Educational Policy Council
September 12, 2003

Present: J-F. Brière, M. Carpenter, N. Claiborne, J. Doellefeld, F. Henderson, T. Hoff,
S.B. Kim, J. Logan, D. McCaffrey, J. Mumpower, C. Santiago, S. Stern, E. Wulfert (Chair), K. Lowery, B. Szelest (Institutional Research),

Introduction

Chair Wulfert welcomed members of the Council and guests.

President's Report

    Provost Santiago reported for President Hitchcock. Admissions exceeded the targeted goal of 2,100 new freshmen, bringing in a total of 2,162. Our Memorandum of Understanding goal of 36% Group 1 students was achieved. For the most part, our qualitative, quantitative, and financial targets were met. There are 225 new Presidential Scholars; a superb reflection of the hard work of many faculty and staff. Thirty-five new faculty were welcomed to the campus, for a net growth of approximately 15. At the same time, it has been difficult to explain to students that despite a significant tuition increase, the University still lost $2.5 million in annual operating funds. The Legislature cut SUNY's budget by 15 %, and this was not entirely offset by increased tuition dollars. It is very challenging to convince students that, while they are paying significantly more than last year, UAlbany has actually experienced a net loss in funding. The students see that they are paying more, but do not feel the are receiving significantly more for that increased outlay. On the national level, the financial burden of public higher education is being shifted from the general taxpaying public to the students and their families.

    Over the summer, classrooms in the Humanities Building and in the Lecture Centers were renovated; the project will be continued until completion. There were also major renovations completed in some of the residence halls.

    There was discussion regarding the freshman numbers. Professor Logan asked about the Group 1 freshmen. Provost Santiago said the freshman class was cut to 2,100 and that not all of the Group 1 students are funded. Professor Kim suggested cutting another 100 students next year. Provost Santiago said more discussion is needed as we set the freshman target for the next year.

Chair's Report

Chair Wulfert stated that there was nothing specific to report at this time.

Report from EPC Representatives to URPAC

URPAC has yet to meet this year.

Old Business:

Update on the progress of the Budget Information Website
   Provost Santiago, and Professors Logan & McCaffrey
   Guests: VP Lowery, Interim VP Mumpower, and B. Szelest


    Professor Logan explained that computer programs were developed over the summer to disseminate budget information; then turned the presentation over to Dr. Bruce Szelest, Associate Director of Institutional Research. The new program is entitled OurUAlbanyData. Dr. Szelest noted that, while this is not yet a publicly available system, a number of IT issues still need to be resolved. OurUAlbanyData will include four types of data:

1. Department Profiles;

2. Budget Information;

3. Research Activities - which will include both grant applications and awards;

4. Common Data Set - the type of information to the College Guidebook.

    Items 1, 2 and 3 (above) will include data that is exportable to Excel; thus the need to institute security levels.

    Professor Logan explained further that the data to be displayed on the budget page will still have to be discussed and identified. Provost Santiago agreed that this project is in keeping with decentralization of budget authority and responsibility, including benchmarking. However, the deans and department chairs will also have to be comfortable about which types of data are to be publicized to the general faculty and staff. Discussion of data security issues followed, including the identification of levels of users and password for entry into the website.

    Vice President Lowery suggested providing access to a sample group to help determine what data items should be made available to the general and staff. Dr. Szelest offered to make this link available to Chair Wulfert immediately, and Professor Carpenter suggested that the system should be password protected immediately.

    Professor Hoff suggested creating a more passive means for faculty to connect with the information. Specifically, he suggested providing links such as 'Key Trends' or 'Key Budget Information' so users could get quick information on current trends. He noted concern that if this step was not taken, the system would likely become akin to a technically sophisticated file cabinet that many faculty will not access.

    Professor Kim expressed concern about making research application information available publicly, as that information could be stolen. Professor Brière agreed that when submitting a grant application, there might well be information that the applicant does not wish to make publically available at that time. Professor Logan responded that the actual data in the new system, as well as security access to it, still has to be discussed thoroughly and identified. Dr. Szelest agreed to make the link (as well as an access password) available to Chair Wulfert immediately. Professor Logan will continue to meet with Dr. Szelest and Vice President Lowery.

Update on the EPC Subcommittee on Research Centers
Professor Logan

    Professor Logan reported that, during the summer, the subcommittee met as was suggested at the last EPC meeting in the spring of 2003. The membership still must meet with Interim Vice President for Research Jeryl Mumpower, and is waiting for him to create a template that would be useful to describe the activities of each center. That project seems to be in holding at this time, awaiting information from several key centers.

    Interim VP Mumpower informed the Council that he has spoken to the directors of the centers in question and has been assured that they are each working on this project now.

New Business

    Chair Wulfert introduced a letter from Dean Wick-Pelletier regarding changes to the structure of the Classics Department. The Dean sent Dr. Wulfert a letter in May to inform EPC of her plan to dissolve the Classics Department as an administrative unit and to realign the existing faculty with other academic units (e.g., Depts. of Art and Anthropology) where they are seeking joint appointments. This decision will not affect offering the Classics major and minor programs, which will continue to be offered. The Dean has discussed her intentions with the Classics faculty who are in agreement with this solution. Once all faculty have been realigned with new departments, the Dean will present to EPC the formal request of the dissolution of the Department of Classics as an administrative unit. At this time, no action is required by EPC. It was suggested that EPC should not review such a proposal until after it has been evaluated by the College of Arts and Sciences College Council. Professor Wulfert indicated that she would relay this information to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

    Provost Santiago introduced a request to merge the Department of Biometry and Statistics with the Department of Epidemiology. Essentially, this would lead to the formation of a new department named the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, which now has only one full-time faculty member. A meeting has been scheduled to discuss how to approach these requests procedurally. The Provost stated that he will study past practice in such situations, and he presumes that a recommendation from the Dean would come after the issue was discussed in academic councils.

Letter of Intent (Revised): MS in Applied Chemistry

    Chair Wulfert stated that EPC had already approved one track in applied chemistry; this letter proposes approval of a second track. However, the Provost clarified, when this first came to EPC there was an issue about needed resources, but that the department has since received a significant grant. Professor Logan asked that the Council look at the entire applied chemistry proposal to ascertain if it meets the needs of the campus. Professor Kim suggested that EPC invite the Chair to come to a meeting and discuss it. Provost Santiago proposed that Professors Christopher D'Elia and John Welch be invited to the next EPC meeting to explain the programs. That invitation will be issued by Dr. Wulfert.

The Long Range Planning Committee:

    Chair Wulfert stated that several members of the Council have raised the possibility of resurrecting the Long-Range Planning Committee (LRPC). Chair Wulfert stated that the structure for the Committee exists, according to Senate bylaws, the LRPC is a standing EPC committee, even though it has not been active for a number of years. However, she questioned the utility of reconstituting this committee, unless the Council identified planning issues that could not be dealt with in the Council as a whole and that therefore should be referred to a subcommittee. Professor Hoff questioned the logic behind reconstituting LRPC, stating essentially that, discussions of the long range development of the University should be taken up by the entire Council membership, rather than by a smaller committee, especially in his view that that a major portion of EPC's duties should indeed be long range planning. He proposed rather that agenda items of lesser significance should be forwarded to committees for study and recommendations and that the more important planning issues should be the business of the whole council. Professor McCaffrey countered that LRPC could meet more frequently than EPC, that it could be expanded with members not part of EPC, and that the committee could bring additional and more synthesized information back to the Council membership.

    As some EPC members preferred to keep the current structure, while others expressed that they would prefer a committee structure, the membership voted and it was decided to reactivate the Long-Range Planning Committee. It was also decided that EPC would meet again in two weeks to discuss the membership of LRPC, and its charge.


Adjournment:

The meeting adjourned at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Joyce Van Zandt, Recorder