April 3, 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 February 27, 2009 Faculty Meeting minutes, amendments to which were previously distributed. Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved, as amended.
President Glotzbach thanked Winston Grady-Willis for his thoughtful and informative appreciation of Dr. John Hope Franklin, who died this past week. Dr. Franklin was a remarkable teacher-scholar-citizen who changed the lives of his students, our understanding of American history and contributed to the civil rights movement in numerous ways.
President Glotzbach announced that former Trustee Emeritus and former Chair of the Board, Myles A. Cane, passed away after a lengthy illness. Myles came to know Skidmore through his children and stepchildren, Joan Fiorvanti ’75, Susan Cane ’81, and Kimberley Fine ’82, and was a member of the Board of Trustees for 21 years, serving as Chair from 1992-1998. Until his death, he continued to serve as a member of our Investment Committee. During his tenure, Myles served in every capacity, on every committee and in all major fundraising campaigns. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws at Commencement in 1998, when he stepped down as Chair. David Porter was President during Myles’ term as Chair, and they developed a very close friendship; David remarked that Myles was “the Cane upon which he leaned.” President Glotzbach asked that everyone join him in extending heartfelt condolences to Myles’ wife, Marilyn, and their family.
President Glotzbach thanked Dean of Special Programs Jeff Segrave for all his work in connection with the Terence Blanchard residency and thanked Professor Beau Breslin for incorporating the Blanchard residency into this year’s First-Year Experience.
President Glotzbach announced his decision to accept the joint recommendation from the faculty and Academic Affairs to terminate the UWW program; he will now convey his recommendation to the Board of Trustees for action at its upcoming meeting in May. President Glotzbach advised that he, Vice President Kress, and Dean Segrave had met with the members of the UWW staff to inform them of his decision.
If the Board votes to close the UWW program, the College will (1) implement a “teach-out” plan to allow currently-enrolled UWW students to complete their degree requirements; (2) reach out to all UWW alumni, alumnae, and donors to assure them that all UWW students and graduates will remain valued members of the Skidmore community; (3) explore further options to support employees who wish to take credit-bearing courses toward completion of a Skidmore degree; and (4) develop plans to celebrate, at an appropriate time, the longstanding successes of UWW and the commitment of faculty and staff to the UWW students.
While the closure of an academic program is difficult for any institution, President Glotzbach believes this action is in the best long-term interests of the College. He thanked the members of the various committees and task forces, especially the chairs of those groups, who worked so long and diligently to consider the continuation of the UWW program. He also thanked Vice President Kress and Dean Segrave for their leadership on this matter.
President Glotzbach addressed the status of the economy, noting that he held two community meetings the day before in which he essentially reported what was presented at last month’s faculty meeting. Since last month, even with the gains in March, the first quarter of 2009 was the worst quarter for the stock market since 1939. Even after accounting for the savings created in next year’s budget (FY ’10), we are still facing a deficit approximating $7 million. In order to close that gap, we need to look at both revenues and additional cost savings by capturing more student revenues than previously projected and reducing compensation costs, including possible further reductions in our workforce.
In the interest of transparency and since we don’t know what the future will hold, the College needs to do scenario planning regardless of the outcome. Inasmuch as the community meetings are geared more toward non-faculty, President Glotzbach advised that he will work with Academic Affairs to schedule a separate community meeting for faculty to create the type of dialogue that is impossible within the context of the faculty meeting. The bottom line, however, is that we need to begin thinking about our work in new ways and to look for efficiencies in everything we do.
President Glotzbach addressed the recent article in Time magazine. Although it was a bit risky, from his perspective, to allow their reporters such access, overall the article was good for Skidmore and came at a time when we need to do all that we can to encourage our admitted candidates to come in the fall. The article also showed how students with relatively modest family income can come to Skidmore. There have been number of responses to the article – in fact, a blog in the Times Union from the father of a high school student who received a “YES” package commented that “we are of ‘average’ income and the application did cross Ms. Bates’ desk. I was shocked not only at the financial package Skidmore offered, but the personal note from Ms. Bates written on the acceptance letter … Skidmore came up with the most impressive financial aid offer. Never in a million years would I have thought Skidmore would be financially attainable.” President Glotzbach concluded by noting that we have a month until Skidmore holds its Accepted Candidates Days and enlisted the help of everyone to bring in a great class.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS’REPORT
Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Kress expressed her gratitude to all who worked on the UWW matter. It was painful and difficult work, and everyone worked with thoughtfulness and integrity. She thanked the committees, especially CEPP, under the leadership of Deb Hall and Dan Nathan, and FEC, led by Dan Curley and John Brueggemann. She conveyed her appreciation to IPPC, to the Curriculum Committee, to the UWW staff for all their ongoing work with our students, and to Jeff Segrave, Dean of Special Programs. This program will be a deep loss for individuals and for the community, but she believes the closing of the program is in the best interests of the institution at this time.
