ANNUAL CAPRA REPORT TO THE UNIVERSITY SENATE
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 The Committee shall review budgetary procedures and priorities for planning and resource intercollegiate programs, and shall seed advice from other University Senate committees whenever appropriate.
General budgetary issues
The Committee met with Provost Eric Kaler and with Dan Melucci, Associate Vice President for Strategy, Planning, and Analysis several times over the course of the academic year to discuss the budget situation facing the campus. In brief, the “state purposes” part of the campus’ budget is $332 million, $184 million in tax support and $148 million from tuition, which is approximately 24% of the total campus budget. However, if you include other items such as fringe benefits, the state’s contribution to the campus’ budget rises to about 40%.
Though there has been no definitive word about the level of cuts the campus is likely to be required to sustain, the best estimate is that it will be about $33.5 million for 2010-2011, rising to about $40 million for 2011-2012. The only way a cut of this magnitude can be largely absorbed, both Eric Kaler and Dan Melucci indicated, is if the Governor Paterson’s proposed Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act (PHEEIA) is approved by the legislature. Not only would PHEEIA provide considerable revenue through a modest series of annual tuition increases, it would also allow the campus to borrow additional funds as needed because a consistent and predictable tuition revenue stream would served as a guarantee that it could be paid back in the future. Since cuts have already been sustained in utilities, IDC, IFR funds, etc., the only likely available ways of dealing with cuts of the magnitude anticipated would be through personnel reductions (personnel costs constitute approximately 82% of the campus’ budget), a large tuition increase for the coming year, or an increase in the number and level of campus fees. Every 1% increase in tuition would generate about $1.5 million in campus revenues. It has been estimated that without any increase in tuition or fees, approximately 500 campus positions would have to be eliminated.
SUNY System Administration, the campus administration, the SUNY University Faculty Senate, the SUNY Student Assembly, a substantial majority of SBU faculty, the SBU Undergraduate Student Government, and the SBU Graduate Student Organization have all supported PHEEIA as the only possible way for SUNY to sustain itself due to the current economic situation and its likely continuation into the near future as well as to serve as an economic and educational education necessary to the revitalization of New York State. However, UUP has strongly opposed it. UUP has argued that, among other things, PHEEIA proposes an increase in tuition that would make it less affordable to low income students and would lead the state to reduce direct financial support to SUNY. It also maintains that PHEEIA’s facilitation of public-private partnerships on campuses would be a drain on campus resources, and would increase the outsourcing of jobs. However, most available information and data provided by SUNY and by Kaler and Melucci suggest otherwise.
Unless Governor Paterson declares a state of “fiscal exigency” for New York, programs cannot be retrenched. However, personnel can be cut through a reduction or elimination of programs on academic grounds. Provost Kaler indicated that should that become necessary, and he hopes that it won’t be, he would use a series of criteria in making these judgments: academic quality, curriculum centrality, potential loss of tuition revenue, ability to generate IDC, IFR, and royalty funds.
Other possibilities for sustaining the anticipated budget cut include providing a voluntary “separation package” for faculty and staff that could reduce personnel costs, and increasing course offerings in the winter and summer sessions since those tuition revenues remain with the campus.
Provost Kaler agreed to include CAPRA in his budgetary planning process. He will do this in two ways: he will meet with the full committee periodically, and also will include three representatives of CAPRA (this academic year, they were Alan Calder, Norman Goodman, and Alan Tucker) more directly in his budgetary planning process.
During the 2009-2010 academic year, CAPRA continued it long-standing practice of conducting much of its business through a series of subcommittees. What follows is a brief summary of the activities of each of these subcommittees during the 2009-2010 academic year.
College of Business subcommittee
The subcommittee’s analysis of the current situation of the College of Business (COB) is that it is at a crossroad since it does not have an adequate number of faculty at the appropriate level to be eligible for accreditation, without which its students would be at a decided disadvantage in being able to get quality positions upon graduation. Consequently, the subcommittee sees three possible options for the COB that the administration needs to consider: (1) make an investment of about 17 new tenure/tenure track faculty (perhaps jointly with other departments such Economics), though this is an unlikely scenario given the current budgetary situation; (2) keep the COB going as it currently is since it has a large number of undergraduate majors, though its MBA program is somewhat weak; (3) eliminate the COB and reinvest its current resources elsewhere on the campus.
Flow of funds subcommittee
This subcommittee has spent most of the academic year receiving and organizing expenditure data for FY 2009 from the provostial area to supplement its similar data from FYs 06-08. It has arranged to acquire similar data from the Office of Student Affairs. The subcommittee will prepare a report detailing changes in expenditure patterns from FY 08 to FY 09 and, if possible, some of the implications of these changes. Its work will continue in the next academic year.
The Library has been under stress for a number of years due to financial exigency and questionable leadership, which has led to serious morale problems among the staff. Because of this and the Library’s extremely low rating among ARL (American Research Libraries), Provost Kaler called in an external Blue Ribbon committee to review the workings of the Library. This review identified a series of serious problems that needed quick attention. As a consequence of this review, Provost Kaler removed the current Dean and Director of Libraries, appointed the current Director of the HSC Library as Interim Dean, and asked him review and possibly suggest a reorganization of its operations. In addition, he provided the Library with additional needed funds.
Provost Kaler also appointed a Faculty Advisory Committee (on which CAPRA was represented by the chair of its subcommittee) to interview the staff of the Library and to offer recommendations to improve the Library’s services and operations. The following problems were noted and need to be resolved: the collection policy needs to consider the effect of the disparity in the acquisition of print vs. digital materials; the ambivalent relationship between the Library and DoIT/TLT regarding computer classroom training facilities; the cost and distance of off-site storage facilities (perhaps relocating it to Gyrodyne); staff development programs; reviewing the relationship among the Melville Libraries, the HSC Library, BNL Library, the Cold Spring Harbor Library, and the libraries at the other SUNY University Centers; and, most importantly, the need to develop a coherent plan for the future of the Library.
A note of caution: In some ways, this Faculty Advisory Committee seems to have replaced the University Senate’s Library Services Committee. This situation needs to be monitored by the University Senate Executive Committee.
MA/MS programs subcommittee
This subcommittee was established last academic year in response to the administration’s encouragement of academic departments to establish new MA/MS programs or to expand existing ones as a source of necessary revenue. The subcommittee explored this issue with the Graduate School and a number of academic departments, and noted some problems that needed to be addressed. In light of the importance of this issue, the University Senate Executive Committee established an ad hoc committee to study this issue and to make a presentation to the University Senate on its findings. Two members of CAPRA’s subcommittee were appointed to this ad hoc committee as liaisons. The work of this ad hoc committee resulted in a panel discussion of the issues at a meeting of the University Senate on December 7, 2009; consequently, this subcommittee was disbanded.
Songdo initiative subcommittee
The members of CAPRA were surprised when Deputy Provost Brett Lindquist announced at a University Senate meeting that the campus was in the process of pursuing an initiative to set up an undergraduate campus as part of consortium of universities at Songdo in South Korea. It had no prior knowledge of this initiative. Consequently, it met with Deputy Provost Lindquist and Provost Kaler to discuss this initiative and the lack of prior consultation with the University Senate through either its Executive Committee or CAPRA before moving this far forward with it.
In light of this lack of information, CAPRA established a subcommittee to look in depth into the details of this initiative. After examining the issue over a period of time, the subcommittee detailed a series of concerns about this initiative that had not yet been adequately addressed by the administration regarding curricula, personnel assignments, budget, environmental problems with the site, etc. These concerns were discussed with the full membership of CAPRA and with Kaler and Lindquist, and eventuated in a detailed report that was sent to the University Senate Executive Committee. This report indicated a lack of support for the Songdo Initiative unless and until all of the issues detailed in the report were adequately addressed. The University Senate Executive Committee integrated this report with similar reports by the Undergraduate Council, the Graduate Council and the Student Life Committee into a single report for transmittal to the University Senate. [The seriousness of the current budgetary problems have led Provost Kaler to indicate that this initiative in on indefinite hold.]
This subcommittee is another one that had been established the previous academic year and whose work was carried over to the current year. It had previously noted a number of problems in realizing the potential of this initiative to establish a campus site focused primarily around the issue of environmental sustainability: a relatively small number of course offerings, especially with respect to DEC requirements; difficulty in encouraging faculty at the Stony Brook campus to get fully engaged in this initiative; questions about the criteria for hiring and evaluating faculty for the Southampton campus; a number of problems with the physical plant; etc. These questions led the University Senate Executive Committee to establish an ad hoc committee, chaired by the chair of the CAPRA subcommittee, to examine this issue and to make a presentation to the University Senate on it during the Fall semester. At that Senate presentation on November 2, 2009, there was a panel discussion and a question and answer period. The chair of the ad hoc committee was on the panel and presented his committee’s report, which detailed the concerns initially described in the work of the CAPRA subcommittee. The CAPRA subcommittee was to review the presentations and the questions and answers provided at this meeting of the University Senate and to detail any further action required by them. However, events overtook this plan. Given the seriousness of the budget crisis facing the campus, a decision was made by the administration to eliminate the residential component of Southampton, to incorporate the students affected by this decision into the academic programs and residence halls on the Stony Brook campus, to maintain the successful MA program in Creative Writing and Literature, and to continue using the Marine Sciences laboratories there. Consequently, this subcommittee has been disbanded.
Stony Brook Manhattan subcommittee
This subcommittee was established to identify the amount and source of funding for Stony Brook Manhattan and the academic benefits that were assumed to accrue from having this off-site location. In effect, this subcommittee was to consider a cost/benefit analysis of Stony Brook Manhattan.
SBU currently leases two spaces in Manhattan, at 387 (13,500 square feet) and 401 Park Avenue South (15,000 square feet). The lease on the 401 space began in 2001 and will expire on December 31, 2010, and President Stanley has said that it will not be renewed. The lease of the space at 387 began in 2006 and will expire on February 28, 2017.
Since its inception, the reported total net loss for Stony Brook Manhattan is $6,676,351, of which $2,978,257 comes from net operating costs and $3,698,094 comes from capital investments. In reality, the total net loss is likely to be even greater since neither the salary of the Stony Brook Manhattan Director nor any of the costs associated with instruction are included in these figures.
After an initial burst of enrollments in 2003 and 2004, academic year enrollments have been steady at a significantly lower level. For 2008 and 2009, Stony Brook Manhattan served a total of about 2,000 students. Summer school enrollments have trended upward, and now represent about 50% of the total enrollments. It is unclear, however, whether these summer school enrollments are students who otherwise would have enrolled at the Stony Brook campus or who represent additional enrollments. Given current enrollment trends, it is likely that Stony Brook Manhattan will sustain continuing operating losses for the forseeable future. Also, it is not clear what the relationship is, or could be, between Stony Brook Manhattan and SUNY’s Levin Institute, which is also in Manhattan.
CAPRA is represented on FAHSS (Fine Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences) Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences and on all academic department/program reviews.
The FAHSS committee allocates available funds for specific projects of research, scholarship, or pedagogy. Out of the 12 application for individual grants in Fall 2009, FAHSS was able to fund 8. Six out of the seven applications for interdisciplinary grants were also funded in this semester for a total of $46, 500. In Spring 2010 semester, FAHSS had 17 applications for individual grants, of which 15 were funded and 5 applications for interdisciplinary grants, of which 3 were funded for a total of $48,855. Out of an allotted $100,000, a total of $95,355 was used to fund projects. The FAHSS committee paid detailed attention to submitted budgets and often gave less than the applicant requested. However, this strategy allowed FAHSS to provide support to a wide range of individual and interdisciplinary projects. Each semester there were a few applications that were returned to submitters with requests for additional information.
One concern of the committee is that applications appear to come from a relatively narrow pool of informed faculty. There has been an ongoing discussion about ways to encourage a broader range of faculty with appropriate scholarly plans to consider submitting proposals to FAHSS. The FAHSS committee was particularly careful to scrutinize second applications for the same project, and the revised guidelines now specifically mention that preference will be given to those who have not held a grant within the last three years. The appropriate web pages are being revised to reflect this policy. In addition, faculty is encouraged to apply for outside grants by offering an additional $500 on proof of application to outside sources following a FAHSS Award. The seeds have borne fruit: faculty with FAHSS awards have successfully won grants from NEH and NSF this year.
The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Vice-President for Research, and the Provost have continued to commit to funding FAHSS again next year
Academic department/program reviews
Due to budgetary constraints, there were no academic department/program reviews during the 2009-2010 year.
Paul Bingham, Melanie Bonnette, Ora Bouey, Alan Calder, Darren Chase, Shamelle Forbes, Kane Gillespie, Bill Godfrey (co-chair), Norman Goodman (co-chair), Ashley Gosselin-Kdari, Eugene Katz, Joan Kuchner, Daria Semegen, Alan Tucker, Larry Wittie.
Dan Melucci, Jane Yahil