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

FACULTY MEETING

FEBRUARY 5, 2010
GANNETT AUDITORIUM

MINUTES

President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:32 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

President Glotzbach asked if there were any corrections or comments to the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held December 4, 2009. Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

President Glotzbach welcomed everyone and thanked Professor Mark Huibregtse for serving as parliamentarian this semester. He then invited Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Admissions, to provide an admissions update:

Dean Bates indicated that her office will evaluate these numbers to determine what is going on. The demographics correlate pretty clearly with our numbers – the demographic peak for 18-year-olds was also the year of our peak number. Since then, this demographic has declined nationally by about 200,000 students each of the last two years. There are other schools that are down but there are some schools that are up, so the correlation is not direct for everyone. The economy certainly is a factor; we see it in the percentage of students applying for aid. Last year, though we had 62 percent apply for aid, a significant number of them did not qualify. We are just in the process of evaluating current applications, but it seems clear that that number will probably be similar to last year (families that apply but don’t qualify).

Dean Bates concluded that we are competing with more selective and prestigious schools that have more resources than we, as well as with peer schools that are utilizing tactics that support application growth that we haven’t adopted, such as waiving application fees for applying online or utilizing outside vendors who generate applications. She concluded by noting that her office is analyzing the admissions numbers this year looking for trends and planning for the next admission cycle.

President Glotzbach invited Dr. Jordana Dym to provide an update on College activities regarding Haiti. Professor Dym indicated that Father Philippe Joseph of Fonkozé, a respected microfinancing institution in Haiti which serves the needs of the poor, was on campus today, and we are hopeful that we will be able to develop a long-term relationship. This community has been really energetic in thinking about the ways Skidmore educators, students and activists can contribute to the current crisis in Haiti —in the present moment and in the long haul. President Glotzbach thanked Professors Dym, Winston Grady-Willis, and Jim Kennelly for their efforts.

President Glotzbach acknowledged the significant number of external grants received since June 2009 (over $3.1 million, see attached), which is in addition to continuing grants. He thanked Barry Pritzker, Director, Foundations & Corporate Relations, Bill Tomlinson and Anita Miczek from the Office of Sponsored Research, and all the colleagues writing the grants.

President Glotzbach announced a new faculty distinguished service award initiated in Academic Affairs, an award commensurate with the Ciancio award for teaching and the Moseley award for research. This third award will enable us to acknowledge the full range of a faculty member’s work. The Faculty Development Committee will be announcing more details concerning this new award.

President Glotzbach expressed his gratitude to the entire community in dealing with the financial situation that we and other colleges and universities have faced; while we have made sacrifices, we also have achieved a good deal of progress in making our services more efficient. Although we had announced last fall that we would most likely have to do some non-voluntary reductions in force at mid-year, because of the campus-wide efforts to increase efficiencies, significant recovery in our endowment due to the turn-around in financial markets, success with a strategic hiring freeze in place since fall 2008, and a greater-than-expected response to the voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program, we have been able to avoid making additional non-voluntary reductions in force. However, there will be some members of the staff whose jobs will be restructured and/or who will experience a reduction in hours, and there will be some transition in union ranks due to “bumping.” We also will continue restrictions on overtime and the use of contingent or temporary employees.

We are now moving forward with our budget for fiscal year 2011; we are projecting a balanced budget with a very small increase in the comprehensive fee and a less-than-previously-projected increase in our financial aid budget. Our financial aid “discount rate” still will increase from approximately 33 to 34 percent. As of December 31, 2009, our endowment was valued at approximately $270 million, which represents a substantial recovery from our low of approximately $220 million. We are working to finalize our budget proposals and will be asking the Board to approve major budget parameters for FY ’11 in February. We have some more work to do with the Budget and Finance subcommittee of IPPC and the full IPPC, but we are on track for getting the budget that will help us next year and position us for the future.

Our major ongoing challenge is a decrease in admissions for the second year in a row, and we need to take steps to continue improving our competitive position. We cannot put at risk the gains that we have made over the past decade in strengthening admission numbers. But in part because of those gains, we now are losing students to very strong schools, such as Harvard, Brown, Williams, and Amherst. In general, students who have been accepted to Skidmore, and whom we would love to have come here, have very attractive options. So we need to be even better at explaining to them why they should choose Skidmore instead of some of those other schools. As we go forward, we need to be even more articulate about Skidmore’s distinctive advantages, and we need to be even clearer about what we are doing to earn that decision.

In response to questioning:

President Glotzbach concluded by acknowledging that, as a result of this recession, we have an opportunity to position Skidmore even better in the coming years because we have done the hard work to make our operations more efficient. We need to continue working to improve our efficiency even more in the future – to realize, as we have been saying for some time, that every decision to invest time, energy or money is a strategic decision. Both the off-campus and on-campus Town Hall Meetings were very helpful. We now are working on a mid-term document evaluating our progress at the mid-point of our ten-year strategic plan and developing a conceptual framework to focus our attention going forward over the next five years. We must seize this moment to position Skidmore for the years ahead.

VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS’ REPORT

Susan Kress, Vice President for Academic Affairs, welcomed everyone back for the Spring semester. She advised that the 2009-10 Faculty Handbook has been approved and is available online at Faculty Handbooks. Hard copies of the 2009-10 Faculty Handbook have been delivered to members of key committees and academic staff.

VPAA Kress noted that this year’s Edwin Moseley Research Lecture will be delivered by Professor Reginald Lilly, Department of Philosophy, on February 24, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium. The Moseley is the highest honor that the faculty confers on one of its own and is a celebration of the high regard we have for the achievement of our faculty; she emphasized to new members of the community that this is a must-attend lecture in that we pay tribute to one of our most accomplished members. VPAA Kress provided a brief preview of Professor Lilly’s lecture, which is entitled “Trauma-Beauty.”

VPAA Kress announced that, looking ahead to Ann Henderson’s retirement in December, 2010, she has convened a working group to recommend possible models for the Office of the Registrar and Institutional Research. As our current structure is not the one in place for most of our peer institutions, we want to make sure we have the right model for Skidmore going forward. The study group will be chaired by Justin Sipher, Chief Technology Officer, and includes Beau Breslin, Michael Ennis-McMillan, Cori Filson, Paty Rubio, Sarah Goodwin, and Pat Fehling; they have been asked to provide their report by the end of March.

VPAA Kress concluded by noting that, after the data from the town hall meetings has been distilled, we will discuss directions for moving forward in academic affairs.

Dean of the Faculty’s Report

Muriel Poston, Dean of the Faculty, welcomed everyone back for the Spring semester and hoped everyone’s transition was smooth. She encouraged all faculty to attend the anti-harassment training being offered to help faculty to understand our policies and procedures with respect to Part Six of the Faculty Handbook; she stressed the importance for all full-time faculty to attend the training as the College’s insurance carrier will inquire whether a faculty member had access to training in the event of a claim. The training seminars will be conducted on February 19 and in May on a date to be determined. The training seminar initially scheduled during the March break will be cancelled due to lack of enrollment.

Dean Poston advised that there are only four departments without representation on the student group, Academic Council, which is an all-time record. She encouraged those departments without representation to identify a representative and to contact Claire Solomon, SGA’s Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Dean Poston concluded by introducing David Howson, the inaugural Arthur Zankel Director for Arts Administration, who will be instrumental in developing the curriculum for the Arts Administration program.

OLD BUSINESS

In response to the two resolutions and motion brought by the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) at the December, 2009 faculty meeting with respect to governance, Professor Dan Hurwitz indicated that FEC had received a lot of input about the two resolutions and the motion and has since had a lot of interaction with the Committee on Appointments, Promotions & Tenure (CAPT). Professor John Brueggemann read some prepared remarks on faculty governance (see attached for full text).

Thereafter, Professor Hurwitz, on behalf of FEC, read the following Resolution that was introduced at the faculty meeting held December 4, 2009 (see attached):

Resolved, that the faculty adopts 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 timeframes.

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. Invite staff and administrators to take on and/or share in work faculty can afford to surrender for which the relevant personnel are qualified.

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.

There was no discussion and the Resolution was passed with all in favor.

Professor Hurwitz, on behalf of FEC, read the following resolution that was introduced at the faculty meeting held December 4, 2009 (see attached):

Resolved, that the faculty requests that every standing committee on which faculty serve review its 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 of reducing the number of committee spots (held by faculty and other stakeholders) by approximately 30 percent.

Professor Hurwitz indicated that in the event a committee decides to reduce its size, the committee must consult with FEC and the faculty must approve the reduction. Further, he noted that if a committee elects to reduce its size, the proportion of faculty and other stakeholders on committees should be carefully considered. A recommendation was made for FEC to establish guidelines for a committee to decide whether its membership should be reduced before bringing any reductions to the faculty floor for a vote.

VPAA Kress reminded the faculty that members of committees who are administrators often serve as resources or serve as part of the responsibilities of their positions. Thus, as Professor Hurwitz noted, a reduction in membership should be done on a case-by-case basis and direct proportional reductions of both faculty and administrators may not be the solution for every committee.

At the conclusion of discussion, the Resolution was voted on and passed. 

Professor Dan Hurwitz, on behalf of FEC, read the following Motion that was introduced at the faculty meeting held December 4, 2009 (see attached):

MOTION: FEC and CAPT jointly move to insert the following text (italic type) into the Faculty Handbook, Part One, Article VI, Section A. (Tenure-Track Faculty), under Community Service (page 107):

Participation in faculty governance is another important option requiring skills and commitment that answer the needs of the College. In particular, and especially as it pertains to faculty with tenure, service in the seven core governance committees is critical to maintaining the shared-governance system that is central to the College’s institutional identity. Those seven committees are 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].

Professor Hurwitz stated that while the seven committees mentioned are vital to the functioning of the college government, at no point is being a member of one of these seven committees a criterion for decisions in tenure and promotion cases. Professor Gove Effinger summarized the criteria for continued service and advancement in rank as outlined in the Faculty Handbook, with regard to the expectations for teaching (first requirement), scholarship (close second requirement), and service (important third requirement).

Discussion was held concerning the placement of this language in the Faculty Handbook in Part One, Article VI, as untenured faculty members may believe (despite the specific reference to tenured faculty) that they must run for one of the “big 7” committees regardless of whether being on such a committee is a good fit for their skills or careers; moreover, there are many important kinds of service and this insertion in the Handbook privileges the service on the “big 7.”

This discussion led to a motion, which was seconded, to change the location of the proposed language in the Faculty Handbook to Article XI, Promotion, its location when the motion was originally introduced at the December 4, 2009 faculty meeting.

Thereafter, discussion centered on the reasons for relocating the language to Article XI. A point of order was called by Professor Reg Lilly to clarify which version of the motion was being discussed. President Glotzbach advised that the amendment being discussed is to locate the language of the motion in Article XI, 2c, of the Faculty Handbook. Thereafter, a motion to call the vote was made and seconded, and the amended motion was voted on and defeated.

Thereupon, discussion of the original motion resumed. Professor Sarah Goodwin asked FEC to consider withdrawing its vote today and holding an open forum for further discussion. After some discussion concerning the interests of untenured faculty, Professor Terry Diggory made a motion, which was seconded, to postpone the consideration of the motion until the next faculty meeting. After some discussion, the motion to postpone the vote was passed; the motion will be brought for consideration at the next faculty meeting.

NEW BUSINESS

Professor Dan Hurwitz, on behalf of FEC, introduced the following Motion (see attached):

Motion: FEC moves that full-time Teaching Associates should attend Faculty Meetings and be eligible to vote and moves that the Faculty Handbook be amended as follows:

1) Insert the following text (italic type) into the Faculty Handbook, Part One, Article XX (Faculty Governance) (page 131):

Faculty governance is carried out through decisions made at Faculty Meetings and through a system of committees of the Faculty as described in Part Two. Faculty Meetings, presided over by the President, are generally held on the first Friday of each month. All the faculty as herein defined are expected to attend Faculty Meetings and are eligible to vote: all full-time members of the Faculty (including those on phased employment) and faculty holding shared appointments at the rank of Assistant Professor or above, Visiting Instructors, Librarians, Artists-in-Residence, Writers-in-Residence, full-year full-time Lecturers, and full-year full-time Teaching Associates, the President, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, the Associate Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of Student Affairs, the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Advising, the Dean of Special Programs, the Registrar and Director of Institutional Research, the Senior Associate Director of Admissions, the Director of University Without Walls, the Director of Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program, the Director of Summer Sessions and Summer Special Programs, the Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, the Malloy Curator of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, and such other administrative officers as may be appointed to the Faculty by the Board of Trustees upon recommendation of the President after consultation with the CAPT and with the concurrence of the Faculty.

2) Modify the current description of the Teaching Associate position in the Faculty Handbook, Part One, Article V (Appointments to the Faculty), Section E (Non-Tenure-Track Appointments) (page 105)

Old language:

2. g. Teaching Associate: Full- or part-time appointments that combine teaching and coaching or assisting in the delivery of the curriculum in a department or program. Promotion to Senior Teaching Associate is granted by the department according to departmental procedures and with the consent of the Dean of the Faculty.

Proposed language:

2. g. Teaching Associate: Full- or part-time teaching members of the faculty. Teaching Associates principally collaborate with other faculty in the design and/or delivery of the curriculum in a department or program, and their primary responsibility is teaching. Promotion to Senior Teaching Associate is granted by the department according to departmental procedures and with the consent of the Dean of the Faculty.


3) Strike and insert the following text (in italic) in the Faculty Handbook, Part One, Article VI (Evaluative Criteria for Continued Service), Section C (Non-Tenure-Track Appointments) (page 108)

3. Teaching Associates

The criteria for reappointment and for promotion are: (1) excellence in teaching and/or coaching; (2) professional growth that maintains currency and enhances effectiveness in the classroom, studio, or laboratory, or on the athletic field or court; and (3) service to the department/program and College.

4) Strike the following text from the Faculty Handbook, Part Two, Article I (The Faculty Meeting) (page 202):

D. Eligibility to Attend

1. Teaching associates, Departmental assistants, part-time faculty and administrators without faculty status are invited to attend and participate in Faculty Meetings, on a permanent or temporary basis, but without a vote.

There was no discussion, and the motion will lie over until the next meeting.

CONFERRAL OF DEGREES

A. Sheldon Solomon, 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 tothree students and the Bachelor of Science degree to four students.

The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.

B. Mark-Andre Weismann, on behalf of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies 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 four students.

The motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The meeting was adjourned at 5:21 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant

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