President Philip A. Glotzbach called the meeting to order at 3:34 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
President Glotzbach announced minor changes to the minutes of the Faculty Meeting held December 2, 2011 that were previously distributed. He asked if there were any other corrections to, or comments regarding, the minutes. Hearing none, he announced that the minutes, as amended, were approved.
President Glotzbach welcomed everyone back to the new semester. He announced that Professor Lary Opitz will serve as parliamentarian for this month’s meeting and thanked him for doing so.
Thereafter, he asked Mary Lou Bates, Dean of Admissions, to provide an update on this year’s admissions:
The January 15 deadline has passed, and we are having another good year; however, applications are down slightly (down 85 which is 1.5 percent of the total pool). Early decision applications are down just over 4 percent and regular decision applications are down 1 percent.
The early decision pool, though slightly smaller than last year, is solid academically. Early Decision Round 1 has been completed and Early Decision Round 2 will go out in about ten days; we expect to again enroll about 40 percent of our class through both early decision rounds.
Early analysis of the regular decision pool looks similar to last year’s. Currently, the median SAT score is 1,270, which is 10 points higher than last year, but the scores are still coming in so that median is not final yet.
The percentage of students of color (domestic students) is up slightly; 24 percent of this year’s pool have self-identified as non-white, compared to 23, 21 and 20 percent in earlier years.
We are up 25 percent in applications from international students, and the percentage of those in that cohort who are seeking financial aid is down slightly. This is directly related to our increased international outreach.
There is a significant increase in the percentage in the overall pool of students seeking financial aid with 66 percent seeking financial aid, compared to 61 percent last year. This is the biggest increase ever, even after the 2008 market volatility. Previous to 2009, the percentage of applicants seeking financial aid has fluctuated between 54 and 57 percent.
Currently, it is estimated that this year’s first-year target will be similar to last year’s, which was 580-630 on campus with 36 in London.
Regular decision letters are scheduled to be mailed on March 23.
Admissions will be hosting 3 accepted candidates days in April: April 9, April 13 and April 16.
The discovery program is scheduled for April 11, 12 and 13.
Five Introductions to Skidmore have been scheduled for juniors.
Dean Bates concluded by expressing her appreciation for everyone’s time and support in making these programs so successful; they are really at the heart of the recruitment effort to bring in the terrific classes.
After Dean Bates’ report, President Glotzbach reported that the proposed major budget parameters (enrollment, financial aid, transfers to capital budget, etc.) were discussed at the annual budget workshop with the Budget & Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees held earlier this week. With regard to the student body size, as reported in December, the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee (IPPC) and President’s Cabinet have had discussions concerning an upward adjustment of the net fiscal enrollment (NFE) by 50 students, resulting in a budgeted NFE of 2,330 (rather than 2,280) and an overenrollment range of 0-50 students. President Glotzbach explained that in 2006, the budgeted NFE was increased by 100 students to its current level of 2,280. Since that time, we have continued to experience great success in Admissions and, during the financial crisis of 2007-09, we allowed our entering class to increase a bit in size to allow some cushion in the budget. However, the largest single factor leading to our current enrollment was the unanticipated increase of 100 students beyond our expectations in the current sophomore class. The effect of these factors was an actual NFE of 2,454 students last year (FY 2011).
President Glotzbach further reminded the group that, over the years, the additional enrollments have given us substantial overenrollment funds, which were kept apart from the operating budget and known as “below-the-line” funds and which have been used for one-time expenses, such as the Library-IT project, renovation of residence halls, other improvements in the campus physical plant, and the replacement of Scribner Village. At the same time, the additional students have strained our resources. Thus, the goal over the past few years has been to reduce the actual NFE back down to the budgeted number. However, the question is whether to continue reducing the size of the student body back to the budgeted NFE target of 2,280 or to reduce it to a slightly higher number to provide both additional flexibility in our annual budget and to retain some “below-the-line” funds. The IPPC and President’s Cabinet were unanimous in their decision to move the budgeted NFE up slightly by 50.
As a result of this projected increase in the budgeted NFE, we would be able to provide a 3 percent general salary adjustment in the FY 2013 budget (approximately $2.5 million) along with an additional $900,000 for equity increases. This increase in the NFE would also allow us to increase our financial aid by 7.5 percent, thereby allowing us to maintain the gains we have made in academic preparedness and diversity in our entering classes. Doing so also increases our financial aid “discount rate” from 34.7 percent in the current year to 36.5 percent next year. Additionally, the increase in our comprehensive fee this year is projected for 3.9 percent (which had been increased by 1.9 and 2.9 percent the last two years). We anticipate that our comprehensive fee increase would place us at the bottom half or third of our peer group and allow us to maintain our movement from the 14th most expensive school nationally to somewhere in the 50s.
