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

FACULTY MEETING

May 17, 2006
Gannett Auditorium

 

MINUTES

President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 10:05 am. President Glotzbach asked if there were any objections to the approval of the April 28, 2006 Faculty Meeting minutes and hearing no objections, the minutes were approved.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

President Glotzbach began by saying what a difficult year this has been but we are looking forward to commencement on Saturday. He congratulated the faculty on their good work and encouraged everyone to reflect on this and celebrate. In the fall we lost Phillip Eckstein ’07, and in the spring we lost Juan Carlos Lertora, Professor of Spanish and Ruth Lakeway – they were colleagues and important members of this community. We were also saddened by the death of Alberta Sharp, the former secretary to President Palamountain and Edward Murray, the former supervisor of transportation and grounds. These were times in the Skidmore community that we came together and showed the best of what we are, mourned the loss and offered our support to one another, especially to those that were most directly affected. Also, he mentioned that Ryan Jeska ’08, Sandra Jeska’s son, and our colleague Joe Sweet are both hospitalized and our hearts and best wishes go out to them.

President Glotzbach said that we faced another difficult moment in November when several incidents of racist graffiti appeared in the residence halls. Those hurtful incidents gave occasion to some important conversations among students, faculty and staff. The discussion at the subsequent faculty meeting was one of the best and showed how we engage important issues when we put our minds together. It needs to be acknowledged that there is considerable work to be done as a community around issues of diversity and intercultural understanding. The Diversity Task Force was convened to advise and offer help on implementing the second goal of the Strategic Plan. Recommendations will be forthcoming in due course from that group. Last evening a number of the taskforce members met with graduating students of color who talked candidly about their experiences at Skidmore and it was a very moving and poignant conversation. There will be more details from the taskforce about this on another occasion. President Glotzbach reported that two strong messages came through in those remarks from the students; first, these students deeply appreciated their time at Skidmore, especially the intellectual and personal growth they experienced, just as we would hope all our students would; secondly, there were many messages of pain that the students had experienced in both our social and academic spaces. The College is not where we need to be as a community in dealing with our increasingly diverse student body. It is worth our pausing to reflect that 52 years ago today, the Supreme Court heard Brown vs. Board of Education and segregation was legal in this country, particularly in education. Strides have been made in 52 years, but we are not there yet. As Skidmore becomes a more inclusive, and thereby a stronger institution, we need to recommit ourselves to the first goal of our Strategic Plan and that is to make sure that we are doing what is necessary to make the wonderful educational opportunities we provide, fully available to every student we admit. Given the spectacular admissions enrollment figures for next year, there is some immediacy to this project.

President Glotzbach asked Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, to give a brief update on fall enrollment. Dean Bates also discussed this information at the community meeting last week. There was a 10% increase in applications for a total of 6,650 and early decision applications were up 14%. About 40% of the class was enrolled early this year, which compared with 39% last year. The acceptance rate was the lowest in the College’s history. The overall acceptance rate, which includes the students admitted through the London and opportunity programs, was 39%. The acceptance rate this spring with extra applications and a few more students early was 35%. The May yield was one of the highest the College has ever experienced. A summer melt of 55 was built in and right now we are on target. Currently, eleven students have withdrawn towards that 55; last year at this time, we lost six and ultimately lost 43. Two years ago we lost 15 at this time and ultimately lost 69. With 55 as the target, we will open about 25 over our 610 target which will be 635.

There will be approximately 36 in London as right now we have 38 and anticipate losing a couple of students. This is the first time ever that we have been fully enrolled in the London class and that is a result of the program becoming more visible. We enrolled the last couple of slots of the London program from the September students – we had six or seven of those that indicated they would rather go to London and so we moved two of them to come up to our target. The class of 2010 will be the most diverse in the College’s history. Currently, 141 students of color are enrolled in the class of 2010, which constitutes 20% of the class. Most of our growth was in Latino and Asian students. There is also an increase in international students as 18 are enrolled in the first year class -- and that compares with eight last year. Students applying from abroad are also included in the count; however, not all of them are considered international students because some hold U.S. passports in addition to another passport. Many of these students have never lived in the U.S. There are 26 of those students versus 20 last year. The percentage of men has increased from last year, even though the percentage of admits was exactly the same for male/female applicants. Currently there are 43% male students enrolled versus 38% at this time last year. Subsequently, we opened at 37% male last year, as one student was lost from the summer melt. The SAT’s are at 1250 which is consistent with the last three years. Colleagues from other institutions have experienced a decline in the median score with the new SAT. The College Board has not commented much about the SAT’s, however, they announced that the average score nationally was down somewhat. Finally, the targets were met successfully in terms of both the Porter scholars and the Filene scholars. The target was 5 Porter scholars and 6 were enrolled of which 3 are international students, two from Romania and one from Turkey. The target of Filene scholars was met as well. Of the 18 international students, 5 are from the United World College schools. Skidmore received $10,000 through the Davis Foundation for each of these students in need-based aid for each of their four years of study. One of the home countries is Afghanistan. There are approximately 15,000 visitors a year at Skidmore, and Dean Bates thanked everyone for their interactions with many of these visitors and for the community’s efforts in enrolling this class.

President Glotzbach discussed the budget for next year. He indicated that budget proceedings started in the fall and that compensation was placed at the head of a series of priorities that led in part to the optimization work. President Glotzbach thanked Vice Presidents Charles M. Joseph and Michael West for leading the optimization effort. A revised budget is being submitted to the trustees tomorrow for their approval. The rough outlines of the budget were discussed at the community meeting last week and it was indicated that we are seeking an enhancement budget. There is significant funding going towards academic enhancements, new faculty positions, new support personnel and other initiatives that are directly aimed at improving things on the academic side. This budget includes a 5% GSA and an additional $900,000 which is quite above what has been done in the recent past for market equity promotion increases. With that additional funding, there should be substantial progress towards the College’s goals. There will be a budget discussion by Vice President Joseph and West immediately following this session for anyone who would like a complete presentation. President Glotzbach stated that we can be positive about this budget even if we haven’t moved as far as we would like with compensation; however, it is a very significant and substantial improvement. Most of the additional dollars will go to the faculty, as this group is the most challenged in terms of what we are trying to accomplish with our peer groups.

President Glotzbach gave an overview of the past year. The Middle States reaccredidation process took place and we were easily reaccredited but we did receive some very good recommendations and insight into issues that are important to us from that work. He thanked Associate Dean of the Faculty, Sarah Goodwin, Administrative Coordinator of the First-Year Experience Program, Chrisana McGill, and all those who worked very intensely on making the review meaningful and helpful to the institution. President Glotzbach further commented that the First-Year Experience is off to a great start. It is a great program and everyone should be proud of that accomplishment. There were new personnel in important administrative offices that started this past year.

There are major construction projects happening on campus – the Northwoods apartments will be completed in the fall, the dining hall will be finished soon after September 1, sprinklers will be installed in Jonsson Tower this summer and work will soon begin on the stadium athletic fields. There have been major revisions to the Master Facilities Plan – the plan that looks ahead 50 years. The last revision of the master plan was in 1989. The IPPC has been reviewing that work and will continue to do so at their final meeting. A presentation will be given to the Board of Trustees. Next fall, IPPC will facilitate larger conversations across the whole campus to allow everyone the opportunity to hear what is being proposed. President Glotzbach formally welcomed Professor Susan Kress, who is rejoining Skidmore and will become the Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs on June 1. He asked everyone to join with him in thanking Vice President Joseph for his service in Academic Affairs these past few years.

President Glotzbach concluded with saying that Skidmore is a hot school right now: the fact that we have received 6,650 applications this year is one indication. There is a momentum here that we can all be proud of and it is something that we need to continue. Our job is to make Skidmore a better College in the future as well. President Glotzbach concluded by thanking everyone for their efforts in helping to make Skidmore the better institution it is today. He said the faculty are the most important group on campus because of their work with the students: this is the heart of our institution.

VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS REPORT

Vice President Charles M. Joseph thanked everyone for his wonderful farewell celebration recently. He read from the Faculty Handbook regarding faculty’s obligation to attend commencement, opening convocation for fall and spring terms and honors convocation. Any faculty member unable to be present at these functions should notify the Dean of the Faculty.

VP Joseph also mentioned that a report was sent from the Assessment Task force recently. This group was formed on the departure of former Professor Ray Rodrigues. CEPP has charged this group with working through possibilities on how we would make assessment a permanent structure at Skidmore. One of the charges is to make a recommendation to CEPP by this time next year as to what the structure might be. Many faculty are undertaking initiatives and reporting back to the task force, and we are continuing to work on those projects next year. If there are any questions or issues that you would like addressed, please forward these to VP Joseph before he leaves and he will forward to the Interim VPAA, Susan Kress.

VP Joseph thanked the committees he worked with this year – CAPT and Professor Lary Opitz, FEC and Professor Tim Burns and his colleagues, Professor Denise Smith and President Glotzbach for their interactions with IPPC, and the members of the VPAA Senior Staff. He met with Professor Susan Kress, Dean Muriel Poston, Dean Paula Newberg and Associate Dean Sarah Goodwin yesterday for an opening retreat to apprise Professor Kress of upcoming events. He acknowledged the excellent work that has already been accomplished by Dean Poston and Dean Newberg and said that he has formed a wonderful friendship that will serve us and Professor Kress well as she moves forward with her work next year. He has charged Dean Newberg with thinking about how Special Programs can become part of Academic Affairs, which is a challenge transitionally, and also with how it can use its entrepreneurial spirit to inform academic affairs. Finally, he indicated that everyone received a notice yesterday regarding the President’s awards and he acknowledged and offered congratulations to the two faculty members who received these awards: Professor Philip Boshoff and Associate Dean Sarah Goodwin. He commented that Associate Dean Goodwin really assisted him the past four years with her guidance, and he is delighted that the community has honored her with this award.

DEAN OF THE FACULTY REPORT

Dean Muriel Poston had a few brief remarks. Two faculty members received awards: Professor Michael Rohlf has received a post doctorate from the Mellon Foundation and he will spend the next two years at Brown University; and Professor Crystal Moore has received a Hartford Fellowship that will allow her to continue her research on aging and health care delivery here in the capital region. It has been an incredible year to see the faculty recognized by the external community. Also, the Molecules That Matter symposium was held yesterday; it was organized by Professor Ray Giguere, John Weber, and Professor James Rik Scarce. It was marvelous how faculty engaged in that conference, which offered a wonderful opportunity to link some of the issues facing science and society in the 20th century. She encouraged everyone to think about how to connect the upcoming Tang exhibit to their curriculum as the show continues to develop. Dean Poston highlighted a few things that she hopes will occur over the summer that will come back as recommendations or reports in the fall. CAPT will continue to work on the interdisciplinary lines issue and hopefully bring recommendations to the faculty in the fall so we can move forward with the appropriate structure in the handbook to address that issue. There is also a taskforce on course releases jointly organized by FEC and the Dean of the Faculty office. Hopefully a preliminary report will be submitted by the first of June, but it will probably be an ongoing process.

Dean Poston also mentioned two institutional searches that were convened in the spring semester. One is for Director of Intercultural Studies, chaired by Professor Paty Rubio, which will be a tenure-track line that is open in any discipline. She encouraged everyone to think about how that might connect to their department and the ways in which the department can support that institutional endeavor. The department chairs and program directors have a copy of the position description as it has been advertised and it will be readvertised in the fall with the search completed during the next academic year. There is also a search for a Sponsored Research Officer to replace the position that has been held by Professor Bob DeSieno. That position has been restructured to support external funding activities for the entire faculty not just for the natural sciences. Professor Mark Hofmann is chairing that search committee and the position description has also been distributed to the departments. It would be helpful to share the position description with professional associations if that is appropriate. Dean Poston thanked everyone for welcoming her into the community. Dean Poston stated that the College is at a transformative moment as President Glotzbach mentioned and she is hopeful that everyone will work together to see that change as it occurs.

DEAN OF SPECIAL PROGRAMS REPORT

Dean Paula Newberg thanked everyone for welcoming her this year. The Special Programs office is in the process of trying to accomplish many things, so hopefully some success and progress will be evident even by the end of the summer. There are fifty graduates this year for the UWW and MALS programs and everyone is encouraged to attend commencement on Saturday. This summer is the 20th anniversary of the Writer’s Institute and there will be a series of events, most of which Professor Robert Boyers is planning. On June 22, there will be the 22nd anniversary on the Surrey lawn to celebrate Skidmore’s participation with the NYS Council on the Arts and the Limon Company in the initiation of the program for long-term dance residencies in New York State. More than $3M direct dollars has come in from state budgets and well more than that from many institutions across the state who have hosted these organizations. The Limon Company was the first to apply and they spent their first summer here and this will be their third summer here and their 60th anniversary.

President Glotzbach asked Tracy Barlok of Advancement to give a brief update of where we are on the campaign front. Ms. Barlok stated that it was a milestone week for the College as we passed the $90M mark.

She thanked everyone for their efforts on this behalf. This is a very important time of the year as the fiscal year ends May 31 and we still have a little over a $1M to reach by June 1 in order to make a record annual fund of $5.5M.

President Glotzbach indicated that there will be a major announcement in June on the full extent of the Zankel request as we are working with the family on this.

OLD BUSINESS

MOTIONS:

Associate Professor Tim Burns, on behalf of the Faculty Executive committee (FEC), opened the floor for discussion of three motions introduced at the April 28, 2006 faculty meeting regarding “Faculty Handbook” amendments. (See Attachment A)

MOTION 1: Athletic Council revisions. There was no discussion; the motion was put to a vote and passed with all in favor.

MOTION 2: Committees of the Faculty revisions. There was no discussion; the motion was put to a vote and passed with all in favor.

MOTION 3: Committees of the Faculty and Honors Council revisions. There was no discussion; the motion was put to a vote and passed with all in favor.

NEW BUSINESS

A. Conferral of Degrees

President Glotzbach introduced Ann Henderson, Registrar and Director of Registrar and Institutional Research. Director Henderson thanked her staff for all their hard work and announced that Judith Stephens, Associate Registrar will be retiring in January. Ms. Henderson noted that there is one change on the Bachelor of Arts degree candidates: Nathaniel Douglas will be graduating with the Class of 2007, not the Class of 2006.

Ms. Henderson read the following four resolutions into the record:

RESOLVED, that the faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Board of Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to 376 students of the Class of 2006 to be awarded on May 20, 2006.

RESOLVED, that the faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Science degree to 156 students to the class of 2006 to be awarded on May 20, 2006.

RESOLVED, that the faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to 37 students to the class of 2006 upon satisfactory completion of degree requirements by August 31, 2006.

RESOLVED, that the faculty at Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Science degree to 7 students to the class of 2006 upon satisfactory completing of degree requirements by August 31, 2006.

The total number of graduates is 532 for May candidates and 44 for August candidates.

The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor. (See Attachment B)

President Glotzbach introduced Associate Professor Una Bray on behalf of the University Without Walls Committee to present the following resolution.

RESOLVED, that the faculty at Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to 20 students and the Bachelor of Science degree to 19 students. (See Attachment C)

The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.

President Glotzbach introduced Professor Phyllis Roth on behalf of the external Master of Arts Committee to present the following resolution.

RESOLVED, that the faculty at Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Master of Arts degree to five students. Of these, two students receiving the Master of Arts degree will do so contingent upon completion of all degree requirements by August 31, 2006.

The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor. (See Attachment D)

The Interim Dean of Studies, Grace Burton read the following two resolutions regarding all-college and departmental honors.

RESOLVED, that the faculty at Skidmore College approve Departmental Honors for two students in the Class of 2005 and 161 students from the Class of 2006 as presented at the May 17, 2006 faculty meeting.

RESOLVED, that the faculty at Skidmore College approve six students from the Class of 2005 and 150 students from the Class of 2006 for cum laude distinction; for magna cum laude distinction, one student from the Class of 2005 and 57 students from the Class of 2006; for summa cum laude distinction, three students from the Class of 2005 and 32 students from the Class of 2006 as presented at the May 17, 2006 faculty meeting.

The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor. (See Attachment E)

President Glotzbach thanked Dean Burton for her service and hard work as Interim Dean of Studies.

B. FEC – Resolution – Professor Tim Burns read a resolution regarding compensation. (See Attachment F)

REPORTS

A. FEC – Committee of Committee’s Report – Professor Tim Burns read report. (See Attachment G)

B. First-Year Experience – Professor Michael Arnush gave a brief report and thanked the faculty who taught and mentored students this year and all the other offices that helped with this process. There will be a workshop next week with thirty six faculty members who will be teaching in the fall 2007. There will be a series of workshops in the fall, all supported by the Mellon grant. Work was just completed with seven faculty members on conducting a preliminary assessment of student writing in the first year seminars. A report will be issued on this over the summer and will be submitted to CEPP. Professor Arnush will be working with other faculty members over the course of the year on a series of assessment projects, looking at mentoring and writing and staffing. There is still a need of four more faculty members to volunteer to teach the text “Life on the Color Line” on September 4 as we currently have forty three and forty seven are needed.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

President Glotzbach concluded with a few brief announcements.

Professor Ruth Andrea Levinson on behalf of CEPP, announced that there are new guidelines for faculty proposals for short-term study abroad courses: information was sent on this May 9 by Professor Matthew Hockenos.

President Glotzbach invited everyone to the Scribner House reception on Friday for families and their graduates. Following commencement, there will be signs directing everyone to departmental areas so that faculty and graduates and families may gather.

The Faculty meeting adjourned at 11:05am.

President Glotzbach asked for a motion to recess this meeting for 15 minutes and reconvene at 11:25am. All voted in favor.

A budget discussion was held with Vice Presidents Charles M. Joseph and Michael West.

VP Joseph recapped the information that was discussed at the May 10 community meeting. The proposed budget will go before the Board of Trustees tomorrow. There was a lot of discussion on how the budget would be allocated. There were two competing forces: 1) increase in personnel needs to help accommodate the 2,280 students that we have and 2) compensation. The recommendation that was made through CEPP to IPPC was to increase the 3.5% GSA to 5%. There will be $900,000 available for equity – those decisions have yet to be made where this will be dispersed. In looking at the optimization dollars, a decision was made to hold back part of that in a reserve as there are two operations in Academic Affairs with the two new deans; therefore, Dean Poston and Dean Newberg are deciding where money should be spent regarding some of the $900,000.

Vice President Michael West conducted a presentation on the budget and compensation as he had at the community meeting on May 10. (See Attachment H)

There were approximately 30 people in attendance for this budget portion of the Faculty meeting.

Several questions were raised regarding faculty salary ranks versus our competitors. The concern in the optimization group and the President’s Cabinet is financial aid. The $900,000 available will be split into one-third for endowment, one-third for the plant (operations) and one-third for programming, which includes compensation.

Meeting adjourned at 12:20pm. 

Respectfully submitted by,

 

Mary Ellen Kokoletsos
Executive Administrative Assistant
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs

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