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


October 7, 2011
Gannett Auditorium


President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:33 p.m.


President Glotzbach announced minor changes to the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held September 9, 2011 that were previously distributed (a correction to a reference to Lincoln’s inaugural address). He asked if there were any further corrections to, or comments regarding, the minutes; hearing none, he announced the minutes, as amended, were approved.


President Glotzbach reported that Professor Mark Huibregtse has agreed to serve as parliamentarian this semester.

Dean of Student Affairs. Rochelle Calhoun, Dean of Student Affairs, introduced Josh Cupp, Head Golf Coach; Lollie Abramson, Coordinator for Jewish Student Life; Jamin Totino, Acting Director of the Opportunity Program; Brian Woods, Academic Counselor; Subhan Ali, Primary Designated School Official for international students and faculty; and Deborah Loffredo, Director of Career Services.


There was no report from the Vice President for Academic Affairs.


Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Degrees. Associate Professor Caroline D’Abate read the following resolution into the record (see attached):

RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Master of Arts degree to one student.

There was no discussion, and the motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.


On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Associate Professor Barbara Black provided an update on the adoption of the 2011-2012 Faculty Handbook. The motion to approve the 2011-2012 Faculty Handbook will be brought back for a vote at the November meeting.


Parental Leave Policy

Susan Kress, Vice President for Academic Affairs, introduced the following Motion:

RESOLVED, that the Faculty Parental Leave Policy in the Faculty Handbook, Part Four, III, be revised (see attached for full details of the policy).

VP Kress briefly explained the provisions of the new policy, which was developed by Muriel Poston, Paty Rubio, Kathy Carter and David Spokowski. Discussion was held concerning the policy as follows:

  • A concern was raised that the new policy seems to assume that child care cannot be shared equally between parents and that both parents cannot share the responsibility of primary caregiver. David Spokowski explained that the full semester leave is only available for the person giving birth but that the course release provision can be taken by a person other than the birth parent. It was noted that in the event of a birth or adoption for a same-sex couple, one person can be designated as the primary caregiver.
  • A request was made for clarification of the language concerning the one continuous year provision of the policy. David Spokowski indicated that teaching two continuous semesters would constitute the one continuous year provision.
  • It was suggested that there may be inconsistencies in the wording in parts 1 and 2 wherein it indicates that a full-time faculty member “will receive” whereas the other points indicate a full-time faculty member “is eligible.” Susan Kress said she will revise the language to ensure consistency.
  • A faculty member was pleased with the new policy and indicated it was much improved; however, a concern was raised in the instance when a birth occurs between June 1 and July 31 and someone is unable to return to the classroom by the time classes start. David Spokowski indicated that a faculty member missing one or two classes would not necessarily cause a disruption in the classroom and that cases can always be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • A request was made for a change in the language to indicate “a” birth parent or primary caregiver rather than “the” birth parent or primary caregiver. David Spokowski indicated he would review the language.
  • Another faculty member questioned the Stop the Tenure Clock policy indicating that, at the time of a birth event, it is difficult to determine whether or not you are going to meet the bar for tenure. However, if someone chose to stop the tenure clock at the time of a birth event and later determines they are ready to stand for tenure at the original cycle, the Stop the Tenure Clock policy does not give the option for someone to rescind their original request. VP Kress indicated that the Stop the Tenure Clock does provide some flexibility and that a faculty member has up to one year after the birth event to determine whether they wish to stop the tenure clock.
  • After discussion, VP Kress requested a waiver of the usual layover period so the policy could be implemented immediately. After some discussion, a point of order was called. Thereafter, a motion was made and seconded to waive the one-month waiting period for matters of policy. There was no discussion, and the motion was passed with all in favor. Thereupon, the Motion to approve the revised parental leave policy was voted on and passed with all in favor.

Curriculum Committee

Associate Professor Lisa Aronson, on behalf of the Curriculum Committee, announced that the Arts Administration minor has been approved. Associate Professor Aronson explained the background for the creation of the minor and noted that the faculty does not need to vote to approve minors nor do minors need approval from the State Education Department. The new Arts Administration minor is now in the online catalog and posted on the Arts Administration website. Discussion was held on the creation of the arts administration minor as follows:

One faculty member indicated surprise that faculty members do not need to vote to approve minors; it was noted that there is nothing in the Faculty Handbook about faculty having to approve minors.
A question was raised whether the Arts Administration was a coordinate minor. Associate Professor David Howson indicated that the Arts Administration minor was not a coordinate minor but that the minor does require a breadth of knowledge of the artistic process.

Discussion of Civic Engagement

Associate Professor Barbara Black, Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, read a brief statement explaining the rationale for the discussion of civic engagement. Thereafter, President Glotzbach clarified the difference between the Transition & Transformation (T&T) initiative and the civic engagement initiative stating that the T&T initiative emerges from the first goal of the Strategic Plan and gathered intensity and support in town hall discussions. Further, the T&T initiative deals with ways in which we can prepare our students more intentionally for the transition to further study or professional life after Skidmore, including stronger advising/mentoring components in our students’ experience, the use of engaged liberal practices (i.e., capstones, off-campus study, collaborative research and internships), and ways we can collaborate among various college constituencies (Admissions, Academic Affairs, Student/Faculty Advising, Student Affairs and Alumni Affairs).

President Glotzbach further explained that last year, he was invited by the Mellon Foundation to apply for a Presidential Discretionary Leadership Grant in the sum of $150,000, and Skidmore was awarded that grant. The receipt of this grant was announced on June 10, while President Glotzbach was off campus, and was shared by VP Kress with members of Academic Staff at their retreat in early September.

President Glotzbach noted that the timeline for the T&T initiative was sent to the faculty by Dean Rochelle Calhoun, and the initiative is now in the hands of the Committee on Educational Policy and Planning (CEPP). On behalf of CEPP, Associate Professor Josh Ness indicated that CEPP will form a subcommittee to focus on the academic themes of the T&T initiative and to recommend to CEPP the educational policies and procedures that may be required to implement and/or sustain any initiatives within the academic setting. The subcommittee will be composed of the faculty members and students elected to serve in the 2011-2012 CEPP. It will seek input from stakeholders, including faculty, students, and administrators, and will complete its final report within this academic year.

With regard to the civic engagement initiative and the Arthur Vining Davis (AVD) grant, President Glotzbach indicated that the timeline had been distributed to show the context of the grant and hoped that everyone had an opportunity to visit the website “Civic Engagement at Skidmore”; these show the relationship among Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan, the Responsible Citizenship Task Force (RCTF), and the AVD grant.

President Glotzbach stated that the civic engagement project has its origins in Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan: “to foster pedagogical innovation relating to responsible citizenship and support campus initiatives that teach and exemplify this value.” In 2008, the RCTF was created and consisted of 13 faculty and students, of which 5 faculty members were appointed through FEC’s willingness to serve and 1 faculty member was appointed by CEPP. The RCTF issued its major report in February, 2009, and identified four strategies for advancing Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan: civic-learning courses, service-learning courses, community-based collaborative research and co-curricular programming.

President Glotzbach further stated that the strategies identified by the RCTF became the basis for the work on the AVD grant; a number of people worked on the AVD grant, including some members of the RCTF, and the grant relied heavily upon the recommendations of the RCTF. The AVD grant was intended to assist faculty members in understanding how civic engagement is being debated and implemented in higher education nationally and to invite faculty to define how they see their disciplinary work as contributing to Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan. This grant expresses an invitation to think about civic engagement in creative ways and creates an infrastructure to support that process. It is believed that the AVD foundation’s enthusiasm for this grant was based on our premise that faculty members should take the lead on articulating how “informed, responsible citizenship” is best implemented for their discipline. While the RCTF articulates four major strategies, through the AVD grant, we might discover other strategies.

Acknowledging the faculty’s issue with some of the wording in the AVD grant (“We will double the number of courses for majors in the traditional liberal arts disciplines with a civic engagement component”), President Glotzbach stated that, in fact, it was the belief of those working on the AVD grant that, as departments articulate their vision of Goal 3 for their discipline, they will be able to identify many currently-unidentified courses and feature them to their students without adding new courses. The AVD grant is not necessarily a call for the creation of new courses, though new courses might well be created. With regard to the language “each academic program is asked to develop a plan for greater civic engagement,” President Glotzbach stated that the AVD grant would provide support for departments to have a deep conversation about their response to Goal 3; no department will be mandated to change its curriculum.

Associate Dean of the Faculty, Paty Rubio, discussed the four strategies of responsible citizenship as identified by the RCTF: civic-learning courses, service learning, community-based research, and co-curricular programs. She explained that when the faculty members of the RCTF met with Barry Pritzker to talk about the objectives of the AVD grant, it was thought that the faculty would have the privilege and responsibility to make any of these decisions and then determine how the departments, programs and individuals would want to participate in the implementation of this portion of Goal 3. All the elements identified by the RCTF already exist, but we presently do not have criteria for identifying civic learning courses nor do we have any guidelines to determine what constitutes a service learning course. It is the hope, that as the faculty implements the AVD grant and makes use of the funds, some of that very important work will happen and also help our students to make good choices in how they would like to pursue civic learning or civic engagement through the curriculum. The AVD grant will allow departments to think about how civic engagement pertains to their discipline/major and to talk about how they can best implement, or whether it is appropriate to implement, this part of Goal 3. The intent of the faculty group that put the AVD grant together was to put the resources in the faculty’s hands to do this important work.

Thereafter, an opportunity was provided for questions:

  • One faculty member commented that civic engagement does not seemed to be defined in the AVD grant proposal; while there are examples of how civic engagement could be taught, the goal of the teaching itself was unclear. Discussion was held concerning the definition of civic engagement, with Associate Dean Rubio indicating that the RCTF determined it was not their position to define civic engagement as that term means different things to different disciplines or groups. President Glotzbach noted that the notion of responsible citizenship and what we need to do to prepare people for that is broad and he would be very happy to have a deeper conversation on the concept of civic engagement.
  • One faculty member asked for comments from faculty members who were in support of this initiative. He noted that he and others have been involved in the concept of civic engagement for some time and this was an opportunity to obtain funding for those who wanted to participate in civic engagement activities. He concluded by indicating that he supports this initiative and encouraged others who also support this initiative to voice their support.
  • One faculty member spoke about his concern for the processes undertaken for the T&T initiative and the AVD grant. While these may be great initiatives, his hope was that in the future the correct processes would be followed and the appropriate committees consulted at the appropriate times.
  • One student representing the Student Government Association indicated that these initiatives are topics that the students care very much about and, thus, this should be where the focus is placed rather than on the failure to follow process. The student described his experiences at his high school wherein the students needed to hold fundraisers to obtain funds before they could even participate in civic engagement projects and concluded by indicating that he learned through the passion of his teachers who were involved in civic engagement projects.
  • One faculty member reminded everyone that, while the initiatives may have merit, process is also important. She indicated her confusion about the wording of the project goals and the phrase “public value of the disciplines.” She indicated that over the last several years she incorporated service learning in many of her courses but was having difficulty believing that there are already courses on the books that incorporate service learning that just need to be identified. Discussion was held on the phrase “public value of the disciplines” with President Glotzbach stating that the humanities have enormous value but that their value is not always articulated clearly, and the AVD grant will enable us to do so. Dean Breslin also stated that the courses he taught in the past would be in the civic engagement category and that many courses in the college catalog could be identified as civic engagement or service learning courses. President Glotzbach concluded by stating that the AVD grant does not require us to change the curriculum but is a requirement for us to think about the curriculum within a framework that we haven’t used consistently, and thinking about these things in this way are things we should do in the context of the Strategic Plan.
  • Another faculty member expressed her enthusiasm for these initiatives. She indicated that she believed we are at a moment in our democracy that seems fragile and wants her students to be aware of that and be able to use their education to help them become better practitioners of democracy. She wants to contribute to that process and help make students better citizens.
  • Another faculty member, while agreeing that civic engagement is not well defined in the AVD grant proposal, sees this initiative as a terrific opportunity.
  • One faculty member indicated that she does teach service learning in her classes. She further indicated that the Honors Forum has a requirement to do some form of citizenship; this requirement came from the proposal of a student who believed the Honors Forum students should give back to the community, and many students have found this requirement to be transformative for them.

Discussion of CIGU Recommendations

In order to respect those that wish to observe Yom Kippur, discussion was held concerning the postponement of consideration of the CIGU recommendations until the next meeting. One faculty member commented that too much time has been spent discussing the AVD grant and the issue of process, and he expressed his disappointment that the faculty was not giving attention to discussing the CIGU recommendations.

A consensus was reached that the CIGU recommendations will be placed on the calendar for discussion at next month’s meeting.

Thereafter, a resolution was made and seconded with regard to civic engagement. After some discussion, the question was called and a motion was made and seconded to table the resolution.

President Glotzbach closed the discussion of the AVD grant and associated matters by expressing his appreciation for the conversation at today’s meeting and announcing that the College would move forward with implementation of the AVD and Mellon grants.


  • Associate Professor Erica Bastress-Dukehart indicated that everyone will be receiving an email concerning additional faculty interest groups.
  • Associate professor Monica Raveret Richter announced the deadline for SUN grants is October 17, 2011. For those that are eligible and interested, please contact her or Kate Berheide.
  • Dean Rochelle Calhoun invited everyone to a reception in the Spa, Case Center, immediately following the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:09 p.m. 

Respectfully submitted,

Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant