University Faculty Senate 2010 Winter Plenary Meeting Report—SUNY Cobleskill (January 28-30, 2010)
To: Julee Miller, Presider, College Senate
From: Terry Hamblin, University Faculty Senator
Subject: University Faculty Senate 2010 Winter Plenary Meeting Report
Date: January 31, 2010
The University Faculty Senate Winter Plenary meeting took place on Friday January 29th and Saturday, January 30th, 2010 at SUNY Cobleskill. Like the Fall Plenary meeting at SUNY IT in Utica, this was a very busy and productive meeting. Among the several key issues and concerns discussed were the Higher Education and Empowerment Act, the issue of shared governance, the Governor’s Executive Budget, the role of diversity and accessibility in higher education, and the planned changes to the General Education program.
President’s Report—Kenneth O’Brien, UFS President
- Publication of the book commemorating the 60th Anniversary of SUNY will be available next month. Book will include papers presented at the SUNY History conference in University at Albany (April 2009).
- Update on SUNY Strategic Planning process.
- Higher Education and Empowerment Act. Much discussion about differential tuition and speculation on whether or not it will lead to further State disinvestment in higher education. There are a lot of unanswered questions about the potential impact of this legislation. Political and intellectual matters. President O’Brien urged senators to go back to campus and get feedback from faculty and staff on their position.
SUNY Diversity Report and Update-- Pedro Caban, Vice-Provost for Diversity and Educational Equity
- Role of diversity in higher education. Dr. Caban argued that diversity needs to be thought of as a component of academic excellence and cultural and economic inequities
- Diversity should be tied and linked to academic mission of university. Cannot be generalized or universally defined. Needs to be defined to each specific institution and program.
- SUNY Office of Diversity and Educational Equity (ODEE) “works to ensure that our academic institutions are prepared to meet the diverse needs and expectations of New York’s dramatically changing population.”
- ODEE Diversity Imperative
- Discussed programs and initiatives, including the Faculty Diversity program—6 campuses hired nine faculty from 2008-09 and 2009-10 $155,000 for 3 years.
Provost’s Office Report— David Lavallee, Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
- Update on search for SUNY Provost
- Update on assessment. Draft resolution distributed to Board of Trustees. Campus responsibilities for assessment. SUNY as an advisory role, perhaps helping with Middle States, and auditing role.
- Update on transfer and articulation (student mobility). Policy was an attempt at a “middle ground”. New policy passed by the Board of Trustees in November 2009 guarantees that courses approved for general education credit will transfer across SUNY in the category that they were taken in. A.A. and A.S. degree graduates will be given junior status upon transfer. Also, courses taken by students during the first and second year in the major will be accepted for transfer in the same major at the transferring institution “in most cases”. Progress on transfer website continues. Website not up to date. “Work in progress” to ensure “seamless transfer across the system”
- Discussion of amendments to the General Education program. Gives each campus flexibility beginning Fall 2010.
- Urged support for Higher Education and Empowerment Act. Discussion of rational and differential tuition. Believes it is the only hope that SUNY has keep Legislature from further decimating System.
Budget Report—Monica Rimai, Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer
- Discussed Higher Education and Empowerment Act.
- Discussed budget cuts off-budgeting revenues, differential and rational tuition
- Differential tuition—gulf between tuition and needs of programs.
- Argued that legislation will give needed tuition resources to campuses. Current State Legislatures view of SUNY is monolithic.
- Rebuttal of charges that Higher Educational and Empower Act will give Legislature license to keep cutting in, because they already have continued to cut.
Most of the sector reports/presentations surrounded questions about the Higher Education and Empowerment Act. Sector reports expressed some skepticism about general education amendments, shared governance, and mission compression. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher responded directly to each sector concerns. Sectors were asked to submit reports in writing and present the Chancellor with two questions for her response. Written sector reports will be posted on the University Faculty website at a future date.
University Faculty Senate Resolutions
- Resolution to establish the University Faculty Senate Special Committee for Diversity and Cultural Competence as a Permanent Standing Committee.
- Resolution on the Executive Budget. Resolution to urge the Chancellor, the Board of Trustees, and the State Legislature to “work vigorously to achieve restoration of the funding base for the State University of New York that has been reduced in the proposed Executive Budget.
- Resolution to establish a system-wide SUNY Faculty Research and Scholarship Internet Database. Resolution urged System Administration and Research Foundation to undertake a collaborative effort to establish this internet database and asset inventory.
- Proposed Bylaws amendment to suspend Robert’s Rules of Order for reporting the results of University Faculty Senate elections. Amendment would allow the Teller’s Report to only consist of the candidates’ names and the name of the winner of the election. Vote failed to achieve the two-thirds majority needed for passage.