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TO: University Senate

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

DATE: December 3, 2012



The Office of the Provost is pleased to announce the second round call for proposals as part of Stony Brook University’s Interdisciplinary Faculty Cluster Hiring Initiative. This exciting initiative, launched by President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. and Provost Dennis N. Assanis in 2012, is undertaken with the goal to expand teaching and research in emerging fields of study that cut across traditional boundaries of academic disciplines by hiring 100 faculty members by 2016. The goals of the initiative are to strategically place Stony Brook University (SBU) on the emerging frontiers of research and knowledge and to enhance our ability to shape new fields of discovery, learning and engagement. As a result of the first round of this initiative, five clusters with a total of 26 faculty members have been initiated; more details may be found on the Office of the Provost web site at

All Schools and Colleges of Stony Brook University are eligible to submit proposals in response to the second round call for proposals. Collaborations with participating departments from Stony Brook Medicine Schools and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) are welcome with the understanding that appropriate resources for appointments are made available through the collaborating units. There is no limit to the number of proposals a school or college can submit. Interested faculty members should coordinate with their department chair/dean and receive written approval on space and college/school/department budget commitments prior to proposal submission to the Office of the Provost.

A proposal may request junior faculty positions (in cases where there is an established senior leader for this cluster on campus) or a combination involving one senior hire and an appropriate number of associated junior hires. A typical request for a cluster should not exceed 5-6 hires. All positions should be full-time. Junior, tenure-track faculty appointments should be budgeted at either 100% in their tenure home department or joint appointments split 75%-25%. Senior faculty, typically full professors with tenure, may hold joint appointments split 50%-50% or 75%-25% with other SBU and BNL departments. Proposals for single hires will not be considered through this call; instead, such proposals should be part of the annual budget and planning process between the Colleges/Schools and the Office of the Provost.

In addition to faculty hires, proposals may request appropriate start-up packages consisting of equipment and renovations. The proposing school or college must commit space and any additional elements of a start-up package. Specifically, summer support, research assistant support, post-doctoral scholar support, moving costs, and similar items will not be funded by the initiative. Salary for each faculty member hired through this initiative will be provided to the hiring unit, but will revert to the Office of the Provost at the time the faculty member leaves SBU.

For information regarding proposal requirements, please visit the Provost Office web site at: For all proposals responding to the second call, the lead faculty member(s) for the proposal should submit to the Office of the Provost: 1) the executive summary expressing the intent to submit a full proposal pending approval of the Chairs and Deans of collaborating units, no later than Friday, January 18, 2013; and 2) the full proposal, including the cover page with all signatures designating proposal approval by the Chairs and Deans of collaborating units, no later than Friday, April 5, 2013. All proposals should be submitted electronically in PDF format to Ann Ozelis at

The proposals will be reviewed by a faculty committee representing a broad range of disciplines on campus. The committee will make recommendations to the Provost regarding which proposals to fund. Upon consideration of these recommendations and after consultation with the President and other senior administrators, the Provost will make the final selection of new clusters to be initiated for the 2013/14 hiring season.

The Office of the Provost is planning an information session for interested faculty to meet with members of the panel that reviewed the proposals submitted in response to the first round call. This event will be held before letters of intent for second round proposals are due on January 18, 2012 so that we can provide feedback on last year’s review process as well as answer program/selection/review/budgetary questions. The date and location of this event will be announced shortly. Please do not hesitate to contact Vice Provost for Budget and Planning, Axel Drees, at should you have any questions or require any additional information on this exciting initiative.



Recent developments in technology for digital education and the rampant emergence of massively-open online courses (MOOCs) are creating the perception of a game-changing, disruptive educational approach that has the potential to transform both access to education as well as the methods we teach our own students and the world. While many of the AAUs have jumped on the MOOCs bandwagon within the short span of 6 months, and others are actively considering their strategy, many open issues remain. In particular, MOOCS business models differ (profit vs. non-for-profit, contracts signed with institutions vs. individual professors) and range from institutional-level (eg., edX) to entrepreneurial-driven activities (eg., Coursera and Udacity). The approaches for issuing MOOCS-based credentials also vary from issuing none to granting certificates, badges, and even University transfer credits based on assessment of learning.


In order to best position Stony Brook University to take advantage of the MOOCs educational approach, the Provost and Senate of Stony Brook University are charging a joint ad hoc task force to consider the broad spectrum of issues related to MOOCs technology, requisite investment, quality assurance, branding, credentialing, policy and impact on current academic offerings and provide actionable recommendations to formulate our long-term institutional strategy, as well as some specific short-term pursuits we should undertake.

