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
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
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.
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
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
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.