CAPRA MEETING MINUTES
November 22, 2013

Meeting: 2:30 pm
Chair: Norm Goodman

Attendees: Dale Deutsch, Sophia Kao, Clark McGrew, Deb Dwyer, Steven Adelson, Shmuel Einav, Gene Katz, Rob Kelly, Maria Ryan, Bill Godfrey
Minutes: Steven Adelson

Subcommittee Reports

Template for Proposals for New Departments/Programs, etc.

  • Information is available on the University and SUNY website. If there are any deviations from the guidelines available when proposals for new programs were submitted, then the drafters may not have read the available guidelines carefully enough. Proposals in the past have occasionally failed to contain important information, requiring them to be resubmitted, thus delaying the process of reviewing them for approval.

  • The guidelines for proposals are presented on these websites as general statements. It would be useful for the subcommittee to provide a model that would be helpful to those interested in developing future proposals for new departments/programs/centers/institutes/schools/colleges.

Strategic Planning, etc.

  • The members of the Strategic Planning subcommittee had read the Strategic Plan that President Stanley created for the University. It was a highly laudable plan, exhibiting  great vision and good ideas for any University to follow, but it was also very “pie in the sky” with little specificity or sense of priorities of its suggested activities to implement the goals.

  • . The subcommittee provided Matthew Whelan with a one-page summary of the subcommittee’s thoughts and suggestions with regard to the Strategic Plan.  The summary included requests for defined values and percentages (i.e. “XX” number of faculty hires will go towards this discipline, and that discipline.).

  • Matthew Whelan said that a Strategic Plan from the highest level, the President, should not, and will not contain those specificities. Those should come from the individual department, though he amended his comments to indicate that it will be the deans and the departments who will be making those specific decisions and establishing those priorities.

  • The subcommittee asked Matthew Whelan the purpose of the Strategic Planning document, whether it was created, at this point in time, simply for the Middle States Accreditation process.  Matthew Whelan responded with a passionate “no.”  “The document is for the community as a whole, and to give the community a direction.”

  • It is the understanding of the subcommittee, and CAPRA as a whole, that a Strategic Plan requires an specification of the trade-offs and priorities required in a situation of limited, finite resources—and which are absent from this document.

  • The subcommittee also wanted to know what the key “enabling disciplines” that are mentioned in the document refer to.  What are these key “enabling disciplines” enabling?   Also, the core skills are poorly defined; the Strategic Plan simply refers to two of them, math and anatomy, but there are numerous others, including critical reasoning, oral and written communication, etc.

  • If the University wants to move forward and succeed with the Middle States Accreditation
    process and useful self-assessment, the new budgeting model and the Strategic Plan need to be integrated since the latter is the tool to carry out the former.  The subcommittee asked Matthew Whelan if it is possible to reach middle ground between the “pie in the sky” Strategic Plan and the priorities and trade-offs it believes to be necessary, and he said that such a middle ground is certainly possible.

  •   Since a Middle States Accreditation advance team is coming during the second week in December, the Strategic Plan needs to be published in its “final, reasonable form” before then. This is essentially a PR document, because it doesn’t include the trade-offs, priorities, and timeline to achieve its laudable goals . What is the plan? What is the timeline?  These will be the focus of the further development of a Campus Strategic Plan.

  • We can take a short term and a long-term view to this Strategic Plan. We, as a committee, are willing to do the “band aid procedure” for this particular document in time for the Middle States Accreditation process.  In the long-term,  however, a more detailed planning document will be required if it is to be useful to guiding the university’s further development.

  •   Maria Ryan reported that the Dental School used the “Power of SUNY” (SUNY’s strategic plan) to guide its own Strategic Plan and was surprised that the President did not use that model in developing Stony Brook’s Campus Strategic Plan.

  • Norm Goodman indicated that President Stanley was familiar with the SUNY strategic planning process because he was a member of its steering committee.

  • 12.The Middle States Accreditation team may well appreciate the laudable goals of this document, but it will still question how this Strategic Plan is going to be accomplished.
  • On Monday, Deb Dwyer will meet with Matthew Whelan and provide him with a revised version of the plan that takes into account the comments and suggestions of this meeting, including:
    • Given the resources available, what are the priorities of the various  activities listed in this Campus Strategic Plan?

    • Based on those priorities, what are the costs and trade-offs that will be required?

    •  At what level will these decisions (from the Strategic Plan) be made?

    •  Without clear understanding the priorities involved, then the provost and the deans cannot reasonably plan for the next several years, nor can department chairs.   In short, there is no way that any level of the University can plan for their future development without a clear understanding of the priorities that underpin the Campus Strategic Plan.

  • The Strategic Plan contains many references to need for excellence of the various academic
    units and the importance of supporting, and even enhancing, their excellence. However, there is no comparable discussion of the departments/programs/ schools/colleges that are not at the level of quality desired.  Consequently, it seemed reasonable that the Campus Strategic Plan should also address the needs of these academic units and how they can be brought up to the desired level of quality in order for Stony Brook to be a comprehensive university of high quality.

 

Respectfully submitted,
Steven Adelson