On Course Archives
On Course, July/August 1999
At a recent planning meeting with leadership from the State Employees Federated Appeal (SEFA), Chancellor Ryan designated Provost Salins as the Management Liaison for the 1999 campaign. Provost Salins and his staff will be responsible for coordination, throughout the University, of what is the only annual charitable solicitation of New York State employees.
SEFA is a targeted campaign specifically requesting State employee support of more than 300 charitable agencies registered with the United Way. Funding a wide variety of programs and services within a given community through a state-wide network of United Way offices, the SEFA campaign provides an opportunity for State employees to join together in a collective effort that will have a positive, far reaching impact on the residents of New York. Donations can be made to SEFA for appropriate distribution or directly to a specific charitable agency or organization.
State University employees have consistently shown significant support of the SEFA campaign. In 1998 – through a coordinated effort between System Administration and all state-operated campuses – University employees generously raised $1,680,308, contributing 22% of the total $7,361,995 raised by the SEFA campaign.
Letters have recently been mailed to campus presidents asking for names of Employee Campaign Managers and in the cases of select campuses, for the names of additional staff that will serve as Loaned Associates, responsible for assisting and coordinating the campaign at a number of state facilities in their geographic area. "My staff and I will work closely with campuses in a variety of informational and promotional activities designed to build on the success of past campaigns," said Provost Salins. Peter Thomas, Associate for Campus Liaison, will serve as the campaign's lead contact person from the Office of the Provost.
According to Thomas, the formal launch of the campaign will take place in September. Detailed information packets will be mailed to eligible employees at that time.
In preparation for a recent presentation to the Board of Trustees, I had an opportunity to re-read several historical accounts of the University. As I reviewed these narratives that highlighted broad periods of growth, accomplishment and change, I was struck by the significant transformation of the University since its comparatively recent establishment in 1948.
Through the 1950s and 1960s, the University grew from a relatively small grouping of institutions devoted to teacher training into the largest State University system in the country - with broad institutional representation ranging from community colleges to University centers. Building on that framework, the University's more recent history is highlighted by the Board of Trustees' commitment to further enhancing performance and stature. In the last decade this focus has led to implementation of system-wide, and in several cases, ground-breaking, strategies - many of which were outlined in the 1995 Rethinking SUNY report - such as a new Budget Allocation Process, a University-wide Mission Review process and the SUNY Learning Network.
These recent accomplishments reflect the University's continued devotion to access, service and academic excellence. The State University of New York has a strong reputation and we have much to be proud of.
As we approach the start of the 21st century, however, the University is poised to move to a more prominent position in the front ranks of American public higher education. The critical question, of course, is how best to move forward? What strategies and subsequent methods of implementation will help the University achieve its goals?
If we examine the most prestigious public institutions, we see several common characteristics:
In each of these areas, the State University of New York has an existing level of success that serves as a foundation from which it can move forward. The State University of New York is ranked among the top fifteen research universities in the country in patenting new discoveries – State University researchers pioneered nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, introduced time-lapse photography of forestry subjects, isolated the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, and developed the first implantable heart pacemaker, to cite just a few examples. One-third of all New York State high school graduates enroll at a SUNY campus and the University's total enrollment is more than 40 percent of all undergraduate college students in the state. In addition, State University faculty have received such prestigious honors as the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, Guggenheim grants, MacArthur awards, Sloan, Danforth and Fulbright Fellowships, and more.
To achieve an even higher level of prominence, we must continue to concentrate on building strong campuses, and through the collective strength of our institutions, emerge as an even stronger system. Each University campus should rival or surpass its national peers and further, as part of a system, University campuses should be stronger than they would be as individual institutions.
In this regard, we have already made progress:
As we work to further strengthen campuses and make the system stronger and more responsive, we begin to develop a picture of the State University of tomorrow.
The University will be noted for its intellectual leadership and its efforts to advance the frontiers of knowledge. Rising enrollment, service to the communities and economies of the state and nation, creative and efficient utilization of resources, and growing external support will become well-established and well-known features of the University.
Each sector of the University will be recognized as representative of the best in higher education:
Importantly, as the University succeeds in achieving its strategic mission, it will be able to leverage its own success. Our efforts will result in a rejuvenated and powerful perception about the opportunities available within the State University – making the 64 campuses of the State University of New York the institutions of choice for a diverse and talented student body.
Did You Know?
In response to the Morrill Land Grant College Act of 1862, which provided federal support to states for the creation of educational institutions, New York State established Cornell University as its land grant institution and created a grouping of agricultural and technical institutes. Unlike other states, however, New York did not create a single public university. The State of New York was home to strong independent colleges that opposed any expansion of public higher education beyond the existing State-operated teacher training institutions.
It wasn't until the conclusion of World War II that the State saw an impetus for change. It was clear that New York's existing education system would not accommodate the post-war influx of servicemen and there was already concern about an existing shortage of higher education opportunities in private institutions for students from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds. In response, Governor Dewey created a special Temporary Commission to Study the Needs for a State University in 1946. Owen D. Young, former chairman of the board of the General Electric Company, was named to head the panel which, in addition to community and political leaders, also had representatives from private higher education and the Board of Regents.
