CAPRA 1/30/09

Attending: Larry Wittie, Irene Soloman, Susan Leiberthal, Kane Gillespie, Joan Kuchner, Daria Semegen, Jane Yahil, Paul Bingham, Alan Calder.

Special guest star: Dan Melucci

1) Presentation by Dan Melucci on the budget situation:

Dan described the process thus far. He began by noting that the president’s Budget Advisory Committee met this fall. The meeting was to review the budget cutting process, and the committee met with Vice Presidents, the Provost, Jim Fiore (Director of Athletics). At this time the group was asked to think about ways to reduce the state budget by 10%. The group met three weeks later to discuss proposals. Dan compiled these into a summary and the Budget Advisory Committee was pleased with the result. Accordingly the president made recommendations (There was a handout, and I have a copy if needed.)
Dan said that he felt the process was fair and open and worked well in that groups were able make reasonable cuts. Particularly, groups were able to move many state expenses to other funds where this was possible. Summary:

  1. Dorm funds. Two major revenue streams- tax dollars and tuition.
  2. Had a centrally imposed hiring freeze, but that was lifted after the cuts were defined. Some groups have imposed their own hiring freeze.
  3. Cuts in other areas- mowing the grass and re-lining the football field less frequently, for example.

Dan noted that $16M was to go back to SUNY in ‘08-09, and $20M in ‘09-10.

In addition, there is to be a cut of about $5M more. Investment returns on ICD deposits are negative and the Research Foundation is not expecting investment returns in near future. $4.7M in “bad news” expected.

The summary is that SBU is “reasonably well positioned.” There is hope that there might be a reduction in the Governor’s cuts, that there may be some Federal stimulus funds, and that the legislature might give spending authority on funds from tuition increase.

Dan mentioned that the Governor described the situation as letting SUNY keep 10% of the tuition money. Dan disagrees with the utility of calling it that- the tuition increases are coupled with an almost equal cut of state support.

Dan did express some concern about the situation. Right now things are in a holding pattern. The expectation is to get through this year, then there will be commitments made to next year. Right now there is no talk of early retirements, lay-offs, or retrenchments. Also, Dan noted that Governor plans to fund the new Union contracts with salary increases scheduled for April.

Specific cuts were discussed. In particular, offices like Affirmative Action, Conferences and Events, Employee Assistance, SBU Manhattan, Southampton (Dean’s salary), Media relations, Gov’t relations are meeting cuts via reduced numbers of positions. This “matrix” will change with the new President.

The impact of cuts on the recruitment of faculty and students was discussed. Dan notes that matters seem to be flat now, but that it might be good to “grow out of this crisis.”  Discussion then flowed into the idea of keeping the number of students fixed, but changing the proportions, eg. more Masters students than Bachelors.

2)  Paul Bingham on the Provost’s Strategic Advisory Group (PSAG) meeting.

Paul presented a handout, and the discussion pretty much went over that. Copies are available. Subcommittees were established to focus on key items:

  1. Methods to assess departments and programs
  2. Southampton
  3. Masters Programs (with an eye toward making money)
  4. Interdisciplinary/Cross collaboration
  5. Undergraduate Education (colleges and DEC)

There was considerable discussion about these, particularly masters programs.

Joan brought up the issue of the relationship between the school of Professional Development and departments. Paul agreed that things like this will have to be clarified.

Joan brought up the issue of Master’s students working for departments. Is this appropriate?

Kane asked about staff representation on the committee? Ans: No!

Joan asked about Health Sciences. Paul: they are not part of it. Joan? What about the interdisciplinary part of the committee?

At this point in the meeting, Paul noted that he should bring these issues back to the committee.

Jane and Joan said they would prepare ~500 words.

Kane noted that the perspective from staff would be useful.

Paul made the point that we are at a unique moment at which there is a good possibility of making some lasting, constructive changes.

Jane brought up the issue of Health Sciences in this context,

  1. Richard Fine is leaving the dean’s position at the same time as President Kenny is leaving.
  2. President Kenny has started a V.P. search for Health Sciences.
  3. Medical School is coming back.

Jane asked Paul to take this information to the committee and push for the inclusion of the academic side of HSC. The point being that the new VP should start in the right direction.

It was noted that the hope is that a new president will be named in May, and there will be a list of VPs ready for the new president.

  1. Daria brought  up the issue of reserving classrooms and presented a handout. The point is that the system works well in the Medical Center, and there is a web page at which one can make reservations.

Joan brought up the question of charging for space? How does this work?