The 379th Plenary Session
of The University Faculty Senate
of The City University Of New York
Room 9204 – 6, The Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue
February 18, 2014
6:30 p.m.


  1. Approval of the Agenda
  2. Approval of the Minutes of December 10, 2013
  3. Invited Guests
    1. Brian Cohen, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer
    2. Rachel Stephenson, Director, CUNY Service Corps
  4. Reports
    1. Representatives to Board Committees
    2. Chair

Social at 6:00 p.m. – Refreshments served

Committee meetings:

The following committees are confirmed to meet before Plenary this month:

  • 4:00 – 4:55 p.m.  Community College Caucus, Room 8301
  • 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.  Academic Freedom, Room 8304
  • 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.  Student Affairs, Room 8301


Baruch: Present – Ellis, Harel, Martell, Weiser, and Wine. Absent – Bazzoni, Edwards, Pence, and Wymbs. BMCC: Present – Conway, Freas, Friedman, Salam, Wiseman, Yablokova, and Alternates Koroch and Rice. Absent: Soto. Vacancy: 1 (p/t). Bronx CC: Present – Lawton. Absent – Bernard, Ismail, and Zevin. Vacancies – 2. Brooklyn: Present – Florence, Fox, Okome, and Perez.  Absent – Braine, Buchholz, Day, Hainline, Massood, McEntee, and Winslow. CCNY: Present – Brass and Lascar. Absent – Crain, Dalglish, Kalia, Khanbilvardi, Laurich, Raj, and Watkins. Vacancies – 1 (p/t). CSI: Present – Levine, Petratos, Verzani, and Alternate Cason. Absent: Cooper, Lavender, McCall, and Sanchez. CUNY Law School: Present – Sokkar-Harker. Absent – Cicero.   Graduate Center: Present – Burke and Dauben. Absent – Aguirre-Molina, Albrecht, Giannikos, and Maxfield. Hostos CC: Present – August and Trachman.    Absent – Pimentel, Shad, and Worrell. Hunter: Present – Hughes and Kuhn-Osius. Absent – Daniels, Donabedian, and Plichta. Vacancies – 7. John Jay: Present – Dunham, Kaplowitz, Katz, Kimora, and Tovar. Absent – Crossman, Kubic, and Munns. Kingsborough CC: Present – Barnhart, Spear, Stubin, and Alternate Skirka. Absent – Alessandrini, Hume, Nanin, and Ruoff. LaGuardia CC: Present –Berke, Blagojevic, Fernandez, and Kapetanakos. Absent – Albrecht and Mettler. Lehman: Present –Boston and Philipp. Absent – Alexanderson, DelaCruz, Doyran, Jervis, and Silverman. Medgar Evers: Present – Barker. Absent – Belcon, Brown, and Greene. NYCCT: Present – Bennani, Cermele, Gelman, and Hounion. Vacancies – 4. Queens: Present – Gonzalez, McElwaine, and Zevin. Absent – Gonzalez, and Zevin. Vacancies – 5. Queensborough CC: Present – Avens, Pecorino, Rome, and Tai. Absent: Meltzer. Vacancies – 1 (p/t). York: Present – Klein, Lewis, and Rosenthal. Absent: Barley and Corkery.

Governance Leaders present included:  Burke (GC), Jeruzalmi (CCNY), Kaplowitz (JJ), Martell (Baruch), Pecorino (QCC), and Verzani (CSI).

Guests:   Stefan Baumrin, Dina Dahbany, and Stefanie Jones (Stu., GC).  Brian Cohen, Rachel Stephenson, and Valerie Chow of the Central Office were present for Item IV.

The meeting was called to order by UFS Chair Terrence Martell at 6:30 p.m. in Rooms 9204 – 6 at the Graduate Center. Sixty-one of 136 voting members were present.

