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

FACULTY MEETING

November 6, 2009
Gannett Auditorium

MINUTES

President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:36 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

President Glotzbach asked if there were any corrections or comments to the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held October 2, 2009. Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

President Glotzbach reported that the Board of Trustees meeting held last week went well. The Trustees received updates from various areas of the College and did a Town Hall Meeting exercise of their own. There were no major budget parameter changes to announce to them, but we were able to report improved performance in the endowment, which has moved from a low of about $220 million to about $260 million. However, the improved performance has also been offset by continuing losses in revenue in certain other areas, such as short-term investments.

We will need to look very hard at our comprehensive fee to keep future increases to a minimum. This is challenging, as every percent we take off our increase in the comprehensive fee represents a $1 million decrease in income. Moody’s Rating Service released a survey conducted of 100 of the top 286 private colleges and universities that they assess for bond ratings in which 29 percent of schools responding projected a decline in net tuition revenue (as opposed to 9 percent from the prior year). Reasons for a decline in net tuition revenues include smaller increase in comprehensive fee, increased financial aid, and failure to meet class targets. While Skidmore did not experience a decline in net tuition revenue, the difference in growth from the prior year was only 1.1 percent. Moody’s commented on their findings by noting that these were the first concrete data to show the impact of the recession on tuition pricing; however, they were uncertain as to whether the data represented a one-year change or a trend.

At the moment, we are projecting an increase of 1.6 percent in total expenditures for the next fiscal year (FY 2011). We plan to have eliminated $5 million from previous projections in the operating budget through budget reductions; we also will have avoided another $5 million in previously projected cost increases. At present, we are still looking to finalize another $3.25 million in savings by cost containment, by not filling open positions, and by a likely reduction in force. We have completed the first phase of the early retirement incentive program (ERIP); the response to that program has been very positive – more employees applied than anticipated. As a result, we accepted more applications than we initially thought we would be able to do. Employees who have been accepted into the ERIP have been notified, but at this point we don’t know how many will actually participate in the ERIP. It is likely that the cost of the ERIP will increase from what we initially projected; however, these funds will come out of reserves, not from the operating budget. The ERIP will help us achieve some of the reductions we are looking for, but we will still need to identify additional reductions in continuing expenses by eliminating some work and, with it, positions.

Everyone has been asked to read the preamble to the 2009-10 “Strategic Action Agenda”; the preamble, however, can be summarized as follows: All of higher education is facing a great challenge. But small, private, expensive liberal arts colleges are undergoing more scrutiny than ever, along with an increased likelihood of losing prospective students due to issues of price. All this leads to the likelihood of strongly increased competition for students in the coming years, resulting in intense pressures to control costs and demonstrate that we are providing value commensurate with our cost.

To better understand the position we are in, President Glotzbach showed a PowerPoint presentation which included the following information:

Again, the conclusion is clear: In order to compete for the best students, we must hold our cost increases to a minimum while at the same time increasing the value of a Skidmore education and making the case effectively, to an increasingly skeptical public, that we do offer superior educational value. The key both to making this case externally and to continuing to improve what we do is effective assessment.

In response to a question about strategies to recruit full-paying international students, President Glotzbach noted that it is difficult to attract full paying international students because they are oriented toward universities and they are unfamiliar with the concept of a liberal arts education; however, he also noted that the international recruiting arena is changing in our favor. He encouraged anyone who may have a contact in the international world or who is attending an international event to collaborate with Admissions.

In response to a question concerning the projected increases in financial aid, President Glotzbach noted that this projected trajectory will be evaluated on a year-to-year basis. The only long-term solution is to increase the size of the endowment.

In response to a question about reducing our comprehensive fee, President Glotzbach noted that this scenario is being modeled; however, reducing the comprehensive fee creates an even larger deficit than we already have insofar as every 1 percent taken off the comprehensive fee represents a $1 million loss in revenue.

In response to a question concerning the net cost of higher education, President Glotzbach acknowledged that the net cost is also a very important figure and would most likely show a shallower increase. One of the problems, however, is public perception, and people are looking at the high published numbers. At Skidmore, the average tuition aid package is over $35,000 and the average net cost after grants of a Skidmore education is $18,000-$19,000 per year.

President Glotzbach concluded by encouraging everyone to participate in the on-campus Town Hall Meetings that will be held next week. These meetings are designed to get people engaged in thinking about the tough choices we will be facing in the future and in exploring new ideas.

VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS’ REPORT

Dean of the Faculty Report – Muriel Poston

Dean of Special Programs – Jeff Segrave

OLD BUSINESS

Curriculum Committee

Professor Tim Harper, on behalf of the Curriculum Committee, read the following motion that was introduced at the Faculty Meeting held October 2, 2009 (see attached):

MOTION: The Curriculum Committee moves to eliminate the Government-Sociology interdepartmental major.

There was no discussion, and the motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.

Faculty Executive Committee

Professor Dan Hurwitz, on behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, read the following motions that were introduced at the Faculty Meeting held October 2, 2009 (see attached):

A. The Faculty Executive Committee moves that the following changes be made in the 2009-2010 Faculty Handbook:

1. In Membership of Curriculum Committee (Handbook, Part Two, [F][II], 5. “Curriculum Committee”), change membership from “the Associate Dean of the Faculty” to “the Dean of the Faculty or his/her designated representative.”

2. Under Reappointment: Second Year (Handbook, Part One, VIII, [A][1]), insert the following as a new “c”: “Candidates for reappointment shall have access to all written materials immediately following notification of the Dean of the Faculty’s decision. While candidates may take notes, materials may not be copied by any means nor electronically downloaded or transmitted.” “Reviews” will then become “d”.

Rationale:

While the Handbook states that a candidate denied reappointment may seek review on the grounds of violations of academic freedom and rights, procedural problems, or “inadequate consideration,” there is no current provision for the candidate to have access to the materials sent to the dean by the department. The language is identical to that already included in the procedures for third-year reappointment.

For consistency, Part One, VIII [A][2][h] and Part One, IX [E][9] will also require changes in language as follows:

“While candidates may take notes, materials may not be copied by any means nor electronically downloaded or transmitted.” should be substituted for “These materials may not be photocopied.”

For consistency, Part One, IX [G][2] will also require the following change:

“The advocate, in the presence of the candidate, has the right of access to the materials which the CAPT had in its original deliberations; the advocate and the candidate may take notes but may not copy by any means nor electronically download or transmit these materials.” should be substituted for “The advocate, in the presence of the candidate, has the right of access but may not photocopy the materials which the CAPT had in its original deliberations.”

3. Under “Promotion” (Handbook, Part One, XI, [A][1][j]), replace the last sentence (“Finally, the President and the CAPT report their recommendations to the Board of Trustees”) with “Finally the President’s recommendations are reported to the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) of the Board of Trustees, and the CAPT informs the AAC of the recommendations it made to the President.”

Rationale: This language needs to be brought in line with the language for tenure (Handbook, Part One, IX, [E][6]).

After discussion questioning the lack of rationale for item #1 of the Handbook Motion, a motion was made and seconded to vote separately on item #1 of the Motion. Discussion ensued concerning the rationale for changing the membership of the Curriculum Committee. It was noted that the formula “[officer] or his or her designated representative” occurred frequently in our descriptions of committee membership and provided increased flexibility. A concern was raised that untenured faculty members on the Curriculum Committee might be intimidated if the Dean of the Faculty sits on the committee; however, it was also noted that senior academic administrators are members of CEPP and other committees as well. After the conclusion of discussion, the motion to remove section #1 from the original motion was voted on by voice; the President asked if anyone wished to call for a rising vote; he then called for another voice vote, and the motion was defeated. Thereafter, the entire motion to approve the changes to the Faculty Handbook was voted on and passed.

B. The Faculty Executive Committee then moved that the 2009-2010 Faculty Handbook be adopted. There was no discussion, and the motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.

Professor Hurwitz also announced that two resolutions and one motion will be presented at the next faculty meeting concerning committee membership and governance.

NEW BUSINESS

Committee on Educational Policies and Planning

On behalf of the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP), Professor Terence Diggory moved that the meeting form a Committee of the Whole to discuss the Goals for Student Learning that were distributed prior to the meeting (see attached Learning Goals). Professor Hurwitz was appointed the chair of the Committee of the Whole; a 20-minute time limit was set with a 10-minute extension at the discretion of Professor Hurwitz. At the conclusion of the meeting of the Committee of the Whole, Professor Diggory, on behalf of the Committee on Education Policies and Procedures, introduced the following motion (see attached):

MOTION: CEPP moves that the faculty endorse the “Goals for Student Learning and Development.”

This motion will lie over until the next faculty meeting.

Professor Rik Scarce, on behalf of the CEPP, introduced the following motion (see attached):

MOTION: CEPP moves that the faculty endorse the expansion of the Skidmore in London Program and formalize the current on-site support personnel structure.

Some discussion was held concerning any associated costs to Skidmore. The full report on the expanded program can be found on the CEPP website. This motion will lie over until the next faculty meeting.

Professor Scarce, on behalf of the CEPP, announced that the Department of Exercise Science will now be known as the Department of Health and Exercise Sciences.

Faculty Development Committee

Professor Monica Raveret-Richter, on behalf of the Faculty Development Committee (FDC), announced proposed changes to the Summer Faculty/Student Research Program with regard to structure and compensation (see attached Proposal for complete details). Discussion was held concerning whether the 5-week program should start in the first half or the second half of summer term – or whether there should be two 5-week summer sessions – as well as concerning compensation for professors who receive outside funding for summer research programs. Professor Raveret-Richter indicated that FDC is open to further comments on this proposal.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The meeting was adjourned at 5:22 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant

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