University Faculty Senate 2009 Fall Plenary Meeting Report—SUNY Institute of Technology, Utica, New York (October 22-24, 2009)
To: Julee Miller, Presider, SUNY Delhi College Senate
From: Terry Hamblin, University Faculty Senator
Subject: University Faculty Senate 2009 Fall Plenary Meeting Report
Date: October 25, 2009
The 153rd University Faculty Senate Fall Plenary meeting took place on October 23rd and 24th 2009 at the SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica, New York. This was one of the busiest and most productive meetings I have participated in during my tenure as a University Faculty Senator. Despite the negativity surrounding the budget and the recent $90 million mid-year cuts to SUNY’s operating budget, the UFS passed a number of resolutions and undertook a number of initiatives within each of the standing committees.
SUNY IT was a wonderful host for our meeting. The campus is undergoing a building spurt, with the groundbreaking of a new field house taking place on the same day as our plenary meeting. In addition, a new academic building, a new residence hall, and a new student center are in various stages of construction to support new programs and projected growth.
President’s Report—Dr. Kenneth O’Brien UFS President
- · Update on Chancellor Zimpher’s 2010 SUNY Strategic Plan Initiative. Chancellor “very engaged and committed to learning the system.” President O’Brien accompanied Chancellor on parts of 64 campus tour. Noted that chancellor has begun to establish relationships that will serve SUNY well in the years ahead.”
- · More on Strategic Plan. Planning underway for Phase II (statewide conversations)
- · Update on budget cuts. “Every thing is on the table”. $90 million budget cut to SUNY will not be across the board. CUNY and community colleges can only be cut through the legislative process as their budgets as locally driven. Chancellor’s strategy regarding the budget is to work with the State Legislature to get multiyear budgets with more stability. No talk of closing campus and no knowledge of planned retrenchments because the final bill for each would not be known for two to three weeks.
- · Positive changes planned for General Education Assessment Plan. This is a return to local, campus-based control with SUNY oversight and assistance which was the original model. UFS to consider resolution in support of changes to assessment. Essential process of assessment will remain the same, but reporting will change. Campuses will keep records and be audited (if necessary). Return to original intent from 1990’s. Hurray! New chancellor has different approach to assessment (unclear what was meant by that. (Bi-annual cycle?)
Interim Provost Dr. David Lavallee’s Report
- Discussed General Education proposal. Looking into student flexibility and local campus responsibility for all 30 credits. This would give campuses flexibility on how to administer General education requirements.
- More on Assessment. Discussed devolving responsibility from Systems to individual campuses. In line with what Middle States requires campuses to do. Revisit strengthened campus based assessment.
- Discussed need to improve SUNY ACTS website for student mobility. Hopes to have website ready by Fall 2010.
- Board of Trustees adoption of new plan would improve mobility and streamline transferability.
- Mentioned the possibility of common course names for transferability.
SUNY Finance Report—Interim Vice Chancellor Phillip Wood
- · Bleak discussion of NYS budget projections and impact of Governor’s $90 million cut to SUNY. Budgets gaps occurring due to loss in state revenues.
- · NYS will run out of money in December if cuts are not implemented! Another wave of cuts may be coming in January.
- · State budget deficit projections for 2010-2011 is $4-$5 billion. Budget deficit projection for 2011-2012 is in excess of $13 billion. Very nervous about out year projections.
- · Announced the creation of a Chancellor’s budget committee and working group to deal with short-term response and long-term response. Committees made up from VP’s and Financial Officers from sectors and various campuses.
- · Bundy aid (state aid for private schools--$45 million) will not be addressed until second round of cuts.
- · Unsuccessful in ability to secure flex legislation. Rational Tuition proposal and Flex proposal will be reviewed on November 17th.
- “A dutiful problem that has no money and no solution”. “Everything is on the table”.
Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher’s Report
- Discussed strategic plan initiative, budget, and shared governance.
- 2010 SUNY Strategic Plan Initiative. Tied SUNY with economic development. “The State of New York and SUNY need to be focused on economic development and economic revitalization for the betterment of New York and for the communities in which campuses reside.”
- Chancellor created a strategic Planning steering committee to guide process which will be open, transparent, and participatory on the web at: http://www.suny.edu/strategicplan/
- As part of the strategic planning process, Chancellor is also holding a series of “statewide conversations” on seven “emerging themes and core infrastructural ideas”. Group of 200 delegates comprised of faculty, staff, students, systems representatives, administrators, and chancellor selections. SUNY Delhi has three representatives (David Brower, Dr. Bret Meckel, Dr. Mary Pat Lewis). Conversations to be held between October 2009 and February 2010 and seven campuses across SUNY (Stony Brook, FIT, Plattsburgh, Hudson Valley, Delhi, Buffalo, and Upstate Medical).
- Strategic Plan is an attempt to reset the dial with legislature and people of New York in an attempt to reverse the downward spiral of budget cuts. Also an attempt to tie SUNY to economic development and the economic revitalization of New York State and the communities in which SUNY resides.
- Chancellor is pushing for flexibility and regulatory relief.
- Chancellor trying to build new relationship with Department of Budget.
- I asked chancellor during the Q and A what UFS faculty could do. “Great question” she responded. Chancellor’s answer: “Pick an area from the seven conversation themes and contribute to the conversation online and help frame the dialogue.”
- Chancellor implored the UFS to suspend skepticism and participate in the process.
University Center Sector
- · Budget cuts hindering ability of University Centers to retain graduate students, fund graduate programs. Support for graduate students non-competitive.
- · Not enough full-time and tenure-track faculty being hired
- · SUNY on AAUP censure list.
- Expressed concern over workload issues
- Urged UFS to support resolution in favor of requiring licensed nurses to hold bachelor degrees.
- During our Technology sector session, much of discussion was on the impact of previous and future budget cuts. Many of our sister institutions face situations more dire than ours. Retrenchments, loss of programs, little or no professional development funds, and the cutting off of lines of communication between faculty, staff, and administration seem to be more common than not. Budget cuts range from $500 K to $1.5 million at our sister campuses.
- Canton 4-day schedule has led to average drop in GPA.
- 4 of 6 Tech sector campuses with no or only an interim Provost.
- Budget cuts forcing campuses to cut back essential services, heat, student support. Many classroom at an unnamed sister campus below 55 degrees.
- Concerns about overcrowding in classrooms and increased workload.
- Expressed support for and applauded the streamlining of assessment
- Expressed concerns over mission creep and Chancellor’s comments over alluding to community colleges offering baccalaureate degrees. Called on Chancellor to clarify her remarks.
The University Faculty Senate passed the following resolutions during the Fall Plenary Meeting:
- Resolution to Reinstate the Faculty Exchange Scholars Designation and Program
- Resolution is Support of Legislation Requiring a Baccalaureate Degree for Permanent Registration in Nursing.
- Resolution Supporting Clarification of SUNY policy on Student Mobility (with suggested revisions from Joint Faculty Committee)
- Resolution on the Budget (minimize cuts as much as possible, support Chancellor in her ability to work with Governor and Legislature to minimize cuts in a manner that preserves the ability of SUNY to accomplish its mission)
- Resolution Supporting the Recommendations of the Provost’s Advisory Group on the SUNY General Education Initiative (streamline assessment to reduce redundant efforts and duplication, and retain faculty and campus ownership of assessment)
- Another bylaws resolution on the suspension of Roberts Rules and the recording of election results by actual vote tally was introduced and will be voted on at the Winter Plenary meeting.
SUNY Cobleskill will host the next University Faculty Senate Winter Plenary Meeting on January 28th –30th, 2010.
Jared Yando, Presider