EDUCATIONAL POLICY COUNCIL
April 26, 2002


Present: V. Aceto, J. Bartow, C. Bischoff, S. Coon, C. D'Elia, M. Dougherty, F. Hauser, R. Highfield, S. B. Kim, J. Logan, M. Masson, D. McCaffrey, J. Pipkin, R. M. Range, C. Santiago, B. Shadrick, S. Sherman

Guests: J. Mascarenhas, J. Welch

Professor McCaffrey called the meeting to order at 1:32 p.m.

1. President's Report
Provost Santiago reported for the President. He announced the creation of the Jewish Studies Center. A University medallion was given to Dr. Itamar Rabinovich, President of Tel Aviv University, a former ambassador to the United States from Israel. Funding has been secured for an endowed professorship, lecture and student support.

There is no official news on the State budget, the Provost said. Tax revenues are down. There is a no growth budget taking into account that the negotiated salary increases will not be in the budget.

The Provost announced that there would be speakers at the individual Commencement ceremonies. Empire Commons is full. The construction on the Life Sciences Building might be completed by Summer 2003.

2. New Business

  1. Letter of Intent for Proposed M.S. Program in Forensic Biology. Professor Mascarenhas noted that there is already a forensic track in biology. There is a critical need for this by organizations such as the New York State Police. Two main labs have already been targeted for this program. The major components of the program already exist. Twelve students will be admitted into this program, he said.

Professor McCaffrey noted that the additional costs of the program, given that major components of the program already are in place. Additional lab sections are needed, said Professor Mascarenhas. Because of the attacks on September 11 and the subsequent legislative and administrative charges, the demand for forensics activities is especially large.

The Director for Outreach has been working with Professor Mascarenhas on a major grant with the NYS Police. While the University did not obtain the grant at present; we are assessing why the grant was not approved, and what can be done to assure funding in the future. The East Campus does provide two related labs. There is a lot of promise in the forensic area.

The Chemistry Department has a forensic program at the Bachelor level, said Professor Logan. How do all these programs go together? The Provost said that interests in the forensic areas from various departments are rising, although a master plan for the area does not yet exist. Departments are looking at it from different disciplinary perspectives and needs. Professor Mascarenhas noted that there are not many comprehensive forensic programs in the country, and ours is the only one in the northeast.

The paradigm of this University is interdisciplinary studies, said Professor Aceto, and perhaps there should be a program of institutions in forensics. We should think about a research center that will bring all these disciplines together. Provost Santiago noted that we currently do not have a core forensic center, and that maybe some day we need to move toward that. It is a matter of knowing what is happening at the University, Professor Aceto said, and we need to get people active in the area talking to each other.

It seems there is a need for the University to move in this direction, said Professor Range. The electives to the MS Program are business courses and new lab courses; all of these are in existence. The electives are making it a more useful program to the students, said Professor Mascarenhas, and adds 11 credits.

Professor Mascarenhas noted that the department would obtain external funds. There potentially is a lot of funding in the criminal justice field, such as through the State Police. Provost Santiago noted that there is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State Police. It is very general. New students will bring in revenue to the particular units. These are academic programs and we have to have a structure to support them. The future for those in this field has to be at the Ph.D. level, said Professor Mascarenhas. Albany would like to train professionals in the area to think like scientists. We have eight labs and there is student interest in internships.

Professor Kim asked about the students in the MS in Forensic Molecular Biology program and the difference between the two programs other than the new courses. The students will have finished the program by the time the new program starts, Professor Mascarenhas said. Once the new program is begun, the last program will be phased out. The proposed program is a much better program than the existing track. Professor Hauser also noted that this would be a better program.

The program was moved and seconded to forward the MS in Forensic Biology to Senate. The vote was unanimous.

  1. Budgetary Issues Related to Forensics Emphasis for B.S. Degree in Chemistry. Professor McCaffrey noted that the Undergraduate Academic Council (UAC), which reviewed the academic implications for this program, forwarded the proposal to EPC for review of resource implications. The Executive Committee approved forwarding the program for discussion at the May Senate Meeting.

Professor Welch explained that the lab infrastructure for chemistry has to be developed and maintained, and chemistry does not have easy access for funds for the infrastructure. Labs need to be kept timely, current and relevant for our students. There are not a lot of students being trained in forensic chemistry. We are trying to enrich the overall lab infrastructure. We need to make an investment in instrumentation. We are seeking funds for the instructional infrastructure, Professor Welch said. He noted that space could be more expensive than the instrumentation.

When the Executive Committee discussed this program, Professor McCaffrey reported, everyone agreed that there is a need for expansion of the instrumentation so funding is needed. Vice President D'Elia believes this program will be funded, although the funding is not yet committed. He met with the Department of Justice and we are ahead of other institutions with these programs. Students will bring in tuition revenue. He expressed his pleasure with the interest in these programs.

Professor Range asked about the implications if the extended funding is not realized. The chemistry program needs $300,000-500,000. Where will funding come from? Provost Santiago noted that we do not have this money. If EPC approves this program, will the Provost keep it on his desk until Albany receives the funding? There is merit in the program, Professor Hauser said, but we need to be cautious in starting a program if we do not have the funding. Additional faculty will also be needed. Chemistry hired someone last year, who would contribute to this effort, the Provost said, and the departments are making the investments. It was noted that this program is a track and no Letter of Intent is needed.

Professor McCaffrey reminded EPC members that we are not approving anything today. UAC has voted to send this program to the Senate floor, as has the Executive Committee. If the Senate were to approve this in May, when would the program begin? The new course is a senior level course, said Professor Welch, and he was not sure when the program would begin. If there was an external grant, when would the lab be ready, asked Professor Logan? Professor Welch indicated that program establishment would take several months, or as long as it takes to obtain the instrumentation. No matter what the Senate does, the program will not start in the Fall 2002 semester, said Professor Logan. If EPC recommends to the Senate to table until September, what would be the loss in planning the program? This might be problematic, Professor Welch said. When looking for funding, if we do not have a program, we will not get funding. We will also lose the momentum. We held a discussion about a viable program in biology, Professor Aceto said. There is a better chance of getting support if there is a program in place. Professor Hauser said that EPC should vote approval of the program contingent upon funding. Professor Sherman agreed on the contingency item. Would this be a fair compromise? If external funding does not materialize, consideration of the program would be suspended. This program has to be reviewed throughout the whole institution, said Provost Santiago. We need to evaluate the initiatives on a continuing basis. He would like to give it time and an opportunity to develop.

Professor McCaffrey asked EPC's advice on the Senate floor discussion. Members suggested talking about the timing; there is a good chance of funding; instrumentation is needed when a student is a senior and ready to take the course; and the program could not be offered unless it actually exists. Professor Range asked if this program is consistent with the plan of the University? Given the budget models we are instituting, Provost Santiago said, we will have the mechanics of supporting it. The program has to be self-sustaining. Mr. Bischoff expressed concern that a student can get into the program and then have it be shut down. He suggested that the program be held close until it can be done all at once.

Professor Aceto noted it is consistent with the current incentive-based budget. EPC members discussed external funding for this program. External funding would be used as seed money to get the program up and running. The investment will have to be made anyway.

Professor Hauser moved that EPC approve the Chemistry Forensic Program contingent upon funding. The motion was seconded. Professor Aceto noted that this seriously limits opportunities for a program like this. We should take a risk on it and it should be based on our incentive-based budget model. The funds mentioned, said Professor Hauser, is at the low end of what is needed. We need to plan for a larger program now. We should plan for the future and put up money for the instrumentation.

Professor McCaffrey called the question. There was one opposed to the motion and the motion passed.

3. Minutes

  1. Discussion of Minutes for April 5, 2002. Provost Santiago made changes.
  2. Requested Revision of Minutes for March 15, 2002. Professor McCaffrey reviewed the changes from the President.

4. Report from EPC Representatives to URPAC
Professor Logan reported that the Provost introduced an incentive-based model. Ms. Lowery explained it at the URPAC meeting. There is a variation across schools/colleges.

Professor Range asked about the cut in the part-time budget. Provost Santiago asked all Deans, Directors and Vice Presidents in non-academic units to cut their State allocation by 2.5 percent and determine where the cut should be. In Arts & Sciences, the cut would be in the part-time budget. Letters had to be sent a minimum of 45 days' notice. Human Resources Management sent the letter to individuals. The Dean prepared a letter that was to proceed the dismissal letter. The Provost drafted an apology letter to the individuals stating it was a measure that had to be taken and was contingent. Some part-time faculty will have to be cut, he said, and he is discussing the issues with the Deans. He would like to know all the implications of the cuts. The Provost explained that there are two sources of funding: BAP and enrollment. BAP will not fund growth this year. Departments receive a fraction of the new tuition.

5. Old Business

  1. Suggestions from the Subgroup on the Spring 2000 Student Survey. Professor McCaffrey circulated a document a couple of weeks ago. The subcommittee made two suggestions: 1) that the President and Provost emphasize in a visible way the importance of teaching in the promotion and tenure process; 2) a revitalization of the Lecture Centers and adjacent corridors as an academic space. Two members of the subcommittee met with Mr. Millington and discussed ideas on this. Professor McCaffrey noted that the Student Survey would be a summer project. The subcommittee will try to put together a cost efficient proposal by September and present it to the Provost for review. Professor Logan asked about bringing vendors into this space. This may cause problems with UAS, said Professor McCaffrey. The first thing is to turn it into a space for the students. We need to start with something visible and simple.
  2. Process for Review of EPC Charges. The committee will look into the individual Council charges. This discussion will be taking place over the summer, Professor McCaffrey said. He asked EPC members to review the document and send comments to him.

6. Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 3:41 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Madelyn R. Cicero
Secretary