October 3, 2003
President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:35 p.m.
President Glotzbach asked if there were any objections to the approval of either the September 5, 2003 Faculty Meeting minutes or the September 19, 2003 Faculty Meeting minutes; hearing no objections, the minutes from both meetings were approved.
President Glotzbach recognized the following faculty accomplishments: Mary Zeiss Stange, Heart Shots: Women Write About Hunting; Alice Dean and her collaborative research student, Natalia Veytsel ‘03 recently published the following article: “Unit Bar-visibility Graphs” published in the journal, Congressus Numerantium, fall 2003; Susannah Mintz, Assistant Professor of English, whose book, Threshold Poetics: Milton and Intersubjectivity, University of Delaware Press; August 2003.
President Glotzbach reported there has been five faculty gatherings at Scribner House. The conversations at those gatherings reflect the vitality of the entire faculty. Recurring themes: concept of excellence, how do we challenge ourselves, how do we challenge our students, new ways to support faculty research and pedagogical development, importance of introductory classes, how to help students to understand career options from all majors offered at Skidmore. There have also been discussions regarding benefits, finances, and faculty morale.
Regarding the financial situation at Skidmore, President Glotzbach stressed that he has never used the word “crisis” except in saying that things needed to be done to avoid a potential financial crisis in the future. The term does not apply to Skidmore’s situation right now. President Glotzbach reminded everyone that Skidmore has a balanced budget this year. The budget is balanced for many reasons, which include the facts that there was no increase in salary, investment in the physical plant has been reduced, and other initiatives have been put on hold as well. This means there is a structural problem that still must beaddressed. President Glotzbach discussed strategic thinking regarding salaries and compensation. As he looks towards completing the strategic plan for Skidmore, he will insist that a salary piece be part of the plan.
One of the messages President Glotzbach received last spring that has been consistently expressed, is that decisions need to be made in order to move on. He is attempting to do that with the benefits situation. The Board of Trustees needs this as well. As Skidmore looks toward the improvement of its strategic position with this next campaign, he asked for the faculty’s hope and support.
DEAN OF THE FACULTY'S REPORT
At Harvard University, much like at Skidmore, certain questions have been raised about
the core experience and about academic rigor. Many schools in the country are exploring
examinations of their curriculum. Dean Joseph expressed his standing commitment to
develop an academic vision. The Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP)
and the Dean of Faculty’s Office continue working towards this end and have been involved
in organizing advisory subcommittees. Next Friday, October 10, there will be a forum
open to faculty, a first of several opportunities, to gather and debate these issues.
This October marks the anniversary of the Association of American Colleges and Universities
(AAC&U) released an overarching and informative report entitled, “Greater Expectations”
it spoke to a vision of college education in the new millennium (See http://www.greaterexpectations.org/). Skidmore needs to participate in discussing questions raised in the report. Skidmore
will be represented at this year’s national meeting of the AAC&U thanks to a proposal
submitted by Ray Rodrigues, Director of Assessment, along with CEPP members Gordon
Thompson and Michael Arnush and representatives from the Dean of Faculty’s Office
who will lead a panel in Washington, D.C. addressing the practical aspect of the “Greater
Expectations” charge. Dean Joseph discussed the strategies and objectives of the “Greater Expectations” charge. The Vision discussion is on target and should not be delayed, nor should making tough decisions on strategies to deliver that vision be delayed. Dean Joseph urged the faculty to read the Academic Vision document.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW STAFF
Scott Minkoff ‘04, Student Government Association (SGA) President, introduced the following officers for the 2003-04 academic year: Nick Merrill ‘05 - Vice President for Academic Affairs; Betsy Sheridan ‘05 - Vice President for Residential Affairs; Matthew Sweet ‘04 - Vice President for Communications; Justin Matijcio ‘05 - Vice President for Financial Affairs; Miriam Popper ‘05 - Vice President for Clubs and Organizations. Mr. Minkoff encouraged the faculty to feel comfortable in expressing their concerns or if there are ways that the SGA can help faculty, they were open to being a resource for that. Departments that haven’t picked their student representatives should do so in the near future and let Mr. Minkoff or Mr. Merrill know so the group can be formed and begin productive work.
Professor Katie Hauser, Chair of the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG), made a motion on behalf of CFG to move that the term of service of the Faculty Development Committee (FDC), as described on page 214 of the Faculty Handbook, be changed from two years to three years. (See Attachment A.) Professor Hauser summarized the rationale. The motion came from the committee and required no second. The motion will lie over until the November 7 Faculty Meeting.
Professor Pierre von Kaenel moved for the adoption of the following resolution:
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to six students: Kim L. Fonda, Joann Marie Potter, Peter Matthew Koza, Rachel Pritzker, Sean O’Kane, Joy Farkondeh Falasiri Riemerand, and the Bachelor of Science degree to nine students: June A. Beckstead, Heidi E. Morgan, Joyce Paulleen Brown, Matthew D. Pinck, Michael S. Clark, Margaret Austin Sanderson, Daphne Deloris George, Derrick Freeman Kelii Sylva, and Frances Joseph. The motion came from the committee therefore it required no second. The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
Professor Adrienne Zuerner moved for the adoption of the following resolution:
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Master of Arts degree to two students: Perry Babcock and Mark Allen Zappone. The motion came from the committee therefore it required no second. The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
Professor Katie Hauser, Chair of the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG), at the September 5, 2003 Faculty Meeting introduced a motion on behalf of CFG to move the adoption of the 2003-04 Faculty Handbook. The motion came from the committee and required no second. The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor. (See Attachment B.)
Professor Mehmet Odekon, Chair of the FPPC, introduced a motion at the September 19, 2003 Faculty Meeting on behalf of FPPC to vote on proposals for substantive benefits changes that have been proposed by the College Benefits Committee. The motion came from the committee and required no second. The floor was opened for discussion.
Professor Gary McClure commended President Glotzbach for his stand of looking at this as a total package in terms of compensation. He feels this is an important factor in moving ahead. Professor McClure also stated he would vote against the motion if it came to a vote. Professor McClure asked that his e-mail be included in the minutes of the meeting. (In the absence of a formal motion to have the email read and accepted into the minutes of the meeting, Professor McClure’s email has not been included herein.) Professor McClure encouraged everyone to vote no.
Professor Mark Huibregtse observed that it could be argued that the proposals to modify provisions of the health plan and tuition benefit plan do not in anyway change the language of Part IV; therefore, he questioned the necessity of a vote. He also cited precedents. Professor Lary Opitz, as parliamentarian, responded that unless the question of propriety is actually raised it in the form of a motion that the faculty can address, it will have no bearing on the discussion. At this point the discussion was operating under the assumption that the faculty must consider this motion according to the Faculty Handbook. President Glotzbach, as chair, suggested that the issue of propriety should be allowed to lie with the option to return to it. Professor Adrienne Zuerner stated that whether the vote indicated a yes or no result, the proposed actions would still be taken.
Professor Paty Rubio emphasized that the proposed changes are gender regressive. She found there are presently 205 people earning under $40,000 and 11 people making over $100,000. About 85 percent in the lower strata are women. If an employee is making $23,000, in 2004 that employee will be paying 2.01 percent of their salary in benefits (most are support staff who are women). However, if an employee is making $100,000-$140,000, that employee will be paying only one percent of their salary for benefits, and she suggests that men hold most of those positions. Professor Rubio asked who in the administration is standing up on behalf of the employees. While she feels that faculty and employees are working very hard and have a strong commitment to Skidmore, she is beginning to the sense that Skidmore is not committed to its employees in the same way.
Professor Barbara Black stated she feels this vote is a bit absurd and wished the discussion could be tabled. She recognized that the institution has a long-term plan about benefits, but she stated she would like to know more about what the long-term plan is for salaries and for adjusting rankings in Skidmore’s cohort. Taking away the very thing that justifies low salaries is a real paradigmatic shift in the institutional culture. Professor Black also asked if the administration receives the same increases faculty and staff do. Karl Broekhuizen, Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer, answered that the salary adjustments that apply to faculty and staff also apply to members of president staff and members of the administration. This excludes members of the unions because those salaries are collectively bargained. Professor Una Bray confirmed that the figures regarding salaries that she sent out by e-mail were correct. Within Skidmore’s cohort, if you are an associate professor at Skidmore, the equity adjustments that are made by other institutions for their faculty are not necessarily going to be restored by Skidmore’s management for faculty. She also noted in colleges like Skidmore, administrators have been getting paid more money over time, mostly because it is difficult to get deans and presidents. One thing that can be examined is the raises among the administrators who have not had changes in rank, who have been here for the last 15-20 years, and how much their salaries have increased compared to the amount faculty members’ salaries have increased over that period.
Professor Margaret Pearson observed that if the same percentage is applying through all ranks, obviously the upper ranks benefit much more so every time there is an increase in terms of percentages rather than a flat increase. Skidmore increases the disparities of income within its community.
Professor Tom Denny praised President Glotzbach for being so forthright in suggesting “crisis” is an inappropriate word to be using for the current situation, he thanked Professor McClure for his persistence regarding the issues at stake, and he thanked Karl Broekhuizen for his responses about benefits. As former chair of FPPC and having been at Skidmore for over 20 years, two things strike him as strange about this process. One is the political dimension to do with timing. The notion that salaries have been traditionally low and benefits generous has now been changed. In addition, Skidmore is in a very strange transitional moment with the new presidency. Professor Denny would like to see President Glotzbach given more time to become more familiar with the Board, faculty, and community before having to make decisions on these issues. A second point is whether or not this is a matter of choice or mandates. Professor Denny stated that the process by which Skidmore designates portions of money are a Board and/or Skidmore management choice. He suggested that in these transitional times it may be wise for administration to suggest some quantity of unrestricted incoming capital could prudently be assigned to a General Salary Adjustment (GSA) without jeopardizing the rapidly growing financial burden.
President Glotzbach surrendered the chair to Dean Joseph in order to respond to the issues. President Glotzbach suggested that everyone should think about the lifeblood of the institution, the endowment. The proposed changes are neither forced nor entirely optional. President Glotzbach gave examples of what could happen if endowment funds were spent. Skidmore is a young institution, and if Skidmore had started 50 years earlier and had the same endowment history, Skidmore would be in a different place today. Spending endowment funds is a choice, but that choice would hurt future budgets and is irresponsible. President Glotzbach emphasized that he cannot do that as Skidmore’s president.
Professor Denny further stated he was referring to money that is coming through the door that is not in our endowment until the Board of Trustees puts it there, for example, unrestricted bequests. Is there an opportunity to take some of that money coming in the door and treat it as income?
Professor Glotzbach responded that if those funds are used for operating budget, what would Skidmore use for the next year to make that same portion of the operating budget? The unrestricted funds coming in the door are not dependable or predictable and cannot be considered a reliable revenue stream from one year to the next. Therefore these funds are not considered a good source of income.
Professor Terry Diggory believes that Skidmore is potentially in the midst of a paradigm
shift with regard to the way we think about total compensation and benefits as opposed
to salary. He stated the cost of benefits poses a very different picture with regard
to control than the costs of salary. Along with control comes accountability, and
Professor Diggory would like to
see a shift toward greater accountability with regard to meeting a salary figure. Past assumptions were that because the College offered such generous benefits, they were unable to meet salary goals. Benefits will become leaner and as President Glotzbach has stated, a GSA should be included in order to have a truly balanced budget. Professor Diggory thinks faculty can expect more and demand more accountability of the administration with regard to the salary component of compensation. Professor Jim Kennelly noted that everyone agrees healthcare is a problem everywhere, and everyone will have to pay some portion of healthcare costs. FPPC voted last year to endorse four short-term steps with the understanding of finding room for a GSA, but that did not happen. The fact that there was no GSA, to some extent, has poisoned these discussions. Professor Kennelly emphasized faculty should be having intense discussions regarding policy. There is a subcommittee of FPPC being formed to again understand the numbers and to do a presentation to the community. Plans should be put in place to address spending limitations for different areas such as benefits, salaries, etc.
Professor Michael Arnush spoke about figures for projected salary compensation in upcoming budget years. He questions whether the GSA for next year, previously built into the budget as 2.0 percent, is based on a zero percent increase with a possible 2.0 percent increase or, is it to be assumed that the minimum increase will be 2.0 percent with a chance to receive more which would bring salaries closer in line with some of Skidmore’s peers. He would like to hear specifics about GSA before voting on this motion. Professor Odekon addressed the issue. The FPPC is going to start looking at parameters of the budget starting on October 13, one of which is GSA. The FPPC will report to the faculty. Mike Hall, Director, Financial Planning and Budgeting, responded with one technical correction regarding the chart that was shown to the Board of Trustees. That chart showed a 2.5 percent GSA in the first two years and a 3.0 percent GSA in the second two years of a four-year forecast. The current projection being used was developed since the Board meeting in May and it shows a 3.0 percent projection of GSA for all four years. None of the numbers have been determined, voted upon, recommended, but they are part of the projection for 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Professor Arnush raised an issue of timing; the projection for addressing operating budget challenges is five years, the projection proposed for addressing healthcare, benefits, and pension challenges is three years. Professor Arnush asked why there was a difference and couldn’t the same level of financial responsibility be reached but make the burden a bit easier if both challenges were addressed over five years? Professor Odekon responded that the three-year period is not in writing yet. Everything is still in the process of being deliberated, and he hopes that by the end of the spring semester there will be a more complete picture of a timetable. Professor Arnush reminded everyone that whatever FPPC recommends is not necessarily what happens as was confirmed last spring.
Professor Joel Smith is pleased that the faculty have empowered themselves in ways they have not in the past, but they need to be realistic. He sees the issues as being not only economic and political, but that the faculty is dealing with a management issue. What the faculty needs to do is realistically face a structural issue and seriously consider organizing, unionizing in order to obtain some real power. No matter how rational or altruistic the management responds to the faculty’s voice, the faculty is not going to have sufficient power to help themselves.
Professor Rubio reverted back to issues of choices and talked about financial aid.
Forty percent of Skidmore’s students receive financial aid. She suggested that maybe
this is more than Skidmore can afford. She referred to President Glotzbach’s statement
that in order to just keep up with financial aid it would cost another $1 million
in the budget. Professor Opitz responded to Professor Diggory’s comments regarding
control over compensation aligned with no control over medical costs. When considering
percentages of costs for medical care, the problem is considering a percentage of
what? The faculty is being asked to agree to a big unknown. All the faculty can do
is respond to big issues or questions and make statements. Professor Opitz stated
nobody wants to move on more than he does, and he wants to move on to talk about vision.
He suggested that the faculty vote on the motion as quickly as possible, to vote no
with the understanding that it is
out of the faculty’s control, and vote with the explicit purpose of sending a message to the Board that the faculty is not happy. Then he suggested moving on to talk about something that the faculty does have control of, their future and vision.
A motion was made by Professor Roy Ginsberg to call the question; the motion was seconded. The motion was voted on by a show of hands, and passed with all in favor.
Professor Odekon, on behalf of the FPPC, made a motion that the vote on the motion on the table regarding benefits changes be taken by paper ballot. The motion was seconded and passed with a two-thirds majority in favor. Members of the CEPP distributed, collected, and counted the paper ballots.
Number of votes cast: 129
Votes for motion: 13
Votes against: 101
Votes abstaining: 15
Dean Joseph, as Chair, announced the results of the vote. The motion was defeated.
There was no other business
Announcements were printed on the back of the agenda. (See Attachment C.)
- Professor Diggory asked that everyone consider giving to the Skidmore Employees’ Scholarship Fund. For every $10,000 contributed to the fund a scholarship is named as the Employees’ Scholarship for a local student. There are currently two students: Jennifer Gross ‘04 and Matthew Cronin ‘06.
- President Glotzbach reminded everyone that Skidmore is approaching a Centennial Celebration
and Inauguration to be held the same weekend. There will be a symposium that Friday,
October 17 in which Professor Mary Lynn and two colleagues from outside Skidmore will
talk about the future of liberal education creativity. There are many events happening
and he encouraged everyone to participate.
- President Glotzbach also stated that the conversations had in today’s meeting are
just business, he does not take them personally. Serious work needs to be done to
repair the relationship between members of the faculty and the Board of Trustees.
He mentioned that in the past there have been events where faculty members and members
of the Board have
gotten together. Sometime later in the year, if the faculty is willing, he would like to see these events happen again.
- The Faculty Meeting Reception was hosted by Special Programs and was held at the Schick Art Gallery.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:07 p.m.
Colleen M. Kelly
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
and Dean of the Faculty