CUNY Approves Master Plan “A University On The Move”

The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York today approved a comprehensive long-range Master Plan on the organization, development and coordination of the University, a multi-year blueprint to transform CUNY into the premier national model for urban higher education.

CUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Herman Badillo and Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said that the Plan, which must be submitted to the New York State Board of Regents on June 1, builds upon the University’s renewed focus on high academic and expanded educational opportunities.

The plan comes one year after a mayoral task force led by CUNY Vice Chairman Benno C. Schmidt, Jr. described the University as “an institution adrift.” Chairman Badillo stated that CUNY is now “a University on the move.” He cited the appointment of Dr. Matthew Goldstein as Chancellor, changes in remedial and admissions policies; a new exit test from remediation; the expansion of the “College Now” program to the ninth grade in the City’s public high schools, and the recent naming of four new college presidents as among the examples of reforms and renewal at CUNY.

Chancellor Goldstein said, “We are committed to providing highly valued opportunity throughout the University system. With the adoption of this Master Plan, CUNY is deliberately choosing a course that rests on raising and sustaining higher standards for all students.”

The Master Plan calls for developing new academic programs, growing the ranks of the full-time faculty, redefining core curricula, expanding the use of the Internet and rebuilding the University’s physical plant.

Highlights include:

  • Establishing a “flagship environment” with highly selective colleges and a University-wide Honors College. This will foster national prominence in targeted undergraduate liberal arts and science programs and professional and graduate programs, including areas as foreign languages, teacher education, photonics, structural biology, new media and computer science.
  • Growing and replenishing the ranks of the full-time faculty to 70 per cent of the instructional staff . Currently, part-time, adjuncts teach nearly half of all courses offered.
  • Creating a new partnership between the City University and the New York City public schools that focuses on preparation of high school students for college study and the recruitment and training of talented people for teaching careers.
  • Improving teacher education, raising admission standards, improving recruitment, offering scholarships and stipends, and establishing a technology link between CUNY and the New York City Public Schools for “smart classrooms.” This will include video conferencing with master teachers who are implementing exemplary programs in their classes.
  • Advancing at least $355 million in capital construction over the next four years to rebuild the University’s capital plant at all senior and community colleges.
  • Expanding CUNY On-line, a consortium of 10 CUNY colleges that offers courses over the Internet.
  • Creating the Digital Library Initiative, a multi-year, University-wide project that will provide state-of-the-art telecommunications, improve library instructional laboratories, and create a digital core collection to increase the number of reference and research resources.

The Master Plan also calls for initiating a University-wide review of academic core requirements. “Over the past several years, CUNY faculties have been reviewing their college’s general education requirements,” the document said. ” This process represents an opportunity for modeling a core curriculum that can insure, without sacrificing the distinctiveness of individual campus programs, that all CUNY colleges confer upon their graduates a set of competencies appropriate to a quality institution.”

The Board conducted a public hearing on the Master Plan on May 15 during which testimony was offered by faculty, students, civic leaders, and other members of the University community. Chancellor Goldstein has also scheduled a “Chancellor’s Forum,” another opportunity for interested parties to express their views. The Chancellor will report on the outcome at the June 26th Board meeting.

Two fora are set for June 15 and June 16 between the hours of 10 AM and noon to be held at the University Board Room at 535 East 80th Street.