CUNY Master Plan 2000 | II. Vision for the Future

Creating a Flagship Environment With Highly Selective Colleges and a University-wide Honors College

Beginning in September 2000, CUNY embarked upon a focused strategy to enable it to take its place among the top public institutions of higher education in the country. To help achieve this goal the University is establishing a "flagship environment" that will foster national prominence in targeted undergraduate liberal arts and science programs, and professional and graduate programs, particularly in areas where high academic quality allows CUNY to play a unique role among institutions.

A central component of CUNY's effort to build disciplinary strength and establish a flagship environment is the replenishment of full-time faculty and the improvement of the ratio of full-time to part-time faculty. This need is apparent from the high percentage of undergraduate course sections taught by adjunct faculty, which increased to 48% at the senior colleges and 49% at the community colleges in the Fall of 1998. The excessive reliance on adjunct teaching is counter to exemplary academic practice and was identified by the New York State Board of Regents' Commission as one of the greatest threats to program quality in higher education.

To increase the number of full-time faculty and improve the full-time/part-time ratio, the University has planned a five-year initiative to recruit highly qualified full-time faculty. The objective is to steadily increase the full-time/part-time faculty ratio each year over the next five years. This initiative, and its eventual goal of a 70/30 ratio of full-time to part-time faculty, is dependent on the State and City's in principle commitment to University objectives. The University's FY2001 Budget Request represents the first phase of this initiative. In each of the following four years the University will request additional support for new full-time faculty.

One approach to replenishing faculty strength in support of the creation of a flagship environment at CUNY is "cluster hiring," a strategic effort to bring to the University significant sized cohorts of new faculty in programmatic areas of importance over a relatively short time frame of three to five years. Cluster areas are selected for their projected and emerging strategic importance to society and the economy, their relation to existing CUNY strengths, their relevance to educational need, and their intellectual breadth and depth as appropriate for a major academic institution. This model of resource investment has begun to enable the University to attract better quality faculty, who are aware that a major buildup in their area of interest is underway, and allows CUNY and its colleges to build new levels of excellence and prominence in selected areas.

The University began selecting areas for flagship investment during the 1999-2000 academic year; cluster hiring was initiated in four designated areas:

Selected areas are allocated a multiyear package of resources, including a cluster of faculty and staff positions, and an appropriate level of funds for start-up equipment and facilities.

Initial new faculty hires have been made in the software and new media areas as well as in the area of education/second language acquisition. A broad planning process has been underway for building a major flagship program in photonics, complementing and building upon existing research strengths, including CUNY's New York State Center for Advanced Technology in photonics. Photonics is of increasing importance in communications, computing, displays, data management, and imaging. Applications to medical diagnosis and treatment are a particular focus of CUNY's program. This initiative is a good example of how the University intends to proceed, and so is described in detail below.

Photonics Flagship Program

The photonics flagship initiative is intended to propel CUNY to the very highest ranks of photonics research in universities both nationally and internationally. It will also help raise the stature of The City College, the lead campus for photonics at CUNY, in both the sciences and engineering. The CUNY photonics flagship program will greatly enhance CUNY's ability to contribute economic benefit to New York City and New York State and, because of CUNY's proximity to some of the nation's finest biomedical research institutes, will foster partnerships between the University and these institutions.

Timeline for Implementation of the Photonics Flagship Program

1999-2000 (planning phase)

Under the auspices of the Central Office of the University, a group of external consultants from photonics intensive industries (Lucent Technologies, NEC, Corning, Lockheed Martin) and major photonics centers (Princeton, Univ. of Rochester, Boston University) have been working with a multi-campus CUNY faculty think tank to develop the broad strategic outlines of the photonics flagship initiative. Plans for participation in the photonics initiative have been solicited from key campuses and have been incorporated into the process. Consultative meetings have taken place with the participating campus administrations. Participating campuses include: The City College (lead campus), Brooklyn College, Queens College, Hunter College, the College of Staten Island and Queensborough Community College. Queensborough will contribute to technical training and support through its Laser and Fiber Optics programs and resources for that purpose have been allocated. Further interaction with campus academic departments and faculty will take place before the end of the academic year.

The emerging plan calls for establishing an overarching Photonics Institute at CUNY to oversee the effort. It calls for the hiring of approximately 20 faculty researchers over the next four to five years, with appropriate start-up equipment and laboratory renovation, the hiring of a like number of scientific and technical support personnel over the same period, and the planning and construction of a 40,000 square foot Photonic Compact Device Center at City College. Of the twenty new research faculty, five or six are to be renowned scholars who, with several distinguished scientists already at CUNY, will form the scientific leadership core of the Institute. Hiring will take place in several disciplines, including physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Approximately half the hires will be at City College and the remainder will be at the other four participating senior college campuses. Initial advertisements for the cluster hiring will be placed in late Spring and early Summer. The plan also calls for establishment of special research and educational programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and the establishment of close ties with industry and medical/biomedical institutions.


Approximately seven faculty, including four at the leadership level will be recruited, with about half joining CUNY for the Spring semester and the rest arriving for the following Fall. Construction plans for the Device Center will be drawn up by architects and bids let out for Contractors. Plans to integrate CUNY incubator efforts with the photonics initiative will be developed with the intention of having an incubator program in place on the City College campus the following year. An industrial and medical/biomedical advisory board will be established. Partnerships with large industrial corporations and with medical/biomedical institutions will be formalized.


Seven additional faculty including the remaining leadership faculty will be recruited, arriving at CUNY in the Spring and following Fall semesters. Construction of the Device Center will commence. The Institute will be fully organized and functional. About ten of the twenty support personnel will be hired. Except for the Device Center, all equipment for hired faculty will be on order or in place. Space for up to fifteen incubator companies will be in place on or near the City College campus in late Spring; the organizational needs of the incubator facility will also be in place. Recruitment of anchor and other tenants will be ongoing over the Spring semester. Some new educational programs will be in place as will some new research programs for graduates and undergraduates.


Six additional faculty will be recruited, arriving in the Spring and following Fall. Major construction on the Photonics Device Center will be well underway and equipment will be on order. Five to eight photonics related companies will be occupying the incubator facility. Educational and student research programs will be fully in place, and student recruitment will be in full swing.


Any unfilled faculty positions will be re-recruited, with faculty arriving in the Spring and the following Fall. The Institute will be in full swing. The Photonics Device Center will be completed. Five to eight additional incubator companies will be on board.

Anticipated Five Year Photonics Outcomes:

At the end of ten years, photonics at CUNY will evolve with changing technological advances and needs. There will be a large cohort of companies in the incubator, as well as a larger cohort of "graduate" companies, many remaining in New York and maintaining close or "alumni" relations with the Institute. Economic development will be at the $40M per year level, including impact of successful companies that continue to exploit value obtained from past affiliation with the Institute. Cumulative economic impact over the ten year period will be over $150 million.

Structural Biology

Another area that will be targeted for flagship designation is the biological sciences. The imminent completion of the human genome sequence represents a colossal achievement, but it also poses daunting scientific challenges. The University plans to respond creatively to anticipated information on the "molecules of life," supporting faculty researchers and students who will mold this information into diagnostic and therapeutic methodologies that are ultimately beneficial to human health. Planned research represents efforts at fundamental discoveries, production techniques, and syntheses that are critical for new applications to human health.

These efforts would be complemented by programmatic development appropriate to the education and training of undergraduate and graduate students. One approach will be to develop the theme of structural biology through new concentrations: within traditional majors and between cognate scientific disciplines. This will make efficient use of University resources and build bridges among faculty participants on the basis of teaching goals as well as research agendas. At the graduate level, a Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics subdiscipline would also be developed in the Ph.D. programs in Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The structural biology initiative will be strengthened by the University's participation in the building of centralized state-of-the-art facilities at the New York Structural Biology Center. Facilities of this nature will allow researchers to focus on key biomedical problems such as the molecular basis of pathology X (e.g., neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular malfunction, obesity, fungal infection) and the self assembly of macromolecules and complexes, membrane proteins, drug-DNA complexes.

An Integrated System With Flagship Programs

Plans for the development of flagship programs, including cluster hiring, will be as comprehensive in all areas as the illustration, above, in photonics. All of CUNY's colleges will be advantaged by this initiative, as will CUNY students, though not each in the same way, and from it a small number of highly selective colleges will emerge. As CUNY becomes an integrated system with nationally prominent programs and recognized excellence in important fields, more and better faculty, and students, will be attracted to the system and the advantages that follow from a highly valued degree will ensue. This will become apparent in future years as priorities are revisited, needs are reassessed and new targeted areas are chosen.

College Planning in the Context of the Flagship Environment

As the colleges engage in their own academic planning, new programs and the enhancement of existing programs reflect the University's goal to advance to a flagship environment. College planning also supports key themes expressed in the University's Master Plan. As the Board of Trustees approves new programs, and the Chancellery provides institutional resources for existing programs, the focus will be on those that are viewed as central to the college's mission and reputation, central to the needs of the students and communities served by the colleges, and central to the goals of the University.

The largest proportion of new programs under development within the University is in the liberal arts and sciences. However, a significant trend is the increasing demand for and development of master's degree programs in professional areas, including the allied health fields, business, engineering, and architecture. At the undergraduate level, including the associate degree level, the development of professional programs will also be prominent with a particular focus on new programs that will serve workforce and economic development needs in the city. New associate degree transfer programs are also planned to better serve as career ladders to baccalaureate study for the University's large and diverse community college population.

A number of programs recently approved, or in development, illustrate college efforts to plan with University goals in mind. These include the following.

Baruch College's full-time MBA Program, currently among the top 7% with respect to GMAT scores, aims to achieve a ranking within the top 25 MBA programs nationally.

An AAS program in Multimedia Programming and Design at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, recognized nationally, will provide state-of-the-art technical training for BMCC students and help provide New York's software and new media industries with a qualified work force.

Brooklyn College's Arts Council, in cooperation with the Department of Computer and Information Science is developing proposals that will address the New Media. The specialized Program in Integrated Media Arts will be offered to Master's students in Art, Film, Music, Television and Radio and select undergraduates. Emphasizing collaborative projects and hybrid forms of art, PIMA will explore possibilities for the use of telecommunications in music and related arts through the use of languages such as HTML, Perl, Java, Shockwave, etc.

City College has targeted the Natural Sciences, Engineering, and Architecture for development. Inauguration of a BE program in Computer Engineering and Advanced Certificate Programs in Special Topics in Engineering, pending State approval, and new programs at the master's level in Architecture and Bioengineering are the focus of this effort. The master's program in Bioengineering will complement the University's new and innovative Ph.D. Program in Bioengineering that recently received State approval.

At Hostos Community College an Engineering Sciences program has been designed, with the faculty of the City College Department of Engineering, through which students may complete their Associate degrees at Hostos with full transfer to City College's Engineering programs. The letter of intent has been signed and both institutions are anticipating full implementation in the very near future.

In keeping with the College's mission, Hostos Community College plans to expand its programmatic offerings in the health sciences to address critical workforce shortages in the health care field. Working with community health care providers, the College is also identifying the retraining needs of current employees in various Allied Health professions. Capitalizing on the strengths of existing offerings, and working with employers, the College will expand existing programs and develop new ones to address these retraining needs.

Hunter College plans to establish a master's level program in Biotechnology, built upon the College's broad strengths in the biological sciences. The College is also enhancing its presence in the field of photonics and anticipates that new facilities and staff will enable the proposed programs to attain eminence in the field. In addition the college plans a new MFA program focused on the convergence of digital technologies, particularly in "new media."

John Jay College of Criminal Justice has designated the forensic sciences as an area for special resource enhancement. In addition to its current nationally acclaimed programs in the field, the College plans a master's level program in Forensic Information Systems. The program will train professionals to use the most sophisticated systems of information retrieval and analysis that are used by criminal justice agencies. In November the Board of Trustees approved John Jay's proposal for a baccalaureate program in International Criminal Justice. Kingsborough Community College has designated information and business-related technologies as an area for resource enhancement. In an innovative collaboration between computer science and business faculty, the College is developing an AAS program in Information Management.

LaGuardia Community College is developing a Deaf Studies option within its AA program in Liberal Arts and Sciences that will allow students to attain competence in American Sign Language and familiarize themselves with deaf culture. The College also plans an AS in Engineering Science that will comprise a dual/joint AS/BE degree to be offered jointly with the City College School of Engineering.

Lehman College has targeted the area of Computer Imaging, Software and New Media Design. The department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Department of Art have jointly established a program in Computer Imaging and Graphics which brings together concepts of art and design with advanced technology in digital media, animation and modeling. This will further software research and development as well as foster productive relationships with computer-based industry.

Medgar Evers College plans to open a BS program in Mathematical Sciences (currently pending SED approval) that will encompass a number of programs in quantitative and scientific disciplines.

Queensborough Community College is currently engaged in planning two new degree programs: one in computer graphics, and the other, a collaborative effort between the Department of Mechanical Technology and the Department of Art and Photography to offer an Associate Degree in Computerized Art, Design and Manufacturing.

The CUNY School of Law envisages working closely with other graduate professional programs to enrich course availability and educational opportunities available to students and to create and strengthen interdisciplinary collaborations. Plans include the design and distribution of a joint recruitment piece for all of the graduate programs and an initiative which would draw upon the outstanding faculties of the Law School, the Hunter Schools of Social Work, Urban Planning, and Public Health, the Schools of Business and Public Affairs of Baruch College, the Architecture and Engineering Schools of City College, and others.

The Graduate Center, in response to the critical need for research and analysis on the role that public education plays in contemporary urban society, has developed a Ph.D. program in Urban Education. The Program will prepare leaders in educational research and policy analysis who have a broad understanding of the complex issues facing urban education in America.

Establishing a Highly Selective Honors College

Beginning in Fall 2001, the University will embed, in its flagship environment, a new CUNY-wide Honors College.

Honors College students will be selected through an index that includes SAT scores, high school GPA, academic coursework, essay, and interview. The admissions policy will be constructed in such a way as to be non-discriminatory and to reflect the demographics of the University at large.

The Honors College will build on the unique resources of both the University and the City in which it is located. Drawing on faculty from the undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, it will provide selected students with special opportunities to experience the talent and expertise which exist across the campuses. A "Cultural Passport" will enable CUNY students to experience the riches of New York City, otherwise unavailable to many young people. Discussions are now taking place with leading cultural institutions in New York City.

Honors College students will initially be drawn from the honors programs at a small number of CUNY colleges. These students will take, in common, but on their respective campuses, one Honors College seminar each semester, along with their college honors coursework. For lower division work a cadre of selected faculty from undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools across the University will offer instruction at the college at which Honors students are enrolled. For upper division work, students will have the opportunity, if they wish it, to experience the talent and expertise that exist across the campuses. For these students movement across the campuses will be facilitated to allow them to work with CUNY's finest teachers and scholars and to take advantage of the University's most sophisticated instrumentation and facilities.

Students will engage in specially designed cohort activities, both on campuses and at the various cultural institutions that are the heart and soul of New York City. Regular visits to these institutions will be fully funded through the Honors College "Cultural Passport" and meetings will be planned with New Yorkers active in the arts as well as in civic and governmental institutions.

The University plans to admit students into the Honors College in Fall 2001. Those accepted for the program will be provided laptop computers and an academic expense account, which can be used to pay for a study abroad or similar, academically enriching experience. The size of the Honors College will increase incrementally from 2001 2004.

Improving Teacher Education

The City University of New York has a long-standing commitment to the professional preparation of teachers and takes most seriously its role as a major provider of well educated and highly skilled professionals for the New York City school system. In recent years the University has moved aggressively to initiate activities to raise teacher education program performance and to ensure that all new State requirements for teacher education programs are attained and that the University's programs remain at the forefront of educational innovation.

Among the University-wide initiatives planned for the next four years are:

Over the next four years all colleges offering programs leading to teacher certification will continue to implement strategies to strengthen their education programs and to ensure compliance with recently adopted Regents' requirements for programs leading to teacher certification. This includes the attainment of professional accreditation, meeting student performance expectations on teacher certification examinations and complying with new certificate title structures and all regulatory requirements for enhanced program content.

Activities and strategies employed by the colleges to achieve these requirements include:

The University is also planning a Ph.D. program in Urban Education to be offered at the Graduate School and University Center. The program is being developed in response to the critical need for research and analysis on the crucial role that public education plays in contemporary urban society. It is anticipated that this innovative new program will be of great significance to those who educate classroom teachers and set educational policy.

Many of the colleges have developed innovative plans to improve their own teacher education programs. Examples follow.

Baruch College

Key objectives for The Educational Leadership Program over the next four years are:

Hunter College

Lehman College

Queens College

The College of Staten Island

Expanding the Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning

Over the next four years, the University will make a major investment in technology initiatives designed to enhance instruction and to equip graduates with the tools and skills they need to contribute to the City's and State's economic vitality in the new information-based global economy. In part this investment builds on the infrastructure developed through the "CUNY Online" project, which was partially funded through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The project entailed delivery of courses, training, technical support, and incentives for participating faculty, and a web-based support structure for students. Its objective was to implement an alternative educational delivery system that would address the needs of a growing segment of existing CUNY students, and to make CUNY educational programs, at all levels, available to a set of potential students unable to take part in traditional fully-synchronous on-campus programs. CUNY faculty, to this point, have used CUNY Online to deliver completely asynchronous courses as well as for "hybrid" courses, where key aspects of a course are delivered asynchronously to enhance the student's learning experience.

The University will submit a new grant proposal to the Sloan Foundation in Spring 2000, which will seek partial funding of a 3-year initiative focusing on:

CUNY Online Plan, June 2000-June 2003

An aggressive three-year development cycle is planned for the expansion of CUNY Online. This bold new instructional technology initiative will grow and develop in close concert with academic policy-making and academic program implementation as guided by the University's administration.

Year I - 2000-2001: Special Activity Focus: Expansion of graduate and professional program offerings

Year II - 2001-2002: Special Activity Focus: Determining the Appropriate Role for Hybrid and Asynchronous Offerings in CUNY's Undergraduate programs

Year Three - 2002-2003: Special Activity Focus: Expanding the health and human services workforce development industry-based strategy into a cohesive asynchronous strategy for supporting New York City's economy.

The City University of New York