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Tentative Agenda
A&S Senate Meeting
April 18th, 2016

3:30 President’s Report

3:40 Change President’s Term, Discussion and Vote

3: 50 New department of creative writing and film

4:00 Fotis Sotiropoulos- Dean of Engineering

4:15 - Discussion of CAS Strategic Plan


A&S Senate Meeting
March 21, 2016

I.  Approval of agenda:  Approved with corrections ??

II.  Approval of minutes from February 23, 2016:  approved.

III.  President’s Report (T. Sears)

  • The A&S Senate has a valuable role in running the College.
  • There are still openings on Standing Committees for the spring election.  Please self-nominate or nominate a colleague.

F. Walter:  Is there any limit to how many people from one department?   (The by-laws specify committee composition by area, e.g. Natural Sciences and Math, Social and Behavioral Sciences, but not by department.)
T. Sears:  Don’t think there is anything in the By-Laws.

  • The posts for Vice President and Secretary are open.

IV.  Dean’s Report (S. Kopp)

  • The CAS awards and recognition ceremony will be on April 12th at 4:00 p.m.  This is the second year we have done this.  At that ceremony we will be recognizing winners of this years teaching awards, staff excellence, outreach awards, etc.  Student picked the finalists.

Developing a Strategic plan for the College:

  • We have not had a strategic plan and when I arrived I was given a strategic plan but what it really looked like was a set of 27 strategic plans for each department.
  • We need a planning document for the College as a whole. Let me walk you through terms as I know them in developing a strategic plan.  Any strategic plan needs to start with some high level values and statements.  What we want to become?  Need to start with some broad goals.  Even broad goals aren’t going to tell you resources and so you need to have something that is more measurable.  What are the measurable outcomes:  objectives.   If you have objectives you can start thinking about a detailed timeline.  We have a strategic plan for the University.  The President’s plan articulates a broad vision.
  • Values:   We received initial input from the community, formed focus groups among faculty and staff, and held town hall meetings about what are we trying to be as a college.   This was not enough to write something so I asked a faculty group to come together and write a high level values type statement about the College.  There were three words that became really important to that faculty group.  They came across “core college” quite a bit.  We are the one non-professional educational unit within the campus.  Our educational model is about the liberal education.  We are a core college at a public research university.  We serve a pubic mission.
  • Wrote a mission statement with three important identities:  research, core and public.
  • What do we do to articulate narrowly defined goals?   Values.
  • Goal 1:  Academic Programs at the undergraduate/graduate level
  • Goal 2:  Renew our commitment to excellence in research and scholarship throughout the academic enterprise.
  • Goal 3:  Increase access to Stony Brook University.
  • Goal 4:  Global Campus and developing partnerships with international institutions.
  • Goal 5:  Facilities, IT and Infrastructure.
  • Goal 6:  Economic Growth.
  • This is an opportunity to start brainstorming together.  Need everyone’s input.
  • Measurable outcomes:
  • Goal 1:  Undergraduate and graduate programs.  Possible objectives would be online courses, a pre-college institute to expand pipeline and access.  More resources for graduate fellowships.
  • Goal 2:  Support research and scholarship.  This last year we increased the number of funds available through the FAHSS grants, we did a lot of work to support the Humanities Institute (had a key hire) and we did a lot of work to re-organize the dean’s office.
  • Goal 3:  Diversity, access and success.  Possible objectives would be recruitment, scholarships for under-represented groups, joint hires, postdoctoral programs called the presidential fellows program, etc.

S. Lee:    Who are the stakeholders?
S. Kopp:  The stakeholders are faculty, students, other units here on campus, and the outside community.
F. Walter:  Can we assume that there is no new money, this is zero percent gain and that if we start something new we have to take it from someplace else?
S. Kopp:  The reason I talked about stakeholders including groups outside the faculty, staff and students of the college is because I want outside community and alumni to be interested and vested in whatever strategic plan we come up with because at some point we may be asking them for help.  
N. Goodman:  Sam’s plan is at 60,000 ft and the Provost’s plan was at 30,000 ft.  None of which got us to a statement which a strategic plan must do.  We’ve never had enough money to do everything.  We have to have a strategic plan which schedules what we are going to do in what period of time with what resources.  President Kenny had a set five-year plan.  
S. Kopp:  What I am looking for now is to fill in the objectives and then I will come back say, with 52 objectives and we have enough money with current resources to do 42.  If we have some reasonable growth in philanthropy we can get to 49 but not all 52.


  • When I arrived I was faced with a $6 Mil annual deficit.  Have had three years of budget cuts.  Some of it has to do with over ?? commitments and maybe some optimism on the part of administrators.  When we have done our budgeting in the past, there was no accounting of start-up packages.  In the last year I have been focusing on trying to understand what our true costs are and controlling some number of costs.   Had to prioritize on a strategic number of hires that were absolute commitments. 

In 2015/16:

  • Control costs on teaching.
  • Prioritize hiring on past commitments.
  • $700,000 drop in IDC coming to the College.  Emblematic of a drop in overall federal sponsored research in the College.
  • Had to take other funds for start-up packages.
  • Coordinating teaching/course service capacity.
  • Trying to tie the amount of adjunct instruction to the number of faculty that are going to be away in a given year.  Enabling more faculty research.
  • Have to be conscientious about aligning a lot of our hires with enrollments.
  • Going forward – external revenues essential to support base.
  • Priorities:  Graduate student funding, merit pay increases to base salaries and diversity hires.

Budget forecast:

  • Largest budget deficit in 2014.  Growing at a pace of expense far beyond what was allocated to us.  Was not sustainable. 
  • Costs came down close to $4 Mil. Still leaves us with a sizeable gap. 
  • How do we get revenues to come up to that point where it meets that size of expense?  Philanthropy to support the size of our programs.
  • $4.5 Mil deficit.

N. Goodman:  What are your priorities because you don’t have all the resources you want to do everything you want to do?  What is missing so far are the programmatic statements.
S. Kopp:  this is not a strategic plan.  If we are not to meet those kinds of revenue projections that I am putting in here then I would have to make strategic decisions.
All departments are in a deficit by a certain amount, I tried to make those deficits reasonable.  There are some departments that were literally $700,000 in debt.  Made their budget manageable. 

V.  Research Funding Restrictions (D. Conover)

T. Sears:  What particularly raised people’s attention regarding paying for your own computers and research funding was Ken Kaushansky’s presentation at a University Senate meeting that faculty from the East Campus gets $5,000 per year for computers.  It would be nice not to have to buy it out of research grant when we use the computer for teaching.
D. Conover:  It used to be, until a recent OMB (Office of Management and Budget) change in the guidelines came about, released its rules and regulations that govern what is allowable to be charged to the Federal Government when it comes to research.  Prior to a year ago it used to be that you could only charge a computer to a grant if it was used 100% dedicated to that grant.  They relaxed that in the new set of guidelines.  Now if it is only partially used for the grant you can charge that partial cost but you must have an alternative to pay for the remainder.  The conditions under which it’s acceptable to charge an entire computer to a grant would have to be clearly stated by the investigator.  Need a justification statement from the PI.
R. Aller:  Suppose you don’t work a 8 hour day.  Suppose you work a 12 hour day?
D. Conover:  It is the fraction of effort.  This is not based on a 40 hour work week.  It’s the computers time not your time.  What fraction of the use of the computer will be on the grant.  The July 2015 newsletter partially discussed the change in the regulations.
F. Walter:  I get a lot of one-year grants.  Does the Government want it back after one year? 
D. Conover:  I don’t know that they do.  Let’s say you have a three year grant and you are buying a computer that will be dedicated to that grant if it is 100% used for those three years, that’s what they care about.  If after the grant is over and you start using it for something else, I don’t think that would be an issue.
F. Walter:  I buy software too with only a one year license.  I had an issue with your office last year.  They said you can’t buy this on this grant because the grant doesn’t cover the same time scale as the license.  They are misaligned by a month or so.  
D. Conover:  You can only charge to the grant a period of time that overlaps with that grant.
F. Walter:  The biggest issue is that we are more or less required to use our laptops as part of our teaching.  The University should be supporting us with our teaching.
D. Teaney:  Our department gives a certain amount for a laptop.  Can I use this for part of the grant?
D. Conover:  Yes you can do that.  The other portion can come from any source.  It could be state, SBF, etc.   One thing to keep in mind that people don’t take advantage of enough, if the department permits it, you can charge some of you academic year salary to a grant if you are working on that grant during the academic year.  The funds recovered from the award would go into an IFR account and then you could use those funds to buy a computer.  
T. Sears:  Is that account taxed by your office?
D. Conover: No it is not taxed by my office.  It becomes state money at that point.  Some departments have arrangements where a part of that money would be available to the faculty and part of it would go to the department.  As far as federal awards go, it is permissible to charge whatever fraction of the academic year that you work on research to the grant that money is reimbursed to the university then it is up to the department primarily to decide how it gets used subject to state purchasing guidelines.
S. Routh from D. Conover’s Office:   If the share is state funds you need to arrange a swap because if you try to split the initial purchase or if you are going to buy it initially, partially charge it 80/20 when you go into Wolfmart you need to have two like accounts.  You couldn’t have a research account and a state account.  You would have to make some sort of arrangement to swap.
D. Conover:   Would be able to split between two grants.
D. Aller:  Been a steady increase in the requirement to justify not just a computer purchase but virtually every purchase we are making off a grant.  This is similar to the way it was years ago.  I’m concerned that this sort of retrograde administrative oversight of every grant to look at all the minutia of how you spend the money.  I think it need to be changed.
D. Conover:  We are audited on a regular basis.
S. Routh:  We have to demonstrate that we have addressed the questions and the responses have to be documented.
R. Aller:  One of the things that affects responsibility to do research are support Services at the University.  That includes things like shipping, travel and so forth.  Not the travel itself but the processing of forms.  The delivery services have really declined.  Shipped items are sitting in Central Services for days.  There is a decline in quality of fundamental services.  
D. Conover:  We are not directly involved in shipping.  I’ll look into that.  
R. Aller:  I was told there are two people who do travel vouchers.
D. Teaney:  Can you elaborate on time off from teaching?
S. Kopp:  For major grants which have often significant complexity, we would provide course release for the PI of that grant.  
D. Teaney:  What is the procedure?
S. Kopp:  Speak with Peter Stephens.
D. Conover:  We are launching an Office of Proposal Development to help faculty specifically with those type of proposals particularly if the costs cross a college.
T. Sears:  We would like a by-law change for the length of term of President to serve a two-year term instead of a one-year term.
N. Goodman:  Do you realize it is a six-year commitment?

Meeting Adjourned.

Submitted by:

Laurie Cullen, Secretary