Chancellor Goldstein Initiates New Efficiencies,
Greater Student Access to Learning Technology
There are "tremendous opportunities to operate our campuses in a more efficient
way," CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein recently
advised the Board of Trustees.
|CUNY trustees, leaders, and college presidents visited Albany on March 11-12. Seen here, from left, are President Edison O. Jackson of Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, and Brooklyn State Senator (and Medgar Evers graduate) Carl Andrews. Photo, Colleen Brescia.
He praised the efforts in the fall of 2001 of the Fiscal Affairs
Committee of the CUNY Council of Presidents, chaired by College
of Staten Island President Marlene Springer, in canvassing for
ways to improve in this area: "We have received wonderful
ideas from the presidents for ways of using Web-based technology
on our campuses, managing energy and procurement more efficiently,
and managing the central administration more efficiently."
A formal set of proposals was endorsed by the Board of Trustees
Committee on Financial Affairs, chaired by Trustee Joseph Lhota.
Goldstein noted in particular, in his report to the Board of
Trustees at its January 28 meeting, the importance of delivering
technological resources as cost-effectively as possible. œIt
is a terrible tragedy that on some of our campuses students
are not getting access to the basic technology they will need
to compete” in the current economy. "Unless we can give
campuses dollars to support more of the backbone of computing,
more opportunities to hire lab technicians for computing labs,
we are not going to see these campuses move forward."
With the first, brainstorming stage well underway, Goldstein
promised a second stage in the process of implementing efficiencies,
to be generated and supervised by Executive Vice Chancellor
for Academic Affairs Louise Mirrer and Senior Vice Chancellor
and Chief Operating Officer Allan Dobrin. The proposals were
presented to the Board of Trustees at its February 25 meeting,
following a public hearing well-attended by students, faculty,
staff, and alumni. They were unanimously approved under the
rubric, "Proposals to enhance administrative efficiency,
generate cost savings, and provide additional revenue in support
of the University's core academic mission."
Among the measures contemplated is the integration of college administrative services, particularly where geographically appropriate. Senior Vice Chancellor Dobrin, for example, has been working with such neighboring campuses as Bronx and Hostos Community Colleges and Lehman College in the Bronx, and Queens College and the CUNY Law School in Queens, to identify areas of replication. Ways to streamline operations of the Central Office are also being explored.
Telecommunications costs are being analyzed to recoup overpayments, develop a University-wide standard for cell-phone use, and establish more cost-effective local and long-distance options, including a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). Also planned is a CUNY-wide mail services protocol aimed at reducing "snail mail" in favor of e-mail.
Web-based technology is being explored to develop a new portal to allow for CUNY-wide functioning by Web in several major areas: application, registration, academic advising, and publication of catalogs and bulletins.
A new University-wide energy management program is being planned
to allow decentralization of energy budgets directly to the
individual campuses and to identify and exploit cost-reducing
new technologies. Another major focus of streamlining efforts
will be the University's procurement practices and contract
protocols, notably in such areas as advertising, travel, and
At the February meeting a unanimous Board of Trustees approved three resolutions intended to generate income for the core academic mission on CUNY campuses. It established a $75-per semester technology fee for full-time students ($37.50 for part-time). The funds will be retained by each college to improve computer services. The fee can be waived in cases of hardship. This move is expected to raise $22.5 million yearly.
The Board also rescinded the"last semester free"program
that had been in place since 1992. (Students who entered under
the program and graduate by January 2004 will still qualify
for the benefit.) By 2004, this change will generate $9 million
more in income.
The Board also voted to increase enrollment in winter intersession and summer session enrollments, with the additional tuition income being retained by the colleges and redeployed to improve academic programs.
In a memorandum to all the college presidents in early March, the Chancellor called these actions "critically important to the University," and he cited the "full and swift implementation" of these changes as a "top priority."
Underlining the importance of advice and feedback as the Technology Fee is established, Goldstein asked each president to constitute an advisory committee. "This committee should include a minimum of two students and two faculty members, nominated by the appropriate governing body" on each campus.