  1. Approval of the Agenda – An item II was added to vote a tribute to the late Professor Mike Vozick to be sent to his family.
  2. Existing item II became item III. The agenda was then adopted as amended.
    1. Tribute to the late Professor Mike Vozick – Professor Pecorino moved that the UFS send a letter to Professor Vozick’s nearest of kin telling them of his long and valuable contribution over many years as an effective representative of the concerns of faculty, particularly contingent faculty, and assuring them that he will be fondly remembered.  The motion was seconded, and unanimously approved.
  3. Approval of the Minutes of December 10, 2013 – The minutes were moved, seconded, and adopted as submitted.
  4. Guests
    1. Brian Cohen, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer:
      1. Mr. Cohen had been invited to update the body on the collaborative activities and consultations between his office and the UFS on issues where IT intersects with academic concerns.  He noted that gaps in this process were noticed last year, and that since then committees have been revived or created to ensure that IT is taking full advantage of faculty expertise and feedback in making IT decisions at CUNY.  The main committees where such consultations take place are IT Steering, the Committee on Academic Computing, the UFS Technology Advisory Committee, and the UFS Library and Information Technology.
      2. In response to questions, he agreed that CUNYFirst needed an improved interface but said many of the glitches that faculty encounter result from the fact that their access permissions are set wrong, not from the system structure itself or from bugs.  That problem can be easily corrected, and he offered to help troubleshoot if people contacted him.
      3. As to blockages or slow-downs on the network, he explained that the only check point CUNY has in place is to guard against intrusions and viruses.  There is no monitoring of content.  Sometimes an apparent blockage could be simply that an attachment is too large, but that is a local college decision.
      4. Finally, on textbooks, he agreed it may be hard to achieve savings but said he felt CUNY had to try.  He gave assurances that CUNY has no intention, in order to achieve savings, of restricting which textbooks faculty can assign.  He did agree to the suggestion of circulating lists to faculty members of texts actually in use around the system.  That way, faculty could help promote bulk buying by CUNY by assigning textbooks books from that list for their courses, but of course only if they found those books perfectly suitable.
    2. Rachel Stephenson, Director, CUNY Service Corps, and Valerie Chow, Associate Director:
      1. Ms. Stephenson had been invited to inform the body about a new initiative in which CUNY students (718 last year) are paid and in some cases given academic credit either for workplace internships where they will gain professional skills related to their field of study, or for service activities related to pressing needs in the City.  The Corps is affiliated with 96 non-profit or governmental organizations, which are the locus for much of the students’ activities.  Her reason to address the UFS, she explained, was to invite faculty members to devise their own projects for which they would then serve as students’ supervisors.  In this way, the Corps hopes to expand student participation next year to 850. Ms. Stephenson noted that not all issues of how the faculty component will work are totally resolved yet, and that her presence was an invitation to the faculty to help her deal with these issues.
      2. Ms. Chow then explained the faculty program in greater detail.  Faculty would think of a service project related to their area of expertise, and make it the fieldwork for a course or independent study.  The theme would have to be something that stands to benefit the community in some way, in the short or long run.  For instance, an economist could attach to her course field research with his students on the cost of housing in different neighborhoods; a scientist could do research into how Hurricane Sandy affected the shoreline of one of the boroughs for his course on sustainability.  A program could also involve tutoring in the community and other services offered by any one of the 96 organizations.  A minimum of three students per program would be expected; they would be occupied 12 hours per week over 24 weeks, earning $12 an hour.  Proposals that extend academic credit will be given preference.  The deadline is April 4.
  5. Reports
    1. Representatives to Board Committees – Professor Kathleen Barker called attention to some figures recently released by CUNY showing headcounts for 2012 and 2013 for full-time faculty, administrators in the Executive Compensation Plan, and HEOs.  Although there may be some ambiguity in how some titles are counted among the categories, the year-to-year basically shows a 3% rise for full-time faculty, a nearly 5% rise for the ECP, and a little over a 9% rise for HEOs.
    2. Chair – Three modifications to the implementation of Pathways were recently approved by Interim Chancellor William Kelly, in consultation with an informal group reviewing the first year that included Chair Martell.  They are:  (1) starting next year, colleges will again be allowed to decide how many hours are allocated to courses in the Common Core, consistent with college practices; (2) colleges will be made broadly aware that waivers on certain Core restrictions may be applied for; and (3) the CUNY-wide core curriculum committee starting next year will have its members chosen through college governing processes. He also credited Chancellor Kelly with starting a number of cross-campus initiatives, including a Faculty Leadership Academy, and with setting aside funding for 20 research fellows to be awarded to faculty at the community colleges.
    3. Chair Martell summed up the “Executive Budget” for CUNY proposed by Governor Cuomo, which he characterized as decent overall while noting that the Legislature might be persuaded to make it even better.  He noted that New York State has been relatively generous to public higher education:  some states have only a single digit proportion of total revenues from the state, while New York’s support still amounts to 55%, not counting TAP.
    4. Of some concern are the figures for spring enrollment, which show significant dips at some campuses.  Since this can affect colleges’ revenues, he highly recommended that faculty inquire of their college administrations as to whether sufficient reserves exist to cover any shortfalls since otherwise some cuts in the current budget year might be necessary.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

William Phipps