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Tentative Agenda
University Senate
Wang Center, LH 2
February 6, 2017

I. Approval of tentative agenda
II. Approval of minutes from December, 2016
III. President’s Report (E. Feldman)
IV. Discussion with the President (J. Greiman)
V. Discussion with the Provost (M. Bernstein)
VI. Discussion with the Vice-President for the Health Sciences (K. Kaushansky)
VII. University Senate Survey (R. Kelly)
VIII. Open Access (P. Aceves, S. Koch, M. Ryan, D. Chase, T. Robertazzi)
IX. ToRG (N. Goroff)
X. University Faculty Senate Plenary Report in Old Westbury (F. Walter)
XI. UUP Report (C. Gizzi, K. Moriarty)
XII. Old Business
XIII. New Business

University Senate
December 5, 2016

I. Approval of agenda: approved.

II. Approval of minutes from November 7, 2016: approved.

III. President’s Report (E. Feldman)

  • Post-Election: Regardless of political orientations, it is deeply disturbing to see acts of violence across the country after this past election. The Executive Committee has been talking with Judy Greiman and President Stanley about a unified University response in terms of Stony Brook’s commitment to diversity and safety of all members of the University community. I have named an ad hoc committee of faculty, staff and students to work with the administration to work on a meaningful response. I have encouraged this ad hoc committee to consider specific actions in addition to issuing statements.
  • Open Access: The EC continues to weave a policy under Patricia Aceves’ leadership to be approved by the Senate. The Research and Library Services Committees are close to a final draft. We plan to vote on this policy at the February meeting.
  • Monitoring of Muslim Students: M. Bowman stated that there was a story in Newsday about NYPD undercover agents monitoring Stony Brook Muslim students. J. Sanders: There was an Associate Press report that won the Pulitzer Prize two years ago about NYC undercover activities at Universities throughout this area. There was a very strong response by the then Presidents of Yale University and Harvard. College. I don’t believe that there was a response or statement by our University. S. Stanley: I have no awareness of undercover activities and I have certainly not been consulted by law enforcement about such activities.

IV. Discussion with the President (S. Stanley)

  • Post-Election: At the last meeting, I encourages members of the Senate to exercise their right to vote. What areas might change under a Trump administration? One of the things that some are concerned about is immigration, since Stony Brook has undocumented students on our campus. There is risk to DAKA, the Obama Executive Order that provides protection for a number of those students. I signed a letter that was signed by over 100 other University Presidents strongly urging the new administration not to revoke DAKA because we think it’s a very important protection. Stony Brook’s plan for diversity and inclusion has never been more important. There is also concern about the future of loan programs in higher education. Some in the new administration have called for moving these loans from the Federal government to private lenders. I would not want to see this happen unless there were clear benefits for students and their families. It’s too early to say what would happen with research funding, but I am worried about NSF and NIH budgetary support which, I believe should be decided by scientists not politicians.
    • N. Goodman: My understanding is that the intent of privatizing student loans was to make getting the loans more difficult in two ways. One is to take the government out of it and put them into private banks which will increase the costs to students and secondly to apply the possibility of loans to future earnings which would be a detriment to those studying Liberal Arts.
  • NYS Budget: The SUNY Board of Trustees has submitted a budget proposal for the upcoming legislative session which proposes a modest increase in tuition called the 0, 1, 2, 3 where campuses would have a choice of no tuition increase or a tuition increase of $100, $200 or $300. From Stony Brook’s perspective, if we had the opportunity to ask for a $300 tuition increase, I believe we could support it based on our cost increases. There was also a modest increase in the proposed state allocation, although negotiated pay increases are not covered in state allocations. This might create another $8M of new costs. We are working with our supporters and legislators. We need to develop a more robust budget plan.
  • Robert Megna: Robert Megna has been appointed to a temporary part time appointment by the state to help out in the SUNY POLY ESDC issues. He will continue at Stony Brook part-time. Matt Whelan will be administering Facilities and the Police.
  • Diversity: The first town hall meeting on Diversity was on November 30th. There is another one planned for December 14th at the HSC.
  • Active Shooter: J. Sanders: In response to the shootings at Ohio State last week, students from Stony Brook News called students at Ohio State there to ask what we might learn as to how well prepared the students felt that they in the case of an active shooter. We go two kinds of comments including that by the middle of the semester students forgot about how warning system works. The other one was that they wished each professor had told them in the class room, what to do in case of an emergency - where to go, what to do, should they exit or should they barricade the doors. This is something we may want to talk about for next semester.
  • Heath Care: E. Feldman: The President-Elect Trump administration wants to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act. If this happens, how will this impact SB? S. Stanley: If repealed, the number of patients coming to Stony Brook Medicine who weren’t able to pay would increase. Our ER doesn’t turn people away. Financially, SB would have to absorb those costs. It would make a difference in the quality of care for this region.

