December 6, 2002
President Jamienne Studley called the meeting to order at 3:40 p.m.
A motion was made by President Studley to approve the November 1, 2002 Faculty Meeting minutes. The motion was seconded and passed with all in favor.
President Studley opened the meeting by speaking about the economy and the college budget. The down cycle of the economy has affected not only Skidmore's budget and finances, but other institutions as well. President Studley then read a statement from the President of Middlebury College to his college community to illustrate that other institutions are facing similar issues. She also announced that Jim Kennelly, Chair of Financial Policy and Planning Committee (FPPC) and Grace Burton, Vice Chair of the Institutional Planning Committee (IPC) would be sharing a portion of the President's Report in order to communicate information from those meetings and from meetings had with President's Staff and the Board of Trustees Budge and Finance Committee. President Studley discussed the present state of the endowment which briefly passed the $160 million mark but which now stands at $142 million. Other institutions fared worse than Skidmore. President Studley stated that Skidmore is not inclined to use endowment funds for annual sources of income or for support for projects, meaning that more than ever the College is tuition dependent. The pace of the current campaign is not going to feed into sources of income as quickly as hoped.
There was a modest budget shortfall for the 2002 budget, which was addressed. The 2003 budget is also challenged with a shortfall but measures have been taken to bring it into balance. The budget for 2004, currently being developed, indicates that there will be challenges there as well, and there are reasons for concern for future budgets of 2005 and beyond. The situation is being described as serious and real, but not dire. Challenges will have to be met by all people in the community through disciplined measures. Academic quality and institutional momentum will be sustained. Another institutional value that must be preserved is the sense of collegiality and community. Layoffs will be a last resort.
Jim Kennelly spoke on behalf of the FPPC. Jim explained that each year FPPC goes through a process of consulting with the administration on the preparation and submission of the budget. Once the budget is in balance, it is then presented to the Board of Trustees at the end of January. The budget is fleshed out by May. This year the same process is being used, except the gap is far larger than in any previous year. Currently the shortfall is projected at $4 million.
Key parameters are being studied to bring the budget into balance. These include:
- Net fiscal enrollment (how many students should the College plan on having enrolled) has been at 2,124- 2,125 students on average on campus.
- Financial aid, as part of the Strategic Plan, which for next year will be about $16.7 million.
- Comprehensive fee. This past year it was increased by 4.7 percent with a target each year of 4 percent.
- Compensation – what will the general salary increase be, if any. Benefits are included in this category. Health care costs have been up 15-20 percent a year for quite some time, next year being no exception with an increase of 18 percent anticipated. Comprehensive benefits review is in process.
- Endowment – approximately five percent of income is used each year to help fund the operating budget.
- Capital spending – capital is funded largely through the operating budget.
Many other issues are in play and will be discussed throughout December. The administration
will go to the Trustees at the end of January with recommendations for key budget
parameters that will balance the budget for next year. FPPC will keep the faculty
as informed as they can in terms of what it knows. The committee is open for suggestions
Grace Burton spoke on behalf of IPC, which has been involved in the budget process as well. The affect of the economy on operating budgets of 2003 and out years of 2004, 2005 and 2006 has been discussed. IPC's job is to set forth parameters more on the level of institutional values such as GSA's, numbers of students, comprehensive fees, financial aid, benefits, numbers of employees, transfers to capital accounts, etc. IPC's next meeting will be on December 16 at which time they will try to formulate a recommendation for President Studley. The recommendation will contain a mix of parameters which will still manifest the College's institutional values through guidelines for those making decisions.
President Studley explained some of the next steps that will occur. In late January the Board of Trustees Budget and Finance Committee will meet in a traditional budget workshop, in preparation for the February Board of Trustees meeting where the levels for financial aid, compensation, comprehensive fee and enrollment are typically set. After those parameters are determined the rest of the budget is worked through so a detailed budget can be adopted in May.
President Studley took questions. A comment was made that the total budget is $84 million with about a five percent deficit at present. Regarding Benefits Committee, a number of consulting firms have been interviewed; one has been chosen. A proposal has been submitted which includes figures. A survey of Skidmore's values will be conducted possibly in January. A compilation of the information from the survey should be complete by the end of March including information as to what other institutions are doing as well. FPPC's goal is to be done with the recommendations for benefits by the end of the semester. Other institutions are facing deficits of between $500,000 and $1.5 million. Capital budget expenditures will be closely scrutinized, especially annual capital projects being cut back on first, in order to determine what is essential as opposed to what can be eliminated.
Karl Broekhuizen advised that the economy couldn't be relied upon to help Skidmore out of its present situation. The current economic situation could last for a period of at least three years or so. It will not be possible to go back to the way things were in the late 1990's when the economy was doing well.
President Studley advised that suggestions for solving or alleviating present problems are welcome. Every opportunity will be watched for savings this year or for planning for next year including interrogating expenses closely and considering each vacancy as it arises in order to make choices. Efficiencies are also being scrutinized such as thermostat control, turning off monitors, and turning off lights. The annual holiday party is being scrutinized as to whether it is an area for saving or a good investment in bringing the Skidmore community together.
DEAN OF THE FACULTY'S REPORT
Dean Joseph began by thanking everyone for moving forward with his or her work during
a difficult semester. The Dean of Faculty's Office has placed people with strong governance
skills in positions such as department chairs and program directors in order to strengthen
leadership. The progress with the concept of academic vision has not developed more
slowly than hoped. Meetings with Dean of Faculty Staff, Presidents Staff, CEPP and
others are underway and will continue.
Dean Joseph thanked the faculty for their vote of confidence at the last faculty meeting. Dean Joseph is still considering taking the position in a non-interim capacity. The main question Dean Joseph is struggling with is whether or not he can become an affective dean in helping to deliver the fundamental goals of the Strategic Plan, particularly those goals that deal with the faculty especially in light of financial constraints.
Dean Joseph is very encouraged by the continuing quality of colleagues that are being attracted to campus: including positions for Management and Business, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, English, Chemistry, and Biology. Other searches are underway. These appointments arise from a combination of replacement lines and some of the new lines that the Trustees approved. Even though the economy is tight right now, Skidmore is trying to move ahead with lines as best it can.
Dean Joseph continued by mentioning a few of the accomplishments of faculty including: Lary Opitz to be a Scholar-in-Residence at NYU for the spring semester, Janet Casey received a year-long grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to work on her book Fertile Grounds, Women, Modernism, Rural America, and Jordana Dym also received a year-long grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to work on a project entitled, The Cartography of Western Travel Writers, 1750-1950. Also, Greg Pfitzer's book Picturing the Past, Illustrated Histories and the American Imagination, 1840-1900 was published by Smithsonian Institution Press.
GOVE EFFINGER – Committee on Faculty Governance:
Gove advised that the Presidential Search is moving forward. Gove explained what he called the eight versus four snafu, and that CAPT and CFG thought they were following procedure in not advertising the names of the eight nominees for the Search Committee, however, they discovered that in the previous presidential search the names of the eight nominees had been released and, therefore, CAPT and CFG sent out an e-mail with the names of the eight nominees to correct this error.
The Search Committee is in place and consists of 16 people: eight trustees, four faculty, two administration and two students. The first full meeting of the Search Committee is to be held December 12 in New York City. Regarding the search for a search consultant, Gove and Elaine Rubenstein were both able to travel to New York City and meet with three trustees (John Howley, Chair of the Search Committee, Sue Thomas, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Janet Whitman, Trustee) to interview six different consultants over a two-day period. The decision on selecting a firm has not been finalized.
There will be an open meeting on Monday, December 16 at noon in Gannett Auditorium. The meeting is open to faculty and administrative staff as well as support staff and union staff.
PENNY JOLLY – Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure:
Penny named the four faculty appointees to the Search Committee: Carolyn Anderson, Terry Diggory, Mark Hofmann and Jeff Segrave. CAPT is continuing to have close contact with Ms. Thomas to keep informed about the presidential search process and progress. Regarding the 1997 search, there were recommendations at the close of that search concerning CAPT's relationship with the Search Committee. CAPT is well aware of the concerns and they are scheduling meetings with the Search Committee in order to address those concerns.
Gove answered a question about interviewing the search consultant firms. Ms. Thomas and Mr. Howley chose the six firms. A question was asked as to whether the Strategic Plan was used as a tool in evaluation of the firms. Advancement provided a packet of information, which included a copy of the Strategic Plan, to all of the firms.
GOVE EFFINGER – Committee on Faculty Governance:
Gove discussed the Faculty-Only Discussion meeting, which was held on November 15. There was an excellent turn out. There were two things on the agenda: discussion of the Presidential Search and discussion of Academic Vision. Due to time constraints, Academic Vision was not discussed and will be discussed at the next meeting scheduled for mid-February. Full minutes of the meeting are on the CFG website.
Gove then explained the purpose of the three-page CFG Report of November 15 Meeting handout that was provided to everyone. (See Attachment A.) There are two different forms of essentially the same action to be taken. The first form (p. 2 of Attachment A) includes what Gove referred to as "a Sense of the Faculty Letter." The second form (p. 3 of Attachment A) is a series of formal resolutions. Both say essentially the same thing but in different forms and with different tones or weight. There were three main points. First, the very strong hope that there would be more than one final candidate brought to campus; second, the hope that certain key qualifications for a candidate to have would be brought to the forefront; and third, if there does not seem to be a relatively broad consensus the right candidate has been found, the search would simply go on and not come to an end with some sort of compromise.
There was no old business.
Gove, on behalf of CFG, explained and summarized the Motion to Expand the Committee of Committees. (See Attachment B.) Gove asked the Chair, if there was no objection, to waive the layover period in order to act on the motion at this meeting. It was hoped that new members could be invited to the next Committee of Committees meeting. Dean Joseph stated he had no objection; there was no need for a second. There was a brief discussion about how the size of the Committee of Committees could possibly change the function of the committee and why other committees weren't included. The motion was passed with all in favor.
Gove, on behalf of CFG, explained the planned procedure for the next two motions regarding the Presidential Search. The first motion was to send a Sense of the Faculty Letter from the faculty to the Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Committee. If that motion was defeated, then CFG proposed to move on to the three formal resolutions.
