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Minutes # 8 -- February 2, 2010

                                                        FACULTY SENATE MINUTES #8

                                                    February 2, 2010

The eighth meeting of the Faculty Senate 2009-2010 was called to order by Chair Kathleen Lawrence on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 1:15 PM in the Hall of Fame Room, Park Center.

SENATORS AND MEMBERS PRESENT: K. Lawrence, D. Miller, T. Vigars, D. Videto, D. Driscoll, W. Miller, D. Berger, R. Kendrick, M. McGuire, J. Reese, R. Grantham, s. Wilson, O. White, B. Buxton, J. Kim, R. Borden, L. Klotz, K. Pristash, E. McCabe, J. Walkuski, M. Ware, P. Shcroeder, G. Magnanti, A. Bachelder, E. Bitterbaum, M. Prus, G. Sharer, R. Spitzer, G. Clarke, S. Anderson, T. Phillips

SENATORS AND MEMBERS ABSENT:  S. Rayl, D. Harrington, T. Slack, B. Schecter, J. Campanaro, R. Franco, W. Shaut, J. Hendrick, R. Collings, S. Anderson


I  APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES:  There was a motion for approval of the minutes from December 1, 2009 (Approved)


The nomination for the vacancy on the Committee on Committees was approved  Approved)


Chair Lawrence reported on the list of motions which were approved in the Fall of 2009 by the Faculty Senate.  The next items of business included handouts, which she passed around, regarding the President’s Report at the SUNY Faculty Senate Winter 2010 Plenary, FAQ’s for the Revised General Education Program, Statement of the Expanded Executive Committee of the Uuniversity Faculty Senate on the “Proposed Amendment to Board Resolution 98-241: General Education Requirement,”  the measures towards sustainability, budget resources and expenses, and the Amendments to General Education Requirement from Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

The Chair announced that J. Dangler, UUP President, attended the Steering Committee meeting on January 26, 2010, gave a presentation and participated in a discussion regarding the budget situation. There will be an Open Faculty forum in February with J. Dangler being invited to attend.

IV. VICE CHAIR:  D. Miller – No report.

V. TREASURER’S REPORTD. Videto – The Treasurer reported that there is $921.69 in the Faculty Senate Memorial Scholarship Account. She is working on getting PayPal established for convenient online payment.

VI SECRETARY’S REPORT: - T. Vigars –  The Treasurer announced that electronic voting has not been finalized, however, she is collaborating with J. Peluso on it.

VII.  PRESIDENT’S REPORT:   The President gave a brief report.


Student Affairs Committee  - T. Phillips – The committee chair reported on the Senate charge from the Fall 2009 regarding student behavior and alcohol consumption. His committee met with G. Sharer, M. Holland, N. Pasquarello, R Peagler, C. Smith and S. Dangler to discuss the problem and came up with some strategies in dealing with the solution.

Academic Faculty Affairs Committee – R. Collings – No report (absent)

Long-Range Planning Committee – No report (absent)

Educational Policy Committee –  R. Spitzer – No report

Professional Affairs Committee – G. Clarke – No report.


Committee on Committees -  J. Barry, Chair – The Committee on Committees vacancy was read by Secretary Vigars and the nomination was approved. Due to a lack of time the report is appended to the Minutes in its entirety.{See Appendix 1}

College Research Committee – P. Ducey – L. Klotz reported on Faculty Research Proposals (for full time, tenure-track teaching faculty) were due to Dean’s Office on 2/1/2010.  Research Travel Grants (for full time, non-tenured, tenure track teaching faculty and professional staff) are due 2/22/2010.  Outstanding Achievement in Research Award (for full-time tenure track faculty and professionals) nominations are due 3/5/2010.

General Education Committee – J. Hendrick, Chair – No report (absent) –1)  The GE Committee is looking for two one-semester committee replacements for Spring – Education and Social/Behavioral Sciences; 2) The first meeting of the semester is Friday, February 13 in Old Main 127.  The committee will be discussing some new GE course proposals., Critical Thinking Assessment and other GE assessment issues.

X. AREA SENATOR’S REPORTS:  E. McCabe distributed a sign-up sheet for individuals interested in attending Albany, including car pooling arrangements, to voice their support for SUNY Cortland relating to the budget cuts.

XI. SUNY SENATOR’S REPORT – M. Ware gave a report on the proceedings from the Winter Plenary which was held at SUNY Cobleskill on January 28-30. The report and other supporting documents are appended to the Minutes in their entirety. {SEE Appendix 2}

XII. STUDENT SENATOR’S REPORTS:  A. Batchelder gave a brief report.

XIII. OLD BUSINESS: There was no Old Business.

XIV. NEW BUSINESS: There was no New Business.

 The following reports are appended to the minutes in the order they are submitted:

 (1)    Committee on Committee’s report, submitted by J.Barry, Chair.

 (2)    SUNY Senator’s Report and supporting documents, submitted by M. Ware, SUNY Senator.

Respectfully Submitted:

Barbara Kissel

Recording Secretary


                                       Committee on Committees – Report to the Faculty Senate

February 2, 2010

Submitted by J. Barry, Chair

 Item #1

The Committee on Committees recommends the following committee appointment which requires Faculty Senate confirmation: 

College Research Committee, Fine Arts & Humanities – 1-semester sabbatical replacement, Spring 2010 – Ralph Dudgeon

Item #2

A call for nominations has been issued for the following consultative search committee and ballots for contested seats will be issued by Friday, February 5, 2010.  The nominations are noted in red.

 Director of Networking and Telecommunications

  • Four members elected by and from the faculty/professional staff (any combination of academic faculty including librarians, and/or professional staff including management/confidential) – Ralph Carrasquillo, Ingrid Jordak, Ben Patrick, Bruce Perine, Chris Poole, Joe Westbrook
  • One member elected by and from the classified staff within the reporting areas – Lisa Rogers
  • One student member  (SGA will appoint)

 In addition, the Senate shall appoint two additional members, with special consideration of the areas most directly affected by the search.  The appointments are recommended to the Senate by the appropriate vice president.     

Item #3

The ballots on the campus-wide referendum on the Faculty by-laws were distributed last week and are due back by February 5, 2010.  Results will be announced next week.

Respectfully submitted,

Joanne Barry



SUNY Senator’s Report

M, Ware

University Faculty Plenary Report  - SUNY Cobleskill  Jan. 28-30, 2010

The Executive Committee (officers and committee chairs) met in the evening on Jan 28, 2010.  Campus Governance leaders also convened that evening.

The 154th plenary was called to order at 8:30AM at SUNY Cobleskill, by Kenneth O’Brien, our president..  The Senate was welcomed by the local senator, Barbara Brabetz and the college President, Donald Zingale.  The President’s report was the first order of business (appended).  After a photo session, the Sharing of Concerns were held.  I attend the University College sector session – chaired this year by James McElwaine.  The sharing of concerns was mostly focused upon three issues – a pending piece of legislation to create more flexibility in SUNY (Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act); the proposed amendment concerning General Education and the effects of the continuing budget cuts on SUNY.  The sector report will be appended.

After lunch, we were addressed by Pedro Caban, Vice Provost for Diversity and Educational Equity.  He talked about his office’s efforts to increase faculty and student diversity in SUNY.   The Faculty Senate also has had an ad hoc committee on Diversity which was changed to a standing committee during this plenary.

The Interim Provost, David Lavallee, addressed the body next.  It is refreshing to have a Provost who understands SUNY and the faculty.  He plans only to be in this position until fall, however I think we can feel “in good hands” during this period. The new budget officer, Monica Rimai, spoke to the senate also.  She was open and forthcoming about budgetary issues and actually spent much of the time answering questions == especially about issues of differential tuition.

The Chancellor, Nancy Zimpher, came in the late afternoon and responded to the sharing of concerns reports.  She was upbeat and full of energy as always. 

After a brief break, the senate had its plenary dinner at Cobleskill’s ski lodge near campus.  Dr. Zimpher joined us and gave some remarks as well. 

On Saturday the business meeting was held.  Several resolutions were brought forth including the one making the diversity committee a standing committee.  Another was in general support of the “Proposed Amendment to Board Resolution 98-241 General Education Requirement”.  Another was in support of a system-wide research database, and another addressed the budget (once again).

Standing committees reported (reports available upon request—and will be on the SUNY Faculty Senate website soon).  One item of note – the student research poster session scheduled in February has been rescheduled for April 13, 2010, due to a scheduling conflict.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010.
Respectfully submitted,

 Mary Ware, University Faculty Senator

 President’s Report     Winter 2010 Plenary

As I did in the fall, I am reporting on the important issues that have taken the majority of my time since we last met.  These are also the issues that I believe have been of greatest important to the system.

