University Faculty Senate –159st Fall Plenary Meeting

                                    October 20-22, 2011—Purchase College
                                   
Submitted by Georges E. Fouron

Stony Brook Senators in attendance: Norman Goodman, Ed Feldman, and Bill Godfrey, and Georges Fouron.

Theme of the Meeting: Effective Resource Alignment through Shared Services

Whereas the meeting’s main goal was to scrutinize the concept of “shared services,” both among and within the various campuses, to assess the ways in which the University is seeking to develop strategies “to improve efficiency, generate cost savings, build capacity, and increase resources available to the core academic and student service missions with respect to administrative functions, procurement opportunities, and the alignment of academic program offerings,” the discussions quickly turned to the need for more clarity and transparency in the decision making and application processes of this concept and initiative.

Highlights

  • The President’s Report—Kenneth P. O’Brien
  • The Provost’s Office Report—David Lavallee, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  • SUNY Finance Report—Brian Hutzley, Vice-Chancellor for Financial Services & Chief Financial  Officer (Interim)
  • Chancellor Nancy Zimpher
  • Privacy Rights on campus—Steve Worona
  • CUNY University Faculty Senate Report—Sandi Cooper
  • Faculty Council of Community Colleges Report—Tina Good, President
  • SUNY Student Assembly Report—Kaitlyn Beachner, President

 

  • The President’s Report

In his report, the president addressed the “shared services” initiative.  In it, he announced the various personnel changes that have been taking place at SUNY Central and welcomed the nomination of Mr. Carl McCall as the New Chair of the SUNY Board of Trustees.
Regarding the shared services initiative, Mr. O’Brien remarked, among other points, that the term shared services covers two distinct, but related, initiatives, one is effectuated among campuses, the other within campuses.  However, they are “both designed to save money that campuses are currently spending on administrative overhead, and to move those savings into instruction or direct service for instruction.”  Moreover, he also noted that, “the ratio of funding between administrative and academic services is most skewed toward the former on SUNY’s smaller campuses.”
In addition, he also addressed the following important points,

  • He mentioned the adoption of NYSUNY 2020, which provides “construction funds for specific projects and an additional $75/student fee per year (differential tuition by another name) for each of the four university centers”; 
  • He noticed the approval of the “rational tuition” initiative, which authorizes SUNY to raise its in-state, undergraduate tuition by $300 in each of the next five years;
  • He requested SUNY’s assumption of responsibility to provide funds needed to cover the “TAP gap,” that amount between the highest TAP award (no increase there) and SUNY tuition;
  • Informed us that of the fact that the various campuses will receive only 75% of the tuition increase, “the reminder being provided to students in supplemental awards, a process that will be repeated in each of the next five years if nothing is done about this issue”;
  • Asked for relief for the SUNY hospitals;
  • Mentioned the need for the faculty “to continue making available the highest quality post-secondary education to each and every member of our larger community who seeks it, irrespective of their social class, ethnicity or any other marker of human differentiation, other than that of talent, discipline, and engagement necessary for learning”;
  • The Provost’s Office Report— David Lavallee, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

He addressed the following points,

  • The appointment of the new director for the Research Foundation;
  • The state of the University-wide programs for EOP and EOC;
  • Remedies SUNY Central is taking to assure that services in these programs continue;
  • The initiative his office has taken to draft a new grading policy, which will not limit or invalidate the various campuses’ prerogatives;
  • The College readiness project, which will seek to cut the passing score on the Regents exams to 75 (is is now set at 55);
  • The decision his office will take to promote and encourage the development of students’ preliminary critical inquiry skills by comparing school grades and Regents scores;
  • The developmental education initiative program in math to encourage students’ problem solving capacities through problem solving using applied math;
  • The course-work mobility program which seeks to help students plan their program more effectively after they had transferred from one institution to another.  To that effect, SUNY Central’s new and enhanced website will assist them in such an endeavor;
  • Shared services.  He addressed the rational for that initiative by referring to
    • the need for the various campuses to address the drying up of state resources;
    •  the need to replace and add lines through reduction in administrative costs, most especially in those campuses that enroll four thousand students or fewer;
    • the logic of merging similar campuses by asking them to share presidents;
    • the goal to save a minimum of $2 million per campus;
  • SUNY Finance Report—Brian Hutzley, Vice-Chancellor for Financial Services & Chief Financial  Officer (Interim)

He presented the dire financial situation of the University, which does not show sign of recovery in the near future.  As he explained it, the University has certain priorities it must address immediately without relying on state financial support.  Thus, he spoke of the need to

  • go forward with the shared services initiative since the University has been forced to absorbed a total of $1.4 billion in cuts;
  • address the loss of 596 faculty lines that need to be replaced;
  • address the loss of 1,341 professional lines that have been eliminated so far;
  • hire a total of 1,258 adjuncts or contingent faculty lines that had also been eliminated;
  • reestablish the 1,435 course sections that have been eliminated due to budget cuts;
  • Chancellor Nancy Zimpher

The Chancellor did not present a formal report.  Rather, she led a question-answer discussion with the audience.  Those are the points she addressed

  • Shared services;
  • Shared subsidies government for the hospitals.  She is for it, but the final structure is not yet in place;
  • Secretive searches and the lack of transparency as the shared services initiatives are being implemented throughout the system.  To that effect, she promised to
    • Write to the various campus presidents to alert them of the need to be more open, less secretive, and more transparent in the application of their responsibilities;
    • However, she is conscious that, in some cases, the level of the search may require some form of confidentiality;
    • As she put it, candidates for high position within the University may want to keep their candidacy secrete to avoid any complication with the position they currently hold at another institution;
    • However,  she pointed out that while she understands the need to protect the privacy of certain candidates, the various campus leaders must take all measures to keep the searches private enough to protect the candidates and open enough to keep the stakeholders on the campuses, most especially the Campus Governance Leadership (CGL), informed;
    • She is aware that on many campuses, the leadership has continued to ignore the knowledge and experiences of the faculty and staff and she is committed to change that mindset;
    • To that effect, she will soon propose that the Distinguished  Professors on the various campuses be constituted into an “academy” to promote good and efficient leadership;
  • Steve Worona—He spoke about privacy rights on campus and urged all the CGLs to adopt a privacy policy on campus and if we do have one to review it to see if its effective and protect the campuses’ constituents.
  • Faculty Council of Community Colleges Report—Tina Good, President

She stated that, so far, the community colleges have not been affected significantly by the shared services initiative;

  • CUNY University Faculty Senate Report—Sandi Cooper

She also stated that, so far, the shared services initiative has not affected CUNY.  She spoke about “Pathways,” a program that helps students transfer from one institution to a different one without losing credits and time toward graduation;

  • SUNY Student Assembly Report—Kaitlyn Beachner, President

Regarding the shared services initiatives, she said that SUNY Student Assembly supports it as it does SUNY20/20, however, she

  • Called on the state to match whatever contribution students make toward the services they receive as resources are being shared by more than one campus;
  • Declared, regarding SUNY 20/20, the rational tuition initiative, that the state should make sure that all the campuses adhere to the letter of the law;
  • Asked for the repeal of the law that disqualify graduate students as recipients of subsidized loans;
  • She disassociated herself from a faction of the Student Assembly that was lobbying the senators to pass a resolution in opposition to the rational tuition initiative. She described them as a fringe section that did not have the support of the Student Assembly ;
  • Resolutions:
  • Resolution on Evaluation of Shared Services, which requests that the Chancellor
    • Establish a system-wide committee consisting of faculty, students, and administrative staff, to guide and oversee the implementation of the process of shared services;
    • Take appropriate measures and procedures for fiscal accountability to be identified and developed in order to calculate the savings achieved from any and all of these shared services;
    • Verify the extent to which enhanced spending on academic program is achieved;
    • Measure both the quantitative and qualitative outcomes resulting from shared services and addressed them if necessary;
    • Take the necessary measures to facilitate transparency and assist the various campuses in assessing institutional effectiveness;
    • Set up a data collection system to measure and document this initiative;
    • Make the data collected available to campus administrations and local governance bodies;
    • Make sure that a report on the shared services initiative be presented to the University Faculty Senate no less frequently than annually;

PASSED

  • University Faculty Senate Governance Committee to change the following bylaws
    • Special meetings of the Senate by using electronic means;
    • Quorums and actions by using electronic means;

PASSED

  • In Support of SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy
    • Opposition to transfer Dr. Joseph L. Kennedy from SUNY Canton;

PASSED

  • Resolution on Shared Services Between SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam
    • The SUNY Canton College Council request that the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees create and charge a formal committee, comprised of the core constituents on the campuses of SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam, to undertake a one-year study to determine the ways in which the mutual goals  of improving efficiency ; generating cost savings, building capacity, and increasing resources available to their core academic and student missions through shared services with respect to administrative functions, procurement opportunities, and all-alignment of academic program offerings can be achieved on these two campuses;
    • The SUNY Canton College Council request that no changes to the campus leadership and/or administration take place until the completion of the study and after full consultation with the College Councils and other core constituencies occur;

PASSED

  • Morrisville College Council Resolution
    • The Morrisville College Council calls on the Chancellor to consult with college council when the new president is chosen for Morrisville State College;
    • The Morrisville State College Council invites SUNY IT President, Yeigh, to present his credentials to the Morrisville College council in application for the position of President of Morrisville State College;

PASSED

  • The Association of Council Members and College Trustees of the State University of New York (ACT)
    • The membership of ACT pledges to work with the various campus presidents and administrators, SUNY Central, and with each other to identify cost savings and redirect those savings to instruction and student services;
    • The membership of ACT expresses its strong opposition to any move that would eliminate each campus having its own president;

PASSED

OF NOTE:  THE FIRST SUNY REPORT CARD, “THE POWER OF SUNY” HAS BEEN PUBLISHED.  IT IS VERY INFORMATIVE.