CUNY Master Plan | IV. Administrative Structures and Systems

Restructuring of the Central Office (Office of the Chancellor)

Shortly after Dr. Matthew Goldstein became Chancellor of the University, he engaged the Pappas Consulting Group to study the organization of the Central Office and make recommendations for change. The Mayor’s Advisory Task Force on the City University had cited this as a concern in a chapter entitled, “Central Governance at CUNY: the Need for a Fresh Start,” and had advocated for a strong Chancellor. The Pappas Report, “Diagnostic Review of the Organizational Structure and Functions of the Office of the Chancellor,” was issued in January 2000. The recommendations in the Report supported the Chancellor’s objectives to provide a more accountable and supportive administrative resource to the campuses and to emphasize, in the Office of the Chancellor, strategic planning, policy-making and best practices. The recommendations were also aimed at increasing efficiencies throughout the Central Office and the system, and allowing for the reduction/reallocation of administrative and operational costs.

During the time the Pappas Group was engaged some changes were made to the bylaws. These included elimination of the title of Deputy Chancellor, and the addition of two new titles to the instructional staff: Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer. Other bylaws changes strengthened the Chancellor’s role as the Chief Executive Officer of the University and clarified that the campus Presidents report through the Chancellor to the Board.

The Pappas Report expressed concern that the present organizational structure impedes the ability of the Chancellor to operate at a high-level policy and planning mode. Among the specific concerns noted were: the need for a coherent administrative technology plan and process; the need for planning and management in the budget processes; and the need to examine human resources practices and procedures. In addition, the Report noted that “Although the position title, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs typically denotes the primary or core mission of a university, there is no clarity regarding the importance this position represents in the table of organization.”

The restructuring now underway is based on the recommendations in the Pappas Report. The new process based organizational model is derived from a corporate model where the Chancellor is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Vice Chancellors are corporate officers who are expected to provide corporate-wide leadership for the processes they manage.

The new organization mirrors the tripartite mission of the Office of the Chancellor. Three line officers will be put in place: one for academic affairs, student development and enrollment services (Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer), another for business operations (Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer), and a third for institutional advancement (Vice Chancellor and Chief External Affairs Officer).

The Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer will oversee all academic programs, faculty, and student and enrollment services. This officer is also the chief liaison with the New York City Public School System. The Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer heads the Office of Academic Affairs and will be the “Acting” Chancellor in the absence of the Chancellor.

Several staff positions have been added to the Office of Academic Affairs. After two lengthy searches the position of Director of Assessment has been filled. The evolving structural relationship between the Chancellor of the New York City school system and the Chancellor of the City University has led to the appointment of a formal liaison with the New York City public schools. A Dean for Teacher Education has been appointed. He will be responsible for implementing the reforms underway to strengthen the quality and consistency of CUNY’s teacher education programs.

The Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer is the University’s chief business officer. He or she is expected to provide financial and administrative leadership to the organization and to promote and enhance sound business practices in the pursuit of academic excellence and public accountability. Interviews are being held as the search for an appropriate candidate comes to its conclusion. The Pappas Report recommended that senior officers in Budget, Finance and Information Services, Facilities Planning, Construction and Management, and Faculty and Staff Relations report to the COO.

One of the new COO’s immediate tasks will be the study of existing human resources systems, including policies, practices and procedures. The goal is to better serve the colleges, and the Office of the Chancellor, particularly with respect to the development of a more efficient process for the hiring and retention of staff.

The Vice Chancellor and Chief External Affairs Officer is the spokesperson for the University and is responsible for all public relations, publicity, external communications, and relationships with governmental agencies.

In the proposed plan the position of University Dean for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management is eliminated. The position of Vice Chancellor for Student Development and Enrollment Services is created, reporting to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer. A search has begun to fill this position. It will be his/her responsibility to integrate more forcefully the University’s and the College’s efforts to provide meaningful student development, as well as retention and recruitment functions. The title, Vice Chancellor, is intentionally utilized to underscore the fact that it is the University’s mission to serve students, its primary constituency.

The Pappas Report was distributed to the presidents, and comments were received from many. The recommendations above, and others, are being considered and widely discussed.

Performance-Driven Executive Compensation Plan

In the 2000-2001 Academic Year, The City University will implement a performance-driven compensation plan for CUNY College Presidents, members of their management teams, and executives within the Chancellery.

The plan assures attention to University-wide priorities by linking three key processes every year: University and campus goal-setting, performance measurement and evaluation, and adjustments to executive compensation.

Every spring the Chancellor, in consultation with the Trustees, will develop goals and performance targets for the University as a whole for the upcoming academic year. Based on these, the Chancellor will also set goals for executives within the Chancellery.

During the summer, CUNY Presidents, working with the Chancellery, will tailor these goals to the particular mission and circumstances of their campuses, and may add other goals specific to the campus. Presidents will then set goals for their individual departments and all executives covered by the Executive Compensation Plan. These will be linked to performance.

Goal-setting will be focused in four areas considered to be priorities by the University: raising academic quality, improving student success, enhancing financial and management effectiveness and fostering innovation and continuous improvement. Targets will be set on multiple objectives. These will include but are not necessarily limited to: increasing the percentage of instruction by full-time faculty; enhancing academic program offerings and use of instructional technology; increasing student retention and graduation rates; boosting revenues from fundraising and grants; and improving intra-CUNY articulation.

In support of this initiative CUNY is assembling a data warehouse (see below) that campuses will be able to access electronically throughout the year, to monitor progress in a number of areas. The University Budget Office also will make quarterly reports available to permit colleges to track progress toward their financial targets.

At the end of the academic year, a performance report for each campus will be prepared that will guide campus goal-setting for the next academic year and facilitate evaluations of executives based on the previous academic year’s performance.

Every September, the Chancellor will report to the Board of Trustees on progress in achieving University goals in the previous academic year, and recommend adjustments in salary for Presidents based on how closely their campuses met their targets. Presidents will allocate pay hikes to members of their management teams according to their contributions toward meeting college targets.

Management Information Systems

State-of-the-art management information systems are critical to the University’s capacity to establish standards and evaluate program and institutional performance. University-wide strategic planning and management effectiveness depend on reliable data that will inform the development of sound policies, procedural efficiency, and productive operations. Revamping CUNY’s major administrative systems, therefore, is a University priority.

At the present time, the University has several, stand-alone administrative systems that support core operations in the central office and at the colleges. These include: student registration (Student Information Management System -- SIMS); financial management (Financial Information System – FIS -- and Financial Accounting System – FAS); human resources (City University Personnel System – CUPS); financial aid (Student Financial Aid System – SFA -- and Financial Aid Processing -- FAP); and admissions (CUNY Admission System – CAS). Each of these systems was developed to perform essential transactions and, in that regard, are successful systems. Further, the development, deployment, and modification of each of these systems over the years has been achieved at minimal cost, with options for college-initiated upgrades and enhancements, and with links to other modules, as appropriate to functionality. In addition, data in several of these systems are reconciled routinely with federal, State, or City information systems that are critical to the University’s operations.

The University has committed to upgrade and unify its administrative information systems. This upgrade will make effective use of the newest software tools which interface with the Internet to expand access to information and enhance efficiency of operations. There are three efforts currently underway that are first steps in this process.

1. Institutional Research A new relational Institutional Research Data Base (IRDB) currently being developed will incorporate data from the colleges into a student data warehouse, affording both the central administration and the colleges improved access to CUNY-wide student information. It will include data on students’ academic preparation, skills assessment results, registration, grades, graduation, and financial aid.

2. SIMS The University has begun the process of “web-enabling” the current Student Information Management System (SIMS). By providing a browser-based interface to this legacy system, the University will broaden access to the system beyond desktops and other direct links at the colleges and even beyond the level of access provided currently at some colleges through telephone registration. In addition to making this system more accessible and friendly to students, faculty, and other users, this modification will extend the functionality and viability of the existing system by a couple of years.

3. Purchasing The University has partnered with private companies to develop a secure, scalable, prototype purchasing application interface among internal CUNY systems, external funding agencies, and selected vendor partners. This prototype system, which is scheduled for delivery in August 2000 for testing in the central administration, will:

  1. provide for electronic requisitions and approval via e-mail;
  2. process electronic purchase orders;
  3. provide shipping updates;
  4. accommodate electronic receiving and inventory functions;
  5. process electronic approvals for payment;
  6. process electronic payment to vendors;
  7. provide acknowledgement and approval messaging at each level; and
  8. anticipate and accommodate purchasing and payment scenarios (e.g. fax options) that function with vendors that do not have comparable electronic ordering, fulfillment, and accounts receivable systems.

The prototype will demonstrate the feasibility of developing a unified, paperless purchasing environment using electronic-commerce tools. Additional phases will address full integration of the business logic involved in the University's purchasing processes and will be extended to accounts payable, budgeting, payroll, and human resources.

The IRDB, the upgrade to SIMS to provide Web-access, and the electronic purchasing system are all first steps. The goal is for the University to fully implement an integrated, comprehensive University-wide management information system that includes human resource information, financial data, and student data. This system will build on re-modeled transactional process systems that are closely aligned with college needs. The updated transactional systems, which will continue to perform the day-to-day financial, student, and human resource work of the colleges and University, will have the additional capacity to feed data elements into a central data repository for consolidated information integration and reporting. The result will be a fully-articulated data warehouse, combining information on student characteristics and outcomes, faculty and staff statistics, and basic financial and cost data. This unified system will improve management reporting and assist the University in measuring progress toward its academic and administrative goals. It will enable the University to conduct business more efficiently and develop policy with an increased sense of confidence in decision-making.

Interaction with Other Colleges

In pursuing the goals and objectives of the University, CUNY continues to reach out broadly through a network of professional organizations as well as the business community. In particular CUNY is concerned with maintaining relationships with various other educational institutions. These relationships enable CUNY staff to stay abreast of best practices and new developments in areas ranging from higher education finance, to curriculum, to student aid, to student services. Meetings are attended by the individuals most involved in these areas. Examples of some of our ongoing relationships and memberships in the state and local area include the following.

Association of Colleges and Universities of the State of New York
Tri-State Consortium of Opportunity Programs
New York State Community College Business Officers Association
Higher Education Services Corporation
Continuing Education Association of New York
ACE National Program for Women in Higher Education
New York State TESOL
New York State Reading Association
Quality Assurance Task Force
National Association of Student Personnel
Middle States Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers
Northeast Association of Institutional Researchers
New York State Transfer Articulation Association
American Council of Learned Societies

Financial Plan

To achieve the goals and objectives outlined in this master plan, the City University of New York projects a need for an additional $141.1 million in programmatic support over the next four years. This increase represents an average annual rate of 2.6% growth in programmatic support. In addition, the financial plan projects cost increases of 1.5% annually for inflation and other mandatory increases, totaling $93.7 million. These projections do not include future collective bargaining requirements. Overall, CUNY’s budgetary requirements relating to the 2000-2004 Master Plan call for a budget level of $1.6 billion in FY2004, an increase of $235.4 million over the current budget and an average rate of growth of 4.4%.

Twenty-four percent of the increased expenditures in the final year of the plan are devoted to the University’s top priority – full-time faculty. The plan provides for the hiring of 600 full-time faculty over the next four years at a cost of $33.8 million. Thirty percent of the new resources, or $41.9 million, will be targeted at critical academic and student support needs. Fourteen percent of the funding is needed to fully implement CUNY’s College Now program.

Some of the initiatives in the master plan are being accomplished, in part, through the use of existing resources. For example, the cost estimates for full-time faculty assume self-funding of 20% of the cost of the new hires from existing resources devoted to adjunct teaching. College development initiatives and economic development initiatives will be expected to generate revenues in support of new and ongoing projects. The effective use of technology will also generate savings and foster productivity improvements that will enable the redeployment of resources to high-priority areas.


The colleges of the City University of New York represent expertise and distinction in every field of human endeavor. The Master Plan for 2000-2004 reflects the efforts of the talented individuals and groups in those colleges to provide the finest possible education for the citizens of New York. The programs of study, and the opportunities for participation in research, service and special interest activities that are available to CUNY students take two questions into consideration. The first is the age-old question of what it means to be an educated person. The second is the issue on every student’s mind, “What will this education do for me?” The diversity of CUNY’s population demands that there be a diversity of answers to both of these questions and it is the responsibility of the University to guide its students in finding the particular answers that work for them.

The Master Plan, like the University, has many component parts, and like the University it is a guide. Not every piece will be relevant to every person who has an interest in the University’s future. But the University serves many constituents, faculty and students of course, as well as the education community and a larger community of concerned New Yorkers. Each of these constituents should be able to see their work and interests reflected in the master plan as well as their future, and each should be able to find the piece that works for them.

To achieve our goals we must enter the new century looking forward. This Master Plan is a design for the future and the course it charts must reinforce, for all of our constituents, the value and the possibilities of a public education.

The City University of New York