Two new restructured minors approved
May 8, 2012
The Educational Policy Committee approved Business and Management and Jewish Studies for 2012.
Two new minors approved
The Educational Policy Committee approved Community Health and Public Health Sciences for 2012.
Faculty meeting of May 4, 2012
May 4, 2012
Minutes of the May 4, 2012 Faculty meeting.
President Ronald A. Crutcher called the faculty meeting to order at 2:00 pm on Friday, May 4, 2012 in Hindle Auditorium in the Science Center.
The minutes of the April 6, 2012 faculty meeting were approved as circulated.
President Crutcher called on Associate Dean of Studies Alex Trayford to introduce this year’s National Scholarship winners. For the 2011-12 academic year, fourteen current students and three alumnae/i have been awarded national scholarships and fellowships, with three other applications outstanding. Dean Trayford said that these fellowships represent the largest number of winners from Wheaton since the 2006-2007 academic year. He introduced all of the scholarship and fellowship winners: Nicholas Cicchinelli has been awarded the National Security Education Program David L. Boren scholarship to study in Russia (Dean Trayford thanked Professors Rosset and Wilson for writing letters on Nick’s behalf); Pagna Eam has been awarded a Davis 100 Projects for Peace grant; Robert Iafolla has received a Beinecke scholarship (Dean Trayford thanked Professors Boroviak, Polanichka and Bezis-Selfa for writing supporting letters for Robert); Heather Hanson and Sophie Bergelson will be traveling to France this summer as French Government Teaching Assistants (Professors Anderson and Medina wrote letters of support for Heather and Professors Kerner and Walsh wrote for Sophie); Class of 2007 Biology Major Alison Mehlhorn has been awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study in the United Kingdom. Lisa Gavigan, Director of Career Services, introduced this year’s Watson Fellowship winners: Iraimi Mercado and Adam Goldberg. She thanked Professor Christian for writing for Iraimi and Professors Kim and Shomali for writing on behalf of Adam. Dean Trayford introduced nine students who have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships this year. This number ties for the most Wheaton Fulbright winners in one academic year. Amanda-Joy Febles has been awarded a Fulbright to Indonesia (Professors Cathcart and Coale wrote letters on behalf of Amanda-Joy); Raphael “Raffi” Sweet will travel to Thailand to teach English (Professors Murphy, Griffin and Price wrote letters on behalf of Raffi); Class of 2010 graduate Padric Gleason was one of nine Fulbright grant winners to Mexico (Professor Boroviak wrote in support of Padric); Mary Bisbee has been awarded a teaching assistantship grant to the Czech Republic (Professors Conway and Bianchi wrote letters on behalf of Mary); Leah Pearl Bloomenstein has been awarded a Fulbright grant to Russia (Professors Boroviak, Wilson and Rosset wrote letters for Leah Pearl); Stephanie Antetomaso has been awarded a Fulbright grant to Estonia; Margaux Fisher has been awarded an assistantship to Taiwan (Professors Torres and Owens wrote recommendations on behalf of Margaux); Class of 2010 graduate Zachary Ginsburg has a Fulbright grant to study in Poland (Professors Boroviak and Marcus Allen wrote in support of Zachary); Hannah Allen has been awarded a Fulbright grant to Bulgaria (Professors Brumberg-Kraus and Cathcart wrote letters of support for Hannah). Dean Trayford noted that with this group of nine Fulbrights he has had the pleasure of working with 68 Fulbright winners from Wheaton. He gave a special thanks to Professor Darlene Boroviak who this year has written letters of support for over one-third of Wheaton’s National scholarship winners. President Crutcher thanked Dean Trayford and Lisa Gavigan for their work with the scholars and gave his thanks to all of the faculty members who wrote on behalf of the students.
President Crutcher said that the administration had a good meeting with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees on May 1st. The Trustees are still very concerned about the deficit—approximately $6,000,000 for next year—but they are very supportive of the Focus Plan. A matrix has been developed to track the Focus Plan. The President will give a full report of the Executive Committee meeting at the next faculty meeting and talk more about the Focus plan at that meeting as well. He thanked the members of the Educational Policy Committee, the Faculty Planning and Priorities Committee, the Staff Planning and Priorities Committee, and the Advisory Committee for their assistance this year. He called on Vice President Gail Berson to give a brief update on the Class of 2016.
Ms. Berson reported that the enrollment targets for freshmen and transfer students are expected to be met. She said that the Class of 2016 currently has 491 members and another eight students who plan to transfer to Wheaton. This represents a significant turnaround from last year when at the very same time there were 70 fewer deposits and we were confronted with a very difficult situation. She acknowledged the Admissions and Student Financial Services Staffs who worked so many extra hours throughout a very stressful cycle to achieve the goal. She also offered her thanks to every faculty member who participated in open houses and visiting days, welcomed students to their classes, and communicated to students via email and in person. Ms. Berson went on to say that she hopes these conversations will continue. She went on to thank faculty for the important work they did on curriculum this year, especially on the new and restructured minors that respond directly to the importance of academic programs in college selection. She noted that her staff received support from everyone on campus from Advising to the grounds crew and in particular current Wheaton students, especially with over 700 prospective students visiting campus this year. She stated that the current “trend line” for enrollments has just begun but the challenge for this year and future years isn’t over. Ms. Berson called the new student enrollments “fragile,” noting that they are vulnerable to our competitors who will undoubtedly move to their wait lists and to families, who will be recognizing their financial situations. She said it would be several years before we will be able to make a significant improvement to our discount rate. Ms. Berson went on to say that she hopes the 15% increase in applications realized this year will be the “precursor” to improve retention which is another important piece to restoring financial equilibrium. The numbers may change over the summer but programs like the June CORE program will help to secure interest in Wheaton and to convince students to choose Wheaton over another institution. She noted that the work with consulting firms Generation and Human Capital Research Corporation (HCRC) has been extremely valuable. She said that Generation provided important creative guidance by making admissions publications more compelling, our electronic communications more enticing, and developing new multi-media presentations at Wheaton. The work with HCRC increased the college’s ability to target recruitment and introduced a new approach to financial aid that has helped Wheaton to meet the enrollment target. Finally, she gave a few brief descriptives of the class of 2016.
President Crutcher reminded everyone that one year’s success doesn’t necessarily indicate that it will continue. It will need to continue over time and will take another three to five years of hard work to reach financial equilibrium. Professor Bob Morris said that last year the President announced there were plans to increase our enrollments. He asked if the target figure that was met this year was an expanded target. The President responded that the target set for this year was met but that doesn’t grow the total number of students because our enrollment overall was already low and we will be graduating a large class this year. Ms. Berson pointed out that if we continue to enroll classes of 475 to 500 students each year and our retention rate does not decrease significantly, we would begin to see some incremental growth in the next three to five years. President Crutcher noted that the new financial aid regimen Ms. Berson alluded to is intended to help us choose the class that we would like to have but with a higher net revenue so enrollments may not have to increase significantly.
Provost Linda Eisenmann began by highlighting faculty publications. Professor Bill Goldbloom-Bloch has a chapter entitled “Lost in a Good Book: Jorge Luis Borges’ Inescapable Labyrinth,” published in the edited book Imagine Math: Between Culture and Mathematics; together with Professor Michael Drout, Professor Goldbloom-Bloch has written an article entitled “Fair and Unfair Division in Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon,” which appeared in Mathematics in Popular Culture: Essays on Appearances in Film, Fiction, Games, Television and Other Media; Professor Ann Sears has a chapter entitled “Political Currents and Black Culture in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha” in the edited book Blackness in Opera; and Professor John Grady has published a chapter entitled “Numbers into Pictures: Visualization in Social Analysis” in the Sage Handbook of Visual Research Methods. The Provost reminded everyone that this year she decided to reinstate the retirement luncheon. With so many faculty members choosing to retire this year, the Provost said it seemed like the “moment was back upon us” when long careers should be recognized more formally. She reminded the faculty of the invitation they received from Susan Colson for the new version of the retirement luncheon that will be held on Thursday, May 17th at noon in the Diana Davis Spencer Café in the Mars Center for Science and Technology. She commented that there is no video equipment in that area. The faculty members who will be honored are Vipan Chandra, Susan Dearing, Ed Tong, and David Wulff. Next she noted that departments have been waiting to hear her decisions on full-time replacements. The Provost will notify each department chair by the end of the day. She said that she had consulted with the Provost Advisory Committee on what would be a helpful way for people to receive that information, so some time before the end of the day today, the department chairs awaiting decisions will receive her response via email. In addition, she will send a summary of her decisions to all department chairs. On Monday, May 7th, she will announce her decisions on the Connections v.2.0 proposals. The Provost said that she received eight formal proposals and a few informal proposals. She consulted with the Provost Advisory Committee and with PPC on the proposals and said that Professor Matthew Allen, Chair of the Provost Advisory Committee, is assisting her with the selections.
Next, Provost Eisenmann spoke about the visit from Brian Zucker from HCRC on April 25th. She said that she had a chance to talk with the Provost Advisory Committee, the Faculty Planning and Priorities Committee and with Department Chairs to get their feedback. She noted that the two conversations with faculty he had that day were very different. Many ideas and suggestions were generated from these meetings but it was the consensus of the faculty that Mr. Zucker provided a lot of good information but he really didn’t say “this is exactly what you have to do.” The Provost said that, in speaking about the value of Connections, Professor Bob Morris had offered a model he had seen in a “Visual Thesaurus.” Professor Morris had an idea of taking the work that Wheaton currently does with Connections and representing it on the College website in the form of the Visual Thesaurus. He gave a brief demonstration to the faculty. Professor Matthew Allen said that he had attended the lunchtime presentation by Mr. Zucker and, after hearing his presentation, questioned whether or not he was the right consultant for us. Ms. Berson spoke about Mr. Zucker’s work, both generally and with her staff. She said that he gathers data from different schools showing what they are doing, and explained how he goes about advising his clients on what they might do that could help them to appeal to students. The Provost told the faculty that Mr. Zucker collected the data from students who answered three open-ended questions that were posed to accepted students:
- If you could create a course at Wheaton, what would it be?
- If you could create an out of the classroom experience that you would like to have, what would it be?
- What skill or competency would you like to have as you leave Wheaton?
She said that we can track the types of answers from students who enrolled at Wheaton and from those who chose to go elsewhere, and that we should be able to use data from these questions to spark additional planning. Provost Eisenmann said that she felt that Mr. Zucker’s data and advice helped to get people thinking and she plans to work with different groups of faculty on generating ideas
President Crutcher called on Alex Trayford, Chair of the Committee on Academic Standing, to bring back the proposed change to Faculty Legislation on Academic Standing presented at the April faculty meeting. Dean Trayford announced that the Committee had decided to postpone discussion of the proposed change to Legislation until the fall.
Professor Hector Medina, Chair of the Committee on Educational Policy, asked if the faculty had any comments or questions on the new minor in Public Health Sciences or the two revised minors (Business and Management and Jewish Studies), which were circulated prior to the meeting and which were approved by the Educational Policy Committee. There were no questions or comments. President Crutcher thanked Professor Medina for his work as Chair of the Educational Policy Committee this year, as well as Susan Colson who takes the minutes at the Committee’s meetings.
Professors Deyonne Bryant and Rolf Nelson, Co-chairs of the Committee on Committees and Agenda, led a discussion on disbanding the Budget Advisory Committee. Professor Bryant began by saying that “for a number of years the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) has not functioned fully as a committee with a clear purpose or stated charge, and the Committee on Committees and Agenda suspended elections in the Spring 2012 election cycle to replace members who had stepped down from the committee or whose terms had expired. The poor functioning of the Budget Advisory Committee and a proposal from a group of faculty members to disband the BAC brought the committee under review by the Committee on Committees and Agenda.
"The standard view of organization structures is that a committee that is not functioning should be terminated because it weakens the overall committee structure and threatens the integrity of the organizational structure—in this case, shared governance.
"In keeping with this view the Committee on Committees discharged its duty to: (a) recommend to the faculty or to concerned administrative officers any change in the organization, terms of service, and functions of standing or other committees; (b) regularly review, or initiate self-review of, the structure and function of faculty committees; and (c) consider all proposals to terminate or alter the charge of a standing committee of the faculty; and, after consideration, to bring the proposal to the Faculty for a vote with the recommendation of the Committee on Committees and Agenda.
"To these ends, we have consulted with the president, provost, and both the interim Vice President and new VP Brian Douglas about the status of the Budget Advisory Committee, as well as the faculty members who served on the Budget Advisory Committee this year and the Co-Chairs of the Staff Council.
"We also have kept in mind that the Budget Advisory Committee is one of few all-campus committees at the college, and the value that this type of committee holds for faculty, staff, and students. And, I [Deyonne Bryant] have worked with various constituencies to work out a solution to the dilemma.
"This consultation culminated in a meeting earlier today of the Committee and Committees and Agenda, the Co-Chairs of the Staff Council, Sara Smith and Gary Ahrendts, and the senior administrative officers, President Crutcher, Provost Eisenmann, and VP of Administration Brian Douglas.
"The decision of the senior administrative officers is to dissolve the Budget Advisory Committee and substitute it with periodic, joint meetings of the Staff and Faculty Planning and Priorities Committees—as written in Faculty Legislation. This continues the inclusive practice of an all-campus committee working in a consultative role at the college. The joint committee structure also serves the following three points, which VP Brian Douglas will elaborate on.
- It replaces the old process of reviewing an annual budget, which constituted the work of the Budget Advisory Committee, with the current process of long-term planning.
- The upcoming focus on long-term Capital Planning will require input about prioritizing capital expenditures from various constituencies at the college, especially the staff, faculty, and students.
- Recent re-accreditation reports recommend that the college establish a method of long-term planning and priorities committees with input from the college community at large
"The joint committee structure would meet a couple of times each semester; and the individual staff and faculty planning and priorities committees will carry out their remaining charges at all other times.
"The joint committee should not impede, obstruct, or duplicate the work of the faculty standing committees, particularly the Economic Status and Workload Committee.
"The Committee on Committees and Agenda agreed that using joint meetings of the faculty and staff PPCs, subject to review as stipulated in Faculty Legislation is a good and acceptable solution to the problem of the Budget Advisory Committee.”
Professor Bryant then invited Mr. Brian Douglas to address the room and open the floor for discussion.
Mr. Douglas said that pretty much as soon as he arrived at Wheaton, he was asked about the future of the BAC. He reviewed the history of the BAC and the PPC and after consulting with the Provost and the President and with Professor Bryant, it seemed like the correct decision would be working with the PPC. He noted that he had come before the faculty earlier this year to bring an update on the budget and financial planning and he plans to report to them on a regular basis. He feels that keeping the faculty informed helps to work through problems together and helps to keep priorities in line. Mr. Douglas spoke to capital planning. He said that there is a need to have a multi-year capital plan that represents all constituents of the College. He went on to say that the division of the PPC into two separate committees further divides the faculty and the administration. He would like to see that divide closed and would like to work toward that.
Professor Nelson distributed a document containing a section of Legislation pertaining to the BAC and to the PPC. He pointed out that there is no charge to the BAC. PPC does have a two-year review built within it. He said that we will use the next year to see if the model proposed is working.
Discussion followed. Professor Boroviak said that she appreciated all of the thinking that went into this decision but she is opposed to disbanding BAC. She said that up until the Budget Advisory Committee was established, the faculty had never seen a budget. She went on to say that she believes that, to have transparency, it’s very important to be included in discussions, to learn and to have a voice in decisions. Now that the PPC is no longer a joint constituency committee, BAC is the last committee that has a joint constituency and she feels that it is very important to maintain it. Mr. Douglas responded, saying that his goal is to continue to present a great deal of data to faculty, staff and students. Professor Boroviak asked if that data would be presented in the process of establishing the budget. He responded that it would be in the process of creating the budget but he noted that the Committee shouldn’t be called onto make certain decisions on the operating budget. (He gave examples.) He did say that there would be opportunities for faculty input on priorities in certain years given the financial climate. He said that he would count on that input in order to make correct decisions. Professor Betsey Dyer asked if there were any faculty members who had served on the BAC who could offer perspectives on the committee’s work during the last few years. Several faculty members responded. Professor Janina Benoit said that when she served on BAC their role was never seen as advisory; they never made decisions, but were just informed. Several faculty members said that they learned a lot from sitting on the committee and appreciated the interaction with the staff members. Professor Nelson said that the idea of being kept informed and working with the staff members should be carried forward to the PPC each time. Mr. Douglas addressed the concern that the committee would not meet on a regular basis. He said that he is open to the frequency of the meetings.
Professor Francoise Rosset asked if there was a mechanism in place for sharing information. President Crutcher said that he had met with COCA and the college officers that morning. He noted that he had shared an article that outlines levels of decision-making in shared governance. President Crutcher gave examples of the levels and said that, accordingly, he sees the role of the faculty, staff and students in budgeting and financial planning at the college to be consultative. He would like a group of faculty, staff and students to work with him and Mr. Douglas and Provost Eisenmann on the yearly budgets as well as the five-year financial plan to satisfy NEASC. He went on to say that to have such a group is vitally important to the administration to come up with a focus and figure out a way to bring the budget into financial equilibrium. Professor Russell Williams expressed his concern for building expectations into the committee structure, noting that should Mr. Douglas leave Wheaton, he could be succeeded by someone holding a different view toward transparency. The President pointed out that the PPC is scheduled to be reviewed next year (right now it is an ad hoc committee) and a decision would have to be made to bring the committee into the governance structure.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 pm.
Lynda S. Marcoccia
Senior Executive Assistant to the Provost
Secretary to the Committee.
Seán Ó Sé: A Life in Song and Story
April 27, 2012
The final faculty lunch talk of the semester is a film presented by Matthew Allen, Ruby Professor of Music on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.
Please join us: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. in President's Dining Room for a documentary film by Matthew Allen.
Seán Ó Sé’s long and illustrious career as singer and storyteller has touched all bases in the Irish music business. The film places Seán’s musical life within the contexts of his deep attachment to the Irish language, his ancestral connection to West Cork, his passion for education and career as teacher and administrator in Cork City. The ﬁlm features recorded and live performances and interviews with longtime associates from the worlds of music and education. Directed by Matthew Allen.
George Berkeley and The Ladies Library
April 23, 2012
Professor of Philosophy Nancy Kendrick presents an unexplored side of the philosopher Berkeley’s work, a plan for the education of women and “savages” in early 18th century America.
The Ladies Library, published in 1714 by Richard Steele and ostensibly “written by a lady” was, in fact, a compilation of works on women’s conduct and education collected by the Anglican bishop and empiricist philosopher George Berkeley. Completely ignored by philosophers, this early work on women’s education influenced Berkley’s grand educational undertaking: the attempt in 1729-30 to found a college in Bermuda for educating English settlers and “savage” Americans together in the liberal arts and sciences. Among the excerpts Berkeley included in The Ladies Library was A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Mary Astell’s proposal for women’s educational institutions. This work influenced Berkeley’s plan to provide the “savage” Americans with an academic education, rather than an education aimed at satisfying more commercial interests. Both Astell and Berkeley proposed their educational institutions as a refuge from the negative influences of luxury and vice. And both believed the public good would be served through the intellectual improvement of the women and “savages” who would attend their respective academies.
The talk is scheduled for Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. in President's Dining Room. For the full schedule of Spring 2012 Faculty Lunch Talks, click here.
Making a Mess: chaos and creativity
April 12, 2012
Jake Mahaffy, Associate Professor of Art and Film, invites you to share in the intricate details of building a story from images at the next Faculty Lunch Talk. (Wednesday, April 18, 2012 in PDR.)
Professor Jake Mahaffy will show the recent cut of a new 16-minute film 'Miracle Boy' he shot in rural West Virginia. He will discuss the process of building a story from images, the emotional balance between linear and fragmented narrative forms, and allowing for mystery within a literal, photo-realistic medium. miracleboymovie.com
The talk is scheduled for Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. in President's Dining Room. View the full schedule of Spring 2012 Faculty Lunch Talks.
Faculty meeting of April 6, 2012
April 5, 2012
Minutes of the April 6, 2012 meeting.
The faculty meeting was called to order by President Ronald A. Crutcher at 2:00 pm on Friday, April 6, 2012 in Hindle Auditorium in the Science Center.
The minutes of the March 2, 2012 faculty meeting were approved as circulated.
President Crutcher began by announcing that Wheaton has six Fulbright Scholars (four from the Class of 2012 and two from the Class of 2010), two Watson Scholars, one Beinecke, one 100 Projects for Peace, one honorable mention as a Udall Scholar, and one Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. The President thanked Dean Alex Trayford for his work with these students and extended his thanks to the faculty members who wrote letters of recommendation for the students applying for these scholarships.
The President noted that he had received emails from two students expressing their concerns for the environmental impact of the installation of the turf field. He called on Dean Lee Williams to give an overview of the project. She presented a satellite photo to show how the turf field will fit into the overall campus plan, pointing out areas that have been mapped out by the Conservation Commission, and another photo of the artist’s rendering. The first round of flagging has been completed and is done in a way that the architect notes will minimize the impact on the site, including the 100-foot water vegetation buffer and the 200-foot river front buffer. Professor John Kricher pointed out that the area being considered for the turf field has been used by Biology faculty and students for a number of years. He expressed his regret that the Biology faculty had not been consulted about the possible site. Professor Ann Sears spoke about the negative environmental impact the construction of the Elm Street parking lot has had on her neighbors and also expressed her concern that the faculty seems not to be consulted ahead of time when various projects are in the planning stages. Vice President Brian Douglas said that the plan was to reflag the wetlands first and then to approach the Biology and Astronomy faculty (departments that use the site most often or would be affected) to work with them on assessing the project to minimize the impact it would have on the area. The specific site has not yet been chosen and he hopes to work with the faculty and the students to decide on the final siting for the field. Both Mr. Douglas and Dean Williams said that they understood that the project had been under discussion for some time. Professor Kricher noted that this was the first time he had heard about the discussions. Professor Sears agreed. She said that in the thirty years that she has been at the college, this is the first time she and many of the faculty had been included in such conversations.
Vice President Gail Berson presented an update on admissions. She thanked the faculty for their help in recruiting students and reminded the faculty that many of them were asked to reply to admitted students who sent in information in response to new survey questions about an ideal course they would like to take at Wheaton, or a skill they would like to leave with. Ms. Berson urged the faculty who hadn’t yet responded to take a minute to do so and get back to her. She emphasized how helpful such comments from faculty are in encouraging students to choose Wheaton. She went on to say that the Admissions staff are involved in a number of different initiatives (open houses, new publications, special emails that go out to students and their parents) to be sure that the accepted students and their families are aware of how much the college is looking forward to welcoming them to Wheaton. Ms. Berson announced that the video “Wheaton Anthem,” which was presented to the faculty at the March faculty meeting by Thomas Sternal of the firm Generation, will be repurposed into two different specialty videos, one of which will soon appear on the Admissions website. She noted that additional videos will be added to the collection of videos Admissions will be able to put on the website. Ms. Berson said that she hopes to have good news to share with the faculty at the May meeting.
Provost Linda Eisenmann highlighted several publications by Wheaton faculty. Associate Professor of English Shawn Christian’s chapter entitled “The (New) ‘Rap on Race’: Historicizing Calls for Racial Dialogue in the Early Years of Barack Obama’s Presidency” was published in Reading African American Experiences in the Obama Era; Professor of English Michael Drout has a chapter in Modes of Authorship in the Middle Ages entitled “’I am large, I contain multitudes’: The Medieval Author in Memetic Terms”; Professor of History John Bezís-Selfa is a co-author of American Horizons: United States History in a Global Context; Professor of Mathematics Bill Goldbloom-Bloch’s essay “Lost in a Good Book: Jorge Luis Borges’ Inescapable Labyrinth” appeared in Imagine Math: Between Culture and Mathematics; Associate Professor of Chemistry Thandi Buthelezi, together with two Wheaton students, has published an article entitled “Thermosolvatochromism of Nitrospiropyran and Merocyanine Free and Bound to Cyclodextrin” in The Journal of Physical Chemistry; Professor of Education Mary Lee Griffin co-authored a review article entitled “Integrating Mindfulness Training into K-12 Education: Fostering the Resilience of Teacher and Students” which appeared in Mindfulness; Professor Tim Barker, Gary Ahrendts, and Wheaton student Shelby Delos, have published a piece entitled “Rotation Period Determination for 180 Garumna: A Triumph of Global Collaboration” in Minor Planet Bulletin. Their collaborators on this work include astronomers from Japan, Australia, and New Mexico.
Provost Eisenmann announced that President Crutcher received the Ellen S. Jackson Award for Excellence in Education from Freedom House in Boston. She went on to announce that Professor of Psychology Gail Sahar has accepted the position of Associate Provost beginning July 1st. Professor Sahar will be replacing Associate Provost Evelyn Staudinger, who will leave the Provost’s office at the end of June. Provost Eisenmann received eight different proposals for “Connections v 2.0”. She will be reviewing the proposals and will notify those whose proposals are chosen by the end of April. She noted that this was the first call for proposals and there will be other opportunities to apply.
Dean Alex Trayford, Chair of the Committee on Academic Standing, presented the following change to Faculty Legislation (postponed from the March meeting):
The Committee on Academic Standing is proposing the following changes to faculty legislation PART II, VIII at the March 2, 2012 faculty meeting.
Tommasina Gabriele Alex Trayford
Shelly Leibowitz Alex Vasquez
Clinton O’Dell Lee Williams
Pat Santilli Thomas Bruenner, Felicia Stewart - students
NOTE: Proposed changes to wording are represented in bold. Deletions are shown by strikethroughs.
VIII. Academic Standing
A. Good Academic Standing
A student remains in good academic standing as long as he or she is matriculated at Wheaton and is considered by the Committee on Academic Standing to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree.
Rationale: To eliminate inconsistencies in, and update, faculty legislation to reflect longstanding college practice that differentiates between Good Academic Standing and Academic Probation. It is the role of the Committee on Academic Standing to give thoughtful consideration to a student’s semester and cumulative grade point averages, as well as to any pertinent extenuating circumstances that can interfere in the student’s academic success (e.g., medical issues, family troubles, loss of close relatives, disruptive campus living conditions, to name a few). The committee thus understands that students are placed on Academic Probation and Suspension for a wide variety of reasons. Therefore, it is the committee’s understanding that the longstanding college practice which differentiates Good Academic Standing from Academic Probation is meant to enable those students whom the committee allows to re-matriculate at Wheaton a full participation in campus life as the best possible course of action for academic improvement and success, for full integration in the Wheaton community, and for retention.
A. B. Class Standing Year
A student's standing class year in the College is stated in terms of the number of credits which have been earned. A student's academic standing class year is as follows when the student has earned the following number of credits:
Freshman First-year 0
[December 19, 1972, p. 3081]
Rationale: Clarification of terms
C. Minimum Grade Average
B. C. To be in good academic standing, a A student must earn at least an average of 2.0 in the freshman year and a yearly and cumulative average of 2.0 thereafter. will normally be placed on academic probation if the semester or cumulative grade point average is below a 2.0. For graduation, a student must have an average of 2.0 in the major and overall. [February 3, 1995, p. 4049]
Reports of unsatisfactory work shall be sent to the Associate Dean's Office in the middle of each semester. [October 14, 1969, p. 2927]
Rationale: Not practiced.
