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

Faculty Meeting

September 7, 2007
Gannett Auditorium


President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:40 p.m. It was determined that the minutes from the last meeting, May 16, 2007, would be approved at the next meeting to be held on October 5, 2007.


President Glotzbach welcomed everyone back to campus, especially those who were new to campus. In his report, he mentioned the following:

• Skidmore’s Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery received a bomb threat earlier in the day. The threat was similar to those received at other colleges. Inspectors were called to inspect and clear the building. The unfortunate incident did disrupt preparation for the opening of the exhibit, Molecules that Matter, and other schedules in the morning; however, operations were back to normal by early afternoon. The Skidmore College Emergency Management Team’s Early Warning System worked as designed, although the Team decided that there was no need for emergency notices. President Glotzbach reminded everyone that the Emergency Early Warning System would be tested on Monday, September 10. Cell phone numbers need to be registered for the new emergency text messaging system, and he encouraged those who had not registered their numbers to do so as soon as possible.

• President Glotzbach stated the semester was off to a very good start and he asked Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Admissions, to give a report on the state of admissions. Dean Bates reported the following statistics for the new incoming class of 2011. First-year students totaling 650 arrived on campus on Sunday, September 3, 2007. An additional 38 are First-Year Semester in London Students. Students come from 37 states and 19 foreign countries. They were selected from an applicant pool of 6850, with the lowest overall acceptance rate in Skidmore’s history of 36 percent; 64 percent of them attended public high school; the remainder attended private or parochial institutions; 59 percent are women and 41 percent are men; and 34 percent of them were accepted and enrolled through Early Decision. They are the most diverse class in the College’s history: 160 students (23 percent) have identified themselves as students of color. Of 21 international students, 16 are students of color. Eleven percent of the Class of 2011 have family ties to the College. The median SAT score of the new students is 1250. Dean Bates provided additional information regarding students’ prior activities and interests. Dean Bates also introduced three new assistant directors in Admissions: Sarah Ireland, Peter Boston, and Dean Mendes. President Glotzbach acknowledged the notable team effort of the admissions staff as well as the work of members of the faculty who helped bring in such a strong class.

• President Glotzbach announced Skidmore’s newest endowed chair, The Tisch Family Distinguished Professorship. This represents a $3 million gift received over the summer from the Tisch family in honor of the 80th birthday of Wilma (Billie) Tisch '48 and member of the Board of Trustees. The purpose of the endowed chair is to recognize a distinguished faculty member from any discipline, whose extraordinary scholarship and teaching has had a significant impact on generations of Skidmore students. Preference for appointment shall be given to a senior faculty member who is noted as a leader in his or her academic field, an individual who has influenced his or her students’ thinking, values, and understanding of the world. A call for nominations will go out in due course.

• President Glotzbach asked Michael Casey, Vice President for Advancement, to give a Campaign update. Vice President Casey announced that the current Campaign total stands at $138,150,100.52. The Campaign goal is $200 million. Vice President Casey introduced Dan Forbush, Executive Director of Strategic Communications.

• President Glotzbach gave an update on the construction of the Zankel Center. The site work is mostly completed; the new parking lot is in place, but the final piece of construction funding remains to be achieved.

• President Glotzbach called attention to the Give More, Respect More, Skidmore campaign initiated by a group of first-year students in partnership with Student Affairs staff. This project was supported by the Intercultural and Global Understanding Task Force and was incorporated into the First-Year Orientation Program for new students.

• President Glotzbach also called attention to the new Molecules that Matter exhibit at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, co-curated by Ray Giguere and John Weber; he encouraged everyone to see the exhibit.

President Glotzbach welcomed all to the new academic year and turned the floor over to Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Kress.


Vice President Susan Kress said that it was a pleasure for her to see members of the faculty back on campus, and she welcomed both returning and new colleagues. She announced the promotions of Rajagopal Parthasarathy, Department of English, to Full Professor; John Cosgrove, Scribner Library, to Associate Access Services Librarian; and Denise McQuade, Department of Biology, to Senior Teaching Associate. Academic Affairs is looking into more effective ways of publicizing the ongoing achievements of faculty. Vice President Kress introduced Skidmore’s new STINT Professor, Sören Holst from the University of Stockholm, who will be teaching in the Department of Physics. She also introduced Robert V. Wells, Ph.D., the Chauncey H. Winters Professor of History and Social Science at Union College, as Skidmore’s Mellon Faculty Exchange Fellow. He will teach in the Department of History, and Jennifer Delton, Associate Professor in the Department of History, will teach at Union College as a Mellon Exchange Fellow. Although the Mellon grant money for the Faculty Exchange Program will run out this year, Skidmore hopes to partner with Union to continue the program.

Vice President Kress indicated that Academic Staff members at the August retreat addressed the theme of welcoming new members of the Skidmore community. She posed several questions: As we increase our numbers of new colleagues, how well prepared are we to open ourselves to difference, diversity, and change? How will we respond to friction and conflict? How well do we listen to new ideas—both in the classroom and in our departments and offices? What aspects of the Skidmore culture should be preserved and what aspects open to challenge and change? Members of Academic Affairs had been discussing what might be meant by an environment that enabled excellence, one that supports and sustains the best work of students, faculty, and staff. She said that an environment for excellence depends on the provision of academic space in which to do our work—as well as on the time to reflect thoughtfully upon that work and interact respectfully with one another. An environment for excellence also presumes that our communal work will be engaging, institutionally significant, and worth the time it requires of all of us. She pointed to some of the upcoming projects this year, all included in the Action Agenda: the literacies of our students, the support of faculty from orientation through retirement, the Zankel project, the report from the Special Programs Study Group, the Tang’s exhibits, and the Science Plan. She said Academic Affairs was also working on a structure for Assessment and expected a dynamic culture of assessment to invigorate all our projects and plans. Vice President Kress concluded her report by acknowledging the work of both Academic Staff and of the Vice President for Academic Affairs Staff.; she also expressed her gratitude to the members of President’s Cabinet.


Dean Muriel Poston thanked all those faculty members who engaged in summer advising, who met with students for academic advising and mentoring during orientation, and who participated in orientation. She acknowledged and thanked the following: Beau Breslin and his staff in the Office of the First-Year Experience Program; Michael Ennis-McMillan and his staff in the Dean of Studies Office; Pat Oles and his staff in Student Affairs; and the staff in Facilities. Dean Poston welcomed back from leave 33 faculty members and she welcomed new faculty colleagues as identified on the list of new faculty distributed at the meeting (see Attachment A). Dean Poston introduced Bill Tomlinson, Director of Sponsored Research, and encouraged all faculty interested in seeking external funding to contact him for further information and opportunities. Dean Poston announced the appointment of Skidmore’s first Director of Intercultural Studies, Winston Grady-Willis who will, in January, join the Department of American Studies as a tenure-track faculty member. Dean Poston thanked the Dean of Faculty staff for their work organizing the New Faculty Orientation activities over the coming year. A flyer of New Faculty Sessions as well as Pedagogy Workshops was provided at the meeting (see Attachment B).

The Dean of Faculty’s Office will be working with science faculty this year to develop a science plan which is the next iteration of the 2004 White Paper. A retreat will be held on October 6 for all faculty in the sciences and faculty who are interested in the sciences. Dean Poston acknowledged Associate Dean Mark Hofmann and the participating faculty for a very successful faculty/student summer research program. Over 40 students across the academic disciplines participated, double the number that participated last year. A Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series has been instituted; the inaugural address will be given by Dr. Rita Colwell on Wednesday, September 12. Information regarding other speakers is provided on a handout (see Attachment C). Dean Poston encouraged faculty to invite students and colleagues to attend.

New programs that have been proposed include Arts Management and Critical Media Studies. There are a number of tenure-track searches as well as program reviews scheduled for this year. Dean Poston concluded by welcoming new and returning faculty and wishing them the best for the upcoming year.


Interim Dean Jeff Segrave also welcomed everyone and reported a splendidly successful summer operation. Dean Segrave acknowledged those who help run the summer programs: Campus Safety, Health Services, Facility Services, Dining Services, Media Services, the Card Office, and others. Over the summer, there were 2,800 participants in Special Programs of whom 2,400 were on campus. There were about 1,500 commuters who attended various programs. There were 73 campus events with a total attendance of 9,500. The Jazz Institute celebrated its 20th anniversary. Regis Brodie was honored with a 40th anniversary retrospective. Special Programs also contributed to the very successful ArtsFest. Dean Segrave provided other details regarding notable presentations and performances over the course of the summer. The Special Programs Study Group has almost completed its report and plans to submit it to Vice President Kress shortly. The 27th Annual Survey of Liberal Arts for Mature Adults will happen this fall.


Associate Professor Dan Curley, Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) Chair, reminded everyone that a schedule of committee elections would be distributed in the near future. An emergency election for both the Curriculum Committee and CAFR for one member each would be conducted shortly.

Associate Professor Curley, on behalf of FEC, made a motion regarding Athletics Council:

MOTION: The Faculty Executive Committee moves that the function and membership statements for the Athletic Council in the Faculty Handbook (Part Two, Article II, Section F, number 12) be amended. The full motion was read into the record (see Attachment D).

The motion, having come from the committee, required no second. Motions on matters of policy are required to lie over one meeting; therefore, this motion will lie over until the October 5, 2007 meeting.


Campus Environment Committee: Senior Teaching Associate, Sue Van Hook on behalf of the committee, reported on Skidmore’s participation in Focus the Nation (, a national program established by Eban Goodstein, a former Economics Professor at Skidmore. Sue provided an overview of the organization’s purpose. A culminating event will focus on global warming, with the hope of having a national conversation about climate change on one day: January 31, 2008. Local author of Big Coal, Jeff Goodell, will be the keynote speaker at Skidmore. Kirsten Gillibrand will also speak that day. Three themes have been developed for on-campus implementation: recycling, energy, and food. Professor Van Hook concluded by announcing that an all-College meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 19, 2007, 4:45-6:00 p.m. in the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater.


President Glotzbach advised that this is the third year of the Strategic Plan. Further work on review and assessment of the progress to date will be incorporated in another version of a Strategic Action Agenda.

John Weber gave a short synopsis of the upcoming agenda at the Tang. He encouraged faculty to pick up the promotional materials provided at the meeting and to incorporate the exhibits and shows into their curriculum.

President Glotzbach invited everyone to Scribner House for the Community Reception.

The meeting concluded at 4:50 p.m.
Minutes submitted by:
Colleen M. Kelly,
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs