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UGrad notes - Winter Plenary 08
Chair's report to the Undergraduate Committee on the Winter Plenary:
January 31, 2008
President's Report and Executive Committee
- Energy Conference: November in Saratoga Springs. Conference was led by The Operations Committee under the leadership of Maureen
Dolan. The conference was an outstanding success. They had over 80 speakers from federal and state government, academia and
industry. Over 100 organizations were represented. Every campus sent faculty, provosts, presidents, facilities staff and
students. In fact, Maureen Dolan has now been contacted by the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation to request assistance in
planning a state-wide sustainability conference sponsored by DEC.
- FS President, Carl Wiezalis, has been asked to serve on the search committee for the new Chancellor. Information about the search
can be found on the SUNY web site. Carl has also been asked to sit on a History of SUNY committee to plan for the 60th
anniversary of SUNY. A symposium will be planned and it is expected that individual campuses will be planning programs and
- The faculty senate is a major co-sponsor of a Faculty Development Conference to be held in Syracuse in March. You may have seen the
call for papers that went out to campuses.
- Carl also reports that Provost Palm is rethinking the value of the Mission Review process and whether it should continue.
- The Special Joint Committee on Articulation and Transfer, Chaired by Joe Hildreth, held its first meeting on January 11th. Our
liaison, Janet Nepkie will report to us on that meeting and more will be discussed with Joe who will be joining us this
The plenary meeting report:
- Significant conversation focused on the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA). The question came up in the Executive Committee
meeting, "Where will the Spellings Commission stand following sweeping political change. Will they back down?"
- Carl says "no." He believes that there will continue to be forward motion in the area of assessment at the national
level and its controversial use as a marketing tool and method of comparison for public consumption. Carl has
reminded Risa Palm on more than one occasion of the resolution . . . (put out a copy of that again) Risa Palm
talked about VSA during her presentation to the senate and stated that system administration is neutral about
VSA and the system is voluntary.
- This was talked about a great deal. Buffalo State Campus senators have met with their president, Muriel Howard to
complain that their campus was one of the campuses volunteered without consultation with the faculty. Dr.
Howard's response was that when she brought it up to the Senate, the faculty was unresponsive to her expressed
interest. She interpreted that to mean support. But she has now agreed to a one year monitoring plan to see
how it functions. How to monitor that is a source of controversy as well. The Senate will be determining what
questions need to be asked. And what statistics need to be collected.
- Chancellor Clark, during his presentation to the Senate, expressed concern that faculty have not been consulted
adequately regarding VSA and has offered to follow up on that issue with particular presidents.
- Transfer and articulation took up a significant amount of discussions. The Commission on Higher Education calls for something be
done to improve the transfer and articulation system between campuses within three years. The Joint Committee on T & A will
be sending out a draft proposal for taking the first step in this direction and is asking for feedback quickly, by March 1 if
possible. We will hear more about this from Janet and Joe. It was implied at the plenary that the Commission on Higher Education
has given SUNY 3 years to accomplish this goal. But I looked at the Commission report and did not see any deadline set for
- There was also a lot of discussion about the Commission's call for adding 2000 full time faculty to SUNY and CUNY. 1000 of these
will be for SUNY. Much of the discussion centered around allocation of these hires. A sheet of analysis was distributed byt
should not be considered the definitive methodology to be used nor should it be interpreted as a set of proposed allocations.
- We heard a great deal about the budget at this meeting, hearing from Kim Cline, Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer who gave
the Budget Office Report. We also heard from Philip Wood, the General Manager of the SUNY" Construction Fund.
- Kim Cline talked about funding mandated costs i.e., salary increases, OTPS, inflation etc. i.e., Xerox contracts go
up every year.
- 2.5 % decrease in general spending. A lot of money and represents a move backwards. That dollar amount alone is
remarkably close to the amount invested in faculty in the last few years. So to recommend or request 2000 more
faculty while cutting spending is problematic to say the least.
- There was a lot of conversation about the need for a tuition increase, the proposed consideration of differential
tuition and battle over how to reduce fees without increasing tuition.
- If I understood correctly, Michel Trunzo, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations, there was no
budget approval for enrollment growth—an interesting problem for UB.
- Philip Wood, the General Manager of the Construction Fund stated that much of the budget discussions center around
restorations. Capital Assets—average age over 40. 4 programs, 1800 bldgs. Ed facilities, hospitals, comm..
colleges, residence halls. System has opted for a 15 year plan as opposed to a more expensive 10 year plan for
dealing with backlog on restoration? Pointed out that there is an absence of good solid Master Planning. Goal:
to establish, over 4 years, a full set of Master Plans for every campus.
- Request to legislature for this budget vs. reality—approvals are expect for about 1/3 of what is asked for.
Allocation is outline as follows: most allocation is looked at in relation to Mission Review II first. There
will be a two step process. With respect to the Capital Fund, CF recommends to Board of Trustees and Trustees
recommend projects to Capital Projects Review Board.
Lloyd Constantine—Governor's Senior Advisor
- Talked about the Higher Ed. Commission and how its recommendations are reflected in State of State Address and budget. He spoke
about how we are going to attempt to implement Commission's ecommendations.
- There will be tuition increases.
- There will be faculty expansion
- They are looking at modifing SUNY's governance structure i.e. Senior Vice Chancellors
- Meaningful regulatory relief (get SED to collaborate with SUNY, not only simultaneously, but together)
- Educational Partnership zones—K-16 (P-20) How to share the richness of educational systems with an eye toward lessening the need for
remediation and increase college attendance.
- Supported the move toward improved transfer and articulation and called for some standardization that will also require an
improvement in curriculum at the community colleges. The argument is not to disparage skill sets for community college students
but to be sure to include bringing them up to the standards needed for entrance into the 4 year schools?
- Budget is now in the amendment process to see how to fill budget gaps and shortfalls.
- Governor's call for an endowment, funded by lottery—strictly for public education (SUNY & CUNY).
This was interesting. Each sector gave its report and Clark responded to each report. Very good process.
- Technology, Clark responds—Missed this presentation
- Health Science: procurement issue; they and excited about Article 7 legislation calling for a reduction in pre-approval process),
need capital etc. Clark says that legislative oversight will not be removed from the procurement issue. But they are asking for
pre-oversight to be dispensed with. The approval process is too cumbersome—post audit can penalize us if we screw up, but we
need to get some traction on allowing process to happen more quickly. An historic increase in capital is happening especially
for critical maintenance.
- Specialized and Statutory Colleges: Full time faculty needs, too many adjuncts, campuses adding programs and enrollment growth
without resources to support it. Questions about the history on faculty allocation. Legal defense fund for protecting
intellectual rights. Clark responds: full time faculty a major initiative, we are very far behind nationally. In our budget we
are committed to 1000 faculty over three years. The 2000 is for SUNY and CUNY. Another problem is that we will have 7000
students this coming year with no funding? Janet may understand this issue better. Perhaps she can elaborate. Problem: faculty
allocation is not the same from campus to campus. i.e. Brockport (loss of faculty member did not insure replacement).
- University Centers: Stipends for Graduate Students is inadequate particularly in relation to cost of living in downstate NY.
Transfer and articulation a major issue. Differential tuition also discussed. They felt that the assembly will reject
differential tuition proposal and that the union will fight it, but given the fee situation we need a solution. Assembly is
against it on an access issue. Also talked about the funding of libraries. Line item funding requested. Clark responds: stipends
(we all agree). Libraries: a major concern is the state of our archives. The commission is in favor of differential tuition over
a three year phasing period only for out of state students and graduate students and then after that it would expand. The
question is raised, is this just for the research centers or will it reach out and down to other colleges. For Clark in
response, the real question is, resources--we need more funds. What's driving D.T is that we are stretched for money. So far we
have done a very good job of filling our desire for accessibility but we need money.
- University Colleges: articulation agreements important but college campuses don't see it as much of a problem as it now stands. They
find fault with advisement as a contributor to transfer problems. Student preparation is an issue. Why is the legislature so
worried about this? Discussed sense of mission creep such as the increase in BA degrees in Specialized and Technical colleges
etc. Technical Colleges have argued that there is no overlap in types of Bas they offer. Talked about projected plan of UB
growing by 10,000. Where are they going to get those students while there is a decrease in high school graduation rates? Raised
the issue of conflict of interest in SUNY workforce, not just a medical concern—administrators occupying two or more positions;
i.e. HR officer also legal counsel for president. These practices should also be considered. There is also conversation about
amending law to authorize SUNY to lease properties and SUNY inability to use its own land. I'm not sure I understand this issue
clearly. Clark responds: legislators get calls from their constituents who then call the Chancellor about their childrens'
inability to transfer credits. Some are legitimate and warrant review. Want us to examine how large the problem actually is.
Some is capacity, some is geographical, but we must see students succeed so we must look at ways through this. On Mission creep?
No easy answer. Part of the problem is the raising of the bar re: college education. i.e., MA is a new standard. In 1950 high
school was the bar. On conflict of interest he needs to consult with Rostow? We do have a system and a BOT. So no Walmarts will
be opening up on campuses.
- Campus Governance leaders: strong need to recognize diversity and that campus allocation must consider that with regard to budget
and faculty. Differential tuition proposal must take that into consideration as well. Pointed out that non-tenure track faculty
with lower salaries is missing from the debate about Adjuncts and the use of non-tenure track instructors with lower salaries is
poor for morale. Faculty travel and professional development needs more attention. Expressed concerned about emphasis on two
flagships and that that not overshadow the other 62 campuses. Clark responds. Non-tenure track faculty issue: must take that
issue up with Risa Palm on how to recognize those contributors. Professional development—he wishes they had a lot more funding.
Not able to really assure much can be done.
- Community Colleges Report from Milton Johnson, President of the Faculty Council of Community Colleges Associate Professor of Speech,
Finger Lakes Community College:
Differential tuition and tuition increases looms large for community colleges. He pointed
out that community colleges is the largest access point for underrepresented populations.
If I understood Prof. Johnson
correctly, tuition increases at the community college level would push SUNY up to the top 3 most expensive community college
systems in the country? This is ironic in that tuition at the university level is touted as one of the most affordable.
Transfer and articulation was also a major focus of his report pointing out that community colleges have a need to bust the myth
that teaching and learning at the community colleges is consistently lower than that of colleges and universities and that this
transfer and articulation work will improve the potential for both access and success for SUNY students. He also talked about
educational partnership zones and the need to address student readiness on the part of students coming from high schools and
even from the junior high schools.
Text of Undergraduate Programs and Policies Committee Report to the Plenary:
The committee's attention has been primarily taken up with a review of SUNY policy related to the contract/credit hour as articulated in the
Memorandum to Presidents, Vol. 76 No. 8, issued in June 1976, Credit/Contact Hour Relationship. This document sets forth the
University's policy on the awarding of academic credit and is of current interest in its accuracy and applicability in measuring credit
given current emphasis on international studies, studies abroad, new media, distance learning, online courses etc.
The Committee agreed that the policy review would include having speakers and a full review of the issues, implications, and repercussions of
potential updates or changes to the policy before determining the direction and deliverable of the Committee.
Joining the Committee for initial discussion of the policy review was Byron Connell, Associate in Higher Education, who has been with SED for
37 years and is considered an expert on NYS policy related to higher and professional education with particular expertise on the Rules
of the Board of Regents, the Regulations of the Commissioner.
Subsequent discussion will include consultation with Gary Blose, Assistant Provost for Institutional Research and Wendy Gilman, Budget
Director, SUNY System Administration.
In general, the Committee learned that SED is more flexible, more open, and more dependent on the shared responsibility of faculty and campus
academic officers than it might have guessed.
The committee finds the 30 year old policy as stated in the Bruce Dearing Memorandum to Presidents from 1976 rigid in relation to SED
interpretations of regulations. The committee finds the semester credit system useful as part of the larger system for measuring
student learning and progress in university programs, but feels that SUNY needs to update its own policy which includes recognizing and
referencing NYSED regulations.
In light of the call here this weekend for SUNY and SED to work, not only simultaneously, but together, this seems to be a particularly