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

Faculty Meeting
October 3, 2008
Gannett Auditorium

MINUTES

President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:33 p.m.
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
 
President Glotzbach asked if there were any corrections to the September 5, 2008 Faculty Meeting minutes. Hearing none, he announced that the minutes were approved.
 
PRESIDENT’S REPORT
 
President Glotzbach announced that Skidmore had received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to support a 3-year joint Skidmore College and Union College study dealing with recruiting and retaining female professors in the fields of science, social science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The amount of the award to Skidmore is $283,889; Union will receive $216,111. President Glotzbach congratulated the principal investigator, Alice Dean, and the other faculty members working on this study: Holley Hodgins, Monica Raveret Richter, Caroline D’Abate and Kate Berheide.
 
President Glotzbach thanked Lary Opitz for agreeing to serve as parliamentarian again.
 
President Glotzbach addressed the current economic situation and indicated that he would be sending an email next week to the Community regarding the situation. As everyone is aware, we have been operating in a very challenging financial environment for virtually all of 2008. In the past week, the financial markets in the United States and around the world have experienced tremendous volatility, mostly in the downward direction. These market conditions affect all of us individually through the performance of our retirement and savings portfolios. Even more troubling is that the economy may be heading into a recession if we are not there already. The College is not immune to these conditions; we are beginning to feel the influence of the market’s volatility and are likely to see continuing effects over the course of the following months, and possibly years. We are currently projecting a significant decline in interest earnings from short-term investments on working capital (primarily cash receipts from tuition and fees, which earn interest from the time received to the time spent); this shortfall may be in the neighborhood of $500,000 this year.
 
President Glotzbach also advised that Skidmore’s endowment value dropped by almost 6 percent as of August, and September’s performance is expected to add to the decline. This reduction in value will lower income generated by the endowment for the operating budget. Specifically, the budget for the current fiscal year includes approximately $15 million in endowment take-out spending. It is likely that the actual funds realized will be less than this budgeted amount. To give a sense of the magnitude, a 5 percent reduction in that take-out would yield a shortfall of approximately $750,000.
 
President Glotzbach indicated that, along with many other colleges, we are anticipating a slow down in charitable contributions. This year’s budget includes an aggressive target of $6.63 million from the annual fund; that is, we expect that revenue to be generated from annual giving for the budget. If we cannot reach this goal, then we will experience an additional revenue shortfall. President Glotzbach emphasized that we have not yet seen any significant reduction in giving but we are now just entering the busy part of the fund year. Over the next few weeks, we will have a better sense of how things are going, but for now we are monitoring the situation and focusing our attention on working to meet the current annual fund goal.
 
As for expenses, President Glotzbach indicated that we are likely to experience several negative effects and have already seen increases in energy and other base operating costs. Potentially more significant could be a marked rise in demand for financial aid among our students. He noted that families are already starting to be affected, and some schools have already been affected; and we may see additional requests for financial aid among our current students and prospective students. At this moment, it is difficult to predict just how much the current economic condition situation will affect our admissions and enrollment, but we need to take seriously the possibility that it might do so.
 
Despite the seriousness of the situation, President Glotzbach stressed that nothing should be taken as a cause for panic or alarm, but everyone should understand the situation. It is expected that the markets will regain some degree of normalcy over the coming weeks, especially now that the House of Representatives has passed the massive bail-out bill previously approved by the Senate. We do, however, need to plan to deal with what is likely to be a prolonged and significant economic downturn. These conversations have already started in the President’s Cabinet meetings, and IPPC will begin to consider ways to address this situation when they meet next week. The College’s investment committee has met and will continue to monitor our portfolio; and other committees of the Board will be involved this month at the Board’s scheduled meeting at the end of the month.
 
President Glotzbach emphasized that the administration is working to address the issues and will continue to do so in consultation with the appropriate campus governing bodies and the Board. As things progress, we will provide additional information and create opportunities for dialogue. Specifically, we anticipate scheduling an open campus meeting. President Glotzbach is confident that, although we are likely to experience a rough time ahead, we will work through these unsettled times. On a brighter note, our endowment is well managed and well diversified and has performed better than that of many of our peers We have good controls on our spending, have access to sufficient funds to meet our needs, and our admissions picture remains strong, all of which should help us weather this storm.
 
The President welcomed questions, and one faculty member asked whether the current “credit crunch” affecting many other colleges and business is affecting the College’s cash flow. The President responded by noting that the College is not in the credit market right now as are most colleges and universities. However, there have been stories in the news about the Commonfund, which is a combined fund where colleges place short-term money. This fund experienced some liquidity problems limiting the amount of funds you could take out.
 
Mike West, Vice President of Finance and Administration & Treasurer, emphasized this was, in essence, our savings account. Wachovia had a silent run on the bank and 17 percent of deposits were withdrawn. As Trustee, the bank decided to limit withdrawals which created challenges but we believe we have enough funds to meet short-term needs. President Glotzbach noted that we expect to weather this downturn short-term and long-term; however, we may have some challenges in the middle-term. President Glotzbach also noted that this type of economy puts more pressure on schools to offer more financial aid to students. But, we don’t know exactly what the picture will be this year on the admissions side.
 
Another faculty member was concerned about the students that are already here that are invested emotionally in Skidmore, and, if their situation at home changed dramatically, would there be a financial aid package available to them. In principal, there is funding but it would depend upon the magnitude of the need.
 
Another faculty member asked what would happen if a family’s financial situation changed. President Glotzbach noted that if a family’s financial situation changed, such that they needed aid, they would go to financial aid and talk about options. Bob Shorb, Associate Dean and Director of Student Aid and Family Finance, noted that these situations happen all the time and that his office would certainly entertain a financial aid application or a new financial aid application. The problem, however, is that we don’t know what is going to happen in the current economic climate and how many of those situations will come up this year.
 
VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS REPORT
 
There was no report from the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
 
OLD BUSINESS
 
John Brueggemann, on behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), read the following three (3) motions introduced at last month’s faculty meeting (see attached):
 
1. The Faculty Executive Committee moves that Part Six, Article VII, Section C, Number 2, a and b and c be revised as follows:
Add new second bullet to all three sections (complainant and respondent and witness will not have the right to . . .)
use any mechanical device to record the proceedings (in case of disability, the representative may be delegated to take notes).
 
The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
 
2. The Faculty Executive Committee moves that Part Six, Article VIII, Section B be revised as follows:
Omit “processing.”
 
The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
 
3. The Faculty Executive Committee moves the adoption of the 2008-2009 Faculty Handbook, including the following amendments:
Part One, Article IX, Section E, number 3, point h shall read as follows:
Teaching evaluations. The Department Chair shall bring to the attention of the CAPT student and faculty opinion concerning the faculty member as a teacher and shall indicate the procedures employed in obtaining such information, including class visitation procedures. Classroom visitations are a mandatory part of the process. (See Part One [Faculty Rights and Responsibilities], Article VII [Rights, Obligations, and Responsibilities of all Faculty], Section C [Academic Responsibilities], number 7 [Student Evaluations], and Part Two [Governance], Article III [Academic Policies], Section D [Peer Evaluations of Teaching]).
Part One, Article IX, Section F, number 2: FACULTY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE will not be in ALL-CAPS.
 
The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
 
John Brueggemann announced that FEC has been hoping to move to make the Faculty Handbook available online primarily. At this point, we have decided not to do that yet – partly because we determined that there are so many people that need to have a hard copy and because we have had a complicated sequence in the last couple of years. FEC will determine how it can move in that direction and be environmentally responsible in making the handbook available. FEC welcomes any input on this issue.
 
NEW BUSINESS
 
A. Tim Harper, on behalf of the Curriculum Committee, introduced the following motion (see attached):
 
MOTION: The Curriculum Committee moves to eliminate the Economics-Mathematics interdepartmental major.
 
There were no questions or discussion concerning the motion; and the motion will lay over until the next faculty meeting.
 
B. Dan Nathan, on behalf of the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP) introduced the following motion (see attached):
 
MOTION: CEPP moves that the faculty approve the articulation agreement with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which would permit eligible Skidmore students to obtain dual Bachelor degrees in liberal arts and engineering.
 
There were no questions or discussion concerning the motion; and the motion will lay over until the next faculty meeting.
 
C. CEPP Announcements:
 
1. Dan Nathan introduced CEPP’s members for this year: Kyle Nichols, Erica Bastress-Dukehart, Rik Scarce, Terry Diggory, Bob Turner, Susan Kress, Rochelle Calhoun, and Claire Solomon. Dan reminded everyone that CEPP’s minutes are posted on CEPP’s home page and are available for everyone to read.
 
2. Dan reported that in Spring, 2007, CEPP formed a subcommittee to review the restructuring of the Dean of Studies Office, which took place in 2005. CEPP charged the subcommittee with three broad issues: determining the nature of the restructuring, determining whether the restructuring was working well, and exploring whether changes were needed in order to make the restructuring more effective. The subcommittee consisted of Dan Curley, representing FEC, Tillman Nechtman, representing the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS), Ann Henderson, and CEPP members, Deb Hall and Kyle Nichols, who chaired the subcommittee. The subcommittee submitted their report to CEPP on schedule in April, 2008. At the time of the submission of the report, CEPP was preoccupied with another matter and was not able to give the report its full attention. CEPP has now reviewed the subcommittee’s report and will post the report on its website. Dan encouraged the community to read the subcommittee’s report and noted that CEPP would welcome any feedback.
 
3. Dan also reported that CEPP, after carefully considering a memo from the Dean of Studies, has charged a subcommittee to review the College’s academic grievance policy and recommendations proposed by the Dean of Studies and Committee on Academic Freedom and Rights. The subcommittee, chaired by Erica Bastress-Dukehart, will report its findings to CEPP in January.
 
One faculty member asked that the chair of CEPP send an email when the report about the restructuring of the Dean of Studies’ office is posted.
 
CONFERRAL OF DEGREES
 
A. Mary DiSanto Rose, on behalf of the University Without Walls, read the following resolution (see attached):
 
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to three students and the Bachelor of Science degree to eight students.
 
The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
 
B. Mary Correa, on behalf of the External Master of Arts Committee, read the following resolution (see attached):
 
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Master of Arts degree to two students.
 
The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
 
REPORTS
 
A. Rochelle Calhoun, Dean of Student Affairs, introduced Jennifer Burden, Director of Health Promotion. Last year, Jen co-chaired a health task force and through surveys looked at the health and wellness of members of the Skidmore community. Jennifer presented a Powerpoint presentation that outlined the task force’s findings with regard to Skidmore students’ health and habits as well as (to some extent) those of employees. The report included statistics on students’ alcohol and drug use, exercise habits, sleeping habits, social relationships, sexual habits, and eating habits as well as information on Skidmore’s alcohol prevention programs, eating disorder programs, and mental health programs. Jen concluded by introducing Kate Rose Bobseine, Prevention Coordinator for Health Promotions; Kate Child, Health Educator; and Julia Routbort, Director of the Counseling Center. Jen indicated that she would be happy to talk to any class. For complete details, Jennifer’s presentation is attached (see attached). 
 
John Brueggemann praised the work of Jen Burden and stressed its importance for all members of the community. As chair of FEC, he also urged faculty members to consider serving on the Student Affairs Subcommittee of IPPC.
 
B. Terence Diggory provided an update on the Center Study Group, a task force formed to look into the creation of a center that would broadly support faculty development. The main goal of a Center would be to coordinate current efforts for faculty development and to fulfill needs that are not being currently addressed. The range of faculty development needs might include support for teaching, for use of new technologies, for research, and for our culture of faculty leadership and shared governance. There are six members of the task force consisting of Terence and Rick Scarce, both representing CEPP, Mary Ann Foley, representing Faculty Development Committee (FDC), Ruth Copans, Beau Breslin and Ann Henderson. The charge issued by the VPAA asked for a preliminary report in February, 2009 with a final report in April, 2009. Terry also announced that the Center Study Group will conduct four focus groups on October 24, 2008. The focus groups would consist of a group of first year faculty, a group representing pre-tenure faculty beyond the first year, a group of tenured faculty who have had less than 20 years of service and a group of tenured faculty with more than 20 years of service. The Center Study Group will follow up these focus groups with a general forum to which everyone will be invited. Terry noted that any suggestions or questions about this project would be welcome; he concluded by noting that further information can be obtained about the project at the website that has now been set up and linked from the VPAA’ s home page.
 
C. Jacqueline Shydlowski, President of the Student Government Association, introduced SGA’s executive committee for 2008-2009: Claire Solomon, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Derek Bagley, Vice President for Clubs and Organizations; Katarra Peterson, Vice President for Diversity Affairs; Jason Sherwin, Vice President for Financial Affairs; Rob Hill, Vice President for Residential Affairs; and Alyssa Chrobuck, Vice President for Communications.
 
OTHER
 
There was no other business to report.
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
A. Pushi Prasad, on behalf of the Skidmore Research Colloquium, announced a grant writing workshop being held on October 10, 2008 coordinated with the Dean of the Faculty’s Office and New Faculty Seminar. The focus will be on grant writing for sabbatical leaves and there will be a component on institutional grant writing as well.
 
B. President Glotzbach reminded the faculty that the 5th annual Saratoga Reads ballots are on the table outside.
 
C. Ian Berry, Malloy Curator of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, announced the opening celebration this weekend for Amy Sillman and Dario Robleto and invited the community to the reception at the Tang immediately following the faculty meeting.
 
The meeting was adjourned at 5:01 p.m.
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
 
Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant

 
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