Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College
Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs

Faculty Meeting Minutes

September 8, 2023
Gannett Auditorium/Zoom


Dorothy Mosby, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, called the meeting to order at 3:33 p.m. 

President Conner then acknowledged the recent losses of two members of the Skidmore community: Michael Casey, former Collyer Vice President for Advancement, and Amadou Thiam ’26, a rising sophomore. A moment of silence was observed in their honor.


DOF/VPAA Mosby asked if there were any corrections to, or comments regarding, the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held May 17, 2023  Hearing none, she announced the minutes were approved.


DOF/VPAA Mosby welcomed everyone to the first faculty meeting of the new academic year, and shared her excitement at chairing her first faculty meeting as Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  She briefly reflected on the year-long process that brought her to this position and indicated that she looks forward to serving the members of Skidmore community.  She then thanked Michael Orr, who recently served as Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, for stewarding academic affairs with a steady hand and a great sense of integrity, and for leaving her with an incredibly strong team of associate deans and a very dedicated staff.

DOF/VPAA Mosby then reflected on her transition to Skidmore and Saratoga Springs over the summer, noting that things are in progress – there are still boxes to be unpacked, trying to manage a life between state lines, learning a new culture, a new language, and learning her way on campus.  She indicated that, at each moment, she has been met with overwhelming kindness, patience, and generosity, for which she is very grateful.  During her first couple of months getting to know the Skidmore community, she has observed, listened, and learned.  She had the opportunity to watch Professor Lia Ball’s students in action as they prepare for an undergraduate conference; to meet with colleagues in the Kal Das Molecular Research suite; to learn about geothermal cooling and heating from the sustainability team; was awed by the do-it-yourself-furnace in the Art building powered by French fry oil; was enthusiastically encouraged by Professor Bob Turner to hear about the summer’s faculty students summer research project program; and heard the excitement of students she met about their research projects on religious practices and social work.  She took great delight in receiving the awe and admiration that the Sherman Fairchild Foundation expressed about the Center for Integrated Sciences building and the fantastic research that faculty and students are conducting together with some very sophisticated research equipment that is the envy of any grant program, and thanked Professor Juan Navea and Ian Farrell for giving her the opportunity to join the group.

Next, DOF/VPAA Mosby shared her journey from being a faculty member to becoming an administrator.  She indicated that she saw the need to change some practices at her former institution, particularly with regard to hiring and retention.  As one of the very few African American women on the tenure track, she saw those numbers dwindle each passing year.  She had the choice to either accept the status quo, join the ranks of those who left the institution, or do something to foster institutional change.  She chose the latter, which launched her into the journey to administration.  She indicated that her values then are the same as they are now--service in the name of our collective success: student success, faculty success, and staff success, which are all interwoven and mutually interdependent.  Diversity, equity and inclusion, and belonging are the cornerstones where representation matters, and it strengthens our community and our sense of excellence.  She shared her belief in the transformative power of a liberal arts education, having been the recipient of such an education.

Thereupon, DOF/VPAA Mosby shared how she views her dual role as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty.  While some see this position as being in tension with one another, she sees the role as a singular position inhabited by one person, stewarding the college’s academic mission with responsibility to the institution, the students, the faculty, and the staff.  For the faculty, she sees herself as an advocate for the faculty, noting that although we may not always agree, she strives to be fair.  For the students, it is her responsibility to support their success and see them graduate with an education that is meaningful and transformative.  For the academic staff, without their critical work, many of whom work miracles behind the scenes to support our students, we wouldn’t function as a college.

At the Academic Staff meeting last week, DOF/VPAA Mosby indicated that she spoke about this time as being one of renewal.  Higher education has sailed through some of the roughest waters over the last three years, and these rough waters have altered the way we work and the way we live.  She questioned whether we know our values; whether we know ourselves, whether we know our work, our value and our purpose; whether we know each other; whether we know our students, and whether we have the energy to look ahead when the past is so very present with us?  At the Academic Staff meeting, faculty and staff shared their commitment to our students, but also the challenges of doing this work because of inadequate staffing, low morale, space issues, the significant impact of the pandemic on the students’ social and emotional development, the looming impact of the SCOTUS decision, and the deepening sentiments, disconnection, and loss of community that sometimes bring out behaviors that do not represent our best selves.  In spite of it all, we are here – we have a new academic year upon us and the ability to set a new course for ourselves, for our colleagues, for our students, and for the college.  DOF/VPAA Mosby indicated that she really sees this as a time of renewal at the college as we emerge from challenges of the last three years and looking ahead to what we can become. As part of that renewal, there will be opportunities for us to connect and reconnect, to strengthen community building.  Over this semester and the next, she plans to meet with as many departments, programs, offices, and individuals as she can, to learn more about the community that is and the community that everyone would like to see. 

DOF/VPAA Mosby also indicated, at the academic staff meeting, that she heard a few calls for faculty and staff spaces for the exchange of ideas and socializing.  To that end, she reported that one of the ideas she is happy to support is providing lunch tickets for the scholarly and creative endeavor program, as a way for us to move toward renewing the connections that make Skidmore a special place. She indicated that she welcomes more ideas and suggestions, and that she would also love to hear what the faculty is doing; to that end, she encouraged invitations to attend department meetings and to visit classes.  While her job is carrying through the administrative work of academic affairs, she indicated that part of her job is also being well-versed, well-equipped, well-read, and full of knowledge, so that she can tell the story of all the fantastic work that is happening on campus to our internal and external partners and friends.

Next, DOF/VPAA Mosby shared some of the projects that she and the associate deans are working on in the office: the creation of a meeting cadence for department and program chairs, and divisional chairs meetings; a project on retention of faculty of color being led by Professor Oscar Perez-Hernandez, NY6 Mellon Faculty Fellow and Special Assistant to the Dean of the Faculty; invitations to faculty who were tenured and promoted as well as non-tenure-faculty who were promoted between 2020 and 2022 to join the members of the Board of Trustees in October, so that they can be receive recognition that may not have been received during the pandemic.  She then shared that she participated in AAC&U’s Truth in Racial Healing and Transformation Institute over the summer, and looks forward collaborating more with our team, led by Joshua Woodfork, to seek ways to engage our community in compassionate dialogue in a quest for a more just and equitable world; further, she indicated that she had the pleasure of spending time with students and faculty colleagues were doing just absolutely incredible work to support inclusive excellence as part of the HHMI inclusion grant, and looks forward to working with this group to support the integration of best practices into our collective work.  Finally, in November, she will be participating in a meeting of Deans as part of the New York Six Consortium and will be travelling to Colby College to meet with the Northeast Deans.

Thereupon, Sarah Vero, General Counsel and Vice President for Human Resources, provided an update on the ongoing negotiations to support the creation of a collective bargaining agreement as part of the unionization of our non-tenure-track faculty.  She acknowledged the email that was sent by the NTT Negotiating Committee summarizing the negotiations to date and noted that negotiations will be continuing 1-2 times per month.  Members of the Skidmore negotiating team consist of DOF/VPAA Mosby, Associate Dean of the Faculty Janet Casey, Director of Human Resources Julie Delay, VP Vero, and outside counsel. VP Vero indicated that union negotiations can take some time, particularly a first collective bargaining agreement, and that the most important aspect of negotiations at this time is to listen to the concerns of the non-tenure-track faculty, the origins of their concerns, and what they think needs to happen to address those concerns.  As the Skidmore negotiating team cannot contemplate every potential implication or concern about a proposal, the Skidmore negotiating team will be seeking input from department chairs, program directors, and tenured/tenure-track faculty it addresses and develops proposal that will have obvious implications for the faculty at large. While there has been a tentative agreement reached on a number of foundational items, we are now beginning to address some of the more complicated subjects of collective bargaining.  VP Vero reminded the faculty about an aspect of union negotiations called “direct dealing” that is prohibited, such as changing or trying to establish terms or conditions of employment that differ from the initial terms of employment without a union representative present. Lastly, VP Vero indicated there are many sources on campus if there are questions surrounding the negotiating process and there will be opportunities in the future for open forums to address questions and concerns. 

DOF/VPAA then shared that she has been in communication with some of the shared governance committees to discuss some of the impacts of the proposals and the unionization process, and will be reaching out soon to department chairs and program directors to solicit additional information regarding the work that non-tenure-track faculty are doing on campus. 

In concluding her report, DOF/VPAA Mosby acknowledged the nominations for NEH summer stipends.  This summer, the College had an opportunity to nominate two faculty members for consideration for the competitive NEH summer stipend awards. There were a number of very strong submissions and all were deserving of receiving funding for their contributions to the humanities. This summer, the awards were granted to Tammy Owens, American Studies, and Katie Baustian, Anthropology. 


There was no old business.


Affirmation of the College’s Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Joshua Woodfork, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity, called on members of the Committee on Intercultural and Global Understanding Associate Professor Masako Inamoto and Sarah Vero, General Counsel and Vice President for Human Resources, to read the College’s Diversity and Inclusion Statement (  VP Woodfork provided some background about the development of the statement, noting that it is considered a living document, and asked the faculty to signal their acclamation of the Diversity and Inclusion Statement by snapping their fingers.

Faculty Executive Committee

On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), Associate Professor Dominique Vuvan introduced the following Motion (see attached):

MOTION:  The Faculty Executive Committee moves that the 2023-2024 Faculty Handbook be adopted.  The following link takes you to the 2023-2024 Faculty Handbook (showing tracked changes) as well as handbooks from previous years:

Although there were no informational questions raised, a comment was made that there is some ambiguity in the Faculty Handbook concerning promotion and faculty within the department that are required to write, particularly those on leave, and it was requested that FEC review that language.  There being no discussion, the Motion will lie over until the next meeting.


On behalf of FEC, Associate Professor Dominique Vuvan presented the Committee of Committee’s Spring 2023 report (see attached).  There were no comments or questions raised in response to the report.


DOF/VPAA Mosby 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 Conner welcomed everyone to the first faculty meeting of the academic year.  He indicated that he enjoyed seeing so many faculty members over the summer in various ways, especially at the recent Academic Staff meeting and the New Faculty Orientation, and hoped that everyone’s summer was restful, restorative, productive, and energetic.  He then provided a brief overview of the topics of his report and reminded everyone that the reception following the Faculty Meeting has been moved to the Spa due to the weather.

President Conner then shared his excitement of the start of the new year, which is his favorite part of the year.  This year’s move in was exceptional in its smooth execution, and he thanked all those who played a pivotal role in the move in.  As he remarked at convocation, the excitement of the autumn and the start of everything again is wonderful.  He quoted Keats’s great ode “To Autumn”: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun” and indicated that he will try to keep this quote in his mind.   He then shared some of the ways in which he spent his summer:  seeing the amazing Tang Exhibits on Paula Wilson’s work, meeting fascinating writers at the Writer’s Institute, seeing Shakespeare in the Park with some of our faculty and alums in the performance of Twelfth Night, working hard on the SCOTUS decision and all of its implications, great college travel sharing the story of Skidmore and collaborating with faculty in some of those presentations.

Next, President Conner indicated that he is looking forward to working with all the new cabinet members, with five new members joining over the summer.  One of his goals this year is to integrate this new leadership into the community.  He then introduced the entire cabinet:  Dan Konstalid, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer; Elizabeth Stauderman, Vice President for Communications and Marketing; Sarah Delaney Vero, General Counsel and Vice President for Human Resources; Jess Ricker, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid; Dorothy Mosby, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty; Adrian Bautista, Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs, Carey Ann Zucca, Collyer Vice President for Advancement; and Joshua Woodfork, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity.   President Conner indicated that he is immensely proud to be working with this great team and looks forward to everyone getting to know these new colleagues and to them getting to know our communities.

As part of his continuing effort to get to know the community, President Conner stated that faculty dinners at Scribner House will continue for the second year, that faculty dinners with the Board of Trustees are being organized as a way for the Board of Trustees to be more connected with the community, and that his open office hours will be continuing this fall semester.  He then reminded everyone that this is the fourth year of the Racial Justice Imitative and encouraged everyone to participate in a series of events on the U.S. and Mexico border scheduled in September and October. 

Thereupon, President Conner provided an update on institutional planning.  The Visions and Values project that began last year will continue through January 2024.  All the information collected to date will be shared with the community through a brief survey that will be distributed within the next week.  This survey will ask the community to confirm whether the key elements raised by the respondents accurately represent Skidmore’s vision and values.  Thereafter, all the results of the Visions and Values project will be shared in a website that will include all the findings.  This is a “foundation project” to give us a sense of who we are and what we value as we prepare to move into our next strategic planning effort. 

President Conner then shared the upcoming institutional planning timeline, which began with the Campus Master Planning in 2021-22 and continued with the Visions and Values project starting in 2022 through 2024.  Strategic Planning discussions will begin in October 2023 culminating in the actual writing of the Strategic Plan in 2024-25.  This will be concurrent with our next Middle States reaffirmation of accreditation starting this month with an external review scheduled to take place in 2025-26. Following this work, our next capital campaign is scheduled to begin on or around the summer of 2025.  The goal is to align all of these planning opportunities with one another and to create a collaborative, transparent, and communicative process.  More information and opportunities for participation will be shared at the Faculty and Staff meetings in October.

In concluding his report, President Conner announced that details will be forthcoming shortly about a panel discussion on the Philip Glotzbach presidency scheduled in October, similar to last year’s panel on the David Porter presidency.  He then opened the floor for comments and questions.  One concern was raised concerning problems with facilities and classrooms encountered this summer in preparation for the new academic year.  President Conner asked that these issues be documented and he will discuss the issues with Facilities and the Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer.

Thereupon, Sarah Delaney-Vero, General Counsel and Vice President for Human Resources, and Dwane Sterling, Chief Technology Officer, addressed recent cyber security breaches on some of our systems.  With regard to the February cyberattack, CTO Sterling explained that Skidmore was able to respond quickly and limit the effect of the attack. The Information Technology team was able to analyze the files affected and will be reaching out to those members of the community that were affected. CTO Sterling then shared some security measures that were implemented after these events, including the replacement of our 24/7 monitoring services, our IT security firm, and the college’s firewall. He then shared the next steps to be taken, including dual-factor authentication, annual IT security training, the implementation of policy changes, and the providing of free two-year identity protection.  In response to questioning as to whether the February cyberattack was restricted to the Datastor server or whether the email server was involved, CTO Sterling confirmed that the cyberattack affected some of the files on the Datastor server.  He then encouraged anyone with further questions to reach out to him or his office.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:57 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Debra L. Peterson
Academic Affairs Coordinator