FACULTY MEETING MINUTES
December 4, 2009
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 November 6, 2009. Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved.
President Glotzbach expressed the hope that everyone had had an enjoyable and restful Thanksgiving holiday. Despite the continuing tough economic news and the prospect of some difficult work still to be accomplished over the next few months, the College has much to be thankful for as well. Next semester, we will need to turn our attention back to planning for the next few years of the current Strategic Plan, and the very successful campus Town Hall Meetings have provided a very good jump-start to this process. A subgroup of the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee (IPPC) will be synthesizing the results of those meetings, and other groups will be talking about them as well. Thereafter, a preliminary report will be brought back to the community for further comment.
In the months ahead, our task will be to articulate a small number of strategic initiatives that take account of the progress we have made in recent years, acknowledge the constraints on our resources, take advantage of the opportunities that are before us to continue increasing the value we offer to our students, and strengthen our position in the world of higher education.
The “difficult work” that needs to be accomplished in the coming months consists of much more than finalizing decisions about what work and positions will go away. Even more importantly, it will require continued efforts to deploy our existing resources in the most efficient way; and it will require us to develop new ways of working together – in some cases across different departments and programs – to create synergies around selected new initiatives. President Glotzbach noted that he will make a presentation at the end of the meeting concerning the growth in our work force over the past ten years.
Dean of Admissions’ Report
Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Admissions, provided an update on applications. The deadline for Early Decision, Round One, was November 15, and those applications were up between 4 and 5 percent over last year. However, as with many other schools, regular decision applications are running behind schedule; the belief is that many students are waiting to hear on early decision applications before they send off their regular admission applications. The percentage of students in Round One applying for financial aid is down from last year with 37 percent seeking financial aid as opposed to 41 percent. The deadline for Regular Decision – and Early Decision, Round Two, is January 15, 2010. Dean Bates concluded by reporting that on-campus visits are up slightly as is the number of students meeting with Admissions on the road.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS’ REPORT
Susan Kress, Vice President for Academic Affairs, reported that Academic Staff will meet for a retreat the following week; items on the agenda include an update on the budget, discussion of the raw data collected from the town hall meetings, a continuation of “Skidmore 101” discussions focusing this time on the curriculum, and an opportunity to talk with President Glotzbach.
VPAA Kress reported that the Music Department will be moving into the Zankel Music Center over the winter break. She paid tribute to Mike West for his oversight of the construction of this very complex building as well as to Chuck Joseph who took a leading role in the initiative to build the building and to Tom Denny for his tireless efforts on behalf of his department. She also expressed appreciation for the work of Advancement and for the extraordinary generosity of our donors. She noted that there will be an official opportunity in October to thank the donors for their confidence in us and our future. Without them, none of this can happen.
VPAA Kress noted that, even though we are facing hard times and seeking efficiencies everywhere, we still need to move forward with steps that will make us stronger for the future, and the Zankel Music Center promises to do just that. Last year, President Glotzbach charged the Zankel Task Force to think about the opportunities this building can offer not only to the Music Department but to the entire community. The Zankel Study Group (ZSG) has completed its final report and will be submitting it to President Glotzbach shortly. VPAA Kress thanked those on the committee for all their work: Catherine White Berheide, Thomas Denny, Mary DiSanto-Rose, Lori Eastman, Michael Hall, Chuck Joseph, Kathleen Leavitt, Lary Opitz, Jeffrey Segrave, Justin Sipher, John Weber, Michael Parker ’09, and Debbie Peterson.
VPAA Kress affirmed that the Zankel Music Center not only answers the long-term needs of the Music Department and Special Programs for expanded facilities, but signals a new moment for the institution and provides new opportunities for collaboration, connection, and curricular innovation. Situated outside the building is an open-air amphitheater named for retired Board President, Sue Thomas. VPAA Kress noted several of the collaborations (for example, dance and live music) the building will make possible as well as opportunities for interdisciplinarity. The ZSG is recommending the revival of a committee consisting mainly of the visual and performing arts chairs along with the director of the Tang and the director of Arts Administration, who will be responsible for developing and managing events more effectively with a goal of moving toward a coordinated calendar, promotions operation, and box office.
The opening celebration of the Zankel Music Center will coincide with the conclusion of the record-breaking capital campaign and the 10th anniversary of the Tang. Everyone will have an opportunity to see the new building soon; open houses will be scheduled, and one of the faculty meeting receptions will be held in the building. On February 5, everyone will be invited to the Carnegie Fellows concert, the first concert in the hall.
VPAA Kress acknowledged Roger Svennson, from the Stint organization, for his time on campus. She concluded by thanking everyone for all their hard work this semester.
Dean of the Faculty’s Report
Muriel Poston, Dean of the Faculty, acknowledged the colleagues that will be leaving at the end of this semester: Nils Nilsson, visiting Stint professor, and Rob Linrothe, who will be retiring at the end of the semester. As usual, a formal retirement acknowledgment for Professor Linrothe will take place in the spring.
Professor Erica Bastress-Dukehart, on behalf of the Committee on Education Policies and Planning (CEPP), read the following motion, which included friendly amendments from the motion introduced at last month’s faculty meeting held November 6, 2009 (see attached):
MOTION: CEPP moves that the faculty endorse the “Goals for Student Learning and Development (see attached).”
After discussion of the friendly amendments, the motion was voted on and passed with all in favor. President Glotzbach thanked Professor Bastress-Dukehart for all her work and the work of CEPP; he also thanked Professor Sarah Goodwin and the Assessment Steering Committee.
Professor Erica Bastress-Dukehart, on behalf of the CEPP, read the following motion that was introduced at the Faculty Meeting held November 6, 2009 (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.
There was no discussion, and the motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
Professor Dan Hurwitz, on behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), read highlights from an article that recently appeared in Academe discussing faculty governance. Thereafter, he introduced the following Resolution (see attached):
RESOLUTION: RESOLVED, that the faculty requests that every standing committee on which faculty serve review their function and membership to determine if they can reduce their membership by working with the Faculty Executive Committee and all relevant constituencies with the overall goal reducing number of committee spots (held by faculty and other stakeholders) by approximately 30 percent.
Discussion was held concerning a grammatical point in the first sentence of the Resolution. A faculty member also sought clarification on whether any change in committee structure would be brought to the faculty for approval (it will) and whether the Resolution resulted from the voluntary survey conducted by FEC on membership size. This Resolution will lie over until the next faculty meeting.
Professor Dan Hurwitz, on behalf of FEC, introduced the following Motion (see attached):
Motion: FEC moves to insert the following sentence (in italics) at the end of paragraph 2b on page 122 of the Faculty Handbook:
This participation is not to be predominantly or exclusively equated with service on faculty committees, which is but one of a variety of service options available to faculty. It should be recognized that service in the seven core governance committees (the Committee on Academic Freedom and Rights [CAFR], the Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure [CAPT], the Curriculum Committee, the Committee on Educational Policy and Planning [CEPP], the Faculty Development Committee (FDC), the Faculty Executive Committee [FEC], and the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee [IPPC]) is particularly critical to maintaining the shared-governance system that is central to our institutional identity.
After some discussion of the wording of the rationale, Professor Hurwitz requested that any suggestions for changes to the rationale be sent to him.
FEC was asked if the CAPT had been consulted in the development of the motion, and Professor Hurwitz indicated that the committee had consulted with members of CAPT. Further discussion was held concerning how this revision affects the standards for continuing service and tenure and promotion as set forth in the Faculty Handbook. After a Point of Order was called, Professor Gove Effinger, Chair of CAPT, noted that FEC had not consulted with the current CAPT and that CAPT believes that while there are lots of factors to consider in each individual case, the Faculty Handbook does indicate that teaching, scholarship and service are all important criteria for continuing appointment. This motion will lie over until the next meeting.
Professor Dan Hurwitz, on behalf of FEC, introduced the following Resolution (see attached):
Resolution: The faculty resolve to adopt the following principles of governance.
1. Be lean. All things being equal, the smaller a committee is, the better. It is easier to plan meetings and make decisions.
2. Emphasize consultation more and representation less. Different colleagues could be consulted productively in the context of more focused, limited time frames.
3. Attend carefully to the relative weight of faculty voices on any committee compared to that of other constituencies. We should add or subtract individuals representing different stakeholders with consideration for the right balance in terms of the main goals of the committee in question.
4. Serve and protect the central governance committees in special ways. We must make sure that the faculty’s commitment to IPPC, FEC, FDC, CAPT, CEPP, CAFR and Curriculum Committee is always robust.
5. Use ad hoc committees when a particular challenge requires experts focused on a short-term project. Standing committees will be in a better position to attend to their normal operations when such ad hoc committees are utilized.
6. Direct the results of ad hoc committees’ efforts through standing committees in the governance system. Important decisions based on ad hoc committees’ work should be avoided without substantive consideration within appropriate standing committees.
7. Make use of staff and administrators in work that faculty may surrender because others are qualified to do it.
8. Every committee should assess regularly whether it is using its time and resources effectively.
9. Avoid scheduling committee meetings during the winter or summer breaks as much as possible. Pay special attention to how often and when meetings are held in general.
10. Foster awareness among colleagues about the importance of the faculty’s active ownership of and thoughtful participation in college governance.
Discussion was held concerning the use of ad hoc committees as discussed in the Resolution. This resolution will lie over until the next meeting.
Professor Kate Graney, on behalf of the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS), introduced CAS’s statement on Withdrawal and Medical Leave Policies (see attached). She indicated that medical leave does cover any incapacitation and that the ruling or decision when a medical leave is granted involves not only the Office of Academic Advising but the counseling center, health services and other campus constituencies. Discussion was held concerning the distinction between the Withdrawal and Medical Leave and what options are available to make the distinction clearer. It was noted that medical leave is not granted automatically and that students must have medical documentation from a provider with clear evidence of a diagnosis that a condition is impeding their ability to be successful such that a medical leave is the last resort. Further discussion was held concerning the number of withdrawals requested by students during the course of their college career: in last year’s class, 186 students used 1 withdrawal, 49 used 2 withdrawals, 5 used 3 withdrawals, 1 used 4 withdrawals, 3 had 5 withdrawals, 2 had 6 withdrawals, 3 had 8 withdrawals, 3 had 9 withdrawals, and none had 10 withdrawals (with the larger numbers coming from students who were in majors that require 1 and 2 credit courses). The CAS will be meeting soon to get CEPP’s and CAFR’s perspective and anticipates bringing a draft of a policy in the spring.
- Professor Michael Arnush announced that the faculty interest group met three times over the course of the fall to discuss various issues relating to liberal arts education, with a focus on tenure, the process towards tenure, and non-tenure-track positions. He thanked everyone for participating in these meetings and announced that discussions will continue in the spring.
- Professor David Vella announced that Honors Forum together with the FYE Program will be sponsoring an event scheduled for February 22, 2010, for first-year students who have made the Dean’s List. The annual Ramsey Lecture, scheduled for that date, will be given by Professor Flip Phillips from Psychology.
- John Weber, Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum, announced a change in hours for the holidays and reminded everyone that the Eisenman, Shechet and African Pots shows will conclude on January 3, 2010.
- Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Financial Aid, invited everyone to the post-faculty meeting reception immediately following in Murray Aikins banquet hall.
President’s Report – Part II
President Glotzbach shared a PowerPoint presentation outlining the growth in positions at Skidmore during the last decade. Over the past year, as the College has initiated various efforts to control both present and future expenditures, we have reduced the size of our workforce by holding open some positions, by instituting the voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program, and by eliminating selected positions as they came up for renewal. As we have undertaken this work, questions have arisen as to what our workforce looks like now and how it has changed over the past decade. The workforce has grown, and essentially all of the investments in new positions over preceding years have been part of our plans and, indeed, have fueled many of the improvements we have achieved.
President Glotzbach’s presentation included the following information:
- Change in Number of Employees from fiscal year 2000 through 2009 by area: Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty/Special Programs; Administration/Facilities/IT/Finance/Dining/Security; Student Affairs; Advancement; Admissions & Financial Aid; and President’s Office. Overall, the employee population has grown by about 18 percent while the student body has grown by 9.5 percent.
- Growth in Academic Affairs: new or expanded programs and/or new positions include the Tang, FYE Program, new majors (Neuroscience, Environmental Studies, International Affairs), Office of Sponsored Research, new positions (Intercultural Studies director, sustainability coordinator, assessment coordinator), Zankel Music Center, new programs (Latin-American Studies and Arts Administration), expansion of Office of Off-Campus Study and Exchanges, increased support for collaborative research, new or converted tenure-track lines, new teaching associates and non-tenure-track lines, new support and technical staff positions, and modest staff additions in the Office of Academic Advising and Office of the Registrar and Institutional Research.
- Growth in Student Affairs: growth has occurred in Student Academic Services, Opportunity Programs, Athletics, Campus Life, Career Services, Health and Counseling Services, and Residential Life.
- Growth in Advancement: staff has increased as a result of the Campaign; overall fundraising, annual fund and parent giving has increased; staff has increased in Communications and web development.
- Growth in Finance & Administration: positions have been added in Human Resources, Campus Safety, Greenberg Center, Dining Services, and IT.
- Growth in Admissions & Financial Aid: reinstated Assistant Director of Admissions position based on comparison with peer institutions of ratio of staff and added an Assistant Director to address diversity objectives; the office has seen increase in applications received and in percentage of applicants applying for financial aid, increase in applications from students of color, increase in percentage of enrolled class as students of color, and increase in total Opportunity Program students on campus from 2000 through 2009.
- Change in Number of Employees for Fiscal Year 2009: based on FTE’s, there was an overall decrease at the College of 23.6 FTEs, or 2.7 percent, in FY 2009.
Discussion was held concerning clarification of the number of lines added to academic departments and the number of positions added to the Tang, the FYE Program, Sponsored Research, and Intercultural Studies. There was also discussion of the growth in Advancement related to the campaign.
President Glotzbach concluded his report by wishing everyone a great holiday season and extending an invitation to the Holiday Open House at Scribner House on Sunday, December 13, 2009. The President spoke about the opportunity to give to Skidmore Cares as part of the Open House. Skidmore Cares is a community outreach program; this year, its food and school-supply drive will benefit a number of organizations, including Mary’s Haven, the Latino Community Advocacy Program, the Franklin Community Center, the Corinth Central School District, Shelters of Saratoga, the Salvation Army, and the Saratoga County EOC. Donations can be brought to Scribner House or dropped off in the sleigh outside. Caroline D’Abate encouraged the faculty to donate canned or dry soup, which can be brought to the Scribner Open House or dropped off outside Roy Rotheim’s or her office.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:24 p.m.
Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant