Nov. 17, 1999
Update Archives





Budget Brings Good News to UAlbany
By Vinny Reda

   The 1999-2000 State University of New York budget will provide a $6.1 million increase to core instructional support at the University at Albany, according to the plan released Nov. 11 by the finance committee of the SUNY Board of Trustees. In addition, a proposed 2000-2001 budget calls for no general tuition increase SUNY-wide.
    The UAlbany budget allotment for 1999-2000, to a total of $110.328 million, will completely fund the 49 new faculty positions on campus this year. In fact, while SUNY support to its 31 four-year campuses increased in the new budget by 4.2 percent, UAlbany's went up 5.9 percent, the largest rate increase of any of the four University Centers and ahead of all but two SUNY Colleges, Buffalo and New Paltz.
    Also on Nov. 11, the University received good news when Governor George Pataki signed into law Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno's “Jobs 2000” act, which will devote half a billion dollars to high technology research and development in the state. Most of the budget for the act's newly created New York Office for Science, Technology and Academic Research -- $80 million -- will go toward six yearly Capital Facilities Awards, to be given on a competitive basis among the state's 14 Centers of Advanced Technology (CATs). UAlbany is home to the Center for Advanced Thin Film Technology, one of the top-ranked CATs in the state.
    SUNY's 1999-2000 budget allotment to all its campuses' core instructional budget increases $67 million, to $1.65 billion, while the 2000-01 budget proposal calls for a $93 million increase. The 2000-2001 proposal was to be considered by the entire Board of Trustees at its monthly meeting, scheduled for this Tuesday at the State University at Buffalo.
    The proposed budget for SUNY in 2000-01 would provide sufficient funding to cover negotiated salary increases and inflation, according to Finance Committee Chairman Paul Perez. He said that the current-year financial plan reflected increased state support, as well as aggregate tuition revenue generated by the third consecutive increase in student enrollment.
    Earlier this year, concerns had been raised that tuition and campus cutbacks might be necessary due to a $77 million revenue shortfall in the budgets of SUNY's three teaching hospitals. But Brian Stenson, SUNY Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business, told the trustees that the three hospitals recently reimbursed $39 million of the $77 million they owed to the University at the close of 1998-99 academic year. 
    Stenson added that SUNY is now working with the hospitals on plans to proceed with repayment of the remaining $38 million later this month. PricewaterhouseCoopers has been hired by SUNY to assist it and the Department of the Budget in fashioning a comprehensive “turnaround plan” for the hospitals, according to Stenson. The study is due for completion in February.
    Chairman Thomas Egan said the proposed financial plan protects the University's core academic mission by creating a “firewall” to ensure that resolution of the hospital situation will not impact other campuses system-wide.

Countdown to 2000
By Mary Fiess

  When Robert Lounello, James Alonzo, Isabel Nirenberg, Donald Gallerie, Sara Dearing. Robert Yoder, Ginger Bailey, Peter Connolly and a host of other University staff members come to work on Jan. 1, 2000, they will “power up” the University's computing systems for the first time in the year 2000. 
    Thanks to careful and extensive preparations over the last couple of years, they expect systems to be “Y2K” ready but they are also prepared to deal with unforeseen problems that may emerge that day and in the first few weeks of the new year. 
    “We believe that the University's mission-critical systems are ready for the date change to Jan. 1, 2000. Only when we turn systems on and start testing them in the new year, however, will we know for sure whether there are problems we need to address. We have in place a team of committed University staff members who will address problems that emerge,” said Interim Vice President for Finance and Business Paul Stec. 
    In fact, as many as 75 computing systems support staff, including Lounello, Alonzo, Nirenberg, Gallerie, Dearing, Yoder, Bailey, and Connolly, will be working or on call throughout the holiday break this year to assure a successful “rollover” of systems. 
    Stec chairs the University's Y2K Task Force, which brings together staff from all University areas to review systems and track progress toward Y2K readiness and to prepare contingency plans. 
    At the Nov. 3 meeting of the task force, reports from staff members made clear that most of the work has been done and that remaining tasks, such as the installation of Y2K patches on administrative services personal computers, are under way. 
    Potential power outages that are beyond the University's control could disrupt the “rollover” of computing systems and could have consequences for research. Faculty members whose research could be affected by power outages have been asked to develop contingency plans, including the suspension of experiments beginning Dec. 31. 
    In addition to the issue of possible power outages, one remaining area of concern is the number of non-Y2K-compliant personal computers in use on campus. Stec said a plan is being developed for a systematic replacement of those computers. 
    With more than 20 million records and 2,100 computer programs, the University began preparing its computing systems for the year 2000 over three years ago. 
    The University has upgraded its administrative systems for financial records, personnel and payroll records, and student records. This past summer, the University upgraded the operating system for the central academic servers on campus and upgraded all personal computers in campus user rooms to assure Y2K compliance. All essential telecommunications services will be upgraded by the end of this month; telecommunications billing services will be Y2K ready by the end of the year. 
    While a major focus of efforts has been the University's large management information systems - payroll systems, student account systems, tax records, etc., the University has also reviewed equipment and systems that might be threatened by Y2K problems. 
    Y2K-compliant chips have been installed in elevators on campus. Honeywell made necessary modifications to the building control panels for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning for the podium and uptown residence halls. A new boiler control system has been installed on the downtown campus. 
    All these efforts and many more have prepared the University well for the year 2000, says Stec. To further ease the transition, he urges all faculty and staff to follow the advice in the “Y2K” checklist. 

UAlbany Needs Your Help

    The final push is on! 
    The University's state-of-the-art new library is open, but private funds are still needed to help equip and furnish this valuable new resource. 
    Half a million dollars in support from the Kresge Foundation hinges on the University's success in achieving its fundraising goal of $3 million by Dec. 31. And the University is once again asking faculty and staff, alumni and friends for their help. 
    “We have already raised over $2.5 million in support from faculty and staff, alumni and friends, but we need to reach $3 million by Dec. 31 to meet the Kresge challenge. We need everyone's help. For us, Y2K means ‘Yes 2 Kresge,’” said Vice President for University Advancement Robert Ashton. 
    A year ago, the Kresge Foundation pledged $500,000 for the new library on the condition that the University raise $3 million by Dec. 31 of this year. 
    The first new academic building on the Albany campus in 32 years, the new library is a technologically advanced and flexible facility designed to be a 21st century resource for students, faculty, the community, and scholars from around the world. 
    For more information on how you can help, call Vice President Ashton at (518) 442-5300.

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