President Stenger updates full facultyTweet
There is never a lack of information when President Harvey Stenger gives his semi-annual address to the full faculty. Since the last update, much has happened, beginning with the well-known visitors to campus: Tony Kornheiser, the Cake Boss, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Barack Obama.
A number of administrative reorganizations also took place in June and July, Stenger said, beginning with the naming of Donald Nieman as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost with budget and space responsibilities. Stenger also establish the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with Valerie Hampton as its director; renamed and streamlined the Division of External Affairs to the Division of Advancement; and moved Auxiliary Services to the Division of Student Affairs.
“Auxiliary Services includes dining services and that’s what students complain about most, so I thought we should give it to Brian Rose and student affairs,” Stenger said.
Next, Stenger reviewed the enrollment and hiring process, noting that the University’s has set an aggressive goal to hire 150 net new faculty over a five-year period as part of NYSUNY 2020, but we’re on track to meet the goal.
“The Road Map is also still out there,” Stenger said. “We’re now working on how to measure our progress and come up with metrics that are accurate to see how well we are doing.”
After reviewing four of the 46 projects that have moved forward under the Road Map’s five strategic priorities – Transdisciplinary Areas of Excellence (TAEs), the Center for Learning and Teaching, new teaching spaces and the school of pharmacy proposal) − Stenger turned to the Road Map Steering Committee, which has been expanded and includes students as well as foundation and alumni board representatives.
“It’s important we have representation from people out there who might be able to help us with resources,” he said. “Our next meeting is in December and we should have a good working website after that where we will show our progress in both narrative and with charts.”
The High-Tech Incubator planned for downtown Binghamton is moving forward, with $11 million in funding and an architect. “We hope to be shovel-ready by spring,” Stenger said. “They’re doing demolition and site preparation now and hope to begin construction in late 2014.”
As he completes his first year as co-chair of the Regional Economic Development Committee, Stenger said the REDC’s competitive process is into its third round of funding to be determined next month. “We anticipate a visit by the governor or his staff to review our progress for the first two years and our plans for the third year,” he said. “We have a really good project proposed in this round to enhance our labs for undergraduate students so every undergraduate STEM student can have a valuable research experience.”
Stenger also spoke about the statewide START-UP NY initiative. “There are more questions out there than answers concerning START-UP NY,” he said. “But it is a very powerful policy innovation – a controversial one and we understand that – but let’s give it a try. Let us run this experiment before we say whether it’s good or bad.”
Binghamton University will find tax-free space for companies new to New York, he said, but that space won’t take away from campus research or instruction. “Our main campus is full and we recognize that. The only place we have any intention of using would be at the ITC. It was built by funds brought from Albany and that’s what it is there for.” We have listed start-up suites in buildings over there” and the incubator will also be eligible for START-UP NY when it is completed.
Stenger said Binghamton will work with campus governance to finalize its Start-Up NY plan, and the campus is allowing the state to pursue companies and bring them to our attention.
Stenger also touched on Open SUNY, an initiative proposed by the chancellor to expand enrollment and increase access to high-quality education. “The first and only request we’ve gotten so far has been to tell SUNY which of our programs are completely online so when Open SUNY launches in January we will be in the brochure,” Stenger said. “We have two long-standing programs in our engineering school that are completely online and have been around for more than 10 years.
“Beyond that, there’s nothing for us to do right now,” he added. “Details about how to expand enrollment are still being worked on. There are a lot of issues around cross registration and openness and they don’t have the details yet. It’s not going to be simple, but we’re fully supportive of increasing access to high-quality education.”
Following Stenger’s remarks, the Faculty Senate held its business meeting. Howard Brown, professor of history and chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, updated senators on the FSEC’s activities this semester, and the Faculty Senate also approved the list of degree candidates for Fall Commencement.