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

Faculty Meeting

Gannett Auditorium
May 18, 2011

MINUTES

President Philip Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

President Glotzbach announced minor changes to the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held April 29, 2011 that were previously distributed. Hearing none, he announced the minutes, as amended, were approved.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

Returning from his sabbatical, President Glotzbach expressed his profound appreciation to the Board of Trustees, to the members of President’s Cabinet and the staff in the President’s Office, and to those who assumed acting roles -- Paty Rubio, Muriel Poston and Susan Kress -- for all their work while he was on sabbatical. He noted that VPAA Kress deserves enormous credit for stepping in and taking on one of the most difficult assignments possible – that being the Acting President. President Glotzbach stated the role Acting President is much more difficult than the role of President because she has the full weight of responsibilities without full authority and commended Susan for her exemplary leadership in dealing with the incredibly difficult issues this year. A round of applause was given on behalf of VPAA Kress. President Glotzbach also expressed his gratitude to the members of the faculty, administration and staff for their support during his sabbatical.

President Glotzbach reflected on his sabbatical noting has a refreshed and renewed presidential team. He said that his sabbatical was it was an enormously renewing time for him, both intellectually and professionally; he was able to read, reflect and write about some things that he thinks are important ideas, such as democracy and higher education. He hopes there will be an opportunity to discuss these matters in the future and is looking forward to the next strategic plan where he believes he will be able to bring some ideas to the table that he might not have had before. He concluded by stating the time away has given him a new perspective on things and is very happy to be back.

Admissions Report

Dean of Admissions Mary Lou Bates provided a report on the Class of 2015:

Dean Bates concluded by stating we are well on our way to the Class of 2016 and thanked everyone for all their support.

VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS REPORT

Vice President for Academic Affairs announced that the summer programs brochure is now available from the Office of the Dean of Special Programs; she hoped everyone will come to a number of these events and thanked the Office of the Dean of Special Programs for the amazing brochure.

With great pleasure, VPAA Kress announced the following appointments to endowed chairs:

VPAA Kress also reported that the Class of 1961 term chair, having been held by Professor Denise Smith, is being retired as the Class of 1961 has decided to direct their fundraising efforts toward scholarships. Nominations for the endowed chairs for which their terms expired next year will be sent out in the Fall at which time she will also attach the new policy for endowed, which will also be posted on the VPAA website.

CONFERRAL OF DEGREES AND HONORS

A. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Degrees. Dave DeConno, Interim Registrar, 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 416 students of the Class of 2011 to be awarded on May 21, 2011.

RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Science degree to 174 students of the Class of 2011 to be awarded on May 21, 2011.

RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to 35 students of the Class of 2011 upon satisfactory completion of the degree requirements by August 31, 2011.

RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Science degree to 7 students of the Class of 2011 upon satisfactory completion of the degree requirements by August 31, 2011.

The total number of graduates is 20 for January completion, 590 for May completion and 42 for August completion.

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

B. All-College and Departmental Honors. Corey Freeman-Gallant, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Advising, 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 2011, as presented at the May 18, 2011, Faculty Meeting: 47 students for summa cum laude distinction; 94 students for magna cum laude distinction; and 213 students for cum laude distinction. (Note: including January 2011 graduates, 364 this equals 331 students or 53% of the total 2010 class size of 624 students)

Dean Freeman-Gallant noted that this continues the decades-long trend towards higher percentages of students graduating with honors. Recalling last year the faculty vote on new criteria for honors distinction, which will go into the effect with the class of 2014, had those been applied to this class, 24.5 percent of the graduating class would have earned honors. Upon questioning about raising the GPA, Dean Freeman-Gallant noted that the Committee on Academic Standing recommended departments not do that; right now all college honors requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all course work and 3.5 in the major (except for management and business which requires 3.6).

RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College approve Departmental and Program Honors for 208 students from the Class of 2011, as presented at the May 18, 2011, Faculty Meeting.

(Note: including January 2011 graduates, 211 of 652 students [32.4%] in the class of 2011 will receive Departmental or Program Honors; 14 students will receive honors in two majors).

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

C. Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Degrees. Caroline D’Abate 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 nine students.

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

D. University Without Walls Degrees. T.H. Reynolds 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 10 students and the Bachelor of Science degree to 10students.

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

OLD BUSINESS

There was no old business to report.

NEW BUSINESS

President Glotzbach reminded everyone that this year will be the final commencement for the University Without Walls (UWW) program. This program has a venerable history with approximately 1,500 students having received degrees from the UWW and many have been intrical to this process. Thereafter, Professor Joel Smith introduced the following resolution into the record (see attached):

RESOLVED, that the Skidmore faculty marks the end of University Without Walls, Skidmore’s 40-year old academic program, by--

(1) acknowledging and thanking the UWW leadership, staff, faculty, alumni, trustees, and donors who pioneered and developed UWW when nontraditional education was in its infancy in the United States;

(2) celebrating the accomplishments of the alumni of UWW who have done so much to enhance the reputation of Skidmore College nationally and internationally;

(3) paying tribute to the spirit of adult learning and nontraditional higher education, both of which reflect well on the legacy of Lucy Skidmore Scribner;

(4) Recognizing UWW's contribution to making the community of Skidmore students and alumni more diverse in nationality, ethnic and socio-economic background, and age;

(5) applauding UWW's service to the greater Saratoga Springs community, including Skidmore employees and students from the Adirondacks, who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to earn a Skidmore degree.

There was no discussion and the motion was voted on and passed with all in favor. President Glotzbach asked all the members of the UWW staff in attendance at the meeting and those that have ever served the program to rise; a round of applause was given honoring the UWW program and its staff. Thereafter, president Glotzbach asked all the members of the faculty who have taught in the UWW program or who have had a UWW student to rise; a round of applause was given honoring those that have taught in the UWW program.

REPORTS

On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Professor Reg Lilly discussed the Committee of Committees Report on faculty governance that was sent via email the day before (see attached for complete report). He noted that the Committee of Committees is convened by FEC twice a year to assess the state of faculty governance. Most committees reported that their working relationship with the administration was satisfactory; however, there were some issues that arose concerning collaborative governance, which FEC indicates were occasioned by administrative initiatives that fell within the jurisdiction of the faculty but substantially bypassed collaborative governance, faculty committees and the faculty as a whole. Three initiatives were of particular concern: one was the transition and transformation initiative, the second was the Arthur Vining Davis proposal and subsequent grant, and the third was the Committee on Responsible Citizenship. FEC met with President Glotzbach who supported FEC in its concerns; FEC is hopeful that present difficulties may be dealt with well and looks forward to a strengthening of collaborative government.

In response to his report, Associate Professor Winston Grady-Willis questioned why CIGU received an invitation last spring about attending the Committee of Committee meeting but this year it had not received an invitation. Professor John Brueggemann responded that last year FEC decided to invite additional committees other than those as required by the Faculty Handbook. Associate Professor Grady-Willis also commented that the sentiments expressed in the letter is not shared by him personally as he believes the matters referenced in the letter were discussed by IPPC and members of the faculty.

Thereafter, discussion ensued concerning faculty consultation with regard to the T&T initiative/AVD grant. FEC indicated that it does not deny faculty involvement, however, it questions who selects the faculty that are going to represent them on ad hoc committees that deal with substantive policy matters, while there are procedures clearly outlined in the Faculty Handbook for forming ad hoc committees. Further discussion was held concerning the 10 Principles of Governance that the faculty endorsed last year which encouraged the use of ad hoc committees and the democratic formation of such committees.

Citing key numeric indicators concerning employment statistics, Associate Professor Tim Burns questioned how these figures compare with other institutions and whether the T&T initiative/AVD grant was a good use of the College’s resources. Thereupon, discussion was held concerning these statistics and what types of employment they represented with President Glotzbach noting that students over the T&T initiative/AVD grant is not just about finding people employment, it is about helping them to be more thoughtful human beings and deploying the resources of the college, including our alumni, to help them through this process to be more effective in their search as they enter into the professional world. President Glotzbach further stated that be believed the T&T initiative/AVD grant was an outgrowth of the Strategic Plan.

Associate Professor Burns further expressed his belief that the T&T initiative/AVD grant represents a significant change in educational policy and that it should have been brought to the faculty floor. President Glotzbach indicating that he would take responsibility if the subcommittee was improperly constituted and steps were missed; however, at this point, it was agreed that a meeting would be convened with appropriate chairs and administrators to review the entire process, but it is a point of reasonable dispute whether the T&T initiative/AVD grant actually represents a shift in educational policy or an intrusion into the life of the faculty in the way that would be appropriate for a governance committee to have reviewed it. He further stated that the T&T initiative is not a hidden agenda item and that it, in fact, has been discussed starting with the mid-term strategic report that was issued to the faculty, at the academic staff retreat last year in which FEC and other key committee leaders were invited and in other key committees this year.

Thereafter, Associate Professor Burns thanked Mike West, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer, for office’s goal of bringing faculty salaries in the middle of our peer group and keeping them there. Acknowledging that the recent economic downturn may have delayed these efforts somewhat, he indicated that it now appeared that the College is in better shape now than it had been and questioned whether his office has received the necessary support from administrators in academic affairs that would be needed in the efforts to make up the ground that we lost in faculty salaries and to maintain the goal that the administration had pledged to set concerning faculty salaries and whether the funding for the T&T initiative and other student affairs initiatives would be significant impact on the budget. In responding, VP West indicated that it was his belief that the T&T initiative would be funded primarily by gifts and through fundraising efforts, and thus, the impact to the operating budget would be minimal. Subsequently, Associate Professor Burns asked VP West whether he received sufficient support from academic affairs for filling the vacant 30 tenure-track lines and moving faculty salaries back into the median of our peers; VP West responded that his office works very closely with academic affairs and that those issues are decided primarily by President’s Cabinet in consultation with IPPC. VP West further indicated that during the economic downturn the College’s main goal was to protect positions at the College, which resulted in the salary freeze; however, he feels very confident that his office has the necessary support from academic affairs and from the Board of Trustees to return to the goal of addressing faculty salaries.

In responding to Associate Professor Burn’s question on statistics, Dean of Student Affairs Rochelle Calhoun noted that the statistics he cited were comparable to other institutions. However, echoing President Glotzbach’s comments, these statistics do not represent the desirability of those positions or what an individual is doing; this is more sensitive data that we currently do not gather. She further noted that while the College’s statistics are comparable to other colleges, when we look at what other colleges are doing in these exact initiatives, they are doing very different things and putting resources into these initiatives. It is important in the context of comparing us to other institutions not to just do that statistically, but also think programmatically about the initiatives that they are doing that could help us move forward.

Further, Dean Calhoun acknowledged that she did travel on behalf of the Advancement office for five town hall meetings. The purpose of those meetings was to update the communities that had been visited the year before and to let them know of where we were in terms of listening to the kinds of recommendations they were making and to let them know what we were thinking about.

Dean Calhoun also explained that the proposed budget surrounding the T&T initiative is largely supported by fundraising and will support student initiatives around collaborative research and internships. We know that our students feel these are important experiences for them and that they have an opportunity to have access to these equitably across our student body. Dean Calhoun concluded by stating that she disagrees that there was not consultation on some level with FEC and that she will compile a comprehensive response and will distribute her response to the faculty using the same forum that FEC has used.

In responding to FEC’s report, VP Kress reminded the faculty of where the College was two years ago when everyone questioned the value of a liberal arts college and the expense, whether the model was sustainable, and what could be done to increase the value of this education for our students. At that time, we were in a crisis around higher education, particularly the higher education offered by a small liberal arts college. In response to that crisis, President Glotzbach initiated the off-campus and on-campus town hall meetings and emerging from those conversations was not an administrative initiative but, rather, a grassroots sense of what people thought was the next right thing for us to be doing for our students. Out of those conversations, grew President Glotzbach’s strategic renewal report which was vetted by IPPC and a subcommittee of IPPC and subsequently distributed to the faculty. This initiative was discussed as a primary piece of the agenda at the May, 2010 academic staff retreat in which members of FEC were invited and was also enumerated in October, 2010 bulletin from Academic Affairs She believes there is a rich context for where this initiative came from, how it came to be and that it has been talked about considerably, with faculty, with department chairs, with program directors, etc.

Addressing the question of whether the T&T initiative represents a change of policy, VP Kress would suggest that it isn’t. However, in the event that the ad hoc committee wasn’t properly constituted, she accepted responsibility in the event that the proper process hadn’t been followed. She urged the faculty to participate in future conversations about this great initiative; we cannot stand still while other colleges with whom we compete with for these extraordinary students are doing things that we are not doing and when our students are telling us they want us to follow this initiative. This is an opportunity for us to be doing something really significant for the College and for our students.

In responding to VP Kress’ comments, Professor Lilly noted that the real overriding issue is the foundering of the faculty floor where meaningful business occurs; there is a crisis about what it means to bring something to the faculty and what do you bring to faculty floor. In reading the first sentence of the AVD grant application, Professor Lilly noted his shock to learn that initiative was not considered a substantive development policy; it is his belief that the faculty open forum on the T&T initiative established that the T&T initiative was not an implementation of already commonly acknowledged policy and thus any change in educational policy should be brought to the faculty floor. Additionally, it is his belief an ad hoc committee should not be empowered to bypass the faculty floor when dealing with substance that if that substance were generated within the faculty system. In his opinion, this is part of what he believes is the foundering of the faculty floor in terms of a locust for governance.

In responding to Professor Lilly’s comments, President Glotzbach acknowledged there is a significant disconnect and that we seem to be heading in a direction that would lead to conflict which no one wants. President Glotzbach doesn’t dispute the fact that significant policy needs to come before the faculty in appropriate ways. As he previously indicated, he will convene a meeting with appropriate parties by the end of May to review the process to date and make an informed collaborative decision about where we go next, how we continue to move and where things need to be discussed. In the Fall, President Glotzbach hopes to update the faculty in the fall on the progress made on this matter.

Speaking as a member of CEPP, Associate Professor Michael Arnush indicated that at its retreat, CEPP agreed that President Glotzbach’s Strategic Renewal document was not sufficiently discussed as a faculty and hopes that the faculty will have an opportunity to review this document at the October faculty meeting. Further, with regard to the AVD grant, he noted that the grant was announced online without specifics; he cited some of the goals of the grant and expressed his wish that CEPP had a chance to review the grant proposal because perhaps some of the language could have been revised so as to not sound like a change in educational policy.

Associate Professor Katie Hauser acknowledged that the T&T initiative had been discussed by department chairs and program directors at the Academic Staff retreat but alleges that they were not informed about purpose of the information that was being sought. Additionally, addressing an allegation in FEC’s report regarding the issue of committees having an imbalance of administrators, she inquired as to whose responsibility it was to ensure that committee membership was properly balanced, for which Professor Lilly replied that , ultimately, it was FEC’s responsibility.

Professor Sarah Goodwin indicated that she attended the April faculty open forum on the T&T initiative and strongly disagreed that it became clear that T&T initiative was as broadly viewed by faculty as a significant policy development. She noted there were approximately 60 faculty in the room, and there were a number of voices who did not see it as a significant policy development. In addition, she reminded the faculty that the goals for student learning and development that were unanimously approved included a couple of goals that address the very issues that the T&T initiatives are attempting to realize. It is her sense that the College needs to continue to apply for grants that will enable us to implement the kinds of broad sense of direction that we establish in strategic planning, and indicated that we need to find a process that will have valid faculty input without making the process for writing grants so arduous that the College may actually miss opportunities.

Associate Professor Deb Hall indicated her that, while it is important to be ambitious and have new initiatives, it feels increasingly like we are not supporting and maintaining the resources that we have. She discussed the burden on her department in being short four faculty members and encouraged the release of tenured faculty lines, concluding by noting her concern that we are developing initiatives that may be initially funded by a gift that could have long-term financial ramifications that may further underline our space, resources and ability to maintain what we already have.

In responding to the recurring concerns around the notion of faculty lines, Dean of the Faculty Muriel Poston reminded faculty that faculty lines were frozen in 2009-2010 as a result of the economic crisis. They were released this academic year, and there were 10 searches that were undertaken, of which 7 were successful completed; further, lines will be released next academic year. Dean Poston indicated that all 30 lines would not be released in a single year to be searched at one time and that by parsing them out over a 3-year period, we will be recouping those lines that have occurred through resignations, retirements, and failure to reappoint.

Professor Penny Jolly reflected on the April faculty forum noting that many felt the T&T initiative involved policy but indicated her shock when she read the language in the AVD grant which felt like policy. She noted her concern in receiving grants that put money in one direction that is not being put elsewhere and, thus, it is her belief that policy issues need to be discussed on the faculty floor.

Professor Brueggemann reminded everyone that for the last several years, FEC has been trying to streamline the governance system to protect the primarily areas of faculty focus – teaching and research We need to find a way to for our efforts in governance to be more efficient without the expectation that every document generated by an administrator is brought to the faculty floor. Associate Professor Ben Givan indicated that no one is suggesting that everything should be brought to the faculty but that the key factor to affirm is the principle of ownership of the curriculum.

President Glotzbach finalized this discussion by noting there is nothing in the T&T initiative or the AVD grant that seeks to change our fundamental orientation toward what we always have said as liberal education. One of the things he spent a lot of time thinking about this year is the very bad habit of many talking about the value of education in economic terms; that is not the conversation we had in those town hall meetings, most of which was about the value of the liberal education in the ways any of us would defend it, but most of our students are going to be professionals and liberal education is preparation for a professional life. The question is how are we doing in helping our students be thoughtful about taking what they learned from us and putting that to use. President Glotzbach concluded by stating the conversations today were good, we will move forward with these commitments and we will resolve these issues.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The meeting was adjourned at 11:41 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant


 

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