The 382nd Plenary Session
of The University Faculty Senate
of The City University Of New York
Room 9204 – 6, The Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue
September 9, 2014
6:30 p.m.

Agenda

  1. Approval of the Agenda
  2. Approval of the Minutes of May 13, 2014
  3. Invited Guest, Chancellor James B. Milliken, 6:30 p.m.
  4. Invitation to Join a UFS Standing Committee*
  5. Reports
    1. Representatives to Board Committees (oral)
    2. Chair

*Preference sheet enclosed – please fill out and return to UFS office; mandates also enclosed, FYI.

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

Committee meetings:

  • Community College Caucus will meet from 5:00-6:00 p.m., Room 8301
  • Standing committees will not meet today

Minutes

Baruch: Present – Bazzoni, Ellis, Harel, Martell, Weiser, Wymbs, and Alternates Henken and Kumar. Absent – Edwards, Pence, and Wine. BMCC: Present – Conway, Freas, Gosslau, Salam, Soto, Yablokova, and Alternate Hoffmann. Absent – Brockington and Friedman. Vacancies – 1 (part-time). Bronx CC: Present – Lawton. Absent – Bernard, Ismail, and E. Zevin. Vacancies – 2. Brooklyn: Present – Cohen, Ebert, Florence, Fox, Hainline, McEntee, Okome, and Alternate Grayson. Absent – Braine, Day, Haggerty, and Perez. CCNY: Present – Brass, Crain, Dalglish, Lascar, and Alternate Stober. Absent – Kalia, Khanbilvardi, Lascar, Laurich, Raj and Watkins. Vacancies – 1 (p/t). CSI: Present – Cason, Cooper, Levine, Petratos, Sanchez, and Verzani. Absent – Lavender. CUNY Law School: Present – Sokkar-Harker. Absent – Cicero. Graduate Center: Present –Dauben, Giannikos, and Nolan.   Absent – Aguirre-Molina, Burke, J. Albrecht, and Maxfield. Hostos CC: Present – August, Trachman, and Worrell. Absent – Pimentel and Shad. Hunter: Present – Hickman, Kuhn-Osius, and Young. Absent: Sonu and Wirtz. Vacancies – 7. John Jay: Present – Crossman, Kaplowitz, Kapstein, Katz, Kimora, Kubic, and Tovar. Absent – Dunham. Kingsborough CC: Present – Barnhart, Hume, Nanin, Spear, Stubin, and Alternate Skirka. Absent – Alessandrini, Ruoff, and Majewicz. LaGuardia CC: Present – V. Albrecht, Berke, Fernandez, Kapetanakos, and Alternate Licari. Absent – Keyes and Mettler. Lehman: Present – Alexanderson, Boston, Doyran, Jervis, and Philipp. Absent – DelaCruz and Silverman. Medgar Evers: Present – Barker, Belcon, and Alternates Franz and Riley. Absent – Brown and Greene. NYCCT: Present – Bennani, Cermele, Gelman, Hounion, and Van Loon. Vacancies – 2. Queens: Present – Brody, Costigan, Gonzalez, Grover, McElwaine, Savage, and J. Zevin. Vacancies – 4. Queensborough CC: Present – Avens, Counihan, Meltzer, Pecorino, Rome, and Tai. Vacancies – 1 (p/t). York: Present – Lewis. Absent: Barley, Corkery, Klein, and Rosenthal.

Governance Leaders present included: Hume (KCC), Jeruzalmi (CCNY), Kaplowitz (JJ), Pecorino (QCC), Tyner (GCC), and Verzani (CSI).  Executive Director Phipps, Administrative Assistant Pasela, and Secretary Blanchard were also present.

Guests:  Yasmin Edwards (BCC) and Stephan Vella (GC).  Present for Item III were Chancellor J.B. Milliken, Interim EVC Julia Wrigley, and Chief of Staff for the Chancellor Doris Suarez.

The meeting was called to order by UFS Chair Terrence Martell at 6:30 p.m. in the Room 9204- 6 at the Graduate Center. Ninety of 139 voting members were present.

  1. Approval of the Agenda – The agenda was adopted as proposed.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of May 13, 2014  – The minutes were adopted as proposed.
  3. Invited Guest
    1. Chancellor James B. Milliken – Before the new Chancellor was welcomed and introduced, Chair Martell showed a short video of the recent Poster Session Day where CUNY undergrads showcased their research for the benefit of Albany legislators.  The event was sponsored by the Faculty Senates of both SUNY and CUNY along with the CUNY Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Chair Martell then introduced James B. Milliken, CUNY’s new Chancellor, and reviewed his professional accomplishments as president of the University of Nebraska and as a prominent voice in the national debate on higher education for the past decade.
    2. The Chancellor said that while he had no prepared remarks, he did indeed want actively to encourage everyone to share their advice with him and to ask any questions on any topics they wished both tonight and in the near future (he gave his email as Chancellor@cuny.edu).
    3. He said since arriving on June 2 that he had already made visits to each campus, and that everything he had seen only confirmed the view he had previously formed about CUNY and its many strengths, which he noted were reflected in several recent national ratings of universities. He said the ratings show that CUNY is as good as any system in striking the balance between broad affordable access and high quality academic programs.
    4. He noted that he was also now engaged in carefully studying the strategic plans of each campus, and that the performance of college presidents would be measured by their success in achieving those strategic goals.  While it is the Board and the Chancellor who set priorities, he said, campus views must be taken into account and they should be clearly reflected in CUNY’s own central strategic plan.
    5. He mentioned a few areas of special interest to himself.  For one, he wants CUNY to take strides in making optimal use of technology for education. He also wants to promote an even more robust research enterprise at CUNY, building on such recent initiatives as the Advanced Science Research Center at the City College. CUNY must also make every effort, he said, to continue improving its record on fund raising, and must figure out how better to capitalize in this regard on its location in NYC.
    6. The CUNYfirst outage during registration had been a disappointment, he said, and the experience had shown that communication with users needs to be improved.  However given the enormous scale of the project he thought CUNY IT has done an amazing job of installing the system, which he described as extremely complex but nonetheless essential for the university.
    7. Asked about his vision for the community colleges, he mentioned that in his previous appointments the systems had included only four-year colleges.  However he said he is educating himself on this, and noted that community colleges are now more important than ever in higher education.  He added that he was profoundly impressed by CUNY’s community college faculty and their research accomplishments.
    8. Asked about a decline in the percent of African-American students at some senior colleges since certain Board admissions policies had gone into effect in about the year 2000, the Chancellor promised he would be reviewing the admissions process and would be willing to discuss how effective they have been.  He said he was committed to broad access and that to him CUNY truly represents the American Dream Machine.
    9. When urged that part of the possible solution to retaining minority students might be expanding remediation at CUNY rather than contracting it as Board reforms did in the year 2000, he acknowledged that preparation was variable among CUNY students, and that CUNY may decide to do more remediation in some form.  He had no immediate suggestions but said he would think about it.
    10. In regard to Pathways and the controversy it caused, the Chancellor said he could only view that as part of the past, having arrived only this summer.  He said he would continue with an annual review of Pathways as his predecessor Interim Chancellor Kelly had done, and that he would be open to any recommendations the faculty wanted to offer.
    11. When asked about his view of CUNY as an ‘integrated university,’ a term CUNY has used for the past dozen years to signify a single educational mission, the Chancellor said he was a little wary about the vocabulary of ‘centralized/decentralized.’  Obviously, he said, there are good reasons for systems (economies of scale, branding, etc.), which explains why they developed.  But other qualities thrive on the local level, such as a sense of responsibility, ownership, and innovation.  He said he was constantly thinking through the right balance for CUNY.
    12. When asked about the status of CUNY’s schools of education — experiencing lower enrollment and growing State regulations and fees — the Chancellor said he was aware of the problems and was open to advice.
    13. When asked about the role of faculty in academic decision making, the Chancellor said he was a big believer in shared governance, which was part of the reason he was here tonight listening. That process takes place of course in the larger context, he said, of the ultimate authority of the Board which it enjoys from New York State.  However, he said he is always interested in faculty input on any recommendations he makes to the Board.
    14. In response to a question about the possible loss of the nationally prominent forensic science Ph.D. program at John Jay College, the Chancellor said he was unaware but glad to learn about the issue.  [Chair Martell added later during his report that the trend at CUNY is to devolve decisions about doctoral programs to the colleges.  Since colleges must make a commitment to fund doctoral students, this is much more of a local decision than before.]
  4. Comments and suggestions made to the Chancellor
    1. solve CUNYFirst problems by replacing it with open-source Kuali
    2. address a huge need for more electronic classrooms at CUNY
    3. continue improving articulation, especially by means of more joint degree programs
    4. enhance service programs needed by returning vets
    5. sponsor internal competitions to stimulate computer innovation (hardware, programming, gaming)
    6. examine a more flexible policy of differential tuition pricing of Master’s programs.
    7. The Chancellor was thanked for coming and warmly applauded.
  5. Invitation to Join a UFS Standing Committee – Chair Martell reminded the body about the new emphasis being placed on standing committees to carry out more of the work of the UFS. He therefore encouraged everyone to join one they found to their liking. He urged people to realize that such progress as bodies like the UFS make is usually slow, and that otherwise they are likely to have no effect. It takes time to address issues by getting information from campuses, getting attention from the administration, and so on. The goal is to aim more at making many small changes rather than any particular large change.
  6. Three committee chairs, Professor Jason Young of Status of the Faculty, Professor Peter Alexanderson of Academic Freedom, and Professor Laroi Lawton of Student Affairs, briefly described their goals and mandates for the year. The Libraries Chair, Professor Jochen Albrecht, could not be present but that committee’s mandate was read by Chair Martell. Professor Roberta Brody gave a tribute to outgoing Libraries Chair Morris Hounion who had served for seven years, saying he was a gracious leader and that the Committee would continue to emulate his consensus driven style.
  7. Reports
    1. Chair – Chair Martell noted that one benefit of last year’s review of doctoral science education, now on hold, is that for a three-year period it will be permissible for tax levy funds to be used to pay for faculty’s summer employment. This should make it easier for CUNY to compete with some of the surrounding universities. It is hoped that this arrangement will eventually be made permanent.The Chair along with Trustee Valerie Beal and two vice chancellors are reviewing compliance issues, fee structure, and performance for CUNY’s $6.7 billion pension fund (mostly TIAA funds). So far, all is in order. Finally, he noted that the Board’s investment committee was reviewing a request from some students that CUNY divest from stock holdings in fossil fuel companies.
    2. Representatives to Board Committees – Chair Martell asked UFS representatives to Board committees to report briefly on recent news.  He noted that these Executive Committee members monitor closely all the items forthcoming on the Board agenda and check them where appropriate with campus governance leaders.
    3. Facilities – The representative Jay Weiser had been working with a like-minded trustee member of the Committee to urge CUNY towards a portfolio approach to its $15 billion capital plant.  The Committee also received a report on critical maintenance, important as most of CUNY buildings are well over 15 years old.
    4. Student Affairs – As reported by Professor Philipp, CUNY like most colleges is trying to align its sexual harassment/assault policies with new federal guidelines.  The University has sought input from all members of the community.  CUNY will likely keep students on the disciplinary panels that adjudicate these cases, although the guidelines apparently discourage it.  The review process will continue until at least November.
    5. Faculty, Staff, and Administration – Professor Barker, the representative, alerted senators of the need to be aware that as of last June all faculty are liable to report various types of alleged misconduct they might be aware of to University authorities.  The reference was to CUNY Policy 5.181.

In related news, the UFS fall conference, entitled “Online Education : What We Know and What We Need to Know,” will be held on November 21.  Registration information will be distributed soon.  Chancellor Milliken, known to be an ardent supporter of online education while at Nebraska, will present remarks at the conference, according to Professor Conway who is organizing it.

Meanwhile, the two new special UFS committees mentioned at last month’s plenary, Academic Policy and Enrollment Management, are still being organized.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

William Phipps