On Course, Spring 2003
In this Issue:
In recent months I have held a series of meetings with members of my academic affairs staff under the heading of Going Forward. I initiated the meetings both to assess our progress on what has become a growing number of ongoing academic initiatives, as well as to begin mapping out what new efforts the Office might focus on.
In the midst of these discussions, I was asked to make a presentation to the University Board of Trustees outlining the advances that have been made to enhance academic quality across all campuses (excerpts from that presentation appear in this issue of On Course). Putting that presentation together, seeing our progress highlighted graphically, added tremendous context to the Going Forward sessions.
This University has made unprecedented strides in enhancing overall academic quality while maintaining its commitment both to access and to meeting the needs of New York State. More than ever, the University community needs to work together to continue this progress, recognizing the significant challenges that our state and country are facing and our responsibilities to our students and New York State’s citizens.
Today, I am even more encouraged about our work and about the prospect of streamlining the Office’s vision for moving forward.
The Program Review and Planning Group of the Office of the Provost is about to release the 2003 Handbook for the Submission of Undergraduate Academic Program Proposals. This new guide, building on enhancements to the Program Review process made in 2001, strives to improve the transparency of the review process as well as to more fully integrate University-wide academic initiatives such as Assessment and the New Vision in Teacher Education. [Every proposal requesting a new academic program or a revision to an existing program is reviewed by the Program Review and Planning Group, and approved by Provost Salins on behalf of the State University Board of Trustees, before being submitted to the State Education Department for registration.]
Organizationally, the previous “handbook” and “guidelines” have been combined into a single document, and appendices have been reorganized and edited for clarity. In addition, the electronic version of the Guide will include hyperlinks to all necessary forms.
Substantively, in addition to the inclusion of University-wide academic initiatives, criteria according to which a proposal may receive expedited review or under which the external review of baccalaureate program proposals may be waived, have been clarified. “Even with these changes, the Program Review Group has reaffirmed its commitment to rigorous time-to-completion goals,” said Assistant Provost Joseph DeFilippo, who leads the unit.
“The progress made by the Program Review staff is impressive,” said Provost Salins. “Their efforts at enhanced communication with the campuses are to be applauded.” The Program Review Group is garnering a great deal of positive feedback regarding its weekly and monthly e-mail communiques about the status of requested program reviews/revisions. These communiques also feature a unique column called “Ask Kate,” where the expertise of Assistant Provost Kate Van Arnam is highlighted, answering frequently asked questions.
“This group has worked together to accomplish much,” said Provost Salins. The “Ask Kate” column and additional details on the Program Review process (including the new Handbook upon completion) are available online at: http://www.suny.edu/provost.
Provost Salins recently welcomed Dr. Anne Huot to the Office of the Provost campus liaison team. Dr. Huot will have liaison responsibility for the Doctoral Degree-granting Institutions; working with campus leadership to in part ensure that System goals and policy align with campus aspirations to the fullest extent possible. “This position is particularly important as our doctoral institutions garner greater stature, nationally and internationally, as top tier research and teaching institutions,” said Provost Salins.
Dr. Huot served as the Executive Dean/Interim Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Vermont from 1999 to 2003. In this capacity, Dr. Huot maintained oversight of 92 graduate programs, graduate student affairs, and graduate student admissions, recruitment and retention. She concurrently held the titles of Chairperson, Department of Biomedical Technologies (1994-2000); Director, Cell & Molecular Biology Graduate Program (1998-2001); and Professor of Biomedical Technologies (since 2000). “I know that Dr. Huot will make a terrific contribution to our liaison staff,” added Provost Salins.
Dr. Huot has written and presented extensively with respect to her diverse research in molecular biology. She is highly regarded for a commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities.
An active member of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Scientists, Dr. Huot serves as a Board Member at Large for the Vermont Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (2000-2002). She is a past President of the Lake Champlain Chapter of the Association for Women in Science and the Vermont Society for Medical Technology.
Dr. Huot received her Ph.D. in Cell & Molecular Biology and her Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Medical Technology from the University of Vermont.
State University campuses are improving their graduation and retention rates. SUNY is attracting an increasing number of students from New York State high schools. The average SAT score of first-time freshmen is on the rise. SUNY teacher education students outperform all others on the State’s teacher certification exams. SUNY has implemented unprecedented academic initiatives in the way of general education and assessment. “The State University of New York has been working hard to move forward and the news is good,” said Provost Peter D. Salins.
At a recent State University Board of Trustees meeting Provost Salins gave a presentation entitled, Moving Forward, Achieving SUNY’s High Academic Aspirations. He highlighted many of the indicators above and noted that the University had been progressively making progress for some time now through the implementation of:
Provost Salins outlined a plan to continue this track of progress with a focus on four key areas:
In commenting on the University’s current freshman class, Provost Salins explained the Admissions Selectivity Matrix developed during the Mission Review Process. “The Selectivity Matrix allowed the University, for the first time, to look at admissions selectivity using the same standard across all campuses, using grade point average and SAT test scores,” said Provost Salins. “While the matrix by no means includes all of the information used in an admissions decision, it does provide a baseline for discussion purposes across the System.” The matrix is based on five selectivity categories ranging from General Admission (Group 5), to Most Selective (Group 1).
At the conclusion of the presentation, State University Chancellor Robert L. King told the Board of Trustees that this was just the beginning. “What the Provost has outlined today is an important framework upon which we continue to build,” said Chancellor King. “We have high expectations about moving forward.”
The Moving Forward address is available online at: http://www.suny.edu/provost/pubs.cfm.
The New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI), the new member-governed organization of public and private academic libraries and institutions in the state, recently announced the appointment of John Townsend as its first Executive Director.
By way of background, NYSHEI was created in a unique effort to foster collaboration among New York’s academic libraries as they worked to enhance access to educational resources. Provost Salins first envisioned NYSHEI in the fall of 2001 when he encouraged the creation of a Steering Group, composed of higher education librarians, to explore his vision for a new effort to support and enrich both public and private academic libraries in New York. Seeking representation from all academic libraries in New York State, the Steering Group evolved into the Higher Education Initiative Founding Board in the spring of 2002.
Today, NYSHEI has financial support from 127 founding members, including all of SUNY and CUNY plus 44 private colleges and universities, including Columbia, Cornell, Colgate, Syracuse, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, Union College, Vassar and many others.
“John Townsend has the breadth of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to successfully promote this new organization, interface with external funding and sponsoring agencies, and develop creative partnerships with other initiatives in libraries, higher education, scholarly communication and information technology,” said NYSHEI board co-convenor Loretta Ebert, Director of Libraries at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “He has articulated a compelling vision for promoting research, enhancing advocacy, and leveraging economic resources across the higher education information infrastructure in New York.”
Before moving to NYSHEI, Townsend served as Director of Information Technology Services at SUNY Cobleskill. His previous positions include Program Administrator for the New York State Conservation/Preservation Program at the State Library in Albany, and Head of the Conservation Treatments laboratory at the New York Public Library.
In addition, Townsend has been a self-employed consultant for strategic planning and evaluation. His clients have included the New York State Library, the New York State Archives and Records Administration, the North Carolina Preservation Consortium, Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET), the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), the World Bank Global Environmental Facility and the National Library of Indonesia. He attended graduate school at Columbia University, Catholic University of America and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he also completed his undergraduate degree.
In his new role, Townsend is responsible for leading, developing and managing the programs and services of NYSHEI for its membership. At the recently held inaugural NYSHEI membership meeting, he stressed the increasingly important role of libraries in higher education as a result of the transformations of the digital information age and outlined an agenda for the Initiative’s formative period that includes:
“The energy at the first NYSHEI meeting was impressive,” said Provost Salins. “This endeavor is going to reap positive benefits for all involved and makes an important statement about the commitment of State libraries to best meet the needs of their end-users.”
A complete list of members is available at the NYSHEI web site, www.nyshei.org. Membership is open to all accredited institutions of higher education in New York State. The NYSHEI effort is facilitated by Nylink, administered through the Office of the Provost, within the University-wide Academic Programs area. Nylink is a not-for-profit membership organization composed of 370 member institutions, representing more than 700 academic, special, government, law, public school and non-profit libraries and library systems.