September 8, 2006
President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:37 pm. President Glotzbach asked if there were any objections to the approval of the May 17, 2006 Faculty Meeting minutes. With no objections heard, the minutes were approved.
President Glotzbach spoke about the observance of September 11 on Monday. An email had been sent informing the community of plans for the day. A small committee agreed that we would observe five minutes of silence at 11:55am and a bell (The Temple Grove Bell) would be rung at that moment. Temple Grove Seminary was a small college for women in downtown Saratoga Springs established in 1855. It closed in 1900; Lucy Scribner purchased the seminary and its grounds and opened the Young Women’s Industrial Club in 1903, which later evolved into Skidmore. The bell made its way back to Skidmore and has been in storage.
President Glotzbach welcomed everyone back and welcomed those new at Skidmore. He commented that the energy level seems higher than ever this year and may be due in part to the positive effect of having more students on campus (with the closing of Moore Hall and the opening of the new Northwoods apartments). The members of the Class of 2010 seem eager to be here and it’s up to us to challenge them.
President Glotzbach said the College has made many advances regarding the Strategic Plan. Those achievements include the following:
- we successfully launched of the First-Year Experience Program
- we received Middle States reaccreditation with a highly favorable report from the visiting team
- 50% of last year’s graduates studied abroad
- we improved our Admissions profile, substantially increasing our selectivity and enrolling the strongest and most diverse class ever
- we completed the Optimization process and realigned our budget to reflect our actual student population, making available approximately $2.8 million for current and future use – this decision enabled us to make progress on improving compensation for Skidmore employees and faculty compensation in particular
- we surpassed the ambitious goal of $5.5 million for the annual fund – which is about a 5% increase from last year and passed the $100 million mark in the Comprehensive Campaign, which today is approximately $113,790,898 after two years
- in June we announced the largest single gift in the College’s history of a $42 million bequest that included the naming gift of the Zankel Music Center – that gift came from a Skidmore parent who became a friend of the College because he was so impressed by the success of the Skidmore faculty in helping his two sons realize their potential; the future success of the College’s Advancement efforts depends on the experiences of the students while they are here; the bottom line is that this last year was the most successful year in fund raising in the history of Skidmore College
- we addressed an ambitious agenda of campus construction, including the Northwoods apartments, the continuing renovation of the dining hall, improvements to athletic fields, and much needed renovations to Jonsson Tower
- we marked the 5th anniversary of The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery
- we brought in a number of new faculty, administrators and staff members to strengthen the College in years to come (he introduced Barbara Krause, who started in June in the President’s Office as the Executive Director of the Office of the President and Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives)
- we appeared fourth on the list of “Great Schools, Great Prices” in the US News & World Report; we were also listed in Newsweek’s list of 25 “new ivies”—the publicity brings national recognition and we can see the effects of that already represented in the admissions activity this year.
President Glotzbach discussed the College’s commitment to competitive compensation for faculty. This was announced last fall in the memo to faculty dated October 31, 2005 from Vice Presidents Joseph and West, and it indicated our plans to move our average faculty salaries within ranks to the median of our peer groups within two to four years. We have completed the third year of the Comprehensive Compensation Framework: all members of the faculty received a 5% GSA (general salary adjustment).
Additional increases for full-time professors averaged
- 5.5% beyond the 5% GSA for an average total increase for the rank of professor to 10.5%
- additional increases for full-time associate professors on average totaled 4.5% beyond the 5% GSA for an average total increase of 9.5%
- additional increases for regular assistant professors on average totaled 3.5% beyond the 5% GSA for an average total increase of 8.5%
Approximately $250,000 in additional equity and market adjustments were made to individual faculty members. This commitment to address faculty compensation, which was fully supported by the President’s Cabinet and the IPPC, represented the largest portion of the funds available for the salary pool. Moreover, all non-union Skidmore employees did receive at least a 5% GSA, and we were able to target some additional funding for an additional average increase amounting to about 1% to non-exempt staff members. Competitive salaries remain an important component in our Strategic Plan and our financial planning for the next year also provides for a GSA increase and significant additional funding for continuing implementation for the Total Compensation Plan. We will present our analysis of this information as it becomes available – we do believe we made significant progress this year, both in terms of money in individual pockets and in our comparison group. We continue to explore ways to create long-term funding for faculty and staff salary competitiveness through the Comprehensive Campaign and other sources. We will also be reviewing the previous recommendations of the College Benefits Committee concerning increasing cost sharing for employee health care benefits. At a future meeting, VP Michael West will present a report on the financial condition of the College. The President commented that he thinks this past year was incredible, and we all should take pride in the accomplishments we had as a College and with our students.
President Glotzbach said that we still have a lot of work to do but we are well positioned to do it. Members of the President’s Cabinet are working on this year’s Strategic Action Agenda – the members of IPPC have reviewed this and have discussed several versions of that document. The actions identified in this agenda build on the successes of last year and focus our collective energy on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
The three larger themes that merit our attention in this document as we move into this academic year are: 1) Community, 2) Diversity, and 3) Leadership. President Glotzbach said these are important themes that we hope to work on this year. He requested that we all consider our own work at the College, consider what we can do to sustain and support these guiding values. As we do so, it is important to keep in mind that the Strategic Plan charts our general course over a ten year period, so it’s critical that we strike the right balance between ambition and prudence. The College has experienced tremendous change over the past three years; as we continue to move forward, we must provide ample opportunity to consolidate, evaluate, and celebrate our past gains. We must consider what is worth our time collectively, since time is the most precious resource we have. Before concluding, he expressed his profound gratitude to the entire Skidmore community – faculty, students, staff, the Board of Trustees, alumni, and our parents, who contributed about $650,000 last year in the Parents’ Fund. The efforts and support by everyone have allowed us collectively to move the College quickly along an amazing and exciting trajectory. He expressed the view that he cannot think of another school in this country where he would rather be: where we are today as a school and the prospect for where we can be in the next five to ten years are astonishing, and he hopes that everyone can share in that enthusiasm as well. We are in a very good place at Skidmore and we are positioned to accomplish some things that are quite spectacular over the coming years. He hopes that everyone is looking forward to a new academic year that will surpass even the highest expectations of the past.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Mary Lou Bates presented the Admissions enrollment figures. She indicated that the Class of 2010 was drawn from the largest and strongest applicant pool in Skidmore’s history for freshmen as well as transfer admissions. There are 637 freshmen on campus, with an additional 36 starting their first semester in London at the Institute of European Studies for a total of 673 freshmen and 29 transfer students. The students come from 38 states and 19 foreign countries and were selected from a record pool of 6,700 applications with the lowest acceptance rate in the College’s history of 39%.
Of those students, 64% attended public high schools, 36% attended private or parochial schools; 58% are female, 42% male; 37% were accepted through early decision. This also the most diverse class in the College’s history with 19% students of color; and 12% of the students have former family ties to the College.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS REPORT
Susan Kress, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, offered greetings for the new academic year and welcomed back both returning and new colleagues. She acknowledged the members of Academic Affairs: Muriel Poston, Dean of the Faculty (who is at a National Science Foundation meeting and unable to be here today); Mark Hofmann, the new Associate Dean of the Faculty; and Michael Ennis-McMillan, the new Dean of Studies. She indicated that she, Mark, and Michael began their duties on June 1st. She thanked all the Deans, especially Dean Poston and Dean Newberg for welcoming her, former VPAA Charles Joseph for his gracious help during the transition, Mary Ellen Kokoletsos and the members of the Dean of Faculty’s support team for smoothing the way, members of the VPAA Senior Staff, members of Academic Staff, President Glotzbach, and the other members of the President’s Cabinet (in particular, VP Mike West, VP Michael Casey, Dean Pat Oles, Dean Mary Lou Bates, and Barbara Krause) for their generous support. VP Kress said that the Academic Affairs staff are excited about the ambitious Academic Affairs agenda for the year.
VP Kress commented that the newest students were welcomed at convocation last Sunday and over the course of a first-year orientation. She thanked Dean Bates and her team for the splendid class. She also thanked Professor Michael Arnush and Chris McGill, of the First-Year Experience program, and the orientation committee, for the thoughtful programs that have truly launched the first-year students on their Skidmore careers.
VP Kress continued by welcoming back those returning from sabbaticals, leaves, and pre-tenure research leaves.
From pre-tenure research are Lenora de la Luna, Dan Nathan, Kyle Nichols, and Tom O’Connell. From sabbatical and other leaves are John Anzalone, Betty Balevic, Barbara Black, John Brueggemann, Ruth Copans, Terry Diggory, Holley Hodgins, Greg Hrbek, Penny Jolly, Susan Lehr, Susannah Mintz, Roy Meyers, Janet Sorenson, Anne Turner, David Vella, Joanne Vella, and Jan Vinci.
VP Kress made a few more introductions: Paul Calhoun, the new F. William Harder Chair in Management and Business; Ulla Manns, a STINT Fellow from Sweden who will join the History Department; and the two visiting Mellon Fellows from Union College—Louisa Matthew in Art and Art History and Bill Zwicker in Math and Computer Science.
There is a transition in the Skidmore in Paris Program: Alain Matthey will be retiring after eight years as the Resident Director, and we are grateful for his years of dedicated service to Skidmore; Gabriella Ricciardi has been appointed as the new Resident Director.
VP Kress also announced those promotions approved last May by the Board of Trustees. Promoted to Associate Professor was James Rik Scarce of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work; promoted to the rank of Professor were Thomas Denny of the Department of Music, Debra Fernandez of the Department of Dance, Mehmet Odekon of the Department of Economics, and Mary Zeiss Stange of the Department of Philosophy and Religion.
VP Kress announced three items of good news from Academic Affairs: Professor John Brueggemann co-authored the book entitled Racial Competition and Class Solidarity recently issued by SUNY Press; a movie was recently released, “The Illusionist,” based on Steven Millhauser’s short story “Eisenheim the Illusionist”; and The Tang’s website has been selected as one of the best websites by STEP magazine. Tang Director John Weber could not be here today but he has provided leaflets about the Tang’s rich offerings both now and to come. She invited everyone to the Edwin M. Moseley Faculty Research Lecture to be delivered by Pola Baytelman, Senior Artist-in-Residence in Music, on Thursday, September 14, at 8:00 PM in the Filene Recital Hall. Professor Baytelman’s recital is entitled “An Evening of Latin American and European Piano Music.” The Moseley Lectureship is the highest honor the Skidmore faculty confers upon one of its peers, and this is one of the highlights of our cultural and intellectual year.
VP Kress commented that there is something very special about coming together for the first faculty meeting of the year. Classes may have begun and syllabi have been distributed, but there is still a sense that until we come together in this room and formally welcome one another back, the year has not really begun. For academics, how compelling is the idea that every year is a new beginning with new classes and new students. In this ritual of the first day faculty meeting, we as an institution start over and no matter how successful we were last year, still, as we come together, we ponder our goals and our syllabus for the year and we start over with all the hope and optimism of beginning again.
VP Kress stated that, following on what the President has already said about community, she sees collaboration both as process and as vision. In the recent past, we have made some dramatic structural changes at Skidmore. For example, we have split the positions of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the Faculty; we have moved the Office of Special Programs into the area of Academic Affairs. And we have shifted some of the former functions of the Office of the Dean of Studies to a new office of Student Academic Services. These moves have not been without controversy; we have debated them at length. But—whether we approve the changes or not—they teach us something valuable about who we aspire to be: they inform us that we are obliged to collaborate in order to succeed; they tell us that we are not a collection of disparate and competing parts but an interlinked whole with a unifying purpose about educational excellence. Structure teaches us our meaning. But if that is the vision, we still acknowledge that the process is not always easy. We often say that Skidmore is about collaboration; it is about working together on courses, about crossing disciplinary lines together, about building collaborative programs, about drawing our students into collaborative research. We do well in so many of these areas--yet these administrative collaborations have been more challenging for us. But they are a test to which Academic Affairs must rise.
VP Kress said that for her (a teacher for more than 37 years—32 of them at Skidmore), academic administration appeals to her as another form of pedagogy. We are, after all, an educational institution and that makes everything we do carry a kind of symbolic weight. How we collaborate across areas and offices, how we manage difficult conversations as a community, how we enable controversy and disagreement, how we listen to one another, how we ensure that the best ideas get researched and get a hearing, how we manage all our business—whether we are faculty members, administrative professionals, directors of offices or departments—sends a message to our students and to our colleagues about how well we teach and learn and do our research. If we imagine our students as the audience, how do we want to run our faculty meetings, have our email discussions, manage our shared governance, administer our departments, offices and programs? And if we don’t handle these things well, where shall we send our students to learn the skills they need for life after Skidmore?
VP Kress reminded us that the President has laid out a clear set of priorities for the year: leadership, community and diversity. There are many agenda items for Academic Affairs this year. Deans Poston and Newberg will conduct searches and program reviews; VP Kress will be chairing the assessment task force and the Information Resources Council. Academic Affairs will work closely with some major committees like CEPP who are developing proposals or planning community conversations; the Tang, Library, Registrar, Information Technology, and Special Programs all look forward to a busy year ahead. VP Kress will focus here on some of the actions that Academic Affairs have planned with respect to the three priorities of leadership, community and diversity.
The context for these conversations is that this is a transitional year, as the search for the VPAA is underway, as we define our separate and shared responsibilities within Academic Affairs, and as we acknowledge that a large cohort of those who have been the institutional leaders are nearing retirement. This group needs to help cultivate leadership in the next cohort. Starting with the VP senior staff—consisting of Ruth Copans, Ann Henderson, Paula Newberg, Muriel Poston, Justin Sipher, and John Weber —a conversation about leadership has been initiated. A workshop for extended academic staff was held, and we count on the insights of that group and of others as we plan programs and conversations throughout the year.
Leadership is of course related to community. Our community depends on effective and truly shared governance. We have just developed a new system of governance and we want to work together with FEC to explore how it is working out. We raised questions in our Academic Staff meeting about how we can get more voices in our community conversations—how we can get more nuance, depth, and complexity. What are the best ways to have conversations? If, as the President has pointed out, community is a central theme of our plan and our philosophy, how do we build community while yet making sure that genuine critique and disagreements are honored? We will hope to gather committee chairs and others together in order to work through some of these issues.
As most folks know, diversity was a focus of the Middle States Reaccreditation Review, and we got some provocative and some tough comments and recommendations from our external reviewing team. We are this year welcoming the most diversified body of students and faculty in our history and we’re energized and challenged by the new possibilities this creates for us as a community. Several diversity events have already taken place in collaboration with Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. Janet Casey and Mason Stokes joined with two students on a panel organized by Anita Steigerwald—and Dean Poston and Dean Oles shared the platform with another two students at a program called “Diversity and Dessert.” Everyone read Life on the Color Line by Gregory Howard Williams, Michael Arnush has organized a website for that text with the collaboration of several faculty members, and Joshua Woodfork ran interactive sessions with two groups of 300 or more students! We are also planning—in collaboration with Colgate, Hamilton, and Union Colleges—a Mellon Diversity Workshop focused on recruiting and retaining faculty of color. We expect some recommendations soon as well from the Intercultural and Global Understanding Task Force.
VP Kress stated that she feels extremely lucky to be working with President Glotzbach, the members of the President’s Cabinet, and the whole Academic Affairs team on this agenda. She concluded by saying that she trusts that everyone in this room is ready together, to get to work and to start over.
ASSOCIATE DEAN OF THE FACULTY
Mark Hofmann, Associate Dean of the Faculty, stated that last year there were eight tenure track hires and this year there are 33 faculty members on sabbatical leave for either a semester or the whole year, which is probably a record. A vital part of the hiring process is the role that the department chairs and program directors play and, on behalf of Academic Affairs, he extended thanks to the new chairs that will be taking part in that process this year. He then made introductions of the new faculty members in the absence of Dean Muriel Poston (see attachment). One goal that President Glotzbach referred to in the Strategic Plan is not only to enhance the diversity of the student body at Skidmore but also the faculty. In last year’s hiring, 14% of the College’s full-time faculty were faculty of color and this year that figure is 16%. This year there will be nine tenure track searches and another 30 faculty are scheduled for sabbatical leave. In order to further our gains in diversity, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty has been working this summer with Human Resources and several faculty members in putting together an Inclusive Hiring Workshop that will be held on September 22. Associate Dean Hofmann then introduced and welcomed the new full-time faculty members. The lists of new faculty, of those who have transitioned from part-time to full-time faculty members, and of those who are rejoining us after short leaves of absence are attached.
DEAN OF SPECIAL PROGRAMS REPORT
Paula Newberg, Dean of Special Programs said that the summer was a truly collaborative affair and a stunning success. She thanked Facilities Services and the Dining Services staff for managing over 3,000 students and participants this summer. She also thanked the entire Dean of Special Programs staff, particularly Sharon Arpey, Jim Chansky and Wendy LeBlanc for their hard work. They celebrated the 22nd anniversary of the NYS long-term Dance Residency program with the Limon Company and the NYS Council of the Arts. It was also the 20th anniversary of the Writer’s Institute for which Bob Boyers planned a comedy night. Proceeds of this event went to a scholarship fund for minority writers and students. The NYS Jazz Institute was strong and the faculty and visiting artists played to standing-room-only crowds. The Institute thanked everyone for embracing them warmly again this summer, as did the theatre company. Joining Special Programs staff this year are John Anzalone, Director of MALS, Jacqueline Scoones, Director of Development, and Maurice Green, advisor to UWW. Hagai Ram from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will be here teaching through October as this year’s Greenberg Scholar-in-Residence. Dean Newberg also mentioned that other events are being planned for this year. Lastly, she invited everyone to the Surrey on October 4 for the McCormack Residency program inaugural event.
DEAN OF STUDENT AFFAIRS INTRODUCTIONS
Pat Oles, Dean of Student Affairs, introduced new employees: five new coaches in the Athletic Department – David Bakyta, Men’s Golf Coach; Abby Burbank, Women’s Lacrosse Coach; Meghan Peduto, Assistant Athletic Trainer; Nate Simms, Men’s Tennis Coach; and Curt Speerschneider, Women’s Tennis Coach. He also introduced two new residence hall directors – Megan Durham and Fred Fredrick -- and Kate Dudley-Perry, the new Academic Counselor in HEOP/AOP. He thanked everyone on those search committees for their hard work.
There was none.
Professor Beau Breslin, Chair of CEPP acknowledged his colleagues on the CEPP committee including SGA representatives Molly Appel and Jon Brestoff. He stated that a lot was accomplished last year by the CEPP committee. The two major agenda items for this year are the writing task force recommendations and tenure track lines and ID programs; CEPP and CAPT will work together on the latter issue. He presented two motions regarding the Skidmore in Beijing Program. (See Attachment Motion 1 and Attachment Motion 2) The motions will be voted on at the October Faculty meeting.
Professor Michael Arnush reported on the First-Year Experience Program. He thanked everyone for their collaboration on this year’s program. About 200 people worked on the FYE orientation events for the past six to nine months. The London orientation had about 10 faculty and staff supporting 35 students. In summary:
- 45 peer mentors were brought to campus last week with about 45 faculty members
- 48 faculty gathered for a workshop last week on Life on the Color Line.
- Scribner seminars for fall 2008 are now being planned.
Lisa Aronson of the Digital Assets Management (DAM) Committee gave a brief announcement on the focus of the committee work. The group is charged with the task of articulating a digital assets management strategy that will meet the needs of the College. They hope to identify the digital systems, support network, and best practices necessary to store, organize, preserve, and make accessible a broad spectrum of materials – visual, written, and audio. A questionnaire will be distributed to all departments and offices on campus asking what the needs are, and the committee will meet with each department and every area of the College.
Leslie Mechem spoke briefly about the Skidmore Credit Union opportunities and encouraged everyone to join if interested. Home banking is now offered.
Bob Kimmerle announced the Saratoga Reads program that is now in its third year. It is a community-wide reading of a single book. Nominations are being sought for this year and he encouraged everyone to complete a nomination form or go online at www.saratogareads.org by October 1.
Ruth Copans invited everyone to the 40th birthday party of Scribner Library that will be celebrated this year; details will follow.
President Glotzbach invited everyone to the reception at Scribner House immediately following the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:10pm.
Respectfully submitted by,
Mary Ellen Kokoletsos
Executive Administrative Assistant
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs