Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger's quarterly report - Sept. 30, 2012
When I posted my first Quarterly Report in early July, my goal was to provide a venue for people both on campus and in the community to learn more about what we are doing and what our plans are for Binghamton University. I am pleased that this report has been viewed more than 10,600 times since we began. People are interested in and want to be involved with the University.
This has become abundantly clear during recent months. This update, and particularly my discussion of the activities of the President’s Office, will highlight a number of initiatives that have brought together members of the campus community as well as friends and supporters, to strengthen the University and ensure that Binghamton strives to become the premier public university of the 21st century.
This support and commitment has helped make this summer remarkably successful.. Many people assume that the pace on campus slows considerably once students leave the campus in May. In reality, faculty and staff use this time to concentrate on long-term research and administrative projects, even as they prepare for the coming academic year. At the same time, thousands of incoming students and their families participate in Orientation sessions that welcome them to the Binghamton University community, and current students pursue their degrees by taking classes in our increasingly popular Summer Session. Summer is as busy as any other season at Binghamton.
As you read about the many initiatives started and completed during the past three months, I think the breadth of activity, the energy and the vision of the various division leaders and their staffs will impress you. Their work has helped place Binghamton University on a stronger footing for this and coming years.
Planning for the future – moving the Road Map forward
On Sept. 10, more than 400 individuals — faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and business leaders — gathered in the University Union Mandela Room to celebrate the Road Map Kickoff — the official beginning of the process that will produce a new strategic plan to guide the campus toward being the premier public university of the 21st century.
Several months of planning preceded this event, including the selection of teams and leaders to address the nine strategic areas described in the last quarterly report. My office also created a Road Map Manual and website to provide team leaders and members with information about the University and the higher education environment to provide important context for their work on the Road Map.
The nine Road Map teams will focus on three major areas: academic excellence, operational excellence and University growth. Each of the teams will develop visionary goals for their strategic area that address these issues. I am looking for proposals — I call them “the 3-Is” — that are framed as Initiatives, Innovations and Ideas, to be considered for funding in the University’s budget process.
The teams have a very aggressive timeline to complete their work. Five and 20-year visions for their areas are due in mid October and proposals are to be received in draft form in November and finalized in December, so we can begin our journey to becoming the premier public university in 2013.
A foundation for the future – NYSUNY 2020
On August 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved Binghamton University’s NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Proposal, which includes plans for a $70 million Smart Energy Research and Development Facility at the Innovative Technologies Complex, enrollment and faculty growth and a rational tuition plan that will ensure stable funding for the University over the next five years.
The signing of our NYSUNY 2020 proposal was the culmination of several years of planning and advocacy, and we are indebted to Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Sen. Thomas Libous and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, as well as the many campus and community members whose support for the project was crucial in gaining the governor’s approval.
Several aspects of the plan are already having an impact at the University. This year’s student enrollment is larger (by nearly 500) and we have increased the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty by 46 this year (34 net new and the rest replacements). These include faculty not only for the smart energy facility, but also in departments across the University, including the sciences, humanities, social sciences, and professional schools. Our goal is to increase enrollment by 2,000 students and faculty by 150 over the next five years. Significantly, faculty hiring will decrease the student faculty ratio to about 19:1, down from our current 21:1 level, helping enhance our already strong reputation for academic excellence.
When fully implemented, Binghamton’s NYSUNY 2020 plan will have a broad regional and national impact as well. Nationally, it will make Binghamton University a leading center for research in alternative energy production and storage and contribute to our reputation for academic and research excellence.
Closer to home, it will add to the economic strength and vitality of the communities of the Southern Tier, bringing 840 new jobs to the region. We estimate that it will generate more than $7 million in additional research each year, with research and pre-incubation space that will foster collaboration with many of the region’s leading firms, while leading, potentially, to the development of new industries in the community. According to widely used economic models, it will bring the University’s total economic impact to over a billion dollars each year.
Southern Tier High-Tech Incubator
Binghamton University’s commitment to regional economic development will be further strengthened with the construction of the proposed Southern Tier High-Tech Incubator in downtown Binghamton. This $22 million facility, funded through proposals submitted to the New York state Regional Economic Development Council, the Broome County Industrial Development Agency and federal grants, will provide incubator space for up to 10 new firms. It also will include offices for financial, legal and regulatory support personnel.
The Incubator will provide strategic resources for new businesses, including cutting-edge laboratories, business development services, core user facilities, interns and cooperative educational opportunities, as well as access to technology transfer and commercialization expertise at Binghamton University. It will have an immediate economic impact on our community, creating 150 new jobs with potential for future job growth as successful businesses graduate from the facility.
Indeed, industrial incubators have been shown to be the most effective ways to move an idea from the initial research stage to commercial viability. Companies working out of the incubator will focus on commercializing University research in areas such as smart energy, healthcare and electronic systems integration and packaging. Our region has nothing like this, and Binghamton University’s involvement will be vital in helping promising new companies succeed.
Concluding Bold.Brilliant.Binghamton — The Campaign for Binghamton University
The summer months also saw the University achieve a historic milestone with the successful conclusion of our second comprehensive gifts campaign, Bold.Brilliant.Binghamton — The Campaign for Binghamton University. With support of more than 30,000 alumni, parents, friends and partners, the University raised $101.22 million, exceeding both our original goal of $95 million and our subsequent stretch goal of $100 million. That we accomplished this during the worst economic recession in decades is testimony to the pride and value that our supporters have in the University.
The campaign, which began its silent phase in 2008 and launched its public phase with a history-making, first-ever, online kickoff in April 2010, officially concluded on June 30, 2012. Bold.Brilliant.Binghamton raised $45 million for student support, including scholarships and fellowships; $45 million to support faculty research and academic programming; plus an additional $10 million for flexible support for the University’s greatest needs.
The University is indebted to Campaign Chair Paul Turovsky ’73 for his commitment and determination, as well as to everyone who contributed to make Bold.Brilliant.Binghamton a success. We will be celebrating the conclusion of the campaign during Homecoming Weekend, with a Bold.Brilliant.Binghamton area at Tailgate ’12 before the men’s soccer game on Saturday, Oct. 13. Everyone is invited.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to inform the University community about changes regarding annual Commencement ceremonies. Beginning with next May’s ceremonies, each school and college will have its own graduation exercises, allowing every student to walk across the stage and be recognized.
There will be three Harpur ceremonies, one for each of the academic divisions. For most schools, ceremonies will be held at the Events Center, although the Graduate School of Education will continue its practice of holding its Commencement at the more intimate Traditions at the Glen. Each school will be able to customize its own ceremony, developing traditions to personalize the event for students and their families. These changes will also reduce the amount of time that families may need to be on campus during Commencement weekend, allowing them to plan better for travel and spend more time in the community if they desire.
That’s a quick summary of my first summer at Binghamton. Please let me know if you would like more information on any topic. I hope you also read the rest of this quarterly report to learn about the accomplishments of our other divisions: Academic Affairs, Administration, External Affairs, Student Affairs, Research, and Athletics.
Harvey G. Stenger