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


May l, l998


President Porter called the meeting to order at 3:36 p.m.


President Porter announced a revision to the April 3, l998 faculty meeting minutes: on page 2, under Reports, the report on the presidential search should read: "Murray Levith, for the Presidential Search Committee, reported that the Search Committee has finalized the position description for the new president. He asked all who wished to submit nominations to do so; the deadline is May l, l998."


The President reported that Harry Quadracci, former member of the Board and parent of a Skidmore graduate, and Arthur Zankel, member of the Board of Trustees and parent of two Skidmore graduates, have each pledged to fund an endowed chair to Skidmore College. We may have further information at the next meeting. The President added that this brings us to a total of eight chairs against our goal of ten chairs for the campaign.

Dr. Porter reported that deliberations on the part of the Board of Trustees at its upcoming meeting will include an up date on for the Tang Museum and action on the FY ’99 budget.

David Porter reported that he had sent a memo to the College community regarding the smoking policy. He said while everyone agreed on the negative aspects of smoking, there were also the issues of choice and the importance of honoring the opinions of the different campus constituencies. We will continue to work on this issue.

President Porter announced that we are closing in on our target of 575 students for the Class of 2002.

The President announced that Joseph Tolliver, Dean of Student Affairs, has accepted another position at Haverford College and expressed his gratitude to Dean Tolliver for the wonderful job he has done at Skidmore.


Vasantha Narasimhan, for the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG), presented the following motion that has lain over since the April 3, l998 faculty meeting:


The committee on Faculty Governance moves that for the following committees, the membership descriptions in Part II, Faculty Governance, be changed to allow library faculty who are in their seventh or subsequent year to stand for election or appointment as equivalents to tenured faculty. 

In each case the words, "or library faculty who are in their seventh or subsequent year" will be inserted when the committee membership specifies that "x number tenured" faculty are members of the committee. In addition, where committee membership specifies a certain number of untenured faculty, the language will be changed to read, "untenured teaching faculty or library faculty in their first six years….

For example: Committee on Faculty Governance

Membership: six faculty members elected to serve three-year terms, at least two of whom are tenured or are library faculty in their seventh or subsequent year….

The committees to which this motion applies are: CAFR, CEPP, CFG, Curriculum, FPPC, and IPC. Excluded are CAPT, CAPT Review, and Tenure Review Board, and the Tenure Appeal Committee" (see Attachment B of the April 3, l998 faculty meeting minutes). 

Thomas Denny made the following friendly amendment:


The CFG moves that for the following committees, the membership descriptions in Part II, Faculty Governance, be changed to allow Library faculty OR ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE who are in their seventh or subsequent year to stand for election or appointment as equivalents to tenured faculty.

In each case the words, "or library faculty OR ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE who are in their seventh or subsequent" will be inserted when the committee membership specifies that "x number tenured" faculty are members of the committee. In addition, where committee membership specifies a certain number of untenured faculty, the language will be changed to read, "untenured teaching faculty, or library faculty OR ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE in their first six years….." For example: CFG (see Attachment A). 

Vasantha Narasimhan, for the Committee on Faculty Governance, accepted the friendly amendment.

The faculty discussed the fact that there must be a reason why the criteria for service stipulates that "tenured faculty" must serve on these committees. CFG decided that the reason for having tenured faculty is because of their experience; it’s the experience that is important not the tenure. Peggy Seiden reminded everyone that when the library went off tenure track, it was understood that the librarians would have the experience and the right to serve on committees as equals to tenured faculty. Other faculty argued that if we say there is no difference between tenure and a structured contract system, we are putting ourselves in a position of jeopardy. We should not make procedures without considering the possibility of a different administration that may retaliate against a faculty member who speaks out.

Dean Roth pointed out that "if this motion is defeated that does not mean that library faculty, or Artists-in Residence cannot serve on committees; it simply means that they cannot be elected as if they were tenured faculty. The issue is not excluding people for committee service."

This motion was voted on and defeated

Grace Burton, Chair of the Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure (CAPT) made the following three motions which had lain over since the April 3, l998:

MOTION #3: Part I, Section IV.B will be amended as follows (changes in bold and with deletions bracketed): 

Visiting Instructor: appointments to the Position of Visiting Instructor will be made with the understanding that appointees must receive their doctorates or the equivalent terminal degree by [August l5] October l5 following their second year at Skidmore in order to move onto tenure track-lines. By May l in the second year of service such appointees must show evidence that the degree is or will be completed by [August l5] October l5. If this condition is met, the department shall determine whether or not the appointee should be offered a tenure-track position. Neither professional accomplishment beyond the completion of the terminal degree nor community service shall be applied as criteria in this decision. Appointees who fail to complete the degree by [August l5] October l5 following their second year shall receive contracts for a third and terminal year at the College. Exceptions to this date may be granted when the Dean of the Faculty judges there are procedural circumstances beyond the candidate’s control (see Attachment C of the April 3, l998 faculty meeting minutes).

This motion was voted on and carried.

MOTION #l: Part I of the Faculty Handbook will be amended to include the following as Part I, Section X.A.l.b.: By March l5 the Dean of the Faculty shall provide Department Chairs with a list of faculty in their departments who have been at the rank of Associate Professor for seven years or more (see Attachment C of the April 3 faculty meeting minutes). 

This motion was voted on and carried.

MOTION #2: Part I, Section X.A.2.c. will be deleted and replaced with the following (changes in bold): For the rank of Professor, the appropriate terminal degree (or its professional equivalent) normally is required. Promotion to this rank shall be granted to faculty who have shown continuing excellence in teaching (or, in the case of library faculty, librarianship); distinguished achievement attesting to further growth in scholarly, creative or professional work; and significant involvement in the affairs of the College. [Continuing involvement in the affairs of the College, also expected, is considered supportive of the two principal criteria.] 

Part I, Section V.A. will be amended as follows (changes in bold). 

Decisions to reappoint, promote, or tenure faculty members at Skidmore are based on the quality of their credentials in three areas: performance as teachers, achievement as scholars or artists, and contribution to the welfare of the college community beyond the classroom. Teaching of high quality is paramount, the primary criterion for retention or advancement; no degree of excellence in scholarship or artistic achievement, no record of unusual productivity will compensate for unsatisfactory teaching. Yet high-quality teaching is but one of [two principal] three criteria, and alone will not suffice. Skidmore seeks to develop and retain first-rate teacher-scholars whose professional achievements beyond teaching demonstrate a will and capacity to make significant contributions to the arts or to learning in the appropriate filed. (In addition) Skidmorealso expects faculty members to assume responsibilility for the common life of the institution in ways that are commensurate with their interests and roles and with the institution’s purpose. [Though community service is not a central criterion for reappointment, promotion, or tenure, Skidmore deems it a necessary one, given the conditions and the consequences of teaching at a small liberal arts college.] (See Attachment C attached to the April 3 faculty meeting minutes.) 

This motion was voted on and carried.


Penny Jolly, reporting for the CEPP Subcommittee on Standards and Expectation, introduced Jon Ramsey to clarify some policies relating to standards and expectations. Dr. Ramsey explained that his office provided a broad range of services to the students in an effort to help students succeed. He said that there are only a small number of students who have difficulties serious enough to disqualify themselves from continuing at Skidmore. (see Attachment D)

Vasantha Narasimhan, for the Curriculum committee, announced that the Curriculum Committee has approved a proposal from the Department of Physical Education and Dance to change the department’s name to the Department of Exercise Science, Dance, and Athletics. This change still needs to be approved by the New York State Department of Education.

Peggy Seiden, Chair of CFG, announced that CFG is changing the membership of IRC: 

The membership statement in Part III, Number 7, of the Faculty Handbook will now read as follows:

Membership: Four faculty members, two elected and twoappointed by the CFG in consultation with the Dean of the Faculty, to serve staggered four-year terms; two students selected by SGA; the Dean of the Faculty, who will serve as Chair; the Vice President for Business Affairs; the College Librarian; the Director of the Center for information Technology Services (CITS); the Director of Institutional Research. 

Deleted from the statement is the following: "The Director of Media Services. The Assistant to the President sits on the council as an observer." (See Attachment C.) 

This is informational only; it does not need to be voted on by the faculty. 

Robert DeSieno, reporting for the Information Resource Council, reported on some of the items on IRC’s agenda over the last few months. IRC conducted a survey and learned that the faculty are using information technology widely and in depth. CEPP has issued a statement supporting enriching the educational experience of students with the use of information technology; however, CEPP was reluctant to go too far in terms of its endorsements feeling that it did not want to encroach upon faculty choice. IRC is assessing the effectiveness and design of the support of information technology on the campus that was touched on by the Hawkins Report. This report said that the campus has done quite well in terms of its deployment of technology and the uses of it for teaching and learning. IRC is also continually assessing the college’s investment in information technology. We have consulted with IPC about this and the general conclusion is that that investment has been a good one and the circumstances that it brings to the campus are valuable for the faculty, for the students and for the staff.

