June 1, 2003 | CUNY Matters Columns
When Chancellor Matthew Goldstein addressed the University Faculty Senate Spring Conference in April, he focused on the subject of the integrated university. Adapted here are excerpts from his prepared remarks
An anthropologist studying the native society on a small island in the South Pacific wanted to meet their leader. He asked the tribe’s medical healer if he could meet their most important man. The healer took him to a small clearing in the jungle, where an old man was sitting with a group of young people. “Is this your King?” asked the anthropologist. “No,” replied the healer. “The King is the most powerful man on the island. You wanted to see the most important man, so I brought you to see our teacher.”
As a former faculty member at Baruch College and at the Graduate School, I know first-hand the critical importance of the faculty at this University. The focus of this conference is on “the integrated university and the status of the faculty,” and both topics are of great significance to me personally.
The integrated university is the key concept for my vision of CUNY. It is the structural paradigm that enables us to capitalize most effectively on the remarkable wealth of resources at the City University. The integrated university provides the opportunities an academic community needs in order to do distinguished work
That vision is informed by the reality that now, and in the future, the University is not going to get all of the public support it needs to move forward. Everyone in this room understands that reality, but I think everyone would agree that this makes it all the more crucial for us to invest ourselves with renewed vigor in this University, and to broadcast the importance—and the effectiveness—of public higher education.
One way we’re investing in CUNY is by reshaping how we operate. We are implementing fresh ideas that generate not only money, but innovative and exciting academic programs. Here are just a few examples of how the integrated university works to leverage the power of public higher education:
- First, our Honors College, now going into its third year, is offering special seminars with distinguished faculty and an unprecedented array of outstanding educational resources from across the University.
- The Flagship Environment Initiative is enabling strategic investment in academic programs where we can most effectively distinguish ourselves; it is attracting truly stellar faculty members in areas like foreign languages, computers and new media, photonics, teacher education and biosciences.
- We are building on collaborative initiatives like the CUNY Institute for Software Design and Development, which is providing grants to faculty and students to work with software firms on commercial projects.
- CUNY faculty and Central Office staff have secured grant support for collaborative projects such as the development of networking tools for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) research in biological solids, the acquisition of a 500 MHz NMR spectrometer for faculty use across CUNY, and the training of scientists, faculty, and graduate students in research, educational and outreach approaches.
- We have initiated a campus-by-campus re-examination of the foundations of a university education, with the goals of defining and ultimately adopting a common set of educational goals for our liberal arts components, and fostering movement toward establishing core curricula throughout the University.
- The integrated university policy also informs the way we approach our capital program, as we continue our system-wide educational technology and network infrastructure telecommunications projects.
At the end of the day, our goal is to help our students grow into productive, engaged and thoughtful citizens–men and women who understand how and where they figure in our immense intellectual, cultural, scientific and artistic heritage. This is what I want to strive for in the educational experience we offer at CUNY. We can only do this by a greater investment in our faculty, in state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities, and in all the resources and accouterments that are essential to the academic life of this University.
In good times and in bad, we must maintain our resolve and focus on investing in the University’s core business of teaching and learning, to sustain the vibrancy and vitality of this institution. The answer lies in the integrated university. I look forward to seeing that vision become reality, and seeing CUNY continue to flourish in the years to come.