Faculty Meeting of February 1, 2013
Posted on January 30, 2013
February 1, 2013
The first faculty meeting of the spring semester was called to order by President Ronald A. Crutcher at 2:00 pm on Friday, February 1st, 2013 in Hindle Auditorium in the Science Center.
The President began by announcing that eight faculty members will be recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor to the Board of Trustees later this month. Those faculty are:
Thandi Buthelezi, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Dolita Cathcart, Assistant Professor of History
Teresa Celada, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Phoebe Chan, Assistant Professor of Economics
Matthew Evans, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Touba Ghadessi, Assistant Professor of Art History
Alireza Shomali, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Gabriela Torres, Assistant Professor of Anthropology.
He thanked the members of the Tenure Committee--Professors Darlene Boroviak (Chair of the Committee), Geoff Collins, Shawn Christian, and Shelly Leibowitz , and Professor Hyun Kim who also served on one of the tenure cases. There will be a dinner for the candidates and their representatives, with the Board of Trustees, on Friday, February 22nd.
Alex Trayford, Associate Dean of Studies and Chair of the Committee on Academic Standing, presented the following students who have fulfilled all requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts:
magna cum laude
Margaux Julienne Charpentier
Ha Sung Scott Kim
Lauren Michelle Thompson
Susan Marie Rodriguez
Isaac David Roosa
Evan Forbes Shaw
Melissa Cristina Barón
Nina Carson Coates
David Russell Eklund
Elana Marie Jabbour
Roy William Kresge
Christopher Paine, Jr.
Alexandra Anne Smith
Dominique Mathieu Margaretha Alexander Stassen
Molly Laskey Tobin
¹As of 2011
The faculty voted to approve the Committee’s recommendation.
The minutes of the December 7th, 2012 faculty meeting were approved as circulated.
President Crutcher spoke about the meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) held in Atlanta, GA in January. He chaired a session of the Presidents’ Forum at the meeting and found it reassuring to hear that other colleges and universities are dealing with the same issues and challenges as Wheaton. The President said that, while there is some cause for concern, he came away feeling upbeat about the strategic directions that have been outlined for the College. He is confident of the impact that these changes will have for the future of Wheaton over the next five years.
The President announced a new lecture series he will be hosting entitled “Thought Leaders: An Ongoing Conversation on the Future of the Liberal Arts.” The purpose of the series is to provide an ongoing way for engaging the community in a conversation about the future of liberal arts colleges in the United States. The series will be inaugurated with five different events this spring and will run through the end of 2014.
· February 11th, Rebecca Chopp, President of Swarthmore College, will give a lecture entitled “Against The Grain: Liberal Arts in the 21st Century” at 7:30pm in Hindle Auditorium.
· February 12th, the President has invited members of the Provost’s Advisory Committee, the Advisory Committee and the Planning and Priorities Committee to join Dr. Chopp at breakfast for an informal discussion of her presentation.
· March 22nd, Jose Bowen, Dean of Meadows College at Southern Methodist University, and author of the book Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning will be at Wheaton. A workshop will be held that afternoon. This event will be sponsored by LIS with the assistance of Scott Hamlin.
· April 8th, Phil Glotzbach, President of Skidmore College, will engage in a dialogue with President Crutcher on future directions of liberal arts colleges.
· April 18th, Carol Geary Schneider, President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, will speak about engaging faculty, faculty leadership in achieving an integrative learning environment. Her presentation will be directly related to the “Teagle Team” (Professors Kathleen Morgan and Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus, and Provost Linda Eisenmann) project.
President Crutcher noted that there would be a message on the College website containing more information about the series. He already has the names of several possible speakers for next year but he will be happy to accept other suggestions.
Gail Berson, Vice President and Dean of Admission, reported that the number of applications declined this year after the large surge last year. About half of the colleges with which Wheaton trades statistics are having similar experiences. Ms. Berson said that Wheaton is down about eleven percent and she attributes the drop to the reinstatement of an application fee and changes in the financial aid regimen. She said that there is a significant enrollment target to meet this year from the almost 3400 applications that are in hand so it will really be all about yield. The first open house for accepted students is scheduled on February 22nd. Ms. Berson will be writing to the faculty about other initiatives that could improve the yield. She thanked the faculty in advance for participating in the open house and for all that they do to help admissions to meet the enrollment target.
Brian Douglas, Vice President for Finance and Administration, spoke about Wheaton’s emergency preparedness in light of Newtown which prompted the College to take a new look at Wheaton’s emergency preparedness. He highlighted some of the steps that are being taken: 1) threat assessment--identify people in distress and to formalize procedures that are already in place and outline steps that faculty and students can take to recognize someone in distress; 2) increase campus security—improve campus lighting, signage, external sirens for emergency notification purposes, card access. Mr. Douglas displayed a poster that was developed four years ago explaining what to do in an emergency, steps to take and numbers to call for help. The posters will be displayed in every classroom and public space around campus. He said that he is happy to answer any questions that faculty may have and he and members of his staff would be available to meet with their departments to answer any questions; 3) planning and training—the emergency notification system is in place, there are plans to do “table top” exercises and eventually to conduct practice drills on campus. Mr. Douglas said that Wheaton is working to strengthen the relationship with the Norton Police Department.
Next, Mr. Douglas reported on enhancements to Wheaton’s retirement plan that will go into effect on April 1st. He introduced the members of the 403B Fiduciary Committee: Professor of Economics John Gildea, Remle Gordon, Barbara Lema, and Meghan Kass. (Mr. Douglas is chairing the Committee.) He explained that Federal regulations have changed related to the employer’s responsibilities toward employees’ retirement plans. The College now has to ensure that the options presented to employees are good options. This required the College to renegotiate the plan with TIAA-CREF. He said that in the next two weeks, faculty and staff will receive a guide from TIAA-CREF outlining the next steps to take to transition from the old plan to the new. Three workshops will be held on campus to help sort through what this means for individuals; it is very important for everyone to attend. The dates are February 25th, March 4th, and April 4th. There will also be one-on-one sessions with a TIAA representative. Mr. Douglas explained that as of April 1st, all new contributions (the employee’s and the College’s) will be in these new contracts. More information regarding signing up for the workshops will be sent to faculty and staff during the month of February.
Provost Linda Eisenmann began her remarks by encouraging the faculty to attend the Thought Leader Series. She asked them not to wait to be invited but to email the President if there is a session that they are particularly interested in attending. Provost Eisenmann then went on to highlight faculty scholarship. Associate Professor of Music, Tim Harbold’s arrangement entitled “Marchin’ to Zion” has been published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing and he has produced two CDs,: “Valerie Anastasio and Tim Harbold: Give’em the Oo-La-La” and “Marching Along with Time: Songs by Irving Berlin 1935-1945”. The show version of “Marching Along with Time” premiered at Wheaton in September; Professor of English, Michael Drout created a series of lectures for the modern scholar called “The Norseman: Understanding Vikings and Their Culture”; Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Matthew Evans’ article “Ice sheet record of recent sea-ice behavior and polynya variability in the Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica” has been published in the Journal of Geophysical research: Oceans; Assistant Professor of Sociology, Karen McCormack’s article “Comfort and Burden: The Changing Meaning of Home for Owners At-Risk of Foreclosure” was published in the journal Symbolic Interaction; Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian Studies, Tom Dolack’s article “Homo Oneginensis: Pushkin and Evo-Cognitive Approaches to Literature” has been published in the journal Style; Associate Professor of Classics, Nancy Evans has two chapters—“Embedding Rome in Athens” was published in Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult and “From Traditional Rural Festivals to Urban Associations: Evidence for Slaves at the Table in the Ancient Mediterranean” was published in Meals in the Early Christian World: Social Formation, Experimentation, and Conflict; Associate Professor of Theater/Dance, Stephanie Daniels is doing several performances of her show “Birth Breath Bride Elizabeth”. She will be performing the play on February 7th in Kresge Experimental Theatre here at Wheaton and at Brown University’s Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women on February 13th. She will perform the play at the ArtsEmerson Theater in Boston on February 22nd and 23rd as part of THE NEXT THING FESTIVAL. The costumes for Professor Daniels’ performance were designed by Associate Professor of Theater/Dance, Clinton O’Dell.
The next item on the agenda was discussion of the draft proposal of the business and management major a copy of which had been distributed to the faculty prior to the faculty meeting.
Professor John Kricher, Chair of the Educational Policy Committee, explained the background by describing how the Committee arrived at supporting the proposal to establish a business major at Wheaton. In the summer, the members of the President’s Council met to revise the Focus Plan because the College’s financial situation, while it was improving in some regards, was still not where it should be. The Board of Trustees made it clear that they wanted proposals for new initiatives and that was the reason for the work of the President’s Council on the Focus Plan over the summer. He said that seventeen different options were proposed for enhancing revenue, of which four were identified as ones with relatively high predictable success and ones that could be carried out quickly. One of those four was to institute a business major; last year the College instituted an enhanced business minor. When the Educational Policy Committee looked at the context of this proposal to consider instituting a business major, they realized that it could not happen without the support of the whole faculty. He said that the Faculty Planning and Priorities Committee met with President Crutcher, Provost Eisenmann and Vice President Douglas in the fall and the Faculty PPC urged that the Educational Policy Committee consider seriously the business major and to start to plan for that option sooner rather than later. The Educational Policy Committee then asked the Committee on Committees and Agenda to examine how to set up a committee that would be charged with assembling a proposal for a major in business. Since there already was a committee in place because of the business minor, some members of that committee agreed to serve on an ad hoc committee to work on the business major and additional faculty members were asked to serve in order to have all divisions of the College represented. Professor Kricher said that if there was to be a business major, it had to be a real business major, a robust business major but one that reflects the liberal arts and Wheaton values. The Faculty PPC attended the plenary session of the Board of Trustees on October 20th, 2012 and found that the Trustees were very eager to have this major instituted. He noted that Provost Eisenmann was asked about staffing for the new major and she made it clear that funds for additional staffing would be added, so the administration expressed its commitment to growing the faculty in order to accommodate the business major and the Board of Trustees was in support of this.