Finally, this increase in the budgeted NFE increases the capital budget by 2.5 percent – from $7.85 million this year to $8.05 million next year – an increase that still leaves the capital budget $1.5 million less than it was two years ago.
An open forum will be scheduled in the next few weeks to allow an opportunity to discuss these budget parameters. Additionally, President Glotzbach indicated that he will report again on the budget following the Board of Trustees meeting in March; several community meetings will be scheduled as well.
Thereafter, President Glotzbach invited any questions concerning the budget. Professor Ray Giguere asked for clarification that the amount of funds available for equity increases would be increased from $600k last year to $900k this year and also noted his concern that we have been addressing equity issues for several years now. He asked if we might foresee a time when we could stop doing so. President Glotzbach indicated that oftentimes equity issues have to do with external conditions. Recently, however, there has been some question of whether gender equity creep is back; further, different employee groups have been brought to target while other employee groups have been lagging. Mike West, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer, also indicated that we are, in a sense, addressing the fact that there was no general salary adjustment in FY 2010, when other institutions did have a general salary increase. President Glotzbach acknowledged we have slipped in terms of our faculty comparison with some of our peers, particularly at the assistant professor rank.
Professor Michael Arnush asked for confirmation as to whether there was a $5 million surplus as a result of the higher enrollment and, if so, how was the money used. President Glotzbach confirmed this and indicated that those funds were used for health and safety refurbishments of residence halls as well as for the Library/IT project, renovations in Saisselin, renovation of labs, improvements to the physical plant, etc. We have not allocated the money this year; last year, we put $1.5 million into a fund to start planning for science. He further stated that one of the commitments that we made in this year’s budget with IPPC and the Cabinet was to put a “first call” on overenrollment funds to try to build up a science fund over the years. We did not set a specific percentage target, but since we know this is a strategic priority, it would be good to try to allocate significant money over a period of five years.
Professor Mehmet Odekon asked if the entire overenrollment is being included in the NFE. President Glotzbach clarified that we are increasing the NFE by only 50 students to assist in creating a balanced budget. The remainder of the overenrollment is accounted for as below-the-line revenues that are not included in the operating budget. Therefore, we will still have some overenrollment funds kept outside the budget, but those will be decreased from the past years.
Thereafter, President Glotzbach provided an update on Starbuck Center. He thanked all those who work in the building for the extraordinary positive spirit they have shown in dealing with the situation. The offices of Student Academic Services, Office of Academic Advising, First-Year Experience and the Registrar have already moved; next week, the offices of Financial Aid, Bursar and Card Services will be relocated; and the following week, the offices of Off-Campus Study and Exchange, Institutional Research and Career Services will be relocated.
President Glotzbach indicated that, as he reported to the community recently, preliminary environmental testing has revealed a small amount of mold in one location, but no other issues. The consultant looked at radon (which is well below EPA and OSHA action levels), carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide (which are within recommended ranges), formaldehyde (which had no detectable levels), and very low levels of volatile organic compounds were identified (which were well within permissible levels). Testing will continue and any recommended remediation will be performed. In addition, a medical survey of the individuals in the building will be undertaken to determine if the reported health issues present a statistically significant issue from an epidemiological perspective. President Glotzbach indicated his appreciation for everyone’s understanding and suggested that individual questions can be addressed to Terri Mariani in Human Resources (for employees) and Patty Bosen in Health Services (for students).
President Glotzbach concluded his report by noting that the Science Working Group is close to completing its report on Program Planning. Based on that work, the Science Facilities Task Force will begin its work this month. We will be continuing this conversation with the Board of Trustees at their upcoming retreat. He also reported that the National College Comedy Festival, which was started by a Skidmore student, David Miner, will be held on campus this weekend, and an article regarding this event will be published in this Sunday’s New York Times.
Following his report, Associate Professor Barbara Black raised a question in reference to President Glotzbach’s letter sent to the community concerning a cross-campus group working on sophomore experience which is piloting a course called “Presenting the Brand Called Me,” which has been taught by Interim Dean of Special Programs Paul Calhoun. She questioned whether CEPP was involved in that matter. Interim Dean of Special Programs Paul Calhoun indicated that students have been asking for the course and the group is looking at ways to take some of the elements of the 1-credit course to sophomores over the course of one week. Dean of Student Affairs Rochelle Calhoun also indicated that the program is not intended to be credit-bearing and is merely an opportunity for students to have those experiences as part of a multi-pronged program focused on sophomores. Associate Professor Josh Ness indicated that CEPP has not been involved in those discussions.
VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS’ REPORT
Susan Kress, Vice President for Academic Affairs, welcomed everyone back to the new semester. She named the members of the Science Working Group (Professor Mark Hofmann [chair], Associate Professor Karen Kellogg, Professor Bernie Possidente, Professor Mary Odekon, Associate Professor Steve Frey, Associate Professor Kyle Nichols, Professor Corey Freeman-Gallant [DOF designee], Professor Denise Smith, Tracy Barlok, Associate Vice President for Advancement, Associate Professor Tom O’Connell, Professor Flip Phillips, and Associate Professor Hassan Lopez) in order to recognize their important institutional work. VP Kress also thanked Dean Breslin for doing a great job working with department chairs to recruit those faculty members.
VP Kress provided a report on endowed chairs:
The call for nominations for the Kenan Chair resulted in a pool of exceptional candidates. Following the procedures in the Faculty Handbook, she consulted with the members of Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure (CAPT), the Dean of the Faculty, the President, and relevant department chairs in choosing the next Kenan endowed chair. With great pleasure, she reported that Professor Sarah Goodwin was appointed as the next Kenan Chair. As she noted, Professor Goodwin has served the community for 28 years, having served as chair of her department, associate dean of the faculty, acting dean of the faculty and assessment coordinator. She has guided two Middle States reaccreditation reviews and has been appointed a Teagle Scholar. She is a distinguished teacher-scholar-citizen, having written or co-edited four books, and is an inspirational teacher, constantly reinventing her pedagogies. Professor Goodwin received a congratulatory round of applause.
A new endowed chair entitled The Susan Kettering Williamson ’59 Chair in Neuroscience was created to recognize excellence among the Skidmore faculty in the area of neuroscience; the funds for this chair were pledged during the recent campaign. VP Kress reported that a search for this chair was conducted, and she was delighted to report that Sarita Lagalwar has been recruited as the inaugural holder of the chair. Sarita Lagalwar holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, and her area of expertise is in cellular mechanisms of neuro-degeneration, particularly Alzheimer’s.
A search for the Harder Chair is in process. A group from across the campus will be reviewing applications, and it is hoped that an appointment will be made later in the Spring.
Thereafter, VP Kress encouraged everyone to see the annual student art exhibit which opened at the Schick Gallery on February 2 and will be on display through March 4. The juror was Debra Slotsky; and Pete Stake, assisted by Rebecca Sheppard, curated the show. Thereafter, she introduced Ian Berry, Malloy Director at the Tang Teaching Museum, who announced that the opening reception for the Tang’s spring exhibitions will be held on Saturday, February 18. Artists exhibiting include Donald Moffett, Nancy Grossman, Pam Lyns, and Sharon Hayes. The evening will begin with a dialogue at 5:00 with Nancy Grossman and Elizabeth Streb. He encouraged everyone to visit the Tang’s website for upcoming events, which include a dialogue with Donald Moffet and Mason Stokes, an evening talk with Pam Lyns, a reading by Douglas Crimp, and several noon curator’s tours, late-night events and student organized events.
VP Kress reminded everyone that there are regular faculty updates on Scope Online on faculty achievements and encouraged everyone to read them to see what their fellow colleagues are doing. She also encouraged everyone to attend the annual Steloff lecture scheduled for February 9, which is the one occasion, aside from Commencement, where an honorary degree is presented. This year’s lecturer is novelist, Ha Jin, a native of China, who has written many books in English. He is currently a Professor at Boston University, has won many awards, including the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and has written many short stories, novels and essays. His lecture is entitled “Personal Story, Historical Event.”
VP Kress mentioned the wonderful event in honor of writer Bill Kennedy orchestrated by Marc Woodworth and sponsored by Salmagundi called A Hot Night in Havana. She remarked that this unique event consisted of dramatic readings and musical performances. She thanked Marc and all the others that made the event possible.
VP Kress also provided an update on the Intellectual Property policy; the charge is in the process of being drafted and FEC will issue a willingness to serve. It is hoped that two or three faculty members will join other administrators, staff and students on the working group.
Lastly, she reported that Part Six of the Faculty Handbook is due for review, and that another Academic Affairs bulletin can be expected after the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting.
Dean of Special Programs Report. Interim Dean of Special Programs Paul Calhoun also commented about A Hot Night in Havana noting that this was one of the three projects that was able to be funded through the Arts Planning Group with the money that was set aside to take advantage of the Zankel space for interdisciplinary programming. Even though this event did not take place in Zankel, the funds are available for performances at any venue. This was the first performance with that money, and it is anticipated that there will be two more events later in this semester.
Dean Calhoun reminded everyone of upcoming dates and events:
The ACJW will hold their Spring semester performance on February 10. They are going to do a world premiere commissioned by Carnegie Hall, and then they will perform Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat, which will be accompanied by Skidmore student narrators and dancers choreographed by Rubén Graciani. Dean Calhoun asked everyone to encourage their students to attend.
An ensemble that is bringing 12 student musicians from Mexico will be here next week. Carnegie Hall has initiated some exchange programs with other countries and they have chosen to bring the exchange students to Skidmore.
Open registration for summer session will begin on February 15. He noted that enrollments were down last year; of the 80 courses available, 20 had to be cancelled due to lack of enrollment. Dean Calhoun indicated that Special Programs will do all it can to encourage increased enrollment, as this an opportunity for additional revenue; further, he indicated that summer session provides faculty with an opportunity for experimentation and innovation.
The Isle of Klezbos, sponsored by the Jacob Perlow Series, will perform on February 23.
On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), Associate Professor Barbara Black read the following Motion that was introduced at the last faculty meeting held December 2, 2011 (see attached):
MOTION: The Faculty Executive Committee moves that the following change to the Faculty Handbook (Part Two, II.F.11) be adopted:
Membership: Four faculty members, each representing one of the four Divisions of Disciplines [see Part Two, preamble], elected to serve three-year terms, and one library faculty member, appointed in consultation with the Director of the MALS Program and the College Librarian, to serve a three-year term; the Dean of Special Programs, the Dean of the Faculty or his/her designee,and the Director and Academic Advisor of the MALS Program.
There was no discussion, and the Motion was voted on and passed with all in favor.
There was no new business.
A Committee of the Whole was formed to discuss proposed revisions to Part One, Article X, of the Faculty Handbook. Associate Professor Josh Ness was appointed as chair of the Committee of the Whole; a 20-minute time limit was set with the opportunity for additional time for discussion. Prior to entering into the Committee of the Whole, VP Kress explained the rationale for the revisions to this article, indicating that the Committee on Academic Freedom and Rights (CAFR) had brought forward the concern in 2006 that the procedures for discipline of a tenured faculty member were insufficient and unclear. Starting last June, a group consisting of the chairs of CAFR (Grace Burton), CAPT (Greg Pfitzer) and FEC (Barbara Black); Barbara Krause, Executive Director, President’s Office; former Dean of the Faculty Muriel Poston (until August 2011); and VP Kress has been working on the proposed revisions. This group looked at procedures at other institutions (Colgate, Dickinson, Hobart William Smith, Redlands, St. Lawrence, Trinity, Union and Vassar) concerning sanctions and dismissal of faculty and also reviewed the latest edition of the AAUP Redbook. Inasmuch as the current language of Article X only deals with the dismissal of tenured faculty, the group thought this article should apply to all faculty and should also involve sanctions short of dismissal. VP Kress concluded by thanking those who are working on the revised policy, and she further indicated that the language in the revisions concerning the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the Faculty would be revised once the new academic structure has been finalized. At the conclusion of the meeting of the Committee of the Whole, Associate Professor Ness rose and reported that a discussion of the proposed revisions to Part One, Article X, of the Faculty Handbook was held.
Associate Professor Erica Bastress-Dukehart announced that the Science Literacy Group will reconvene on February 8 and the Academically Adrift Group will meet on February 24. Additionally, Associate Professor Denise Evert will be hosting a lunch for chairs and program directors on February 15; if anyone is interested, please contact Associate Professor Evert directly. Lastly, the writing groups are thriving; if anyone is interested in participating, please contact Associate Professor Bastress-Dukehart or Associate Professor Kim Frederick.
Riley Neugebauer, Sustainability Coordinator, announced an initiative being sponsored by her office: Skidmore Unplugged which will start February 13 and is a 3-week competition on campus between the residence halls to reduce energy usage; this year, we will be also be competing cumulatively against other schools in New York (Colgate, Hamilton, St. Lawrence and Hobart William Smith). Also, the New Energy Economy Forum will be held February 15-17 with a career services workshop for students on February 15, a keynote speech by Jeff Goodell on February 16, and a culminating panel session on February 17, which will bring 27 panelists (including some alumni) from across the region. Lastly, the Big Green Scream will be held February 18, the last home basketball game which will be themed with sustainability, energy, and recycling.
Professor Sarah Goodwin reported that the College received a planning grant from Teagle in connection with the NY6 consortium to conduct a study of faculty work; as part of that planning group, tenured and tenure-track faculty will be invited to a series of focus groups to collect information that will be aggregated with information from the other NY6 schools. She and Associate Professor Bastress-Dukehart will be contacting faculty for those focus groups shortly.
Professor Roy Rotheim invited everyone to attend the second annual Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition being held on Friday, February 10, 2012 in the Surrey. He explained that the competition was conceived by Freirich, a member of the Class of 1990, who is now President of Health Monitor Network; the competition will award a $10,000 cash prize to the Skidmore student or team of students that writes the best plan for a new business, plus second- and third-place awards.
Michael Casey, Vice President for Advancement, invited everyone to a reception in Murray Aikins immediately following the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:58 p.m.