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TO: University Senate

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

DATE: November 5, 2012



The University is committed to ensuring the academic integrity of our program. At the same time, our concern is always for the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. SBU resumed a normal class schedule on Monday, November 5, 2012 at the Stony Brook East and West Campuses, as well as Stony Brook Southampton. Stony Brook Manhattan remains closed at the present time. We recognize there will still be some students who are unable to get to campus. Faculty are asked to make every possible accommodation for students impacted by the hurricane, including not penalizing students for missed class time. We are also asking that no exams be given on Monday, November 5, 2012 or Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

At this time, there is no plan to extend the fall 2012 semester. Following consultation with Deans and Chairs, we are asking that faculty teach all essential content within the existing class time left in the semester. In some cases, review sessions will be eliminated and lectures will be substituted. All course materials will be made available to students through Blackboard and, when appropriate, through Echo360. Stony Brook University is applying to the State for a waiver of contact hours. Priority registration has been postponed until November 7, 2012, and the admissions deadline has been pushed back to November 15, 2012.


It is my pleasure to report that Stony Brook University’s Graduate Student Organization has received the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) President’s Award. This award is bestowed upon an organization or individual that/who has exemplified excellence in the graduate-professional student community. Our GSO received this award at the 26th Annual National Conference of NAGPS that was recently held at Duke University. It is the highest national award that a graduate student government can receive.

NOVEMBER 2012 PROVOST’S LECTURE SERIES On Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. in the Wang Center, Lecture Hall 1, the Provost’s Lecture Series is pleased to host a talk by Thomas Anderson, entitled “Virgilio Piñera Lost in Translations.” Thomas Anderson is the William M. Scholl Professor of Latin American Literature in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame. He is a specialist in the literature, history, and cultures of the Hispanic Caribbean. In 2003, he was awarded the Kellogg Institute’s Faculty Residential Fellowship, which facilitated his research for his first book, Everything in Its Place: The Life and Works of Virgilio Piñera. In his talk, Thomas Anderson will discuss the anxiety-ridden final years of the life of Cuban author, Virgilio Piñera (1912-1979), with a special focus on Piñera's hapless efforts to have his works translated into major European languages. Departing from information gleaned largely from some 100 unpublished letters by Piñera to a life-long friend, Anderson will discuss how translation projects gone awry with prestigious publishing houses such as Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S., Feltrinelli Editore in Italy, and Éditions Gallimard in France, contributed significantly to the Cuban author's legacy of oblivion.


This year, the Veterans Day Ceremony at Stony Brook University, will be held on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. in the Student Activities Center Auditorium. This ceremony is dedicated to the Stony Brook University students, alumni, faculty, staff and families who served, or are currently serving, in the United States Armed Forces, especially those students who have postponed their education to serve in moments of need.


Every ten years, the University is subject to a review of its accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. We are now at the start of that process. It will entail the development of a self-study report, work on which has begun and will continue into the next two academic years, and a visit by an evaluation team in spring 2014. This is an important event in the life of an institution: a time to examine its goals and programs, to obtain advice and validation from peers at other institutions, and to seek public reaffirmation by its regional accrediting agency.

Due to the size, complexity and scope of an institution such as ours, it has been decided that Stony Brook will engage in a comprehensive self-study, which will investigate topics such as the assessment of institutional effectiveness and student learning, the interdisciplinarity of knowledge, the integration of our educational offerings and research activities, the inclusion of diversity and internationalization in our curricula, as well as many other issues of key importance in the development of plans that will shape the future of Stony Brook.

A web site, located at, has been developed to share with all members of our community past Middle States reports so that we can see where we have been, the improvements we have made based on our past accreditation findings, information pertaining to the standards required for MSCHE accreditation, as well as detailed information on the current self-study process. Information on members of the Middle States Planning Committee and Working Groups, the 2013-2014 self-study design plan, and public presentations and events can all be found on the Middle States web site. We will continue to update this site with our progress, and provide a community feedback email address so that there is an opportunity for additional members of the University community to contribute to the self-study.

SBU INTERDISCIPLINARY FACULTY CLUSTER HIRING INITIATIVE I am pleased to announce the results of our first call for proposals for Stony Brook University's Interdisciplinary Faculty Cluster Hiring Initiative. This is an exciting new initiative which will advance the hiring of 100 faculty members over the next five years. It will rejuvenate the intellectual capital of Stony Brook University and expand teaching and research in emerging fields of study that cut across traditional boundaries of academic disciplines.

The interdisciplinary faculty cluster hires are aimed at addressing society’s most vexing challenges through the collaboration of natural, life, and social sciences; technology; medicine; humanities; policy; business; and the arts. The positions are designated for faculty members whose research and teaching interests are interdisciplinary. The goals of this initiative are to strategically place Stony Brook University on the emerging frontiers of research and knowledge and to enhance our ability to shape new fields of discovery, learning and engagement. Committee members worked diligently to review 36 competitive interdisciplinary cluster proposals received this year. The five proposals chosen to be funded were selected because they best demonstrate the following requirements which were identified in the request for proposals:

  1. The most relevant and significant potential impact on Stony Brook University;
  2. A likely impact on the academic world, the state of New York, and the larger community;
  3. The potential interaction and synergy of faculty and their related fields of expertise; and,
  4. The anticipated impact of the proposed hires on undergraduate and graduate education.

The following five proposals, listed in alphabetical order, were chosen to be funded in this inaugural year of the program: Behavioral Political Economy

Behavioral Political Economy studies how individual-level mechanisms, beliefs, and decision-making processes relate to economic decisions. Grounded in the psychology of decision theory and primarily relying on experimentation, it is a bottom-up approach to understanding actual market behavior as opposed to relying on theoretical assumptions of how rational consumers should behave in a global economy. With this new cluster, Stony Brook will become a national leader in behavioral economics, political economy, laboratory experiments, and income inequality. Scientists from the Departments of Political Sciences, Economics, and the College of Business will be part of this cutting-edge, world-class research group, while building on their existing strengths in these areas. This cluster initiative is spearheaded by Dr. Matthew Lebo, Director of Graduate Studies with Stony Brook’s Department of Political Science.

Biomolecular Imaging

Imaging biological molecules at the molecular level is the key step in understanding their function and interactions with other biomolecules, providing a starting point for the design of drugs that bind to a bimolecular target to prevent or treat cancer and infections. With the new faculty who will be hired in the cluster, recent investments in NMR facilities at Stony Brook, and the proximity to the new National Synchrotron Light Source II at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook is poised to become a world leader in imaging of biological materials at the molecular level. Over the next three years, we will recruit five junior faculty whose research interests span a range of imaging modalities, including: NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, ultrahigh resolution light microscopy, cryoelectron microscopy, and positron emission tomography coupled with radiotracer synthesis. Academic appointments for cluster faculty will be based on their areas of research, and will be in the Departments of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacological Sciences, and/or Neurobiology and Behavior. This cluster initiative is spearheaded by Dr. Robert Haltiwanger, Professor and Chair of Stony Brook’s Department of Biochemistry, and Dr. Peter Tonge, Director of Infectious Disease Research, Director of the Translational Experimental Therapeutics Laboratory, and Professor with Stony Brook’s Department of Chemistry.

Coastal Zone Management and Engineering

Stony Brook is well-positioned, both by its geographical location and its existing expertise, to develop a first-rank effort in understanding the coastal zone waters and adjacent land ecosystems, to seek innovative technical solutions to looming problems facing our harbors and coasts, as well as to sustaining the modern marine structures vital to renewable energies. The cluster in coastal zone management and engineering creates a synergy between experts in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), the Departments of Ecology and Evolution, Geosciences, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as new programs in Civil Engineering and Sustainability Studies. The focus of this cluster’s research will combine finding better ways to solve known problems unique to the coastal zone, while simultaneously studying the underlying scientific and sociological causes. This cluster initiative is spearheaded by Dr. Henry Bokuniewicz, Distinguished Service Professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences; Dr. Martin Schoonen, Director, Sustainability Studies Program, Department of Geosciences; Dr. R. Lawrence Swanson, Associate Dean and Director, Waste Reduction and Management Institute; and Dr. Harold Walker, Director, Civil Engineering Program, Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Photon Science at the Joint Photon Science Institute (JPSI)

The cluster hires in photon science will enhance Stony Brooks leading role in the Joint Photon Science Institute (JPSI), a joint Stony Brook University—Brookhaven National Laboratory initiative in photon sciences that will capitalize on the unique capabilities of Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II). Once completed, NLSL-II will be the brightest synchrotron light source in the world and will offer unique possibilities for the study of structure and properties of materials over a broad spectrum of science disciplines. Scientists in the new cluster—which spans research interests in Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Geoscience, Material Science, and Mineral Physics—will be at the forefront of research in materials design and function, energy, and health/drug design. This cluster initiative is spearheaded by Dr. Lazlo Mihaly, Professor and Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy and Dr. John Parise, Distinguished Professor, Department of Geosciences.

Smart Energy Technology

This cluster addresses the broad range of challenges of modern power generation through transmission and distribution, to delivery and consumption. These challenges include issues like networking, cyber security, modeling of power grids, all the way to business and economic aspects of grid systems. This cluster will leverage Stony Brook's existing DoE Smart Grid Demonstration Project (jointly with LIPA and Farmingdale State College), as well as involve the Advanced Energy Center (ARTEC), Center for Wireless Information Technology (CEWIT), and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Technology and Society, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and the College of Business will be brought together to build a world-class research and development (R&D) program in smart energy technology. At Stony Brook, the R&D results may easily be transitioned to industry through the New York State Smart Grid Consortium (NYSSGC) and Stony Brook’s incubators. This cluster initiative is spearheaded by Dr. Erez Zadok, Associate Professor with Stony Brook’s Department of Computer Science. I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the following distinguished faculty who served on the committee to review the many competitive proposals that we received this year, as well as Dr. Axel Drees, Vice Provost for Budget and Planning, who coordinated this effort for the Provost's Office.


  • Mark Aronoff, Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, Stony Brook University, AAAS Fellow.
  • Benjamin Chu, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Stony Brook University, American Physical Society Fellow.
  • Eugene Feinberg, Distinguished Professor of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Stony Brook University, INFORMS Fellow.
  • Paul Grannis, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Emeritus, Stony Brook University, AAAS Fellow.
  • Yusuf Hannun, Professor and Director of Stony Brook Cancer Center, Vice Dean for Cancer Medicine, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, ISI Top 100 highly cited investigators in biology and biochemistry, AAAS Fellow.
  • E. Ann Kaplan, Distinguished Professor and Director of English and Cultural Analysis and Theory, Stony Brook University.
  • Serge Luryi, Committee Co-Chair, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Stony Brook University, American Physical Society Fellow, Optical Society of America Fellow.
  • Emilio Mendez, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook University, Director, Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Laboratory.
  • John Morgan, Director of the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, Stony Brook University, Member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
  • Nancy Tomes, Committee Co-Chair, Professor and Chair of History, Stony Brook University, President, American Association for the History of Medicine.
  • Fred Walter, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, President of the Stony Brook University Senate, Stony Brook University.
  • Eckard Wimmer, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, Stony Brook University, Member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
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