On Course Archives
On Course, March/April 2000
This issue of On Course examines a broad range of activity within the University and is indicative of the forward and positive momentum that continues to move SUNY forward.
We begin with a look at the academic program review and approval process and our own internal efforts to make this critical process stronger and even more responsive to University needs. Then we move on to a series of articles that, when taken as a whole, represent the diverse scope of the University’s academic mission; from the invaluable work of the University Center for Academic and Workforce Development, and SUNY’s partnership with the State in implementing the Workforce Investment Act, to a feature story about the internationally recognized Brookhaven National Laboratory and its relationship to the Stony Brook campus.
As you read through this issue, don’t hesitate to call my office with any questions or if you would like additional information about any of the areas mentioned.
One other note – as my office reviews applications for the multiple award programs we administer – I would like to extend my thanks to those campuses that have submitted nominations for the faculty ranks of Distinguished Professor, Distinguished Librarian, Distinguished Service Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor; as well as to those who have submitted nominations for the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence program. Each of these programs is designed to acknowledge the invaluable work of University faculty. I look forward to announcing the names of those recognized in a future issue of On Course.
Adding to and/or refining the academic program mix on a given State University campus is a vital component of operation, affecting that institution’s ability to attract and retain students, effectively meet the workforce demands of New York State industry, and more. As a result, the Office of the Provost has made it a priority to periodically evaluate its procedures for reviewing program proposals.
By way of background, every proposal requesting a new credit-bearing academic program or a revision to an existing program is reviewed by the Academic Planning, Policy and Evaluation group within the Office of Academic Affairs, and approved by Provost Salins on behalf of the State University Board of Trustees – before being submitted to the State Education Department (SED) for registration. All credit-bearing programs at public and private institutions must be registered with SED before they can be offered
The University’s review process is currently being reexamined with an emphasis on:
"The internal review process for SUNY is specifically designed to reduce overlap with the SED review," said Assistant Provost Joseph DeFilippo. "It ensures coherence of new program directions with the University’s mission and the policies of the Board of Trustees." The University review currently focuses on academic quality, institution and System need for the program, and the program’s potential impact on other SUNY institutions. SED, in turn, reviews for compliance with the regulations of the State Commissioner of Education.
SUNY as a system submits more than 250 academic proposals to SED each year. According to Assistant Provost John Ganio, "Community colleges, driven by their mission to be responsive to the business community, make up a large portion of requests for new programs.
A representative committee of campus chief academic officers has been established to serve as an advisory board in the current reexamination of the review process. While still in the preliminary stages of their work, the group to date has identified a number of procedural enhancements:
Each of these steps will become increasingly important as the committee develops its more substantive recommendations for streamlining the review process. The working committee includes:
At the heart of the University’s mission is a broad commitment to access for New York State residents – access to a quality education and pathways for viable employment. The University Center for Academic and Workforce Development (UCAWD), part of the Division of Academic Operations and Services within the Office of the Provost, is on the front-lines of SUNY’s efforts in this area.
"UCAWD oversees multiple educational and workforce development programs and services – from administration of the University’s Educational Opportunity Centers to implementation of one of New York State’s most prominent welfare-to-work programs [Bridge]," explained UCAWD Director Vijay Macwan. "We are committed to promoting the social and economic well-being of the academically and economically underserved populations of the State. Our approach to meeting that goal is multifaceted, with a focus on education, family, and community."
The current UCAWD configuration is relatively new. "Under the direction of Provost Salins, the scope of our work has broadened and our ability to serve New York residents with comprehensive solutions has improved," added Macwan. UCAWD works closely with the Office of the Provost, State University and City University campuses, and multiple State agencies in achieving its mission. For each project area, responsibilities range from allocation of funds and program oversight, to staffing, assistance in achieving set performance standards, and more. UCAWD’s key program responsibilities include:
"New York is an innovator with regard to the programs administered through this office and we are frequently contacted by other states and even other countries for guidance," said S.A.M. Kargbo, Director for Research and Program Development. "In addition to this level of recognition, the State benefits from vital communities, a stronger workforce and self-sufficient residents."
UCAWD is also actively involved in developing System-wide instructional models for academic preparedness. "Exploring the many issues associated with the readiness of students coming into the University is a primary goal for the office in the coming year," said Macwan
Created to achieve the broader national goals of a higher quality workforce, continued reductions in welfare dependency and overall enhancements to productivity and competitiveness, the federal funding behind the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) is meant to be a driving force in facilitating easier access to resources and better job training generally, for residents in all states.
"Clearly, the goals of WIA are consistent with many of the objectives central to the mission of the University," said Provost Salins. Implementation of WIA in New York State, at the direction of the Governor, is being carried out by the Department of Labor in conjunction with multiple Workforce Development Investment Partners, including the State University.
SUNY’s role in this effort is a coordinated one involving not only multiple campuses and our Educational Opportunity Centers, but multiple offices within System Administration.
In very simple terms, the mandate of WIA is to streamline existing job training and education efforts and to facilitate access to high quality programs. WIA provides for an executive board at the state level, boards at the local level and a "One-Stop provider" in each local area.
As the name implies, these One-Stop facilities will provide clients with information about available jobs, the dynamics of the labor market, available training, and summaries of training provider performance, as well as provide intensive training themselves. Each One-Stop will serve as a gatekeeper of information on programs offered by numerous local partners, i.e., a SUNY campus can register a particular class and/or program with the One-Stop in their area. Participants in the program would then be given a voucher to be presented to the "vendor" of their choice.
The Workforce Investment Act provides a new channel for the State University to promote its existing expertise in the areas of job training and economic and workforce development, providing even greater access for State residents. "As campuses decide how and at what level they want to participate in this program, the Provost’s Office is working to serve as a resource for the data collection and reporting requirements of the Act," said Gary Blose, Officer-in-Charge for Institutional Research in the Office of Academic Affairs. "We anticipate that the WIA reporting requirements will be similar to those of the Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act (VATEA) program – relating to such things as job placement rates, earnings, retention and graduation rates by academic program. If so, we are prepared to provide SUNY institutions with much, if not most, of the data they will need to comply."
Blose added that the University has already begun working with the Department of Labor. "We sent a complete roster of all SUNY academic programs and related information to WIA coordinators in an effort to facilitate the participation of State University institutions."
One of nine national laboratories, Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) stands out among an even smaller subset of multi-purpose research laboratories, housing large, state-of-the-art facilities and hosting more than 4,000 scientific users from around the world. Founded in 1947, BNL today has 3,000 employees and an annual budget of $400 million. The lab places community outreach as a priority through its speakers bureau and science museum, and brings millions of dollars in cooperative research and development agreements into New York State.
Importantly, it is the State University at Stony Brook at the management helm of this massive facility, under contract with the Department of Energy.
"By the time the Department of Energy was seeking new management for Brookhaven in 1997, Stony Brook was already one of its largest institutional scientific users," said Robert McGrath, Stony Brook Acting Provost and Vice President for Brookhaven Affairs. "We knew that bidding to become the new management team would be a tremendous undertaking, but we could easily see that winning the contract would mean international exposure for the State University and significant benefits for Stony Brook – from incentives for faculty hires to greater exposure for our students to an international research environment."
Management of the lab is done in partnership between Stony Brook and the Battelle Memorial Institute under the corporate entity of Brookhaven Science Associates. "The SUNY Research Foundation did a terrific job in acting as our agent to put this agreement together," said McGrath. Stony Brook and six "core" universities are represented on the Brookhaven Board; Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Princeton and Yale, bringing strength in managing the highest quality science. Battelle brings experience in the operational responsibilities associated with conducting science in a safe, environmentally friendly manner.
Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts world-class scientific research in physics, medicine, biology, chemistry, environmental science and more. "Right now BNL is conducting one of the largest physics experiments in the world using a Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider," said McGrath. "Through collisions of ultra relativistic gold nuclei, physicists are working to create a quark-gluon plasma; in order to give us a better idea of how the Universe looked just after what scientists refer to as the ‘Big Bang.’"
Shortly after becoming BNL’s manager in March of 1998, Stony Brook President Shirley Kenny, began seeking opportunities for further collaboration between Stony Brook and Brookhaven. The first round of a newly created Seed Program attracted 40 proposals of which 8 received funding. Included among the successful proposals was a project under the direction of Janet Leatherwood, Department of Molecular Microbiology at Stony Brook, and Carl Anderson, Department of Biology at BNL, to use yeast to analyze mechanisms by which human cells respond to DNA damage. According to the project summary, a particular focus is the signaling to the tumor suppressor protein p53, one of the most frequently mutated genes in human cancers.
Other examples of joint initiatives include creation of the Center for Data Intensive Computing in the summer of 1999. Dr. James Glimm, who is a Distinguished Professor and chair of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at Stony Brook, directs the Center. Its primary function is computer science, particularly in areas that naturally support the work being done at Stony Brook and Brookhaven. "For example, the Center assists researchers in handling huge data sets and in developing software better able to interpret X-ray data – of a biological molecule, for example – into usable pictures and models," said McGrath. Future collaborative plans include development of a Comprehensive Cancer Center involving both clinicians and basic scientists at Stony Brook and molecular biologists and neuroscientists from BNL. The Center would provide patient care and diverse research from the molecular level to work in discovering the best kinds of therapies.
"The relationship with Brookhaven provides us with an outstanding resource to offer potential faculty," said Iwao Ojima, Stony Brook Distinguished Professor and Department Chair of Chemistry. "It is a very expensive proposition to hire experienced physical chemists, who normally require new equipment construction. That challenge is met at Stony Brook through BNL." According to Professor Ojima, Stony Book has made two recent joint-appointments as a result of the institutions’ affiliation with Brookhaven. "The first is a rising star in the field of molecular dynamics and combustion research, coming to us from the Lawrence-Berkeley lab in California. The second, from the Harvard-Columbia track, is nationally recognized for his expertise in carbon nanotube tips research; a cutting edge technology receiving a lot of attention from the Department of Energy and multiple funding sources."
"The scope of work being done at the Lab is truly remarkable," said McGrath. "We look forward to Brookhaven’s continued growth and to more opportunties for interactions with other State University campuses." Brookhaven facilities are available to any institution with requests for use channelled through an Advisory Board.