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

FACULTY MEETING

September 10, 2010
Gannett Auditorium

MINUTES

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

President Glotzbach announced proposed changes to the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held May 19, 2010 as earlier distributed (see attached for changes). President Glotzbach asked if there were any other revisions or changes. Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved, as revised.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

President Glotzbach welcomed everyone back to the start of a new academic year. He acknowledged the passing of two long-time members of the Skidmore community whose professional service extended for a combined total of 66 years and touched the lives of countless students and colleagues: Tad Kuroda, professor emeritus of history, and Roberta Chramoff, who served as secretary to the Dean of Student Affairs. A moment of silence was observed to commemorate them and their contributions to the college.

Referring to the welcome back letters from him and VPAA Kress, President Glotzbach acknowledged that, not only have we installed the academically strongest and most diverse entering class in our history but this May, at our 100th Commencement, we will confer degrees upon the largest graduating class in our history.

Admissions Report Cathy DeLorenzo, Senior Associate Director, reported on the incoming Class of 2014:

Admissions is now preparing to welcome the Class of 2015. This past summer was very busy with many visitors. Over the next two months, members of the Admissions staff will be visiting approximately 800 high schools, travelling to 32 states and 22 countries. Preliminary conversations have begun about next year’s class target in light of this year’s over-enrollment. Right now, in our preliminary conversations, we are looking at a target in the range of 580-630 students on campus with an additional 36 in London.

Ms. DeLorenzo concluded by introducing the newest Admissions colleagues: Cassie Deason, Associate Director for Admission Operations, and Tom Trapani, Assistant Director of Admissions.

President Glotzbach thanked Ms. DeLorenzo. He noted that the jump in yield is incredibly good news for Skidmore. He stated that the yield number is the single most significant variable in tracking admissions success. So the fact that our yield had been declining for several years and came back for a 4-point increase this year is really quite encouraging. President Glotzbach believes this increase is due, in part, to some changes we made in financial aid packaging and advancing the time when we notified prospective students of our (financial aid) offers; he also believes that the opening of the Zankel Music Building contributed to our success.

Noting that we do have a lot of students on campus (the combination of the largest senior class in our history and the largest first-year class), President Glotzbach acknowledged that we are going to face our greatest challenges during the fall registration period; he thanked those departments and programs that have already begun preparing to meet this challenge. He commented that there was a good discussion of all these matters at the Academic Staff retreat last week led by Deans Poston and Calhoun, and he encouraged department chairs and program directors to share the information from that discussion with their colleagues.

Early indications are that the incoming class is a terrific class. President Glotzbach remarked that he and Marie always invite the first-year seminar students and faculty members to Scriber House to meet with them, and the response of faculty members to this incoming class has been uniformly positive. This class overwhelmingly identified Skidmore as their first choice; they were enthusiastic about the common text this summer; and they really seem to have jumped into their first year seminars.

Professor Gordon Thompson raised some concerns about the large student population. In response, President Glotzbach stressed that the yield cannot be controlled and that the administration did not intentionally try to overenroll the class. He acknowledged that there will be some crowding and that we are in a challenging moment, but so far everyone has been helpful in dealing with the situation. As noted above, in May, we will be graduating our largest class ever and, thus, there will be fewer students on campus next year. Moreover, as Cathy DeLorenzo commented, we will be lowering our target next year, which will automatically make us more selective in our admits. He stressed that the Admission process is a communication between us and the external world – an especially important communication with high school counselors: we tell them through our accepts/rejects whom they should be sending to us. As we continue to increase our selectivity, they calibrate that change. But if we oscillate wildly, one year accepting a lot of students while the next year accepting fewer, then our communication with the counselors becomes unclear. So we need to be very careful in managing our selectivity. He acknowledged Professor Thompson’s concerns and announced that the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee will be laying the groundwork this year for the final stage of the “optimization” study to determine how large a student population we should target. He noted that the conversation will be both important and interesting, and he invited everyone to become involved. That work will be completed in the 2011-12 academic year.

Professor Pat Oles stated that he was teaching a first-year seminar and supported President Glotzbach’s comments about how positive the students have been. He further noted that it was better for the College to be dealing with too many students rather than too few.

