Investing in Our Future

August 30, 2012 | CUNY Matters, The University

View of Manhattan from interactive NYC Solar Map launched by Sustainable CUNY as part of the city’s commitment to expedite installation of solar systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More than 800 new sustainable energy initiatives will be launched at CUNY campuses by 2017.

Inspired new Master Plan outlines University advances expected over five years.

Groundbreaking research emerging from advanced science laboratories. More faculty in classrooms, including 355 new full-time hires in 2013 alone. Online and hybrid learning choices for as many as one in five courses. Rigorous academics empowering students to achieve — and graduate on time in record numbers. Workforce training for professions that drive New York’s economy. The University’s historic mission to promote opportunity, expanded for the new century for returning veterans, the disabled, immigrants, their children and others who seek a valued higher education for the challenges ahead.

These are among the highlights of The City University of New York envisaged by the 2012-2016 Master Plan. Titled “Investing in Our Future,” approved by the Board of Trustees this summer and submitted to the Board of Regents as required under state Education Law, the 171-page plan sees CUNY five years from now as a public university fulfilling its historic missions by more efficiently and creatively providing access to a high-quality education for increasing numbers of better-prepared students, and functioning as an “integrated university” as described since the early days of the city’s public colleges.

The plan builds on the remarkable accomplishments of a dozen years, particularly CUNY’s redefined and strengthened standards, the Decade of Science initiative and the hard-fought, successful CUNY Compact funding strategy advocated by Chancellor Matthew Goldstein — which have fueled the University’s renaissance, attracting record numbers of students seeking value for their education dollar.

It also reiterates its commitment to meet the challenge Groundbreaking research emerging from advanced science laboratories. More faculty in classrooms, including 355 new full-time hires in 2013 alone. Online and hybrid learning choices for as many as one in five courses. Rigorous academics empowering students to achieve — and graduate on time in record numbers. Workforce training for professions that drive New York’s economy. The University’s historic mission to promote opportunity, expanded for the new century for returning veterans, the disabled, immigrants, their children and others who seek a valued higher education for the challenges ahead.

These are among the highlights of The City University of New York envisaged by the 2012-2016 Master Plan. Titled “Investing in Our Future,” approved by the Board of Trustees this summer and submitted to the Board of Regents as required under state Education Law, the 171-page plan sees CUNY five years from now as a public university fulfilling its historic missions by more efficiently and creatively providing access to a high-quality education for increasing numbers of better-prepared students, and functioning as an “integrated university” as described since the early days of the city’s public colleges.

The plan builds on the remarkable accomplishments of a dozen years, particularly CUNY’s redefined and strengthened standards, the Decade of Science initiative and the hard-fought, successful CUNY Compact funding strategy advocated by Chancellor Matthew Goldstein — which have fueled the University’s renaissance, attracting record numbers of students seeking value for their education dollar.

It also reiterates its commitment to meet the challenge faced by CUNY almost since its beginnings: to provide access to rising numbers of diverse New Yorkers seeking a college education amid limited and stretched University resources.

On this point, the plan spreads some good news. For the first time in its history, CUNY can enjoy predictable revenues feeding directly to its colleges for new faculty hiring, programs, facilities and services. The $300-per-year tuition increases slated for the next four years, approved by New York State last summer, not only ensure predictability and funding stability for CUNY but — in an unusual turn — will be plowed directly back into the University for investment to meet current and future needs. Individual CUNY colleges and institutions will evaluate their own needs and propose how to use their allocations.

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein praised the 2012-2016 Master Plan as “a comprehensive, forward-looking plan that reflects The City University of New York’s leadership role in public higher education. It builds on the foundation of academic achievement and innovation that the University has strengthened over the last several years, and defines an ambitious framework for advancing the creative work of our students and faculty going forward.

“I commend Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost Alexandra Logue for leading a University-wide process to develop an inspired plan grounded in CUNY’s historic mission of expanding access to a high-quality education and serving New York’s communities,” the Chancellor said.

What will CUNY look like in five years? The Master Plan — which can be read at cuny.edu/masterplan2012-2016 — focuses on these key “missions” for development and investment:

Mission One: Academic Excellence; $295.1 million over the next four years, including $191.5 million for full-time faculty; $72.3 million for Decade of Science initiatives, and $20 million for the new Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), a CUNY-wide science hub to open at City College in 2014.

“No university can achieve true excellence without a significant core of full-time faculty,” the report said, but it noted that despite the hiring of hundreds of new faculty in recent years “student enrollment growth has outstripped faculty hiring.” The University now has more than 7,100 full-time faculty. By 2017, it projects nearly 2,000 new full-time positions.

