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


September 6, 2013
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 May 15, 2013.  Hearing none, he announced the minutes were approved.
President Glotzbach welcomed everyone back for the new academic year and extended a warm welcome to the newest members of the Skidmore community.  He noted that this first faculty meeting is always a positive moment in the year, marked by high energy and higher expectations.  He hopes everyone is feeling energized and positive as we begin this new academic year.
President Glotzbach then thanked everyone who worked so hard in welcoming our new students to campus – and our returning students back to campus – over the past few weeks.  The semester seems very well launched indeed!
President Glotzbach acknowledged the second day of Rosh Hashanah and expressed his regret that this faculty meeting conflicts with the celebratory event in the Jewish calendar.  He extended New Year’s greetings to those colleagues who include this holiday in their heritage.
Before turning to the day’s business, President Glotzbach noted our nation’s recent marking of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Civil Rights and Jobs – a turning point in African-Americans’ struggle for full equality under the law and in our society.  Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech delivered on that day has joined the register of addresses and documents that have helped to shape our understanding of ourselves as Americans.  On August 28, 2013, on precisely the same location at the Lincoln Memorial from which Dr. King spoke, President Barack Obama noted that the hundreds of thousands who came that day in 1963 marched “to lay claim to a promise made at our founding.”  Specifically, Dr. King challenged our country to make real for every U.S. citizen the values invoked in the Declaration of Independence and principles expressed in the Constitution, upon which our legal and political structures are founded.  In today’s increasingly heterogeneous and politically divided nation, the interpretation of these founding ideals remain contested.  But, as we consider the nature of the national community we are today and the one we hope to become tomorrow, we should return to these founding principles – especially the promise of “liberty and justice for all” – challenging ourselves to interrogate their meaning, understanding them anew, and apply them in the daily life of our civil society.
As many speakers who reflected this August on the March and its significance have remarked, we have made remarkable progress in those fifty intervening years.  And at the same time, much remains to be done before the dream expressed so powerfully by Dr. King fifty years ago is fully achieved.  Our nation has work to do, and we have work to do at the College, as well.  But we should be inspired to take it up by the example of Dr. King and so many others who stood with him in those very difficult times in the 1960s.   It is also important that we help our students to understand where our country was before and after the changes that happened in the 1960s.
President Glotzbach also acknowledged the recent death of Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who had a very personal relationship with Skidmore. Since that connection occurred before President Glotzbach’s time at Skidmore began, he asked Professor Bob Boyers to share some memories:
Seamus Heaney visited the Skidmore campus on three separate occasions, the most memorable of which for the community as a whole was surely his appearance for the Steloff Lecture.  That event brought out one of the largest crowds we have ever seen for a Steloff, and because the crowd assembled in the JKB theatre was too large to be accommodated, Seamus asked that we delay the start of the formal degree granting ceremony so that he could first speak with those outside who could not gain admission into the theatre.  That was a characteristically generous thing for him to do, and of course we heard afterwards from many people, students especially, who were deeply moved by Seamus's willingness to talk with them and respond to their questions.
In each of Seamus's visits he did much more than was required of him. Twice he went into poetry classes to work with students, both in the workshop format and also in the literature class format.  On two occasions he participated in special morning sessions with English department faculty members assembled to talk about poetry.
Third, Seamus was a devoted friend to SALMAGUNDI, contributing to our pages several poems and a number of major essays, one in a special issue largely devoted to considerations of his poetry, and in others on a variety of topics.
Beyond these facts, there is of course the large fact that Seamus was a very great poet.  Robert Lowell remarked, more than thirty five years ago that Seamus was the greatest Irish poet since Yeats – a tribute made all the more meaningful when you consider that Ireland has produced substantial numbers of excellent poets through the years since Yeats died in 1939.
Finally, Seamus Heaney was also one of the very best critics, or literary essayists, of the last half-century.  His collections of essays represent permanent contributions to the tradition, worthy to stand beside the essays of other great poet-critics such as T. S. Eliot and Matthew Arnold.
Thereupon, President Glotzbach introduced Mary Lou Bates, Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, who provided an update on the Class of 2017.
Admission’s Report.  The class of 2017 is here – they arrived in three waves: 31 participating in our London program arrived on August 20 for three days before heading to London, 341 came to participate in one of the pre-orientation programs, and the final 293 arrived on campus last week-end.  The total class is 665, which is up a little bit from last year.  The students come from 35 different states and 31 foreign countries selected from a record applicant pool of 8,300 applications.  This year’s acceptance rate was 35 percent.  Statistics on the Class of 2017 include:
  • 60 percent attended public or charter schools; 40 percent attended private or parochial schools
  • 60 percent are women; 40 percent are men
  • 42 percent applied and were enrolled early decision
  • 22 percent self-identified as domestic students of color
  • 8 percent are international
  • 6 percent hold dual passports, many of whom have never lived in the United States
  • 11 percent come with former family ties
  • the median SAT is 1,240 for the first two sections and 1,860 for all three, which is identical to last year
  • a slightly higher percentage of the students fall in the top 2 academic bands than last year: 21 percent this year versus 19 percent last year 
  • a slightly higher percentage of students fall in our third highest band: 42 percent versus 35 percent last year
  • students falling in the lower two bands is 37 percent this year versus 46 percent last year

VP Bates provided brief highlights of the Class of 2017, noting that the class is incredibly committed to volunteerism and service; have culturally rich and diverse backgrounds; speak many different foreign languages; have lived and traveled all over the world; have worked all over the world in all kinds of professions; have created and maintained their own successful businesses; have held top leadership positions in their schools, communities, and religious organization; have won top awards as Girl Scouts and Eagle Scouts; have been the editors of their school newspapers, yearbooks and literary magazines; have been politically active at the local, state and national level; have won numerous art awards and have performed all over the world; have won scores of awards for outstanding achievement in all kinds of national scholarship programs; have planted trees in California after forest fires; they have done research on sea turtles; and two have had perfect attendance since first grade.  Their range of achievements and recognition in athletics are equally impressive, from runners in the Boston and New York City marathons to scores of selections to all-county and all-state teams. They are an amazingly excitingly, diverse and energetic group and she wished thee faculty the best of luck with the class.  A round of applause was given to VP Bates on bringing in such an extraordinary class. 

At the conclusion of her report, VP Bates introduced the newest member of the admissions staff, Derek Eng, serving as Associate Director. President Glotzbach thanked VP Bates and her staff, noting that they are now actively engaged in the recruitment of the Class of 2018. 
Thereafter, President Glotzbach presented Dr. Joshua Woodfork, Barbara Krause’s successor in the position of “Executive Director of the Office of the President and Coordinator of Strategic Planning”.  President Glotzbach provided highlights of Dr. Woodfork’s educational and work backgrounds, noting that many may remember Dr. Woodfork when he held the position of Assistant Professor in Skidmore’s American Studies Department from 2005 through 2010.   A welcoming round of applause was given to Dr. Woodfork.
President Glotzbach noted that we are beginning this year in a very strong place – we have a great entering class and are financially sound – yet we continue to face the challenges associated with small, expensive liberal arts colleges that we have discussed on other occasions.  This year’s Strategic Action Agenda, the document issued each year outlining the principal actions we will take to implement the Strategic Plan over the coming months, is being reviewed by President’s Cabinet and the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee (IPPC).  The preface to this year’s Strategic Action Agenda deals with community – a topic President Glotzbach would like us to think about as a community, and he encouraged everyone to read it when it comes out; there will be further opportunities to pursue any discussions it may prompt.
President Glotzbach concluded by reminding everyone that we have a great deal to accomplish this year.   Science planning has continued over the summer, and we will ask the Board of Trustees to approve the design of the proposed new science complex at their October meeting.  We are also working on plans for our next comprehensive fundraising campaign, to develop the resources to pay for some of the things we are trying to do.  And, under the aegis of the IPPC, we will begin the formal process of creating our next Strategic Plan, a 2-year process that will culminate in the spring of 2015. This process will be an opportunity to build community, by creating many ways for community members to include their voices in the process.
President Glotzbach thanked everyone for all they do at Skidmore and opened the floor for questions.  In response to questioning raised concerning Skidmore’s rating in the Princeton Review, brief discussion was held concerning this issue.  Rochelle Calhoun, Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs, addressed this issue, noting all the steps that have been taken by her office to address this problem.  She outlined changes that her office will be implementing in the future, stating that this is going to be an institutional effort.  Inasmuch as sometimes a faculty member might be the only one noticing a change in a student’s behavior, President Glotzbach encouraged everyone to talk to a colleague in student affairs if something seems amiss.
Beau Breslin, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, welcomed everyone back to the new academic year.  He noted that this is an important time to express his gratitude to several folks, in particular, the incredible amount of people who are involved in new student orientation--from Rochelle Calhoun, Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs; Professor Janet Casey, Director of the FYE; Corey Freeman-Gallant, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Policy and Advising; David Karp, Associate Dean of Student Affairs; Campus Safety; and Residential Life. The list of folks is very long, and DOF/VPAA Breslin stated that he is very impressed with Skidmore’s new student orientation.
DOF/VPAA Breslin also noted that this year’s New Faculty Orientation seemed to go very well again this year.  He offered special thanks to Paty Rubio, Associate Dean of the Faculty, who oversees the program, as well as to Professor Peter von Allmen and his new faculty learning team: Associate Professor Maria Lander, Associate Professor Ruben Graciani, Associate Professor Tim Harper, Professor Janet Casey, Assistant Professor Casey Schofield, and Associate Professor Erica Bastress-Dukehart.  He is hopeful that the new faculty got exactly what they needed to get involved in the community.
Thereafter, DOF/VPAA Breslin thanked everyone in his office for all that they do and, lastly, the faculty and staff in this room and outside this room.  As President Glotzbach said, the faculty is the heartbeat of the institution and we are incredibly grateful for the work that the faculty does.
DOF/VPAA Breslin stated that he is very energized this year – it is going to be a great year.  He provided highlights of the things that we are doing, that we have done, or that he is really excited about:  the Classless Society exhibit opens soon, we are doing 14 tenure track searches, another academic summit in January, implementation of the icarus/helios program rewarding faculty for independent study, chairs workshops, lowering the course caps at the 100-level, the science project is moving forward, the faculty workload working group is working hard, CEPP will review of the curriculum, writing groups, new faculty learning communities, FIGs, second year faculty learning community, etc.  There are so many exciting things that are happening that it is hard to name them all; but we should all be energized about them.  DOF/VPAA Breslin is hopeful that we are going to make some progress on some of the important stuff we have been thinking about doing.  As we end the Strategic Plan and move forward, we have to close some of those loops, we have to work on assessment, and we have to figure out ways to make department chairs’ lives more efficient and easy.
Concluding his report, DOF/VPAA Breslin announced those faculty members promoted effective June 1, 2013: 
  • Promoted from associate professor to full professor: Joerg Bibow, Economics; Susannah Mintz, English; Crystal Moore, Social Work; and Robert ParkeHarrison, Art. 
  • Promoted from assistant professor to associate professor: Larry Jorgensen, Philosophy & Religion.
  • Promoted from assistant librarian to associate librarian: Yvette Cortes
A congratulatory round of applause was given.
Dean of Special Programs Report.  Paul Calhoun, Dean of Special Programs, provided a report on this year’s summer programs.  Despite some construction disruptions, summer programs ran very smoothly and without major incident.  
  • Due partly to the unavailability of the art building for the first summer session, our total summer session enrollments for 2013 were 10 percent below the levels of 2012, but they were the second highest in the last ten years and 12 percent over 2011.  As has been suggested in the past, summer session is an excellent time to experiment with new subjects and pedagogy.  One recommendation last year was to consider team teaching, and this year several faculty members did that.
  • Included in summer session enrollments were 74 pre-college students, and 40 percent of those came from our community partner schools, mostly in New York City.  Michelle Paquette, who directs the pre-college program, introduced a new feature this summer by encouraging and then facilitating and promoting a remarkable performance by 27 of the students in Filene Recital Hall.  The performance was a combination theatrical and musical presentation of seminal African-American literary achievements of the last 100 years.  Interestingly, ten members of Skidmore’s Class of 2017 are graduates of the pre-college program.
  • Our largest outside managed program was again the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY).  In two back-to-back three week sessions, CTY enrolled 476 students.  Their staff always heaps praise on program coordinator, Wendy Kercull, and all of our operations support team.  CTY Executive Director Elaine Hanson states that Skidmore is one of their most popular and best sites. 
  • Our next biggest conference guest was the New York State Summer School of Arts, (NYSSA) which ran its ballet, modern dance, and school of orchestral studies, and one of their final concerts was held in Ladd Hall.  Credit goes to Sharon Arpey, who has managed our excellent relationship with NYSSA for many years. \
  • Our Camp Northwoods and Sports Camps, administered by Debbie Amico, attracted 1,400 campers and staff this summer.
  • The New York Summer Writers Institute attracted 2,754 listeners and drew 165 students in two sessions, chosen from a record 457 applicants, a process ably coordinated by Chris Merrill. 
  • Overlapping the Writers Institute is the Young Writers Institute; this year, the program was expanded from 6 to 10 days and increased the number of students from 36 to 40.
  • The Jazz Institute hosted 40 talented musicians and introduced new classes in music recording, writing and arranging.  Of the four summer arts institutes, the Jazz Institute is one for which the staff on the Office of the Dean of Special Programs plays the most roles, from marketing to guest artist contracting, student recruiting to curriculum management, class scheduling, and the formation of appropriate combos.  Most of that work depends on the efforts of Maria McColl. 
  • SITI Theater once again attracted a full house of actors.
  • Susan Marshall was our guest dance company. 
  • Saratoga ArtsFest took place in June, and its performance lineup was substantially enhanced by a special event of The Five Browns, performing Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.  The concert was both video- and audio-recorded live in Ladd Hall, and Skidmore will have partial rights to these recording when they are released.  It is hoped that they will add to Zankel’s reputation for the long term. Other memorable ArtsFest events were Latin Jazz ensemble Tiempo Libre and a concert by Ben Vereen. 
  • Thanks to Associate Professor Marc-Andre Wiesmann and MALS Associate Director Sandy Welter, one of our twice yearly MALS seminars took place in July.  The subject of this seminar was the conflict between word and image and how this conflict is reflected in societies from antiquity to the present. The next MALS seminar will be led by Professor Janet Casey in January and will be titled Class Matters. 
  • To help celebrate Saratoga 150, the anniversary of the racetrack, 4 film events were held in Ladd Hall, which drew a combined 700 persons. 
  • Solomon Northup Day took place in Filene Hall on July 20. Sixty descendants of Solomon Northup were here for the day, which featured a 4-hour program of storytelling, music, and a teaser from the soon-to-be major motion picture 12 Years a Slave, starring Brad Pitt.
  • Rhino Lacrosse, a privately run high school lacrosse camp, was here over a long weekend, bringing 68 players and coaches. 
  • We hosted the first ever Latino Dance summit here over another long weekend.  It brought 46 dancers from 6 different dance companies around New York State to share techniques, to network, and to engage in professional development. The group offered a free performance in JKB to cap the weekend. 
  • This summer we had more Zankel arts events during the 12-week summer than ever – 18, and more attendance than ever – 5,533.   We are truly blessed to have a team as strong as Shelley Curran and Shawn DuBois to represent us in the marquee performance space on campus.  They both consistently win rave reviews from our performers and patrons alike.

Thereafter, Dean Calhoun announced upcoming residencies and lectures for the Fall semester:

  • The first residency will begin on September 18, when Sujatha Baliga, renowned expert in restorative justice is here.  She will be a wonderful complement to the visit of Wes Moore that same week and the opening of our Classless Society exhibit at the Tang. 
  • Yair Horesh is our Greenberg Middle East Scholar-in-Residence this semester.  He will be teaching in the History department for the first six weeks of the semester.  From October 7-9, we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Greenberg residency by hosting six of Yair's colleagues from Ben-Gurion University, most of whom have been here as Greenberg scholars in the past.  
  • ACJW is here for its regular residency during the week of October 13 with their signature concert on October 18. 
  • Our McCormack resident, Anne Bogart, will be here from November 1-3.
  • We initiated an informal partnership with Northshire Books this summer by inviting them to sell books at the Writers Institute, and they are now working with us to schedule publisher-sponsored new book events here.  Our first is scheduled for October 26 in Filene Recital Hall with Richard Russo to promote his memoir entitled Elsewhere.  
  • Our Mature Learner's Series which starts in a few weeks, and registration for the lectures is already almost full.   Dean Calhoun encouraged everyone to respond to Sharon Arpey's invitation.
In closing, Dean Calhoun provided an update on the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program.  One of ODSP's Strategic Action Agenda goals for 2013-2014 is to complete a plan to restructure the MALS program by June 2014.  Last year, we completed a comprehensive Self-Study of MALS and an external review.  This year, effective May 1, Jacquie Scoones was appointed as Director of MALS.  She will spend 60 percent of her time on MALS and the rest on her teaching for the English Department.  Jacquie has already made some important improvements in our current practices; she will be working, with the assistance of Sandy Welter and faculty input, to develop a plan for MALS that will reverse the trends we are seeing.  Dean Calhoun indicated his commitment to support Jacquie and Sandy, to keep everyone informed along the way, and to keep the project moving forward as expeditiously as possible. 
On behalf of the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (CEPP), Professor Peter von Allmen provided an update on the implementation of the new student rating form that was approved by the faculty in March, 2013.  He noted that several cosmetic changes needed to be made to the form to comply with our vendor’s standards; he thereafter reviewed the cosmetic changes.  Brief discussion was held concerning the form, with one faculty member pointing out a typographical error.  Following discussion, Professor von Allmen stated that we are on track to have the new form ready to use this fall and assured everyone that CEPP will discuss the issue of including gender expression and racial ethnic identity on future versions of the form.
On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Professor Joerg Bibow introduced the following Motion (see attached):
MOTION:  In order to update our “Division of Disciplines”, the Faculty Executive Committee moves that the following changes be made to the Faculty Handbook:
- add: Arts Administration to “Pre-Professionals”,
- add: Asian Studies to “Humanities”,
- add: International Affairs to “Social Sciences”,
- add: Neuroscience to “Natural Sciences”.
There was no discussion; the Motion will lie over until the next meeting.
On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Professor Bibow introduced the following Motion (see attached):
MOTION:  The Faculty Executive Committee moves that the 2013-2014 Faculty Handbook be adopted.  The following link takes you to the 2013-2014 Faculty Handbook (showing tracked changes) as well as handbooks from previous years:
There was no discussion; the Motion will lie over until the next meeting.
Thereafter, Professor Bibow announced that there is a vacancy on CEPP, and a special Willingness-to-Serve will be sent out next week.
DOF/VPAA Breslin introduced the new faculty members for this academic year (see attached for complete list). A welcoming round of applause was given for the new faculty.
  • President Glotzbach announced that Associate Professor Tillman Nechtman has agreed to serve as parliamentarian this year. 
  • On behalf of the Faculty Development Committee (FDC), Professor Alice Dean announced that FDC has a new website (  She also announced the deadline for nominations for the Distinguished Faculty Service Award and a new grant entitled the Kress Family Creative Pedagogy Grant.    She also reminded everyone that the faculty approved a change in the deadline for full year sabbaticals and enhancement awards, which is October 15.  She will be sending follow-up emails to the community shortly. 
  • Associate Professor Mimi Hellman announced there will be another Mellon-funded Faculty Seminar this spring and described how the program works. This year’s group trip is scheduled to take place January 9-12, 2014 in Miami, Florida. She encouraged anyone interested in participating to contact her or Rachel Seligman.
  • Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, announced upcoming events and exhibits at the Tang.
  • Professor Janet Casey announced that Wesley Moore, the author of this year’s first year reading, The Other Wes Moore, is scheduled to speak in Zankel on Monday, September 16.  He will also be working in the Tang that afternoon with two FYE seminars.
  • President Glotzbach invited everyone to the President’s Reception being held today at Scribner House immediately following the faculty meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:57 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Debra L. Peterson
Executive Administrative Assistant