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Campus News

Interim President John R. Ryan’s Fall Report to the Faculty

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Interim President John R. Ryan
Interim President John R. Ryan

Thank you, Carolyn…and good afternoon everyone.

I am glad to see so many of you today during a very busy time in our crowded semester, and at a time when we have important challenges and opportunities that will frame our efforts for some time.

It is customary for the President's fall faculty address to focus on an update and report of the University's enrollment, sponsored funds performance, and budget condition. Before moving to these topics, however, I want to recognize a number of University faculty and staff.

First, let me thank the faculty who have provided the critical leadership for our University as departmental chairs, advancing the important work of their units as well as the teaching and knowledge of their disciplines. Please, would all those who have recently completed their service, and would all chairs who are continuing or commencing your terms, please rise so we can acknowledge and thank you for your service. Our deep thanks to all of you.

This fall we are pleased to welcome 35 new faculty, a wonderful group that will enrich the academic life of our institution and advance our many goals. Please stand and accept our welcome to our community. There will be a reception and formal introduction of all our new faculty and staff following this meeting in the Fireside Lounge. I hope you will join us to extend your personal welcome to all our new colleagues.

Next, I am pleased to introduce several new senior officers of the University. They are Lynn Videka, interim vice president for research; Vesna Gjaja, interim vice president for advancement; Paul Leonard, dean of the School of Business; and Janet Riker, director of the University Art Museum.

I also wish to welcome two new staff to key posts in our Student Affairs Division. Dr. Peter Vellis joined us this summer from Seton Health as the medical director of the Student Health Center. Mr. Philippe Abraham, who has over 20 years of service to the University at Albany, recently accepted the position as director ofthe Career Development Center. And two good colleagues are retiring this semester. Mr. Carl Martin, associate vice president for student affairs, is retiring next month after 34 years of dedicated service to this university. Mr. Dennis Tillman, the director of Financial Aid, will also be retiring at the end of this calendar year. He has served this university and its students for the past ten years. Thank you both - we will miss you.

Congratulations are due to our colleagues who were promoted and/or tenured over the past year. We are honored by your exceptional involvement with the University. For 2004-05, more than 50 faculty are listed on this year's promotion review roster, the largest number in years, and further evidence of the outstanding accomplishments of UAlbany's faculty. Schools and colleges have already posted a number of searches for new faculty for 2005-06. The subject areas have been carefully and strategically defined. While our ability to close these recruitment efforts is always dependent on budgetary conditions, we are committed to growing the faculty.

I am also delighted to acknowledge and congratulate three of our colleagues who have been promoted by the SUNY Board of Trustees to the highest rank within the State University of New York…that of Distinguished Professor, a rank that recognizes exceptional achievements and contributions in research and teaching. Please join me in congratulating Distinguished Professors Edna Acosta-Belen, Latin American and Caribbean and Women's Studies; Lance F. Bosart, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; and Ronald Bosco, English. I must note that Edna and Ron were previously honored by SUNY as Distinguished Service Professors. Thank you for all you have done to help make the University at Albany such a special place.

Several UAlbany faculty will be recognized at the Chancellor’s Recognition Dinner on November 4, 2004: Excellence in the Pursuit of Knowledge, Kajal Lahiri, Department of Economics; First Disclosure Awards, Michael Carpenter, College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering and Ben Szaro, Department of Biological Sciences; and First Patent Award, James Castracane, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

In addition, several UAlbany faculty will receive certificates from the Chancellor for First Disclosure Awards: Bai Xu, Gregory Denbeaux, and James Raynolds, College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering; Dmitry Belostotsky and Sho-Ya Wang, Department of Biological Science; Li Niu, Chemistry Department; and Carolyn MacDonald, Physics Department.

Additional members of the University at Albany family who have been recognized recently for outstanding achievements include Distinguished Professor Judith Langer, School of Education, who will receive an honorary doctorate from University of Uppsala in Sweden.

Thomas Begley, a UAlbany alumnus, now with the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the School of Public Health, has received the prestigious NYSTAR’s James D. Watson Investigator Award for promising early career scientist.

Julio Aguirre-Ghiso, Department of Biomedical Sciences in the School of Public Health and Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics, recently won the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation award.

Sandeep Shukla, an alumnus of UAlbany’s Computer Science department, is the recipient of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation.

Great faculty are integral to the success and attraction of the University’s rich spectrum of academic and professional programs. UAlbany offers 54 bachelor’s, 84 master’s, and 39 doctoral programs, each of which is academically strong and presented by a high-quality faculty of teacher/scholars. Our programs at all levels of the curriculum continue to be informed by inquiry and discovery, the hallmark of a research university. Recent new programs and emphases have been added in broadcast meteorology, materials science, forensics, functional genomics and molecular structures, the life sciences, and information technology. Active discussions are also under way to develop and introduce new programs in a variety of areas. I’ll mention just three:

  • Honors options for undergraduates to attract and retain greater numbers of high-achieving students. This includes an exciting new Honors College within the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as new or much strengthened honors options in several undergraduate majors.

  • A new Information Technology initiative – called the IT Commons initiative – that will involve the infusion of new information technology into existing disciplinary studies. As many as 1,000 students may be enrolled in “IT-intensive” undergraduate programs by 2010. Several new faculty were funded and appointed through this initiative this past September.

  • Finally, new or enhanced offerings are being planned in subjects as diverse as communication, journalism, neuroscience, and art history.

Students can also discover a varied and rich cultural menu at UAlbany, one that complements their studies and expands their intellectual and artistic horizons. Albany’s reputation as a dull campus environment is unjustified. There are lots of opportunities for enriching experiences. These opportunities certainly include but are not limited to all our athletic events. I’ll highlight just three others.

  • This fall semester, the Writers Institute is bringing an unprecedented lineup of high-quality speakers to the campus. The New York State Writers Institute is an incredibly important and valuable cultural asset to our community and region. We thank Bill Kennedy, Don Faulkner, and the Institute staff for their outstanding work in putting Albany “on the map” as a place that knows and values great writing.

  • Our University Art Museum is another important venue. If you have not already done so, I urge you to take in the Museum’s fall exhibit, First Happiness, curated by our own Corinna Schaming. Our thanks to Janet Riker, our new Museum Director, for all she and her staff are doing to support and encourage the arts on our campus.

  • Lastly, because time is short, I want to encourage everyone to take full advantage of the rich menu of concerts, recitals, performances, and student exhibitions offered by our arts departments now through the end of the fall semester. A production of Tartuffe will open November 5th.

We are seeking to promote these programs more energetically to our students. I also ask each of you, indeed all the University’s faculty and staff, to join us in encouraging higher levels of awareness and participation in the institution’s extra-curriculum.

Now, on to a report on sponsored funds. I am pleased to report that our funded research profile has continued its consistent upward expansion. In FY04, over $132 million in sponsored program expenditures were generated through the Research Foundation; 22 percent were from federal sponsors. Let me cite a few projects.

The School of Education recently received a grant that will enable the Department of Special Education to increase the number of doctoral candidates and prepare them to assume leadership roles in the field.

Through collaborative efforts of the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Social Welfare, and School of Public Health, NIH/National Center on Minority Health and Health Systems awarded a $1.24 million grant over a three year period, titled EXPORT Center on Health Disparities in Smaller Cities.

The School of Public Health has received a $5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control to fund the University’s Center for Public Health Preparedness.

The Center for Social and Demographic Analysis and the Lewis Mumford Center received a $1.0 million grant over a three-year period from National Institute of Children's Health and Development (NICHD), titled, The Albany Population Center.

The newly established Northeast Regional Forensic Institute, in collaboration with the New York State Police, received a grant of $1.5 million from the National Institute of Justice.

The Center for Legislative Development has successfully competed for a renewal of its program in Lebanon, titled Strengthening Foundations for Governance. Funds in the amount of more than $17 million over a three-year period are provided by the United States Agency for International Development.

