February 6, 2009
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 or comments to the December 5, 2008 Faculty Meeting minutes. Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved.
President Glotzbach welcomed everyone back for the second semester. He introduced Janet Lucas Whitman, who is now Chair of the Board of Trustees. Ms. Whitman addressed the faculty and thanked them for their cooperation and participation in the shared governance system, especially during this time of stress. She assured the faculty that the Board is working to deal with our economic challenges and is committed to providing the best education within a small liberal arts college. She concluded by noting that the faculty is Skidmore, and that the faculty are the reason that students stay here and that alumni continue to support Skidmore years after they have left.
President Glotzbach also welcomed the newest member of the faculty, David Porter.
Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Admissions, provided an update on admissions. She noted that, after six years of increasing applications, we have experienced a decline. To date, we have received 6,400 applications, which is down about 14 percent from last year. We received 416 early-decision applications, which is down from last year’s record of 498, but is what we received two years ago. Other statistics noted included the following: while applications from students of color are down 4 percent from last year, 20 percent of the pool has self-identified as students of color (which represents an increase from other years); the SAT median is 10 points higher (1270 v. 1260); and 60 percent will be applying for financial aid, which is up from 56 percent this year. Dean Bates remarked that we have not seen a large increase in current students seeking changes in financial aid packages or applying for new financial aid packages; and, as far as we know, we have had no students who have had to leave the College for financial reasons. Dean Bates indicated that letters of acceptance will be mailed March 26, 2009, and all applicants will be asked if they are interested in the London program. Dean Bates concluded by noting that three Accepted Candidates Days will be held in April along with a program for accepted students of color. Details of all these programs will be provided shortly.
President Glotzbach addressed the budget situation, noting that the economy continues to get worse and the hopeful signs for a turnaround haven’t materialized. Many colleges have announced stringent budgetary measures for this year and the following years, including hiring and wage freezes and staff reductions. President Glotzbach reported that, as of December 31, 2008, the preliminary returns on our endowment show that we are down approximately 22 percent from the previous year; additionally, the current Annual Fund continues to run behind our budgeted expectation. On a positive note, student enrollments for the current semester remain strong, and we have not experienced a large increase in financial aid requests. Our applicants for the Fall, 2009 look strong, and we should be able to recruit a good class.
President Glotzbach noted that, absent more destabilizing economic news, the College is in pretty good shape for the current year’s budget (FY ‘09). We have found about $1.1 million in savings as a result of fine cooperation from the community. The predicted budget deficit for next year (FY ’10) is about $9 million; and we have projected about $8 million savings. However, meeting the targets for our strategic hiring freeze and reduction in overtime is proving to be a real challenge. Unfortunately, if we don’t realize the projected savings from these areas, we are going to have to find the funds elsewhere. President Glotzbach noted that while the budget reductions for this year and next year are achievable, the following years (2011 and 2012) will be challenging as well. We will need to continue to focus on our core values and be more efficient.
President Glotzbach noted that members of the community were invited to submit cost-savings suggestions. He reported that over 100 people submitted over 150 suggestions with many being very thoughtful. IPPC and the cabinet are discussing the suggestions and will provide the community with a general report shortly. President Glotzbach believes this process represents a good opportunity for people to be involved.
President Glotzbach concluded by relaying a story of a student who did not want to settle for “fine” in her performance on a test. He remarked that we have long talked about excellence—and that, as a college, we don’t want to settle for “fine” either. Even in the midst of this financial crisis, we need to ask ourselves how we can be more efficient and how we can continue to be even better—to be the best liberal arts college possible.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS’ REPORT
Susan Kress, Vice President for Academic Affairs, announced that the Edwin M. Moseley lecture will be delivered by Denise Smith, Professor in Exercise Science and the Class of 1961 Term Professor. Denise’s lecture, entitled “Sudden Cardiac Death: Why are Firefighters at Risk?” will take place on February 18, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. in Gannett. The Moseley Lectureship is the highest honor the faculty confers upon one of its own.
VP Kress announced the new appointments to endowed chairs, speaking briefly about the accomplishments of each of the faculty members: John Anzalone, The Class of 1948 Chair for Excellence in Teaching; Greg Pfitzer, The Douglas Family Chair in American Culture, History and Literary and Interdisciplinary Studies; Mary Beth O’Brien, The Courtney and Steven Ross Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies; John Brueggemann, The Quadracci Chair in Social Responsibility; Kate Leavitt, The Robert Davidson Chair in Studio Art; and Paul Sattler, The Ella Van Dyke Tuthill ’32 Chair in Studio Art. VP Kress noted that an exceptional group of faculty members was nominated this year, and she thanked both those who wrote letters of nomination and those who were willing to stand for consideration. VP Kress thanked as well the current holders of these chairs: Mary Ann Foley, Mary Lynn, Sheldon Solomon, Roy Rotheim, Doretta Miller, and Richard Linke.
VP Kress announced that Jeff Segrave has been appointed as Dean of Special Programs. She noted that a national search would normally be conducted for this important position; however, there are many compelling reasons to ask Dean Segrave to continue in this position. He has been doing this job for two years, is in the midst of a variety of important initiatives and has earned the trust and confidence of those he works with. Preserving the continuity of Dean Segrave’s leadership is a key priority at this time. VP Kress reported that she had consulted broadly about this appointment in the College and beyond and said that the consensus is loud and strong that Dean Segrave should be persuaded to continue. VP Kress gave a brief summary of Dean Segrave’s achievements as a teacher, scholar, and citizen—and pointed out that he had held many roles at the College, having been department chair, coach, and Athletics Director. She said Dean Segrave has already demonstrated his profound commitment to Special Programs; he is ready and eager to take Special Programs forward.
Dean of the Faculty Report – Muriel Poston
Muriel Poston, Dean of the Faculty, reported the following:
- Curriculum Committee and CEPP have sent a recommendation with regard to examining cap guidelines for courses. They will look at historical records of class size associated with different levels and will make recommendations.
- The Zankel arts administration search has yielded an interesting pool of applicants, and the search is moving forward.
- Since the beginning of the year, 37 grant applications have been submitted; of those, 4 have been funded, 6 have been declined, and the remaining are still being considered.
- A grant from the National Science Foundation was awarded in August to Alice Dean and colleagues: Holley Hodgins, Monica Raveret-Richter and Kate Berheide. They will be submitting a climate survey to all tenured and tenure track-faculty dealing with issues of balancing work, family, teaching, and scholarship.
- Kate Graney’s book was published last fall, Beau Breslin’s book is out this Spring, and Victor Cahn’s work, Roses in December and Other Plays, also came out this year.
- The next lecture in the distinguished scientist lecture series, featuring pioneering mycologist Paul Stamets, will take place on Monday, February 9, 2009. All were encouraged to attend.
There was no old business.
A. John Brueggemann, on behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), updated the faculty regarding FEC’s involvement in the joint motion being proposed by the Committee on Educational Policies and Procedures (CEPP) and Institutional Policy and Procedures Committee (IPPC). FEC will not speak as a committee about the substance of the motion but endorses the fact that the motion comes in the form of a faculty recommendation to the administration. In accordance with Part One, Article XVII of the Faculty Handbook, FEC acknowledges that the final decision about closure of a program rests with the Board and the President. However, he noted that FEC believes that whenever educational matters are discussed, the faculty should weigh in with as much clarity as possible.
Dan Nathan, on behalf of CEPP and IPPC, read the following resolution (see attached):
MOTION: That the faculty recommend to the administration that Skidmore terminate its University Without Walls (UWW) program, and that the process of termination extend for a reasonable period of transition to allow currently enrolled students to complete their degree requirements.
Dan noted the path to this motion was long and winding, and often challenging and painful No one wants to be the one to say that something is not working and needs to be changed; yet CEPP and IPPC have come to this conclusion after a great deal of deliberation and hard work on the part of many people: those serving on CEPP and IPPC both last year and this year, those consultants who conducted the UWW external review, those serving on the Special Programs Study Group, and those serving on the UWW Working Group. All these groups worked with open minds, diligence, and integrity and they deserve appreciation and respect. Dan acknowledged that, for many people associated with the program, it was a deeply rewarding program, due largely to the hardworking people who staff, administer, advise and teach in the program; and, for the last several years, they have done so under extremely challenging, anxiety-producing circumstances, including several changes in leadership, a financial crisis, and a flood.
Sue Bender, on behalf of IPPC, confirmed that IPPC’s process has paralleled CEPP’s. On behalf of IPPC, She noted that there was a strong sentiment that, if UWW closes, the College should consider other options for allowing staff members to take residential credits. This issue will be discussed by IPPC in the upcoming months.
In response to the motion offered by IPPC and CEPP, the following questions were raised:
1. What are the ways that you have thought of to provide opportunities for staff to take classes. Sue Bender noted that it was premature to say but the strong sentiment was that we need to explore this matter further and will do so.
2. If UWW is going to close, what type of support will there be for non-traditional students? Sue Bender noted that IPPC has not yet discussed this.
3. Will there be some type of forum where we could discuss this matter before the vote on the motion? Dan Nathan noted that, as mandated by the Faculty Handbook, there will be a faculty informational meeting on February 13, 2009 at 3:30 in Emerson. Another open forum for the entire community will be sponsored by IPPC; the date for that meeting will be announced shortly.
This motion will lie over until the next faculty meeting.
B. Regina Janes, on behalf of the Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure (CAPT), introduced a motion regarding proposed changes to the Faculty Handbook on second-year review (see attached).
One faculty member inquired whether these proposed changes would affect current faculty. Professor Janes said CAPT would consider this matter. Another question concerned the timing of the final decision in the case of a dispute between the Dean of the Faculty and the department.
This motion will lie over until the next faculty meeting.
CONFERRAL OF DEGREES
A. Tim Harper, 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 one student.
The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
B. Ela Lepkowska-White, 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 one student.
The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
A. Pushi Prasad announced that the Skidmore Research Colloquium will be hosting a presentation on February 12, 2009. Chris Page, Associate Professor and Chair, Management & Business, will speak about her research on attitude testing, social marketing and public policy. She encouraged everyone to RSVP if interested in attending the event.
B. Tom Denny reminded everyone that the next performance of the Carnegie Hall Premieres series, a collaboration between Skidmore College and The Academy (an association of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and The Weill Music Institute) would be held that evening.
C. Michael Casey invited everyone to the community reception in the Gannett Lobby.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:40 p.m.
Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant