UFS Blog

This CUNY governance forum discusses UFS activities and national higher education 
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Recent Posts

  • UFS Shared Governance Conference, F 04/28/17: Save the Date! by Philip Pecorino and Karen Kaplowitz  Come to this year’s Spring UFS Conference, where administrators and expert faculty will share perspectives and practical suggestions on making shared governance ...
    Posted Mar 25, 2017, 11:55 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Discipline . . . and Punish? Deconstructing CUNY's Discipline Councils by Jay Weiser Michel Foucault's classic Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison states: There is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge ...
    Posted Mar 9, 2017, 12:24 AM by Jay Weiser
  • Flying Coache At John Jay, With Better Results By Angela Crossman The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) survey was administered to all full-time faculty across CUNY in the spring of 2015. John Jay College ...
    Posted Mar 4, 2017, 1:35 AM by Jay Weiser
  • Reconfiguring Community College Semesters By Philip Pecorino and Kay Conway Several initiatives are driving CUNY’s community colleges (CCs) to consider moving from a 15 week semester schedule to a 12/6 schedule, where ...
    Posted Mar 4, 2017, 12:06 AM by Jay Weiser
  • NY Women’s Suffrage Centennial: UFS & USS Commemorate 100 CUNY Women by Emily Tai In a ground-breaking collaboration, the University Faculty Senate and the University Student Senate will be joining forces to help celebrate the coming centennial of women’s ...
    Posted Mar 2, 2017, 12:02 AM by Jay Weiser
  • Excelsior Scholarship Proposal: Faculty Q&A By Ned Benton The Excelsior Scholarship Program (ES) is a proposed New York State financial aid program designed to cover tuition costs for students whose family income does not exceed ...
    Posted Mar 2, 2017, 12:03 AM by Jay Weiser
  • Budget Update: Excelsior and the IG By Kay Conway Governor Cuomo released his Executive Budget last month, which included the Excelsior Scholarship, a program he announced at LaGuardia Community College. Excelsior or bustThe Excelsior was ...
    Posted Feb 21, 2017, 9:36 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Graduation Rates Up, Preparedness Down: No Cause for CUNY Celebration By Philip Pecorino Both the State and the City of New York have recently reported a rise in high school graduation rates.  But college preparedness still leaves much to ...
    Posted Mar 2, 2017, 12:05 AM by Jay Weiser
  • Higher Education and Upward Mobility By Emily Tai Last Monday evening, a conference/panel at the CUNY Graduate Center presented more findings from the recent study mentioned in a recent New York Times article, discussing ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 7:41 PM by Jay Weiser
  • University URLs: College & the Job Market, Reconsidered by Emily Tai Last Sunday’s New York Times Education Life section considered the role that college education, linked with professional apprenticeships, can play in preparing Americans for manufacturing jobs ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 11:31 PM by Jay Weiser
  • What Happened to Mathematics? By Roman Kossak “Let nobody ignorant of geometry enter here” was a warning at the entrance to Plato's Academy."The Book of Nature is written in the language of ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 11:31 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Quarterly Report on Faculty Diversity Now Available By Kathleen Barker The Board of Trustees has approved the Quarterly Report on Faculty Diversity, January 18, 2017, authored by Vice Chancellor Gloriana Waters and Dean of Recruitment, Diversity and ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 11:38 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Saving the National Endowment for the Humanities By Sandi Cooper The budget proposal that is being shaped in the White House promises to eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities (as well as the National Endowment for ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 11:40 PM by Jay Weiser
  • President Trump’s Executive Order and CUNY’s Response: An Update By Emily Tai   On Sunday, January 29, 2017, President Trump’s Executive Order suspended visas for individuals from nations “of concern,”  A graduate student in Political Science at the City ...
    Posted Jan 30, 2017, 9:57 PM by Emily Tai
  • Trump’s Executive Order on Muslim Immigration: CUNY’s Response By Emily Tai Last Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order barring the admission of all refugees from the United States for the next four months ...
    Posted Jan 29, 2017, 9:22 AM by Emily Tai
  • CUNY's Strategic Framework By Kay Conway Chancellor Milliken released CUNY's Strategic Framework on Friday, January 27.  Much of what it encompasses we have already seen in the Master Plan.  At our most ...
    Posted Feb 8, 2017, 2:23 PM by Stasia Pasela
  • University URLs: NYS Scholarships, Federal Cuts From Emily Tai Opportunities for New York Students in the News: Last week, in America’s Great Working Class Colleges, the City University of New York was named among the ...
    Posted Jan 25, 2017, 11:49 AM by Stasia Pasela
  • Tenure at Risk, Again By Emily Tai Last spring the UFS Blog’s Making the Case for Tenure discussed the American Association of University Professors report, The Economic Value of Tenure and the Security ...
    Posted Jan 25, 2017, 12:06 PM by Stasia Pasela
  • University URLs: Higher Ed Providers -- New Entrants, New (and Old) Scammers From Jay Weiser Following on our MOOC and microcredential posts:Lifelong education: Learning and earning, The Economist special reportIncluding The return of the MOOC: Established education providers v new ...
    Posted Jan 16, 2017, 11:08 PM by Jay Weiser
  • CUNY-SUNY Faculty Senates Joint Statement on Civil Discourse and Campus Climate The governance leaders of the CUNY UFS, SUNY University Faculty Senate and SUNY Faculty Council of Community Colleges, unanimously adopted this statement at their recent annual meeting:The SUNY ...
    Posted Jan 14, 2017, 5:01 PM by Jay Weiser
  • CUNY & SUNY, Ever Upward: Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship tBy Jay Weiser and Emily Tai In a dramatic speech at La Guardia Community College, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, accompanied by former Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (but ...
    Posted Jan 14, 2017, 11:22 PM by Jay Weiser
  • The Shadow Workload By Philip Pecorino As we make those resolutions for 2017, each of us can look back on the many activities that took our time besides teaching and research over the ...
    Posted Jan 14, 2017, 11:15 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Protecting Immigrant Students at CUNY: Support and Resources By Emily S. Tai On Wednesday, December 14, Chancellor James B. Milliken issued a statement of support for immigrant students at the City University of New York. The statement enumerated ...
    Posted Dec 20, 2016, 2:12 PM by Stasia Pasela
  • DACA Position Paper from the UFS Committee on Student Affairs The members of the Student Affairs Committee of the CUNY University Faculty Senate have voted to express their opinion as a single voice concerning the continuation of our country’s ...
    Posted Jan 15, 2017, 2:03 PM by Jay Weiser
  • Funding Opportunities in the Arts and Humanities By Emily Tai On Thursday, December 08, 2016, a Forum on Grants and Philanthropy available to CUNY faculty in Arts and the Humanities was hosted at Borough of Manhattan Community ...
    Posted Dec 13, 2016, 12:02 PM by Emily Tai
  • Sanctuary Campuses and CUNY: An Update By Emily Tai As of this writing, Chancellor Milliken and six CUNY Presidents—of Queensborough, Kingsborough, BMCC, Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn College, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice—are ...
    Posted Dec 6, 2016, 12:29 AM by Jay Weiser
  • Share We Must: Shared Governance & Small Groups By Emily Tai “There is…an inescapable interdependence… among governing boards, administration, faculty, students, and others,” the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) observed as far back as 1966. But ...
    Posted Dec 20, 2016, 1:27 PM by Stasia Pasela
  • CUNY and the Sanctuary Campus Movement By Emily Tai and Philip Pecorino The recent victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. Presidential Election has been a source of considerable anxiety for immigrant students enrolled at ...
    Posted Dec 20, 2016, 12:57 PM by Stasia Pasela
  • Cuomo, CUNY and the Inspector General By Sandi Cooper On October 9, 2016, William C. Thompson, Jr., Chairperson of the CUNY Board of Trustees, formally requested that the New York State Inspector General (IG) commence a ...
    Posted Dec 20, 2016, 9:38 AM by Stasia Pasela
  • Grants Available Through the CUNY Academy By Manfred Philipp and Emily Tai The CUNY Academy for the Humanities and the Sciences was founded in 1981 to foster scholarship and research in CUNY. For many years it ...
    Posted Dec 20, 2016, 12:31 PM by Stasia Pasela
Showing posts 1 - 30 of 241. View more »


