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


February 24, 2012
Gannett Auditorium


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


President Glotzbach asked if there were any corrections to, or comments regarding, the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held February 24, 2012. Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved.


President Glotzbach reported that Associate Professor Tillman Nechtman has graciously agreed to serve as Parliamentarian and thanked him for his service. He also announced that a formal search for the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs will be conducted next year. President Glotzbach discussed this matter with the Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure (CAPT) and announced that the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) will issue a willingness-to-serve for the search committee.

Thereafter, Rochelle Calhoun, Dean of Student Affairs, shared some very exciting news concerning our student athletes. The swimming and diving team is doing excellent work in their championship competition, and several students are breaking not only their own records but many school records; they are sitting in 9th and 10th place in the State Championship. Our ice hockey team, which is the 4th seed, is taking on 5th seed UMass Boston in the ECAA Championship. Lastly, our basketball team, currently number 2, will be playing for the Liberty League championship against Hobart and William Smith, currently ranked number 1, at Hobart and William Smith.


Beau Breslin, Interim Dean of the Faculty, reported on the enrollment management open forum his office recently conducted. He reported back to the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee that the conversation was held and the College will be moving forward accordingly. He encouraged anyone having any additional questions to contact him via email.

Dean Breslin also reported on the status of this year’s tenure-track searches. We have had great success this year, with 7 searches having been completed to date. The new tenure-track faculty is spectacular, and everyone has done a terrific job in helping to bring in wonderful candidates.

Lastly, Dean Breslin reported that we are moving forward with our year-long science planning program; the Science Working Group finished its report and handed it over to the Science Facilities Task Force so that group can begin its work.


There was no old business.


Curriculum Committee

On behalf of the Curriculum Committee, Associate Professor Lisa Aronson introduced the following motion (see attached):

MOTION: The Curriculum Committee moves to eliminate the Dance-Theater interdepartmental major.

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

Thereafter, Associate Professor Aronson reported that a new Education Studies minor has been approved and that the Early Childhood Education minor was eliminated. In response to previous discussions about the fact that there are no guidelines in the Faculty Handbook for establishing or eliminating minors, the Curriculum Committee, FEC, and the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP) have been having discussions about this process. In order to be more transparent about the process, the committees are drafting language for the Faculty Handbook and will be creating a discussion board that will allow for ongoing communications and feedback.

Committee on Educational Policies and Planning

On behalf of CEPP, Associate Professor Josh Ness introduced the following motion (see attached):

MOTION: CEPP moves to expand the types of courses offered in the Culture-Centered Inquiry requirement by replacing the existing two categories of courses (“Non-Western” and “Cultural Diversity”) with one new category: “Interrogating Difference.” This new category (DF) will include all courses currently in the two existing categories (NW and CD) through the end of the 2013-2014 academic year, after which all “Interrogating Difference” courses will need to meet the new criteria. The Culture-Centered Inquiry Requirement will continue to include one course in Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Associate Professor Ness reviewed the timeline, noting that CEPP’s evaluation of this topic was induced by conversations with Curriculum Committee regarding courses that seem to satisfy the spirit of the Culture-Centered Inquiry requirement but are disallowed from doing do because of insufficient non-western content; further, there was a May, 2009 report issued by the Director of Intercultural Studies that highlighted many other concerns. Associate Professor Ness indicated that CEPP will host a faculty forum in March to discuss this motion in detail; once the date has been determined, he will send an email that will also have a link to CEPP’s website.

Thereafter, discussion was held on the Motion as follows:

  • In response to questioning as to whether the courses that students take in study abroad can fulfill the Foreign Language & Literatures requirement, Associate Professor Ness indicated that CEPP’s expectation is there will be sufficient classes to satisfy that need and that it could evaluate the prospect of having study abroad courses satisfy it as well.
  • In response to clarification on the definition of difference in the criteria, since difference is a relative concept, Associate Professor Ness indicated that difference does include the international elements that are present in the existing Non-Western descriptions but the term is more inclusive and includes questions of gender, race, disability, etc.
  • In response to questioning concerning the number of courses needed to meet the requirement, Associate Professor Ness indicated that the number of courses has not changed; what has changed are the criteria that are being used to satisfy the course in the culture-centered inquiry requirement that is not the Foreign Language course.
  • With regard to questioning concerning the amount of time a course focuses on interrogating difference (i.e., the entire course or a few weeks), Associate Professor Ness said that it was not CEPP’s intent, at this time, to specify a certain amount of time; CEPP is simply asking faculty members to submit a description as to the ways in which their courses fulfill this criteria. He further indicated that the focus of these courses need not be limited to the modern era.
  • A concern was raised that the category of “difference” is getting too large. Associate Professor Ness responded that one interpretation might be that by broadening the criteria for these courses allows and encourages students to take these courses early in their college career and that, perhaps, these courses can be gateways to other courses.
  • Upon conclusion of the discussion of the Motion, Associate Professor Ness described the process for implementation of the Culture-Centered Inquiry requirement, noting that more than likely the requirement will be implemented in an incoming class as opposed to a specific date.

Thereafter, Associate Professor Ness announced the receipt of a proposal to separate the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work into three separate departments. He indicated that CEPP will evaluate the proposal, seek input from chairs, introduce a motion and hold a faculty forum on this proposal. He anticipates that this process will occur during this calendar year.

A final inquiry was made as to why faculty forums are held to discuss issues when they could be discussed on the faculty floor. Associate Professor Barbara Black responded that FEC has discussed this issue and is in the final phase of a year-long project to rethink the faculty meeting. To that end, FEC will hold an open forum on March 2 to discuss the result of their surveys and discussions and will propose different structural mechanisms for faculty meetings. VP Kress also responded by noting that the Faculty Handbook actually requires an open forum when there is change in the curriculum, and President Gltozbach also noted that it is very useful in the process of developing motions that will actually pass on the faculty floor to have conversations at earlier stages.

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Susan Kress, Vice President for Academic Affairs, introduced the following motion drafted by a working group consisting of Grace Burton, Chair of CAFR; Greg Pfitzer, Chair of CAPT; Barbara Black, Chair of FEC; Barbara Krause, President’s Office; and the VPAA (see attached):

MOTION: That the current Part One, Article X of the Faculty Handbook, DISCIPLINE OF TENURED FACULTY, be replaced with a new Article X, DISCIPLINE AND DISMISSAL OF FACULTY.

The current language of Article X reads as follows:


The appointment of a tenured faculty member may not be terminated nor status reduced except for cause and after thorough investigation. In the event of such a situation, the faculty member may request either (1) an investigation and hearing by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean of the Faculty and the Committee of Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure, (2) a hearing before the Committee on Academic Freedom and Rights, or (3) a hearing before a joint trustee committee and the CAPT or a joint trustee committee and the CAFR.

The proposed new language is set forth in the document, “Article X. DISCIPLINE AND DISMISSAL OF FACULTY” (see attached).

After the motion was seconded, VP Kress described the reasons for the revision to Article X and the work undertaken by the working group in drafting the new language. She noted the objectives of the working group were twofold: since the current Article X only deals with dismissal, the working group wanted to address dismissal as well as sanctions short of dismissal; the group also wanted the policy to apply to all faculty members, not only tenured or tenure-track faculty members. VP Kress thanked everyone for the Committee of the Whole discussion held at the last faculty meeting as it provided very helpful feedback. Based upon the queries, concerns and feedback, she reported that Article X has been revised, both in substance and structure, since the last faculty meeting. Thereafter, VP Kress reviewed the changes to the proposed Article X with the faculty.

Following a review of the revisions, a question was raised concerning the information that is contained in the Human Resources files. Michael West, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer, indicated that generally the files contain tax information, benefit information, appointment letters, and salary- and benefit-related materials. He also indicated that anyone can review his or her personnel file. Thereafter, based upon an inquiry concerning legal advice, VP Kress clarified that, while a faculty member has access to legal advice any time he/she wishes to seek advice and pay for it, legal counsel (either for the College or an individual faculty member) would not be present for the hearing involving the Grievance Panel.

There being no further discussion, the motion will lie over until the next meeting.

Faculty Executive Committee

On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Associate Professor Barbara Black introduced the following motions (see attached):

MOTION: That the description of the function and membership of the Faculty Advisory Board in the Faculty Handbook, Part Two, II, 14, be amended.

MOTION: That a new item 16, GRIEVANCE PANEL, be inserted after Part Two, II, 15 (with the following numbered items to be adjusted as appropriate).

MOTION: That the description of the function of the Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (Part Two, II, 2) be amended.

Associate Professor Black indicated that in the event the Motion to revise Article X of the Faculty Handbook does not pass, these motions will be withdrawn. Further, if these motions do pass, the CAFR will amend its operating code as appropriate. There being no discussion, the motions will lie over until the next meeting.


Beau Breslin, Interim Dean of the Faculty, presented the new structure for the unified office of the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He reviewed the portfolios for the three associate deans (the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Personnel, Development, and Diversity; the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Infrastructure, Sustainability, and Civic Engagement; and the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Policy and Advising). Dean Breslin indicated that he has consulted with FEC concerning the changes to the Faculty Handbook given the new structure, and it is hoped that the changes will be introduced at the April 6 faculty meeting with the voting for same to be held on April 27. Lastly, Dean Breslin reported that there are two open positions – Associate Dean of the Faculty for Infrastructure, Sustainability, and Civic Engagement and the Director of the First Year Experience; Dean Breslin will be sending an email asking for nominations and self-nominations. Upon questioning concerning the Director of Intercultural Studies position, Dean Breslin indicated that he would like to move quickly to fill that position; he believes that this position should be open to external candidates as well.

Thereupon, Dean Breslin opened the floor for comments concerning the proposed new structure for Academic Affairs.

  • In response to a request for clarification of the position of the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Infrastructure, Sustainability, and Civic Engagement, Dean Breslin indicated that the dean will handle the space and infrastructure issues for Academic Affairs. He indicated he believed that issues concerning space and infrastructure will increase as we move forward with science planning, and he envisions this dean’s work to shepherd the work of the natural science facilities and renovations. Moreover, Dean Breslin sees this position as having room for growth as we think about sustainability in the curriculum and the ways in which faculty research around environmental and sustainability issues. While the portfolio may seem thin, this is an opportunity for the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Infrastructure, Sustainability, and Civic Engagement to build some of the institutional priorities.
  • An inquiry was made as to how the administrative support given by the Dean’s office to faculty committees would be handled. Dean Breslin indicated that the committees being supported now will continue to be supported in the same manner.
  • An inquiry was raised as to the reporting structure for the Chief Technology Officer and the reason why this report was included under the DOF/VPAA as opposed to the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Infrastructure, Sustainability and Civic Engagement. Dean Breslin indicated that, currently, the Chief Technology Officer reports to the Vice President for Finance and Administration and Finance with a dotted line report to the chief academic officer. It was suggested that it would be wise to keep the current reporting structure at least for the year. However, Dean Breslin noted that if there are things that are not working with the new structure, we can adjust accordingly.
  • A suggestion was made to include the FEC under the Committees for the DOF/VPAA. After brief discussion, Dean Breslin indicated he would include FEC, in italics inasmuch as he does not sit on that committee.
  • A concern was raised with regard to linking the goals of the Strategic Plan with the titles of the associate deans, given that our current Strategic Plan is nearing completion. In response, Dean Breslin indicated that when the current Strategic Plan is completed, work still needs to be done on issues of diversity, sustainability, civic engagement, etc.
  • In response to questioning as to whether any of the associate deans will be members of President’s Cabinet, both Dean Breslin and President Glotzbach indicated that they will not sit as members of President’s Cabinet; however, Academic Affairs will be sufficiently represented as the Dean of Special Programs will continue to sit on President’s Cabinet along with the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • Based upon a request for clarification of the role of a new Director of Intercultural Studies, Dean Breslin indicated that he envisioned the role of the Director of Intercultural Studies as being a faculty member with duties more closely tied to the curriculum. Thereafter, discussion was held concerning the role of former Director of Intercultural Studies Winston Grady-Willis played with regard to diversity issues.
  • An inquiry was raised as to the rationale for the Sponsored Research Officer to report to the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Infrastructure, Sustainability, and Civic Engagement as the Sponsored Research Officer also deals with faculty development issues. Dean Breslin indicated he would take this under consideration.


  • Associate Professor Michael Arnush invited everyone to attend the first annual New York Times Crossword Puzzle Tournament scheduled for Saturday, February 25, 2012. St. Martin’s Press will provide 10 books as prizes and McMurray, Inc., which is a national company with a local office, has provided the iPad2.
  • Associate Professor Michael Arnush invited everyone to join the next Faculty Interest Group to discuss academic rigor and excellence on Wednesday, March 7 at 4:30 p.m. in the Weller Room.
  • Associate Professor Michael Arnush reminded everyone that the deadline for nominations for the Periclean Scholar Awards Competition is April 15 and encouraged everyone to consider submitting a nomination on behalf of their seniors.
  • Associate Professor Barbara Black indicated there is a full willingness-to-serve underway and thanked everyone who has put his/her name forward; since there are a few committees that need a few more people, the willingness-to-serve has been extended to 8:00 p.m. In addition, she indicated that FEC’s open forum regarding the faculty meetings and how to structure them is scheduled for March 2 and will be held in Murray Aikins from 3:30-5:00 p.m.
  • Paul Calhoun, Interim Dean of Special Programs, announced upcoming events – Michael Kaiser, President of the Kennedy Center, will be here on March 28, and Angela Brown will be here on April 5. Thereafter, he invited everyone to the newly-refurbished Filene Hall for a reception immediately following the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant