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January 2021 Survey Results

The Strategic Budget Initiative (SBI) is predicated on the belief that to successfully meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead requires the active participation and engagement from our faculty and staff. That is certainly true of the hundreds of faculty and staff who have given their time and expertise to support the work of the SBI’s five taskforces and the multitude of working groups currently reviewing hundreds of potential opportunities. For those of you who have not been as directly involved, we wanted to hear from you too.

In December, a survey was sent to all faculty and staff, aimed to gather input from the Stony Brook community about the Strategic Budget Initiative. 2,230 faculty and staff across the institution responded to the survey; over 560 provided additional comments, every one of which has been read and reviewed.

The following provides a summary of the most important findings. To download the full PowerPoint, please see the link at bottom of page.

Respondents Answering 1 or More Questions
Response Rate by Position
The donut chart displays the number of survey respondents who answered 1 or more question by their position at SBU.  452 Tenure/Tenure-track faculty 303 Non-tenure track faculty 804 West campus staff 176 east campus staff 377 Hospital/Long Island Veterans' home 118 Other
The bar chart displays the percentage of survey respondents by positions at SBU.  42% of all Tenure/tenure-track faculty 28% of all West Campus staff 14% of all non-tenure track faculty 10% of all East Campus Staff 5% of all Hospital / Long Island Veterans' Home  Overall, 13% of SBU faculty & staff responded to the survey.
Across campus, 2,230 members of our community answered at least one question of the recent SBI survey . Of those 2,230, 25% provided individual comments to the Steering Committee and task forces. On average, 13% of faculty & staff responded to the survey, with response rates differing between positions. Tenure/tenure-track faculty had the highest response with 42% of all tenure/tenure-track faculty at SBU responding to the survey.
How closely have you followed the development of Stony Brook's Strategic Budget Initiative?
How are you getting information about Stony Brook's budget?
Donut chart shows that 13% of respondents follow SBU's SBI very closely 41% follow somewhat closely 31% follow not very closely 15% follow not closely at all Bar chart displaying resonses to the question "how are you getting information about SBU’s budget?"  91% President's letters on the Strategic Budget Initiative 41% Virtual Campus Conversations 26% Achieving Financial Sustainability website 9% Participation in a SBI working group or task force
A majority of faculty and staff have been following Stony Brook’s Strategic Budget Initiative either very or somewhat closely An overwhelming majority of faculty & staff—91%—are getting information about SBU’s budget from President McInnis’ communications to the SBU community. This survey was conducted before the five taskforce campus conversations at which more than 1,500 participated.
Relative Importance of Opportunities

Each taskforce identified a variety of potential opportunities with the goal to either increase revenue, reduce costs and increase efficiencies, or remove barriers to effective coordination and collaboration. Various working groups are now doing a deeper dive on many of these opportunities to understand the related costs, benefits and their overall viability. Faculty and staff were asked to rate the relative importance of these initiatives.

This diverging bar chart displays responses by proposal in ranked order with the most favorable proposal presented on top  Strengthen SBU's standing as one of the country's leading research institutions Not at all important 1% Not very important 4% Somewhat important 18% Very important 33% Extremely important 44%  Increase graduate education quality, experience, and outcomes to attract the best doctoral candidates to Stony Brook Not at all important 1% Not very important 5% Somewhat important 23% Very important 42% Extremely important 30%  Increase research collaboration across units, schools, and colleges to drive innovation and interdisciplinarity Not at all important 2% Not very important 6% Somewhat important 27% Very important 40% Extremely important 24%  Grow enrollments in existing and new professional graduate programs to increase tuition revenue Not at all important 2% Not very important 6% Somewhat important 28% Very important 39% Extremely important 25%  Incentivize faculty to apply for grants and to seek federal, state, and industry funding for their research to enhance overall research productivity Not at all important 3% Not very important 7% Somewhat important 27% Very important 38% Extremely important 25%  Streamline procedures for the development and approval process for launching new programs at Stony Brook University Not at all important 3% Not very important 11% Somewhat important 32% Very important 34% Extremely important 20%  Explore creative ways to better utilize existing space and facilities campus-wide in order to strengthen research productivity Not at all important 3% Not very important 14% Somewhat important 35% Very important 29% Extremely important 19%  Attract more out-of-state students by the creation of new interdisciplinary undergraduate programs Not at all important 5% Not very important 15% Somewhat important 31% Very important 30% Extremely important 18%  Expand the number of non-degree, professional, and continuing education programs to increase revenues Not at all important 4% Not very important 15% Somewhat important 35% Very important 28% Extremely important 17%

While all the above were viewed as very or extremely important by at least 45% of respondents, strengthening SBU’s standing as research institution and attracting the best doctoral candidates were considered the most important with nearly three quarters of respondents designating them to be at least ‘very important’.

This diverging bar chart displays responses by proposal in ranked order with the most favorable proposal presented on top  Eliminate process redundancies and complexities particularly in Procurement and Human Resources Not at all important 1% Not very important 3% Somewhat important 17% Very important 32% Extremely important 47%  Leverage the power of Stony Brook resources to obtain better deals from outside vendors Not at all important 1% Not very important 6% Somewhat important 27% Very important 40% Extremely important 25%  Improve operation of services across campus to enhance service to the community (e.g., shifting to paperless processes) Not at all important 2% Not very important 7% Somewhat important 27% Very important 37% Extremely important 27%  Develop business partnerships, sponsorship, and branding opportunities to expand revenue opportunities Not at all important 3% Not very important 6% Somewhat important 25% Very important 35% Extremely important 30%  Support our goal of becoming One-Campus by more fully Integrating Stony Brook Medicine with the colleges and schools Not at all important 7% Not very important 14% Somewhat important 31% Very important 26% Extremely important 22%  Rent or lease existing facilities to external groups to generate new revenues Not at all important 5% Not very important 14% Somewhat important 36% Very important 29% Extremely important 15%  Increase coordination and collaboration across East and West campuses through implementing a single technology “identity” (single sign on, etc.) Not at all important 10% Not very important 15% Somewhat important 32% Very important 25% Extremely important 16%  Attract more community members to visit  campus through highlighting our cultural and athletic resources Not at all important 8% Not very important 19% Somewhat important 37% Very important 25% Extremely important 11%

Eliminating process redundancies and complexities is considered a high priority for 79%. Three initiatives each were rated at 65% for high or very high priority: obtaining better deals from outside vendors, enhancing service across the community and developing business partnerships, sponsorship and branding to expand revenue. 48% responded that the goal of becoming “one campus” was either high or very high.

Willingness to Embrace Change

The survey also asked faculty and staff to think about the university’s readiness, willingness and ability to implement change. While for all questions there is a large section of our community that is unsure – the largest answer being “somewhat confident” – with those who are very or completely confident a slightly larger proportion than those who are slightly or not at all confident in our ability to change.  Analysis suggests confidence level is strongly related to the likelihood to recommend SBU to a friend or peer and moderately related to the level of information they have about the Strategic Budget Initiative.

This diverging bar chart displays responses by question in ranked order with the question receiveing the lowest score at the top.  How easy or difficult will it be for faculty/staff in your department or unit to make changes that will help to alleviate the university’s budget problems? Very Difficult 23% Somewhat difficult 49% Somewhat easy 24% Very easy 4%  How confident are you that senior SBU leadership can bring about change that will improve the university’s budget situation? Not at all 11% Slightly 19% Somewhat 38% Very 25% Completely 7%  How confident are you that Stony Brook faculty and staff are willing and able to make the changes needed to improve the university’s budget situation? Not at all 10% Slightly 19% Somewhat 43% Very 23% Completely 6%  How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the efforts of senior SBU leadership to provide information about the current budget problems and attempts to solve them? Very Dissatisfied 6% Somewhat Dissatisfied 16% Somewhat Satisfied 47% Very Satisfied 31%

How likely are you to recommend Stony Brook to a friend or peer?

This bar chart shows the likelihood of respondents to recommend SBU to a friend or peer on a scale from 0 to 10 with  0 as not at all likely and 10 as extremely likely.  1% of respondents answered 0 1% answered 1, 2% answered 2, 2% answered 3, 1% answered 4, 9% answered 5, 6% answered 6, 13% answered 7, 21% answered 8, 14% answered 9, 30% answered 10

Over 90% of respondents rated their likelihood to recommend Stony Brook a ‘5’ or higher. Of the respondents, staff and non-tenure track faculty had the highest affinity for SBU. 

We would like to thank all members of the SBU community for their ongoing participation, input, and effort as we continue to identify both short-term operational and longer-term strategic opportunities to improve our financial position. For more information on the work of the task forces, please click the links below.

Download an accessible PDF of the full PowerPoint.

For more information about the SBI, including task force and working group updates, visit our Partnering with Purpose page.

For more information about the survey data, please contact Rosemaria Martinelli at rosemaria.martinelli@stonybrook.edu