U.S. Congressional Representative to Speak on Campus

Matthew F. McHugh, an advisor to World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn, will speak on “Foreign Aid and Economic Development” at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 18, in the Page Hall Lounge on the Downtown Campus.

McHugh, a U.S. Congressional representative from New York’s 27th and 28th districts from 1975-92, was a member of Congress’s powerful Appropriations Committee and was also a member of its Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Export Financing.

Since 1993, he has viewed the world’s economy from the vantage point of leading international development agency on the globe, which, since its establishment to aid war-torn Europe in 1947, has lent well over $300 billion for development operations in more than 140 countries, shaping both physical and intellectual landscapes.

As the World Bank, officially known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, broadened its scope beyond Western Europe, its focus shifted to the less developed nations of Africa, Asia and Latin American, and, later, to Eastern and Central Europe.

McHugh, a 1963 Villanova Law School graduate who began his career as an attorney and city prosecutor in Ithaca and then Tompkins County district attorney, will show how the World Bank has accumulated a unique repository of experience on approaches to economic development, shifting from pre-1980 support for large and often controversial constructions project (such as dams) to an emphasis on long-tern economic policy, plus an advocacy for investment in education, health and nutrition.

Wolfensohn took the reigns of the World Bank in 1995, vowing, he said, to “break the armlock of bureaucracy” in the agency, and McHugh has had a first-hand look at the new president’s methods, and of the Bank’s development as it looks toward the next century.

A reception will follow his talk. For more information, call Holly Sims at 442-5268, or Seth Leitman at 433-8923.

SUNY Online Program Expands to 19 Campuses, 77 Courses, Graduate Level

By Rebecca Goldstein

Because of its success in the past year, the State University of New York’s computer online degree program will expand from eight to 19 campuses in the fall semester, including the University at Albany.

The SUNY Learning Network (SLN) program, which currently enrolls 282 students in 19 courses, will offer 77 courses to over 1,000 students in the fall. Courses will be on the undergraduate and graduate level and will include offerings in business, humanities and the sciences.

“Albany’s participation represents a first for SLN, which has thus far been implementing individual undergraduate courses through the community and four-year colleges,” said Carla Meskill of the Department of Educational Theory and Practice.

“This is a first both in that the Curriculum Design and Instructional Technology (CDIT) program is a graduate-level program and in that students will be able to complete the entire master’s degree on-line.”

The SUNY Learning Network will add the following campuses in the fall: Albany, Broome Community College, University at Buffalo, Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, Herkimer County Community College, Mohawk Valley Community College, Monroe Community College, Oswego, Purchase, Tompkins-Cortland Community College and Westchester Community College. The Learning Network will continue to offer courses through Empire State College, New Paltz and Columbia Greene, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, and Ulster Community Colleges.

“Because the program has been so well-received, we are almost quadrupling the number of online courses this fall,” said Interim Provost Peter D. Salins. “The SUNY Learning Network helps overcome the increasing challenges facing more and more adult and traditional college students.”

The SUNY Learning Network allows students to take individual courses or earn a degree right in their own homes, at their own time schedule, from multiple campuses around the state. This opportunity is provided over an Asynchronous Learning Network (ALN), the use of computers and the Internet as an educational vehicle that allows an on-going dialogue among students and faculty.

Funded in part by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the SUNY Learning Network was praised in a newly released evaluation report done by Hezel Associates of Syracuse. The Hezel report said “the administrators of the project have proven the instructional viability of asynchronous learning by forming partnerships across campuses, offering market sensitive courses, and incrementally improving instructional quality.”

From an economic standpoint, the consultants concluded, the SUNY Learning Network increases enrollment from those unable to participate in on-campus classes, avoids cost duplications by sharing technology and marketing among several campuses, and makes New York State competitive with other states that offer distance learning. A market survey of prospective students shows that, with no advertising outside of New York, 20 percent of the prospective students for the program live out-of-state.

Faculty have been impressed with student performance to this point. “The level of class participation and discussion far exceeded, in quantity and quality, anything I have ever experienced in the traditional classroom setting,” said David Jaffee, a New Paltz professor.

Now, expectations as well as challenges are high as the program enters the graduate level. “There are, of course, critical differences in how course content and student involvement are conducted at the graduate level at a research institution,” said Albany’s Meskill. “As instructional technologists we will be pushing the medium and understanding about on-line instruction and paving the way for future graduate-level offerings in the SUNY system.”

While the location and method of transmission of SLN is unusual, the activities of a traditional class are the same—students read course materials, write papers, do research and communicate with their instructor and fellow students.

The project was budgeted last year at $1,204,000, with $548,000 coming from the Sloan Foundation’s Program in Learning Outside the Classroom, $387,000 of in-kind services from University campuses, and an infrastructure investment of $269,000 from SUNY’s Office of Educational Technology, which administers the program. Additional funds were used the previous year to get the project off the ground, beginning with four courses and 56 students in the fall of 1995.

University at Albany Anthropology Student Wins $14,500 Grant

By Christine Hanson McKnight

C. Matt Samson, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, has received a $14,500 grant from the Research Enablement Program (REP) to support his study of the growth of Protestantism among Maya Indians in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Samson, a native of Clinton, La., is one of 16 award winners from among 121 applicants.

Samson will carry out a comparative ethnographic field study of two Maya Protestant communities, with a focus on the significant growth of Indian Protestantism in a nation that has an Indian majority. His work will also examine the manner in which Maya maintain their ethnic identity even as they have converted from so-called “traditional” Indian beliefs.

Anthropology faculty member Gary Gossen said Samson’s project will be an important contribution to an understanding of perhaps the most extraordinary feature of social change in late 20th Century Latin America.

“Protestantism currently surpasses both Liberation Theology and Marxist guerrilla movements as a preferred ideological and lifestyle option for tens of millions of Latin Americans,” Gossen said. “Guatemala has both a majority Indian population and is also among those nations of the region that have the largest percentage of Protestants — 20 to 30 percent. Mr. Samson’s study promises to contribute to our understanding of these significant forces in the ethnic and cultural configuration of contemporary Latin America.”

Samson’s study is entitled Re-enchanting the World: Maya Identity and Protestantism in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. The Research Enablement Program is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts of Philadelphia and administered by the Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven, Conn.

Sixteen scholars representing Germany, New Zealand, Nigeria, People’s Republic of China, Russia, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and the U.S. received the awards for research projects in the study of the world Christian movement. The grants total approximately $293,000 and will be dispensed for work in the 1997-1998 academic year. The REP is designed to support projects dealing with the world Christian movement and its interaction with the public sphere, especially in the non-Western world.

13th Annual Spring Celebration of Bread & Roses

By Lisa James

The Women’s Concerns Committee of the University Commission for Affirmative Action will present its 13th Annual Spring Celebration on Thursday, May 1, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Campus Center Assembly Hall. The event will include the presentation of the 11th Annual Bread and Roses Award.

The distinguished speaker for the event will be Bernice Sandler, senior scholar in residence at the National Association for Women in Education. She will discuss “Women in Higher Education: Problems and Progress.” A reception will follow the event, which is free and open to everyone.

Sandler consults with numerous institutions regarding achieving equity for women. She also writes a quarterly newsletter, About Campus Women. She is nationally known for her expertise in women’s educational equity and played a major role in the development and passage of Title IX and other laws prohibiting discrimination in education.

Winners of this year’s Bread and Roses Awards are Linda Nicholson, a professor in the University’s Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies, and Kathleen Turek, associate director for the University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The awards are given each year by the Council on Women’s Groups to honor the men and women who have made extraordinary contributions on behalf of gender equity and/or have enhanced the quality of life for women at the University.

Nicholson has dedicated more than 20 years of significant work to advancing gender equity on campus and in the larger society. Her efforts as mentor to the next generation of women students and junior faculty has been extraordinary. She has authored and edited numerous interdisciplinary publications. As editor of the influential “Thinking Gender” series with Routledge Press, she has encouraged feminist scholarship and has contributed to the national standing of the Women’s Studies Department.

Turek, who is also a doctoral student in the School of Information Science and Policy, has served as a sexual harassment advisor for more than 10 years. She has co-authored Electronic Access to Research on Women. Known for her leadership in helping to create a “female friendly” climate in technology and computing, she has made a special effort to reach out to groups on campus that tend to avoid computers. She also has consulted with and offered several workshops to the campus community.

Campus Spruces for Commencement, Expresses Pride, with Clean-Up Day

President Hitchcock is encouraging the campus to dress down and pitch in on April 25 in order to enhance the beauty of the campus for its official rites of Spring.

“For many of us whose work life is dictated by desks, telephones and computers, we simply do not have a mechanism to physically connect with its appearance,” writes the President in a campus letter, encouraging clean-up/spruce-up volunteers for either the morning (9 a.m. - noon) or afternoon (1 - 4 p.m.) of Friday, April 25 (rain date May 2)

“As you all know, our Physical Plant staff, and the Grounds Department in particular, annually face an almost impossible task in readying the campus for Commencement Week,” she wrote. “The time between the melting of the last snow and Commencement activities is just too brief for them to allow attention to all the little things that need to be done to spruce up the campus.”

Steve Beditz, Assistant Vice President in the Office of Human Resources Management, said that many faculty and staff have, over the years, indicated an interest in lending a hand in these activities. “So, those wishing to participate in our first Spring Clean-Up Day are encouraged to volunteer a few hours out of their busy work schedules to take up rakes or trash bags and, in one concerted effort, clear the campus of the winter’s debris.”

Activities, he said, will include raking, weeding planter areas, sweeping, and general picking up. A cutoff sign-up strip has been sent out to each faculty and staff member, with respondents replying to Administration 350 by April 18.

“The Grounds Department will lead the effort and is compiling a task list. We will contact everyone just before April 25 with information on what they will be doing and where to report.” He termed the required effort involved “physical, but light-much like yard work. People should wear old clothes and bring work gloves if they have them.”

Since the time is considered for University work, obviously no charge to leave credits is called for. But Beditz does request that each employee obtain a supervisor’s approval to participate.

Writes the President: “The timing of this effort coincides with our Open House and will immeasurably add to the appearance of the facility on this important day . . . This is a beautiful campus, and we can take pride in its appearance.”

The effort is part of a University initiative to inspire volunteer participation in the betterment of campus community, said Beditz.

“This is just the first idea put into action. We particularly want to promote a feeling of pride in the campus, connectivity, and a sense of community among staff and students. We should look at the University at Albany as a home, not just a place where you stay and go to class, or just go to work. We plan on having faculty, staff and students get together to come up with new ideas and other efforts to further this goal.”

New head coach of the New York Giants football team Jim Fassel met with President Hitchcock on March 21 when he was introduced to both the Capital Region and the University campus, the summer training camp home of the team. Fassel said the training facilities and the overall camp structure at Albany were the best he had seen in his seven years in the National Football League.