1.     SUNY’s Strategic Planning Process 

This is the undertaking that has involved a series of meetings, involving both the Traveling 200 and the Steering Committee.  We have had four of the scheduled conversations to date: “Ensuring Economic Vitality and the Quality of Life” (HVCC, Oct. 21); “Education Pipeline” (Buffalo, Nov. 4); “Arts and Culture,” (FIT, Dec. 1) and “Diversity in the World.” (Delhi, Jan. 11).  The next scheduled conversation will be on “Energy and Sustainability” at Stony Brook on Feb. 4, which will be followed by “Quality of Place” at Plattsburgh on Feb. 19 and “Health Affairs” on Feb. 25 at Upstate Medical University.  Three additional conversations have been added, two in the NYC area during the first week in March, one focusing on “SUNY and the World” and the other on “Research and Innovation” at Stony Brook, and the last is a capstone as yet unscheduled for early March at the Nanocenter in Albany.

   The emerging unifying theme of the Strategic Plan is still the role of SUNY in the economic revitalization and enhanced quality of life for the citizens of New York.

  • The steering committee of 18, including 6 faculty (2 governance leaders, 2 Distinguished, 2 at large) has met for an hour or two after each of the conversations.
  • While we are only a bit more than half way through the conversations and have had no materials yet generated by the workgroups in support of a number of the themes and structural issues, we have begun to discuss in general terms what is emerging from the process.
  • And in that regard, I urge you to pay close attention to the definitions of the strategic issues, since so many of them, including the unifying theme, are framed by the relationship between current social problems, equity, educational access, health and welfare, and the applicability of our research and innovation, and the University, with its human, material and intellectual resources to address them.

I urge you to learn more about and participate more actively in the emerging Strategic Plan by visiting the website ( and contributing to the dialogues.        

2.     Shared Governance

The Chancellor has appointed a Cabinet of 18 which has met twice and includes both Tina and me.  We are now scheduling regular meetings for the remainder of the academic year, both for the Cabinet and one on one with the Chancellor.  In addition, the Provost has extended himself to meet regularly with me, as have other members of the System Administration.

  • One indication of the Chancellor’s willingness to work effectively with faculty leadership is that when a question was raised about shared governance at the last Cabinet meeting, she immediately suggested a small workgroup to address the issue systematically.  She assigned the task to Tina Good and me to begin the process by drafting a charge.
  • Despite the issues raised by the flawed process that resulted in the recent revision of general education, we have been assured that we will never again be asked to respond to a major initiative in such a short timeframe. That said, I must admit that I had not been briefed on what SUNY was asking in terms of flexibility, an “ask” that resulted in the Governor’s Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Bill. 
  • Board of Trustees. I am pleased to report that the Board is focused and working hard in the best interests of the University.  I base my conclusion on the committee meetings, open Board meetings and Executive sessions I have attended.  The range of activities undertaken by the University system is staggering, almost unimaginable without the seat on the Board.  I am grateful to Joe, Carl and all who worked on our behalf to get us a seat at the table.  Yet, I am also aware that it is not a gift without a price.  I could imagine that there might be times when there could a conflict between my duties to this organization and my sworn duty as a member of the Board.  It hasn’t happened yet, and I will work to make certain that it doesn’t, but it is possible.
  • FCCC. I have included our working relationship with FCCC under “Shared Governance” because I believe we are working in concert to represent all faculty more effectively.  And to do that, we need to make certain that when the organizations have either different interests or take different positions, as occurred with the revision of general education (see below); we do so collegially, with sensitivity and understanding of the other organization’s position.

3.     Budget.  It is obvious that the SUNY budget cuts last fall posed significant challenges to the system, especially to the state-operated campuses.  The Governor’s budget is still being analyzed, but to some, the cut from the new base suffered by SUNY’s state operated campuses was less than it could have been.  Perhaps, but the pain across the system is real, and it will impact both the range of programs we offer and the access to those programs for tens of thousands of students. 

We will have an update on the budget from the new Chief Operating Officer for the University, Monica Rimai during this plenary.  I also expect we will have an informed discussion of the impact, if adopted, of the Governor’s “Public Higher Education Empowerment Act.”  For more on this issue see the attached documents.

While the “flexibility” in that bill will allow SUNY campuses to respond to external issues much more quickly, the central concern appears to be the proposed tuition policies, specifically differential tuition for both campuses and programs.  While there is an oversight mechanism built into the proposal to ensure a degree of equity, numerous issues remain, such as the long-standing tradition of the state government of simply reducing state aid whenever tuition rates have been raised.

There is no guarantee that this pattern would not continue in the future, which would in fact further the process of privatization of public higher education in New York State, as the State divests itself of its financial responsibilities. More importantly, it would divert responsibility from the legislature and the Governor, where it now resides, to our campuses. The issue, as we academicians are fond of saying, is complicated.  For that reason, I will be meeting with Phil Smith, the President of UUP, to make certain that we understand the issues posed by this rather complicated issue. For the UUP reaction to the bill, see          

4.     The SUNY Assessment Initiative. Remember our resolution last year asking for relief from the endless rounds of assessment. Well……..the long and short of it was the formation of a workgroup that met for a day-long session last summer to assess the SAI.  This meeting resulted in a set of recommendations that fundamentally restated SUNY policy about the ongoing need for assessment, but, it concluded, that assessment was now being reinforced by Middle States and other accreditation organizations.  Oversight is now being required periodically for each campus as it goes through its accreditation process, which releases SUNY System Administration from its former policing role.

If the workgroup’s recommendations are accepted by the Board of Trustees, who understand the need for some relief, campuses will no longer be reporting to System about assessment. Instead, the assessment responsibility will reside on each campus, with occasional spot-checks and on-going support for best practices from System Administration. The issue is under further discussion currently with the expectation that the Provost will present a resolution to revise the SUNY Assessment Initiative to the Board for its consideration at the March meeting.

5.     General Education. I trust you are aware of the recent approval by the Board of Trustees of a resolution that revised the SUNY general education program. This resolution came to faculty governance very late (December 14 to be precise), without any indication that it had been drafted and was planned for Board consideration at the January meeting.  After receiving it, I immediately called a phone conference of the Executive Committee, which decided that we should proceed to consider the proposed resolution carefully.  With their approval, I distributed a copy of the resolution widely (all Senators, all CGLs, all members of UFS committees) requesting feedback by first week in January, in time for the Executive Committee to convene to discuss the issue at length. 

We collated the responses from across the system, discussed the issue at length, and decided to support it, with specified understandings clearly stated.  Our colleagues in the FCCC came to a different decision, choosing to not endorse the substance of the proposal because of its arrival at the end of the semester.  We all agreed that the proposal had come to us at a very bad time in our annual schedule to consider carefully any major policy initiative.  The FCCC took the position that it simply did not have sufficient time to evaluate the proposed revision.  Attached to this document is our statement of support, as well as an FAQ sheet we subsequently created and distributed. 

6.     Student Mobility. The resolution that we considered and supported at the fall plenary was approved by the Board at its November meeting, with some excitement.  It’s fair to say that members of the Board have felt that this has been an issue that needed focused attention, which it received through the Joint Committee on Transfer and Articulation under the able co-chairs, Joe Hildreth and Tina Good. 

The work of the Joint Committee resulted in a restatement of system policy, as well as a renewed commitment by the system to facilitate the transfer for all appropriate courses (those normally taken in the first two years) throughout the SUNY system.  To this end, SUNY now has appeals processes in place on every campus to handle any disputed courses (whether the appeal is initiated by a campus or a student).  In addition, System Administration is constructing a new website that will provide students and advisors throughout the system with much more accurate, up-to-date information, and it has mobilized the first of what will be a number of disciplinary groups that are designed to work out the topical outlines for courses normally offered in the first two years of the most popular majors.

The first such group has met and examined the two beginning accounting courses.  Others will be organized soon. Some academic majors (history, for example, with a fairly standard curriculum across all our campuses) offer few problems, while others (such as Communication) pose innumerable issues. The working groups, composed of community college and baccalaureate campus faculty, will identify and propose solutions to the attendant student mobility issues.  As we are asked for representative faculty for these disciplinary groups, I will need to contact you for recommendations.   

Summary: With the appointment of Nancy Zimpher as Chancellor, SUNY began a new era, one in which a Chancellor who offered experience and nationally recognized academic leadership was given the support of the Board of Trustees to guide the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher education.  While there will certainly be differences of opinion between (and among) us, I am convinced that Chancellor Zimpher and her administration are committed to having faculty voices heard very early in decision-making processes.  She, unlike several of her predecessors, needs no education regarding the importance of faculty contributions to solving the most difficult problems facing the university, which is critical since proposed changes in policies and procedures are moving at a quick pace just now.  These decisions are being made in a building far from the classrooms, laboratories, studios, libraries, gyms, and myriad other spaces across our campuses where the real business of the university takes place each and every day.   

Respectfully submitted

Kenneth P. O’Brien


January 20, 2010

 AQs for the Revised General Education Program

Prepared and distributed by the Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate (January 2010)


On January 20, 2010, the SUNY Board of Trustees passed a resolution amending the December 15, 1998 Resolution 98-241 that established a General Education Requirement for every SUNY baccalaureate recipient.  It is important to understand what this new amendment to the original requirement does and what it does not do.  In short, the ONLY change in the general education of the past decade is that colleges can now create general education programs of at least 30 credits (no change) distributed among at least seven of the original ten content areas, which now must include both mathematics and basic communication.  (The “seven of ten” is the change.)

There is no change in the courses that have been approved for general education in each of the ten categories, nor is there any current change in any other mandates relating to the SUNY general education requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1.     Q: When is the amended general education policy effective? 
A: Fall 2010.

2.     Q: Is there flexibility as to the effective date to say Fall 2011? Campuses may have difficulty fully implementing changes by Fall 2010. 
A: The implementation date for the policy remains Fall 2010, but campuses need not change their general education requirements by that date. 

This question reveals an issue that needs to be understood.  In almost all cases, SUNY students are facing several different sets of general education requirements: the SUNY requirement, which has now been amended to give campuses greater flexibility, and campus specific requirements, which are different campus to campus.  And, there is even a difference between community and baccalaureate colleges with only the latter being held to creating a general education program that, at a minimum, incorporates the SUNY requirements.   

3.     Q: How does this policy work in combination with the recently passed policy on Student Mobility? 
A: One possible outcome of the new policy would be to facilitate student mobility by allowing baccalaureate granting schools more flexibility in designing their general education programs.  They could take advantage of the fact that many community college students transfer with more than one course in a designated SUNY general education 

4.     Q: The policy has a statement on providing resources from SUNY for Gen Ed implementation and faculty recognition on our campus. How does this work, and what is the process for receiving the funds? 
A:  This section was part of the original General Education resolution, which did have a special resource pool set aside to assist campuses with implementing the new program.  We know of no such resources set aside in 2010.

5.     Do we have a clear understanding of how many Gen Ed “silos” the community colleges will deliver, or agree to have completed by students prior to graduation from the community college? 
A:  This has not changed from the original informal agreement that was concluded by an exchange of letters in which the community college presidents indicated that students who earned AA and AS degrees would graduate with at least seven of the general education requirements completed

6.     Is the answer to #5 above different depending upon the type of degree a student earns at the community college? 
A:  The agreement remains seven for students graduating with AA and AS degrees and five for students who earn AAS degrees.

7.     Do community colleges have any obligation, or absolute requirement for their students to have completed a certain number of Gen. Ed courses prior to graduation from the community college? 
A:  No, only those required by their specific degree programs.  Many, however, are advised to complete more, especially if they have decided to complete a baccalaureate degree at a SUNY school.  In addition, many community college students far exceed the number of credits needed (30) in general education courses; they are simply not all in the right silos.  Students in the sciences, for example, complete many more than a single course in the Natural Sciences, and so on across the curriculum. 

8.     Is it still true that any four year college can decide to require all 10 of the SUNY general education content areas if the college decides to do so? 
A:  In a word, yes.  In fact, a college could, as many have, add either new fields or additional requirements, such as a second Natural Science or a second foreign language.  Nothing in this revised policy prohibits the continuation of these requirements.  But those “additional” requirements exceed the minima established by SUNY policy.

9.      Is it true that four year colleges will now be free to allow students to “double up” on some silos to allow for more specialization, providing the students complete 30 hours of approved general education credits in at least seven of the SUNY content areas?  
A:  Yes, it’s true, as long as basic communication and mathematics, which are still required, remain among the competencies.  In fact, the flexibility of the amended program would allow for different general education requirements by different Schools on a single campus (such as Sciences, Arts and Letters, Business), each tailored to students in that group of academic majors, as long as each includes at least 30 credits in at least seven of the ten content areas.

10.     Are 4-year SUNY schools required to accept transfer credit for up to 60 credits earned at a 2-year school, and will those transfer credits substitute for the first two-year major requirements of the four-year school? 
A:  In terms of total credits, the answer is yes.  Students who receive an AA or AS degree at a SUNY community college are to be given “junior” status, with every general education course transferring to meet the SUNY general education requirement. 

Beyond that, there are courses taken in academic majors.  The general education courses have been approved by a SUNY-wide faculty committee that has been working for a decade, and hence, the courses transfer seamlessly, carrying with them general education credit.  As mandated in the November, 2009 Board of Trustees Resolution on Student Mobility, a similar process is being developed for those courses in academic majors that are normally offered in the first two years.  Where questions about the transferability of such courses arise, from either sending or receiving institutions or from a student, there are now system-wide appeals processes that empower  university-wide faculty committees to advise the University Provost, who is authorized to make a final decision. 

The goal of the recent resolutions and processes is clear: to make the long-standing SUNY promise of seamless transfer among its colleges and university centers a reality, especially for the thousands of students who begin their college studies at one of SUNY’s community colleges.  

11.     Will SUNY continue to determine whether courses fulfill General Education requirements, or will those decisions be made at the individual campuses? 

A:  With very few exceptions, the work of the last decade has been to ensure that there are recognized standards that carry across all of SUNY, and this aspect of the SUNY general education program will not change.

12.     Now that there's no centralized General Education assessment, isn't the de facto outcome that the campuses can do anything they want?

A:  No, absolutely not.  First, the resolution does not decrease the general education requirement to seven areas. The credit requirement remains 30 credits, but that can now be met in at least seven of the designated content areas, instead of a mandated ten.  These constraints remain in force.  Second, campuses will be held to strict assessment measures by their accreditation bodies.  The assessment criteria of these agencies have increased measurably in the past decade, which is what provides one rationale for the proposed revision of the SUNY Assessment System, which has been a model in the past.   

13.     How does the amended policy affect waivers?

A.     As we understand the issue, campuses have the authority to waive local requirements, but cannot waive state-mandated or SUNY Board policies. However, the original implementation of the general education policy allowed for specific waivers for some specialized programs, such as in Nursing, certain science and technologies and several performing arts.  In this regard, nothing has changed.  Yet, since faculty have more flexibility in designing the general education requirements for their college or program, the need for waivers may have decreased.    Statement of the Expanded Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate on the “Proposed Amendment to Board Resolution 98-241: General Education Requirement”

The Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate was asked by SUNY senior administration to respond in December to the “Proposed Amendment to Board Resolution 98-241: General Education Requirement.”  To meet the request during intersession, which is an almost impossible time for deliberative faculty consultation, the Committee distributed the document widely, to every Faculty Senator, Campus Governance Leader and the membership of every University Faculty Senate committee, seeking their responses to the proposal.  The “process” issue involves more than the awkward time in the academic calendar when the University Faculty Senate leadership received the proposal; coming so late to the process has meant that we have been unable to bring our invaluable on-the-ground experience to this critically important issue.

That said, after analyzing the Proposed Amendment and the responses sent to us from across SUNY, the Expanded Executive Committee endorses the proposal, specifically because of the new degree of flexibility it offers our campuses to implement the SUNY General Education program. 

Our support is based on the following assumptions:

  • The proposal will not require campuses to revise their current general education requirements, but it will allow their faculty to reexamine their general education requirements and revise them in light of the new guidelines, if they so choose.
  • The faculty at each campus is responsible for the structure and delivery of general education at that campus.  The proposal allows faculty greater flexibility to design campus general education programs consistent with, but not limited to, the minimum identified in the SUNY General Education Requirement.
  • Students will continue to complete the general education requirements as specified by the faculty at each baccalaureate degree granting institution, even when those requirements exceed the minimum contained in the revised SUNY General Education Requirement.

In addition, we anticipate that there will be unforeseen issues that will arise during the implementation of this proposal.  To assist with implementation, we are committed to working through shared governance processes with faculty representatives from the Faculty Council of Community Colleges, SUNY administrators, and student representatives to identify and resolve any issues in a collegial, cooperative manner.

Finally, we believe that this revision of Board Resolution 98-241 could be a step toward a more deliberative review of the now ten-year-old SUNY General Education Requirement. 

(January 8, 2010) State of New York | Executive Chamber 
For Immediate Release: January 15, 2010 
Contact: Marissa Shorenstein | | 518.474.8418 | 212.681.4640 
Division of the Budget Contact: Matt Anderson | | 518.473.3885 | 518.248.7310

Sweeping Reform Package Would Provide SUNY and CUNY the Flexibility Needed to Become Centers of Job Creation 
Measures Would Rationalize Tuition Policy; End Overregulation; Improve Accountability  
Governor Paterson: ‘Strengthening the Public Education System Critical to the New Economy’

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that his 2010-11 Executive Budget will include the most significant reforms to the State’s system of public higher education in a generation. The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act will provide the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) the flexibility needed to become centers of job creation. The proposed reforms would enable New York’s public higher education system to become the new model of excellence that better prepares students for the jobs of the future, while also developing the jobs of today. In addition, the measures would foster the type of innovative public-private research and development partnerships that will drive New York’s future prosperity. 
“Currently, Albany micromanages everything from the chalk campuses purchase to the cost of tuition that students pay. This burdensome overregulation threatens the ability of our public higher education systems to promote economic development and successfully adapt to changing educational and fiscal circumstances,” Governor Paterson said. “We must provide our institutions of public higher education with the freedom and flexibility they need to drive development both on campus and off, preparing our students for the New Economy jobs that will propel New York forward.” 
Governor Paterson’s proposal would take politics out of tuition setting and institute a rational policy that makes the cost of public higher education more equitable and predictable for students and families. The reforms would also provide SUNY and CUNY with greater operational independence consistent with their mission so that they can adapt and thrive in an ever-changing innovation economy. The measures would eliminate numerous overregulations on contracting, procurement, land use, and other areas, while still maintaining appropriate accountability and State oversight.  
These reforms would create more than 2,200 faculty positions, 7,000 staff positions, 43,000 construction jobs on SUNY university and medical centers, according to SUNY estimate. They will also expand access to higher education by allowing campuses to accommodate an additional 20,000 students above planned targets. 
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said: “I commend Governor Paterson for his leadership in bringing forward the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act. This legislation harnesses high-impact, zero-cost solutions that will create jobs, build the foundation for tomorrow’s economy and strengthen public higher education – while saving millions of taxpayer dollars.  
“With the unprecedented cooperation and energetic partnership of SUNY and CUNY, we have taken a major step in unleashing the public university sector to achieve the promise of economic growth through top quality education, from community college to research center. This will positively impact every community in the state with the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs and through billions of dollars in local investment.” 
CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said: “We commend Governor Paterson for his exemplary efforts to address flexibility in the financing of public higher education. CUNY is experiencing record student enrollments as we now serve over 260,000 degree-seeking students--the highest level in CUNY’s history and a 7 percent increase over the past year. In addition, 2010 Spring enrollments are up 14 percent. Freshman applications for Fall 2010 are up 10 percent. In these difficult fiscal times, budget flexibility will enable the University to strengthen its responsiveness to the changing needs of students and to the changing economy. In order for New York State to compete effectively nationally and in the global marketplace of careers and ideas, its public higher education systems must have the necessary flexibility and investment to carry out their educational mission. We are pleased to continue working with the Governor and the State Legislature to accomplish that vital goal.”  
Rational Tuition Policy – Ending Tuition Roulette 
Currently, SUNY and CUNY tuition rates are determined by the State budget process. This has created a system in which tuition increases occur almost exclusively to close State budget gaps and offset General Fund support during periods of economic distress – a time when students and their families are least able to afford additional costs.  
Moreover, these long periods between tuition rate increases result in some students completing their degree programs without experiencing a tuition increase, while those attending college during fiscal downturns experience significant tuition hikes. This is an unfair system that many independent experts have derided as “tuition roulette” and makes the cost of education unpredictable for students and families. 
Governor Paterson’s Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act addresses these issues by instituting a rational tuition policy that:

  • Moves tuition outside the State budget process, allowing SUNY and CUNY to receive and disburse revenues from tuition and self-supporting program activities without an appropriation.
  • Authorizes the boards of trustees for SUNY and CUNY to implement a fair, equitable and responsible tuition policy that would provide the universities with the discretion to raise tuition incrementally up to an annual cap of two and one half times the five-year rolling average of the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), making it easier for students and families to anticipate and plan for the true cost of attendance over the course of a degree program.
  • Authorizes the SUNY and CUNY trustees to implement differential tuition rates for programs and campuses within their systems to enhance academic quality, based on the recommendation of the college president and in accordance with specific guidelines promulgated by the trustees.

Ending Overregulation, Ensuring Accountability 
Under the current system, overregulation stifles both SUNY and CUNY’s ability to innovate and compete with peer institutions in other states. Governor Paterson’s proposed reforms would provide SUNY and CUNY with greater operational flexibility regarding the procurement of goods and contractual services; the procurement and financing of construction services; and the lease of campus property. The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act would also:

  • Authorize the lease of real property under the jurisdiction of SUNY to other entities in support of its educational purpose, and the participation in public/private partnerships that would benefit SUNY’s mission, and diversify its revenue streams, subject to approval of a newly created State University Asset Maximization Review Board. This will help encourage greater business opportunities and innovative research partnerships, since many potential private companies are unwilling or unable to wait the months or years it takes for a project to wind its way through the legislative and political process.
  • Remove provisions of law subjecting SUNY and CUNY to pre-approval of contracts by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) in order to streamline the procurement of goods and services, while maintaining provisions requiring the post-audit of such contracts by OSC.
  • Allow post-audit in lieu of pre-audit requirements for Attorney General approval of leases between SUNY and its alumni associations in support of dormitory projects.
  • Prescribe specific semi-annual reporting requirements on revenues and expenditures at a campus-specific level to ensure continued transparency and accountability.

“These are significant measures, but if we are to make New York the center for job creation, research and development in the New Economy, it is critical that we strengthen our public education system,” Governor Paterson added.

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The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act harnesses high-impact, zero-cost solutions that will create jobs, build the foundation for tomorrow’s economy and strengthen public higher education – while saving millions of taxpayer dollars. 

The Act builds on the unprecedented cooperation and energetic partnership of SUNY and CUNY in working with Governor Paterson and the Division of the Budget so as to design a landmark higher education plan to reach each and every community throughout New York State with broad access, high quality and affordability. This is a major step in unleashing the public university sector to achieve the promise of economic growth through top quality public higher education from Community College to Research Center first envisioned for New York decades ago.

With the implementation of the Empowerment and Innovation Act, the State University of New York estimates that over the next ten years, its campuses will be able to help create over 10,000 new jobs and invest over $8.5 billion in capital construction which will support over 43,700 direct and 21,800 indirect construction jobs.


As the State University becomes more responsible for its own finances, its spending on academic pursuits will not only benefit the students that it serves, but also create a larger union workforce (faculty, staff and graduate students) and a better work environment. 

With fullest integration of academic programs from first year at community college to last year of a professional degree, students will be able to maximize opportunities throughout New York’s public higher education systems. This creates a more cost-effective educational environment for both the student as well as for New York taxpayers who support both the State and City Universities and local community colleges.

With greater financial independence and streamlined operations, SUNY and CUNY will be poised to develop strong public-private partnerships, new sources of revenue and enhanced research funds. Most important, the Act will provide the financial stability (through multi-year budget plans) and increased opportunities that our students, employees and taxpayers need.

At a time when the nation is focused on the cost of health care, increased autonomy will also enhance our Academic Health Centers’ abilities to adapt to ever-changing health care delivery methods which are critical to continue their public health care missions.

Research and workforce development initiatives will take advantage of the synergies of multi-campus collaborations and partnerships.  The number of successful partnerships in place which have focused on nanotechnology, biotechnology and energy will be certain to increase and expand into other key areas of research and job creation.


Implementation of a tuition policy under the auspices of the Board of Trustees will provide the financial stability necessary to establish multi-year plans to address campus goals and invest in new faculty hires and academic quality initiatives. 

Land use and public-private partnerships will enable campuses to be entrepreneurial and generate revenues which will enhance the ability to fund current needs and future growth. 

Streamlined operational and procurement practices will translate into saved resources and efficiencies on campus.


Tuition Policy and Financing

  • ·     Allows for differential tuition by campus and program;
  • ·     SUNY Board must adopt tuition policy that is fair, equitable and responsible and that includes guidelines for across the board tuition adjustments, differential tuition and enrollment planning;
  • ·     SUNY Board must adopt out of state enrollment maximum percentage limitations;
  • ·     Invests all tuition, fees and other self-generated revenues in SUNY campuses, students and faculty; and
  • ·     Repeals Education Law §355(8-b), enacted in 2009.

Land Use, Public-Private Partnerships and Construction Fund 

  • ·     Authorizes the SUNY Board to accept gifts of real property;
  • Authorizes SUNY to undertake land leases without special legislation for projects not in conflict with campus missions, subject to approval by a newly chartered State University Asset Maximization Review Board;
  • Authorizes SUNY to enter joint ventures and public private partnerships, subject to approval by the State University Asset Maximization Review Board;
  • Requires land leases include:  MWBE, prevailing wage, union worker rights protection, reverter clauses, and project labor agreements;
  • Allows the State University Construction Fund to use expanded delivery methods, including design/build and construction manager at risk;
  • Eliminates burdensome and duplicative State Comptroller/Attorney General pre-approval of Construction Fund contracts;
  • Waives Construction Fund performance bonds for contracts less than $250,000;
  • Authorizes DASNY (Dormitory Authority) to finance/construct facilities on behalf of State-operated and community college affiliates; and
  • Authorizes DASNY to finance/construct community college dormitories directly on behalf of each community college.

Procurement Efficiencies

  • ·     Eliminates burdensome and duplicative State Comptroller/Attorney General pre-approval of SUNY,CUNY and their Construction Funds contracts;
  • ·     Broadens SUNY access to the Office of General Services centralized contracts for goods and services; and
  • ·     Streamlines approval for residential halls built by SUNY alumni associations.

Operations Efficiencies

  • ·     Provides protection from liability for students participating in clinical internships related to their field of study;
  • ·     Provides an Employee Retirement System (ERS) option for medical, dental and optometric interns; and
  • ·     Aligns SUNY and CUNY to the eight year master planning process applicable to the independent colleges and universities in NYS.

Hospital Reforms

  • ·     Provisions relating to nurse wage rates and pay differentials;
  • ·     Facilitates hospitals participating in joint ventures and managed care to provide health care related services; and
  • ·     Eliminates burdensome and duplicative State Comptroller/Attorney General pre-approval of SUNY hospital contracts, including those involving real property transactions.