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Meeting Notes from UFS Winter Plenary February 2009

Meeting Notes from the University Faculty Senate Winter Plenary Meeting, Morrisville State College, February 5th-7th, 2009

  •  Meeting notes written and compiled by Professor Terry Hamblin, University Faculty Senator, SUNY Delhi

 The University Faculty Senate held its 151stWinter Plenary meeting at Morrisville State College between February 5th and 7th 2009.  The Executive Committee and the Campus Governance leaders held their meetings on Thursday, February 5th, while the entire University Faculty Senate began its meeting Friday morning with a welcome from Morrisville State College's Faculty Senator Thomas Hogle and Campus President, Dr. Raymond Cross.

 University Faculty Senate President Carl Wiezalis' Report

 University Faculty Senate President Carl Wiezalis opened the meeting by delivering his report and announcing a new advisory taskforce on sustainability.  President Wiezalis noted that the Board of Trustees, in the absence of a Chancellor was allowing the UFS to take the lead on Sustainability.  President Wiezalis asked Senators to take information back and recruit faculty from home campuses to serve on any of the following focus groups.  Interested faculty should contact UFS representatives.

 Sustainability Focus groups 

  1. Science, technology, and engineering
  2. Education process
  3. Social justice
  4. policy and law
  5. Economics, Finance and Business of energy
  6. Building and Physical Plant Operations
  7. service learning, community outreach
  8. Health

President Wiezalis provided an update on Chancellor's Search.  Confident that SUNY will have a new Chancellor within 2 weeks.  President Wiezalis stressed that he could not comment on individual candidates and pledged confidentiality.  He did discussion that there was some strong healthy discussion surrounding traditional vs. non-traditional candidates.

 Update on the 60th Anniversary of SUNY History Conference (April 3-5, 2009) "SUNY and the Promise of Public Higher Education in America".  This conference will be held at the University at Albany. 

Harold Silverman -Senior Vice-Provost of SUNY

 Harold Silverman discussed New Transfer and Articulation Plan and provided an update on Assessment Initiative   

  1. Appeal process.  Board of Trustees implemented new policy effective January 1, 2009.  Formalized Student Appeal process.  15 day appeal between student and Provost.  Campus appeal process.  Transfer review committee at 4 year colleges.  Review courses coming in to review courses to determine if the meet requirements.
  2.  SUNY ACTS (SUNY Academic and Course Transfer Website) linked on website.  This web tool allows student to access the transferability of courses between community colleges and four-year colleges and University Centers. Mr. Silverman admitted that this system is a work in progress ad is being constantly expanded.  It currently does not helps schools like Delhi, or students interested in SUNY Delhi, since we are not linked on this tool.   
  3. Transfer and Articulation Diagram available on SUNY.EDU Admissions website.  This diagram details for students how they should handle the transfer process  
  4. Discussed Teacher Education Transfer template

Other notes of interest from Mr. Silverman: 

  • Update on General Education Assessment Initiative.  Currently under audit by Office of the Comptroller.  Unofficial Report forthcoming. 
  • Master Planning.  SED needs to be submitted every 4 years. 
  • Course Redesign Initiative is in the pilot stage.  Discussion set for next CIT meeting in June 2009. 
  • Renegotiation of Elsevier Contract is taking place

 Report from the Articulation and Transfer Committee, Senator Joe Hildreth, SUNY Potsdam

Senator Hildreth delivered a verbal report from the articulation and transfer

Committee.  Professor Hildreth noted that nearly all general education courses (93%) were transferring within the system.  AA and AS degree holders were being afforded Junior status at four-year SUNY institutions.  300-level courses were not considered.

 Component of Transfer Plan 

1.  Transfer appeals process was being implemented in which students could appeal if a 100 or 200-level course was not accepted.  The transfer appeals process must occur within 15 days on the transferring campus. The appeal would be made to a transfer Review Committee, which would be established to review the case and review the course in question on a campus to campus appeal. Campuses would first work with the campus that it has the problem with.  For the Fall Semester, this would have to be filed by September 15th, for the Spring semester, this would have to be filed by Feb. 15th deadline.  The committee would have one month to render a decision.  Decision could then be appealed to SUNY provost Dec. 1st. May 1st. deadline for appeal. SUNY provost will respond within 15 days and this will be final step in process.  Website will be changed.  This would create a paper trail.  This transfer plan will keep the process faculty driven. 

2. Conduct a regularly scheduled faculty discipline conference.  This would help to align courses that are taught within majors.  These conferences should occur every five years and should include presentations on new knowledge, teaching methods, strategies, pedagogies, best practices, etc... 

Report from Ethics Committee-Janet Nepkie-Oneonta State College 

  • Senator Nepkie discussed and described a SUNY-wide survey the committee was in the process of putting together to identify existing ethics policies and concerns across the system.  The committee was also studying various institutional ethical policies. 

SUNY Budget UPDATE-Jim Van Voorst, Interim Chief Financial Officer 

Mr. Van Voorst presented a frank and dim presentation of the SUNY budget picture and noted that Governor Paterson was standing by his plan to cut spending and reduce deficits.  SUNY Budget request-"four pillars" 

  1. Rational Tuition Policy
  2. Building Public-Private Partnerships
  3. Mgmt. and Operational Reforms Efficiencies
  4. Essential State Supports

 Governor's Executive Budget request for 2009-2010 included 10% cut in aid to community colleges in last 2 quarters of 2008-2009 (failed to pass NYS Legislature)

 Governor's budget includes $310 tuition increase.  This increase actually reduced SUNY operating budget by $300,000 due to basing projected enrollment on Fall 2008 statistics.  Van Voorst called the impact and depth of state cuts "devastating" 

Collective Bargaining agreements funded up to $61 million 

Items being discussed for 2009-2010 budget cycle

  • 17% reduction in hospital funding
  • Reductions in Medicaid funding and reimbursements
  • 80/20 split on tuition increase
  • Reduce state funding by $53 million.  Actual calculus around 14%

Total Budget Cuts

  • $214 million cut for 2008-2009
  • $215 million cut 2009-2010
  • With energy its closer to $275 million


Health Sciences Center

  • 16.5% cut.  Need for clarification
  • Geographic Full-Time Faculty Issues
  • Assessment and accreditation Issues.
  • Workload concerns and decreased morale and productivity issues
  • Budget concerns and less time for professional development and scholarly activities
  • Patient Care Ethical Issues
  • Capital funding concerns

Statutory and Specialty Colleges

  • Capital monies being spent
  • Concerns about "layers" of assessment and workload creep.  Assessment is becoming burdensome
  • Hopeful that new Chancellor will address situation with Alfred Ceramics.

Colleges of Technology

  • Discussed the impact of taxes, fees, stimulus, tuition increases on tech sectors.  Blue collar and middle class students impacted the most.  Galling that only 10% of tuition coming back to campus.
  • 4 day work week, student life, academic standard lowers, raising enrollment caps,
  • Alfred State concerned about Flexibility issues
  • Concerns over assessment measures
  • Need for Chancellor Search to be resolved ASAP.  System has pressing leadership needs.
  • Online course offerings. Pressure
  • Concerns that there are program proposals sitting at Systems.

Comprehensive Colleges

  • Concerned about issues of Assessment.  Claimed that there were "14 layers of assessment", which were about 3 layers per year?
  • Praise for "larger discussion period" of UFS Plenary period.

University Centers

  • Concerns about the process of appointing officers at UAlbany.  Appointment of "interim" people.  Little input of campus governance and external searches. 
  • Concerns about elimination of TA and GA lines and faculty lines.  Hurts quality of education and reputation of institution.  Difficulty in recruiting new lines 
  • Support for UB 2020 initiative -Increased flexibility within SUNY.  Acknowledged concern over land use and state control of resources.  Concerns over state use of union workers. 

On Saturday, February 7, 2009, Dr. Milton Johnson, president of the SUNY Faculty Council of Community Colleges delivered his report.  In his report, he praised the Provost Task force on Nursing Opportunities and also expressed support for the statement on Shared Governance.  Noted the large amount of turnover lately of Community College presidents had created some challenges for campus governance.  President Johnson noted that the FCCC welcomed new initiatives and opportunities to work with University faculty Senate, particularly on issues like transferability and opportunities for transfer students.

 UFS also heard from outgoing SUNY Student Assembly president Jake Crawford who gave a passionate Gave passionate appeal for resources needed to ensure access for education.  Crawford stated that SUNY has neglected its mission.  Students believe that tuition increase is an excise tax.  Students feel like tuition increase has been "stolen from them" Online petition being planned and going to be sent by Student Assembly to all college presidents.  Students very unhappy with 90/10 split.  Need for unified front in fighting for 100% tuition remittance to campuses.  

Resolutions Passed by University Faculty Senate 

University Faculty Senate passed three resolutions unanimously during the Winter Plenary meeting. 

  • Resolution on Assessment Streamlining.  UFS recognized the need to streamline assessment process and reduce the multiple layers that exist in SUNY.  Called for the Provost to work with the UFS to in assessment streamlining. 
  • Resolution on Consultation and Collaboration.  UFS calling for transparency and consultation between administration and faculty governance during budgetary process, and before making "any major decision that affects education quality and curriculum" 
  • Resolution to Support Graduate Education, Research and Creative Activities.


Contact Info
Jared Yando, Presider

Last Updated: 2/19/16