses committed by first-year students. (And see "procedures" below). After the first-year of study, all academic Honor Code infractions will be reported.

2) The same principles articulated in #1 With certain exceptions, the policy articulated in #1 will apply to consideration of all academic honors and prizes accorded by or through Skidmore College, including the Dean's List (only for the semester in which the infraction occurred), prizes awarded during Honors Convocation and Commencement, departmental honors and cum laude honors, and memberships in Periclean, in Phi Beta Kappa, and in the disciplinary national honor societies. The Dean of Studies will report all academic Honor Code infractions for Skidmore's internal use, with the following exceptions: the Dean of Studies, at his or her discretion, will not report minor or moderate level infractions committed by first-year students. This policy is in keeping with Skidmore's educational mission and recognizes that some students may take longer than others to develop an academic and ethical understanding commensurate with the standards of higher education. Although the limited "forgiveness" policy will be in effect for first-year students, the Dean of Studies will report on all "multiple or subsequent violations" (as defined in the Academic Information Guide and Student Handbook) and all more serious offenses committed by first-year students. After the first year of study, all academic Honor Code infractions will be reported. (Note that Phi Beta Kappa requires the reporting of all infractions without exception.)

3) The types and degrees of academic violations occur across a broad spectrum, and the Skidmore College Honor Code can serve only as a guideline to appropriate penalties. The Honor Code defines what most members of the Skidmore community would agree constitute the most serious offenses (for example, plagiarism, cheating on an exam, or theft or destruction of Library materials) and implies less serious problems (for example, the forging of an advisor's signature during the student's first year in college), but different situations make even these distinctions a matter of interpretation. Thus the Integrity Proposal cannot define, apart from actual specific cases, just what the best response would be to a particular violation of the Honor Code. Accordingly, the Dean of Studies will decide the degree of infraction within the framework and spirit of the Honor Code, and in consultation with the complainant and the defendant. Note under "Procedures" that this decision will be communicated in writing to the defendant, who may appeal the Dean of Studies' decision to the Associate Dean of the Faculty (appeals regarding the question of guilt or innocence, however, may be heard only through the established judicial processes of the College).

 

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