President Glotzbach offered thanks and appreciation to everyone who worked so efficiently over the summer and during the Orientation period to ensure a smooth transition to the College for the incoming students, among them: Admissions and Financial Aid; Beau Breslin and his staff in the FYE office, and everyone in Academic Affairs; the Opportunity Programs staff; the many faculty members who participated in summer advising; Scribner Seminar instructors and Peer Mentors – and David Karp and his colleagues; the Residence Life staff; Counseling and Health Services; Winston Grady-Willis and Mariel Martin for organizing this year’s “Checking Privilege at the Door” event; David Vella for leading the Honors Forum; the Business Office, Registrar’s Office; Alumni Affairs; facilities services; grounds crew; Dining Services; Campus Safety; Athletics and the student athletes who assisted with move-in; faculty departmental representatives who attended Opening convocation and the many others who assisted. He requested a round of applause for everyone for their assistance in ensuring the smooth transition for the incoming students.

New Student Orientation. Beau Breslin, Assistant Dean of the Faculty and Director of the First Year Experience, provided an update on the new student orientation. He noted that this year’s Orientation was terrific and in many respects was one of our most successful orientations in a lot of ways. Dean Breslin remarked that there were three things that were relatively new about this orientation to make it as successful as it was. One is the great work that many people do to streamline the ways in which families move in; this year, the drop-off and move-in process was seamless. Secondly, this year, students were asked to provide their pictures in advance so that the ID cards could be produced beforehand, and this was immensely helpful. Finally, the use of the Zankel really made a big difference and set a great tone for the entire orientation. The FYE office will continue to tweak and make adjustments for the future. Dean Breslin thanked Kendra Nelson and Cori Filson for their phenomenal job with London orientation; Corey Freeman-Gallant and Sharon Clemmey for the transfer orientation; and Michele Eroline for pre-orientation. Special thanks were given to David Karp and Rochelle Calhoun, as well as Marla Melito and Allie Taylor. A round of applause was given for everyone.

President Glotzbach thanked Dean Breslin and noted that there are two reasons why orientation matters: first, and most importantly, to ensure a smooth transition for our new students into college, and second to assure their parents that Skidmore has its act together so that the parents can feel confident about leaving their children in our hands. Through the efforts of so many, we achieved both these objectives.

Dean of Student Affairs Report On behalf of SGA President Alexandra Stark, Rochelle Calhoun, Dean of Student Affairs, welcomed everyone to a new year and offered apologies that the SGA Executive Committee was unable to attend today’s faculty meeting as they were hosting the Club Fair. Dean Calhoun also announced the appointment of two new coaches: Elizabeth Ghilardi, Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach, and Joe Burke, Men’s Basketball Head Coach.

President Glotzbach thanked Dean Calhoun and noted that we have much to celebrate about where Skidmore is. We must continue to remain focused on increasing the value we offer to our students and we need to continue to improve our ability to tell our story to the external world. The most important way to measure that progress is in tracking the changes in our entering students; a second way is to track what people are saying about Skidmore in the annual “college rankings” that appear regularly each August. While we don’t want to make too much of any of this, we did move up this year in the U.S. News rankings – from 46th place last year (tied with Centre College and Dickinson) to 41st place this year (tied with Connecticut College, Franklin & Marshall, Furman and Union – all of which were ranked ahead of us last year). More interestingly, in a companion publication, the U.S. News Ultimate College Guide, Skidmore is represented very well in a number of more fact-based listings that reflect, among other categories, selectivity in admissions, first-to-second-year retention, early-decision, and need-based financial aid offered per student receiving aid. Additionally, in a new Newsweek-Kaplan publication, Finding the Right College for You, Skidmore is 25th on a list of the “most desirable suburban schools,” which includes Stanford, Princeton, the U.S. Naval Academy, Pomona College, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, University of Notre Dame, Claremont McKenna College, Swarthmore College, Harvey Mudd College, Haverford College, Davidson College, Emory University, Wellesley College, Tufts University, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Virginia, Hamilton College, Oberlin College, Soka University of America (CA), College of William and Mary, Scripps College, Smith College and Bryn Mawr College. There are only 13 small schools in the country that made the list and we are one of them. The mere fact that we appear on this list, and the way we appear in the other listings, should help us next year.

While there are many reasons to feel good about where Skidmore is at this moment, President Glotzbach believes an even greater reason to celebrate is the spirit that has been manifested across the College this year. To explain what he meant, he read an excerpt from a tribute written by Professor Jenifer Delton on behalf of the History Department when Tad Kuroda retired in 2005, which addressed Tad’s love for Skidmore and his commitment to its future:

[T]he thing I want to emphasize about Professor Kuroda, on top of the legendary teaching, is his love for Skidmore College and his commitment to its future. When I came to Skidmore[,] … I had spent my academic career (such that it was) criticizing institutions of any sort, and I regarded consensus as a mask for tyranny. I was not planning on getting involved, or even going to meetings. And then all of that fell away. And of course I went to faculty meetings. That’s what people do at Skidmore. And of course I saw my own work as somehow bound to this institution, how could one not? There is at Skidmore such an atmosphere of civic spiritedness and responsibility to the whole that it is impossible to remain detached from it. Tad is one of the reasons for this enormous sense of community, but more importantly he is one of the reasons it never feels suffocating or petty. When Tad speaks of community responsibility, or more to the point, when he does it, when he enacts it, he raises it out of the Rotarian Babbitry it can sink into and makes it something ennobling and necessary.

When I was new to the department, Tad never told me I had to go to meetings, or do this thing and not do that thing. He never laid out any rules or guidelines for getting by in the department or the college. What he did do, I remember, is tell me about the distinguished personages who used to teach here, Eric Weller, Ralph Ciancio, Erwin Levine, and others, and Tad’s punch line was always that they thought institutionally, they were great because they rose above departmental interests. (It was like he was talking about Adams and Madison, definitely the Federalists.)

President Glotzbach said that a similar spirit is out there today; it was evident last year during conversations at faculty meetings and in the work of governance committees; it animated the work of so many people over the summer in preparing for this huge entering class; and it was present in the Academic Staff retreat last week and certainly amongst those teaching the first-year seminars.

President Glotzbach concluded by emphasizing the need to be intentional about nurturing this spirit of institutional engagement as we turn to the work of the new year. There is no doubt there will be times when fierce conversations need to occur, and we will deal constructively with disagreement. Indeed, our new first-year students have been so overwhelmingly positive in their comments about the College that, from time to time, one might question whether the students were saying those things because they thought they were expected to. Consensus must never be a “mask for tyranny”; but, at the same time, we should not fear agreement, and it must never become politically incorrect to acknowledge the positive. President Glotzbach encouraged everyone to be intentional this year about continuing the spirit of collaboration that has marked so many of our engagements last year and in these opening days of the current one. He thanked everyone for their good work so far and indicated that he looks forward to working with everyone this year.

VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS’REPORT

Susan Kress, Vice President of Academic Affairs, welcomed everyone back to a new academic year, especially those returning from sabbatical and our newest colleagues. She reminded everyone that she had convened a group to review the current structure of the Office of the Registrar and Institutional Research in light of Ann Henderson’s upcoming retirement and that the group had proposed the office be split into two. Accordingly, a search for a Director of Institution Research has been launched. With respect to the Registrar’s Office, VPAA Kress announced that Dave DeConno has been appointed as Interim Registrar effective October 18, 2010. A sustained round of applause was given to congratulate Mr. DeConno on this appointment.

Dean of Special Programs Report. On behalf of Jeff Segrave, Dean of Special Programs, Jim Chansky, Director of Summer Sessions, extended special thanks to the Special Programs Staff and those across campus who support summer operations for a very successful summer and provided the following report:

Mr. Chansky reminded everyone that this Fall’s Survey of Liberal Studies for Mature Adults is about to be launched, and anyone interested in offering a seminar should please contact Sharon Arpey in the Office of Special Programs.

Mr. Chansky announced that this Fall’s Greenberg Middle East Scholar in Residence is Relli Shechter, Professor and Chair of Middle East Studies at Ben Gurion University, who will be teaching a short course in the Government Department on the social, cultural, political, and economic impact of the oil boom in the Middle East, visiting a number of classes and delivering a lecture on “Consumerism and Islamism in the Middle East.”

Mr. Chansky concluded by reporting that the collaboration with Carnegie Hall continues again this year with their residency and concerts; a new connection has been made with Saratoga Bridges; and information about the Fall McCormack residency will be announced shortly.

Dean of the Faculty Report. Muriel Poston, Dean of the Faculty, welcomed all faculty back to the new academic year. She announced that the following faculty members were granted promotion to Professor at the May, 2010, Board of Trustees meeting: David Peterson, Department of Art; Corey Freeman-Gallant, Department of Biology; Jenifer Delton, Department of History, Flip Phillips, Department of Psychology, and David Karp, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work. A warm round of applause was given congratulating those faculty members on their promotions.

Dean Poston announced the faculty members who have consented to new leadership positions or are returning to these positions: Bernie Possidente, Department of Biology; Bob Jones, Department of Economics; Joanna Zangrando, Department of Education Studies; Michael Marx, Environmental Studies Program; Paul Arciero, Department of Health and Exercise Science; Tim Harper, Department of Management and Business; Gove Effinger, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science; Rik Scarce, Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work; and Lary Opitz, Department of Theater.

Dean Poston also welcomed the newest member of the Dean of the Faculty’s staff: Corey Freeman-Gallant, who will serve as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Advising. Dean Freeman-Gallant also introduced the newest member of his staff, Jennifer Wood, who serves as Academic Advisor.

Thereafter, the department chairs introduced the newest members of their faculty. A complete list of new faculty is attached (see attached). Following applause, Dean Poston encouraged everyone to reach out to the newest members of the faculty and thanked everyone for their commitment to our students and for their service to the institution.

Following Dean Poston, VPAA Kress introduced Mikael Hjerm as this year’s Stint Fellow. Professor Hjerm will be a member of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work; his research focuses on xenophobia, prejudice, and nationalism.

VPAA Kress acknowledged that last year was a really tough year, and we moved through many changes. We were tested in significant ways – by collaborations that were tough, by new structures, and by some losses, too – and we are still working through those changes. VPAA Kress referenced the five-year plans for Academic Affairs outlined in summary form in her welcome back letter; these were discussed in the Academic Staff retreat held last week (which included CEPP members), and she encouraged the department chairs and program directors to share this information with their faculty. These plans include sustaining and renewing the conversation about the liberal arts; managing structural changes (such as the separation of the Office of the Registrar and Institutional Research), and addressing the composition of the faculty (particularly with respect to numbers of tenure track lines and faculty in contingent appointments).

While we will be saying goodbye to some of our faculty and members of staff this year, this is the season of welcomes, and we are welcoming many new faculty and staff to our community. She referenced a faculty member’s obligations in the Faculty Handbook to encourage and connect with new members of the faculty. We know we will learn from them, and we hope they may learn from us.

VPAA Kress concluded by referencing founder Lucy Scribner and wondering what she would think of the Skidmore of today; VPAA Kress thinks that Lucy would want us to hang on to the thread of who we were: to remember where we came from. But Lucy would also, perhaps, be proud of the changes we have made, and we know we have things to work on that will change us even more. As we start over once again, those in Academic Affairs look forward to the work we have ahead of us, have energy and spirit for that work, and look forward to working alongside all of you.

OLD BUSINESS

There was no old business.

NEW BUSINESS

Professor Reginald Lilly, on behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, introduced the following Motion (see attached):

MOTION: The Faculty Executive Committee moves that the 2010-2011 Faculty Handbook be adopted. The following link takes you to the 2010-2011 Faculty Handbook (showing tracked changes) as well as handbooks from previous years: Skidmore College: Faculty Handbooks.

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

OTHER

Beau Breslin, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Director of the First Year Experience, presented a poll on pedagogy sessions for the 2010-2011 academic year. Using clickers, the faculty had an opportunity to vote on their choice of topic (both IT-focused and non-IT focused) as well as their preference for the time and day of the pedagogy sessions.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The meeting was adjourned at 5:19 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant
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