After 18 months of study, in a recommendation ultimately adopted by the Legislature, the Young Commission suggested joining the 32 existing public institutions of New York into a single entity, the State University of New York. Look for additional details about the history and development of the University in a future issue of On Course.
The December 1998 Board Resolution establishing a General Education Requirement for baccalaureate degree candidates at all state-operated campuses, calls for implementation in the fall of 2000. In carrying out the Resolution and in meeting a request by the Chancellor and campus leadership for a collaborative approach to implementation, the Provost's Advisory Task Force on General Education was established. Charged with interpreting both the letter and the spirit of the Trustees' Resolution, consulting with campuses, and developing guidelines for implementation, the Task Force met throughout the Spring Semester and has recently distributed its Report to System and campus leadership.
The Report is reflective of the work of the four subcommittees of the Task Force: the Academic Subject Areas Subcommittee, the Instructional Modalities Subcommittee, the Two-year College/Transfer Issue Subcommittee, and the Resource Allocation Subcommittee. Specifically structured to include broad system representation, the Task Force is drawn from all sectors of the University and includes campus presidents, chief academic officers, faculty and students.
Some of the major recommendations of the Task Force, as highlighted in the Report, include:
After review of the recommendations of the Task Force, the Office of the Provost will soon issue a set of formal implementation guidelines.
In fulfillment of its mission to provide data and analytical support to the University, the Institutional Research function of the Office of Academic Affairs provides a vast, essential flow of information both University-wide and to a number of external audiences. Recognized as a national leader in institutional research, the office's primary responsibilities can be categorized into three basic areas: (1) data collection, (2) recurrent data analysis and reporting, and (3) special studies and analysis. Reflective of the changing nature of information needs, the office is committed to a flexible operation that allows it to change priorities quickly as campus and System needs change and evolve.
"The ability to access timely, accurate and consistent data is a critical management tool for both System and campus leaders," said Gary Blose, Senior Research Associate and currently serving as Officer-in-Charge. "As it becomes more efficient and accessible, the impact of information technology, not only in higher education, but in the communities and industries that the University supports, has created an expectation of careful, quick decisions based on strong supporting data."
Tracking information on everything from student demographics and opinions to institutional efficiency and cost of a degree, the data collection responsibilities of the office serve as the backbone of the financial and academic planning done by System Administration and individual State University campuses. This data serves as a fundamental resource for a number of specific activities, including: the budget process, enrollment and revenue projections, performance evaluations, benchmarking, policy analysis and major policy initiatives, as well as the program review process. In addition, the office maintains a number of surveys and databases covering University libraries, non-credit instruction, financial statistics, institutional characteristics, financial aid and more. Institutional Research is currently exploring data warehousing options designed to integrate these data resources, making the information more readily available throughout the University.
The office's reporting function is also extensive, from data on attrition and retention to faculty workload and residence hall utilization. The office maintains responsibility for all mandated State and Federal reporting for University campuses, in a targeted effort to ensure the dissemination of consistent, comparative data for the University. Further, the office responds annually to hundreds of ad hoc queries from national associations, accrediting bodies, the academic community, the press and the general public.
"Through a series of specialized studies, from the cost of academic programs to comparisons of student and faculty opinions on core issues, Institutional Research contributes to the proactive planning effort of the University," said Blose. "For example, an analysis of the out-migration patterns of students who reside in New York but choose to attend college out of state can help the University's marketing effort. Studies of student opinions and their relationship to retention and graduation patterns can identify and eventually help correct institutional factors correlated with attrition."
Institutional Research also plays a vital role in the evaluation and implementation of a broad number of University-wide initiatives. In the Mission Review Process, for example, the office supplies key data to both campus and System Mission Review team leaders about University campuses and their peers that is vital in facilitating conversations about campus strengths and challenges. The office is also currently developing performance indicators – assessing such areas as student and faculty achievement and campus services and facilities – to be used to determine the merit based performance funding component outlined in the 1998-99 Budget.
The Office of Institutional Research is committed to serving as a valuable resource for System and campus leaders. A search committee is being empanelled to identify a new Associate Provost for Institutional Research (see inset on page 4).
Tommy Annas Retires After 32 Years of Service
A vital part of the office of Institutional Research for more than 32 years, Tommy Annas retired from University service on June 30th of this year. At a recent reception in his honor, Tommy was recognized as a gifted professional who consistently demonstrated a genuine concern for the University.
Steven Poskanzer, Senior Associate Provost, said "Tommy is a one-man encyclopedia on the history of the State University. He served as a fierce advocate for campus needs and academic integrity, and showed a true commitment to the continued success of SUNY." He added, "Under his direction, the University's Institutional Research function has grown to be one of the finest in all of higher education."
Among numerous professional service designations, Tommy served as the University's representative to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics in its work on postsecondary data systems and was a member of the National Technical Review Panel for the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty.
Joining the University in 1967 as Assistant Director of Master Plan Development, Tommy was appointed to the position of Assistant for Institutional Research in 1968. Tommy assumed leadership of the office in 1974 and was named Associate Provost for Academic Planning, Policy and Evaluation - IR in 1998.
Each year, the collective staff of Institutional Research produce:
Frequently requested material – trends regarding New York State high school graduates, enrollment planning materials, statistical releases, and more – can be accessed via the web at: http://www..suny.edu/provost/irpubs.htm