Jan. 19, 2000
Update Archives





University at Albany Names World Bank Educational Leader as New Education Dean
By Lisa James Goldsberry

   Ralph W. Harbison, who since 1997 has led the largest of the World Bank's worldwide educational programs, has been named dean of the University at Albany's School of Education.
    Harbison served the World Bank for the past 20 years, first as a senior education economist, then as an operations adviser, then as chief of human resource sector operations for central and southern Europe. Most recently, Harbison was education sector manager for the South Asia Region - an area comprising India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Maldives. Projects in these nations are funded by more than $2.5 billion in World Bank support.
    Prior to his positions at the World Bank, Harbison worked in various capacities for the Ford Foundation.
    “In this country, societal demands on schools of education are changing; as the external environment changes, we must also rethink objectives and strategies,” said Harbison. “The University at Albany has a wonderful faculty and a good leadership group. It will be fun and productive to work with them as a team.”
    Judy Genshaft, former education dean and now Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said, “The University's School of Education has always been well respected nationally and will continue to be in the forefront as we train the next generation of educators. The professional experience that Dean Harbison brings to the position is certain to enhance that tradition.”
    Professor James T. Fleming, who has been dean of the School of Education since September 1997, is now a full-time faculty member in the Department of Reading. Fleming has served the dean’s office since 1982, first as associate dean, then interim dean, and most recently, dean.
    A native of Washington, D.C., Harbison received his bachelor's degree from Harvard University. He earned an M.P.A. in modernization and development economics in 1968 and his Ph.D. in public and international affairs in 1973 from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
    While at Harvard, Harbison received the Chase Prize in Government in 1964 for the best undergraduate research thesis in the department for his “The Evolution of the Baghdad Pact: A Study in the Politics of Collective Security in the Middle East.” During his tenure at the World Bank, he co-wrote and contributed to several books, including Labor Markets and Social Policy in Central and Eastern Europe: The Transition and Beyond (1994, Oxford Press); and Educational Performance of the Poor: Lessons from Rural Northeast Brazil (1992, Oxford University Press).
    Harbison has been an instrumental force for change in his two years in southern Asia, heading the World Bank's major focus of providing basic education to the region. This included more than 25 projects, such as creating teacher education and general education programs in Sri Lanka, a social action program in Pakistan, and primary education programs in India and Bangladesh.
    While with the Ford Foundation, Harbison was program adviser in education for West Africa. 
    While still a student, he served as a summer intern at the American Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, in 1967 and was also a Peace Corps volunteer to Costa Rica from 1965-66.
    Harbison and his wife, Margaret Irene, have two adult children.

Governor's Budget Good News for SUNY
By Vinny Reda

  Proposing a state budget that would include a 10 percent increase in the core instructional budget for State University of New York campuses, Governor George Pataki drew favorable responses from SUNY officials and legislators upon release of his 2000-01 budget plan.
    “Governor Pataki's proposed budget is great news for the State University of New York,” said SUNY Chancellor Robert L. King. The budget would increase the state-supported portion of SUNY's core instructional budget by $80 million, one of the largest such increases ever proposed in an Executive Budget.
    “This represents a clear commitment by Governor Pataki to help us build a durable new financial foundation for the State University,” said King. Thomas F. Egan, chairman of the State University's Board of Trustees, called the budget “a tribute to the leadership of Governor Pataki and a rousing vote of confidence in our new chancellor, Bob King.”
    The Governor's budget also reaffirms his plan to attract one or more semiconductor plants to sites in the Capital Region; included among those initiatives would be $5 million earmarked for a commitment to a joint research program at UAlbany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Pataki also proposes $14 million statewide to support current Centers for Advanced Technology, of which UAlbany's Center for Advanced Thin Film Technology is one.
    University officials were optimistic upon hearing of the proposal. “It will take time to see what the exact impact of the budget numbers will be on this campus,” said Kathryn Lowery, associate vice president for finance and business. “But we are extremely pleased that the negotiated salary items have been addressed, and we expect that the University will benefit substantially from the performance funding increases.”
    The budget increase includes $56 million to cover negotiated salary increases plus $24 million in discretionary funding that will be used to reward campuses that improve their performance by increasing their enrollments, sponsored research activity and academic quality.
    “If our campuses continue to improve quality, grow enrollment and increase externally funded research the way they have done over the past two years, this budget will ensure that we will be able to handsomely reward their continued superior performance,” Egan said.
    “The Governor's proposed budgetary plan for SUNY seems to rest on a fairly solid base,” said William Scheuerman, president of the union United University Professions.

Spring Music Festival 2000 Presents Glenn Miller Orchestra February 1
By Vinny Reda

   The legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra aims to get folks in the mood for the Performing Arts Center's new professional performance series, UAlbany Presents, with two Tuesday, Feb. 1, concerts in Page Hall on the Downtown Campus.
    The Glenn Miller event is the first of three events forming the first edition of the series. Dubbed “Spring Music Festival 2000,” it also includes a March 16 performance by Five O'Clock Shadow, a vocal band with "an alternative a capella rock" sound, and an April 13 performance by six-time all-Ireland fiddle champion Martin Hayes and his partner Dennis Cahill on guitar. 
    The Miller shows are at 2 and 8 p.m. on Feb. 1. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $12 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students and children.
    In the future, said PAC Director and series coordinator Patrick Ferlo, PAC plans to expand the series to include a wide variety of performing arts programming. Ferlo, who graduated from the University in 1988 with a degree in theater, said, “I had always wanted the PAC to contribute something to the fabric of the University.” 
    “I always knew this would take the form of a performance series, but when I became director in 1995, the facility needed work. We never could have supported a series back then. We have spent the last five years improving our physical space so that a series would be possible.”
    Ferlo admitted that he might have waited longer, but the successes and limitations of the University's Shakespeare and Irish semesters, held on campus the last two springs, prompted him to move more quickly. 
    “These two series of events relied on the facilities and personnel of the PAC for all technical aspects of production, and we did very well,” he said. “Aud-iences were generally very pleased, but both events had scheduling problems and therefore did not receive proper area-wide attention. I felt it was important to show everyone now that it is possible to present such a series and that the Performing Arts Center should administer it.”
    Ferlo added, “The facility still needs upgrades, but all three of this spring's events had very few technical requirements and provided an interesting mix of genres - perfect. Spring Music Festival 2000 was born. Ideally, the future would bring larger and more diverse events to campus, some involving residencies, master classes and lectures.”
Many colleges and universities in the nation have professional performance series, he said. “They provide not only new entertainment options to the university community, but help with community and alumni relations and with faculty and student quality of life. In addition, when a university is associated with the fine artists that perform on its campus, it contributes to student recruitment and retention.”
    Ferlo said he had spoken over the last few years with local senior homes about how the PAC might get them more involved in the theater and music events on campus. They mentioned that they would be able to bring groups of their residents, but it would have to be during the day. “I was very interested in making this connection,” he said, “but our theatre and music departments were unable to perform during the day because of class conflicts.”
    Ferlo belongs to the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), an organization that brings artists, managers and presenters together to conduct business, exchange ideas and to collaborate on projects. Its newsletter reports on events well-received in other venues. “One act that consistently received rave reviews was the Glenn Miller Orchestra. I put together the need for events for seniors and the increasing popularity of swing music and booked them.” 
    “I had expected this to be my only event this year, my only experiment. Then, during the summer, I experienced Five O'Clock Shadow's unique and extremely entertaining act. I knew instantly that I wanted them here. Later that same summer, the manager for Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill called me to see if I was still interested in having them back. They had performed a wonderful concert during the Irish Semester. I had wanted them back. That is how they became our third act.”
    In addition to dance, theater, music, variety, and comedy events, a distinguished lecturer series is also under consideration. 
    Tickets for the Glenn Miller Orchestra and Spring Music Festival 2000 are on sale now at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center Box Office. Reservations are available by phone at 442-3997.

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