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Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs
 

Faculty Meeting Minutes

October 4, 2013

Gannett Auditorium

MINUTES

 

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’S REPORT
 
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 decisions.

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 through NYSERDA.

 
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 (ICARUS/HELIOS);
  • 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. 
 
OLD BUSINESS
 
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.
 
NEW BUSINESS
 
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” faculty)
 
OLD LANGUAGE
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.
 
NEW LANGUAGE
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 when called.
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.
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
 
The meeting was adjourned at 4:41 p.m.
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant
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