Professor DeSieno said that another item that will be increasingly important has to do with the working relationships between Scribner Library and CITS as the technology becomes more and more important in Scribner and a greater challenge to CITS. He also said that the issue of intellectual property rights is currently on the agenda of the council. It is clear that the council will have to spend some time learning more about this and will need to communicate more with the faculty about the opportunities and risks in this matter. He pointed out that the backing up of data is another concern. Enormous quantities of data are stored throughout the campus and some of it is at risk because it is not being backed up. At this point, there is no policy that we can turn to for guidance. Professor DeSieno said that the college has made a very substantial investment in enhancing the management of the database for the college which will influence the way we do things, particularly as it influences registration for students. He reported that IRC now plays a role with regard to the development of budgeting for information technology. Equipping classrooms with information technology to support teaching and learning is another area in which IRC is involved. It’s clear from conversations with the Registrar that the faculty are embracing the use of technology for that purpose and the question remains how rapidly should we continue to add technology to classrooms. The council is continually considering ways to restructure itself so that it operates as effectively as possible, to recommend policy and sustain effective communications with all constituencies on the campus.


  • Isabel Brown, for Faculty Development Committee, announced that the names of the recipients of the Faculty Development grant for the period of June l to December 3l, l998 will be attached to the minutes as well as be sent on email (see Attachment D).
  • Phyllis Roth, Dean of the Faculty, thanked the faculty who have served as Chairs and Acting Chairs during the past year:

Terry Diggory, Director of Liberal Studies, to be replaced by Joanna Zangrando.
Sheldon Solomon, will be continuing for another year to direct Liberal Studies I.
John Anzalone, Chair of the Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures, to be replaced by Guiseppe Faustini.
Rajagopal Parthasarathy, Director of Asian Studies, to be replaced by Rob Linrothe.
Mary Stange, Women Studies Program, to be replaced by Kate Berheide for at least one year.
Tom Schmeling is leaving Skidmore and Pat Oles will be directing Law and Society for next year.
Ken Johnson, Environmental Studies Program, to be replaced by Judy Halstead.
Doretta Miller, Chair of Art and Art History, to be replaced by Peter Stake. 

She thanked Acting Chairs, Roy Meyers, Susan Kress, Mary Lynn, Joel Smith, Hugh Foley, and Robert DeSieno for assuming the role of Acting Associate Dean of the Faculty. The Dean announced that Susan Bender will be the new Associate Dean of the Faculty and that Pat Oles has been replaced by Jackie Azzarto as Director of the Social Work Program, effective spring l998. The Dean expressed gratitude to Jonathan Kingdon for his service to the College and reported that we will have two distingquished fellows in the arts and science next year, Felice Frankel in the fall and Ellen Levy in the spring. Chris McGill is producing a web page work-in-progress and you can already find a good bit of information on Felice and Ellen.

Phyllis Roth thanked Tom Schmeling, Lisa George, Tom Hanson, Lewis Rosengarten, Pat Akard, Rula Abisaab, Susan Hiner, Carol Feidler, Don Mandigo for their work of a varying number of years but invaryingly high quality and deep commitment to Skidmore in a number of important capacities. She announced that Peg Seiden will be leaving the College and thanked her for her service. She thanked Kathryn Gallien and Ann Hockenos and other members of the staff for getting together the retirement citations.

She announced that Dan Balmuth has been at the College for forty years not thirty as written in the citation.

Grace Burton read the following resolution:

BE IT RESOLVED: The faculty of Skidmore college expresses its profound appreciation and admiration for the following members of the Skidmore Faculty who have this year expressed their determination to retire. The faculty further resolves that the following biographical highlights be included in the minutes of the faculty meeting of May l, l998—as recognition and celebration of distinguished service and achievement (see Attachment E).

The retirees, Jeffrey Elgin, Douglas Houston, Kei Bok Lee, Gus Lumia (not present) Daniel Balmuth (not present) and Norman Stokle were presented with a gift.

Approved by acclamation.

  • Phyllis Roth introduced Claire Demarest who will be replacing Rennie Knapp in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty and then expressed her appreciation to Rennie Knapp for her years of service to the Dean of the Faculty.
  • Christine Hoek, Vice President for Development and Alumni, invited everyone to attend the reception at the Surrey to honor the retirees, sponsored by her office"as a gesture of appreciation for your support of our campaign."

The President adjourned the meeting at 5 p.m. 

Respectfully submitted,


Renate Knapp
Executive Secretary
in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty