Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs
Faculty Meeting Minutes
October 4, 2013
President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:34 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
President Glotzbach asked if there were any corrections to, or comments regarding,
the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held September 6, 2013. Hearing none, he announced
the minutes were approved.
President Glotzbach acknowledged the recent deaths of two long-time colleagues in
the Theater Department – Alma Becker, who taught at the College since 1988, and David
Yergan, who taught at the College since 1986 and was a 1980 Skidmore graduate. A
moment of silence was observed in honor of these two colleagues.
President Glotzbach also acknowledged Linda Toohey, Chair of the Board of Trustees,
who was in attendance.
President Glotzbach announced that his office will be sending out this year’s “Strategic
Action Agenda,” which is an administrative document that outlines the actions that
will be taken this year to implement the Strategic Plan. The preface of this document
explores the theme of community. In thinking about community, President Glotzbach
quoted St. Augustine who said about the notion of time: “If no one asks me, I know
what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.” Community can
also a tough concept to get one’s head around. President Glotzbach asked everyone
to read this year’s “Strategic Action Agenda” and find opportunities for discussion.
There are a number of reasons, particularly from recent history, for us to think about
what kind of a community we have here, what kind of community are we creating for
our students, how we interact with one another, how we model the values that are at
the core of what we are as a college – for each other and for Skidmore.
In addition, President Glotzbach stated that his office will be sending out another
document from the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee addressing the upcoming
strategic planning process that will be started this year. This planning process
will provide many opportunities for engagement and force us to think about where we
are as a college today and where we want to be 10 years from now. The strategic planning
process is also a way of building community, and President Glotzbach expressed his
hope that everyone will engage in these discussions as the time arises.
President Glotzbach also noted that the College will begin another 2-year process
to prepare for our next Middle States Accreditation review (the last such review was
7 years ago). The accreditation visit will take place in 2015-16. The principles
underlying the accreditation process with Middle States are pretty simple and straightforward
-- we should be able to show that we
- are clear about our mission,
- act in ways to fulfill it through planning,
- have evidence showing that our students are learning what we say they should be learning,
- have sufficient resources to support our primary activities and can project that we
will have those resources in the future; and
- gather appropriate data about institutional issues and use it in making institutional
Thereafter, President Glotzbach opened the floor to allow an opportunity for questions.
One question was raised concerning whether there was a forum where faculty could raise
and discuss issues without using the faculty email list. After brief discussion,
it was requested that any suggestions on this topic be forwarded to the Dean of the
Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs’ office. Another question was raised
concerning a newspaper article about Skidmore’s plan for solar energy. In response,
Mike West, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer, provided a
brief update on that project, which is a plan to install an 8-acre solar array on
Skidmore-owned property in the Town of Greenfield that will generate about 12 percent
of the College’s electricity. This project will be funded by a $2.3 million grant
DEAN OF THE FACULTY AND VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS’ REPORT
Beau Breslin, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic affairs, reminded
everyone about the NY6 Teagle Grant – Collaborative Blended Learning opportunity for
faculty to collaborate with another NY6 member institution on a teaching enterprise.
Applications are due to the NY6 Consortium by December 1, 2013.
DOF/VPAA Breslin also announced an upcoming survey sponsored by COACHE for all full-time
instructional faculty. In the past, we have participated in several COACHE surveys,
and the results of those surveys have been incorporated in many of our faculty development
programs and have resulted in several new policies. Thereafter, DOF/VPAA Breslin
shared a Powerpoint presentation from the 2010 COACHE survey on faculty work-life
balance which showed areas of strength, areas of concern, improving trends, and worsening
trends (see attached for details
). He thanked Lisa Christenson, Joe Stankovich, Paty Rubio, and Erica Bastress-Dukehart
for all their work on the survey.
Thereupon, DOF/VPAA Breslin introduced Professor Mary Crone Odekon who provided an
update on the work of the Faculty Workload Working Group (FWWG). The FWWG, which
was constituted in the Spring 2013 as a way for the DOF/VPAA to follow up on conversations
held at the January Academic Summit about possible modifications to the faculty workload
and Part 1 of the Faculty Handbook, consists of Professor Barbara Black, Professor
Odekon, Associate Professor Deb Hall, Professor Reg Lilly, Associate Professor Jordana
Dym, Associate Professor Christine Page, Associate Professor Bob Turner, and DOF/VPAA
Breslin. The FWWG based its discussions on a range of sources, including the COACHE
job satisfaction survey, the faculty survey of student engagement, documents produced
by AAUP on faculty workload, the NY6 Teagle grant focus groups from 2011, the SUN
study on climate for faculty by Kate Berheide and collaborators, the SUN report by
external evaluators, discussions with Susan Walzer on her extensive interviews on
faculty climate on campus, suggestions and concerns from FEC and CAPT, and research
into the practices at other institutions. While there are many specific changes the
FWWG thinks should be considered, and will be shared in a report to be released later
this fall, the FWWG wanted to share seven particular priorities:
- clearer, formal language for tenure and promotion and better informal guidance;
- counting independent studies and credit bearing research as part of teaching load
- improved support for department chairs and program directors;
- streamlined paperwork;
- change from current teaching load;
- change in shared governance system to the faculty senate model; and
- more community building activities.
