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

FACULTY MEETING

April 29, 2011
Gannett Auditorium

MINUTES

Acting President Susan Kress called the meeting to order at 3:36 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Acting President Kress asked if there were any corrections or comments to the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held April 1, 2011. Hearing none, she announced the minutes were approved.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

Acting President Kress welcomed everyone to the faculty meeting. She said that President Glotzbach is eager to return to his post as President on May 1 after his well-deserved sabbatical. In concluding her service as acting president, Acting President Kress offered her sincere appreciation to Muriel Poston for taking on the role of Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and to Paty Rubio for taking on the role of Acting Dean of the Faculty. A round of applause was given for Acting VPAA Poston and Acting Dean Rubio.

Acting President Kress also thanked Professor Mark Hofmann, who took on some of the responsibilities of the Associate Dean of the Faculty; members of President’s Cabinet (Mary Lou Bates, Rochelle Calhoun, Michael Casey, Jeff Segrave, Michael West, Muriel Poston, and Paty Rubio); as well as the staff in the President’s Office (Barbara Krause, Liz Bourque, Karen Ernst and Jeanne Sisson).

Acting President Kress also praised the work of the Student Government Association this past year, especially their tireless, steady work addressing issues of campus climate and facilitating community dialogue; she expressed her appreciation for their maturity, courage, and leadership.

Acting President Kress noted that the community had been tested in many ways these past months and suggested that we may have learned that community cannot be taken for granted, needs always to be built, and needs sometimes to be mended. Perhaps our challenges this year have taught us a few things: how important it is to listen – especially to the things we don’t want to hear; how important it is to practice empathy; and how important it is to be civil, for you cannot have a community without respect, particularly for those who disagree with you. Acting President Kress noted that it has been a very humbling experience to serve as acting president for the last six months; she feels the task of building community falls heavily on faculty and staff. When we talk about the teacher-scholar-citizen ideal, the citizen box is not just something you cross off when you present your materials for tenure and promotion by serving on a couple of committees. As one reads the citations for the splendid faculty members who have indicated their intention to retire, we see some models of what it really means to be a citizen, to model that for each other and for our students.

Our students also teach us about community, about what it means to build community and what it means to reach out to other communities. Our students have done that, both in their classes and outside of them. Acting President Kress gave examples of the many ways our students (especially the students of the Student Government Association, the Inter-Class Council, and the students of the IGR program under the leadership of Assistant Professor Kristie Ford) have helped to build the community this year: from the students who answered the call of the Franklin Community Center when their shelves were empty to the athletic teams that target and help organizations throughout the year; from the students who initiated the Healthy Scholar Project to the students who raised funds for the victims of the Japan tsunami; from the students of the Dynamics who sing for charitable causes to the students who participated in Skidmore Cares. These are just a few of the activities, and Acting President Kress said it was inspiring to see all of this happen.

As the academic year comes to a close, she thanked the students, faculty, and staff members for all their hard work and support.

VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS REPORT

Acting VPAA Poston thanked Acting President Kress for her recognition and for the honor and privilege to serve as Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs over the last six months. With deep regret, Acting VPAA Poston announced that Dean of Special Programs Jeff Segrave will be stepping down from his role in academic leadership effective August 31, 2011 and will return to the faculty in the 2011-12 academic year. Acting VPAA Poston highlighted Dean Segrave’s leadership of the Office of Special Programs over the last five years: (1) reorganization of Special Programs offices and personnel into a more effective and professional alignment; (2) development of new academic residencies and a more effective linkage of ongoing residencies to the academic programs, such as the ACJW Fellows with the Music Department, the McCormack residencies with the FYE program, and the Perlow and Greenberg residencies with Philosophy, Government, History and Religion; (3) collaboration with the Music Department on the programming and administration of the Zankel; and (4) academic review and phase-out of the UWW program. Dean Segrave’s final contribution to Special Programs will be leading the integration of the disparate Special Programs offices into a single facility with the move to wonderfully renovated offices in Filene. Dean Segrave was honored with a standing ovation.

Acting VPAA Poston announced that Paul Calhoun, the Harder Chair in Management and Business, will assume the role of Interim Dean of Special Programs. Professor Calhoun will bring not only his academic experience as the Harder Chair, but his professional management expertise as senior vice president for Global Securities and Institutional Clients with Mellon Financial Corporation; further Professor Calhoun brings substantial experience with arts organizations given a stint as Interim Director for the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Boston

Acting VPAA Poston offered her sincere thanks to Paty Rubio for taking on the role of the Acting Dean of Faculty as well as to Assistant Dean of the Faculty Beau Breslin, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Advising Corey Freeman-Gallant and Professor Mark Hofmann for the additional responsibilities they assumed during the last six months.

Acting VPAA Poston also thanked the chairs of the committees for their outstanding work this academic year: Reg Lilly, Faculty Executive Committee; Bob Turner, Committee on Educational Policies and Planning; Lisa Aronson, Curriculum Committee; Viviana Rangil, Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure; Grace Burton, Committee on Academic Freedom and Rights; Pete Stake, Faculty Development Committee; and Hugh Foley, Institutional Policy and Planning Committee; as well as the many other individuals and leaders who have served on working groups this year.

Acting VPAA Poston also thanked the members of the VPAA Senior Staff for all their support and guidance over the last six months. Lastly, she thanked the members of Academic Staff writ large who have continued to support and enhance the academic program of the College. The efforts of our academic work will be seen next week in Academic Festival and as we take the largest graduating class in Skidmore’s history across the stage in another two weeks.

Retirements

Acting VPAA Poston offered some general remarks on the retirees.

Associate Professor Viviana Rangil, on behalf of the Committee on Appointment, Promotions & Tenure, read the following resolution into the record:

BE IT RESOLVED, that the faculty of Skidmore College expresses its profound appreciation and admiration for the following members of the Skidmore Faculty who have this year expressed their determination to retire:

The faculty further resolves that the biographical highlights of these members contained in the Retirement Citation booklet distributed at this meeting be included in the Faculty Meeting Minutes of April 29, 2011 in recognition and celebration of their distinguished service and achievement (see Attachment).

Professor Kate Leavitt delivered a tribute to Professor Regis Brodie; Professor Susan Lehr delivered tributes to Karen Brackett and Joyce Rubin; Associate Professor Mason Stokes delivered a tribute to Professor Terence Diggory; Associate Professor Matt Hockenos delivered a tribute to Associate Professor Margaret Pearson; Associate Professor Rik Scarce delivered a tribute to Professor William Fox; Associate Professor Tim Harper delivered tributes to Associate Professors Gary McClure and Martin Canavan; Professor Jim Kennelly delivered a tribute to Associate Professor Betty Balevic; and Senior Artist-in-Residence Joel Brown delivered tributes to Professors Charles Joseph and Thomas Denny.

OLD BUSINESS

On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Professor Reg Lilly read the following motion (see attached) that was introduced at the April 1, 2011 faculty meeting:

Motion: To reconfigure and re-describe the Honors Forum Council in the following manner:

Function: The ongoing responsibilities of the Honors Forum Council include reviewing applications for membership and inducting new members, monitoring the eligibility standards for current members, planning and sponsoring academic and co-curricular events, developing a sufficient number of courses and co-curricular events for inclusion among the "honors" resources, communicating with the wider community of students and faculty regarding Forum opportunities and the achievements of honors (and other) students, and assessing the effectiveness of the Honors Forum in achieving its goals. Annually the Honors Forum Council will constitute the Periclean Scholar Award Sub-Committee as follows: two students, one faculty member chosen from among the Honors Forum Council members and three faculty members chosen in consultation between the Honors Forum Council and the Faculty Executive Committee. The four faculty members of the Periclean Scholar Award Sub-Committee shall elect a Chair from their membership.

Membership: Four faculty, three elected for three-year terms and one who chairs the Council and serves as Director of the Honors Forum for a four-year term; the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Campus Life; the Director of First-Year Experience and Assistant Dean of the Faculty; the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Advising; the Associate Dean of the Faculty; the President or a designated representative of the Periclean Honor Society; twothree students appointed from members of the Forum. , one student selected by SGA.

Rationale: With this reconfiguration of the Honors Forum Council and incorporation of the Periclean Scholar Award Committee as a sub-committee of the Honors Forum Council, there will be a reduction of one faculty slot and one administrator. There will be as well greater transparency and regularization in the constitution of the Periclean Scholars Award Committee.

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

On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Professor Reg Lilly read the following motion (see attached) that was introduced at the April 1, 2011 faculty meeting:

Motion: Reduce the Committee on Academic Freedom and Rights from six faculty to five members.

4. COMMITTEE ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND RIGHTS (CAFR) — Elected

Function: To serve as guardian of the academic freedom and rights of all members of the academic community; to receive inquiries and complaints concerning academic freedom and rights and to consider formal charges of violations of academic freedom and rights from any faculty member, student, administrator, trustee or from the CAPT; to advise and make appropriate recommendations to the President. The Operating Procedures of the CAFR are available from any member of the Committee. The CAFR meets annually, and whenever necessary in the pursuit of its functions, with the appropriate committee of the Board of Trustees. Revisions to Part One of the Faculty Handbook, Articles I–XI, XIV-XVI, and XVIII are reviewed by the CAFR for its recommendations prior to a faculty vote.

Membership: SixFive members of the Faculty, none of whom is on the CAPT, the Tenure Review Board, the CAS, or the FAB, at least two of whom are untenured at the time of their election and two tenured, each to serve a three-year term and each from a different department; and no more than six students, selected by SGA.

Rationale: In response to the faculty's recommendation of a 33% reduction of faculty governance overall, CAFR is confident that it can reduce its size by one faculty member yet remain an effective committee. And, because it is a faculty-only committee, this reduction will not affect a faculty-administrator ratio.

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

NEW BUSINESS

There was no new business.

REPORTS

On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), Professor Reg Lilly reported that 58 faculty members attended the open forum sponsored by CEPP and FEC on April 15, 2011 to discuss the transition and transformation initiative. At the forum, some faculty expressed concerns about the processes by which this initiative was generated and by which it may go forward. FEC wrote Acting President Kress expressing the conviction that if the funds for this initiative remained in the current budget, the Board of Trustees should at least know that this initiative has been endorsed neither by any faculty committee nor by the faculty as a whole.

The Chair of FEC subsequently met with the administration, and while there may remain significant differences of opinion about process, it was agreed that the administration may make purely administrative appointments, such as in career services, without consultation or approval of the faculty. It was further agreed that if the administration continued to be interested in advancing elements of the transition and transformation initiative that are of educational and/or professional interest to the faculty that “a formal working group would be charged by a member of President’s Cabinet, the charge will encompass a written statement of the purpose, scope and expected timetable.” The latter stipulations are called for by the Faculty Handbook when the administration wishes to establish an ad hoc group. FEC would then work with the administration to establish an appropriate membership and process for this newly-formed committee. FEC remains committed to ensuring a process in which all appropriate faculty committees and the faculty as a whole are able to clearly express their will regarding educational and professional matters.”

In response to Professor Lilly’s statements, a brief discussion was held regarding the necessity of forming an ad hoc committee to review this initiative. In addition, a concern was raised that issues of substance, such as the transition and transformation initiative, are not discussed during faculty meetings. In response to this concern, Professor Lilly noted that FEC has received a proposal, which it has not been able to contemplate this year, to consider alternate formations of the faculty meeting to emphasize discussions of substantive issues rather than reports. FEC is very concerned that anything that looks like policy, whether it is professional or educational policy, should be considered by the appropriate faculty committees that could possibly have jurisdiction over that material. Further, the faculty as a whole have an opportunity to express their will and be engaged as thoroughly as possibly.

In addition, an inquiry was made as to whether FEC had a preference insofar as process for this important educational policy decision -- whether it should be considered by CEPP or whether the preferable governance mechanism would be to have the Vice President for Academic Affairs charter a working group. It was noted that, without an idea to advance, FEC cannot prejudice what would be the proper process for a proposal that right now doesn’t exist. What was agreed upon in discussion with several administrators was that if the administration was interested in continuing to advance materials that had educational policy and professional significance, that not only CEPP, but other committees could be involved in it depending upon the proposal. Once a specific proposal is brought forward, then the appropriate process could be determined.

In discussing this issue, it was noted that the real issue concerns the origin of the transition and transformation initiative. Had the initiative arisen initially out of CEPP, there would not have been a problem. However, since the initiative arose from the administration and was only taken up by CEPP after the initiative had advanced a stage where some of the funds were being allocated into the budgetary process, it is believed that the process went too far before there was any faculty input. In response to these concerns, Acting President Kress noted that this initiative actually evolved from the town hall meetings that President Glotzbach held both with external and internal constituencies over the course of the last year; also it is a project that was part of the Strategic Plan as well as the Strategic Renewal document. However, in addressing the issue whether the faculty feels it has had sufficient input, everyone is open to having more conversation about this direction.

A reminder was also made about the 10 Principles of Governance that were adopted last year, two of which were that we should make more use of task forces and ad hoc committees to work on projects and that the products of such groups be processed through standing committees. Those two principles are relevant to the issue at hand. At some point, insofar as the transition and transformation document involves substantive faculty work, specific ideas and proposals should come to the floor of the faculty and the entities that bring the proposals should consult with standing committees. A suggestion was made that the committees could do more in-depth consultation between the faculty meetings; there are ways to work through some of these details before a discussion is held on the faculty floor.

It was noted that as the administrative group that was charged by the President began to look at some of the emerging issues that were emerging from the town hall meetings, which included members of the College community, including faculty, it is appropriate that FEC would position itself to be looking at those moments when we are talking about educational policy and professional lives of faculty. The transition and transformation document acknowledges a broad and comprehensive look at a number of issues across the institution and, therefore, the constitution of the group reflected that kind of broad administrative and institutional look. There has been consultation of faculty throughout the process and in particular with CEPP and it has been on CEPP’s agenda this spring. When FEC made its concerns known, we all said to go forward because we were looking at issues that were of concern to faculty. It is important that any group taking it up be constituted in the way it is articulated in the Faculty Handbook. That while there have been issues, we have gotten to a point where we will need to work together to create clarity about going forward.

Discussion was also held concerning the positions created by the transition and transformation proposal that will be funded in the budget for 2012. A clarification was made that the position that is proposed for the 2012 budget is a position that straddles career services and academic affairs, i.e. the pre-professional advisor. The title for this position Associate Director for Preprofessional and Graduate School.

In reference to the issue raised concerning the lack of substance in the faculty meetings, it was suggested that any individual can make a motion at the faculty meeting and once it is seconded, the issue can be discussed. Further, when the call for agenda items is sent out, anybody may ask for an issue to be placed on the agenda.

Acting President Kress thanked Professor Lilly for raising these concerns and noted that the next steps would be for the members of the already-constituted working group and the members of FEC and CEPP to have a conversation to move this project forward.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Prior to the Announcements, Professor Sarah Goodwin thanked Susan Kress for stepping in as Acting President for the last six months and noted her admiration for Acting President Kress’ courage, work ethic and everything she accomplished. Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs Muriel Poston also noted that a heartfelt thanks to Susan Kress would be acknowledged at the next Faculty Meeting. A standing ovation was given to Acting President Kress.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:27 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, 

Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant


 

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