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

FACULTY MEETING

APRIL 2, 2004
GANNETT AUDITORIUM

MINUTES

President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:38 p.m.

President Glotzbach asked if there were any objections to the approval of the March 5, 2004 Faculty Meeting; hearing no objections, the minutes were approved.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

President Glotzbach began his report advising that the All-College Council (ACC) has called for nominations for the President’s Awards honoring contributions to the Skidmore community, and he encouraged everyone to participate. President Glotzbach also acknowledged the good work that the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP) has been doing this year. He also discussed three paradoxes he recently observed: 1) this year’s Phi Beta Kappa speaker, Professor George Saliba from Columbia University, spoke to a number of Skidmore faculty and students, some students stayed for the entire program and joined Professor Saliba at a dinner following his lecture, yet later on Scribner Library was empty; 2) the great commitment to teaching on the party of the faculty, but their still exists an uneven experience for new students as is evidenced by the NSSE data and anecdotal data; and 3) there are two different first-year student experiences at Skidmore - HEOP and AOP students are currently graduating at a 95 percent rate as compared to the rest of Skidmore’s students whose graduation rate is a little below 80 percent. HEOP/AOP students feel incredible support from the HEOP/AOP staff and they build a community which supports and is crucial to their success at Skidmore. These students also mention that the expectations they face upon arrival are at a level they never expected; yet they accept the challenge from the minute they arrive. This should be an example of how all firstyear students should feel when arriving at Skidmore. The advising and mentoring role of faculty is very important to the first-year experience; it is everyone’s responsibility and should be shared across the faculty. These elements should be considered when CEPP introduces the first-year experience proposal later in the meeting. Resources will need to be considered to meet some aspects of the proposal including the addition of new faculty lines, but he is still working to determine the specific number to which he can commit. This will be a part of the capital campaign.

President Glotzbach also spoke in regard to the proposals to be introduced by the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG) relating to governance reform. While it is the general consensus that the governance system needs to be streamlined and made less demanding, at the same time-shared governance and collaborative decision making remain important values. Group functions and roles need to be determined and checked for efficiency. President Glotzbach supports the future direction toward which CFG is working with this first set of proposals.

Skidmore is currently engaged in negotiations with SEIU Local 200 United. A recent article in the Skidmore News reports that workers are putting in extra effort to gain the support of students and faculty members to pressure the administration as part of this process. President Glotzbach noted that Richard Drucker, a SEIU organizer, who provided background and opinions regarding the College’s financial policies with Local 200 United. President Glotzbach explained the negotiation process: every three years the contract is negotiated; both parties establish negotiating teams. The College team consists of four people led by Barbara Beck. The Union team is led by a business agent, not Mr. Drucker, and includes five Skidmore employees. Negotiations began on February 24 with each side exchanging goals and objectives. The teams have met six times, typically once a week but sometimes more, and things appear to be moving ahead. There are stringent restrictions about what can and cannot be said about details discussed in negotiation meetings. The administration’s first concern is the College and the needs of our students; the next concern is the welfare of Skidmore’s employees in terms of both compensation and working conditions. The goal is to have a fair contract that provides reasonable wages, benefits, and working conditions. The current contract will expire May 31. President Glotzbach is optimistic that negotiations will be concluded by that time.

DEAN OF THE FACULTY'S REPORT

Dean Charles M. Joseph first called attention to and congratulated the individuals who were awarded Faculty Major Project Completion Grants, and he thanked Professor Peter Stake, chair of the Faculty Development Committee and Dean John Brueggemann for their work on this. (See Attachment A for a list of Awards.) Dean Joseph also acknowledged the Faculty/Student Collaborative Research Teams for their determination and hard work (See Attachment B for a list of teams and projects). Dean Joseph stated that this time of year is exceedingly busy with multiple events scheduled all the time. He has been trying to get to as many events as he can and encouraged the faculty to do the same. In the past week Dean Joseph attended the fiction reading by author Michael Ondaatje, Skidmore’s first McCormack Artist-Scholar, on Wednesday, March 31. On Thursday, April 1, he also attended the Phi Beta Kappa event where Professor George Saliba spoke. Dean Joseph praised the pedagogy session that took place on Friday, March 26 and noted that there were close to 70 faculty members and students attending. It was very clear that students wish to be involved.

There are overarching issues which faculty members have engaged in more deeply than in recent years, e.g., the national educational discourse and how Skidmore will respond to such things as the “Great Expectations Report” from AAC&U including the central need for taking assessment seriously particularly at this point when Skidmore is about to launch its Middle States study. The relationship between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs has been discussed more seriously which comes at a bittersweet moment when Jon Ramsey, Dean of Students Affairs, is leaving the College. A lot of time has been spent on retention in very serious and very specific terms this year. The search is continuing for the new Tang director, which provides the opportunity for new leadership and development of the facility as a true hub for the campus in terms of being a teaching museum. There are many exciting institutional grants which are in progress. For example, Xiaohong Shen, the Resident Director for the Beijing Program through the Freeman grant, is on campus for a few days to discuss that program. The first class departs for China in August and Dean Joseph thanked Dean Sarah Goodwin and Professor Mao Chen for their work on this project.

Dean Joseph also noted that he is moving forward on several other initiatives, one of which is working more closely with chairs and directors. There will be a retreat this summer with information going out in a week or so. Personnel issues will be addressed. Dean Joseph mentioned that he has had a good relationship with the Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure (CAPT) in terms of promotion and tenure cases. There has been constant work to bring clarity to the various processes, and there will be a retreat in the summer to discuss this.

Dean Joseph also announced his decision to move a single tenure-track faculty line from a department into an interdisciplinary program, specifically Environmental Studies. A search for the filling of this position is underway.  This should not be taken to indicate that there would be a wholesale change in lines from departments to programs. Skidmore is one of the few schools that do not engage in placing faculty lines in programs. Mechanics will need to be worked out in terms of how evaluation processes will go forward, and CAPT is working with Dean Joseph to ensure this is done equitably.

Dean Joseph also supported President Glotzbach’s acknowledgement that additional teaching staff is needed, especially if the first-year experience and new curriculum is to be adequately staffed and if Academic Vision goals are to be met.  Dean Joseph has every confidence that Skidmore will be able to do that. The first-year experience stands as the cornerstone of the larger vision. Dean Joseph thinks the first-year experience proposal combines the best of the current LS curriculum while adding some essential new ingredients, e.g., the mentoring link, slightly smaller classes, and a series of articulated goals and assessment objectives. The First Year Experience initiative will allow students and advisors to interact more regularly. It will be an opportunity to assess the individual growth of students and will give faculty the ability to work with students as they learn to make independent decisions. The proposal also provides for continuation of the advisor relationship beyond the first semester.

The idea that the first-year experience is a kind of portal leading to the rest of the Skidmore experience means that orientation must be rethought. Faculty members have expressed a desire to have a more academically oriented experience before classes begin. The Student Orientation Planning Committee is working on this and will present strategies and suggestions in the next few weeks. Approximately 50 faculty members will be needed to participate in one form or another at the beginning of the year; there have been between 30 and 35 faculty members who have expressed an interest in doing this, and Dean Joseph encouraged everyone to consider participating.

OLD BUSINESS

MOTION:

Professor Gove Effinger, on behalf of the Committee on Faculty Governance, explained the rationale of the two motions presented and outlined further language amendments. (See Attachment C for the full text of the motions.)

MOTION 1: CFG moves that the underlined language be removed from and the bold language be added to Section VIII, Part F and G on pages 121-122 of the Faculty Handbook. The motion, having come from the committee, required no second and having lain over from the last meeting was voted on and passed unanimously.
MOTION 2: CFG moves that the underlined language be removed from Section VIII, Part E, Paragraph 2 on page 119 of the Faculty Handbook. The motion, having come from the committee, required no second and having lain over from the last meeting was voted on and passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

MOTION:

Professor Katie Hauser, on behalf of the Committee on Faculty Governance, explained the rationale of the two motions presented. (See Attachment D for the full text and rationale of the motions.) There will be campus-wide meeting sometime in May so that the larger campus community will have an opportunity to participate in discussion. It is anticipated that further discussion of reorganization issues will continue through October.

MOTION 1: CFG moves that the Financial Policy and Planning Committee (FPPC) be eliminated as of the end of the 2003-04 academic year.
MOTION 2: CFG moves that the membership of the Institutional Planning Committee (IPC) for the 2004-5 academic year be modified as follows:

Current Membership (Faculty Handbook page 215): The President, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, the Vice President for Business Affairs, the Vice President for Advancement, Chairs of CEPP, Financial Policy and Planning Committee, and a faculty representative from All-College Council, two additional faculty elected for staggered four-year terms, one of whom is tenured, the other not, two students selected by SGA, the President of SGA, and the Director of Institutional Research.

Proposed membership for 2004-5: The President, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, the Vice President for Business Affairs, the Vice President for Advancement, the Dean of Admissions and Student Aid, the Dean of Student Affairs, the Dean of Special Programs, the Director of Institutional Research, the Chair of CEPP, a 2003-4 faculty member of FPPC, a current faculty member of CFG (who acts as vice-chair of the committee), an administrative-professional or support staff member of the 2003-4 FPPC, both current (previously elected) faculty members of IPC, and two students selected by SGA.

A concern was raised as to the status of Benefits Committee. Professor Hauser stated that Benefits Committee must be treated differently because it is a College Committee and not a Faculty Committee; therefore, no authority can be exerted over Benefits Committee. The issue, together with other issues and questions, will be addressed at the scheduled campus-wide meetings. A recommendation was made that CFG put together a rationale for Motion 1. Both motions will lie over until the next meeting.

MOTION:

Professor Gordon Thompson, on behalf of the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP) introduced a motion to endorse a First-Year Experience Proposal. (See Attachment E for the full text and rationale of the motions.) Professor Thompson gave a detailed explanation for the motion and took preliminary questions regarding the proposal. President Glotzbach reminded everyone that detailed discussion of the motion should not be addressed at this meeting but will be addressed at next month’s meeting. A forum for discussion is scheduled for Friday, April 23 at 3:30 p.m. Coming from the Committee, the motion required no second and will lie over until the next meeting.

OTHER BUSINESS

There was no other business

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Colleen M. Kelly
Executive Secretary
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty

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