March 1st faculty meeting: One less major, increase in tuition and financial aid, hazing and teacher evaluations

Posted by Emily Singer

Skidmore has had an active semester so far. Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Beau Breslin announced that 11 professors were promoted tenure over the last week, and Professor Gregory Fisher of American Studies won the award for lecturer for 2012-2013. Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer Michael West, who is in charge of financial decisions for the college, discussed the school's budget and what it will look like in 2014. The updated budget includes an increase in financial aid for students, especially the incoming 2017 class, and a minimal increase in tuition.

The soccer hazing incident was discussed, but President Glotzbach revealed that Dean Calhoun and the athletic director have taken proper precautions to prevent future incidents and the soccer team has been suspended from spring soccer this season. The hazing involved pressuring first year soccer teammates to drink large quantities of alcohol. Luckily no one was hurt during this event, but similar events at other colleges like Cornell have resulted in death, which is why the campus is taking extra precaution to this behavior.

The business-economic interdepartmental major was officially eliminated during this meeting on the grounds that students can accomplish more by either double majoring in these subjects or majoring and minoring in them. A motion was passed to make adjustments to the curriculum handbook, and the topic of whether or not to change the evaluation cards students fill in at the end of the year came back to the floor.

The order of the questions were changed, as well as what types of questions and answers the students were given.  A new component of the evaluation sheet was also up for discussion: whether or not it was appropriate to ask what gender expression the person answering the cards were. This put into question whether or not this was a necessary question to answer, and if they are asking about gender, should the card also examine what the ethnicity of the student is. The reason for these questions is to assess whether or not professors are able to communicate and effectively teach students of the female gender and minorities.

Professors believe there is a gap between how well female students learn from a certain professor and how well male students learn from the same professor, with results favoring male students. Students of color are also shown to perform differently from white students. An updated evaluation card with questions asking for gender and race may lead to closing this gap by identifying professors with the lowest marks and providing opportunities to help them communicate better with their students. But by the end of the discussion the gender question was removed and other questions asking for identification were not added. The rest of the evaluation card passed successfully and will hopefully be used at the end of this spring. 

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