On Course Archives
On Course, Year End 1999
The Office of the Provost wishes
This issue of On Course brings the first in a series of feature articles about research success within the University. The newly established Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics at the University at Buffalo is dedicated to harnessing the power of light in a broad range of applications and potential products – from telecommunications to cancer therapy. Creation of this Institute is an important example of the impact of University research on the economies of New York State and beyond, and coincides with a growth in sponsored program activity throughout the University. According to the Research Foundation of SUNY, expenditure volumes for the current fiscal year to date show a very positive 8 percent increase over the same period last year. I look forward to continued growth and to sharing news of campus research activity throughout the year.
Also in this issue is an update on the University-wide Mission Review initiative. The last two months have seen the completion of our 63rd campus visit and the successful gathering of campuses and System Administration leadership for four regional meetings. I applaud all campuses and System staff for their commitment to this process. As always, if you have any questions or need additional information on any of the topics featured in this issue, please call my office.
In closing, I want to extend my thanks and best wishes to Dr. John W. Ryan, whose leadership, together with that of the Board of Trustees, has stimulated significant progress for the University. I know that the University community will benefit from its continued relationship with him in his capacity as Chancellor Emeritus. At the same time, we offer our congratulations and sincere welcome to incoming Chancellor Robert L. King, whose leadership will guide the University into the next millennium.
"The recent completion of our fourth regional meeting represents a high point in what has consistently proven to be a worthwhile and vital undertaking," said Steven Poskanzer, Senior Associate Provost, of the University-wide Mission Review initiative.
Launched in the spring of 1998, Mission Review was designed to clarify the goals and market niche of each campus. It is a process dedicated to enhancing the quality of academic programs and to increasing opportunities for, and support of, inter-campus collaboration:
Early in its implementation, Mission Review was recognized as a "best practice" in higher education by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in the category of quality assurance. Today, there is tangible evidence of its success.
"The regional meeting proved to be an excellent opportunity for all of us in the region to candidly state what we were doing, where we were going and, particularly, where we saw problems," said Salvatore LaLima, Interim President, Suffolk County Community College. President LaLima was a participant in the first regional meeting, a gathering of campus representatives from New York City and Long Island. "I threw a bold idea onto the table about a process beyond articulation; an interlocked program where all four years would be mapped out in my catalog as a continuous program, starting at Suffolk and finishing at a senior institution," said LaLima. "As a result of discussions at the meeting, we are going to explore such a program with Farmingdale and hopefully put something together that can be used as a model throughout SUNY."
Michael Vinciguerra, Farmingdale Provost said, "I was exceptionally pleased at the amount of fruitful conversation taking place." Vinciguerra added that the candor of the participating colleges helped to identify existing program needs and opportunities for collaboration that his and other institutions can immediately begin to address.
While the specific agenda for each regional meeting varies by group, common discussion elements include: academic program coverage and program gaps within a region; barriers to transfer and joint/dual admission opportunities; the fit between regional economic needs and program offerings; marketing and recruitment; faculty and staff development; expanded use of technology; and other types of cross-institutional collaboration. Each meeting ends with a discussion of needed support from System Administration. To date, this particular component of the meeting has touched on issues such as: advocacy for a review of current tuition policy, multiple data needs and assistance with financial support for faculty development.
"The regional meeting gave us an opportunity to clear up misconceptions about programs offered by FIT, to explain exactly what it is we do and where we want to go," said Dario Cortez, Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Simultaneous with planning for the regional meetings has been the careful process of drafting a Memorandum of Understanding for each campus. These collaborative documents are specific to each institution and map out goals and benchmarks in the areas of market niche and distinctiveness. Memoranda will also include indicators of success and a summary of the institution’s projected position in areas such as enrollment and admissions selectivity, student outcomes, faculty development, intercampus collaboration and academic program directions.
"While many campuses have already seen an initial draft of their Memorandum, completion is an ongoing process," said Poskanzer. "These documents may be revised as a result of the regional and/or sector meetings and will go through several iterations by each campus and System Administration." Planning for sector meetings (including meetings for all university centers, all comprehensive colleges, and all community colleges) will begin shortly.
"We knew going into this endeavor that there would be significant value in terms of its contribution to the University," said Provost Salins. "I am very pleased with the results we are seeing today."
Mission Funding Support
The Mission Review process has provided a forum for an open dialogue between campuses and System Administration about future direction and the resources and support necessary to meet planned aspiration. As noted above, this process has identified new ways in which System can serve as a resource for campuses – from data collection to support for faculty development. In addition to being responsive to those requests, the University’s commitment to Mission Review also includes limited funds earmarked to support campuses that are making changes or embarking in new directions as a result of the Mission Review process. "While it is impossible to support projects on all 64 campuses, there is approximately $6 million dollars in FY 1999-00 that will be distributed to help those institutions who are moving to enhance academic quality," said Provost Salins. Among the criteria used in the allocation process will be an evaluation of academic impact or overall contribution to increasing academic quality and the likelihood of quantifiable results. Campuses will soon receive additional details about when and how to submit requests for funding.
The Office of the Provost has worked diligently over the past 12 months to assure implementation of the University Board Resolution on General Education – requiring a minimum of 30 credit hours of General Education coursework for all baccalaureate candidates within the University – by its fall 200 deadline. Importantly, this effort was designed to coordinate a collaborative process of implementation that would meet both the letter and spirit of the Resolution.
A brief summary of activity to date follows:
In continuing to move this initiative forward, the Provost has appointed the recommended Advisory Council and charged the group with ensuring that each outlined program satisfies the Resolution. "Campuses have been conscientiously working on their General Education programs and I am confident that we will see thoughtful proposals that clearly meet the specific learning outcomes," said Provost Salins.
Program proposals are due in the Office by December 31st, with the latest possible extension date set as January 31st. Provost Salins explained that any proposals deemed insufficient by the Council would be returned for revision. "This is a process where we want to work with campuses to improve their program; I am confident that any concerns can be cooperatively resolved."
The Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics
The Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics at the State University at Buffalo (UB) focuses on harnessing the power of light in a broad range of applications and potential products – from telecommunications to cancer treatment. Led by Executive Director Paras Prasad, Ph.D., SUNY Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Physics and Electrical Engineering and Samuel P. Capen Endowed Chair in the Department of Chemistry at UB, the Institute is a tangible example of the benefit of University research.
Dr. David Triggle, UB Provost, called the impetus for beginning the Institute three-fold, "First, UB had a major existing strength in this area given the internationally recognized work of Dr. Prasad. Second, light plays a vital role in the transfer of information and as a result, lasers, photonics and biophotonics, and for that matter, both biological and physical sciences, are going to be very important in the 21st century."
"And finally," Triggle added, "success in science increasingly happens at the interface of several disciplines – through the cooperative efforts of biologists, chemists, physicists, and more. The collaborative opportunities made possible by formally establishing the Institute will bring extensive academic benefits and, through partnerships with industry, potential economic benefits to the western part of the State as well."
One of the most promising technologies developed by Institute researchers is the nanoclinic, described by Prasad as "the world’s smallest clinic." This tiny nanobubble – about a billionth of a meter in size – is designed to perform a number of varied diagnostic or therapeutic tasks by carrying a chemical treatment or diagnostic tool to a specific site in the body. In cell-culture experiments, the group has already developed one formulation of the nanoclinic that selectively destroys cancer cells without the use of chemotherapeutic agents.
Other products in advanced development at the Institute include:
The Institute will forge new relationships as well as build on UB’s existing partnerships with industry, including BASF, Kodak, the Calspan-UB Research Center (CUBRC) and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. In addition to world-class testing and research facilities, the institute will offer industrial partners technical expertise, joint efforts to develop new products, short courses on innovative technologies, and training and recruitment opportunities.
Further, among its contributions to the University, the Institute will offer an interdisciplinary graduate program of study, postdoctoral training, visiting faculty programs, summer programs, and international collaborations and exchange programs.
The University’s participation in the 1999 State Employees Federated Appeal – the annual appeal of state employees to benefit thousands of charities throughout New York State – is nearing the final stages of completion. Thanks to the generosity of staff throughout the University, we are pleased to report that this year’s campaign is already a record success. The 1999 campaign to date has raised $1,751,408, up more than $84,000 from last year, with final reports still pending from 22 campuses! A final update will appear in On Course once all campuses have concluded their campaigns.