The Advanced Science Research Center, to be operational in 2014, is central to CUNY’s continued “Decade of Science” focus on world-class science education and research facilities. Five years from now, according to the Master Plan, CUNY will have hired distinguished faculty to direct each of the ASRC’s key research areas: photonics, nanoscience, structural biology, neuroscience, and environmental science, plus additional research faculty, technicians and other staff. “The ASRC will also facilitate the development of integrated research collaborations both within CUNY and between CUNY and peer institutions across New York State, and nationally.”

“If  access and  excellence are core principles of the University’s mission, then online and hybrid learning are integral to that mission (with hybrid courses combining online and face-to-face instruction),” the report noted. Online and hybrid courses have been successful at CUNY and have “expanded the enrollment capacity of campuses and programs,” giving them an important role in reducing the impact of increasing enrollments.

By 2016, online and hybrid courses are to comprise 20 percent of instruction at CUNY, the Master Plan stated. “In fall 2010, the percentage of instructional (student) FTEs [full-time equivalents] offered partially or totally online on each campus ranged from under 1 percent to over 25 percent (at BMCC). The goal for 2016 is to triple the 2010 mean—a target of about 20 percent of instruction (measured as FTEs) delivered online either fully or partially.”

Mission Two: Maintain Integrated System/Facilitate Articulation; $23.6 million, including $2.4 million to implement the Pathways to Degree Completion initiative transforming general education at CUNY and smoothing transfers; and $17.8 million for the expansion of the New Community College.

The Pathways reform “will integrate the University as never before,” the plan said. Pathways strengthens and streamlines general education requirements CUNY-wide, and ensures that only high-quality faculty approved courses are accepted for a new “Common Core” of required courses, and that the courses transfer “seamlessly” among CUNY colleges.

“The Pathways courses will be first offered in fall 2013. By 2016, the first associate-degree holders who have taken the entire Pathways Common Core will be transferring to CUNY senior colleges. As a result, by 2016, CUNY’s undergraduate retention and graduation rates should start to increase significantly,” the Master Plan stated.

To improve those rates further, CUNY’s successful ASAP program to speed and improve community college graduation rates will be expanded over the next three years to more than 4,000 enrolled by fall 2014. The New Community College at CUNY will open this fall as a model for enhancing academic achievement and “the timely attainment of degrees.”

Mission Three: Expanding Access, which includes a total of $9.6 million for programs spanning college preparation, developmental education, SEEK and services for veterans and students with disabilities. Just as CUNY is seeing an increase in better-prepared, higher achieving students, the number of poorly prepared students also is up, requiring continued attention to programs that improve student skills. In addition, “To ensure that students can access and complete a college education that will support their advancement, CUNY will continue to take a lead in advocating for the availability of robust state and federal financial aid.” The University’s safety net for students in need is a national model, with nearly six of 10 full-time undergraduates qualifying for full financial aid and paying no tuition.

Mission Four: Remaining Responsive to the Urban Setting; CUNY is an economic driver of the city and state, and over the next five years will expand that role. The Master Plan calls for an investment of $16.7 million in operating funds for equipment at the campuses, for workforce training, and education for teaching, health care and other in-demand New York professions. The University will also establish the CUNY Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to develop and commercialize its cutting-edge research.

CUNY “has built significant capacity in research, especially in science and engineering, positioning the University as a major regional resource for economic development,” the report noted. “During the period of this Master Plan, the University will expand on its burgeoning entrepreneurialism and increasing number of collaborations with business and industry through the establishment of a CUNY Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”

A $2 million capital allocation from the New York City Council will fund this  initiative, which will encourage development and commercialization of novel and cutting-edge research, and “fast-track new technologies from the laboratory into the marketplace.” The center will occupy 6,000-10,000 square feet at an external site and eventually house between 15 and 25 companies, science and non-science based. Faculty inventors will be trained in developing business plans, performing market research, launching spinoff companies, and applying for small business grants.

“The entire University will benefit from a flourishing culture of entrepreneurship,” attracting increased research funding from private companies and accomplished faculty interested in commercializing their inventions. “University-industry collaboration will also encourage the creation of startup companies that will both generate a new source of revenue for CUNY and have a positive impact on local economies,” as well as provide internship, research and career opportunities for CUNY students, according to the Master Plan.

For  a copy of the full, snap the nearby square with your smart phone or visit search.cuny.edu  “master plan 2012-2016”