D. Academic Review
1. A student whose semester record, or a First Year student whose tentative record at the middle of either semester, includes an average grade point average is below C 2.0 (for members of the Class of 1999 and beyond) or C- 1.67 (for members of the class of 1998 or earlier) shall be reviewed by the Committee on Admissions and Academic Standing.
Rationale: Not practiced.
a. First Year students at Mid-Semester shall be placed on Mid-Semester Academic Probation.
Rationale: No longer practiced.
b. a. All students who fall below the minimum for Good Standing whose semester or cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 at the end of any semester will face any of a range of institutional responses, from placing that student on Academic Probation through Suspension for one academic year to Academic Dismissal. The determination of that sanction shall be the responsibility of the Committee and shall be made based upon the student‘s academic record and all other information available to the Committee at that time. Students shall have the right to appeal the Committee decision.
c. Students who have fallen more than two credits behind their class as a function of withdrawn or failed courses are defined as making insufficient progress towards the completion of their degree and will be placed on Academic Probation.
Rationale: No longer practiced.
d. Students on Academic Probation shall be considered in conditional good standing during their first semester and will be eligible to participate in all student co-curricular activities. [May 6, 2005, p. 4502]
Rationale: Eliminating d to be consistent with the proposed definition of good academic standing (A).
2. If a student meets the minimum semester's 2.0 semester Grade Point Average criterion for academic good standing during their semester on academic probation, but not raise their cumulative Grade Point Average above the minimum criterion 2.0, they may will be continued on Academic Probation and in conditional good standing for one additional semester. Should a student be continued for a third consecutive semester on academic probation, she or he will no longer be eligible to participate in co-curricular activities.
[March 12, 1962, p. 2678; February 3, 1995, p. 4049; December 5, 1997, p. 4169]
Rationale: Not currently practiced.
E. Academic Suspension and Dismissal
1. All students on Academic Probation will be reviewed at the end of each semester. A student on academic probation who fails to achieve both a semester and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 (for the Class of '99 and beyond) or 1.67 (for the Class of '98 and earlier) shall be placed on academic suspension for one year. Once suspended, a student falls out of academic good standing. A student returning from academic suspension shall be placed on academic probation until the cumulative grade point average is 2.0. for one semester to earn grades sufficient to return him or her to academic good standing. Failure to return to good standing in any semester after a student has been suspended shall do so may result in Academic Dismissal from the college. [December 19, 1972, p. 3080; April 11, 1980, p. 3455; February 3, 1995, p. 4049; December 5, 1997, pp. 4169-4170, May 6, 2005, p. 4503]
Rationale: More clearly expresses current practice. Eliminating contradiction within E1.
Members of the Committee on Academic Standing commented on the change. Professor Rochelle Leibowitz offered additional information to further clarify a number of the changes being proposed. She pointed out that the Committee on Academic Standing, despite the name of the committee, does not deal on a daily basis with Good Academic Standing. They review students who have a semester or cumulative average of less than 2.0 and make decisions on whether or not to place those students on Academic Probation. The other term, “Good Academic Standing”, has or had a definition in Faculty Legislation that connected it with Academic Probation; over the years, however, the definition has become unclear. She noted that the phrase “Good Academic Standing” appears in many documents across campus and determines whether or not a student can participate in non-academic activities (SGA, Wheaton Foundation grants, varsity athletics, etc.). Professor Leibowitz went on to say that whatever decision on defining Good Academic Standing is made it will not affect financial aid. The proposed Legislation basically says that if a student is matriculated, that student is in Good Academic Standing. She pointed out that for each possible definition of Good Academic Standing there are many schools that follow that definition. So, looking at how other schools define Good Academic Standing does not provide us with any answers. Patricia Santilli, Registrar, offered the faculty background on how Good Academic Standing is typically used (application for a credit card, internship, part-time job). She reiterated that the Committee on Academic Standing has never dealt with Academic Standing; some confusion about the term may have originated with the Committee on Academic Standing itself. She went on to say that whatever the Committee defines has to be used by the NCAA. Professor Tommasina Gabriele noted that the Committee on Academic Standing has a very sound and thorough approach to students on academic probation and looks at individual situations. She said that she is in agreement with the Committee that Academic Probation deals with academics while Good Academic Standing is associated with making sure that students do not have participation opportunities closed to them.
Professor Leibowitz said that even though she is a member of the Committee on Academic Standing, she is going to vote against the proposed change. She said that she feels that good academic standing should have some numerical scale.
A lengthy discussion followed. Several faculty members spoke to the proposed change. Professor Michael Kahn spoke against the proposed Legislation. He said “I wish to speak against this legislation. I think the proposed legislation is inconsistent and doesn't live up to Wheaton's standards or even the sentiments from the marketing firm we heard last month. I prefer to see the faculty vote the current proposal down and ask that we define academic good standing to be mutually exclusive from academic probation
The inconsistent notion that a student can simultaneously be on academic probation and in good academic standing causes at least some cognitive dissonance among faculty and staff. Through recent discussions, we’ve been told that members of the Academic Advising office (Jim Mancall has said I can use his name in this regard) have told numerous students that being on probation means they are not in good academic standing. In fact, looking at the last three annual reports from CAS, under the section headed Academic Standing, they report data such as “The committee reviewed 123 students… and 44 students were restored to good standing.” This does not mean 44 students came out of suspension, but 44 students came off of academic probation to regain good academic standing. Here we have written acknowledgement from CAS that good academic standing is a status that is to be reclaimed after being on probation; CAS does define good academic standing as “above” probation based on the data in their annual reports!!! As for possible definitions that would delineate good academic standing from probation, one example is a policy to the effect that good academic standing means at least a 1.6 GPA during a student's first two semesters, at least a 1.8 during their sophomore semesters, and at least a 2.0 starting with their junior year. I am not proposing this specific scale as an amendment to the current proposal since there are other details that need to be worked out and there are variations of this scheme that are also reasonable. This sort of legislation will clarify the distinction between probation and good standing for all of us, and students will know what the definition is upon entering and live by it throughout their time at Wheaton.
As for the community’s ethos, the college has made great strides raising the intellectual climate at the top end, but the notion that a student has to be suspended to lose good academic standing does nothing to raise standards at the low end. The rationale for this proposed legislation is that we are just putting into writing a virtually unknown practice from the last 20 years. That argument flies in the face of the marketing rhetoric we heard last month. There we heard that the Wheaton ethos is that of a Jack Russell terrier climbing an ever-rising mountain as we continually challenge the status quo. Passing this legislation codifies the current academic standing status quo while providing no real chance to explore other models for good academic standing and probation. I urge us to vote this legislation down and recommend CAS bring another set of definitions by the October faculty meeting that separate good standing from probation.”
Professor Dyer agreed with Professor Kahn. Ms. Santilli expressed her concern with applying a graduation requirement to students before they actually graduate. She noted that occasionally students have a bad semester (family issues, medical issues) and to penalize students by keeping them from participating in something they really like to do is unfair. There are sanctions for athletes. Dean Williams agreed and pointed out that the coaches put academics first and that there are warnings in place for student athletes. She went on to say that the coaches at Wheaton have significant influence on student athletes, and if a student athlete is put on academic probation, that connection with the coach is lost. Professor Dyer said that it is totally up to the coaches to impose sanctions on the student athletes. She suggested that the faculty contact her or Professor Kahn if there is a conflict with athletics and the classroom.
Professor John Kricher offered the following friendly amendment to the proposed change:
C. Minimum Grade Point Average
A student will [normally] be placed on academic probation if the semester or cumulative grade point average is below 2.0………overall.
The Committee accepted his friendly amendment.
Professor Bob Morris said that he would take issue with the phrase “singling out” a particular type of student. He said that it seems that we are singling out a certain type of participation; he pointed out that participation in outside activities does play an important role in helping students to recover and get back on track. He noted that he would not be in favor of singling out any particular type of student but he doesn’t oppose singling out a certain type of participation as an incentive to restore them to good academic standing. They could participate in other activities and use the support that they receive from those other activities to bring themselves back to good academic standing. However, he would be in favor of keeping the students’ participation in NCAA sports separate because of the national implication of the definition of that participation. Professor Kahn pointed out that a student participating in athletics would not have to be removed from the team if they are on academic probation with the exception possibly of NCAA participation. They could still go to practice and go to games. After a long and contentious discussion. A motion was made to call the question and the faculty approved that motion. The vote on the proposed Legislation as amended was taken. The result was a tie vote of 25 for and 25 against. Professor Darlene Boroviak pointed out that because the vote resulted in less than a quorum (37 votes) either way, the proposal is automatically tabled to a future faculty meeting.
Brian Douglas, Vice President for Finance and Administration, gave a PowerPoint presentation overview of the College budget. He began with a chart showing family incomes which indicated that more and more students who are choosing to come to Wheaton are in need of Financial Aid. The next chart showed that the largest portion of Wheaton’s operating revenues is from tuition (80% to 85%), 7% to 9% is from the endowment and 4% to 6% comes from gifts to the College. Mr. Douglas displayed a chart that listed enrollments since the fall of 2006. He noted that in the spring of 2008 Wheaton had an enrollment of 1671 and this spring there are 1569 students enrolled—the lowest since the spring of 2004. Moving on to the expense side, he pointed out that financial aid increased by 59% in the last six years, which is more than all other categories of spending combined. He said that, given this information, the question now is how Wheaton can bring in more full-paying students and how we keep them here. Comparing our comprehensive fee and discount rate to the College’s comparison group (the Northeast Nine), the indication is that we have struggled more than our peer institutions. Mr. Douglas said that tough cuts have already been made to the budget but as that approach can’t suffice or continue, we have to find more ways to generate revenue for the College. Next, he spoke briefly about the Focus Plan. The goals of the Focus Plan include:
- Getting control of Financial Aid.
- Becoming more attractive to students who have the ability to pay.
- Continuing to be an innovative institution.
Mr. Douglas went on to speak to the five-year financial projections that were presented to the Board of Trustees. He emphasized that they are just projections and there is still a great deal of work to be done to reverse the deficit. He noted that the standard operating margin (revenues minus expenses) for an institution is 2% to 4% of revenues; Wheaton is currently spending about 110% of revenues, for an operating margin of -10%. Mr. Douglas went over the financial implications of the five-year plan:
- Depletion of reserve funds.
- Downgrade of the College’s credit ratings, making it more difficult for the College to borrow funds for future capital projects.
- Limited ability to increase staffing (including faculty) and to increase compensation for staffing.
- Assuming only a 2% increase in compensation each year.
- Constrained ability to invest in facilities. Just to keep up, the College should be spending $5,000,000 to $7,000,000 annually. The Financial Plan calls for just about a $2,500,000 investment each year.
Looking ahead, Mr. Douglas said that there is an increase in applications this year of 15%; the Capital Campaign is going well; we are starting to see signs of a sustained economic recovery. He ended his remarks by reminding the faculty that the challenge is ongoing; our competitors are in the same situation and are taking the same measures that we are, so we have to do better.
Speaking on behalf of the Educational Policy Committee, Professor Tommy Ratliff led a discussion on the Honors Thesis language in Faculty Legislation. He distributed copies of the section in Faculty Legislation relating to the Honors Thesis and read a portion of that section. The Educational Policy Committee interprets this section as saying that the Honors Thesis meets requirements beyond any other requirements for the major. The issue that has come about is possible conflation of the Honors Thesis with the Capstone; there are a few departments who are challenged by offering both a thesis-oriented Capstone and two semesters of independent work beyond all other requirements. Professor Ratliff noted that the Capstone is an experience requirement not a course requirement. Professor Ratliff asked the faculty what they thought was the “philosophy” of the Honors Thesis—whether it is a work that is completely separate from any of the requirements for the major, and so can’t overlap with anything that is done for the requirements for the major. Discussion followed. Several small departments accept the Honors Thesis as the Capstone. Ms. Santilli cautioned that if there is going to be flexibility and variances among departments, individual department members need to understand the department requirements and be able to inform the Registrar’s office. Professor Darlene Boroviak noted that clarification of the Capstone is needed to have a better understanding of the issue. Professor Ratliff will bring this discussion back to the Educational Policy Committee.
Professor Janina Benoit, speaking on behalf of the Committee on Faculty Workload and Economic Status, announced that the Committee had signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with the Administration. She explained that the faculty agreed to suspend the current faculty salary plan, and the Administration committed to a process that will result in a multi-year faculty salary framework to be implemented in FY16. Professor Benoit reminded the faculty of the conversations that led up to the creation and signing of the MOU. She said that the faculty is committed to working with the administration to have the FY16 plan in place and look forward to what they hope will be fruitful discussions. Professor John Partridge, President of AAUP, expressed disappointment at the loss of the faculty salary plan that had been in place for a number of years. He said that the faculty salary plan had provided meaningful shared governance. He thanked Professor Benoit and the members of the Committee on Faculty Workload and Economic Status for the work that they have done and said that AAUP will fight for more in the years to come. Professor John Kricher also expressed his thanks to the Economic Status Committee and reiterated Professor Partridge’s sentiments. Professor Derek Price said that there are two levels to the faculty salary plan—one is the financial discussions that take place and the other is the “compact” that all of the faculty are “in this together,” so there is a loss of another type with the suspension of the faculty salary plan. President Crutcher expressed his thanks to the members of the Committee on Faculty Workload and Economic Status.
Professor Kathryn Tomasek, Chair of the Committee on Library, Technology and Learning, announced that there would be a second round of funding for faculty members who are interested in enhancing teaching and learning or scholarship through the use of technology and information resources. The deadline for applications is May 7th. She referred the faculty to the call for proposals that was sent to them by Scott Hamlin.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:05 pm.
Lynda S. Marcoccia
Senior Executive Assistant to the Provost
Secretary to the Faculty
Faith and Finance: Being and Becoming Muslim in the Global Economy
April 4, 2012
Sarah Tobin, a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Anthropology, presents her research on the competing claims of economic practice and personal piety among middle-class Muslims in Amman, Jordan. (Tuesday, April 10, 2012)
It may seem surprising, but practicing Islam in contemporary Amman, Jordan, is difficult. Working and producing as an authentic Muslim, comporting oneself in an Islamically-appropriate way in the globalized economy, and integrating one's personal piety into consumption choices are all challenging. How do middle-class Muslims in Amman navigate these economic demands in a distinctly Islamic way? This presentation will introduce the ways in which Muslims in Amman create meaning and authenticity in their economic practice and personal piety during Ramadan, with the hijab or headscarf, and in banking and finance. Ultimately, this presentation will demonstrate that Sharia, or Islamic Law, is both a tool and a standard against which Muslims in Amman measure their piety and entrench their economic positioning.
The talk is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. in President's Dining Room. For the full schedule of Spring 2012 Faculty Lunch Talks, click here.
Women on the Frankish Hunt: A Collaborative Student/Faculty Research Project
March 27, 2012
Professor Polanichka will lead a discussion about how faculty and students can best engage in collaborative research. (Wednesday, March 28, 2012)
In Summer 2011, Dana Polanichka embarked on a faculty-student research project with two history majors, Christine Sobieck '12 and Eben Diskin '12. They sought to determine if royal women actually participated in eighth- and ninth-century hunts and other typically masculine activities. This talk will discuss their findings and also open a dialogue about how faculty and students can best engage in collaborative research.
The talk is scheduled for Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. in President's Dining Room. For the full schedule of Spring 2012 Faculty Lunch Talks, click here.
Show That You Fear God! Tracing Guatemala's Political Economy of Morality and Gender
March 16, 2012
Professor Torres presents an analysis of the manipulation of religious and cultural ideologies in the conduct of Guatemala’s civil war. (Thursday, March 22, 2012)
Military and religious ideologies magnified gender inequities in Guatemala’s Civil War. General Rios Montt’s near-fanatical adhesion to evangelical Protestant ideals became known in his regular Sunday addresses to the Guatemalan nation throughout most of the early 1980s. To cement his enduring appeal, Rios Montt's speeches capitalized on already established notions of masculinity in Guatemala. The General’s speeches are perhaps the most blatant example of how counterinsurgency policies, and moral, religious, and nationalist ideologies, can intersect to create culturally palatable notions of leadership that magnify gender inequity.
The talk is scheduled for Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. in the President's Dining Room.
For the most up-to-date list of this semester's talks, click here.