On Course Archives
On Course, May/June 1999
I recently had the pleasure of introducing Harvey Breverman, professor in the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo, to the Board of
Trustees in recommendation of his appointment to the rank of Distinguished Professor. This appointment is conferred by the Board on those members
of faculty who have achieved national or international prominence in their given field; it is an honor of distinction for the recipient professor,
his or her campus and the State University as a whole.
Our lead article in this issue of On Course recognizes Professor Breverman and those who have received this important distinction in the 1998-99 academic year. Our best wishes for continued success go out to them, to previous recipients of this designation, and importantly, to those who will become our future nominees.
The criteria are demanding, the process is rigorous, and in the end, the level of achievement reflected by the designation of Distinguished Professor is truly significant.
Appointment to this designation is a promotion to a rank above that of full professor and is representative of at least national and often international prominence in a given field. A candidate's work must encourage an elevation of the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond their field and be of such quality that it would generate the interest of students and scholars on other campuses within the State University. The Distinguished Professorship is open to faculty in any discipline or field on all state-operated campuses.
According to Ginette Chambers, Executive Assistant to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, "Eligibility for the rank is limited because this appointment can only be conferred by the State University Board of Trustees who, by statute, have authority over hiring practices at the state-operated campuses only." As a result, it is important to note that the vast strength represented by the number of Distinguished Professors in the system is but a representative sample of the depth of the University's faculty.
For those campuses eligible to participate in the process, it all starts with the identification of a potential nominee. There is no formal procedure prescribed at the campus level to guide the screening process. "On some campuses, the process is coordinated through the President's Office, on others, through the Provost and still others rely on faculty-generated nominations," said Chambers. Formal guidelines give campuses leeway in this phase with one exception; the nomination must have the endorsement of the campus President. The President initializes the formal nomination process by submitting the candidacy to the Chancellor.
Once received by the Chancellor, the nomination is forwarded to the Office of the Provost where a critical review process begins. The Provost provides the executive officer of the appropriate learned societies (for example, the American Mathematical Society or the American Psychiatric Society) with a bibliography of the nominee's works and their curriculum vitae, and requests the names of three or four scholars who would be able to provide an objective assessment of the nominee's stature and contributions to the field. An ad hoc panel of four referees is established for each nomination received; there must be a consensus among the referees in order for the nomination to be recommended. At least one referee, and in many cases, all four, are from institutions outside the State University. To ensure an objective assessment of a candidates prominence, the process and the identity of the referees are kept strictly confidential.
Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis and, according to Chambers, it is not uncommon to receive 6-8 candidates per year. The average review process for each application lasts from eight months to a year. "Those nominations that go through the fastest tend to be those having a substantial number of letters of support from other individuals prominent in the field," said Chambers. "For instance, having a Nobel Laureate support a nomination makes that candidacy more persuasive to referees."
Breverman Receives Most Recent
A recipient of the Distinguished Professor designation in March, Harvey Breverman, Department of Art, State University at Buffalo, is nationally and internationally recognized, acclaimed and exhibited. His prints, paintings and drawings are included in the permanent collections of more than 150 prominent museums and galleries worldwide, including the British Museum in London, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. A representational artist, Professor Breverman has had more than 70 solo gallery exhibits and is in demand for residencies at colleges and universities across North America and Europe.
1998-99 Distinguished Professor Recipients
Congratulations to those Distinguished Professors promoted during the 1998-99 academic year. Although their accomplishments could only be highlighted in the briefest manner here, the level of their achievement is immediately clear. Additional information is available through the Office of the Provost.
The campus visit is a critically important part of the Mission Review process," said Rollin Richmond, Provost and Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs, State University at Stony Brook. "It provides an opportunity to have a face-to-face discussion with System Administration about what, for many campuses, are complex and broad ranging issues."
Richmond explained that Stony Brook took the same approach to responding to the pre-visit dialogue points as they did in drafting the original Mission Summary. "We wanted broad representation in terms of who would be active in this process. The team consisted of President Kenny, representatives from throughout campus administration and from our campus-wide arts and sciences and health sciences senates." Questions were divided by subject area and delegated to team members who would be responsible for drafting responses for inclusion in a briefing book, which would then be reviewed by the full team. "We initially thought this briefing book would be an internal document. But when it was finished, we realized that it would provide the System Administration team with the easiest access to detailed information."
Steven Poskanzer, Senior Associate Provost said, "Having a document that addressed each of our dialogue points in detail not only made for a more productive and substantive campus visit, but it will make the drafting of Stony Brook's Memoranda of Understanding [a document summarizing campus goals and planned changes as a result of Mission Review] a more straightforward process. As much as possible, we want the Memoranda to reflect a campus's own views and to utilize language culled from its self-descriptions."
Stony Brook officials opened the meeting with a brief presentation. "We started with an overview of our aspirations, current mission and our commitment to undergraduate education," said Richmond. "We highlighted the major points of our Mission Summary and gave a detailed request of our priorities for appropriations of any Mission Review funding." Richmond said the presentation allowed Stony Brook to expand on its goals in ways difficult to do in writing.
"For example, one of the strategies in our Mission Summary involved an increase in enrollment, while still maintaining quality in the selectivity process -- an area that our System Administration team marked as needing additional detail. We put up a slide that asked ‘Does Our Reach Exceed Our Grasp?', opening a dialogue about the feasibility of our aspirations and allowing us to explain the thinking that went behind the statements we made in our Summary document. We supported that presentation with a detailed response in our briefing book."
Richmond said that the campus visit was a valuable experience for the Stony Brook community. "From the pre-meeting questions, which demonstrated the thoroughness with which our original Mission Summary was read, to remarks made to faculty at our closing luncheon, the System Administration team made this a positive experience."
Peter D. Salins, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, said "Stony Brook has raised the bar in terms of our expectations about the campus visit. As we continue on our aggressive schedule of visitation, we are committed to a value-added process for campuses and the University."
It's all about improved access to information. "SUNYConnect means an upgrade in library services that will benefit every individual in the State University," said Carey B. Hatch, Assistant Provost for Library and Information Services. "I can't think of another project with that kind of potential impact."
It was almost 10 years ago that the Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) was charged with automating catalogs and circulation systems for those 40 state-operated and community college libraries without such systems in place. OLIS managed the negotiation, purchase, installation, and technical support that went along with MultiLIS, the management system that remains in place today. And from the starting point of manual circulation and card catalogs, the system has come a long way.
Today, using a wide variety of methods, students can search the catalogs of most State University libraries and, through traditional inter-library loan processes, can obtain needed resources. Students have access to 13 on-line research databases with access to thousands of journal abstracts and an on-line research tool with full text article accessibility. Still, there are limitations to the current system and the needs and demands of the SUNY community outweigh the system's ability to provide.
"A little over a year ago, Provost Salins outlined his vision for the potential of the State University libraries, specifically the need to focus on using technology to integrate resources system-wide," said Hatch. "At the same time, at a meeting of University library directors, we came to the consensus that we not only needed a new management system, but that we needed a proactive plan to meet the information needs of students, faculty and staff well into the next century. As a result, with the guidance and support of the Provost's Office, the SUNYConnect initiative was launched."
SUNYConnect is an effort to provide access to the entire SUNY library collection, to reduce the inter-library loan process from two weeks to two days, to ensure the availability of qualified information sources to a community whose research needs can follow a 24-hour a day schedule, and more. SUNYConnect is the catch phrase for a state-of-the-art virtual library system that will combine new information technology and traditional library materials to provide all SUNY students, faculty and staff with an unparalleled level of library service.
This multi-year initiative has two immediate priorities; to identify and secure a new library management system for all campuses within the University and to complement that system with on-line services, i.e., additional user resources.
The committee charged with the research, evaluation and identification of the new Library Management System, comprised of librarians and library directors from throughout the State University, is expected to reach a conclusion in June. Once a vendor has been named, contract negotiation will begin.
In negotiating with the system vendor and in purchasing much needed electronic resources, OLIS will take advantage of the significant discounts offered to large customers. "We have consistently seen that speaking with one voice, as one University, means increased bargaining power." Hatch cited a multi-campus contract for Expanded Academic ASAP, making available the full text of 750 journals, that saves more than $395,000 over what those campuses would have had to pay individually for the same service. Frequently asked if SUNYConnect will save the University money, Hatch is careful to clarify that SUNYConnect will enable SUNY libraries to collectively reduce certain major costs while making new or expanded resources available.
The first phase of SUNYConnect will also include the research, identification and purchase of qualified on-line research databases. "One of the biggest misconceptions we face is the theory that everything in the library already exists on the web," said Hatch. "The truth is that only a very limited percentage of what is published today exists in full text form on-line. We want to make sure that our students, faculty and staff have access to qualified sources of information."
In large part, SUNYConnect is modeled after programs in other states that have not only provided outstanding results to the participating university, but have also had a positive impact on economic growth. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana and California are a few of the states that have made significant investments in library services.
Hatch noted that participation is an autonomous decision for each campus and that plans for implementation have not been finalized. "Our goal is to bring the new system to all campuses and we hope to begin installation by the end of the year." Funding for SUNYConnect will come from an existing reserve fund, state appropriations and campus support. SUNYConnect is a featured initiative in the State University's multi-year investment plan.
SUNYConnect interrelates closely with other technology-based projects within the Office of Advanced Learning and Information Services (ALIS). For example, this initiative will benefit distance learners as well as students participating in classes on-campus. SUNYConnect will also incorporate the contractual, network, training, and support services of ALIS.
The demands on our institutions -- from enrollment to resources, technology to programming -- are at an all time high," said Provost Salins. "One of the most important responsibilities my Office has is to maintain an ongoing and open dialogue about the challenges and opportunities facing our campuses, to serve as a resource in ensuring their continued success." In an effort to enhance the Campus Liaison activities within the Office of the Provost, several vital Associate Provost positions have recently been filled. This new staff is charged with liaison responsibility for comprehensive colleges, community colleges and engineering and technical education programs respectively. Each Associate Provost will serve as an intermediary between campuses and the Office of the Provost, as well as with System Administration.
A. Jennifer Clarke, Associate Provost, Comprehensive Colleges
William R. Gehring, Associate Provost, Community Colleges
Robert A. Kraushaar, Associate Provost, Engineering and Technical Education
CIT99: Conference on Instructional Technologies
International Conference on Process Education