The MOOCS@StonyBrook task force will submit to the Provost a written report with its findings and recommendations, no later than February 28, 2013, which should address the following issues:

  • Is the MOOCS tsunami real or is it another wave of hype that will disappear like others that have come and gone? Should Stony Brook University offer MOOCs at the institutional level? If yes, should we join one of the evolving networks or go at it alone?
  • What investments in technology and delivery are required to produce quality courses? What should be our business model to recoup our investment and sustain the courses financially? Should we sign a contract with a not for profit organization or a for profit organization? What will be the financial impact on our residential campus and our school of professional development?
  • What value will students derive from MOOCS? Should certain credentials (certificates, badges) and/or academic or transfer credits be issued to students taking these courses? How do we ensure quality of content and also avoid widespread cheating and plagiarism on homework assignments?

How will the MOOCs stand-up against and potentially affect traditional degrees?

  • How will MOOCS change the delivery of education to our own students? Should we increase the use of on-line education courses as either a regular part of our curriculum or in some new and supplemental fashion? For instance, can we expand the use of hybrid/blended classes that combine traditional in-classroom teaching with some online teaching to either implement better pedagogy or solve physical challenges in space or time? What are the advantages of an online, interactive learning approach versus a large amphitheater lecture class typical of our introductory courses? Can MOOCS enhance the course offerings in Stony Brook’s operations in Southampton, Manhattan and Korea? What are the opportunities for conducting e-learning based research?
  • Are there possibilities to pursue MOOCS education through the SUNY network to take advantage of systemness? What will be the relationship with the SUNY Learning Network and other SUNY initiatives to solve transfer and pipeline problems?
  • Are the course materials produced for on-line use the property of the faculty or the University? Are the faculty members free to teach MOOCs offered by other Universities?


Eduardo Mendieta - Philosophy (Co-Chair) Wendy Tang - Electrical Engineering (Co-Chair) Patricia Aceves - Faculty Center Nathan Baum - University Libraries Paul Bingham - Biochemistry Henry Bokuniewicz - SOMAS Ken Dill - Laufer Center Paul Edelson - Professional Development Laura Fochtmann - Medicine Bernie Grubbs - Chemistry Tom Hemmick - Physics Keri Hollander - Nursing Aristotle Lekacos - Business Luz Marina-Reyes - Undergraduate student Charilaos Papadopoulos - Graduate student David Paquette - Dental Medicine Marsha Pollard - Associate CAO Mary Remmler – Budget and Finance Lori Scarlatos - Tech and Society Margaret Schedel - cDACT Suzanne Shane – Office of General Counsel Erez Zadok - Computer Science Deborah Zelizer - Health Technology Management

The MOOCS task force will periodically meet with a steering committee appointed by the Provost and composed of key academic administrators (Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Dean of the Graduate School, Vice President for Finance, VP for Human Resources, Senior Counsel, Assistant Provost for Teaching learning and Technology, Department Chairs/Associate Deans). The Steering Committee will provide advice and guidance on key issues such as academic quality and credit transfers; intellectual property and copyright issues; federal and state regulations/requirements and accreditation outside of NYS; budget implications and models; faculty incentives and workload issues; impact on traditional research and teaching activities.


The Office of the Provost is initiating a search for a Dean of University Libraries. The Dean of Libraries is responsible for providing a strategic vision and leading the planning and advancement of the SBU Libraries; leading innovation in the Libraries’ collection and technologies; ensuring sound management; representing the SBU Libraries locally and nationally; and leading philanthropic efforts. As the University increases both intra- and extra-campus research activities in a multitude of disciplines, the incumbent will be expected to lead the libraries in the development of new service and collection models to adapt to the shift in information formats and access technologies. The incumbent is required to partner with others across the campus community to create a new type of 21st century information center in support of research and education. Furthermore, the Dean of Libraries will help establish the collaborative relationships with other campus entities to address future data retention and dissemination challenges related to such issues as digital preservation, intellectual property, scholarly communication, and unique institutionally-created information.


We are committed to attracting the best graduate students to Stony Brook University, and this requires increasing our competitiveness relative to other top research universities. As part of this initiative, we are delighted to announce a $2000 academic year stipend increase for all TAs/GAs, effective early January 2013. Since this is a midyear increase, TAs/GAs will receive $1000 on their base stipend for spring 2013. The minimum academic year TA/GA stipend for 2013-14 will be $17,145. We expect that all graduate programs that currently supplement their TA/GA stipends will continue to do so at the same level, so that all TAs/GAs will receive a full $2000 academic year raise, subject to the $30,000 cap on total graduate student stipend support. This TA/GA stipend increase will be funded from Academic Excellence Fees and SUNY 2020 revenue.

The $2000 increase to our stipend levels will make it easier for Stony Brook programs to attract excellent students. We plan additional increases in future years that will bring our stipend levels directly in line with other public AAUs. In addition to improving our recruitment competitiveness, we anticipate that this stipend increase will help students meet the financial challenges of living on Long Island and promote student success. Along with our faculty initiatives, this investment in our current and future graduate students will help elevate Stony Brook University into the upper tier of public research universities.

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