The project the FWWG is examining the most is changes to Faculty Handbook language
regarding the criteria for tenure and promotion, and the FWWG is hoping to have a
faculty discussion about this at a faculty forum or committee of the whole. The FWWG
plans to have a written document by December outlining their recommendations in detail
which would serve as the basis for discussions in 2014.
On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Professor Joerg Bibow read the following
Motion that was introduced at the September 6, 2013 faculty meeting (see attached
MOTION: In order to update our “Division of Disciplines”, the Faculty Executive Committee
moves that the following changes be made to the Faculty Handbook:
- add: Arts Administration to “Pre-Professionals”,
- add: Asian Studies to “Humanities”,
- add: International Affairs to “Social Sciences”,
- add: Neuroscience to “Natural Sciences”.
There was no discussion; the Motion was voted on and passed by majority vote.
On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Professor Bibow read the following Motion
that was introduced at the September 6, 2013 faculty meeting (see attached
MOTION: The Faculty Executive Committee moves that the 2013-2014 Faculty Handbook
be adopted. The following link takes you to the 2013-2014 Faculty Handbook (showing
tracked changes) as well as handbooks from previous years: http://www.skidmore.edu/dof-vpaa/faculty-handbooks.php
There was no discussion; the Motion was voted on and passed by majority vote.
On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Professor Joerg Bibow introduced the
following Motion (see attached
MOTION: The Faculty Executive Committee moves to modify the Language in the Faculty
Handbook as follows:
C. Academic Responsibilities (Faculty Handbook, p. 109, “All” vs. “tenured and tenure-track”
5. Administrative Meetings: Faculty members are expected to attend Faculty Meetings
and departmental and committee meetings when called.
6. College Functions: Faculty members are expected to attend Commencement, and they
may be asked to represent their department or program at Honors Convocation. Any faculty
member unable to attend Commencement should notify the Dean of the Faculty/Vice President
of Academic Affairs. Faculty members are encouraged to wear academic regalia at Commencement
and on other occasions as announced.
5. Administrative Meetings: Tenure and tenure-track faculty members are expected to
attend Faculty Meetings. Non-tenure-track faculty are encouraged to attend Faculty
Meetings. Faculty members are expected to attend departmental and committee meetings
6. College Functions: Tenured and tenure-track faculty members are expected to attend
Commencement and should notify the Dean of Faculty/Vice President of Academic Affairs
when unable to do so. Non-tenure-track faculty are encouraged to attend Commencement.
Faculty members may be asked to represent their department or program at Honors Convocation.
Faculty members are encouraged to wear academic regalia at Commencement and on other
occasions as announced.
Professor Bibow explained the rationale for the motion, noting that it is not FEC’s
intent to marginalize anyone nor is it their intent to create a two-tiered system;
it simply gives non-tenure-track faculty the option of not attending faculty meetings.
Brief discussion on the Motion was held. After discussing the use of the word “encouraged”,
a suggestion was made to use the phrase “encouraged and welcome”. The motion will
lie over until the next meeting.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
A motion was made and seconded to move into a Committee of the Whole to discuss the
general education requirements; the motion passed by majority voice vote. Professor
Bibow was appointed as chair of the Committee of the Whole. A 20-minute time limit
was set. At the conclusion of the Committee of the Whole, Professor Bibow rose and
reported that a discussion on the topic of general education requirements was held.
- Sam Harris, President of the Student Government Association, introduced this year’s
SGA representatives: Andrew Lowy, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Xavier Hatten,
Senior Class President; Addison Bennett, Vice President for Club Affairs; Benjamin
Bechand, Vice President for Financial Affairs; Maddie Kanazawa, Vice President for
Communications and Outreach; Britt Dorfman, Vice President for Diversity Affairs;
and Hanna DeGraaf, Vice President for Student Life.
- Jacqueline Scoones, Director of MALS, announced the formation of a new faculty interest
group to allow an opportunity for faculty to have open and inclusive discussions about
the structure of MALS. The first meeting will take place on October 18, 2013 at 12:30
p.m. in the Weller Room. Additional open meetings on campus will be held and a discussion
board has been created.
- Professor Pushi Prasad invited everyone to this year’s Skidmore Research Colloquium
scheduled to take place on October 10, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. in Murray Aikins. Associate
Professor Jordana Dym will share her research on maps.
- Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum, invited everyone to the Tang
for a reception immediately following the faculty meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:41 p.m.
Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant