May 13, 2009
President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 10:08 a.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
President Glotzbach asked if there were any corrections or comments to the April 24, 2009 Faculty Meeting minutes. He noted a technical correction to the record in that Margo Mensing is not formally a retiree. Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved.
Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Admissions, announced that the Class of 2013 is very close to being complete.
- Our original target was 615 on campus and 36 in London and letters were mailed with that target in mind. After that time, we added 25 to the target of 615 for a target of 640, which is similar to the size classes we have had in recent years.
- Our original Spring deposits brought us to within 10 of our original on-campus target of 615; with the additional 25 added to the class, another 41 were needed from the wait-list to meet the on-campus target.
- We came in short for London and needed an additional 21 from the wait-list for the London program.
- We have made a total of 62 offers from the wait-list and have received verbal commitments or deposits from 60; we are awaiting the response from the two outstanding offers.
- We ran out of students on the wait-list with an expressed interest in the London program, which is the first year in which applicants were asked to indicate their interest in the London program. Admissions’ plan is to fill the remaining London spots and will send a letter to all enrollees who are age-eligible to see if anyone is interested in going to London.
- The acceptance rate was just under 42 percent, which compares to 29 percent last year, 36 percent two years ago, 39 percent three years ago and 44 percent four years ago. Last year, we had an additional 1,000 applications and were very conservative with our offers in the Spring; we ended up filling 87 spots from the wait-list last year.
- The median SAT is 1,250, which is what it was last year; after the summer melt last year, the median SAT jumped to 1,260.
- For the incoming class, 21 percent self-identified as students of color; after the summer melt, we are projecting 20 percent will be students of color in September, which is identical to last year. We enrolled fewer Asian students; however, our Latino and African-American enrollees are up from last year.
- 60 percent of the students attending the Discovery program enrolled, while last year, 45 percent who attended Discovery enrolled.
- Our Filene target of 5 has been met.
- We are anticipating 11 STEM scholars between first-year students and transfers.
- We are short of our Porter target of 5. We have 2 enrolled, but we have identified 15 students who were nominated and weren’t chosen in the first round.
- We came in on target with the Opportunity Programs, seeking and enrolling 40 outstanding students.
- We enrolled 10 students from the United World Colleges; right now, we receive $20,000 each year per student. The Davis Foundation has been affected by the economy and notified all the member colleges that this is the last year they can give $20,000 per student; starting with the next class we recruit, that number will go back to $10,000.
Dean Bates thanked everyone for their time, attention, and expertise in helping to recruit and enroll what promises to be another outstanding class. President Glotzbach also thanked Dean Bates and her colleagues in Admissions and Financial Aid for their work this year.
Dean of Student Affairs Rochelle Calhoun commented on the H1N1 virus. The Emergency Management team has been meeting to respond to the global swine flu outbreak; the best source of information is on the website. The College has been guided by the Centers for Disease Control and local heath organizations. As we move into major spring events where there will be lots of people on campus and in our community, the CDC and the local health organizations are not recommending the cancellation of these events. Dean Calhoun concluded by noting that the website will be updated as information is received and requested that any questions concerning the swine flu be directed to her.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS’ REPORT
Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Kress, to applause, thanked Debra Peterson for managing the screen projections for the faculty meetings and for keeping the faculty meeting minutes throughout the year.
She advised that an academic staff retreat was held last Friday. In large part, the budget was discussed; she noted that she distributed a memorandum to the department chairs and program directors which will be distributed to all department members. VP Kress will resend the memorandum to department chairs with the request that it be sent out to department members.
She noted that, as we did for FY 2010 and as we look forward to FY 2011, we are thinking about how we can get more efficient, how we can collaborate to better effect, how we can make the sort of efficiencies that help us drive down the target deficit we are facing. When we have done that, there will be strategic thinking about the kinds of changes we will need to make, both in what we do and how we do it. For the first step, we are trying very hard to see what we can do to drive that number down in ways that help us be more efficient and encourage us to collaborate in ways that, perhaps, we haven’t thought about before but that will in fact create better programs. Deans Poston and Rubio will be working on this over the summer and may be in touch with the department chairs and program directors as necessary.
VP Kress thanked David Vella for his work on the academic festival, which was the best-attended festival to date and with the most participants.
VP Kress also thanked Pushi Prasad and Ruth Copans for organizing and hosting the “academic festival” highlighting the faculty’s achievements from 2007-2009. This exhibit is expected to continue through Commencement and possibly through Reunion. Pushi Prasad noted that 121 items were submitted for display from 46 faculty. Pushi thanked Ruth Copans and the library and IT staff for the demos they gave on the same day. Given the success of this event, it is hoped that this will be an annual event.
VP Kress concluded by announcing that Mark Huibregtse has been appointed as the Class of 1964 Term Professor.
CONFERRAL OF DEGREES AND HONORS
A. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Degrees. President Glotzbach introduced Ann Henderson, Registrar and Director of Institutional Research, who read the following resolutions into the record (see attached):
RESOLVED, that the faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to 405 students of the Class of 2009 to be awarded on May 16, 2009.
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Science degree to 200 students of the Class of 2009 to be awarded on May 16, 2009.
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to 24 students of the Class of 2009 upon satisfactory completion of the degree requirements by August 31, 2009.
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Science degree to 16 students of the Class of 2009 upon satisfactory completion of the degree requirements by August 31, 2009.
The total number of graduates is 605 for May completion and 40 for August.
Discussion was held concerning the asterisk next to students’ names which indicates that those students may have outstanding academic, financial, social and/or academic integrity obligations (as noted in the Skidmore College Catalog), which must be fulfilled prior to the awarding of a degree. Further discussion was held concerning the relation between the fulfillment of academic requirements and possible social integrity violations in light of the recent allegations of a felony committed by three seniors. President Glotzbach noted that the faculty was being asked to vote provisionally with the understanding that a degree will not be granted until all outstanding obligations have been met; he emphasized that the faculty is being asked to base its vote solely on the completion of the academic requirements. A question was called to close debate and vote on the motion. The motion to close debate passed with 2/3 majority vote.
Thereafter, the motion to approve the granting of degrees was voted on and passed with all in favor.
B. Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Degrees. President Glotzbach introduced Mary Correa to read the following resolution into the record (see attached):
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Master of Arts degree to fifteen students.
The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
C. University Without Walls Degrees. President Glotzbach introduced Sheldon Solomon to read the following resolution into the record (see attached):
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to eleven students and the Bachelor of Science degree to nine students.
The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
D. All-College and Departmental Honors. President Glotzbach introduced Michael Ennis-McMillan, Dean of Studies, to read the following resolution into the record (see attached):
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College approve College Honors for members of the Class of 2009, as presented at the May 13, 2009, Faculty Meeting: 57 students for summa cum laude distinction; 70 students for magna cum laude distinction (2 of whom are expected to receive the award in August); and 197 students for cum laude distinction (6 of whom are expected to receive the award in August).
(Note: this equals 324 students or 50.2% of the total 2009 class size of 645 students; for May 2009 graduates, the 316 students earning College Honors equals 52.2% of the May 2009 class size of 605)
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College approve Departmental and Program Honors for 189 students from the Class of 2009 (3 of whom are expected to receive the award in August)—as presented at the May 13, 2009, Faculty Meeting.
(Note: 189 students equals 29.3% based on a total 2009 class size of 645 students; for May 2009 graduates, the 186 students equals 30.7% of the May 2009 class size of 605; 11 students will receive honors in two majors.)
Discussion was held concerning the percentage of students receiving honors. Dean Ennis-McMillan noted that the Committee on Academic Standing will review the criteria for awarding honors. Thereupon, the motion was voted on and passed with all in favor
There was no old business.
There was no new business.
A. Dan Nathan, on behalf of the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP), announced that CEPP has endorsed the learning goals developed by the Assessment Steering Committee. The learning goals were created through a rigorous, broadly consultative process, including a CEPP-sponsored faculty forum. The document is intended primarily for assessment purposes. CEPP intends to discuss the learning goals with the faculty in the fall.
B. John Brueggemann, on behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, noted that the Committee of Committees was convened and issued its report. The committee had no specific concerns about any committees or the relationship with the administration.
C. Raina Bretan, incoming President of the Student Government Association, introduced next year’s officers: Claire Solomon, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Jim Welsh, Vice President for Financial Affairs; Alex Stark, Vice President for Residential Affairs; Ali Drucker, Vice President for Clubs and Organizations; Jon Schneider, Vice President for Communications; and Michael Cass-Antony, 2010 Class President. Raina also reported on the accomplishments of the SGA over the past academic year.
Kate Leavitt, on behalf of the Faculty Development Committee (FDC), announced the recipients of faculty development grants for the Spring and Summer, 2009 (see attached).
President Glotzbach thanked everyone for the discussion surrounding the awarding of the degrees and announced that Carter Bales and Fred Wilson will be receiving honorary degrees at Commencement. He reflected on the strategic challenges the College faced this academic year and stated that a good deal of progress was made. Providing information about the College’s financial situation is one more way we try to increase our overall understanding of the large factors that must be accounted for in our institutional decision-making. Over the coming year, President Glotzbach noted that we need to continue this trajectory by facing the kind of difficult decisions that lie ahead. Further, although not easy to do, we need to make the connections between the way we do our individual work and the strategic needs of the College. One example would be to consider the idea of reducing the number of slots required to be filled by faculty members in our governance system, as suggested by FEC’s study, which would allow faculty members to concentrate on other matters.
As the College has risen to the occasion, we should keep our focus on the students. In the vast majority of cases, the students we have here are wonderful students. They are stronger academically than they were a few years ago, and we are doing a better job of teaching them. One of the paradoxes we encounter, as referenced in Michael Arnush’s comments, is that in our classes we are dealing with grading and not ranking; thus, it is logically possible and not incoherent for every student in the class to earn an “A” if every student meets your standards as professor in that class. Our students, in fact, may be above average compared to other colleges, and that translates into more students receiving honors. The bottom line is that our students are terrific, and we will get to hear the fruits of the wonderful work of the faculty and staff when we talk to the graduating students and their parents, who really are in the best position to observe the transformations of their sons and daughters.
President Glotzbach concluded by extending an invitation to everyone to attend the reception for graduating seniors and their parents at Scribner House on Friday, May 15 and wished everyone a productive and renewing summer.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 a.m.
Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant