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TO: University Senate

FROM: Michael A. Bernstein, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

DATE: November 7, 2016

Two Stony Brook University Physics Faculty Elected APS Fellows for Pioneering Research
Two Stony Brook University Professors in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Alexander G. Abanov and Dr. Axel Drees, have been named American Physical Society (APS) Fellows. Made up of scientists nationally and internationally, the APS works to advance and disseminate the knowledge of physics through research, education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. The APS fellowship annual election honors members who have contributed extensively to the physics enterprise, by way of research, leadership, or education. No more than one percent of the 5,000 plus members are elected in a given year.

Professor Abanov began his tenure at Stony Brook in 2000. He has a passion for physics education and teaches physics and math at all levels, from high school to graduate students. Abanov works in theoretical condensed matter physics. He specializes in strongly interacting electron systems, such as quantum hall systems, in which the collective behavior of electrons is essentially determined by quantum effects. Dr. Abanov’s research is characterized by the use of methods of quantum field theory and hydrodynamics in condensed matter theory. The APS nominated him within the Division of Condensed Matter Physics and cited his election as an APS fellow “for pioneering contributions to electronic condensed matter physics using topological and hydrodynamic methods.”

Dr. Axel Drees, current Chair of SBU’s Physics Department, has been at Stony Brook since 1998. He is one of the lead scientists in the PHENIX experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). RHIC is an atom smasher that allows scientists to create and study tiny droplets of quark-gluon plasma, which is believed to have filled the universe until ten millionths of a second after the Big Bang. Axel was nominated by the Division of Nuclear Physics, and the APS cited his election “for having a leading role in the discovery of the suppression of high momentum hadrons and jet quenching in heavy ion collisions at the Relativistic Heavy ion Collider, and his key contributions to the discovery that hadron properties are modified near the transition to the quark-gluon plasma through the measurement of electron-positron pairs.”

Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) Faculty Survey

The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) is a Harvard-based consortium with whom SUNY has negotiated a system-wide contract to conduct a survey of faculty job satisfaction on its campuses in order to improve outcomes in faculty recruitment, development, and retention. This will be a two-year process beginning in early 2017, with year one devoted to data collection, and year two devoted to data analysis and the implementation of strategies to improve the quality of faculty life and services at SBU. Stella Tsirka, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, will serve as the Stony Brook campus liaison to COACHE. For additional information on this initiative, contact Stella at 631-632-4366 or

Fall 2016 Provost’s Lectures

On Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. in the Wang Center, Lecture Hall 2, the Provost’s Lecture Series will host Dr. Jack Dongarra, who will provide “an Overview of High Performance Computing and Challenges for the Future.” Dr. Dongarra is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee. He also holds the title of Distinguished Research Staff in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dongarra specializes in numerical algorithms in linear algebra, parallel computing, programming methodology, and tools for parallel computers. In this talk, he will examine how high performance computing has changed over the last ten years, and discuss future trends, namely that a new generation of software libraries and algorithms are needed for the effective and reliable use of dynamic, distributed and parallel environments. This lecture is co-sponsored with the Institute for Advanced Computational Science Student Association and the Graduate Student Organization.

The Provost’s Lecture Series was pleased to host Stanley and Eddie Bergman on Thursday, November 3, 2016. Stanley Bergman is CEO of Henry Schein Inc., the world’s largest provider of healthcare products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners. Eddie Bergman is President of a tourism consulting firm, Innovative Development Services, and Co-Founder of Miracle Corners of the World, a NGO devoted to empowering youth to make positive change in their communities. Protegrity Advisors’ Chairman, Joseph Campolo, moderated a lively conversation between Stanley and Eddie Bergman in their talk, entitled “Models of Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship.” This event was part of the Entrepreneur’s Edge series, which showcases successful innovators from Long Island. For more information, please visit This talk was co-sponsored with Stony Brook University’s College of Business, School of Dental Medicine, School of Social Welfare, and Office for the Integration of Research, Education and Professional Development.

The Provost’s Lecture Series hosted Dr. Leonard Cassuto on Tuesday, October 25, 2016. Dr. Cassuto is a Professor of English and American Studies at Fordham University. He has written and spoken extensively on the history and future of higher education in the United States, including a monthly column on graduate education for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Dr. Cassuto is also the author or editor of eight books, including the recent The Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We Can Fix It. He is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in venues such as the The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In his talk, entitled “Changing Graduate Education for the 21stCentury,” Dr. Cassuto offered an analysis of the national state of graduate education. He explained how our educational institutions have developed, examined the assumptions that perpetuate the current problems, and suggested concrete solutions to redefine the preparation of graduate students and reinvigorate the public role of graduate education in the United States.
The Provost’s Lecture Series was pleased to host L. Scott Lissner on Wednesday, October 19, 2016. Lissner is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator and 504 Compliance Officer for Ohio State University, where he is also an Associate of the John Glenn School of Public Policy. Lissner, President Elect of the Association on Higher Education and Disability,
gave a lecture entitled “Disability Mentoring Day: Access and Innovation.” Setting the context with a discussion of the ADA’s intent, Lissner talked about accommodation as a problem-solving process that often leads to creative solutions with broad applications. A panel discussion with Brooke Ellison and Chelsea Marks followed the lecture.

The Provost’s Lecture Series was pleased to host The Guerrilla Girls on Thursday, October 13, 2016. The Guerrilla Girls are a collective of feminist activist artists who have created more than 100 street projects, posters and stickers all over the world. Appearing only in gorilla masks and assuming the names of dead women artists, the group has remained anonymous for more than three decades, while revealing shocking truths about sexism and prejudice in the art world and beyond. In this lively multimedia presentation, entitled “Not Ready to Make Nice: Guerrilla Girls in the Art World and Beyond,” two of the Guerrilla Girls discussed the collective’s ongoing work, which has taken on everything from the discrimination of women film directors to the environmental crisis.

Monica Bugallo Appointed Inaugural Faculty Director of the WISE Honors Program

Dr. Monica Bugallo, an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been appointed as the inaugural Faculty Director of the Wise Honors Program. Working hand-in-hand with WISE Director, Carrie Ann Miller Engel, the aim of this new role will be to help support WISE’s strong commitment to STEM diversity by increasing the participation of women, particularly from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. Bugallo will also work toward growing resources through external grants and donations, as well as strengthening faculty support for the program. As Faculty Director, she will build stronger connections with faculty across many disciplines including, but not limited to, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and the School of Medicine. Bugallo has received numerous research and education awards, including the prestigious National Science Foundation Career Award, the IEEE Outstanding Young Engineer Award, and the IEEE Athanasios Papoulis Award.

2016 Academic Achievement Ceremony

On Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for Leadership and Service, Lower Level Benedict College, H Quad, SBU will host its annual Academic Achievement Ceremony to honor students who have demonstrated extraordinary competence, and have excelled in their academic and extracurricular pursuits here at Stony Brook; students who achieved a 4.0 GPA in the spring 2016 semester and who hold at least a 3.85 cumulative GPA. Many of the students who will be recognized at this event, in addition to academic demands, have jobs or familial responsibilities, and are involved in innovative research, creative activities and service.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) Update

The New York State Board of Regents has authorized higher education institutions in the state to join the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). SARA is an agreement among its member states and U.S. districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards and policies for cross-state offering of postsecondary online/distance education courses and programs. SARA establishes a state-level reciprocity process that will support the nation in its efforts to increase the educational attainment of its people by making state authorization more efficient, effective, and uniform in regard to necessary and reasonable standards of practice that could span states. SARA makes it more effective in dealing with quality and integrity issues that have arisen in some online/distance education offerings. SARA also provides a less costly process for states and institutions and, thereby, the students they serve.

At present in New York State, there is no alternative to each higher education institution separately pursuing the needed approvals (state authorization) in each state and territory in which it enrolls students. Consequently, to achieve compliance with varying state laws, each postsecondary institution in New York State participating in cross-state online/distance education must identify the governmental agencies charged to oversee postsecondary educational delivery within the borders of the country’s 54 states, territories and districts in which they enroll students, contact those agencies, and determine and comply with their highly varying requirements. This process is inefficient, costly and not effective in supporting access to high-quality online/distance education throughout the United States. If we want online/distance education to play a substantial role in increasing postsecondary attainment in the United States, we need a better approach. The current process is too varied among the states to ensure consistent consumer protection, too cumbersome and expensive for institutions that seek to provide education across state borders, and too fragmented to support the U.S. architecture for quality assurance in higher education—the quality assurance triad of accrediting agencies, the federal government, and the states.
SARA will provide many benefits to New York State, including: expanding educational offerings to state residents; allowing NYS to focus on our home-state institutions rather than on institutions from many other states; allowing us to maintain state regulation of on-the-ground instruction offered by out-of-state institutions; and reducing costs for NYS institutions engaged in cross-state online/distance education agreements, lessening the need to raise fees and, thereby, supporting affordability. SARA will benefit higher education institutions in NYS by: enabling more efficient provision of online/distance education to a broader market; reducing the number of other-state regulations to continually monitor and track; reducing the number of applications and individual state requirements; and reducing costs (applications, surety bonds, agency licenses, staff payroll and time), which will potentially lower fees for students. Furthermore, SARA will benefit students by: expanding access to educational offerings; has the potential to lead to the better resolution of complaints from students in SARA states; reducing a rapidly growing institutional cost that is passed down to students; and should enhance the overall quality of online/distance education offered within NYS.

The institutional application process to participate in SARA will open in December 2016.
Wendy Tang, Associate Provost for Online Education, will work with me to submit an application on behalf of Stony Brook University. If approved, the campus is tentatively expected to officially be in SARA at the end of January 2017.

2016-2017 Stony Brook Online Learning Development (S-BOLD) Initiative

The President and Provost of Stony Brook University, in support of the continuing evolution of educational excellence for our students and beyond, have established the Stony Brook Online Learning Development (S-BOLD) Initiative, funded initially for four years at a level of $250,000 per year. The goals of this Initiative are to:

  • leverage online channels and technology to enhance and support SBU’s educational mission;
  • improve the quality, flexibility and accessibility of an SBU education to better serve the needs of residential, commuter and non-traditional students;
  • emerge as a leader in pedagogical innovation to enhance teaching/learning outcomes; and
  • enhance SBU’s brand and global reach.

A successful proposal must have significant curricular impact and advance understanding of effective practices for online learning. Furthermore, in 2016-2017, this Initiative will target bottleneck courses that hinder degree completion and time to graduation, as well as courses that contribute to innovative online education with enrollment of 200 or more students.
For additional information on the application process and requirements, please access the 2016-2017 RFP at: Faculty/staff are invited to be reviewers for the Letters of Intent (LOI) for S-BOLD. The timeline of the review process is:

  • Monday, 11.21.16 - Letter of Intent (LOI) Due;
  • Tuesday, 11.22.16 - Reviewers will be given access to the submitted LOIs;
  • Tuesday, 11.22.16 through Friday, 12.2.16 - Independent review by reviewers; and
  • Monday, 12.5.16 through 12.12.16 - Each reviewer will attend one panel meeting (please use following poll to indicate availability:

If you should have any questions, please contact Dr. Wendy Tang, Associate Provost for Online Education, at 631-632-7012 or

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