November 5, 1999
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the October 1, 1999 meeting were approved as submitted.
President Studley introduced Abby Swormstedt, Vice President of Academic Affairs of the Student Government Association, to the faculty. Abby informed the faculty that SGA has been working to re-establish Academic Council this year. Any questions or concerns should be directed to her or one of the department representatives.
President Studley discussed the hiring of a Vice President and Dean of Faculty and sought input from the faculty. She feels that the interests of the College and the faculty would be best served by moving ahead with a search for this key person and wants the person to begin in the new academic year.
The Vice President and Dean of Faculty will have three major roles:
While searching to fill this position, we will have further discussions about alternatives for structuring the broad and heavy responsibilities of this position. This key person will need to be flexible and prepared to engage in planning on organizational matters and the delegation of responsibilities within the Dean’s Office.
President Studley has met with CFG and CAPT to discuss the formation of a search committee. She suggests that five faculty members serve on the search committee with fewer than five people from other areas of the College. She does not expect Trustees to serve on the committee. The Vice President and Dean of Faculty will be appointed by the Board on the recommendation of the President and will report directly to her.
At this point in the meeting, Professor John Thomas moved that the faculty form itself as a Committee of the Whole for the purpose of discussing the chief academic officer. The motion was seconded and all voted in favor. Professor Ralph Ciancio was asked to chair the Committee of the Whole. A Committee of the Whole allows the faculty to have a free flowing discussion; reporting to the faculty will be made at the end.
After a lengthy discussion, Professor Thomas moved that the Committee rise and report. The motion was seconded, and all voted in favor.
Professor Thomas reported that the Committee of the Whole met and discussed the position of chief academic officer.
Professor Gerry Erchak reported for Curriculum Committee, giving a summary of the reconfiguration review process. Ten departmental narratives have been submitted to Sue Bender, Associate Dean of the Faculty. These narratives are being distributed to the reconfiguration review group, a subcommittee created by Curriculum Committee consisting of Dean Bender, Professor Hugh Foley, Ann Henderson, Professor Rob Linrothe, Dean Jon Ramsey (from Curriculum Committee), and Professor John Brueggemann (from CEPP). Departments may be asked to revise their proposals to conform to the published guidelines. Once the group is satisfied that the narrative portion of the department proposal meets the criteria, then the department submits all the forms appended to the approved narrative, and the complete packet is submitted to all of Curriculum Committee for review. If the plan is approved, the Curriculum Committee decision constitutes the final step in the internal review process.
The first few proposals to complete this process will be sent to the State Education Department for its required review. The target date for deciding whether implementation can take place for the fall of 2000 is December 1, 1999. Professor Erchak hopes that most of these ten will be implemented this coming academic year.
There was a lengthy discussion, and many faculty members voiced their concerns about reconfiguring in a staggered fashion rather than getting all proposals in hand before moving ahead. If the College reconfigures in a staggered fashion and it is not successful, it will be difficult to go back to where the departments were before they were reconfigured. A suggestion was made to get approval from the State Education Department in a staggered fashion but not implement reconfiguration until all proposals are in hand.
Professor Lary Opitz questioned why the State of New York is making a judgment on the wisdom of Skidmore’s reconfiguration when he felt that the faculty has not had an opportunity to do so. While some departments can reconfigure to the benefit of students, there are other departments who feel that reconfiguration will cause great damage to programs, and he felt that previous discussions about reconfiguration have been less than satisfactory.
Dean Roth suggested that the departments who are having difficulties with reconfiguration have been heard, and she has met with those who have invited her to help with their reconfiguration problems. She and Dean Bender would be very pleased to work in whatever ways they can to assist any departments and programs in their efforts.
Professor Tom Denny stated that Dean Roth has been to his department to help with reconfiguration and there has been some movement. Although not intentional, he feels the way it is being put through is divisive because we are going to rush through a small number of departments this year rather than moving forward as a community. He sees major advantages to feeling out the State Education Department on their opinions but not putting anything into the 2000 catalogue until we have more sense that we are going forward as a community. He endorsed and was willing to move, that we not rush anything through but take a slower approach. The motion was seconded. (Note: According to parliamentary rules, Professor Denny discussed making a motion. President Studley checked with Professor Thomas, and he did not hear a motion. She suggested Professor Denny make a motion if he wants to do so.)
To give a sense of what the numbers mean, Dean Roth said that with the departments already reconfigured, the ten proposals are well more than half of those needed for the entire College to go forward with reconfiguration.
Professor Paty Rubio moved that we wait until we have all the proposals in hand before we move on reconfiguration. The motion was seconded.
There was further discussion about the pros and cons of reconfiguration.
Professor Denny stated that what bothers him is the way that this debate has progressed -- it puts departments in a situation where people are either accused of rushing through reconfiguration or dragging their heels causing divisiveness. He thinks that there are dangers in moving forward and proposed a motion; that it seems premature to move forward in this current, divided way, and he instructed Curriculum Committee not to process any reconfigured proposals into the catalog or into the program for the Fall semester of 2000 but to revisit it at a later point. He feels this would give departments who are currently having trouble with reconfiguration time to feel like we are moving forward as a community.
Professor Rubio accepted it as a friendly amendment to her motion.
Dean Roth asked Professor Denny to put his motion into fewer words so it can be put into the minutes and everyone can refer to it.
There was further discussion among the faculty about reconfiguration and a number of faculty members were concerned about voting on a motion as important as this so late in the meeting. Professor Margaret Pearson suggested that since this motion was so substantive, it should lie over until the next meeting for further discussion.
President Studley asked if Curriculum Committee and CEPP would summarize for faculty the status of reconfiguration proposals and effects on interdisciplinary programs and other issues and return for discussion in December.
Dean Roth suggested letting this motion lie over to the December meeting for further discussion and have the Curriculum Committee and CEPP take this into consideration at their meeting next week. She also offered to help professors who are having difficulty advising students about the implications of reconfiguration for meeting major requirements.
Professor Opitz made a motion to postpone the discussion of the motion made by Professor Denny until the December faculty meeting. It was seconded.
Then Professor Denny clarified his earlier motion:
MOVED that the faculty instructs Curriculum Committee that reconfiguration not be implemented for Fall 2000. The motion was seconded
It was moved and seconded that we postpone that motion. There was no discussion, and all voted in favor of the motion to postpone.
President Studley informed the faculty that, given the late hour, she would send the report of the recent Board meeting to them on e-mail.
DEAN OF THE FACULTY’S REPORT
The Dean of the Faculty’s report will be put on e-mail and sent to the faculty.
Professor David Vella reported that the United Way campaign has started, thanked those who have already sent in their contributions, and appealed to those who haven’t sent in their contributions to please do so.
Dean Bender will send the faculty information regarding the upcoming pedagogy workshops on e-mail.
President Studley invited the faculty to Starbuck Center for the faculty/reception, sponsored by the programs/offices whose operations are now in the new Starbuck Student Services Center, named for Kathryn Starbuck, an early Skidmore teacher, administrator and trustee.
Claire C. Demarest
Office of the Dean of Faculty
CREATIVE THOUGHT MATTERS
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