Vice President Kress also addressed the current budget situation as it pertains to Academic Affairs. For this coming year (FY ‘10), we have already made a 2 percent reduction and are putting into place an additional 5 percent reduction for the teaching programs and 10 percent for all other areas – including the Library, Tang, Special Programs, the Dean of Faculty’s office and the Vice President for Academic Affairs’ office. Vice President Kress thanked everyone for their important work in reducing the services and supplies budget; she noted that in meeting our targeted cuts for compensation and overtime we have had to make some tough choices and decisions. With regard to compensation, there has been some staff attrition in Special Programs, reduction of gallery support for the Tang, and hiring freezes in academic programs.
She said she wanted to inform the community of the specific reductions that had been made. In order to meet the budgeted targets, the NYU and the Consortium for Faculty Diversity fellowship programs will be suspended next year. She said that these are very important programs for us and restoring them would be a priority. Further, eight non-tenure-track faculty members will not be returning in the Fall, and some faculty going on sabbatical will not be fully replaced. She noted that these choices are very painful since non-tenure track faculty are essential to many of our programs – and many of these valued faculty members have served the College for a very long time. In addition, course releases have been recaptured from department chairs and from endowed chairholders.
She said that, along with VPAA Staff, she will be developing a process for the further work for addressing the budget deficit for FY ‘11 and the following years. That process will include CEPP and department chairs and program directors—though it is important to acknowledge that no process for making difficult choices will be seen as ideal. The kinds of things to be studied include the possibilities for increasing course caps, reducing course releases, staggering sabbaticals, re-envisioning certain areas of the curriculum, restricting the number of minors students may elect, and collaborating more intentionally within and across divisions. This work will extend into next year—and we do have time to do it carefully and thoughtfully; we will need to be focused, creative, and collaborative. This is a test for us as individuals and as an institution, and we have to rise to the challenge. Questions raised included the following:
One faculty member asked how this process fit with the goals of the Strategic Plan?
Vice President Kress stressed that the Strategic Plan is the vision for moving forward
so that every time we do something or delay something we are paying attention to the
goals of the Strategic Plan.
Another faculty member questioned the commitment to diversity if we are suspending programs that assist in that initiative; he also proposed that we rigorously assess the process and results of every tenure-track search. Vice President Kress noted that searches are very complex matters with many goals. She believes that departments have been enriching their hiring pools and that we have made important progress; she acknowledged that there is always more work to be done.
Vice President Kress concluded by noting that we will celebrate retiring faculty at the next faculty meeting.
Dean of the Faculty Report – Muriel Poston
Dean Poston thanked the department chairs and program directors for all their work in submitting their services and supplies budget for next year within the anticipated 7 percent reductions. She knows these rescissions were not easy and hopes the department chairs and program directors will strive to continue to enhance the academic programs for students.
Dean Poston reported that the Law and Society program will be deactivated for the near future. This decision was based on the limited number of minors in this program and the inability to deliver the curriculum. We intend to support the students to complete their minor and we will consider reactivating the program when we have the resources and faculty to do so.
Dean Poston also announced the cancellation of the pilot program in Mysore, India. She acknowledged all the work of Joel Smith in developing the connections; however, unfortunately, we do not have the tenured or tenure-track faculty available to lead the program at this time; Dean Poston stressed that Skidmore remains committed to providing study abroad opportunities in India for its students.
Dean of Special Programs – Jeffrey Segrave
Dean Segrave announced that Michael Mudrovic will serve as the next Director of the Master of Arts program commencing September 1, 2009. Michael came to Skidmore 11 years ago with a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Kansas and also holds an M.S. in Speech and Hearing. He taught hearing-impaired children how to talk at the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, Missouri and also served as a consultant for schools for the hearing-impaired in Cali, Colombia, and Lima, Peru. Michael taught for 10 years in the graduate and undergraduate programs in Spanish at Washington University in St. Louis and, at Skidmore, teaches courses on Spanish language, literature, film, and culture. Michael has published two books on contemporary Spanish poetry along with numerous articles – and has presented papers at numerous conferences in Spain and the United States. He is currently working on a book on the long poem in recent Spanish literature (post-Spanish civil war) and has plans for a book on ekphrasis, history, culture, and poetry. Michael served on the MALS faculty committee from 1999-2001, chairing it in 2000-2001 and returning to the committee from 2003-2005; he has also served on the UWW Committee, CEPP, and the Curriculum Committee. Dean Segrave asked that everyone join in thanking Michael.
