Message from the President to the Campus Community
20 January 2015
Members of the Campus Community,
Today marks the beginning of the spring semester with 816 courses, hundreds of independent
studies and internships, and numerous formal and informal student groups all getting
underway. And despite the snow and the cold, sooner than we realize, spring will begin
to make its appearance on the campus. It also seems fitting that we resume our work
just as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., particularly given his
commitment to advancing the agenda of justice and opportunity, both of which will
be central elements of our efforts over the coming months. For now, I’d like to give
a brief overview of some of what we will focus on this semester with the very large caveat that many of us
will, of course, be engaged in various other important and worthy activities as well.
A number of student, faculty, and administrative groups—among them the I, Too, Am
Skidmore campaign—will continue to advance a wide-range of initiatives focused on
making Skidmore the community we all hope it can be and know it will be. Without
diminishing the important work that all of these groups will undertake, I would highlight
two events, both sponsored by SGA’s Speaker’s Bureau, that are especially timely in
light of national conversations sparked by the cases of Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown
and Eric Garner:
- On March 5th, Ta-Nehisi Coates will lead a discussion on how race is lived in the
United States today. Mr. Coates is a Senior Editor and National Correspondent for
The Atlantic and author of The Beautiful Struggle, a memoir of growing up in Baltimore during the age of crack.
- On April 1st Bryan Stevenson will discuss his book Just Mercy, which details his role in the defense of Walter McMillian. Mr. Stevenson is the
founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama and a Professor of
Law at the New York University School of Law.
Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy Review
The Advisory Council on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct will continue the work
it started in the fall by focusing on incorporating the ideas gleaned from its open
forums into proposed changes to both our policies and procedures. In addition, SGA
will launch its Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct awareness campaign aimed at stopping
sexual assaults and building a culture of respect, while the Board of Trustees will
take this topic up at its February meeting.
Student Workers' Minimum Wage
As of January 1st, the College will increase student workers’ pay to current New York
State minimum wage standards. This follows a very thoughtful and productive series
of discussions among various groups on campus that culminated with a unanimous vote
in support of this measure by the Institutional Planning and Policy Committee (IPPC)
at its December 19th meeting.
Middle States Reaccreditation
Our work on Middle States reaccreditation continues apace with a particular focus
on the concept of integrative learning. “Integrative learning” refers to the process
by which students intentionally make connections among their courses, their curricular
and co-curricular lives, and the many issues, ideas, and concepts that mark a high
quality liberal education.
The College is exploring integrative learning from five perspectives: 1) General Education
Review and Reform; 2) the FYE, the Sophomore Experience, and Beyond College; 3) Physical
and Digital Spaces for Integrative Learning; 4) Diversity, Inclusion, and Integrative
Learning; and 5) Responsible Communities: Civic Engagement, Sustainability, and Values
and Ethics. Working groups have been developing reports on each of these areas. These
should be complete by late spring and will be collected into a larger document for
consideration by the entire community in the fall.
Staff Survey Results
Based on feedback from staff during our recent staff survey, we have taken the following
- Changed our terminology to refer to all non-faculty employees as "staff."
- Changed e-mail communication list names to combine “admin-prof” and “support-staff”
to a single “staff” list.
- Revised the Inclement Weather and Other Emergency Closing/Delay Policy to include
one additional inclement weather "floating day" to be used for bad weather.
These are just a few of the ideas we are considering and I expect to announce additional
changes in the coming months.
Task Force on Divestment
Our advisory Task Force on Divestment has been meeting since last fall and we expect
this work to become more public over the next few months. I refer you to Task Force
Chair Jim Kennelly’s community e-mail of 1 December 2014 for an update on the work
of that group.
Fundraising and Communications
Since June 1, 2014, we have secured nearly $13.4 million in new commitments to Creating
our Future: The Campaign for Skidmore. That brings our overall total to $75 million
and we are seeking another $5-10 million by year’s end. And in the area of marketing
and branding, we have recruited a group of alumni and parent experts to collaborate
with us on developing a plan to more effectively leverage our brand. The next steps
are to conduct a comprehensive audit of our entire communications operation and to
develop an in-depth, multi-year brand strategy, both of which we expect to complete
by late spring/early summer.
Our winter sports teams have been hard at work since late December.
Congratulations to the Women’s Basketball Team who are in the lead in the Liberty
League standings and to the Men’s Basketball Team who are undefeated in Liberty League
play. Please come out and support all our teams. The “Big Green Scream” will be held
this Saturday. The women will host William Smith at 2 p.m., followed by the men's
game against Hobart at 4 p.m.
Office of the President
Following Liz Bourque’s retirement last year, Jeanne M. Sisson has taken on the role
of Special Assistant; she manages my calendar and Marie’s and my travel for the College.
I am also pleased to welcome Susan W. Koppi as our new Board Coordinator. She will
handle all items related to the Board of Trustees, including honorary degrees and
As I announced in my 8 January 2015 communication, this semester Mary Lou W. Bates,
Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid is undergoing an administrative
review, which is a routine performance review of senior administrative officers every
six years at Skidmore. Professor Erica Bastress-Dukehart is chairing the review committee
and has sent requests for the community to participate in the review. I ask that you
please do so. Please note that your comments will be held in the strictest confidence.
Under the auspices of the IPPC, I continue to work on drafting the new Strategic Plan. Once a solid draft is available, we will be gathering community comment.
I will also continue to hold open Community Meetings, Fireside Chats, and Open Office
Hours throughout the semester. Please take advantage of these opportunities to hear
additional updates and to make your voice heard.
This partial listing of events and initiatives provides just an indication of the many facets
of College life. I wish you well as we embark on what promises to be an exciting
Thank you for your attention.
Philip A. Glotzbach, President