FACULTY MEETING MINUTES
February 4, 2000
MOMENT OF SILENCE
A tribute was read by Professor Susan Lehr in memory of Sayra Nikoloff Lester, faculty emerita, who recently passed away. She served Skidmore and the Education Department for 21 years. A moment of silence followed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion was made to approve the minutes of the December 3, 1999 faculty meeting; it was seconded, and the motion carried with all voting in favor.
President Studley informed the faculty that she had a series of meeting in January with administrative, support, union, and professional staff. She shared with them four immediate presidential priorities. In the area of student experience, how do we connect academic activities (such as reconfiguration and curricular reform) to co-curricular activities and create a flow from orientation through advising, reflecting on academic life and experiences, career planning, and lifelong learning? At the same time, how can faculty and students together enrich our sense of community, responsibility and honor? Another priority will be to take a hard, creative look at Skidmore, developing with IPC an outline of a planning process that the faculty will help execute. The two other priorities are building visibility and revenue and a leadership team. There are two vice-presidential searches under way right now, and she appreciates those who stepped forward to serve on search committees. She welcomes thoughtful comments from the faculty about these two positions.
President Studley announced that Jim Gette, Director, Office of the President, will start work on February 14. One of his roles will be to suggest ways to improve communications with her office.
President Studley spoke about improving communications in various areas. On the academic side, Dean Bender, Dean Oles and Dean Ramsey, as well as department chairs and other groups, are working with students to explain reconfiguration and how it will affect their academic plans. On another front, she appreciates that there are concerns about Facilities Services and is working on improved responsiveness, communication, and services.
President Studley has been attending departmental meetings and many more are scheduled for February and March. She is finding these meeting valuable for understanding curricular issues, disciplinary directions, and departmental and college-wide initiatives.
In regard to the budget, President Studley stated that she is working hard to develop a responsible budget that meets the key goals that she and FPPC have been discussing. Skidmore’s financial condition is stronger than it has been as a result of endowment growth, improvements in the Annual Fund, strong enrollment, and diligent work at finding savings. In recent years Skidmore has increased the compensation pool, including enhancements and equity adjustments; increased financial aid, and expanded plant renewal and maintenance. But we cannot count on the economy to remain strong, and endowment growth is geometric—for all of our effort we lose ground to schools that already had higher endowments. To sustain our current financial equilibrium into the future, therefore, we need to plan now to find a mix of revenue and expenses that will support our long-term goals. Expense pressures will intensify: for example, our facilities are aging, and we need to plan projects logically rather than on an emergency basis. Capital projects, like endowment, pay long-term dividends, and capital investments serve the people who live, study and work on campus.
President Studley stated that Skidmore is composed of exceptional people whose hard work and dedication are our greatest wealth. Thanks to Skidmore’s people we have accomplished much, and are as competitive as we are, without comparable tangible wealth. Two-thirds of our expense budget goes directly to people in compensation, and much of the rest of the money supports our work through Library, technology and other resources. Rewarding people for work well done will continue to be a high priority. Adding people to help us do the work has been one of the most powerful pressures on the expense side, and making those decisions thoughtfully to address our priorities is a challenge. Financial aid, one of our major costs and priorities, is an investment in people, too. Balancing operating expenses, endowment for program, and endowment for plant create a tension that we will be talking about for a long time.
There are three major capital projects in the works: the renovation and expansion of Filene and the Case Campus Center and construction of the Tang Museum. Funds for Filene have been identified, and planning for the renovation/addition is moving ahead. The Board has authorized us to move ahead with the Case Campus Center project, and the construction manager has given us a guaranteed maximum price. There have been significant changes in the purpose and scope of the project that has brought the price to over $8 million, including previously-approved internal upgrade projects and creation of Porter Plaza. The Tang Museum, the third project, is creating excitement among our alumni and regionally. At this point the dramatic structure and the costs of building and supporting the Tang program are evident, while the value to the College and to our academic life are only just becoming apparent. She noted that the first grant to Skidmore that she helped secure was to support a faculty workshop on developing Tang programming. We need to work together as a campus to imagine and use the Tang in ways that fulfill and enhance its promise.
DEAN OF FACULTY’S REPORT
In the absence of Dean Roth, Associate Dean Susan Bender gave the Dean of Faculty’s report. She introduced Professor Ron Adams, a new faculty member in the Department of Math and Computer Science, who is exchanging places with Gove Effinger and Alice Dean who are sharing his position for the semester at Coventry University in England.
Dean Bender reminded the faculty that the annual Edwin M. Moseley Faculty Research Lecture will be held February 16 at 8:00 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium. Professor Susan Lehr of the Education Department will give the lecture. The title is "Barbarous Women and Invisible Children: Evolution of a Researcher’s Research."
Dean Bender also reminded the faculty that the Afro-American Conference, sponsored by Salmagundi, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on February 4 in Gannett Auditorium.
Professor Joanna Zangrando reported that the members of the Search Committee for Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty are: Professor John Anzalone; Professor Grace Burton; Phil Cifarelli, Director and Associate Treasurer, Financial Services; Professor Mary Ann Foley; Ann Henderson, Registrar; Don McCormack, Dean of Special Programs; Professor Peter Stake; and herself. One member of the student body will also serve on this committee. The chair will be selected from among the faculty members of the committee. The committee is dedicated to an open search, and two open meetings will be held at which faculty members can share views of the criteria for this position. Views can also be sent by e-mail to VP-ACAD-list.
President Studley mentioned that the Admissions report would be sent to the faculty via e-mail after all the statistics are fully computed.
Professor Dan Hurwitz reported for the Financial Policy and Planning Committee. FPPC intends to draft a white paper about decisions concerning FTE levels for non-academic staff by the end of this semester. FPPC has recommended to President’s Staff that College health benefits be extended to both same and opposite sex domestic partners.
Professor Hurwitz noted that the cost of the Case Center renovation has increased from the original estimate of $3.25 million to over $8 million. About $3.25 million will come out of the Series 1998 Bond issue, and a possible source of money to fund this budget difference could come from unrestricted bequests. FPPC discussed the funding of Case Center but was not asked to approve or disapprove the project. FPPC was recently shown renovation plans for the 4th floor of Palamountain. Three plans were presented at costs of $800,000, $1.4 million, and $1.5 million respectively. With other budget constraints and the large expenditures for Case Center, several committee members have serious reservations about the more expensive plans.
Since last April there have been discussions about what was going to be done with the $1.5 million that came from the additional revenue from this year’s large freshman class. FPPC recommended that the $1.5 million be encumbered as follows: $500,000 to be held in reserve; $500,000 to be used for employee compensation in the present fiscal year; and $500,000 to be used for appropriate capital and operational items. FPPC discussed compensation extensively this year. Professor Hurwitz said that he saw a difference of opinion about where compensation fits on the priority list among the members of FPPC. Professor Hurwitz believes that a general salary adjustment of 3.5% for next year was presented to the Board.
A question was asked about how Skidmore professors compare to peer institutions in terms of salary. Professor Gary McClure, a member of FPPC, commented that the information that FPPC has indicated that some improvement was made but not as much as had been targeted. The trend for the last ten to fifteen years shows that Skidmore has progressively declined in comparison with its peers, with the exception that the latest data (which is two years old) which shows that we have made some small improvements. More recent data from AAUP (which will be one year old) is expected soon. The faculty members of FPPC feel that more should be going into compensation, and if a tradeoff is necessary, less should come from the operating budget for capital spending.
President Studley, noting that she was a guest at FPPC’s last meeting, agreed with Professor Hurwitz’s approach of making compensation a priority and then looking at other budget items. Compensation is a significant issue, and we are trying to accomplish the level targeted by FPPC. She added that she believes that the commitment to compensation is shared among FPPC members. She felt that some real strides were made in equity, enhancement, and compensation by David Porter and Phyllis Roth and hopes that these increases will be reflected in comparative terms to our peer institutions. President Studley hopes to send out a short note to the faculty with background on the Tang and Case Center projects.
On behalf of the University Without Walls, Professor Zangrando offered the following resolution:
RESOLVED, that the Faculty of Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to four students and the Bachelor of Science degree to three students for a total of seven students.
The motion was seconded, and carried with all voting in favor.
(For list of graduates, see Attachment A)
Dean Jon Ramsey made a motion to amend the faculty legislation of October 1995 (proposed by Prof. Arnush and Dean Ramsey) regarding "Academic Honors and Academic Integrity." He made the following motion:
MOVED, that the faculty amend the policy of October 1995 regarding "Academic Integrity and Academic Honors" as follows: delete the exceptions for first-year students on reporting academic integrity infractions to law schools, bar examiners, study abroad applications, transfer applications, and similar entities authorized to seek integrity information. The motion was seconded.
Dean Ramsey explained that some problems in the original legislation had come to light: namely, that we need to report infractions more uniformly than we had anticipated to such external agencies as law schools and bar examiners. The faculty asked Dean Ramsey to bring specific text changes to the faculty meeting for further discussion and a vote.
Professor Tad Kuroda gave a brief report from the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG) on behalf of the Committee of Committees. (For Minutes of Committee of Committees Meeting, December 14, 1999, see Attachment B.) The purpose of the gathering of the Committee of Committees is to have a report of the Committee’s relations with the administration, and to promote good communications and coordination among the various faculty committees. Tad made three general points. In spite of differences, in general the relationships between the faculty committees and the administration have been good. Secondly, there have been considerable discussions over the last several years about FPPC and the IPC. These two committees are going through some very significant changes in terms of the way they approach their jobs. He urged the faculty to continue to pay attention to what is happening to those two committees, as it will have implications for all of us. Third, the Committee of Committees is considering new ways that it can function efficiently to promote more coordination and communication among committees and between those committees and the faculty at large. That is part of a large attempt on the part of CFG to make faculty governance more effective.
President Studley congratulated the winners of the President’s Day award. The winners from among the faculty were Professor Ralph Ciancio and Professor Joanna Zangrando; the administrative winners were Dean Jon Ramsey and Leo Geoffrion.
Dean Don McCormack invited the faculty to the reception in the Dana Atrium, sponsored by the Department of Special Programs.
A motion was made to adjourn the meeting; it was seconded, and the motion carried with all voting in favor. The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.
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