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TO: University Senate

FROM: Dennis N. Assanis, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

DATE: April 1, 2013



Growing and rejuvenating faculty excellence is one of the primary objectives of the Provost’s Office. The SUNY2020 legislature provides us with the resources to hire 200 new faculty over a period of five years. In its first year, budget year 2011-12, 46 tenure/tenure-track faculty hires were completed, of which a total of 27 were supported by new resources. Prominent examples are key senior hires that have been made in Energy and Computational Science, six faculty hires within the College of Business, and 16 new faculty hires within the Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Science disciplines.

During 2011-12, we launched the first call for proposals for the interdisciplinary faculty cluster hire program. We received 36 proposals, of which most breach traditional boundaries between engineering, marine and atmospheric sciences, natural and life sciences, the humanities, social sciences, and art. Of these proposals, five were selected for funding, adding 25 faculty over the next few years to address issues in behavioral political economy, photon science with NLSL 2 at BNL, coastal zone management and engineering, smart grid energy, and biomolecular imaging. Searches are underway for eight of these faculty positions. In response to the second call for proposals, we received 37 letters of intent, and are now looking forward to the submission of full proposals by April 5, 2013. For the 2012-13 recruitment season, more than 70 faculty searches are ongoing. If successfully completed, at least 40 of these positions will be supported through new funding.


The Empire Innovation Program (EIP) is a state-funded grant program that supports campus efforts to recruit world-class faculty to SUNY. In March, Stony Brook University submitted the following 10 proposals for the EIP program:

  1. Biomolecular Imaging
  2. Cancer Center
  3. Chemical and Molecular Engineering
  4. Coastal Zone Management & Engineering
  5. Computational Science
  6. Energy Science: Smart Grid
  7. Energy Science: Storage
  8. Medical Informatics and Bio Imaging
  9. Mineral Physics
  10. Photon Science

These proposals are in line with our vision to enhance the excellence of our academic programs and to attract world-class faculty to Stony Brook and to New York. SUNY will notify institutions of funding decisions by the end of April.


Central to the Power of SUNY strategic plan, is the State University of New York’s commitment to serve as a key engine of revitalization for New York State’s economy. One of the many ways in which this commitment is demonstrated is an intentional effort to link SUNY’s academic programs, where possible, to specific workforce needs of the state. The High Needs Program has supported these efforts by providing grant support for those professional programs that connect directly to occupations crucial to the economic vitality of New York, such as engineering, engineering technology and healthcare.
To date, the SUNY High Needs Program has distributed almost $28 million to 28 SUNY campuses, principally to support or expand nursing and engineering programs. The scope of this initiative has been impressive, with over 1,000 students per year added or retained, expansion of LPN to RN programs, and addition of new and innovative engineering programs. Thousands of students have taken part in high needs programs across the state on campuses that otherwise would not have had the academic and physical capacity to enroll them.

Recognizing that Stony Brook’s reputation extends far beyond its regional boundaries, the University will continue to work toward attracting the greatest minds in the world to the campus. It is widely believed that attracting faculty, staff and students from other countries and cultures adds significantly to the economic vitality of Long Island and New York State, and also contributes to the overall cultural richness of our University community. With a commitment to helping build the Long Island economy, SBU will continue to support entrepreneurship and energy innovation and sustainability as part of its vision for the future. Having promoted the launch of more than 40 companies through its high-technology incubators, Stony Brook has a remarkable record of fruitful collaboration with private enterprise.

In February, Stony Brook University submitted the following 12 proposals for the High Needs Program which, if funded, would enable Stony Brook to further contribute to the economic growth in the Long Island region and in New York State:

  1. Accelerated Baccalaureate Nursing Program
  2. Advanced Manufacturing and Design
  3. Civil Engineering
  4. Distance Learning Clinical Laboratory Science
  5. Electrical Engineering Online
  6. Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety
  7. New Track in Energy Technology and Policy in the M.S. Program of Technological Systems Management
  8. Physical Therapy at the Southampton Branch Location
  9. Polysomnographic Technology Program
  10. Quantitative Biology and Biomedicine
  11. Registered Nursing Program
  12. Undergraduate Specializations in Computer Systems

SUNY will notify institutions of funding decisions by the end of April.


Numerous national reports have consistently documented that undergraduate education in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields within U.S. colleges and universities is not adequate to develop and sustain a labor force for our increasing technological economy or scientifically literate individuals who are capable of making decisions concerning critical public policy issues. Institutions of higher education continue to grapple with how to implement sustained, student-centered, evidence-based pedagogy with students from diverse backgrounds in a rapidly-changing world in which science and technology are increasingly important.

Last month, Stony Brook University submitted an undergraduate STEM Education Concept Paper to the AAU to serve as a STEM Project Site. This AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative has provided Stony Brook University faculty and administration with the opportunity to assess current and future projects related to undergraduate STEM education. The University plans to build on its STEM undergraduate programming by instituting various multi-faceted efforts to: support and engage students early in their undergraduate careers, develop courses and materials that target specific barriers to student progress, and train faculty and student instructors in scientific teaching and communication. Accordingly, our submitted project aims to recruit, inspire and retain undergraduate STEM majors by developing and implementing innovative STEM educational practices at Stony Brook University. Stony Brook seeks a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to undergraduate STEM education that will energize and engage the faculty in enhancing learning and teaching for all students, and create a model that will guide undergraduate STEM education initiatives at other AAU institutions. The Stony Brook Undergraduate STEM Education team has the following broad goals for STEM education:

  1. Increase student enrollment and retention, enhance academic performance and attitudes, and increase the number of degrees awarded in STEM majors.
  2. Develop the interactive science communication skills of faculty and teaching assistants to facilitate learning and improve the undergraduate experience in introductory STEM classes.
  3. Encourage, facilitate and grow faculty participation in evidence-based undergraduate STEM education, and enhance the ability of faculty to design and provide effective student-centered learning environments.
  4. Appoint tenure-track faculty in STEM departments whose research and leadership is in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in STEM disciplines.
  5. Incorporate undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and professional staff as full partners in the planning and operation of evidence-based learning environments.
  6. Enhance the ability of faculty to set appropriate learning objectives and assess learning outcomes.
  7. Broaden participation in STEM with particular attention to using new learning environments to impact underrepresented groups.
  8. Develop exemplary learning environments that can act as national models for STEM education.


On Friday, April 5, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. in the Student Activities Center, Ballroom B, the Provost’s Lecture Series is pleased to co-host Stony Brook University’s 18th Annual Leadership Symposium. With the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the School of Social Welfare, we will co-host a lecture by Laurie A. Schreiner, entitled “ Thriving: A New Vision for Student Success.” Laurie A. Schreiner is Chair and Professor in the Department of Doctoral Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University. She was project director on two federal grants from the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) through the US Department of Education; the first focused on successful programming for first-year college students and the second focused on the development of a campus-wide four-year strengths education program to increase student retention and success. Dr. Schreiner’s primary interests include student success and thriving in college, student satisfaction and retention, strengths-based advising and educational practices, Christian higher education, campus climate and sense of community, and the programming needs of first-year students and sophomores.


On Thursday, April 11, 2013, at 5:00 p.m. in the Wang Chapel, Stony Brook University will be hosting an Artists, Authors and Editors reception. This annual exhibition affords SBU faculty artists, authors and editors the opportunity to share the diversity in the depth and breadth of the scientific, scholarly, and creative activity that they help to create on the Stony Brook campus.

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