V. Discussion with the Provost (M. Bernstein)

  • Distinguished Professorships: Several of our colleagues have been honored with appointment to the Distinguished Professor ranks. These individuals are listed in my report.
  • Course Evaluations: J. Sanders: Among not tenured and non-tenured faculty in the School of Journalism, there is a good deal of anxiety about changes in course and instructor evaluations. The issue is that the period for which students have to get their evaluations in now extend beyond the time the students get their grades so untenured faculty are feeling that they are vulnerable to the aggressiveness of students. Faculty felt they were not told ahead of time at the beginning of the semester about this change. As far as I know, the Senate was not consulted. M. Bernstein: I am aware of the situation and I’ve had some comments about this. As I understand it, last year this change was made in order to enhance the participation rate from our students. The participation rate did go up last year. I also understand that last year there was no statistically significant drop in evaluation rankings. Whatever students may have thought about the grades they were receiving, they didn’t take it out on their instructors. However, I am aware of the concern and it’s worth being vigilant. While I don’t mean to minimize the anxiety among faculty in probationary positions, I do think this is a bit overblown.
  • Young Scholars Program: O. Viro: I want to bring your attention to the Young Scholars Program for local high school students which has existed here since 1995. It was abruptly shut down at the end of April 2016. I have heard good things about the program and I have quite often had students in my class from the program. I’ve tried to investigate it to understand why it was stopped. Reasons included low enrollment, the program not being an effective recruitment tool and SUNY rules that said that all students should pay the same tuition for the same courses. Students in the program paid $200 for the course while regular enrolled SB students pay about $1,500. Students in the program could spread the word about how the benefits of a Stony Brook education. M. Bernstein: This problem just surfaced for me. My understanding is that we are prohibited from discounting courses in the way you describe. This is a System rule not Stony Brook. R. Aller: Over the years I have had many high school students working in my lab and not paying tuition. They come as science scholars. These are not formal courses so they don’t get credit. It’s a differential charge for my expertise. E. Feldman: Oleg raised this over the summer to me and I brought it to the Executive Committee. We met with Interim Provost Taber and discussed this at length. There are certainly some benefits to the Young Scholars Program in terms of community relations but recruitment was not such a valid mission. Rodney Morrison is working on a new development of the program. We are going to see if we can salvage some aspects of the program within the guidelines of the state. The President has offered to track down the documentation of this state-wide mandate which will be useful

VI. University Senate Survey (R. Kelly)

  • The Administrative Review Committee had hoped to give you a formal presentation report today, but the Executive Committee decided that it would be best if we held off the formal report until the February Senate meeting. We analyzed all the data from the report and we found was that there were a number of positive findings within the services, but the academic administration was an area of concern that needed more analysis. For the first time since we have been conducting the survey (about 20 years) there are now five Deans which were flagged in terms of their performance as having negative responses in the survey. We have a threshold of what constitutes positive and negative. The ratings for those Deans went significantly below what they were from the 2013 survey report. We are comparing the data from 2013 to try with the new data.
  • J. Sanders: There is a certain numerical threshold for participation or consideration. In other words you have to have an X number of people participating for you to consider it valid. What does that do to the smaller units such as SoMAS or the SOJ? R. Kelly: The threshold was 30. If we have 30 responses from a unit then we will publish the detailed data for it. For smaller areas less than 30 and we have a comment that we can’t publish the results in order in ensure confidentiality. J. Sanders: Who set the threshold? R. Kelly: The Center for Survey Research. J. Sanders: Can tenured and tenure-track faculty in the departments see it even though it’s not published? R. Kelly: What we do is that if the Administration or the Senate would like to see any more detailed results on any of the particular units that we have looked at in the survey, we will make additional data available and that would include a larger set of comments. It might include more about the score but it wouldn’t be published but it would be made privately available. J. Sanders: Does the Provost get to see the results? R. Kelly: There would have to be a request from the Provost’s Office which would go to the Senate Executive Committee to make a determination on whether that data is provided.

VII. UUP (M. Moriarty)

  • M. Moriarty: I am continuing the “meet and greets” with West Campus departments.
  • UUP is under contract negotiations, but I can’t share any of the details of these confidential negotiations.
  • 2017 is an election year for the chapter.
  • Thanked everyone for contributing to Hats for Heroes for the LI Vets Home which raised $2,358.

VIII. Old Business: no old business.

IX. New Business: no new business.

Meeting adjourned.

Submitted by:

Laurie Cullen

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