Faculty Meeting Minutes
April 7, 2000
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the March 3 faculty meeting were approved as written.
Since the last faculty meeting, President Studley attended gatherings of presidents of formerly women’s colleges hosted by the Mellon Foundation and the Harvard Law School Visiting Committee. Both sessions reinforced the pace of change in academic institutions and the commonality of issues.
Discussion and understanding have been important themes across campus recently. Curriculum and reconfiguration have constituted one topic of serious discussion. President Studley thanked the faculty, staff, and members of SGA and Academic Council who assembled meetings for the purpose of educating students about the implications of reconfiguration. In addition, Skidmore has been reflecting upon a number of policies such as orientation for freshmen, student life, and residence hall issues. We have also had the opportunity to reflect on our relationships with corporations and ethical business practices in some unexpected, but constructive and fruitful ways. Our students were thoughtful about the way they presented their questions concerning Sodexho-Marriott, a tribute to our sense of community.
IPC has been reflecting on the planning process and how to bring it to the whole community. More information will be sent in the coming weeks explaining the status of the project. IPC will launch and invite participation in a summer planning project to identify initial key questions and materials for the planning process and bring a proposal for a campus wide process to IPC in the fall.
President Studley corrected the agenda. The last item under reports regarding FPPC’s report on health benefits is an action item and will be discussed under "New Business."
Professor Mary Ann Foley, Chair of the Search Committee for VP for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, reported that the process of choosing the new Dean of the Faculty and VP for Academic Affairs has been narrowed to twelve semi-finalists. Interviews will be conducted over the next two weekends with the goal of selecting three to four individuals to come to campus. A position profile will be sent to the faculty over email.
Tentative plans are to have campus interviews of the finalists during the last two weeks of the semester. The prospective candidates will meet with the following groups: the Search Committee, the President, members of President’s Staff, members of the Dean of the Faculty’s Staff, CAPT, chairs or representatives of selected committees, chairs and program directors, relevant departments, students, and junior faculty.
A web site will be established to share information and get feedback about the candidates that are brought to campus. The committee’s email address can also be used to send the Committee feedback. After the campus visits, the Committee will hold an open session for faculty members and administrative staff who wish to share their thoughts. The purpose of this open session is to gather information; the Committee will be there to listen. Someone who is not on the Search Committee will moderate it. Mary Ann Foley thanked those who have been communicating with the Committee over email and continues to call for and looks forward to the faculty’s help.
Reporting for the Orientation Committee, Dean Pat Oles briefly discussed the 2000 fall orientation schedule, which was handed out prior to the meeting. This year’s orientation will last only three days, and there will be testing of all students early during orientation for foreign language placement tests. There will be small sessions with students to talk about academic integrity, health, safety concerns, etc. These sessions will also serve to introduce students to faculty members, and he hopes many faculty members will participate in this year’s orientation.
CEPP Chair Professor David Peterson gave a status report on reforming the curriculum. In the autumn faculty met in a pedagogy workshop to discuss the recommendations of CEPP’s Asheville subcommittee on curricular reform. Their recommendations covered a number of areas connected to the previous year’s faculty conversations about intellectual proficiencies, but in particular included the recommendation that we try to integrate over four years both traditional content areas and intellectual proficiencies as a basic liberal arts core educational package. Additionally, the Asheville group recommended that we not constrain ourselves to one academic year as the timing for bringing a formal proposal to the faculty.
CEPP has worked during the year to develop a rationale that would undergird those principles upon which we would build a new revised core. CEPP believes that the faculty charged CEPP in December to move a little more quickly on reforming the core to create a more efficient way to deliver that same content and to increase an assessable base of intellectual proficiencies. Over the past semester CEPP has worked on this task and is near to having a draft. As soon as a final draft is developed, it will be brought to the faculty for an open discussion. A formal proposal may be brought forth early in the fall of 2000. CEPP is not prepared to bring to the faculty a complete and specific model for curricular revision just yet.
