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


SEPTEMBER 13, 2002


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


A motion was made by President Studley to approve the May 15, 2002 Faculty Meeting minutes. The motion was seconded and passed with all in favor.


President Studley opened the first faculty meeting for the 2002-03 academic year by giving a warm and sincere welcome to all new faculty and staff. She observed that even though everyone was already deep into classes, committees, and projects, the meeting, greeting, and finding each other after the summer was not at all diminished by this year’s later date for the first faculty meeting.

President Studley then remarked that she wanted to concentrate on celebration and on recognition. The summer season was one of remarkable faculty scholarship, recognition, and reflection of excellence. Student accomplishments to think about include Kelly Sullivan’s Fulbright Scholarship to Ireland for creative writing and Justin Rogers-Cooper’s presentation at Skidmore’s 9/11 ceremony.

Continuing on, President Studley, noted that Skidmore has recruited another talented class enabling a continued feeling of satisfaction. Mary Lou Bates just sent out the new admissions data via e-mail. What stands out is that Skidmore recruited a class that is higher in academic talent than ever before. SAT scores went up 20 points. Skidmore, however, relies on internal measures to judge the academic ability of the people that we are considering for admission that will contribute to Skidmore’s depth. This makes a huge difference in the classroom and the work students do with faculty.

President Studley referred to US News and World Report, which announced its results to schools on September 11th and to the world on Friday the 13th.   She mentioned a piece that she wrote called A Love/Hate Relationship that reflects her views on rankings. Continuing on with statistics from the aforementioned report, President Studley announced that Skidmore ranked 41 and is tied in the rankings with Furman University and Rhodes College. Skidmore was ranked 42 last year and 47 the year before. One piece of that ranking that President Studley noted is worth a point of pride is the element that measures "distance traveled." The report looks at the entering characteristics of a class in terms of SAT scores and uses that to predict what the graduation rate of that group would be. The report then considers the actual graduation rate and measures the difference. Skidmore has a +12 in that category, indicating that we do more to move people along to graduation at the highest rate of any school in the top 50.

President Studley further remarked that there are many other wonderful things happening. Pedagogy workshops sound fascinating for this semester. There are records in Annual Fund, Parent Fund, and Reunion giving that Michael Casey will present. Parent and Senior Class funds experienced record participation as well.

President Studley expressed satisfaction that The Plan for Skidmore: Excellence and Community is in place. The Trustees approved the plan on May 3 and Skidmore’s central priorities have been established. Skidmore is moving forward to enhance academic quality and faculty/student interaction, to attract and challenge the most talented, motivated, and diverse students, and to strengthen the sense of community and acts of citizenship at the College. Regarding academic rigor, Skidmore is sending a very strong message about high standards of excellence. President Studley noted that the conversation about diversity, which is very important to her, flows through every element of what Skidmore is trying to accomplish. The vice presidents and the deans are responsible for implementing the goals above and will be working in concert with the governance system, the committees, and where appropriate, receiving input, support, and advice from other members of the community as needed, to go forward with those commitments.

President Studley explained that the Institutional Policy Committee, IPC, is charged with "strategic, tactical, and environmental planning for educational, financial, and co-curricular affairs." IPC will carry a great deal of responsibility for following and advising on the process of implementation, working with the members of President’s Staff, and in choice-making as Skidmore identifies its opportunities and determines how to best use its resources. IPC’s first meeting is on Tuesday and it will receive status reports on the implementation of the various elements of the plan and then will develop its agenda for the year.

There are several other issues which the college is considering in characteristically serious fashion. President Studley mentioned Athletics, particularly the ARC report; a review of LS1; and other issues such as assessment of student learning and student aid. President Studley expressed her appreciation to those who worked on these planning pieces.

It is the President’s opinion that Skidmore is doing all of this in a context that has become more complicated, observing that once again, talk of war is part of our daily lives. President Studley noted that the economic environment has also become more complicated. In the recent past, Skidmore has been protected from realities of the economy as the result of good fund raising, good enrollment, good fortune, good management, good investing, and very powerful traditions of penny pinching and going the extra mile. Skidmore closed the '02 fiscal year in the black as it has done for 24 years in a row, and is committed to continuing to do so, but the challenge is greater each year. Skidmore will continue to match expenses to resources. As Skidmore adapts to financial changes, there are three things President Studley can promise: The goals set for Skidmore will remain the same, even if the pace of progress depends on our resources. It is more important that our resources go into things that matter the most. Second, when Skidmore needs to make adjustments, a look across the entire College will be taken to make the smartest adjustments. Third, administration will work closely with FPPC and IPC in their respective arenas to make the wisest possible choices.

President Studley then extended a special thank you to Larry Opitz for agreeing to serve as parliamentarian.

In closing, President Studley mentioned the use of faculty meetings over the year. She and Dean Joseph have an open invitation for suggestions for agenda items or practices and processes to help make the time most useful. She would appreciate suggestions for what is covered, what questions can be answered, from whom faculty would like to hear, and what else can be done to make these meetings constructive and successful.


Dean Chuck Joseph opened with welcoming everyone back and hoped everyone’s summer was good. He then continued with introductions of new staff.

Ray Rodrigues joined Skidmore as new Director of Assessment. Ray is now settled on the fourth floor of the Library and will be working directly with Sarah Goodwin, Associate Dean of the Faculty, also with department chairs and program directors, and other faculty in various efforts over the next three years to help us evaluate how Skidmore is doing.

Dean Joseph also introduced the new Executive Secretary for the Dean of Faculty’s Office, Colleen Sleezer. She is responsible for Dean Joseph’s calendar, for Faculty Minutes, for working with Dean Joseph and the Board of Trustees regarding academic affairs, and for all faculty contracts.

Finally, Dean Joseph introduced Sarah Goodwin. Dean Joseph stated that he has asked Dean Goodwin to take on considerable duties this year largely dealing with department chairs, program directors, and faculty and also for overseeing several major projects associated with the Dean of Faculty’s Office. Two of the major projects include pedagogy and new faculty orientation. Dean Goodwin has enlisted the help of two very loyal citizens, Susan Kress for pedagogy and Susan Walzer for new faculty orientation. Since Dean Goodwin works with new faculty, Dean Joseph passed to her the honor of introducing Skidmore’s new faculty and welcoming back members returning from sabbatical.

Dean Goodwin began by reminding everyone that Ray Rodrigues is here thanks to a significant grant from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation and that everyone should take advantage of this while Ray is here at Skidmore.

Dean Goodwin welcomed a number of faculty back from sabbatical leaves. (See Attachment A.)

Dean Goodwin then welcomed all new faculty asking that as they were introduced for each person to stand so that everyone could identify them. (See Attachment B.)

Dean Joseph then continued, commenting that it was wonderful to see new colleagues joining us with such wonderful ideas and topics. He announced that the minutes from Academic Staff will be posted from the Dean of Faculty web page as soon as possible after meetings. It is the hope that chairs and program directors will be discussing at least part of the Academic Staff meetings with their departments.

Dean Joseph then advised that the Athletics Review Committee report was posted on the web. The year-long process, co-chaired by Greg Pfitzer from American Studies and Dean of the Faculty Emeritus Eric Weller resulted in an extremely thorough and informative report. Greg Pfitzer made note that the report is rather lengthy and actually could have been two or three times as long. However, the report construes athletics very broadly, which includes recreational athletics, club and intramural athletics, and a whole series of health, wellness, and fitness programs. The primary concern is about synergy between intercollegiate athletics and the academic mission of the college. Professor Pfitzer will take questions and suggestions.

Professor Pfitzer reminded Dean Goodwin that a new faculty member had been overlooked in her introduction. Dean Goodwin then introduced Jerry Philogene and announced her credentials and accomplishments. (See Attachment A.)

Dean Joseph announced that the Gender Equity Committee had been appointed as a result of the ARC charge. Last year, Skidmore commissioned an external consultant to gather information and report back to Athletic Council. Dean Joseph has asked the following people to serve on the Gender Equity subgroup of Athletic Council to review the report and institute recommendations: Phyllis Roth as Chair; Beverly Becker, Professor Emerita of Physical Education; Amy Gilchrist, Class of '03; PatyRubio, Director of Women’s Studies; Phil Boshoff, Athletic Review Committee; Greg Pfitzer, Co-chair, ARC; Viviana Rangil representing Athletic Council; Jeff Segrave (ex officio), Interim Director of Athletics; Jack Ling, Director of the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action; and Nancy Bruno, Assistant Director of Employment & Compensation. Dean Joseph looks forward to receiving information and working with the subgroup over the course of this semester.

Dean Joseph continued by announcing two major priorities for his term: academic rigor and the interaction of faculty with students. Both the Student Cultures Report and the Admitted Students Questionnaire have given us pause to think about what our relationship is in terms of student interactions; are we doing the best job that we can; are our expectations high enough; and more elusively, what can we do about that?  Dean Joseph also mentioned that he has had conversations with Pat Oles. Regarding the role of a faculty member, how faculty should intercede, should faculty intrude, how aggressive or assertive should faculty be in dealing with students in ways that transcend the actual subject matter itself. Dean Joseph expressed his view that this is part of a larger issue, of academic vision, which he hopes to address this year with the help of CEPP. Academic Staff has instructed Dean Joseph to create a vision which Academic Staff can help refine and enhance.

Dean Joseph made a few comments about some snapshots of some faculty accomplishments just over the last few months. He pointed out that he had a terrific time reading annual reports and discovering how beautifully the faculty performs in so many different ways. Even since the reports came in over the summer months, things that have happened since then are really very impressive. Dean Joseph hopes that the faculty can rejoice in each other’s accomplishments and collectively and communally understand that for every book that comes across his desk or every grant that is received, it really speaks volumes about what this faculty is doing as a group. Dean Joseph cited several outstanding accomplishments representative of the campus: Mary Stange continues to write and had a wonderful essay in the Chronicle; Katherine Davis’s new novel has kept Skidmore center stage with rave reviews for her work in the New York Times Book Review and The New Yorker; Sheldon Solomon, who shared some remarks with us on 9/11, has written a new book dealing with 9/11 and the consequences of that; and Jennifer Delton, whose new book entitled Making Minnesota Liberal, has already been making waves nationally as evinced by several wonderful reviews.

In addition to wonderful books, courses, and web-based instruction, Dean Joseph called attention to two recent grants. The first being Paul Arciero’s grant from Experimental and Applied Sciences Incorporated located in Golden, Colorado. Denise Smith said a few words in Paul’s absence regarding the two programs that are being followed and how they work.

The second grant Dean Joseph announced is from the Educational Foundation of America which provided funds for the Expanding Horizons Program. The program is young but has reached out to many in this community as well as reaching beyond the community. This is a program which is very consonant with the goals of the Strategic Plan. Ruth Andrea Levinson spearheaded this three-year grant with help from Stephanie Van Allen from Foundation and Corporate Relations.

Ruth Andrea Levinson spoke about Expanding Horizons, the institutional, K-16 partnership with Schuylerville Central School District. New this year, Schuylerville High School is instituting structural changes to offer after-school courses for junior high and senior high students. There may be opportunities for students to try some teaching and lesson planning. There will be an invitation going out to faculty for luncheon and workshop at the Tang where Expanding Horizon projects will be discussed. She also pointed out that there is staff and financial support available for efforts to add a service learning component to classes. As a final note, Ruth Andrea stated that there is a responsibility of the principal investigator in research grants to disseminate information to a broader community and to educate others in society at large about research findings, so this might also be another opportunity for faculty to use this partnership. Dean Joseph continued by mentioning the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery and alluded to the publicity it has received in the New York Times, the Boston Globe or the New Yorker. Much of this is due directly to Charlie Stainback, Dayton Director of the Tang.

Charlie Stainback advised that big things are in the making. He gave credit and thanked: Ian Berry, Tang Curator; Suzi Kerr; Gayle King; and Chris Kobuski, and the rest of the Tang staff. He also thanked his colleagues here at Skidmore who have helped, in particular: Sue Bender, Sarah Goodwin, Chuck Joseph, all the people in Michael Casey’s office including, Tracy Barlok and Mary Jo Driscoll who helped raise the money to make the Sonnabend show possible. The Tang will be opening five exhibitions between now and the end of October. Charlie announced the various exhibits that will be installed: Théodore Coulombe and Alan Krathaus, The Journeys of Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne; The Tumultuous Fifties: A View from the New York Times Photo Archives; Opener 2: Paul Henry Ramirez: Elevatious Transcendsualistic and in conjunction with that installation Deb Fernandez and the dance students will be doing a special performance on November 16; Public Lecture–John Tytel entitled, Paradise Outlaws: Remembering the Beats; Fred Wilson, Objects and Installations, 1985 – 2000; Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress; Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue 1961-2001; Opener 3: Nayland Blake: Some Kind of Love, Performance Video 1989-2002. The Sonnabend show is still open for another couple weeks and Charlie encourages all to attend.  Dean Joseph thanked all members of the community who have helped in so many ways. The grounds are beautiful and Skidmore appears to be moving forward in the right direction. Dean Joseph shared that it is an honor to represent the faculty.


Michael Casey, Vice President of Advancement, expressed that this has been a wonderful year. Postcards were handed out to attendees at the beginning of the meeting, and Michael explained that the piece was something that Advancement sends out to all of Skidmore’s donors to give them a quick snapshot of what happened in the year just past. Advancement had the best year ever in the Annual Fund by raising $4.2 million and there were more donors than ever before. It was a fabulous year for the Parents Fund, raising almost $600,000. A new program just started two years ago, Senior Parent Initiative, in which 60 percent or 3/5ths of the parents of the senior class participated. Eighty-one percent or 4/5ths of students gave to the Annual Fund for the Senior Class Gift which was another new record. Michael feels that PR and getting our name out there is very important to this institution and the 70 articles in which Skidmore was a major focus
in the national media enhanced this.

Michael continued to explain the consequences of the current challenging economic climate. Most donors are expressing that they do want to support Skidmore, but not now or over a longer period of time. Michael then shared a letter of thanks from Beverly Harrison Miller '67, Chair of the Alumni Association and Louis and Joyce Adolfsen, Co-Chairs of the Parents Council expressing the importance of us all working together. (Text from the letter was read – see Attachment C.)

Michael Casey then introduced Gerry Schorin, new Director of Strategic Communications, pointing out that he has extensive for-profit and non-profit experience, and announced his credentials and accomplishments. Gerry’s office is located with the College Relations staff.


Don McCormack advised that his staff felt that this was the best summer Skidmore has ever had. Public events in the evening usually attract approximately 5,000 to 6,000 people from the community. This year, attendance was close to 10,000 people. Financial figures will be presented at the February board report and Don hopes that Special Programs will break the $400,000 mark in profits this year. One of the problems encountered during the summer was that some events were over-attended and they had to turn people away. This year was the 30th anniversary for Summer Six, 15th anniversary for the Jazz and Writer’s Institute, 15th anniversary for dance. The Harlem Boys Choir’s three weeks at Skidmore were the most successful ever with about 4,000 tickets purchased which is about 481 more than last year. The concert was wonderful. Don conveyed thanks to all of his staff for their hard work and effort.


Karl Broekhuizen, Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer, introduced Ismat Alam as new Director of Financial Services, and announced her credentials and accomplishments. She succeeds Phil Cifarelli. Karl hopes that shortly the auditors will have completed their fieldwork relative to the financial statements for last fiscal year.


Andy Kirschenbaum, new president of the Student Government Association, reviewed the goals of the association. Many of the students’ goals resonate with what he heard at today’s meeting. He mentioned various reports that are out: ARC, Course Survey, Student Life Survey on Diversity. Andy pointed out that students are really looking to build a stronger community. The motto for this year is, Many Voices, One Community. Andy’s first goal is to encourage people to bring people together more. The second part of the goal is in academic rigor and he hopes that Dean Joseph follows through with the vision in the Strategic Plan.  Andy then introduced some of the SGA officers for this year: Scott Minkoff who is the Vice President of Residential Life; Jenny Detterman, Vice President of Communications; and Marissa Aquila, Vice President of Financial Affairs. Two spots remain open, one of which is Academic Affairs. Andy then made note that all chairs of departments who have not e-mailed Andy the names of student representative for their department, please do so as soon as possible.

President Studley commented that President’s Staff and the SGA leadership had dinner about 10 days ago and it’s clear that it will be a very productive and engaging season working with SGA. President Studley then turned to Gove’s presentation about Faculty Handbook amendments.


Gove Effinger, Chair of the Committee on Faculty Governance, made a motion on behalf of CFG to move for the adoption of the 2002-03 Faculty Handbook. As it comes from the committee, no second is required. It is deliberative and, therefore, held over. This will give everyone a month to review it and make sure that everything was done correctly. Everyone should have received a copy of the Faculty Handbook, it is also on the web, and the list of changes is on the web as well. The work was done entirely by Mark Huibregtse and Chris McGill and many thanks to them. Adoption of the 2002-03 Faculty Handbook will lay over to the October meeting for a vote. (See Attachment D.)

Gove further explained that CFG has suggested to the administration and they have concurred that it would be good to put into the regular schedule occasional faculty-only discussion meetings. These will be meetings that are open only to teaching faculty and the agenda will be set as the time comes nearer by members of the faculty. There have been two scheduled for this coming year. The first one will be November 15th. By formalizing this, it is hoped that they’ll be able to have the kinds of fruitful discussions that were had on several occasions last year.

Gove subsequently mentioned that there are four rounds of elections coming up during the year. Round one is coming very soon and CFG asks all faculty to give serious consideration for serving on these committees. Gove reminded everyone that service to the college is part of faculty’s job, part of what they’re paid to do. He asked that everyone should give serious consideration to serve on CAPT, CEPP, Curriculum Committee, Committee for Admissions and Student Aid, and the review of librarians.

President Studley then pointed out that a new tradition was started at Convocation this year by inviting the winner of the Ralph A. Ciancio Award for Excellence in Teaching to be the main speaker. President Studley announced that Skidmore would now initiate a tradition of honoring the Ciancio award winner at the New Faculty and Staff reception held at Scribner House which traditionally follows the first faculty meeting. This year's recipient of the Ciancio Award is Carolyn Anderson. President Studley made note that Ralph Ciancio, John Anzalone, and Carolyn Anderson, have made profound contributions toward what it means to excel in teaching, and that is also true of Susan Kress in the Class of 1948 Chair for Excellence in Teaching. She also
pointed out that throughout the room there are people who excel at teaching every single day and new faculty who one day will be Ciancio Award winners themselves.

President Studley then extended the invitation to join her and her husband at Scribner House.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:12 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Colleen M. Sleezer
Executive Secretary
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
and Dean of the Faculty