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Executive Committee Provides Answers

(May 5, 2006)

University Senate Chair Steve Messner (at podium) posed questions to members of the Executive Committee during the Q. and A. portion of the Spring Faculty Meeting.

University Senate Chair Steve Messner (at podium) posed questions to members of the Executive Committee during the Q. and A. portion of the Spring Faculty Meeting. (Click photo for larger image.)

The President's Executive Committee took to the stage at the Spring Faculty Meeting on April 26, and answered questions from faculty and staff. Steve Messner, chair of the University Senate, acted as moderator.

1. What is the status of the implementation of the new Honors College?
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Herbst responded that most of the provisions for the new college are going through the governance process in the form of Senate legislation. "The key is finding a leader," she said. One potential person to fill the job of assistant vice provost for honors is looking over a draft offer (and has since accepted the job). "We need a visionary leader who understands excellence in education," Herbst said.

Vice President for Enrollment Management Wayne Locust said the University has invited all Presidential Scholars to participate in the new Honors College. In addition, the University is looking to enroll 125 freshmen in The Honors College this fall.

Herbst said creating "a community and intellectual life for students outside of the classroom" are an integral part of the plan. She also said that close advising and knowing every student in the college will be important. Students will have to meet General Education requirements in addition to taking 18 credits of honors courses.

2. What recommendations have been made to the Provost to begin to make a real difference in the undergraduate experience?
Herbst said that while satisfaction with dormitories and food always play a part, improvements in course availability are a top priority. Students need access to General Education courses and other requirements in order to graduate on time. "Hence, the course availability project is absolutely critical in putting a dent in these surveys of student satisfaction," she said. It is "essential" for freshmen to obtain better advisement. "A lot has to happen with the freshmen," she said. "We take that very seriously."

Vice President for Student Success James Anderson added, "We have to increase the number of students who compete for national scholarships and fellowships." Anderson noted the name of his office has been changed from Division for Student Affairs to Division of Student Success in order to reflect a focus away from student activities and more on outcomes.

3. What is the balance between intramural/recreational sports and intercollegiate athletics on campus, and how many students participate in each? What are the respective roles of the Division of Student Success and the Athletic Administration in maintaining a proper balance?
Vice President for Athletic Administration Lee McElroy Jr. said there are 460 student-athletes, of which 52 percent are female. He said the Recreation and Convocation Center is open from 7 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. and is usually full. With the men's basketball team's success this year, he said, for the first time in six years students were camped out the night before to get tickets to a basketball game (our March 11 victory over Vermont). He also noted the collaboration between student athletes and student organizations with Relay for Life and Habitat for Humanity.

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Chris Bouchard added, "Student Success works closely with Athletics, the director of Intramurals, and Student Association (SA) to support intramurals. The number of students playing intramural sports is increasing as is the demand for field space, and the challenge is to balance the needs of all our student athletes. Midnight basketball is an example of how we use space in the Phys Ed building during off hours and run a very successful program."

4. How can we enhance the fiscal situation for the University?
Vice President for Finance and Business Kathryn Lowery said that a new formula has been developed for SUNY resource allocation, and the University stands to benefit from the changes. "I think we have something to look forward to," Lowery said.

5. What have been some of the financial gains and costs associated with the Life Sciences program, Cancer Genomics, and the College for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE)?
Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of CNSE Alain Kaloyeros said state funding at CNSE supports 30 faculty lines. The remainder of the funding, he said, comes from "external sponsors and outside sources." Vice President for Development Deborah Read said, "One of the University's highest priorities will be to raise additional funds from private sources for endowments and capital projects that will emerge through the compact planning process." Vice President for Governmental, Public and Media Relations Charles Williams noted that Chancellor John R. Ryan was aggressive in his budget request for SUNY, and effectively lobbied the state Legislature. "He took a very aggressive stance on behalf of SUNY," Williams said. This support has paid off, and has continued with the Legislature and local delegation overriding many of the governor's vetoes. Williams indicated it appears campuses throughout SUNY will receive one of the most substantial increases of the last decade, inclusive of $57 million in operating support, $32 million to cover mandated costs, $25 million in enrollment growth and new faculty lines, and $6 million for research faculty. Williams said that UAlbany will receive more than $120 million in additional capital and program support in the 2006-07 state budget, in addition to increased operating support from the SUNY-wide appropriations noted above. This amount includes substantial funding for the INDEX program at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering ($76 million), $25 million for the Campus Revitalization Project (University's priority capital request), $10 million for the Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics, $5 million in operating funds for the East Campus, $2 million for the Northeast Regional Forensics Institute, $1 million for the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, and other funds for the School of Education and the School of Social Welfare. The $120 million is more than twice the amount of additional appropriations that any other SUNY University Center received.

6. What policies and procedures assure that if a faculty member is assaulted by a student, the faculty member will be given assistance, and will be supported in the judicial process as a victim?
Bouchard referred this question to Associate Vice President for Student Success and former Director of Judicial Affairs John Murphy. Murphy said the issue of assault on faculty members is occurring with more frequency across the nation, and there have been some incidents on this campus. He said the faculty member can file a formal student conduct complaint, and students are to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct that reflects the campus's values. At the same time, he said, the student has to be given due process and must be offered the opportunity to have the details of an incident heard by an objective third party.


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