Magrath to faculty: University is in good fiscal shape
November 2, 2010Tweet
In his semi-annual address to the faculty Nov. 2, Interim President C. Peter Magrath began his remarks talking about excellence and communication. “I learn from these meetings and we communicate,” he said. “And that’s a critical point for a major research intensive university. They work effectively and best when there are strong faculty and there is structured, real consultation with administration. That’s what this university is about.”
Magrath then turned to budget issues, praising Binghamton’s process, as well as the Faculty Senate’s Budget Review Committee, for positioning the University well in challenging economic times. “We have here a very good and strong strategic planning and budget process, and it includes strong faculty involvement,” he said. “We’re okay for the current fiscal and academic year, and with regard to the next couple of years after this one, there is no retrenchment, but I can’t speculate beyond that.
“The academic purpose of the University is our core and we’re extraordinarily effective in preserving our core academic strength,” he said. “We have made 20 percent reductions on the administrative side, and 18 percent in Student Affairs, but reductions to Academic Affairs are something under 5 percent.
“We nevertheless work in a tough fiscal world and the environment is rough everywhere, but in this context, this University is in good shape.”
Magrath noted, however, that more resources are needed and he strongly supports Chancellor Nancy Zimpher’s efforts to gain empowerment and flexibility. “We need more resources to do the work of this University,” he said. “I strongly support the chancellor’s efforts intended to free SUNY, and particularly the university centers, from a whole range of state regulations that totally tie us up and limit our ability to be flexible and nimble.
“We would do a lot more if could be free from restrictions and we also need to be working on the entrepreneurial side of what we do,” he said. “But I think it’s a huge mistake not to recognize the problems and challenges we face.
“We are a first-class University. We have a strong, first-class faculty, outstanding students and that is quality – it’s the most valuable thing we have,” he concluded. “I favor us getting larger and expanding our reach, but not ever at the expense of the quality of this place.”
In response to questions, Magrath reiterated that Binghamton will not grow without the resources necessary to do so, and that the humanities are fundamental to the education Binghamton provides. He also updated the faculty on the law school proposal, which is in review in Albany with no specific timeline for approval, and responded to a question about his support of Division I athletics.
“[Division I athletics] important for this University, but it’s critical that it be done the right way and can be linked and integrated into the academic purpose of the University,” he said.
Following Magrath’s remarks, the Faculty Senate met, receiving annual reports from its standing committees and voting overwhelmingly to endorse two University Faculty Senate resolutions; one regarding support of consultation with governance bodies before reaching any decisions regarding program consolidation, suspension or elimination and another regarding the University at Albany’s decision to compromise its core mission through suspension of admission to five of its programs.