Dr. Philip A. Glotzbach
President of Skidmore College
Philip A. Glotzbach became the seventh President of Skidmore College on July 1, 2003. A philosopher, academic administrator, and spokesperson on issues of higher education, he joined the College following eleven years at the University of Redlands in southern California
Title IX Coordinator
Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Joel Aure as Skidmore's new Title IX Coordinator, effective January 9, 2017. Joel currently serves as the Chief Diversity and Affirmative Action Officer and Title IX Coordinator at Purchase College, State University of New York (SUNY).
Joel has been with SUNY Purchase since 2005, holding positions of increasing responsibility in a variety of areas, including academic advising, student success, teaching and mentoring, orientation, first-year experience, affirmative action, strategic planning, and governance. In his most recent role, as Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator, Joel researched and implemented various components of Title IX practice and policies, including best practices in investigations, compliance, bystander intervention, LGBTQ awareness, and the numerous aspects of sexual and interpersonal violence prevention and response.
A native of Monroeville, PA, Joel holds a B.A. and M.F.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and Sarah Lawrence College, respectively.
At Skidmore, Joel will work as a partner with all campus community members to bolster the College's prevention and educational efforts around prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. He will be responsible for fulfilling our commitment to a fair and equitable process to address serious matters of sexual and gender-based misconduct.
As previously announced, this is a newly-created position that will report directly to me. Joel will oversee the College's Title IX efforts, as well as compliance with related laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act. He will chair the College's Advisory Council on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct and provide oversight of compliance with all Title IX policies. He will manage reporting, keep the community informed of policy changes and updates, supervise annual training, administer investigations, and provide direction to our Deputy Title IX coordinators in Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Human Resources. Finally, he will work closely with Campus Safety and our off-campus partners, including law enforcement and counseling resources.
I want to express my deep gratitude for the terrific work of the screening group that included Max Fleischman '19, Chris Kopec, Alena Llorens-Myers, Mariel Martin, Tim Munro, DyAnna Washington '18, and Joshua C. Woodfork (chair). Thanks to the many students, staff, and faculty members who interacted with our candidates and provided valuable feedback. This process was ably assisted by Tom Molloy as our search consultant.
I also want to thank Sarah Delaney Vero who has served as our Interim Title IX Coordinator. I am grateful for her excellent work and willingness to step in and assist us during this transition.
Please join me in welcoming our new colleague Joel when we return to campus after our extended winter break.
Finding a Way Forward
Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,
I write to you from Asia where Marie and I are meeting with alumni, current parents, supporters, and prospective students. While I wish I were on campus with you, my presence here at this particular time has given me an unexpected perspective on this week's events and a deep appreciation for how small and interconnected our world has become.
In the weeks and months ahead, it will be my top focus to help us work together across any existing divides to continue our efforts to make Skidmore more inclusive. Never has that been more important than in the challenging times that I believe will follow this divisive election. For now, I offer three points for us to consider together.
First, let us openly acknowledge and discuss the significant and troubling issues in the American politic that this election has revealed. These divides were reflected in the heated and corrosive tone of the campaigns and, ultimately, in voting patterns that show the deep demographic and ideological split in our country. We are not immune from those divides here, as various events from the past few years have shown. Clearly, we still have a long way to go if we are to achieve the "more perfect union" imagined by Lincoln and explored in the current exhibit at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, which has served as our town square over the past several weeks.
Second, we need to be attentive to the damage done and the hurt felt by individuals all across the political spectrum in this country and on our own campus. If there is one initial and fundamental lesson that we can take away from this week, it is that many – far too many – of our fellow citizens do not feel that they are fully enfranchised participants in this grand experiment called the United States. Both in perception and in fact many of us do not and cannot now enjoy the privileges that should be a fundamental prerequisite for all. It will take candid dialogues and true collaborations across differences to address this abiding crisis.
Third, let us celebrate the fact that millions of individuals were able to participate in this election, one of the most fundamental activities of a true democracy. We are now on the familiar path of witnessing, once again, a peaceful transition of power from one administration to another. We must not take these privileges for granted. And we must fulfill our own personal obligations to protect them for all who live among us. Just as importantly, we must recommit ourselves to Skidmore's critical responsibility to prepare students to be thoughtful, civil, engaged, and responsible community members.
In the weeks ahead, there will be many more lessons to take away from this week's events and many opportunities to learn and grow from meaningful conversations. I encourage all of us to take the long view of our history as we work toward a better future together. We must be unwavering in our commitment to justice, to understanding, and to each other. Skidmore can, and must, be a place where we live by our stated principles every day. We must be a place where all members of our community can achieve their full potential. That is the goal of every great college and it must be ours.
Thank you, Charles, for your kind remarks. Thank you to Rotary Education Foundation President Greg Grieco and to the Marketing Committee and the Foundation Board for this honor.
Congratulations to Kari Cushing and the Franklin Community Center. Kari, thank you for your leadership in enormously important work to help the less fortunate members of the Saratoga region. kidmore College is very happy to support the Community Center through the annual Skidmore Cares initiative and in other ways throughout the year.
And let me say it is a very special honor – and quite a humbling experience – to share the stage today with Florence Andreson. Florence is a proud and incredibly supportive Skidmore alumna; she is an Emerita Trustee; and she has served in a number of volunteer roles at the College across many years. Throughout her time in Saratoga Springs, she has provided extraordinary service to our community and to the Rotary Club, in particular. Congratulations, Florence. You are one of my all-time heroes.
My own resume does not obviously fit the profile of those who are recipients of this award. When Marie and I came to Skidmore, fourteen years ago, we created a division of labor in which she concentrated more on the relationship between the College and the city, and I kept my focus on organizations that support higher education. (Indeed, Marie received this award several years back, and I'm just now catching up. This is, in fact, the typical situation in our house: I'm used to being the trailing spouse.)
But each of these areas of endeavor is important to us. We deeply respect and cherish the Saratoga Springs community, both as a place to live and as a wonderful location for Skidmore College. Marie has worked – and continues to work – to ensure that Skidmore is a good and supportive neighbor. And the many opportunities for volunteer activity that Saratoga Springs affords are important to our students, faculty, and staff.
By contrast, my service has been focused more on supporting the enterprise of higher education itself – especially in small liberal arts colleges such as Skidmore – through national higher education associations. hese organizations help to shape the broader conversation within the higher education community about how best to do our work of teaching and learning. They also engage legislators and others on topics as diverse as accreditation, other forms of regulation, and student aid (such as Pell Grants). And finally, they provide professional development opportunities to college administrators, helping them better understand the challenges we all must address and enabling them to perform at higher levels in their positions.
These things are important, because college and university administrators support the central work of educating our young people, which I believe is some of the most important work that there is to do. All too often today, our colleges and universities are tarred with the general cynicism and suspicion that currently attaches to so many once-venerated institutions. There is an image of college life that is epitomized in popular culture in images of football, fraternities, frivolity, and their sometimes more serious consequences. Fun is certainly a legitimate part of the undergraduate experience (though Skidmore does not have a football team, and I am very glad that we do not have fraternities or sororities). And some of the internal disputes in higher education can seem downright silly when caricatured in the press.
But I would be the first to admit that there are indeed things that happen on our campuses that legitimately prompt hard questions and merited criticism. Colleges and universities face many difficult vexing issues that reflect deeper troubles in our society and that we are all working hard to address. So let me just say two things about why the primary educational work we do is so important, and why so many of us see what we do not just as a job but as a vocation – a calling:
First, it is not an exaggeration to say that everything we have learned as a species across nearly four millennia of recorded history – the accumulated knowledge, cognitive skills, and wisdom of the human race – must be transmitted from generation to generation if it is to be preserved and, ultimately increased. This process of transmission, when everything we human beings have learned over time is carried forward from one generation to another, reaches its peak in the moment of an undergraduate education. Not that undergraduates can master this enormous body of knowledge by commencement day, but rather they have to learn to appreciate the breadth and depth of these human achievements, and even more importantly, they have to learn how to learn – so they can keep learning, preserving, and adding to human knowledge over their lifetimes. As a college president, I attach the highest value to this educational project, and I feel a deep corresponding responsibility to help carry it forward.
Secondly, our society is increasingly prone to evaluating the worth of who we are and what we do in purely economic terms. David Brooks, for one, has written insightfully and critically of this tendency. In my world, this concept of value manifests itself as an unexamined narrative that views a college education entirely as a personal good measurable purely in economic terms – as a personal investment with a monetary return that accrues primarily, or perhaps even exclusively, to the individual who earns a degree. Of course, a college education is and should represent a personal economic good. It should lead to a good job and a meaningful professional and personal life, and the actual data demonstrate that, by and large, it does.
But at the same time, we need always to remember that a college education is also intended to be a SOCIAL good, one that should accrue value to the larger society and not just to the person earning the degree. This is why Skidmore"s mission statement includes the aspiration that we prepare our students to be "informed, responsible citizens." This commitment means that we expect our graduates to contribute – to give back – to their communities, their nations, and ultimately to the world in ways that increase the general good.
Every fall at Skidmore's Opening Convocation, when we welcome our new students, I challenge them to live up to this part of Skidmore"s mission: to find their own cause – their particular way of leaving the world a better place than they found it. We try to keep this idea alive throughout their four years at the College and in our graduates" continuing lives as alumni. In my own work with higher education organizations, I have tried to advance these values as well.
And here the mission of Skidmore College, my own service within higher education, and the guiding principles of the Rotary organization perfectly align. With the many community projects the Saratoga Springs Rotary Club sponsors and supports, both in Saratoga Springs and around the world, and through the scholarships you fund, you demonstrably increase the overall measure of social good.
Your good work exemplifies Rotary International"s commitment to "encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of a worthy enterprise" – always emphasizing "service before self." Today more than ever, it is enormously important that each of us actively support this understanding of service as a primary value, and defend the underlying concept of social good, because, sadly, it is under attack from all sides – most especially from those who see the world solely in terms of their own gains and losses and who do not acknowledge the basic fact that a civil society depends upon mutual good will and the sharing of common concerns, not just for ourselves alone but for all our fellow citizens together.
"Service before self." What would our nation and, ultimately, our world look like if this imperative were more broadly celebrated and embraced than it currently is? Let us continue to work together to find out.
Thank you, again, for this wonderful award.