The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has been established officially and recently received more than $1.5 million in public and private funds to establish nanotechnology education and training programs for under-represented social classes in science and engineering. Additionally, Albany NanoTech, Infineon, and Genus have entered a $12 million research and development partnership to create an atomic layer deposition center of excellence at UAlbany. Finally, Albany NanoTech and NanoQuebec, a consortium of five Canadian colleges and universities, signed an agreement to form an educational, research and development, and technology commercialization partnership in the rapidly emerging field of nanotechnology.

The University will soon be offering newly established awards for undergraduate student research. The funding will be provided from alumni endowments.

I am confident that sponsored funds, a critical measure of our excellence as a research university, will show another marked increase this year.

Now, turning to enrollment, we experienced both success and some serious challenges with our enrollment for this year, an area that also has important budgetary ramifications.

The successes include welcoming a freshman class of 2,022 students, of whom 40 percent boasted academic credentials that place them in the “Group 1” category –the category defined by the State University of New York Mission Review for top students.

This is the third consecutive year in which we have seen an increase in the percentage of Group 1 students choosing the University at Albany and continues a longer-term trend that has changed the character of the incoming freshman class. Since 1998, the number of Group 1 students in the entering freshman class has grown from 470 to 651, a 35 percent increase. In addition, the fall 2004 freshman class boasts the following characteristics:

  • There are more than 180 Presidential and 23 Frederick Douglass Scholars and two National Merit finalists.

  • There are also 15 valedictorians (up from 12 last year) and 10 salutatorians. One interesting note: UAlbany enrolled both the valedictorian and salutatorian of South Seneca High School in Ovid, NY.

  • We have maintained the student diversity of which UAlbany is justifiably proud – with African-American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American students constituting 24 percent of the class.

  • Overall the average high school average of the freshman is 90.9 and average SAT is 1166 average SAT (Last year’s averages were 90.1 GPA and 1168 SAT)

However our freshman class did come in below our target of 2,100, a result that was driven in large part by the ambitious selectivity goals we have pursued in recent years. As we move forward for next year, we will continue to pursue such selectivity goals, while ensuring that we set and achieve enrollment targets that reflect the best possible overall outcome for the University.

In addition to the shortfall in the freshman class, you may be aware that we experienced sizeable enrollment shortfalls (compared to our plan) in two other categories: namely, continuing undergraduates and graduate enrollments. These combined to contribute to a headcount shortfall of some 631 students overall – 432 at the undergraduate level and 199 at the graduate level.

We were short on our continuing student enrollment particularly at the senior year and beyond. We are investigating this trend in order to better understand the patterns of retention and graduation of our upper division students.

At the graduate level, we experienced enrollment shortfalls in virtually all areas. Certainly, the trend in international student enrollment throughout the US is one contributor, and economic influences have adversely affected our local part-time professional market some as well.

International enrollment, as you are undoubtedly aware, has seen a nation-wide decrease particularly at the graduate level, and our experience has mirrored the national trend. Comparing fall 2004 to fall 2003, international applications to UAlbany were down 24.4 percent; admissions were down 18.8 percent and enrollment was down 15.8 percent. There is some evidence on the horizon to suggest that this trend may be beginning to reverse itself in the coming year; nevertheless, we must be careful and strategic in our graduate enrollment planning to ensure that we don’t continue to suffer unduly from its impacts.

Regardless of the reasons, this enrollment shortfall has economic effects that complicate our already tight fiscal situation. So we must do all that we can by generating as much enrollment as possible in spring 2005 enrollment to offset the fall shortfalls, which we will do. And we must continue working to improve our recruitment and retention efforts for fall 2006. We must strive to achieve the very highest quality student body we can enroll and retain at all levels of the institution, in keeping with the University’s overall enrollment plan.

This fall's Princeton Review projected a much discussed and, unhappily, misleading, summary of UAlbany students and faculty. I have spoken and written at length of my strong disagreement with this faulty assessment of our students and university. The negative behavior and dysfunctional attitudes of some of our students can never be condoned and must be challenged at every instance. We are taking active steps to provide a student environment that is safe, healthy, and focused on positive growth and learning and is acceptable to our entire community. I want to thank Vice President Doellefeld and all the student affairs staff for their concerted efforts in this area. Thanks, also, to our faculty who understand the importance of setting high expectations in the classrooms and laboratories.

Nevertheless, our students today are confronted with many serious personal challenges that did not exist decades ago. The problems associated with high-risk drinking present one of the most serious threats we face on U.S. college and university campuses. Examples abound of injuries and student deaths. Recent findings from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Task Force on College Drinking suggest that each year 1,400 college students die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries. In addition, alcohol is involved in 500,000 unintentional injuries, 600,000 assaults, and 70,000 cases of sexual assault and acquaintance rape.

When we look at data collected from our own undergraduate students, we know that we are not immune to the challenges that student alcohol and drug abuse bring to us.

Our best strategy to address the challenges associated with alcohol and other drug abuse is to continue our commitment to the programs we have developed to educate our student body, continue our zero-tolerance position regarding substance abuse, continue our active development of programs to reduce such behaviors, and keep our students, their parents, and the media well-informed about all of these proactive and constructive approaches to enhancing the quality of life at the University at Albany.

I am pleased to announce that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has awarded the University at Albany $849,057 to research interventions that prevent or reduce alcohol-related problems among college students. Dr. M. Dolores Cimini of the University Counseling Center and Dr. Matthew P. Martens of the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology in the School of Education will engage in the study, which is entitled “The Effects of Peer-Facilitated Alcohol Interventions." This award underscores UAlbany’s long-term commitment to addressing a nationwide problem related to college-age drinking. I hope you will all join with me in supporting our alcohol and drug prevention programs and initiatives as we continue to address this very important issue.

Let me update you on an issue that dismayed all of us last April – the Fountain Day misbehavior of some students. The Fountain Day Task Force has concluded its work. This group included students, faculty and staff from across the campus who met to review the history and purpose of Fountain Day, discuss observations and reactions to last April's event, and offer recommendations for next spring. Given the varying points of view within the campus community it was clear that a strategic objective of this committee was to find a reasonable balance between the expression of school spirit and the maintenance of a University environment that is conducive to intellectual development and personal growth.

The committee recommended to me that we give this event another chance in spring 2005, but also that the event be redefined. That is, the Committee proposed that this event be held on a weekend afternoon in order to prevent interference with classes and that it take place in conjunction with a range of other activities to be planned for that same afternoon. I have authorized Vice President Jim Doellefeld to proceed with a revised plan for spring 2005.

Increasingly important components of school spirit are our constantly evolving athletic program and facilities. I am pleased to announce that the consulting firm of Sasaki Associates, Inc. recently completed the development of a plan that studies the future growth of the University’s athletic facilities with regard to intercollegiate athletics, recreation, intramurals and community activities. The six-month study identified priorities, provided cost estimates and looked at ways to utilize the athletic complex’s current space. The project was accomplished in consultation with the overall campus master plan and took into consideration site planning, traffic flow and campus aesthetics.

As the first part of that long-range plan, renovations to the Recreation and Convocation Center began September 1. The RACC's three playing surfaces will be completely changed over to biochannel flooring and a new synthetic surface will cover the 170-meter indoor track. In addition, the facility's sound system, wiring, telecommunications and data will be upgraded to meet the standards of a Division I program and to better serve the requirements of institutional ceremonial and cultural events. The entire University community will soon find this much-used building substantially more user-friendly and congenial to both participants and spectators. Additionally, with the help of a $250,000 donation from John Fallon, an alum of UAlbany and a four year lacrosse player, a new all-weather synthetic turf field will soon be built for the use of our men’s and women’s teams. Other proposed enhancements to our athletics facilities will be announced in the future.

I hope many of you will join me at the Pepsi Arena on November 23 as UAlbany takes on Siena in the annual rivalry basketball game. Since many of our students will already be departed for the Thanksgiving holiday, we need all the collective moral support we can muster to encourage our men's and women's teams to victory. Like the Red Sox, maybe this will be our year!

For any university president, it is always a great pleasure to cite some of the achievements of students. Here are a few of ours. The 2004 Voter Registration Drive coordinated by the Office of Student Activities, and supported by many of our student groups including NYPIRG and the Student Association, recently concluded a successful campaign where over 1,700 students were registered for the first time. On October 9th, the 2004 Race for Literacy was well supported by our campus as part of our Homecoming Weekend celebrations. Over 270 students, faculty and staff participated in this most worthy cause to raise funds for literacy and literacy awareness.

UAlbany’s honor societies contribute to the development of a campus environment that celebrates learning and helps to attract and retain academically strong students. We now have a new honor society. Last year UAlbany became the 289th institution to be awarded a charter in Omicron Delta Kappa, a national honor society founded in 1914 to recognize and encourage superior scholarship, leadership, and exemplary character.

Last March, seventy-four student leaders received the President's Awards for Undergraduate Leadership for their outstanding contributions to the campus, including ten outstanding seniors who represent the ideal UAlbany student with their outstanding academic excellence combined with leadership and service to the community. In addition eight of our students received the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence - the highest award in the SUNY system.

Terrific students and faculty deserve superb, modern facilities. I am delighted to provide you an update on our aggressive program to renovate and upgrade facilities, a program absolutely essential for us to continue to move this university forward. First, the classroom renovation project for summers 2003 and 2004 completed work on 8 Lecture Centers, 28 Humanities classrooms, and a Business Administration classroom. (This phase represents 57 percent of the seats scheduled by the registrar.) We rehabbed the main Humanities 1st floor corridor, including new furniture, flooring, lighting, window treatments, white boards, paint, and acoustical treatments. Fifteen classrooms now have advanced technology. Future projects for intercession 04-05 and summer 2005 will be identified by a committee formed to evaluate teaching lab improvements and scope; all remaining classrooms will be “re-graded” for renovation consideration.

Residence Hall renovation projects for summer 2004 involved Oneida Hall in Indian Quad at a cost of $3 million. For the summer of 2005, we will rehab Melville Hall in State Quad; Hamilton Hall in Colonial Quad is scheduled for 2006.

Downtown Campus facilities improvements continue on schedule. Modernization and restorations of the first and second floors of Milne are completed; planning for the third floor is under way. The Draper entrance beautification project is in progress. The design for the modernization of Husted Hall is done and includes a central A/C plant in Richardson and a temporary kitchen in Draper. Page Hall's lounge and auditorium are being upgraded also.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony occurred on October 13, 2004 for the new Life Sciences Research Building. The building has 194,000 square feet of state-of-the-art research space; its occupancy will be phased in from fall 2004 through fall 2005. If you haven't visited this remarkable new facility, I urge you to go…I am bringing Assemblyman Canestrari there tomorrow. I think you will be truly impressed by its beauty and its potential to advance our research mission.

The emerging Entry Building, the new “signature” building for the campus, is transforming the area just north of the Art Museum. It will be the primary point of orientation and entry to the main campus and is a distinct sculptural counterpoint to our existing, late modernist campus. Scheduled for a summer 2005 completion, it will house administration functions and a visitors' center.

The East Campus Gen*NY*Sis Cancer Research Center being built for the University by the University at Albany Foundation is moving smartly ahead. Scheduled for a summer 2005 completion, it is a 120,000 square-foot state-of-the-art cancer research building funded primarily through a Gen*NY*Sis grant from Senator Bruno. It will house the University’s Center for Functional Genomics, the Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics, and other biotechnology tenants.

Yesterday Senator Bruno and I announced the formation and membership of the Honorary Committee for Memory and Hope to support the Center's commitment to research into the genetic origins of cancer that will lead to finding cures for this disease that will strike one of every two men and one of every three women in their lifetime. The initial fundraising goal is $25 million and the centerpiece of the Center building will be the Wall of Memory and Hope.

Let me now take up the topic that dominates so much of our planning and administrative efforts each fall. There is a lot of information, and some uncertainties, regarding the 2004-05 budget. Here is a brief overview of what we know at this time and our plans:

  1. 2004-05 NYS/SUNY Operating Budget
    • Every state agency except SUNY experienced funding reductions.
    • SUNY got $50M increase;
      • Budget Director impounded 2/3 of the increase;
    • UAlbany got $2.9M increase.

  2. 2004-05 UAlbany Condition – Operating Budget
    • Rolled over annual operating deficit ($3.2M) from 03-04: ($3.2M).
    • 04-05 Strategic Investments ($3.9 M) including:
      • Faculty recruitment
      • Graduate Student Support
      • Undergraduate scholarships
      • Facilities/infrastructure support
      • IT investments
      • Library Acquisitions inflation.
    • 04-05 Budget Increase from SUNY: $2.9M
    • 04-05 Enrollment Shortfall: ($3.5M)
    • 04-05 Campus Challenge: ($7.7M)

  3. 2004-05 UAlbany Budget Planning
    • Selectively increase enrollment in spring to partially mitigate the revenue shortfall.
    • Institute certain energy cost savings.
    • Use cash reserves for the balance of 04-05 shortfall.

  4. 2005-06, 2006-07 UAlbany Budget Planning
    • Underlying assumption that the enrollment shortfall will be entirely corrected by fall, 2005;
    • Vice Presidents and deans have been asked to submit budget plans for various scenarios from modest strategic increases to reductions as high as 2.75% for each of these two fiscal years.
    • Plans will be reviewed in conjunction with strategic campus priorities.
    • URPAC/Senate will be consulted.

  5. Principles for Budget Planning
    • Maintain health and safety;
    • Continue to invest in strategic instructional and research programs;
    • Protect and increase revenue streams;
    • Continue to improve and maintain campus facilities and infrastructure;
    • Focus on increasing external funding through research and philanthropy.

  6. NYS 2005-06, 2006-06 Budget Forecasts/Issues
    • Multi-billion dollar deficit projected;
    • Future year funding for negotiated salary increases uncertain.

  7. New 5-Year Capital Budget
    • Governor’s budget included $79M for UAlbany;
    • Did not include several campus priorities, including LSRB FF & E - $14 million.
    • Campus lobbied heavily with the legislature to add this and other critical needs to the capital budget.
    • Legislative budget included an add of $80M.
    • Several economic development projects included;
    • LSRB still not included.
    • Governor vetoed all legislative additions to the capital budget.
    • Campus continues to work with the Senate and Assembly on campus critical needs, primarily the LSRB, & Entry Building.
    • The $79 million from the Governor’s budget includes funding for the construction and furniture, fixtures and equipment for Husted Hall, to commence in March 2005 as well as several other critical maintenance projects.

As you can see from the above summary, this promises to be an another difficult budget year, one that will challenge all our skills, talents, and mettle…and our ability to continue to advance this University consistent with our goals, priorities, and aspirations. But this campus has met tough budget years in the past, and we will collectively do it again.

While we're on the topic of finances, let me update the status of some of our Advancement efforts.

The Bold.Vision. Campaign to date has received nearly $286 million in total University support. And over the past year, the University has learned that it will share in future bequests from 23 alumni and friends. Once realized, these documented bequest intentions will provide UAlbany with $2.2 million. In addition, we received documentation of three new charitable remainder trusts with an estimated future value of $232,000.

Finally, the Life Sciences Research Building's beautiful auditorium is named for Dr. Thomas D'Ambra and his wife Constance who have pledged $1 million for the Life Sciences Research Initiative. Tom has chaired our campaign to raise private support for our life sciences initiative, and that campaign has raised nearly $6 million so far. I'm sure that Vesna will have even more good news to provide for the spring 2005 address to the faculty.

The University has continued it tremendous outreach and service to the local Capital Region and the greater community. I am so very proud of you for your projects, your research, and your passion-an outpouring that has resulted in so much benefit to so many in our community, our region, and our state. I spoke in Cobleskill this morning at a breakfast for community and college leaders and highlighted much of your outstanding work. Thank you for all you do to improve the lives of those beyond our campus.

Furthermore, in addition to the University's teaching, research, and service contributions to our external communities, it also is a tremendous economic engine to the region and state. That fact was made clear by the Economic Impact Statement, released in June.

  • According to a study by the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, using the latest model of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the University’s Economic Impact upon New York State climbed to $1.1 billion per year.

  • The study indicated that just over one billion dollars of the $1.1 billion economic impact was absorbed right here in the Capital Region.

  • Overall, the University returns to the state, and largely to the Capital Region, $8.85 in economic impact for every $1 provided it by New York’s taxpayers - by any measure, a remarkable return.

  • And, of course, as our Impact Statement stressed and the Commission concurred, this report cannot even compute the value of the University’s programs that enhance K-12 education, plan more attractive urban neighborhoods, draw spin-off companies, and enhance the cultural life of the region -- all, real aspects of economic growth as well.

Here are some other examples of the University's impact on others:

  • Regional Center on Autism – formerly the North Country Autism Technical Assistance Center Pilot Program. It expanded this year from three to six counties, and from 30 to 50 school districts; new districts in Fulton, Montgomery and Schenectady counties have joined those in Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties. School districts have cumulatively saved nearly $2 million dollars to date because of this program. It was achieved through the support of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and State Senators Hugh Farley and Elizabeth Little.

  • Capital Region Cybercrime Partnership was created in March of this year and is a consortium of eight district attorneys from Capital Region counties, the New York State Police, the New York Prosecutors Training Institute, and the University’s Center on Information Forensics and Assurance. Once operational, the University will provide expertise, coursework, and instruction and training in computer/network forensics and cyber security to local law enforcement throughout the Capital Region.

  • The New York Latino Research and Resources Network, or NYLARNet, was formally launched on Sept. 29th. This pioneering project will impart a greater public understanding of the concerns and experiences of Latinos in New York State – particularly in four target areas: health, education, immigration, and politics/public policy. It is a dynamic partnership that includes our Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, and the Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

  • The Northeast Partnership for Literacy was established this past summer and links the University’s National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement (CELA) with 25 school districts in a nine-county region, where one out of every two students fails to meet state and national literacy standards.

  • Just for the Kids announced last month (September) is a national research-based school improvement program dedicated to embedding “best practices” into the teaching fabric of schools. This is a partnership of our School of Education, the New York State Business Council, and the National Center for Educational Accountability and New York State.

Looking ahead to new initiatives, we are working on several exciting new ventures to expand our service portfolio. They include:

  • Reinventing Retirement, a project of our School of Social Welfare, that addresses the problem that too many retirees are leaving New York State. It promotes economic, social, and psychological benefits for new retirees, and implements alliances to help the elderly earn certificates and degrees, become peer leaders, and provide their own support for neighborhood and community non-medical personnel.

  • The Center for Health Disparities in Smaller Cities. This Center will build on the efforts of Associate Dean and Professor Larry Schell of the Department of Anthropology, who just received a grant of $1.2 million to study healthcare disparities of the disadvantaged populations in small cities. It will extend the research effort Dr. Schell is now conducting in this region to the numerous small cities of Western and Central New York.

The University continues to expand its broad effort to forge increasingly strong inter-university and community partnerships.

Clearly we are developing the promise of Tech Valley as a thriving high-tech center through Albany NanoTech, the East Campus and many research initiatives. But equally important are the ways we build regional and state strengths whether in education and higher education, social welfare, government, arts and culture, public health, the environment and many other examples. Talking about all areas would keep us here too long but I will mention some examples.

One partnership that promises a significant impact on the region and the state is our evolving role within the Harriman Campus Development Corporation and our partners, the City of Albany and the New York State Office of General Services. UAlbany is poised to expand its R&D collaborations with business, industry, and entrepreneurs at this new Research Park.

The "new" Harriman Campus also will provide a direct boost to economic development for the region and the state. It will be an R&D showpiece that will attract high-tech industry to the area and accelerate the Campus' redevelopment process. I believe UAlbany's prominent and central role in this enterprise will be a transforming benchmark in the evolution of our university and its status among research universities. Stay tuned for regular updates.

UAlbany continues its commitment to co-leading the Business Higher Education Roundtable of the Capital Region. The Roundtable is an alliance of 25 college and university presidents and business executives collaborating to support the region’s growth and quality of life.

A major initiative among the 16 local universities and colleges that will come to fruition early in 2005 will market the region as both a great place for the college experience and for a career. The goal is to do our part in helping to address brain drain.

Other Roundtable work has led to the creation of a regional workforce partnership for health care at the Iroquois Healthcare Association. Further the Roundtable has a highly talented regional group of CIOs looking at what other parts of the country are doing to build information infrastructure and what model might work here to support our growth in the information economy.

The SUNY Board of Trustees is holding its annual Town/Gown conference at the University at Albany on December 3 from 10:30-3:30. We hope many of you will attend. UAlbany is one of four academic institutions that the conference will focus on this year. Our other colleagues are Schenectady County Community College, Hudson Valley Community College, and Empire State College. These conferences serve to explore the role and impact of SUNY higher education institutions within their "communities, economies and social conditions." This is an opportunity to both raise awareness of our roles and also identify new ways to aid the region.

The paired issue of assessment/accountability is certainly among the top three or four challenges facing colleges and universities across this country, and even increasing on the global stage. In 2004-05, the University is actively immersed in two major evaluation/assessment projects that will engage the entire campus-one regional and the other state. First, through this fall term, the Provost’s Office will be drafting, with necessary input from other University offices and officials, an initial campus response to the requirements of the Middle States Periodic Review Report, which is due in June 2005. Beginning in January 2005, we will conduct a campus-wide comment period throughout the spring term so that various campus constituencies will have ample opportunity to provide comment and input into the final campus report. An important component of Middle States accreditation, and the Periodic Review Report, is the development of an institution-wide assessment plan that demonstrates the institution meets the standards by which the Commission reaffirms or denies accredited status. The official PRR document, informed by campus discussion and input, will be finalized in May 2005.

The second evaluation is the State University of New York Mission Review II Process. SUNY and each campus develop agreed-upon goals and priorities for that institution for the next five years, which are then detailed in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Chancellor and the President. Our Draft University Self-Description is being widely reviewed on campus; and I am grateful to all who have shared their reactions to this document thus far. We expect to complete this phase of the Mission Review process within the next month or so, after which we expect a campus visit from a System Administration group for dialogue before the preparation of the final Memorandum of Understanding.

The new University governance system provides many expanded opportunities for input and consultation in decision-making and the formulation of policies and procedures. We are off to a good start this year in all these substantive areas and I look forward to working further with Chair Carolyn MacDonald, Chair-elect Steven Messner, and all the new councils, committees, and task forces in forging a strong governance collaboration in the months ahead.

The SUNY Board of Trustees created the College of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering with an independent governance system in the areas of budget, faculty promotion and permanent appointment, research agenda, and curriculum design and approval. This action also motivated the University to conduct an on-going exploration, through UAlbany’s Senate Ad Hoc University-wide Committee on Governance, of the possibility of similar structural governance changes for other existing academic units of the University. That committee is chaired ably by Distinguished Professor Jim Acker of the School of Criminal Justice; and both the Senate and I expect a full report from the Committee on Governance in November.

As I hope you know, four or five finalists for the presidency of UAlbany will be on campus, starting next week, to get a firsthand look at us and to enjoy the experience of interacting with many different parts of our University family. The Presidential Search Committee has done a terrific job of recruiting a number of outstanding candidates. I urge you to plan on attending the open sessions to meet them and to share your impressions of them with the Search Committee.

Let me close by thanking each of you for all you do to ensure that the University successfully meets the demands of its critical mission and consistently advances its important programs and goals. This report echoes that success and progress. I am also most grateful for the support, encouragement, and goodwill that you, our colleagues, and our students have bestowed upon me during my Interim Presidency. This is an opportunity that I shall always remember most deeply and fondly.

Now, at the conclusion of this meeting, I hope that all of us will retire to the Fireside Lounge where we can meet and welcome the new faculty and staff who have recently joined the University at Albany family.

Carolyn…the podium is yours again.