Dean Segrave also announced that Terence Blanchard will conduct two concerts in Filene tonight and will feature some of the tracks on his recent CD “A Tale of God’s Will, A Requiem for Hurricane Katrina,” which served as one of the texts for the FYE program this year.
There was no old business to report.
A. Timothy Harper, on behalf of the Curriculum Committee, read the following motions (see attached):
MOTION: The Curriculum Committee moves to eliminate the Economics-Philosophy interdepartmental major.
MOTION: The Curriculum Committee moves to eliminate the Political Economy interdepartmental major.
MOTION: The Curriculum Committee moves to eliminate the Economics-French interdepartmental major.
MOTION: The Curriculum Committee moves to eliminate the Economics-German interdepartmental major.
MOTION: The Curriculum Committee moves to eliminate the Economics-Spanish interdepartmental major.
These motions will lie over until the next faculty meeting.
B. Penny Jolly, on behalf of the Tenure Review Board, read the following motion (see attached):
MOTION: That the faculty approve the changes to the membership and procedures of the Tenure Review Board in the Skidmore Faculty Handbook.
After brief discussion concerning the timing of the implementation of the proposed change, President Glotzbach announced this motion will lie over until the next faculty meeting.
C. John Brueggemann, on behalf of FEC, discussed a report compiled by FEC concerning governance/committee membership. FEC has been studying issues of service and governance and presented a PowerPoint presentation highlighting its report. Professor Brueggemann discussed what FEC considers to be the “Big 6” committees – CAPT, CEPP, Curriculum Committee, CAFR, IPPC and FEC as well as the number of faculty serving on committees, which equates to one committee spot per faculty member. FEC would like to emphasize service on the “Big 6” and reduce the number of faculty seats on the remaining committees. Questions about the report raised include:
- One faculty member asked how the reduction in committee size will affect the remainder of the members serving on committees. Professor Brueggemann acknowledged that the work will be shouldered by a smaller number of committee members or administrative/support staff, and it might take more time for the work to be done.
- Another faculty member asked what the breakdown was for faculty serving on the committees – senior, mid-level, junior faculty. Professor Brueggemann suggested one of the FEC’s concerns was the decreasing service of the latter two categories and the consequent loss of institutional perspective and history.
- Another faculty member was concerned about the focus on the “Big 6” committees with regard to tenure and promotion and suggested all service should count. Professor Brueggemann suggested that service on other committees and in other areas was important but that service on the “Big 6” is very important.
- Another faculty member questioned why only the “Big 6” committees were central to shared governance, the Strategic Plan and the work of the faculty. She argued that some other committees are also critical to the work of faculty in regard to ongoing scholarship, and there needs to be a way to protect those committees and the people that rely on them as well. Professor Brueggemann acknowledged these concerns but suggested that FEC believes the “Big 6” committees are central to the work of all faculty.
- One faculty member raised concern over who would be responsible for making decisions if the faculty did not serve on these committees, suggesting that the decisions would then be made by the administration.
- Another faculty member agrees that more weight should be given to serving on the “Big 6” committees but believes the report was written in way that makes some very important committee work be taken lightly.
Professor Brueggemann concluded by noting that FEC would like information as to whether this should be a topic it takes up and by encouraging everyone to attend the receptions after the faculty meeting, as FEC believes that these kinds of informal conversations are the foundation of good governance.
Terry Diggory, on behalf of the Center Study Group, discussed the work of the Center Study Group and reported that their interim report is available for review on the Vice President for Academic Affairs’ website. All faculty will be receiving an email shortly inviting feedback on their report. Any input received will assist in their final recommendations.
A. Karen Kellogg, on behalf of the Responsible Citizenship Task Force, announced that co-chairs, David Karp and Paty Rubio, recently sent an email advising that there are funds to support some civic engagement projects. The deadline for submission is April 15. Details can be found on the Campus Life web page under Service Learning.
B. Darren Drabek announced that two Skidmore students are recipients of a Kathryn Wasserman Davis Project for Peace grant. Elana Hazghia ‘10 and Verena Bunge ’11 and their project, “Peace Through My Eyes” is one of 100 Davis Projects for Peace. Elana and Verena will travel to Guatemala to teach art and photography skills to a group of children in Guatemala City and San Marcos La Laguna. All students will compile a portfolio based on the theme “Peace through My Eyes.” In Fall 2009, Elana and Verena will return and will plan a public event, with assistance from staff in the Tang, and auction the art work to raise money to purchase water filters for families in the San Marcos region. Darren asked that everyone congratulate Elana and Verena on their great accomplishment.
C. On behalf of Lary Opitz, President Glotzbach announced the ongoing production of The Metamorphosis.
D. On behalf of Rochelle Calhoun, Dean of Students, Susan Layden invited everyone to gather outside in the Gannett Lobby for refreshments.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:03 p.m.
Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant