December 7, 2007
President Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:37 p.m.
Minutes from the November 2, 2007 meeting, having been previously distributed, were approved with no emendations.
President Glotzbach introduced Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, who provided a report on Skidmore's early admission numbers.
Dean Bates provided the following information: Decisions for Round I of the Early Decision pool of applicants have been completed for this year. There was a 23 percent increase in applications, as compared to Round I of last year. The median SAT for this year's pool rose 10 points; the median SAT for the chosen applicants from that pool is up 20 points to a score of 1270. This is the first time in the history of Skidmore that the SAT median for this round of Early Decision candidates is higher than the median of last year's entire enrolled class. In addition, the selected candidates are less reliant on financial aid than in the past. The deadline for the second round of Early Decision is January 15. Admissions is expecting another good year.
President Glotzbach continued his report by asking if anyone would dispute the following statement: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function" (F. Scott Fitzgerald). President Glotzbach believes that one of the key goals of a liberal education is developing the capacity in students to seriously entertain two opposing ideas at the same time. Our own capacity to work simultaneously with opposing ideas is enormously important for understanding where we are as a college today, especially with respect to finances.
There are many kinds of evidence showing that Skidmore is doing very well in academics. With regard to finances and fund raising, last week the annual Friends of the President's dinner was held. This event is held to thank people who support the College at the highest levels of fundraising. There are currently 1,106 Friends of the President, of whom about 330 were in attendance at the dinner. Before the dinner, 21 new members were inducted into the Parnassus Society, a society of donors who have given at least $1 million or more over their lifetime. There are currently 70 Parnassus Society members. Last year Skidmore College received $52 million in gifts. Much of this amount was the Zankel bequest, but many other gifts were received as well. The Creative Thought: Bold Promise campaign now stands at approximately $141 million after three and a half years.
Skidmore's endowment return on investment for fiscal year, year ending June 30, 2007 was 19.6 percent. The median benchmark for colleges across the country was 17.9 percent. The endowment return on investment for the three-year period ending June 30, 2007 was 15.4 percent and the median for colleges across the country was 12.9 percent. The Skidmore endowment stands at almost $300 million. Skidmore's Moody's Bond Rating Service rating was upgraded from A-2 to A-1.
Even given the positive financial news, Skidmore is by no means wealthy. Skidmore is still in the bottom one-third with respect to endowment per student compared to its peer group. President Glotzbach advised that even with the good news regarding Skidmore's successes, a difficult financial year lies ahead. Maintaining many of the improvements Skidmore has recently made will be a challenge to the upcoming budget. The primary budget parameters have not yet been set. However, President Glotzbach predicts that the cost of the comprehensive fee for a student attending Skidmore will be just under $50,000, which will help increase revenue, but there will not be a lot left for new initiatives. The two conflicting ideas to be held in one's mind at the same time are the facts that while Skidmore has done enormously well in building the financial resources of the institution, those resources still do not meet the demands of our ambitions and aspirations.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS REPORT:
Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Kress opened by thanking faculty for their hard work during the fall semester. VP Kress asked department chairs and program directors to share information disseminated at the Academic Affairs meeting held that morning, where members of the VPAA Senior staff shared the big-picture projects they were working on.
She reminded everyone that Winston Grady-Willis, Director of Intercultural Studies, would be joining the College in early January. She also reminded everyone that nominations for the Tisch Family Distinguished Professorship were due on this date but that she would accept nominations as late as Monday.
She noted that many meetings had been held with a variety of groups, committees, and individuals to discuss the Special Programs Study Group Report. VP Kress and Dean Jeff Segrave are now in the process of translating discussion and reflection into action. She emphasized that the recommendations in the report will not simply be accepted but analyzed; she said that there were pointed and difficult questions raised in the report, questions about institutional mission, about faculty commitment to the external degree programs, and about institutional resources. She urged department and committee chairs and program directors to discuss the report and get back to her or Dean Segrave with comments or concerns by the end of December. She also welcomed responses (either by mail or in person) from anyone in the College.
The Faculty Handbook, Part Six, is not yet completed; the working group has now met with legal counsel and expects to present Part Six at the February Faculty Meeting.
MOTION: Associate Professor, Deb Hall, as chair and on behalf of the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP), moved that the Department of Art and Art History separate into two autonomous departments; namely, the Department of Art and the Department of Art History. The motion, having been introduced at the November 2, 2007 meeting was discussed. The motion was put to a vote and passed unanimously. (See Attachment.)
There was no new business.
Pat Oles, Dean of Student Affairs, presented a report on the Case/Ladd Building Use Task Force. The charge of the task force is to consider the use of both Case and Ladd in terms of the Strategic Plan, changes in the dining hall, ambitions in Scribner Library, changes in Scribner Village and changes that may arise in the future. The Task Force has met once. Pat Oles is chairing the task force, and the members include Ruth Copans, College Librarian; Kate Graney, Associate Professor, Government; Christine Kaczmarek, Director, Business Services; Terri Mariani, Assistant, Human Resources; Jeff Segrave, Interim Dean of Special Programs and Professor, Exercise Science; and Marc-Andre Wiesmann, Associate Professor, Foreign Languages and Literatures. Student members are Abby Sherman, Class of 2008 and Mlungisi Ndwandwe, Class of 2009.
In response to a question about the proposed Space Committee, President Glotzbach stated that work is ongoing on a proposal regarding space issues to be submitted to the Institutional Policy & Planning Committee (IPPC).
Senior Teaching Associate in Biology, Sue Van Hook on behalf of the Campus Environment Committee, reported that she had recently been contacted by Laura Westwood, New York State representative for Focus the Nation to discuss the plans for Skidmore's participation. During Leave Your Car Behind Week, 63 employees reported their participation for a combined total savings of 1,212.5 miles; 1,248.5 pounds of carbon dioxide were not released as a result. The carpooling map has been posted online: http://cms.skidmore.edu/cec/carpooling.cfm. The next issue of Scope will have the names of the winners of the dorm recycling contest. The results from Facilities Services will soon be in regarding the first energy reduction competition. A January calendar of events was presented at the meeting: Click here to view calendar. Sue discussed the Focus the Nation Teach-In Action Map. The event will be held on January 31 with Skidmore's schedule of events as follows: 3-5 p.m. – Poster Session Gannett Lobby; 5‑6:30 p.m. – International Student and Study Abroad Students panel "Alternative Perspectives"; 8 p.m. – Keynote Address – Gannett and Davis: "Cooking the Climate with Coal" – Jeff Goodell, local author of Big Coal: the Dirty Secret behind America's Energy Future. Sue reviewed other upcoming activities and encouraged all faculty to try to incorporate the upcoming events into his or her curriculum.
Sarah Goodwin, Professor of English, gave an update on the Dean of Student Affairs search. An open forum will be held on December 16, 2:00-3:00 p.m. in Davis Auditorium. The committee is chaired by President Phil Glotzbach, and members include Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid; Beau Breslin, Director of First-Year Experience and Associate Professor, Government; Mary Correa, Associate Professor, Management and Business; Gail Cummings-Danson, Director, Athletics, Fitness and Recreation; Sarah Goodwin, Professor, English; Ann Marie Przywara, Associate Director, Residential Life; Krista Glencross, Class of 2010; Michael Reining, Class of 2008. Barbara Krause, Executive Director, Office of the President, is providing staff support. Other institutions searching for this same position include Wheaton, Boston College, and Wellesley. Finalists will be brought to campus early in the spring semester.
Frederick Braunstein '08, on behalf of Professor of Religion, Mary Stange's Women's Studies Senior Seminar (WS 375,) presented a PowerPoint presentation entitled, Words on Fire: Bias Incidents and Hate Crimes on the Skidmore Campus. Discussion followed. After the presentation, President Glotzbach reminded everyone that there is no faculty representation on the Bias Response Policy Task Force and anyone willing to serve should contact him or Dan Curley.
Jonathan Brestoff '08, on behalf of the Pavilion Corporation, announced that a new Board of Directors was created and that 21 members were elected.
Maeve Powlick, Lecturer in Economics, gave a report on the current state of Skidmore's Honor Code and what is being done to strengthen it.
Holly Fried '08, gave a report on fundraising for a new student scholarship. She also encouraged all faculty to participate in an upcoming talent show – a follow-up email will be sent shortly.
Dan Nathan, Associate Professor of American Studies, gave a report on behalf of the Athletics Council. He announced that, in September, the Athletic Department recognized 70 student-athletes as members of the Thoroughbred Society for earning a GPA of 3.67 or higher in the previous semester; 6 of these student-athletes earned a 4.0. Among other highlights, he reported that the men's golf team won the Liberty League Championship and was unbeaten; the women's tennis team finished second in the New York State Championship; and the field hockey and volleyball teams both earned NCAA tournament berths and won their first round games. Both the hockey and volleyball teams had student-athletes who earned All-American honors.
David Vella, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Director of Honors Forum gave a report on behalf of the Honors Forum Program and announced that this year's Jon Ramsey Lecturer will be Tillman Nechtman, Assistant Professor of History.
John Brueggemann, Associate Professor of Sociology, gave a report on behalf of Skidmore Cares.
President Glotzbach encouraged everyone to attend the Holiday Party.
Michael Casey, Vice President for Advancement on behalf of the Office of Advancement extended an invitation to the Community Reception at the Tang Museum.
The meeting was concluded at 4:55 p.m.
Minutes submitted by:
Colleen M. Kelly,
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs