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Faculty Senate approves change in doctoral degrees

The Binghamton Faculty Senate Tuesday approved a change in doctoral programs in the Watson School of Engineering before discussing revisions of the proposed University Strategic Plan. The senate unanimously approved a proposal from the Watson School of Engin-eering and Applied Science to split the current doctoral program in Systems Science into two degree programs — one in Systems Science and the other in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Binghamton currently offers a doctoral degree in Systems Science with two areas of specialization. The proposal would create new doctoral programs focused on those subspecialties, said Harold Lewis, associate professor and director of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering. The creation of separate degrees for each specialization will not require additional resources, but will require approval from the state to register them as separate degree programs. “From the point of view of both programs, this separation makes a lot of sense,” Lewis said. The proposal will now be forwarded on to the provost and President Lois B. DeFleur for their approval before being sent to Albany for final approval from SUNY. Discussion on the strategic plan focused on language during the revision process, especially in the “critical guideposts, visible measures” section, which includes specific benchmarks for progress. The new draft now states that “in the next five years we intend to increase the number of faculty by 20 percent in order to achieve a student to faculty ratio of 20:1.” It also includes statements about doubling sponsored research activity in the next five years, achieving a 3:1 ratio of under-graduate to graduate students and providing “competitive stipends” for graduate students. Speaking as a member of the strategic planning committee, Ross Geoghegan, pro-fessor of mathematics and Faculty Senate chair, said that the inclusion of benchmark numbers is an important step, even if the University is unable to achieve them. “To my mind the stating of these numbers and the adoption of these represents significant change,” he said. “Whether or not they are achieved, five to six years from now, whoever is president can be asked why not.” Albert Dekin, associate professor of anthro-pology, raised the concern that, while the document lays out a number of promising directions for the University, it does not speak to the maintenance costs of current programs. “I would like to see the document, as it goes forward, contain more information on how we are going to maintain those programs that got us where we are today,” he said. The senate took no formal action on the revised draft.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08