Professor Kricher said that there are not many other obvious options to enhance the curriculum so significantly, but the business major is one that would actually work; so one of the questions that was raised at the Board of Trustees meeting was “can this be fast tracked?” He said that he believes that it can be done; the ad hoc committee has succeeded in putting together a proposal that can indeed be fast tracked. Professor Kricher reminded the faculty of the past effort by former Provost Hannah Goldberg who proposed instituting the First Year Seminar. At that time, many faculty members were skeptical; but, since other colleges had done this and were attracting students, Wheaton had to adopt the FYS in order to draw students and stay competitive; it is now a solid part of the curriculum. He said that this is a reasonable way to enhance the curriculum, both making a program unique to Wheaton and recognizing what’s going on in the world. Such change doesn’t have to be only in response to the financial situation. He went on to consider the fact that our Connections program, which is known all over the country, was initiated when the College was in a flush situation financially, at a time when the Wheaton faculty salary plan was doing very well. In consulting with Gail Berson and Jan Krukowski, Connections proved to be very popular at the time with students and still are. Professor Kricher said that the faculty has always adjusted the curriculum, to a certain degree, on the basis of awareness of what has worked for Wheaton, and that the recent data presented by Vice President Berson should make it abundantly clear that this is something that the faculty must continue to do. He reminded the faculty that the overview of the new business major distributed to them earlier was meant to assist with the discussion to follow. In order to vote on the new major, the proposal must be distributed to the faculty two weeks before the next faculty meeting, which is scheduled for March 1st, 2013. Professor Kricher said that the Educational Policy Committee strongly urges the faculty to vote on the proposed new major on March 1st in order to allow for enough lead time for it to impact the next round of Admissions; potential students could be told about it and be told about it honestly. He noted that business has become a competitive major among liberal arts colleges. Professor Kricher explained that following today’s discussion between the faculty and the ad hoc Committee on the Business Major, the final version of the proposal will be brought to the Educational Policy Committee by the ad hoc committee. Educational Policy will review the proposal and decide whether or not to bring it to the faculty for a vote.
Associate Professor of Economics, Russell Williams, Chair of the ad hoc Committee on the Business Major, introduced the other members of the committee: Professor of Music, Matthew Allen, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, Francisco deAlba, Provost Linda Eisenmann, Associate Professor of Psychology, Peony Fhagen-Smith, Professor of Chemistry, Elita Pastra-Landis, Professor of Mathematics, Michael Kahn and Professor of Political Science, Jeanne Wilson (Professors Kahn and Wilson could not attend the faculty meeting). Professor Williams explained how the committee went about creating the proposed business major and the criteria they followed using the Wheaton curriculum as a foundation for the major and without losing a strong emphasis on the liberal arts, while keeping in mind the dual goals of preparing students for the careers that they would have after graduating and of attracting new students. He commented that every member of the ad hoc committee played a leadership role—a tribute to the commitment of the committee and to the Committee on Committees and Agenda who set up the ad hoc committee. Meetings were held with Vice President Gail Berson and a consultant, Diana Stork, who had created a similar program at another liberal arts school, in order to gain insights on how to think about the challenge they had in front of them. Professor Williams said that they developed the plan which they are presenting at this meeting. It consists of ten core courses and three additional courses in a “concentration” that emphasizes some of the aspects of the Wheaton curriculum. He then reviewed all aspects of the proposed major and invited questions and comments from the faculty.
A lengthy discussion followed. Questions and concerns expressed by the faculty included:
- Staffing needs
- Mentoring of a new tenure-track faculty member without a home department
- Courses listed in the concentrations
- Credit for internships
- Approval of a major that contains courses that have not yet been established and approved by the Committee on Educational Policy
- The need for the College to commit additional resources to the program
- Business in the transnational world
- Overlap with other majors
- Effects of the new major on the Department of Economics
- Considering the new faculty position from a candidate’s point of view
The ad hoc committee responded to these questions and concerns and will take them into consideration when preparing the final version of the proposed new major for the March 1st faculty meeting. The Provost announced that there would be an opportunity for further discussion. An open meeting is scheduled for February 8th from 2:00pm to 4:00pm in the Diana Spencer Davis Café. Members of the ad hoc committee will be there for people to bring their questions and concerns. She said that those faculty unable to attend the meeting may contact Professor Williams.
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Christopher Kalberg, Chair of the Committee on Committees and Agenda, announced that the committee will begin the election process very soon. Thirteen positions are open on committees next year. He referred the faculty to Faculty Legislation for the specific sequence of elections. The first set of ballots will be sent out in a few weeks.
Associate Professor of English, Lisa Lebduska, on behalf of the writing subcommittee of the Educational Policy Committee, announced that there will be a brown bag lunch on teaching electronic conversations in the Presidents’ Dining Room at 12:30 pm on Tuesday, February 6th.
The faculty meeting was adjourned at 4:05 pm.
Senior Executive Assistant to the Provost
Secretary to the Faculty