Faculty Meeting ~ February 8, 2008
Faculty Meeting Minutes – February 8, 2008
Vice President Kress called the meeting to order at 3:37pm.
I. Approval of Minutes. The minutes from the December 7, 2007 meeting, having been previously distributed, were approved with no emendations. (One adjustment was made by FEC after the December 7 meeting and is so noted in the minutes.)
II. Vice President for Academic Affairs Report – Susan Kress
VP Kress chaired the meeting in the absence of President Glotzbach. This meeting was rescheduled due to bad weather conditions on February 1. The President had hoped to give some general remarks on the state of the College, but he will do that at a later date.
Sue Thomas, Chair of the Board of Trustees sent a message to everyone recently regarding the resignation of John Howley, the Chair of the Board elect. The appropriate committee of the Board is discussing the Board succession, and the committee will report to us in due course. VP Kress expressed gratitude to Ms. Thomas and President Glotzbach for their wise leadership.
The Faculty meeting scheduled for March 7 has been changed to February 29. A notice was sent recently regarding this. After consultation with FEC, VP Kress changed the meeting date because the scheduled date, March 7, is just before the spring break.
The Edwin M. Moseley lecture will be delivered by John Anzalone, Professor of French and Director of MALS, on March 20 in Gannett at 8:00pm. The Moseley lectureship is the highest honor the faculty confers upon one of its own and is a celebration of the very high regard that we have for distinguished faculty achievements. Newer colleagues should know that this is a must-attend lecture. The lecture is titled “From Propaganda to Pity: French Graphic Culture in World War I.”
VP Kress introduced and welcomed Erica Fuller, the new Sustainability Coordinator, who started on February 4. An email announcement was sent detailing her credentials. VP Kress and Vice President for Finance and Administration Michael West thanked the search committee members for their excellent work: Kim Marsella (chair), Sue Van Hook, and Dawn Harfmann ‘10. The Education Foundation of America (EFA) grant made this position possible. Karen Kellogg of Environmental Studies, who is on leave this year, took the lead in writing this grant, supported by Barry Pritzker and by Mike West, Mike Hall, and Kelley Patton-Ostrander.
She thanked Sue Van Hook for her leadership on the successful “Focus the Nation” events held on campus last week.
VP Kress offered remarks on the state of Academic Affairs and the status of various academic plans. Following up on remarks made at the beginning of the year about our academic environment and the many ways to think about that notion, she spoke about what might be required to establish an academic environment that is inclusive, open to productive change, and conducive to serious intellectual work:
- The hire of a sustainability coordinator signals respect for the physical environment and the intention to demonstrate that respect.
- Part Six of the Handbook speaks to a wish to establish a climate in which we welcome diversity, encourage vigorous debate, protect academic freedom, and treat one another with respect, tolerance, generosity, and empathy.
- Discussions are beginning about a Center that would help create the kind of environment to support faculty across their various responsibilities and throughout their careers. We envision support of pedagogy, scholarship, service, and administration with programs for retirees as well. What kinds of supports should be put in place for new faculty? What programs are needed to support pedagogy for new faculty, for mid-career faculty, for faculty who need new technological skills or new tools to manage the multi-cultural classroom? What programs are needed to support and sustain research? How can we use our endowed chairs more fully? How do we mentor or support those who undertake service and administration (such as new chairs)? We will start small and build gradually so that we don’t excessively stretch our resources. The idea of the Center has taken root in the Assessment Task Force, VPAA senior staff, CEPP, and FDC. A small working group has been established that includes Ann Henderson, Ruth Copans, Beau Breslin, Terry Diggory and Rik Scarce (chosen by CEPP) and Mary Ann Foley (chosen by FDC). VP Kress will write the charge for this working group. The group will choose its own chair and will start meeting soon.
- Assessment: This was discussed this morning as well in the Academic Staff meeting. Effective assessment is vital to the kind of environment we want to create at Skidmore. We cannot know how well we are doing, how well our students are learning without assessing our efforts. The word “assessment” has some negative connotations, but we can reframe assessment as a set of exciting questions about curriculum, pedagogy, and academic goals that we want to research.
- With respect to the best structure for assessment at Skidmore, VP Kress took the recommendations of the Assessment Task Force (ATF) to CEPP. The ATF recommended hiring a Director of Assessment from outside the College; but CEPP thought it best to hire someone from inside the College and preferred the title “coordinator” rather than “director.” VP Kress will accept the recommendation of CEPP and expects to send out a “willingness to serve” for this position in March. VP Kress noted that there has been very good assessment work at the department level, and some departments in particular deserve praise and recognition. Significant work has been done in FYE with Michael Arnush and now with Beau Breslin carrying this forward. But there are big-picture questions in our Strategic Plan such as those about intercultural literacy and scientific literacy and others about College-wide goals that need to be explored.
- Finally, we need to cultivate the kind of environment in which academic programs can thrive and infuse the entire College with their energy and momentum. The Dean of the Faculty will update us on some other key academic plans and VP Kress noted that we are planning now for the Zankel Center. As the construction is going forward, we need to think about the vision and program for this new building. A broadly representative working group is being formed, consisting of the chairs of the Visual and Performing Arts departments, John Weber, Jeff Segrave, Mike Hall, Justin Sipher, an Advancement representative, a student representative, and an at-large faculty member (Dan Curley will send out the “willingness to serve” for this member).
Dean of the Faculty Report – Muriel Poston:
- She recommended posting faculty achievements online through “Scope” and the Communications Office.
- Rob Linrothe won a Getty Foundation award.
- Kristie Ford and Joshua Woodfork were recognized by the Saratoga County Chapter of the NAACP for their work with the Skidmore Black Faculty and Staff group and for their outreach on issues of inclusivity to the Skidmore community and broader community. The Freedom Fund and Education Celebration event was held on February 2 at the Saratoga Springs Holiday Inn to honor them and the scholarship recipients from Saratoga County.
- She congratulated Greg Pfitzer on his new book titled Popular History and the Literary Marketplace 1840-1920.
- The hiring of the diversity positions has been completed:
- Herb Crossman, Assistant Director for Equal Employment Opportunity and Workforce Diversity and Mariel Martin, Interim Director for Student Diversity programs will now be joined by Winston Grady-Willis. She introduced and welcomed Winston Grady-Willis, the Director of Intercultural Studies, who has joined us in January from Syracuse University. His office is located in the American Studies department. She also welcomed his spouse, Lisa Grady-Willis, who will be a faculty member in the Theater department.
- Everyone is invited to participate in a workshop co-sponsored with Union College to host the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) Players. The Players are an interactive theater group dedicated to improving multicultural teaching, learning, and institutional climate. Their presentations are designed for faculty audiences. Dean Poston worked with Therese McCarty of Union College for a year to secure this particular group. There will be vignettes on Sunday, March 2 and Monday, March 3. Those interested in attending, should contact their department chair; there are only 25 slots available.
- Science Plan. In Goal 1 we are charged with enhancing the sciences at Skidmore. There was a retreat in October and as a result, a group of faculty volunteers are working on developing the science plan and focusing on what we want our students to know, how they need to know it, and what infrastructure we need to engage in that kind of learning. This working group consists of Tom O’Connell, Hassan Lopez, Shannon Stitzel, Corey Freeman-Gallant, Kyle Nichols, Gove Effinger, Pat Fehling, Mark Hofmann and Dean Poston. The academic programs in the sciences are being reviewed as well as scientific literacy. A draft plan will be completed this semester and implemented in Fall 2008.
- Arts Administration: The resources available from the Zankel gift will allow us to move forward with this initiative. Leadership is needed in this area, therefore, the Arts & Administration working group will develop a position description to hire a person who will help lay a foundation for this program. Anyone interested in working on this, should contact Dean Poston.
IV. New Business:
Professor Mary DiSanto-Rose, on behalf of the University Without Walls, made a motion for the conferral of degrees:
Resolved, that the faculty at Skidmore College recommend to the Trustees the granting of the Bachelor of Arts degree to two students: Jesse Elwert and Danielle Nichole Nazarenko; and the Bachelor of Science degree to three students: Irene Marie Cole, Leyla Lister-Mora and Summer Shinn Sage.
The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
2. FEC – Dan Curley
- Motion – Faculty Handbook, Part Six (See attachment )
- Motions – Part Two, Article II, Section F – Faculty Advisory Board and Advisory Panel
Professor Curley noted the members of the Faculty Handbook working group: VP Kress, Barbara Beck, Barb Krause, Mary Lynn, Richard Hihn, Herb Crossman, Dean Poston and himself. He reminded everyone that the Faculty Handbook has been without a current Part Six since the 2004-05 academic year. CFG moved that the old Part 6 from the previous year be carried over to the new Handbook, which carried over to the 2005-06 Handbook. In 2007 we voted in Parts 1-5 only because we thought there would be a viable Part 6 later that year, but that was not completed. We voted in Parts 1-5 of the handbook in November 2007. The working group started in August 2007 and has been meeting regularly ever since. The College’s attorney, Nick D’Ambrosio, has reviewed Part 6. The current draft is going for discussion to IPPC and IGTUF – and it was discussed at the Academic Staff meeting in a substantial manner this morning. He invited everyone to the Open Forum on Tuesday, February 12 at 3:30-4:30 in Emerson Auditorium to express their concerns and comments. Members of the Handbook working group will be available to answer questions. Those who cannot attend should send comments to anyone on the working group. All these documents are on the Faculty Handbook website: http://cms.skidmore.edu/academic_affairs/secure/handbook/index.cfm.
Part 6 will be discussed in a substantial way at the next Faculty meeting on February 29. Today is an opportunity to take informational and procedural questions. FEC encourages everyone to read the document carefully.
If Part 6 is not approved at the next Faculty meeting, FEC will withdraw the motion regarding Part 2, Article II, Section F. Two new faculty committees must be formed in order to deal with complaints of discrimination and harassment – the Faculty Advisory Board (FAB) and an Advisory Panel (AP).
Faculty members raised questions about the process to establish the FAB. Should the members on the FAB be appointed or elected? Professor Curley stated that appointment will ensure broad representation on the FAB. In addition, the complainant and the respondent do have some say regarding the composition of the AP. Several faculty members indicated that they thought these members should be elected not appointed. VP Kress said the working group considered models for similar Boards at Skidmore, such as the Integrity Board, which is also an appointed committee.
These motions will be put to a vote at the next Faculty meeting.
VP Kress announced the visit of a Swedish delegation from Gotland University on March 3 & 4. Gotland is interested in forming the first liberal arts institution in Sweden and is looking to Skidmore as a model. There are eleven delegates, including their President and a student representative. They are especially interested in the departments of Management & Business, Biology, History, and Economics. Please let VP Kress know if you would like to meet members of the delegation.
- Sarah Goodwin - Update on Dean of Student Affairs Search. There will be open forums to discuss both candidates and everyone is encouraged to send their comments and complete the evaluation form online. The credentials of the candidates are online. She encouraged everyone to take part in these decisions. The third candidate has withdrawn.
- Dean Pat Oles – Senior Week Symposium and Case/Ladd Task Force:
- He announced a conference planned for May 2 focused on disabilities. He asked faculty to consider whether this might be a productive topic for a senior week symposium.
- Case/Ladd Task Force: There have been three meetings and various possibilities have been discussed on how best to utilize the Case/Ladd space. Task force members are scheduling meetings with various individuals, groups, and departments across campus. There will be a “Skidmore Speaks Out” program on the Senate’s agenda next week. Dean Oles will resend the task force charge next week with a set of questions for community members to respond to.
- Debb Hall – CEPP:
- The DOS restructuring sub-committee was charged by CEPP with reviewing the restructuring of the Office of the Dean of Studies and the relationship between the DOS and the new office of Student Academic Services. The DOS sub-committee has worked continuously since the fall. They anticipate reporting back to CEPP in early April, and CEPP will share a report at the April 25 Faculty meeting.
- Assessment Task Force Report. CEPP received this report in the fall. The report is on the CEPP website. CEPP members met with the VPAA and have recommended to the VPAA the following:
- The appointment of an “Assessment Coordinator” instead of Director of Assessment to support our work at Skidmore institutionally, departmentally and programmatically as VP Kress outlined earlier today.
- We have recommended the appointment of a Task Force or study group to explore the possible establishment of a Center for Teaching & Learning at Skidmore. Conversations have been ongoing about how the assessment process would connect with what a T&L center might provide for faculty support from orientation through retirement. A T&L center could compliment assessment efforts by providing a conduit for feeding the results of assessment back into pedagogical practice. Assessment is required for Middle States Accreditation and excellence in our academic program. Assessment is vital, and Skidmore needs to define Assessment for itself. Structures and practices at our peer institutions have given us some insight from which we can design our own models. We would like to encourage those who might take on the role of assessment coordinator, but ultimately the participation of all of us is needed to demonstrate our commitment to our students and to excellent teaching.
- Mary Ann Foley – FDC – announced the Faculty Development Grant recipients (See attachment) The deadline for this year’s nominees for the Ralph A. Ciancio Award for Excellence in Teaching is today.
- Dan Nathan – Athletic Council—announced that the event featuring Jeff Segrave will be rescheduled for a pedagogy session in Fall 2008.
- David Vella – Science, Politics and Society Conference—requested help with this event on April 4&5. The deadline for student presentations submissions is March 7. The keynote speaker is Professor Langdon Winner from RPI. He will be speaking on Information Technology and the Dream of Democratic Renewal.
- Ray Giguere – Molecules That Matter – announced a Dunkerley Dialogue on the topic of Nanotechnology on Tuesday, February 26 at 8:00pm. John Weber announced the opening of two new shows this Saturday at The Tang: 1) The Joseph Grigeley: St. Cecilia exhibit; the artist will engage in dialogue with Susannah Mintz of the English department this Saturday at 5:00 pm and 2)a show curated by a Skidmore student, Meredith Mowden’08, an Art History and Studio major, called Smack: this show deals with ways of representing sound in visual art.
- Sarah Dobro and Kelsey Lewis, student representatives on Academic Council, asked for faculty support to encourage students to join Academic Council and make it a more broadly representative body.
VP Kress made one additional announcement regarding the Tisch Family Distinguished Professorship. This chair represents a gift to the College by the sons of Billie Stein Tisch, Class of 1948, on the occasion of her 80th birthday. President Glotzbach sent the following message to be announced at today’s meeting “I sincerely regret that I am not able to be here in person to express my delight that David Porter has been named the inaugural holder of the Tisch Family Distinguished Professorship.” VP Kress said she is thrilled to make this announcement and that it is a tribute to both our former President and our current President that this has come to pass. The faculty rose to give David Porter, who attended the meeting, a standing ovation.
Michael West invited everyone to the community reception in the Murray-Aikins dining hall.
Meeting adjourned at 4:55pm.
Mary Ellen Kokoletsos
Executive Administrative Assistant
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs