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From Maurie McInnis, President

In a time when it is easy (and understandably so) to be consumed by the national news, it is critical that we remain focused on the work that will ensure our future here at Stony Brook University. With that in mind, I want to provide an update on the efforts of the Financial Sustainability Steering Committee, which began in earnest one month ago.

We now have roughly 120 faculty and staff engaged in our Strategic Budget Initiative across five task forces and the technical support team. In a clear demonstration of the power of partnership, the co-chairs of each task force have built teams that have enthusiastically embraced their charge.

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This has been a difficult and unprecedented year for higher education in general as well as here at Stony Brook.   From a financial perspective, COVID has had a significant impact on our budget through both a meaningful increase in costs as well as dramatic reduction in our overall revenue. These budgetary impacts have been further compounded by reductions in state allocations—a trend that we anticipate for many years into the future.

While we have taken a number of difficult but necessary stop-gap measures to address these challenges, they come nowhere near closing our shortfalls. Stony Brook’s financial challenges are more long-standing and  systemic than COVID. For many years our funding has not kept pace with our peer research institutions or even our own cost of education. 

As a community, we must immediately begin to re-examine our approach through a series of substantive conversations—sharing our best ideas and challenging assumptions to build on the excellence of Stony Brook University—in order to continue to move this great institution forward. 

We are approaching this undertaking in a three phased process:

Phase I: Understanding the Challenge 
In August, this website, “Achieving Financial Sustainability” was launched by sharing detailed information and data to help our community understand the current climate and historical trends that have and will continue to influence our financial position. 

To better understand the funding we receive, our costs, and the budgetary challenges we face, please explore the page on this site entitled "Understanding the Challenge."

Phase 2: Partnering with Purpose
In Phase 2, much of the heavy lifting will happen.  Through a series of listening sessions, discussions, surveys and other means intended to engage the community, the Strategic Budget Initiative (SBI) will begin to identify both short-term operational and longer-term strategic opportunities to improve our financial position.  We will be able to implement some of these opportunities immediately, while more significant initiatives will need to be implemented in the next phase. 

In particular, the goals of the Strategic Budget Initiative during Phase 2 are to:

  • Explore opportunities to strengthen and focus our research endeavors and encourage additional inter-disciplinary collaboration and innovation.
  • Identify ways to more closely integrate the Hospital and clinical practices with our academic campus
  • Analyze our academic programs with a focus on understanding evolving needs and opportunities, aligned with our diversity, equity and inclusion goals.
  • Create opportunities for better alignment, remove unnecessary duplication, and provide best-in-class operational support as one campus.
  • Evaluate ways to better utilize the resources and facilities available on campus and scale the support for the wide array of our cultural and athletic programs .

Detailed information on the SBI is available on the page "Partnering With Purpose."

Phase 3: Implementation
As we start Phase 3 — Building a Strong and Healthy Foundation — it is important to recognize that these first initiatives are not an end unto themselves.  Rather, they serve, along with our flexibility, commitment, and resolve; to remove barriers and to build a strong and healthy foundation that will lead us to financial fitness, sustainability, and ultimately enable us to achieve our strategic objectives.

Visit the VP of Strategic Initiatives website to see an updated list of additional initiatives.

  Note: This website has important information and it will be updated frequently.  Please read it and please  ask questions.

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