Mehmet Odekon asked where the search for the new director of CITS stood and what the faculty input is in this process. Karl Broekhuizen shared with the faculty that Tom Molloy has been hired to assist Skidmore search for the new director. Members of the community will work with Karl and Tom to help identify finalists to bring to campus. Those who have been asked to participate in the search are Michael Marx, Ruth Copans, Bob DeSieno, Ann Henderson, Jonathan Cotton ‘02, Phil Cifarelli, Jim Gette, and Karl. In addition, Karl has met with IRC on the nature of the position and search criteria. He expects that two to five candidates will be brought to campus to meet with members of the Skidmore Community.
Professor Dan Hurwitz, Chair of FPPC, presented the following motion:
MOTION: The Financial Planning and Policy Committee moves that the faculty recommend to the Board of Trustees that Skidmore College extend to eligible same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners of full-time employees all health benefits currently offered to dependent spouses.
This issue has been discussed for several years in Benefits, The Diversity and Affirmative Action, and FPPC Committees. This year the recommendation was sent to the President. Since it is a matter that will go into the Faculty Handbook, it is being brought to the faculty today for a vote. Since this is a policy issue, it would ordinarily lie over until the next faculty meeting. However, since it is the President’s intention to bring the recommendation to the Board at the May meeting, it is preferable that the faculty vote on this non-binding recommendation to the Board at this meeting.
A motion was made and seconded to waive the layover period. The motion carried with a majority voting in favor.
Karl Broekhuizen asked that the word "non-union" be added in the last line of the motion to clarify that benefits for union members are negotiated in a separate process. Some members of the faculty expressed concern that adding "non-union" would set one class of people apart from the other, and this is not just a faculty issue. After further discussion, "non-union" was dropped, with the understanding that this change would reflect a college philosophy and also that application of the policy to unionized employees remains a matter for contract negotiations.
The motion carried unanimously. This is a non-binding recommendation to the Board.
For the CFG, Professor Tad Kuroda presented a motion governing attendance at faculty meetings. The CFG has participated in many discussions about the subject of the monthly faculty meetings over the past several years. The rationale and history were presented earlier to the faculty via email. CFG recommends the following new language in Part Two, Article I. Topic A:
Section 1. Those holding appointments as teaching associates, departmental assistants, and part-time faculty may attend and participate in faculty meetings but without a vote.
CFG would like a vote on this motion at the April 28 faculty meeting. The primary interest is to promote the goal of making the monthly faculty meeting a more effective and efficient body for faculty discussion and decision making. CFG decided to work on an "operating code" for faculty meetings that will include items that call attention to procedures that give faculty important options: e.g., suspension of normal rules, resort to a committee of the whole, occasions for executive sessions, definition of a quorum, etc. These procedures should allow the voting members of the faculty meeting to exercise more control over how they discuss issues of importance to them.
Professor Kress was uneasy with the proposal because she felt that there are many issues at faculty meetings that are not just faculty issues; faculty members are members of the entire College, not just members of the faculty. If we cut links with other offices we will be in the position of making ourselves elite and we will lose contact with those offices which the faculty needs in order to be effective.
President Studley said that she had considered suggesting the addition of the word "directly" in Section 2b (" . . . that relates directly to their official responsibilities"), because everyone’s official responsibility ultimately relates to the academic function of the College. She suggested that the faculty think seriously about the benefits and costs of this proposal for community respect and cooperation, the quality of discussion, and coordination in a complex enterprise. If the forum of the faculty meetings changes, then it may be appropriate or necessary to consider the nature of other kinds of meetings across campus; such changes would require time and attention. She looks forward to the discussion at the next faculty meeting.
Professor Mehmet Odekon discussed the current parking proposal circulated by ACC. Since reconfiguration raises the educational expectations of our students and additional emphasis will be placed on outside learning experiences, he sees an overall cultural change at Skidmore. If that culture is to change and more time is to be spent studying, maybe it is time to consider not allowing first-year students to bring their cars to campus. The ACC subcommittee talked about prohibiting the use of cars by freshmen during the fall term because of even greater limits on parking spaces during the winter due to snowfall. But that argument is based on snowfall; if education is to be emphasized, then we should rethink the first-year parking policy.
Dean Pat Oles, a member of the ACC parking subcommittee, said that about one-third of the freshmen class bring cars to campus. He said there are no data that he is aware of that explores the relationship between having a car on campus as a freshman and how well a student does. Prohibiting freshmen from bringing cars to campus may create other problems such as parking on neighboring streets, which can create problems for Skidmore’s neighbors. It’s an important question, but it is also a surprisingly complex issue.
President Studley added that ACC had talked about whether it would be effective to strongly discourage first-year students from bringing their cars to campus as a matter of academic guidance to families, encouraging students to focus on campus life rather than prohibiting cars outright.
Professor Paty Rubio, Director of Women’s Studies, reported that "at the last Women’s Studies lunch, participants discussed the recent report on faculty salary comparisons for fall of 1999. They recognize that there are some other differences and inequities that can be extrapolated from these data; however, they concentrated on the differences between faculty salaries (male and female) at the ranks of associate professor and full professor level. They decided to draw up a petition, and to circulate the petition first among the rest of the women faculty. The objectives of the petition are to express our concern about the continued existence of these differences at the associate and full professor ranks, to bring the attention of the faculty and the community at large to this issue, and to request immediate attention and action to this issue." The petition reads as follows:
Female associate and full professors are paid less than their male counterparts at Skidmore College. At the full professor rank, the difference between salary means is $2,853 (medium = $3,755); at the associate level the mean difference is $4,031 (median = $3,790). Moreover, although the disparity favoring males at the full professor level decreased by $130 between fall of 1998 and fall of 1999, the disparity of the associate level favoring males actually increased in the past year by $380.
Salary equity by gender negatively affects women’s quality of life now and into the future. The College’s retirement contributions are a percentage of salary; thus, the above salary discrepancies are accompanied by mean retirement contributions of $300-$400 per year more for a senior male than female faculty members. Compounded over time, this gender disparity will result in much greater financial security among males than females at retirement.
Whatever the historical reasons for these inequities, we, the undersigned faculty of Skidmore College, abhor the fact that in this year 2000 female faculty members continue to be paid less than male faculty members at the ranks of associate and full professor. We call for the Dean, the President and the Board of Trustees to take immediate action regarding gender-based salary inequity and eliminate that inequity by July 2003.
Dean Roth provided additional information concerning the comparison that she thought would be helpful to understand what the numbers stand for in the FPPC/Dean’s memo Professor Rubio was referring. Sensitivity to gender differences in salaries was very much on Dean Roth’s mind when she became Dean and has remained so. The FPPC/Dean’s memo shows information is divided by gender, which is an indication that Skidmore is concerned with this issue. The figures in the FPPC/Dean’s memo are raw data—they are averages, means, minimums, etc., and they have not been correlated with anything. But the salary analysis that we have been using for the past 3 or 4 years, developed in large part by Kate Berheide, working with Una Bray, Ann Henderson and Bob Jones, is based on a document called "A Guide to Achieving Salary Equity in Higher Education." Based on a systematic and thorough analysis, the differences in salary over the last three years are accounted for by the following (in no particular order): rank, years in rank, discipline, years at Skidmore, years since the highest degree, and gender, which together account for 94% of the differences. It is possible that merit allocation in the past may account for the other 6%.
"The difference that is attributable to gender, assuming the study is giving us good information, is as follows: in 1997, gender accounted for .053% of the difference, or $576. In 1998 it was .017% or $349; in 1999 it was .006% or $210. When we starting using this study, another correlation that was distressing was the negative correlation between years of service at the College and salary. People being hired now are paid higher salaries than many of us were when we were first hired. That too is a correlation that has diminished. In 1997 it was a bit lower than the correlation with gender—it was $305; in 1998 it was $276, and this year it is $214. Promotion rates by gender are another dimension of salary analysis. So far it looks as if women may be being promoted slightly earlier than men may, but that is very provisional data." Dean Roth would like to hear further thoughts and questions to try to address them in a memo later this semester and to make recommendations to her successor.
Professor Holley Hodgins asked for a commitment from the administration to allow a small group of faculty to have access to the data to the DOF and the faculty.
President Studley commented that the current analysis seems rigorous, and that review of the raw data involves significant issues of confidentiality. As we pursue these matters on which Dean Roth has worked, one option might be to seek external advice on our method and questions for analyzing these issues.
On behalf of Development and Alumni Affairs, Marny Krause, Interim Vice President of Development and Alumni Affairs, invited the faculty to the Surrey for the faculty/staff reception during the alumni volunteer weekend.
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