Faculty Meeting Minutes
April 4, 2014
President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:32 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
President Glotzbach asked if there were any corrections to, or comments regarding, the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held February 28, 2014. Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved.
President Glotzbach announced that Skidmore is in the process of refinancing a portion of its debt. The College’s overall debt is $74.4 million, and we are in the process of refinancing $41.4 million (56 percent): $13.4 million in Series 2003 and $28 million in Series 2004 bonds. Because of favorable interest rates at present, reissuing this debt will save the College approximately $2.5 million in debt service over the next 10 years. As part of this refinancing, Skidmore underwent a Moody’s Rating Service review, and Skidmore has retained its A-1 credit rating, with a “stable” outlook. This is most significant because Moody’s has downgraded many schools in recent months and has issued a “negative outlook” assessment for the entire higher education sector. He credited Michael West, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer, and his colleagues for these results, because of their highly professional management of our finances; he also credited the other members of President’s Cabinet and the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee for their work on the budget each year as well as everyone on campus as Moody’s considers many other factors, such as admissions results and the college’s overall reputation.
Thereafter, VP West shared a PowerPoint presentation on the annual AAUP faculty salary information. This presentation detailed faculty salaries and total compensation for full professors, associate professors, and assistant professors compared with Skidmore’s peer institutions. Brief discussion was held on the presentation concerning gender equity and overall averages for the various ranks.
Following the VP West’s presentation, President Glotzbach provided a brief Admissions update:
- This year, we received nearly 8,700 applications for the first year class, which has been targeted at 635-675 on campus and 36-38 in London. This represents a 5 percent increase over last year’s record number of applications (for which we were up 45 percent last year).
- Applications from domestic students of color and international students also reached record highs; while last year about 30 percent of the domestic applications were from students who self-identified as students of color, this year that percentage is 34 percent.
- Over 1,700 international students applied this year compared to 1,450 last year, and 650 in 2012.
- We are budgeted to enroll 42 percent of the class on financial aid; 68 percent of the applicants indicated their intention to apply for financial aid.
- We have accepted 37 percent of the applicants; acceptance letters were mailed in late March.
- The average financial aid granted is just under $32,000.
- The admitted students come from 45 states (plus the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) and 61 foreign countries.
- Nearly 22 percent of accepted candidates self-identified as students of color, and 12 percent are international.
President Glotzbach went on to state that we are now at the most critical moment in the annual Admission cycle. We have three Accepted Candidates Days scheduled as well as our Discovery Program. We are working hard to improve our yield on our accepted students; many of these students have also been accepted by other schools. It is the primary responsibility of our colleagues in Admissions to build the applicant pool. But once we have accepted our candidates, it becomes a shared responsibility for all of us to encourage them to come to Skidmore. President Glotzbach suggested that the faculty not only share their positive impressions of Skidmore with these candidates, but also identify those prospective students who seem particularly interesting or promising and specifically recruit them. For example, one could invite the students and their parents to lunch in the dining hall (meal tickets will be available at the door for anyone who wants to do this).
Concluding his report, President Glotzbach expressed his appreciation to everyone who participated in the strategic planning exercise on March 21, with special thanks given to Joshua Woodfork, Associate Professor Natalie Taylor, and Sam Harris for all their planning of this well-attended event.
DEAN OF THE FACULTY AND VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS’ REPORT
Beau Breslin, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, thanked everyone for all their work so far this semester. He understands that this is a tremendously busy time of the semester and reminded everyone that his office is here for support. He also reminded everyone that we are currently nearing the end of the hiring cycle, and we will have approximately 60 new or reappointed full-time faculty members, of which 14 are tenure-line faculty. He thanked everyone involved in the searches this year for all their work.
Committee on Educational Policies and Planning
On behalf of the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP), Professor Peter von Allmen provided an update on CEPP’s review of the general education curriculum. He reported that CEPP continues to work on this issue and will be inviting faculty to attend another series of roundtables on April 14, April 15, and April 17. Professor von Allmen will forward an email invitation shortly with further details.
Committee on Educational Policies and Planning
On behalf of CEPP, Professor von Allmen introduced the following Motion (see attached):
MOTION: On behalf of the Office of Off-Campus Study & Exchanges, the Advisory Committee on Off-Campus Study, the Dean of the Faculty’s office and the department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, CEPP proposes that Skidmore College terminate the Skidmore in China program and, as a result, its affiliation with IES in China.
Professor von Allmen requested that the layover period for the Motion be waived. A motion was made and seconded to waive the layover period; the motion to waive the layover period was passed by voice vote. Thereafter, Paty Rubio, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Personnel, Development, and Diversity, clarified that the Motion did not seek to terminate the Skidmore in China program itself but merely the program with IES; plans are currently in the works to find a replacement program. There being no further discussion, the Motion was voted on electronically and passed.
Faculty Workload Working Group
On behalf of the Faculty Workload Working Group, Professor Mary Odekon introduced the following Motion (see attached):
MOTION: The Faculty Workload Working Group proposes that the attached “VII. EVALUATION OF FACULTY FOR CONTINUED SERVICE AND ADVANCEMENT IN RANK” be inserted in the Faculty Handbook; that Articles “VI: EVALUATIVE CRITERIA FOR CONTINUED SERVICE AND ADVANCEMENT IN RANK,” “VIII. REAPPOINTMENT,” “IX. TENURE,” and “XI. PROMOTION” be deleted from the Faculty Handbook; and that Part One of the Faculty Handbook be reorganized according to the attached “Table of Contents.”
If approved, the Faculty Handbook as so amended shall apply to all faculty immediately with the exception of pre-tenure tenure-track faculty who have been reappointed to a second three-year contract.
Also, if approved, the amended Faculty Handbook language shall be re-evaluated in five years.
Professor Odekon reviewed the changes that were made to Part One of the Faculty Handbook since the proposed revisions were previously distributed. There being no questions, the Motion will lie over until the next meeting.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
A Committee of the Whole was formed to discuss proposed changes to faculty governance as proposed by the Faculty Executive Committee. Professor Mary Odekon was appointed as chair of the Committee of the Whole. A 40-minute time limit was set. At the conclusion of the Committee of the Whole, Professor Odekon rose and reported that a discussion on the proposed changes to faculty governance was held.
- Associate Professor Caroline D’Abate announced that she is working with a colleague at another institution conducting research on the social psychology of teams, particularly in academia. She will be sending a very brief survey shortly and is asking that the faculty please consider responding to the survey. All responses will be confidential. Associate Professor D’Abate will send an email in the next few days with further details.
- Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, introduced Michael Janairo, as the new Assistant Director for Engagement.
- Associate Professor Ruben Graciani reminded the faculty to complete the survey that was recently sent regarding each faculty member’s research and teaching interests, the results of which will be used create groups of faculty with similar interests.
- Michael West, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer, invited everyone to a reception in the Pohndorff Room in the Scribner Library immediately following the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:03 p.m.