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Skidmore College
Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs


December 5, 1997


President Porter called the meeting to order at 3:40 p.m.


Murray Levith, referring to the November 7, l997 faculty meeting minutes, said that the fourth sentence in the Presidential Search Report should read, "Professor Levith invited everyone to contact the committee by November 25th with his or her thoughts and suggestions on the qualities and talents they would like to see in Skidmore’s next president (either by e-mail or campus mail)." 

Lary Opitz, referring to the November 7, l997 faculty meeting minutes, pointed out that the motion to eliminate the Admissions Committee and the Student Aid Committee and to form a new committee called Admissions and Student Aid Committee stated that the motion to call the question was voted on and carried. In fact, he said, the first instance of calling the question had not been recognized, a fact that called into question the subsequent action taken by the faculty. He also pointed out that such a motion requires a two-thirds majority to carry and that he did not recall a count being taken by the Chair to determine that we had such a majority. On the basis of these problems, he suggested that the vote to close debate had been invalid. He also pointed out that a motion to reconsider, which might have been one way to deal with the problem, was no longer possible, since such a motion must be made either at the same meeting or "on the next day." 

After further discussion as to how to resolve the parliamentary tangle in which we found ourselves, and after receiving advice from several members of the faculty, David Porter decided that since at the last meeting he had ruled that the vote to close was proper, and since no one had appealed that ruling at that time, this action would stand. In the interest of fairness, he also ruled that for our purposes the parliamentary phrase "on the next day" referred to the next meeting of the body in question and that he would accordingly accept a motion to reconsider, should anyone choose to do so. 

Thomas Denny said that, regarding our proposal at the November meeting to amend the Faculty Handbook regarding unpaid leaves of absence and the payment of pension contributions, we were told that the current practice is that the College does not contribute to the pension plan if there is no actual pay. He said that during the discussion at the November faculty meeting he pointed out that he believed that in l986-87 faculty who were on leave made contributions and the College made its share. He has brought this to the attention of FPPC, IPC, and Human Resources and they are investigating it. Pat Oles, speaking on behalf of Una Bray, said that FPPC had only looked back over ten years and during that time period there were zero cases. 

The minutes were accepted as amended. 


President Porter reported that we are bringing to campus three finalists for the position of Diversity and Affirmative Action Officer (DAAO). He said that Kathleen Wiater has prepared a fairly extensive diversity report that is an overview of what has happened over the past ten years in this area—progress made, as well as areas where we still need to move forward. We thought this report would be useful as a baseline for the work of the new DAAO. Copies will be sent to everyone early in the second term. 

The President read from the l996 IPC Progress Report: "We think it’s worth at least exploring whether another set of merit scholarships, perhaps again focused on a particular area we’re hoping to enhance, would yield sufficient benefits both for the area in question and for the College at large, to justify directing scholarship funds in this direction. IPC is particularly interested in our finding ways to increase our critical mass of highly motivated, intellectually focused students." He said that IPC in concert with CEPP is indeed continuing to explore this idea. He went on to say that our experience with the Filene Scholars suggests that they have "enriched the intellectual as well as the musical life of the College as a whole." He cited some statistics that demonstrated the academic strength of the Filene scholars: out of 23 Filene students, four had majored in music alone, five had double majors in other areas, and fourteen had majored in other areas. We found that while 30% of Skidmore students graduate with "Latin honors," 70% of the Filene students graduate with "Latin honors." During this period 35% of the Filene scholars had been elected to Phi Beta Kappa as against 6% in the student body at large. There has also been a halo effect in that the students who are not chosen for the awards but compete for them get so excited about the College and what it has to offer that many of them also enroll. What we sense, then, is a disproportionate impact from a relatively small group of people, our hope is to repeat this experience in another area of the College. 

President Porter reported that the Campaign has passed $67.5 million and said he was certain that we would be at $70 million by the end of this month, possibly even $72. He reported that the event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City had been a huge success with over 300 people in attendance. 

David Porter pointed out that he hears comments to the effect that he is raising money for this campaign but said that while he is involved, he wants to make sure that everyone understands that it is a collective effort. The pledges that he receives are often the result of years of groundwork laid by trustees, alums, the development staff, faculty, and students; and in fact many commitments come to the college completely without the president’s involvement.


Murray Levith, for the Presidential Search Committee, reported that "the Search Committee is in the final stages of choosing a search firm and they are beginning discussions, informed by some of the material the committee received by email and letters, on the qualities that we would like to see in the next President of Skidmore College." He said that the committee anticipates having a search consultant on campus in early February to interview various constituencies and individuals. Members of the search committee and the search consultant will hold open meetings with the faculty. 


Peggy Seiden, Chair of the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG), presented an amended motion regarding the composition of the merged Admissions/Student Aid Committee as follows: 


Be it resolved that the following changes be made to the Faculty Handbook, Part Two, Section II: committees of the faculty which were passed at the November 7, l997 faculty meeting (see Attachment A). 

This motion will lie over for a vote at the February faculty meeting

Mary Ellen Fischer said that, "I would like to make sure that we hear from some of the administration involved and I would like to know if the composition of this committee would be adequate for their needs." William Standish asked if we should assume that the faculty membership will be staggered terms and will the description of the motion state that? Peggy Seiden replied that we haven’t talked about how we are going to implement this because we are combining two committees but she thought that it would be staggered and that the description of the motion would include that language. 

John Thomas announced that "at the next meeting either the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG) or I will bring an amendment which states that the members who are ex-officio, which means ‘because of their office,’ does not mean non-voting. The language has to state non-voting if that’s what we want." Peggy Seiden said that if anyone had any further comments to please send them via email to CFG. 


  • Peggy Seiden, Chair of CFG, announced that "the final ballots will be going out Tuesday or Wednesday of next week and that the willingness-to-serve has been extended." She also announced that the library vendors will be in the library next week on the 8th, 9th, and l0th and again on the l9th demonstrating the new on-line catalogue, at 3 o’clock on each of those days. "This is your opportunity to have some input into that process to make a decision about an on-line catalogue." 
  • Isabel Brown, Chair of the Faculty Development Committee, announced that the list of faculty awarded Faculty Development Grants will be put on e-mail and a copy will be attached to the December faculty meeting minutes (see Attachment B). 
  • Ann Henderson, Registrar, announced that final grades will be due Friday, January 2, l998. 
  • Phyllis Roth, Dean of the Faculty, reported that FPPC and the Office of the Dean of Faculty will be mailing the new faculty salary analysis form for the current year next week. She announced that Douglas Huston, Professor of Physics will be retiring at the end of this semester and asked that he join us in May of l998 to be properly recognized with his fellow retirees, Daniel Balmuth, Professor of History; Jeffrey Elgin, Professor of Art; and Gus Lumia, Associate Professor of Psychology. She also announced that Robert DeSieno will be Acting Associate Dean of the Faculty in the spring, Pat Oles, Assistant to the Dean of the Faculty; and Susan Bender will be our new Associate Dean of Faculty beginning August l998. She expressed profound gratitude to Tadahisa Kuroda for his superb service as Associate Dean of the Faculty and requested that all join together at the Surrey to toast Tad. 

The President adjourned the meeting at 4:l8 p.m. 

Respectfully submitted, 


Renate Knapp
Executive Secretary
to the Dean of the Faculty