FACULTY MEETING MINUTES
MARCH 5, 1999
President Roth called the meeting to order at 3:35 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the meeting of February 5, 1999 were approved as submitted.
President Roth reported that the Board of Trustees came to campus February 24-26 for its second meeting of the academic year. The Board felt very good about its revised structure and additional interaction with students and faculty and looks forward to continuing this practice. The Board had a virtual tour of the Tang Teaching Museum/Art Gallery, an update on the renovation to Starbuck and the projected renovations on Case Center. There was a very successful Student Life Forum with a presentation by a number of students on the subject of "Say ‘No’ to Sweatshops." The Board attended the Scholarship Dinner on Friday night followed by a new event called "Dedicated to Learning" on Saturday. The February meeting marked the retirement of two-long-time board members, Samuel W. Croll III ’73 and Myles A. Cane who served as Chair from 1992-98.
DEAN OF THE FACULTY’S REPORT
Acting Dean of the Faculty, Susan Bender, reported to the faculty about the Board’s meeting with the Academic Affairs Committee. Resolutions for faculty tenure, promotions and sabbatical leaves were approved. The following individuals were recommended and approved for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor: Mao Chen, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures; K. Gary McClure, Department of Business; Patricia Fehling, Department of Exercise Science, Dance and Athletics; Deborah Rohr, Department of Music; Marc-André Weismann, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Also recommended for tenure, who is already at the rank of Associate Professor, was Reginald Lilly, in the Philosophy Department.
Three promotions were recommended to the Board: W. Michael Mudrovic, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, to Associate Professor; Victor Cahn, Department of English, to Full Professor; and Giuseppe Faustini, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures to Full Professor.
Promotion to Assistant Professor was granted to Paul Michalec, Department of Education.
Sabbatical leaves were granted to: Catherine Berheide, Professor of Sociology; Roy Ginsberg, Professor of Government; Catherine Golden, Associate Professor of English; Reginald Lilly, Associate Professor of Philosophy; Mary-Elizabeth O’Brien, Associate Professor of German; Alice Dean, Associate Professor of Mathematics; Gove Effinger, Associate Professor of Mathematics; Mark Hofmann, Associate Professor of Mathematics; and Rajagopol Parthasarathy, Associate Professor of English; Jeff Segrave, Exercise Science, Dance and Athletics; Michael Arnush, Associate Professor of Classics; David Atkatz, Associate Professor of Physics; Hugh Foley, Associate Professor of Psychology, Hédi Jaouad, Associate Professor of French; Ruth Andrea Levinson, Associate Professor of Education; and Krzysztof Szymborski, Associate Professor and Science Librarian.
The following untenured leaves were approved: Patricia Ferraioli, Assistant Professor of Government; Viviana Rangil, Assistant Professor of Spanish; Eric Lewis, Assistant Professor of Business; James Kennelly, Assistant Professor of Business; Kathleen Leavitt, Assistant Professor of Art; and Susan Walzer, Assistant Professor of Sociology.
Dean Bender reminded the faculty of the upcoming Academic Festival this spring.
Continuing with the discussion of the Board Meeting and discussing comparative data which was distributed, President Roth stated that the tuition increase would be 4.9 percent next year. The College is now at the median of our comparative group in terms of the comprehensive fee, a jump from 13 out of 15.
To explain the Board’s concern with this increase in comprehensive fee, Dr. Roth noted that compared to our peer institutions, Skidmore does not afford as much financial aid to students. Our endowment yield per student is the lowest of our peer institutions even after our successful fundraising campaign. At the same time, however, we have the same faculty/student ratio and the College has a very low percentage of classes with more than 50 students. Thus, we have fewer financial resources to support parallel educational aims. Nonetheless, the Board approved an additional $150,000 in compensation enhancement for faculty in the professorial ranks. In addition to the 3 percent general salary adjustment, therefore, we will distribute an additional faculty enhancement that we had not planned in previous years.
The Board approved a resolution on the key elements operating budget parameters for the fiscal year beginning June 1, 1999. The budget will be based on an opening enrollment of 2,150 students; an increase in the comprehensive fee of 4.9 percent; a financial aid budget of $12,050,000 (an increase of 9.3 percent) and a compensation pool of $45,219,000 (up 6.1 percent). The 1999-00 operating budget will total approximately $71.6 million (up 6.3 percent). There will be a net increase of just below 12 FTEs including three positions for the International Programs Office.
President Roth said that the transition of the new president, Jamie Studley, is going very smoothly, as did her recent visit to campus, focussed on governance issues.
Professor Gerry Erchak reminded the faculty about the one-day colloquium on E. O. Wilson’s Consilience. It will take place on Tuesday, May 18 (Senior Week), and he needs more people to participate for the broadest possible discussion.
DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS REPORT
Mary Lou Bates reported that the Admissions Department is having another very good year. The applications are down one percent with 5,300 applications on file. The quality of the applicant pool is the same as last year, with median combined SAT scores of 1210. Thirty-five to forty percent of the class will be enrolled under one of the two early decision plans. While financial aid applications are down four percent, the students applying for aid are needier. Applications from multicultural students are down about three percent. Letters of acceptance go out to candidates on Friday, March 26, and May 1 is the enrollment deadline. This year’s acceptance rate is expected to be about 50 percent with a first-year class of 580 students. Three accepted candidates’ days will be hosted in April, and a special dinner and program is planned for those students who are at the top of our accepted pool. Admissions is working with College Relations in creating a new web page for accepted candidates. Admissions hopes to increase the proportion of multicultural students in the class by inviting students to the campus from downstate as well as from other areas of the country. The Admissions Department is calling this the "Discovery Tour."
President Roth reminded the faculty that the Harder Lecture, to be given by Bill Edwards, will be on
Pat Oles, Interim Dean of Student Affairs, introduced Elizabeth Lyons, who joins the Dean of Studies Office as the Disabilities Specialist.
Professor Eric Weller spoke for CEPP regarding the motion made at the February meeting to establish a separate Classics Department at the College. Two information meetings have been held since then.
MOTION: That Skidmore College create a separate Classics Department as an independent interdisciplinary program of study devoted to the exploration of the ancient Mediterranean world.
A written ballot was taken. The motion passed with 76 voting in favor and 46 voting against the motion.
Professor Tad Kuroda of CFG (Committee on Faculty Governance) spoke on behalf of the committee on committees, which CFG convened. The reports from the member committees indicate that the relationship between the committees and the administration continues to be cordial and cooperative even during a period of transition. Second, they express concerns about how committees on which faculty compose a minority and share responsibilities with other constituencies, such as IPC and FPPC, can function more effectively. Third, they worried about getting adequate numbers of faculty to run for them. On a separate matter, Professor Kuroda asked that all committee chairs who have been previously contacted by CFG respond to the request for a self-assessment.
President Roth thought that putting planning documents on the web (the Vision Statement and the Commission on the 90’s Report) would be useful during this time of transition.
Professor Gary McClure spoke for FPPC (Financial Policy and Planning Committee) which is an advisory committee that reviews and makes budget recommendations. He reported that the key budget parameters were approved by the Board at the Budget and Finance Committee meeting in February. The budget is in balance with a contingency of one percent for unexpected expenses.
FPPC will be establishing a web site by the end of this term. FPPC urged the Board to consider the increase from the previously planned 4.5 percent to the 4.9 percent in the comprehensive fee. They have assisted IPC in looking at compensation for faculty and other employees (including all benefits as well as salary). FPPC also reviews information from the Benefits Committee and makes proposals to that committee as appropriate. FPPC will be reviewing the issue of domestic partner benefits right after spring break. FPPC also reviewed the International Programs office proposal. He discussed the student information system, which he had hoped would be implemented this year, but will be delayed by about a year as a result of software problems. The implications for the capital budget may be about $300,000.
Even though the comprehensive fee is over $30,000 for the first time, FPPC feels that Skidmore is still competitive with Skidmore’s group of peer institutions. FPPC will make a recommendation regarding financial aid, compensation, and other major budget items, which will be considered for future budgets in the long-range plan. Skidmore has made improvements in compensating faculty, and is very close to the intermediate target that was established. FPPC would like to maintain that position and hopes to enhance faculty compensation. Whether or not we make improvement in our position next year is dependent upon what our peer colleges do in terms of salary increases. In the spring FPPC will study whether or not the improvements we had this year over last year are adequate or whether we should be projecting greater increases. If FPPC believes the latter, we will make a recommendation to the President/President’s Staff for further enhancement; however, if this occurs the revenue would have to be traded off in another area.
The number of increases in staff for next year is at 12 people. One is for the Zankel Chair, which is externally funded. Three of the remainder are for the International Programs Office, which are expected to pay for themselves, as are a couple of the others.
The capital budget is in preliminary form and it will be reviewed over the spring before final submission in May to the Board.
Prof. Thompson asked what would have to happen to this budget in order for us to add faculty. President Roth commented that positions have been added to the faculty, but the addition has not been considerable. Flexibility in staffing is needed to allow for changes in enrollment in departments. When the administrative system software system is completed, we should be able to get figures and get a history of growth at Skidmore much more readily than we have been able to do now.
Professor Eric Weller introduced discussion of CEPP’s proposal to revise the curriculum on the basis of those core abilities to be developed in our students as they proceed through our curriculum. He suggested that there are two issues that need to be addressed: 1) has CEPP correctly identified the core abilities from Skidmore’s Vision Statement; and 2) has CEPP correctly translated these abilities into a curricular proposal?
There was a long discussion among members of the faculty, and there were several concerns raised. Faculty members expressed opinions about the different ways of thinking critically. Some wondered why CEPP is considering another major change at this time when there was a change three years ago, and why do assessment, reconfiguration and curriculum development have to happen all at once. Others felt that more data was needed before making judgements. What does a pure curriculum look like? Other faculty members did not want to give up on content in defining our core curriculum and asked whether or not the College really should identify the core curriculum in terms of abilities rather than in terms of content.
President Roth yielded the Chair to the Dean of the Faculty and responded to some of these questions. Three years ago there was a lot of trouble with the curriculum change because there was not enough data on which to have judgements about what elements in the curriculum were achieving which goals. At this time, we need to ask some simple questions as we define the core abilities from the vision statement. You have to start assessing somewhere. The final assessment question is, "what do we want our students to know and be able to do by the time they graduate from Skidmore."
Acting Dean of the Faculty, Susan Bender, also responded to some of the faculty’s questions. CEPP’s vision for a new curriculum has been informed by two major concerns: 1) specifying the skills, abilities, and habits of mind that we want to cultivate in our students as future lifelong learners; and 2) articulating these with the major knowledge areas that a student should explore during the course of a classic, liberal arts education.
President Roth suggested we have an extra meeting or two on this topic and asked CEPP to arrange for that with plenty of advanced notice so that we can really get into the topic.
Interim Dean Professor Oles reported on activities of the Orientation Committee. The Orientation Committee has worked throughout this year to shorten the orientation period. The principle goal is to begin classes as soon as possible after students arrive on campus. The committee decided to provide only those programs necessary to the start of classes during orientation, deferring other programs to later in the semester. As a result of these deliberations the committee has constructed a rough schedule lasting for only 2.5 days, focused primarily on LS I and academic orientation. The committee acknowledges the challenges this presents to colleagues who have to re-think how they provide some testing and other orientation activities to new students. However, the committee is convinced a shorter and more focused orientation program is worth the challenge.
Professor Carla Sofka spoke on behalf of a group of students who have been charged with the task of leaning about organizational dynamics and community intervention by doing. They have constructed a survey on diversity and asked the faculty to please participate in that survey and to encourage your students to participate.
Professor Bob DeSieno spoke for Mary Lynn of the Faculty Development Committee. The Collaborative Research Grants for the summer of 1999 have been awarded, and the list of those people will be sent out via e-mail and are attached to these minutes. (See Attachment A.) The 1999-00 Edwin M. Moseley lecturer will be Susan Lehr of the Department of Education. The deadline for the AT&T Summer Learning Network is March 12; the innovation grants deadline is March 29, and the faculty development grant applications deadline is April 5. The faculty initiative grants will be announced very soon.
Don McCormack announced that the faculty/staff reception after the faculty meeting will be held at the Schick Gallery.
President Roth thanked Jon Ramsey, Dean of Studies, for shepherding through the International Programs Office proposal.
Claire C. Demarest
Office of the Dean of Faculty