The 390th Plenary Session
of The University Faculty Senate
of The City University Of New York
Room 9204 – 6, The Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
6:45 p.m.


  1. Approval of the Agenda
  2. Approval of the Minutes of October 27, 2015
  3. Invited Guests
    1. Chancellor J.B. Milliken, 6:45 p.m.
    2. EVC Vita Rabinowitz on COACHE survey, 7:15 p.m.
    3. Peter Knuepfer, Chair of SUNY UFS
  4. New Business
  5. Reports
    1. Chair

Social runs from 6:00 p.m. until 6:45 p.m.  Light refreshments including wine will be served.

Committee meetings:

  • Standing Committees will not meet before the plenary this month.
  • Community College Caucus will meet in room 8304 at 5:00 p.m.


The meeting was called to order by UFS Chair Terrence Martell at 6:30 p.m. in Room 9204/5/6 at the Graduate Center. Eighty-three of 139 voting members were present.


Baruch: Present – Bazzoni, Edwards, Harel, Martell, Weiser and Wine. Absent – Ellis, Pence and Wymbs.  BMCC: Present – Bratsis, Conway, Freas, Gosslau and Salam. Absent – Brockington, Perdomo and Tsiklauri.  Bronx CC: Present – Kossak and Lawton. Absent – Cahn, Edwards, Harris and Mais-Jeter.  Brooklyn: Present – Cohen, Ebert, Haggerty, Hainline, Queneau, and Wild. Absent – Braine, Florence, Fox, McEntee and Okome.  CCNY: Present – Brass, Jeruzalmi and Miller. Absent – Crain, Dalglish, Kalia, and Raj. Vacancies – 2 and 1 (p/t).  CSI: Present – Petratos and Verzani.  Absent – Cason, Feola, Lavender, Sanchez and Simpson.  CUNY Law School: Present – Sokkar-Harker and Kassem.  Graduate Center: Present – Albrecht, Dauben, Giannikos, Nolan and Wunder. Absent – Aguirre-Molina and Burke.  Hostos CC: Present – August, Ostrin, Trachman and Worrell.  Hunter: Present – Hickman and Kuhn-Osius. Absent – Wirtz and Young.  Vacancies – 8.  John Jay: Present – Crossman, Dunham, Kaplowitz, Katz and Kimora.  Absent – Domashevskiy, Kapstein and Tovar.  Kingsborough CC:  Present – Barnhart, Hume, Nanin, Ruoff, Spear, Stubin and Alternates Echols and Skirka.  Absent – Majewicz.  LaGuardia CC: Present – Albrecht, Berke, Fernandez, Seo and Alternates Kurzyna, Licari and Sokolski. Absent – Kapetanakos and Keyes.  Lehman: Present –Duncker, Jervis, Philipp, Tilley and Alternate Gitterman. Absent – Doyran.  Vacancies: 1. Medgar Evers: Present – Barker, Lashley and Alternate Franz. Absent – Belcon and Brown.  NYCCT: Present – Gelman, Okumakpeyi, Van Loon and Williams.  Absent – Bennani, Cermele and Hounion.  Queens: Present – Costigan, Gandhi, Grover, McElwaine, Sanudo, Savage and Vesselinov. Absent – Brody, Nelson and Zevin.  Vacancies – 1.  Queensborough CC: Present – Avens, Pecorino, Rome, Rossi-Miller, Tai and Alternate Holden. Absent – Counihan and Meltzer.  York: Present – Bowman, Cleary and Grosskopf.  Absent – Gerena and Rooney. Invited guests present were Chancellor J.B. Milliken, Vita Rabinowitz, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Peter Knuepfer, Chair of SUNY Faculty Senate.

Governance Leaders present included: Hume (KBCC), Jeruzalmi (CCNY), Kaplowitz (JJ), Pecorino (QCC), Sanudo (Queens) and Verzani (CSI).  Guests present: Sandi Cooper (CSI), Stefan Baumrin (GC), Annemarie Nicols-Grinenko (CUNY Central), Kathleen Cumiskey (CSI), and Despina Afentouli (CSI).  Executive Director Phipps and Secretary Blanchard were also present.

  1. Approval of the Agenda – The agenda was approved as proposed.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of October 27, 2015 – The minutes were approved as proposed.It was announced that staffer Stasia Pasela’s significant other, Robert Rivera, had died suddenly the day after Thanksgiving.  Members would be told how to contact her with condolences and about the date of a memorial service.
  3. Invited Guests
    1. Chancellor James B. Milliken – The Chancellor repeated his earlier request, rather urgently, that faculty members make their views known about key elements which they think belong in the Strategic Framework that CUNY is now pursuing with an in-house Steering Committee and an outside consulting firm. Three ways exist to do this: use the CUNY website directly, speak with the Steering Committee member on your campus, or communicate via the UFS. A report is expected in the spring.The Board of Trustees had approved the annual CUNY State Budget Request. It sought to give the Board authority to increase tuition in the senior colleges if necessary by at most $300; no increase was sought for the community college tuition, already somewhat high in national terms.To put tuition into perspective, the Chancellor noted that while State funding had decreased since random and steep tuition hikes starting in 1992, the predictable tuition increases over the past five years have made significant investments possible in several areas favorable to students, such as more full-time faculty, student aid, and higher graduation rates. He also noted that currently only 66% of CUNY students pay any tuition at all after factoring in Federal Pell Grants and State Tuition Assistance. As evidence of this, he referred to a set of charts (attachment #1 to these minutes).It would soon be known whether or not Governor Cuomo would sign the Maintenance of Effort Bill passed by both houses of the Legislature. The bill would restore the State practice of covering CUNY’s mandatory cost increases each year and would offer considerable relief to CUNY’s overall budget.In response to questions, Chancellor Milliken said that he would:
        1. look into whether CUNYFirst could be programmed to let students do searches for Winter term courses alone instead of lumping them in with Spring term courses, since this might improve Winter term enrollments;
        2. be glad to try to clarify data cited by Prof. Hainline about recent salary trends in the Executive Compensation Plan, although he said he thought compensation in the Plan had not changed in general during the no-contract period;
        3. ask the Provost to ensure that none of the new Master’s programs being offered by the Graduate School are duplicating offerings currently at the campuses;
        4. soon supply the data requested by the Budget Advisory Committee about central office costs.

      Finally, when asked to give details about the School of Public Health, he said the faculty had expressed concerns about the governance and structure of the consortial model in regard to accreditation. Thus it seemed advisable to have a unified graduate school instead. In the transition, CUNY wants to respect all the faculty’s positions and the colleges’ programs.

      The Chancellor was thanked for attending.

b. EVC and Provost Vita Rabinowitz on COACHE survey – The Provost began by saying that faculty satisfaction and morale will be a main area of concern for her this year, adding that she wants the UFS to be an active ally in her efforts to make improvements. As to the COACHE survey, she credited UFS encouragement on the campuses with getting the return rate up high enough so that results cannot be ignored, and also with putting appropriate pressure on both the colleges and CUNY Central to ensure that the results were circulated widely by the campuses so that analysis and action plans could get under way.

The Provost gave an overview of CUNY-wide results by walking through a Power Point presentation (attachment #2 to these minutes). She highlighted several items showing relatively good or poor areas of satisfaction, both within CUNY colleges and between those colleges and the external peer comparison colleges.

On several scores, senior college faculty are less satisfied than faculty at the community colleges and at graduate/professional schools and at the peer colleges, as are the two groups of women and minorities as compared with men generally. Associate professors across the system are likewise relatively unsatisfied. Overall, pre-tenure faculty are relatively more satisfied at CUNY.

Faculty are relatively satisfied with governance, but top administrative leadership takes a beating at the senior colleges. At the same time, senior colleges are relatively happier with their department leadership.

She said her office planned to be aggressive in identifying and addressing the problems that the survey reveals, and that she would be constantly urging the campuses to do the same.In response to questions, the Provost agreed:

  •  to inquire as to whether COACHE could be convinced to develop a survey for adjunct faculty;
  • to speak with provosts about the problem of certain department chairs who tend to overload junior faculty to their detriment with committee assignments (the question was not directly related to COACHE);
  • to keep the body up to date on what OAA is doing to improve satisfaction, particularly among the group of associate professors.

The Provost was thanked for attending.

c. Peter Knuepfer, Chair of SUNY UFS – Prof. Knuepfer recalled that last year advocacy by three New York State public university governance groups* had helped convince the Governor not to interfere directly in curriculum with his original proposal that experiential learning become a degree requirement. The Governor eased off from making it a requirement to making it an option that is as widely available to students as possible. Prof. Knuepfer called this a model for future ongoing collaboration between the three groups.

He noted that the two new legislative leaders in Albany (Assembly Speaker Heastie and Temporary Senate President Flanagan) have said they are interested in hearing directly from Legislators about the views and interests of their constituencies, thus making it very advantageous right now for the faculty of CUNY to speak with their local representatives.

Several SUNY campuses have been embroiled in protests over racial and diversity issues, and the UFS at SUNY has been actively engaging with students, and monitoring events to ensure that free speech and academic freedom are preserved for all sides.

The SUNY UFS has also been studying how to promote diversity among the faculty, as well what types of institutional support transgender and bisexual faculty might need.

*The CUNY UFS, the SUNY UFS, and the SUNY Faculty Council of Community Colleges.

4. New Business – There was none.

5. Reports – Chair: Waived due to the hour.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

William Phipps