ANNUAL CAPRA REPORT TO THE UNIVERSITY SENATE
2008-2009

Committee charge:  The Committee shall review budgetary procedures and priorities for planning and resource allocation in the Presidential, Provostial, and Vice-Presidential areas.  It shall be consulted by the University Administration on these matters and on proposals for new colleges, schools, and inter-collegiate programs, and it shall seek advice from other University Senate committees whenever appropriate.

General activities

In carrying out its responsibilities, CAPRA invites appropriate administrators to discuss issues involving academic planning and resource allocation.  In the course of the 2008-2009 academic year, CAPRA had meetings with Dan Melucci, Eric Kaler, Christian Filstrup, Daniel Kinney, Germaine Hoynos, and Graham Glynn.  The meetings with Dan Melucci involved an update on the campus budget and a briefing on the new budget process adopted by the president.  The new process will have the form of a strategic planning process, and CAPRA was invited to and did send representatives to each of the budget meetings and was supplied with all the necessary budget information to facilitate their participation in this budget process . 

Eric Kaler met with the committee twice and provided it with a summary of his budget allocations to the units under his purview.  In these meetings, there was a frank discussion of the current state of the campus budget, Provost Kaler’s allocations, and the effects of both on academic programs.  In particular, there was a discussion about how to resolve the problem of funding the Supplementary Instructional Budget (SIB) that is used to hire adjunct faculty in light of the severe budget reductions that threatened to result in the cancellation of a significant number of courses in the College of Arts and Sciences for the Spring, 2009 semester.  These discussions led to a resolution of this problem that was worked out between Provost Kaler and Dean Staros that resulted in the cancellation of relatively few courses, though the problem of SIB funding for the Fall, 2009 semester will not be able to be dealt with until the final 2009-2010 campus budget and the provost’s allocation is known.  In addition to the budget discussions, Provost Kaler also indicated that in his judgment, there is too little funded research for a campus of the size and quality of Stony Brook and he will seek ways of trying to facilitate funding research activities on the campus.  He indicated his desire to increase the portion of IDC funds that are returned to the units that generate them.  Provost Kaler also discussed his concern that, in light of the current and likely continuing budget problems, there needs to be a reassessment of faculty teaching responsibilities for non-research active faculty.   Finally, Provost Kaler indicated that he was establishing a Provost’s Strategic Advisory Committee; subsequently, Paul Bingham and Norman Goodman were invited to represent CAPRA on that committee.

The committee met with Christian Filstrup and, at a separate meeting, with Daniel Kinney and Germaine Hoynos to discuss the state of the Library and its budget problems.  In short, a survey by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) revealed that Stony Brook fares quite poorly in available resources when compared with other universities, especially in funds for print material where they are at the bottom of 112 institutions.  The cost of electronic materials, especially for the “Science Direct” package of journals from Elsevier, which is especially focused on science and engineering, is quite high and consequently restricts the availability of funds for print materials.  In fact, Dean Filstrup estimates that the ratio of funds allocated to the sciences as compared with those to the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities is about 80/20.  These discussions also revealed that although researchers are able to include funds for library materials in their grant proposals, too few do so, depriving the library of a useful source of funding.

Graham Glynn met with the committee and discussed his document, “Stony Brook Learning Space Policies and Procedures.”  The committee discussed his document in detail, made some minor suggestion for modifications, which were accepted, and then approved the document to be sent to the University Senate Executive Committee for its review and submission to the University Senate.

The committee was interested in the discussion by Brent Lindquist in the University Senate on the West Campus Space Survey, and how it would be used.  Members of the committee believed that it would be useful to obtain the raw survey data for further analysis.  Those data were provided by the Provost’s Office and will be subject to more detailed analysis.  Also, there was an understanding  with Deputy Provost Lindquist that, since space is a very valuable resource, CAPRA would be consulted on major space allocation decisions.

Subcommittee activities
In addition to meeting with appropriate administrators to discuss issues of immediate relevance, CAPRA generally carries out much of its activities through a series of subcommittees.  Below is a summary of their activities during the 2008-2009 academic year.
Southampton subcommittee

Dr. Mary Pearl has been appointed as Dean and Vice President for Southampton.  As dean, she will report to Provost Kaler on academic matters; as vice-president, she will report directly to the president on all other matters.

There are two main academic programs at this campus:  an undergraduate program in environmental sustainability and an MFA program in writing directed by Robert Reeves and Roger Rosenblatt.   In addition, SoMAS has 25 doctoral students working with Marine Sciences faculty at the site.  At present, there are 3 tenure-track faculty, who are part of SoMAS, 2 tenure-track faculty who are part of the Department of English, 1 tenured-track faculty under the direction of the dean, and several full-time and part-time lecturers as well.  As currently envisioned, the sustainability program will be a single academic unit with no separate departments, though this has not yet been completely decided.  The standards for promotion and tenure of faculty are envisioned to be specific to this campus, focusing primarily on teaching ability, and thus will be different from that pertaining to the main Stony Brook campus.  The University Senate Task Force on Southampton opposes this plan as in appropriate for an element of a research university.

Several problems have been identified:

  • There is a relatively small number of course offerings that it is believed may limit Southampton’s ability to attract and retain students.
  • It is difficult to engage Stony Brook faculty to nurture this campus, a problem exacerbated by the current budgetary crisis.
  •  There are problems with the physical plant.  For example, the library is too small, the dormitories need extensive rehabs, the gym is small, the dining facilities are limited, and a new and expensive sewage treatment plant is required.  There may be some capital funds available to deal with the needs for dormitory rehabs and a sewage treatment plant
  • There are questions about how the qualifications of new faculty will be established and evaluated.
  • There is as yet no evidence of “curriculum leadership.”

MA/MS Programs subcommittee

Motivated largely by the need to generate revenue, academic departments have been encouraged by the administration to create new MA/MS programs or expand existing ones.  There is a divergence in how departments are responding to this need.  Some departments were well-positioned to do so, whereas others were concerned about the cost of such a change to their other academic programs.  Though Provost Kaler has offered to return to the department 55% of the tuition revenue that is generated in this way, and to provide initial start-up funds where they are required, there is some question about whether this will be adequate to run a new program over a reasonable period of time without having to divert some resources from existing programs to their detriment. 

The subcommittee has begun the process of surveying departments on this issue, and will continue to do so in the fall.

Resource Flow subcommittee

The subcommittee obtained the raw data files from the 2008 West Campus Space Survey that contain inventories of all rooms in all buildings that are used in any way for academic purposes (e.g., teaching and research) on the West and South Campuses.  Such data will now permit CAPRA to do its own analysis of space needs and to be able to consult knowledgably with the Provost’s Office on space decisions.

The subcommittee also now has available in electronic form the annual expenditure summaries for all of the provostial areas for 2006, 2007, and 2008 (ending June, 2008).  After preliminary analysis of these data, some tentative conclusions were drawn:

  • There is a huge disparity in income per college and per departments.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences has the largest total allocation of state funds of any division under the provost, but also contains the largest number of departments of any college in the  provost’s area of responsibility.
  • The major expenditure for the financially-stressed library is for new acquisitions.
  • There is a need to acquire the same expenditure data for the East Campus.

The subcommittee has also obtained all Stony Brook Research Foundation expenditure summaries from 1998 to 2008.  When combined with the data mentioned above, some tentative conclusions were drawn:

  • The huge disparity in income per department is especially pronounced when research expenditures are added to state funding expenditures.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences contains many Humanities departments with no research funding and very low levels of state support, but it also contains the “richest” departments on campus (e.g., physics and chemistry).
  • The East Campus data by department has not been made available to CAPRA.

Several problems have been noted, which CAPRA will work on next year:

  • There is a need to track “individual” unit internal fund transfers as well as the expenditure summaries that were already provided.
  • The new president needs to be asked to release, at a minimum, all annual expenditure summaries for all campus divisions, including the president’s office, all vice-presidential areas, and the East Campus units.
  • Much of the information that CAPRA needs to track resource allocations is contained in the annually printed Grey Book.  However, In order to do its own analysis, CAPRA needs to have these data available in electronic form.

Library subcommittee

The Stony Brook Libraries are at the bottom of the list of 112 members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) for monograph collections.  To a large extent, the libraries OTP budget is need for electronic journals, primarily from Elsevier. However, the Elsevier package of journals is primarily for science and engineering.  Consequently, the resources available to purchase print materials that are extensively used in the Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences are strictly limited.  Clearly, the monograph budget needs to be increased substantially.   Interestingly, somehow, the three other SUNY University Centers manage to have a larger budget for monographs than Stony Brook has.  The question is, how do they do that?  We should obtain the various budgets for the other SUNY University Centers so as to compare them with those of Stony Brook’s.

The campus does not fare well in the number of library staff compared with other universities.  For example, in the same ARL survey, Stony Brook was ranked 106 for total staff, and 92 for professional staff.   The deficiency is especially acute in the area of cataloging, due to the need to replace three staff members who have retired.  In addition, the knowledge base to train new staff, should they be hired, has been diminished by these retirements.

There is a need to insure that there are adequate library resources when new departments, programs, research institutes, and research centers are created.  At present, that is not always the case.  In the absence of adequate supporting library resources, the proposals for these new units must identify the necessary funds to acquire and maintain these resources.

Finally, there needs to be an appropriate analysis of ways of reducing the duplication now experienced by an HSC Library that is separate from the West Campus library.  Recognizing the different needs of a medical library and a general one, at a minimum, there seems to be a need for a single online catalog and e-journal list.  The HSC Library has an excellent in-house computing systems department, which serves them well.  On the other hand, the West Campus library outsources all its computing systems services to TLT, DoIT, and Client Support at a substantial cost.  This needs to be reevaluated.

College of Business subcommittee

The College of Business (COB), in its present instantiation, is both one of the largest and one of the most anomalous of all the academic programs and entities at the University. It cannot continue in its present form. It must grow and evolve very substantially over the next several years.

The COB serves about 1000 undergraduate majors and minors and about 250 graduate students (almost exclusively MBA candidates). This makes COB the third largest academic major on campus (behind psychology and biology/biochemistry). Dean McDonnell estimates that the COB teaches about 90 courses, most with less than 60 students, and with a mere 15 fulltime faculty, of whom half are non-tenure track lecturers! This very small faculty is supplemented with a large number of adjuncts teaching individuals courses as needed by the COB.

Only a handful of COB faculty are traditional academic scholars in the sense of a “Carnegie 1” research university. In spite of this severe understaffing, the COB faculty, including its non-traditional academic members, work hard and with great energy and creativity to make the best of their severely underfunded program.  However, due to the understaffing and lack of traditional academic scholars, the COB as an academic business school is ranked well below other business schools on Long Island at otherwise much less prestigious institutions (Dowling, for example). The COB is not accredited by the national AASCB, the national accreditation entity for business schools and extensive new investment would probably be necessary to make this possible, probably including at least 15 new tenure-track faculty lines and the construction of a business PhD program.
 
The highly unique business climate produced by the current financial/economic crisis is leading to extensive soul-searching by business schools around the country. The seriously underdeveloped status of Stony Brook’s COB can be viewed as an asset in this environment. We have the potential to build something new, a COB that addresses the radically changed local and global business climate of the 21st Century.

For any building efforts (of any design) to be successful, the academic accreditation and the need for more full time COB academic faculty must be addressed. The challenge lies in finding a workable, cost-effective way to achieve this goal. One noteworthy element of context is that the Economics Department appears to be in a similar position: overwhelmed with hundreds of majors and understaffed. Though the future of Economics is outside the mandate (and expertise) of this subcommittee, we note that there may be an opportunity to achieve some synergy and economies of scale in addressing both Business School and Economics jointly. For example, it may be worthwhile to discuss with the Economics faculty the possibility of their established scholars assisting in recruiting outstanding faculty with crossover expertise or interests.
In brief, the present state of the COB cries out for aggressive new investment and strategic planning.

Committee members:  Paul Bingham, Melanie Bonnette, Kevin Brady, Alan Calder, Kane Gillespie, Bill Godfrey, Norman Goodman, Joan Kuchner,  Susan Lieberthal, Luigi Longobardi, Daria Semegen, Irene Solomon, Alan Tucker, Larry Wittie.  Resource advisors:  Dan Melucci, Jane Yahill.  Administrative contact: Eric Kaler.