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March 12, 2009  Volume 30, No. 23
President updates faculty on accreditation process

President Lois B. DeFleur addressed the full faculty prior to the Faculty Senate meeting earlier this week, providing updates on another record number of applications, efforts by students to remain competitive through dual majors and fast-track programs, and the Middle States accreditation process.

“The University’s strategic planning council, which has broad representation from throughout the University, will serve as our steering committee (for accreditation),” she said. “The task of the planning council/steering committee will be to develop our self-study document.”

A Middle States Commission liaison visited campus on March 9, and “was very complimentary of our reaccreditation plan that links our self-study with our strategic planning processes.” DeFleur said the University will develop a “selected topics report” to meet four selected standards, as opposed to a more comprehensive self-study, and the liaison was very positive about that approach. The full accreditation team will visit Binghamton in fall 2010.

DeFleur also spoke about the challenges the University, and SUNY, face in dealing with fiscal issues. “We are managing the reductions; we are also trying to position the University in order to pursue our strategic initiatives but at a slower pace,” she said. “Our strategy is to gradually, over time, reduce the state funds portion of our budget.”
She reiterated that academic programs remain the priority, and the percentage of reductions to academic affairs is less than for other divisions.

Finally, DeFleur noted her appreciation for the efforts of those on and off campus who advocate for the University, and urged everyone to continue to send messages to state legislators, in particular requesting they return the tuition increase to campuses.

“Legislators are positive about Binghamton and SUNY in general,” she said. “But it’s an uphill battle and we have to keep up the pressure. ...”

Following her remarks, the Faculty Senate voted unanimously to approve three proposals: one to establish a new major in Chinese Studies, one to deactivate the BFA degree in Studio Art and a third to set procedures to hold faculty accountable for the often large number of books they check out from the Libraries.

International Innovation Fund proposals due April 1

The Lois B. DeFleur International Innovation Fund has launched its second annual round of competition for grants, in the amount of $2,000-$5,000, to be awarded to any member of the University community (faculty, staff or students) before the end of the spring 2009 semester.

Created from President Lois B. DeFleur’s contribution of the Harold R. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education she received in September 2007, plus additional contributions from her and from prominent Binghamton University alumni, the fund supports projects in line with the “comprehensive internationalization” to which Binghamton has been committed throughout President DeFleur’s tenure.

Project dates: Begin as early as June 1, 2009 and end no later than Aug. 31, 2010. Due date for proposals: April 1, 2009.

For award criteria and application details, see the call for proposals at

University celebrates International Women’s Day

More than 55 students, staff and faculty members gathered Friday, March 6, at Binghamton University to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan was on hand to read a proclamation in honor of the event.

“The City of Binghamton and I encourage all our citizens to join me in supporting women in their efforts to establish a caring and compassionate society in Binghamton and all around the world,” he said.

Jessie Kabwila Kapasula, a doctoral student in comparative literature, delivered a speech in which she urged people to recognize and respect the differences among women.

“We are united in our diversity,” she said. Kapasula, who is from Malawi, considers herself a radical feminist. She touched on topics ranging from media coverage of Sarah Palin to HIV/AIDS in her remarks.

Several audience members shared memories of celebrating International Women’s Day in countries such as Russia, Bulgaria, China and Turkey.

The event was organized by the Binghamton University Globalistas, a group of students, staff and faculty committed to internationalization in a variety of forms.

Student speakers sought for Commencement

The Commencement Advisory Committee is accepting nominations for undergraduate student speakers for the spring 2009 Commencement ceremonies to be held May 17.

Three undergraduate students will be selected to present a 3-5 minute speech at one of the three ceremonies. All nominees must be either a winter 2009 graduate or a spring 2009 candidate. Nominations will be accepted through noon Friday, April 3.

For more information, contact Amy Hanford at

In the News

Justin Garcia, a student in the biomedical anthropology program, was featured in Psychology Today in December regarding a study of the increasing promiscuity displayed by females today, and its effect on their relationships.

Geologists Tim Lowenstein and Robert Demicco were featured in international publications, including GEN Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, e! Science News (Canada) and Newstrack (India), for their discovery of the meaning of a rare mineral. The mineral can be used to track ancient climates, helping climatologists and others better understand what can be expected over the next century or two as global warming continues to affect the planet.

Dora Polachek, romance languages professor, was featured in LoveToKnow in December in an interview discussing why Binghamton’s French program is unique.

The men’s soccer team was featured in The Press and Sun-Bulletin for having the best GPA of any men’s soccer program in the nation.  Athletic director Joel Thirer said, “We hold them up as a model for all the other teams. ”

Mary Muscari, parenting expert and associate professor in the Decker School of Nursing, was featured in a variety of publications regarding how to keep the magic of the holidays alive when kids no longer believe in Santa. Muscari suggests having children use their allowance to make a purchase for “Toys for Tots,” play Santa for the family pets and bake cookies for the Salvation Army Santas.

David L. Cingranelli, professor of political science, was featured in The Daily News (Memphis) and YubaNet (CA) for his Cingranelli-Richards Human Rights Data Project, which released its ratings of government respect for human rights. The ratings indicated that torture and political imprisonment are on the rise in many countries around the world.

David Sloan Wilson, professor of biological sciences, was featured in several publications, including Scientific American, The Chicago Tribune, and The Statesman (India) discussing why everyone should learn the theory of evolution. Wilson initiated a program in evolutionary studies called EvoS that extends beyond just the life sciences to encompass the humanities and the social sciences.  The program is now being adopted at other schools as well.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08