To All Faculty, Staff and Students
With the beginning of the Academic year, I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on my activities over the past two months. The "quiet" summer months of July and August were a welcome opportunity for me to get to meet one on one with many of our elected officials, trustees, donors, administrators, faculty, staff and even some of the students taking summer classes. It was a chance for me to begin the process of learning about Stony Brook, and understanding your needs and expectations. It was, and continues to be, for the most part a listening process. I value your input, and am working to identify the themes and initiatives that will help us push Stony Brook ahead.
An important part of my agenda is expanding the circle of leadership, and creating a structure that enables us to better utilize the knowledge and talent of our faculty, academic leaders, and senior staff. To that end, I created the University Council (UC) which is comprised of the Deans, Vice Presidents, and the two Faculty Senate Presidents. The UC will serve many purposes. It will assure that senior academic leaders and senior administrators communicate and have up to date information on key issues facing the University. It will serve as a key body in the formation, integration, and implementation of the strategic plan. And it will serve as a critical sounding board as we discuss issues of vital importance to the University. The UC will be a wonderful complement to my meetings with the faculty senates, individual departments, and student groups.
The economy is a continuing source of concern. I am working with senior leadership to develop a budget that deals with roughly $13 million in continuing State fund reductions. Our priorities will be to do everything possible to minimize the impact on key academic and student programs, but, inevitably, some cuts will be necessary. I am working with the senior leadership, including Provost Eric Kaler, to develop a strategic approach to our budget to ensure that we are supporting mission critical areas. At the Medical Center, Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH) is facing $50 million in cuts. Steven Strongwater, M.D., the Chief Executive Officer of SBUH and his team have developed a number of creative approaches to this challenge, and are working diligently to preserve the highest standard of patient care.
Yet more challenges remain. Governor Paterson is projecting major
state budget deficits and the possibility of a mid-year budget cut
remains. We must make the case for sparing SUNY and the Medical
Center from any additional cuts. Maintaining the current level of
investment in SUNY is a high priority for me, as well as for our new
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. During her campus visit on July 6,
Chancellor Zimpher demonstrated the leadership and commitment to
excellence that SUNY needs. The Chancellor is supportive of the
establishment of flexible tuition for Stony Brook and the other
University Centers. Increased flexibility in tuition (while
retaining our commitment to accessibility), and more freedom to forge
public/private partnerships (with accountability) is critically
important for the future of Stony Brook and for the economic
development of our region. We will need your help to achieve this
We often speak of Stony Brook as a great Research University. The generation of new knowledge, whether we call it scholarship or research, is central to our mission, and success in this realm is always worth celebrating. In this regard, I am very pleased to report that our faculty continues to be very successful in obtaining awards from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. To date, we have received more than $16 million dollars in new awards and supplements and lead all SUNY institutions. This success is directly due to the hard work of our faculty, students and research staff, and I applaud their efforts.
A highlight of this past week was the arrival of the students on campus, and the opportunity to greet our new freshman and transfer students for the first time. Our preliminary head count shows almost 16,000 undergraduates and 7500 graduate students at Stony Brook, and almost 500 students at Southampton. While new student convocation on the Stony Brook campus was "rained-out," almost all other activities went flawlessly. I thank all of the faculty, staff, and student volunteers who worked so hard to welcome our new students. There is no doubt in my mind that Stony Brook University made a great first impression on students and their families.
Finally, my inauguration as the fifth president of Stony Brook University will take place on Friday, October 23. Because of our budget situation, we are working hard to incorporate the inauguration activities into existing functions, and to take advantage of the remarkable talents of our faculty and students in our programs. We have scheduled what I hope will be an exciting week of campus wide activities, and I look forward to your participation. I am pleased to welcome all of you back to campus, and look forward to an exciting and productive year.
Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., M.D.