Gove made the motion for the "Sense of the Meeting" motion which did not need a second. Discussion then ensued.
A question was asked as to whether the vote on this motion would be on form or on substance. Gove advised if the motion passed, it would indicate the faculty agreed with the content and they agreed with the form. Gove also explained that the content could be amended, but if too complicated to amend, it could go back to CFG for revisions. It was suggested that the series of resolutions in the second motion be discussed. Dean Joseph advised that the motion for the Sense of the Faculty Letter was still on the floor and, therefore, needed to be acted upon before moving on.
Suggestions were offered for revising the language of the letter. Gove reminded everyone that there was nothing binding about the motions; CFG could possibly craft agreeable language at a later time. Dean Joseph stated writing a mutually agreeable letter by the whole faculty would be impossible. Lary Opitz, as parliamentarian, explained the motion could be withdrawn, CFG could present a motion to craft and send a revised letter, which would be returned to the faculty at the next meeting in February. Dean pass the motion including suggestions as amendments, or table the motion.
Since CFG was not prepared to rewrite the letter contained in the first motion at
this meeting, and in order to maintain proper parliamentary procedure, Professor Opitz
made the motion to table the first motion (letter motion) in order to discuss the
resolutions contained in the second motion. The motion was seconded and passed with
all in favor.
Dean Joseph asked for discussion on the motion on the floor including the suggestions made previously. He also stated his concern about losing a quorum. Reg Lilly inquired as to whether he could move the motion. Procedure on how this should happen was discussed. Professor Opitz advised that the question should be called. CFG had not accepted any friendly amendments at this point; the question being called was for the original motion. Professor Opitz opined that the language would not be resolved at this meeting and the matter should go back to CFG.
A vote was taken on the motion on the floor, which was on the resolutions as they
currently appeared. The motion was seconded and passed with all in favor.
Parliamentary procedure was questioned. Professor Opitz addressed the concern regarding Professor Lilly's calling the question. It was realized that the motion was still on the floor. The proper procedure would have been to have a vote on the calling of the question first. The issue at hand now was how CFG presented the motion Dean Joseph inquired as to whether CFG wished to accept or propose a friendly amendment before voting on the motion.
CFG accepted most of the friendly amendments as stated:
- The first amendment being to revise the first sentence, "The following motions are offered by CFG on behalf of the faculty and will be conveyed to the Presidential Search Committee and the Board of Trustees."
- The first resolution and rationale to remain the same.
- The second resolution be amended: "Resolved: That the faculty recommend to the Presidential Search Committee that all finalists in the presidential search possess the following qualifications with particular emphasis on the first two: a record of successful, senior-level administrative experience, preferably at a liberal arts institution; a record of strong academic credentials; and a record of successful fundraising."
- The rationale of the second resolution was not amended on the record as it was felt that was CFG's prerogative to amend and perfect the grammar since the vote did not affect the rationale.
- The third resolution was amended: Deletion of parenthetical, i.e., (Board, administration, faculty, students). CFG did not accept the suggested word "functional" to describe consensus as they felt it was not sufficiently clear. CFG was willing to support the phrase "general support" in place of "functional consensus." The sentence to read: "Resolved: That the faculty recommend to the Presidential Search committee that if the committee is unable to build general support around one of the finalists across the college's constituencies, then the committee will continue the search until a candidate who can excite such general approval is found."
Dean Joseph then asked Professor Opitz to explain where the motion stood. Professor Opitz advised the faculty was now voting on the motion as amended. A yes vote meant the entire motion passed; a no vote meant it was defeated.
A vote was taken on the motion on the floor, which was on the resolutions as amended and accepted by CFG. The motion was passed with all in favor.
MEHMET ODEKON – Student Government Association:
Mehmet reminded everyone that at the Faculty Meeting of November 1, Andy Kirschenbaum, President of SGA, read a resolution entitled, A Resolution Supporting Diplomatic Mechanisms, which the student senate passed on October 29. (See Attachment C.) Mehmet read the resolution into the record.
Mehmet moved that the faculty of Skidmore College support the student resolution. The motion was seconded.
Discussion ensued as to whether the matter was an appropriate issue to be brought to the faculty floor. Mehmet advised that on April 30, 1993 the faculty passed a resolution unanimously encouraging peaceful resolution to the Bosnian conflict as one example of precedence where faculty did react to an issue of this nature. There was further discussion as to what the motion did not say, such as: should use of force be ruled out if diplomacy fails.
The motion on the floor was voted on and passed.
There was no other business.
Alice, as Chair of the Faculty Development Committee, announced the Faculty Development Grant Recipients for the period of January – August 2003. (See Attachment D.) She also reminded everyone that Monday, December 9 is the deadline for applications for the New Major Project Completion Awards. Further information is available at the Faculty Development web site. Dean Joseph encouraged everyone to apply.
Terry reminded everyone that it wasn't too late to make a contribution to the Skidmore Employees Scholarship fund.
Charlie announced an invitation to the faculty reception to be held at the Tang.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.
Colleen M. Sleezer
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
and Dean of the Faculty