UFS Shared Governance Conference, F 04/28/17: Save the Date!

posted Mar 25, 2017, 8:11 AM by Emily Tai   [ updated Mar 25, 2017, 11:55 PM by Jay Weiser ]

by Philip Pecorino and Karen Kaplowitz 

Come to this year’s Spring UFS Conference, where administrators and expert faculty will share perspectives and practical suggestions on making shared governance work and finding resources for the challenges.  

The conference will take place Friday, April 28, 2017, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, featuring these essential presentations:
  • Workshops.  Interactive sessions with straight talk and resources from CUNY administrators and UFS governance leaders on:
    • Creating or amending your campus charter
    • Shared governance and the budget process
    • Making shared governance work on your CUNY campus
    • Legal and procedural issues
The UFS welcomes faculty involved at all levels of faculty governance—whether you are a faculty governance leader, or considering membership in your campus academic senate, please register for the conference and join us! 

We look forward to your comments, questions and insights.

Philip Pecorino is a professor of Philosophy at Queensborough Community College; Karen Kaplowitz is a professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Both serve on the UFS Executive Committee.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

Like the UFS Blog on Facebook.

Discipline . . . and Punish? Deconstructing CUNY's Discipline Councils

posted Mar 6, 2017, 8:54 PM by Jay Weiser   [ updated Mar 9, 2017, 12:24 AM ]

by Jay Weiser 

Michel Foucault's classic Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison states: 

There is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations.

Was Foucault prophesying CUNY's Discipline Councils? They go back to the 1990s, as a forum for department chairs in a given discipline across the university. The Academic Program Planning policy (created by a 06/28/93 Board of Trustees resolution) contemplates Discipline Councils without expressly using the term, directing:

the faculties of the University to work together within disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and professional groupings to identify ways in which each field can be strengthened across the University in areas such as curriculum, program development, faculty hiring and mentoring, and faculty development.

While the Academic Program Planning policy does not expressly address the UFS role, the Board of Trustees' 11/25/96 minutes offer an early mention, with thanks to then-UFS Chair Sandi Cooper.  Former UFS Executive Director Bill Phipps reported that the Discipline Councils were jointly sponsored by the University Faculty Senate and the Office of Academic Affairs, adding

Chairpersons of the respective departments in a discipline serve as members of a Council or name a departmental colleague to serve in their place. Councils organize themselves [and] decide on suitable structures. . . .  Each Council formulates its own goals, organizes and plans its own activities and selects the issues it wishes to address.

Organic, but Not Always Natural

The Academic Program Planning policy provides little clarity on the Discipline Councils' powers.  Having evolved organically over the last quarter-century, they do not always match CUNY's current configuration.  With the Discipline Councils planning to meet with the University Faculty Senate Executive Committee this week, here are some observations based on recent UFS inquiries about facts on the ground:
  • Some Discipline Councils represent individual disciplines, while others represent groups of disciplines. 
  • Enrollments and majors in many fields have fluctuated over the last quarter-century.  In recent years, the Pathways common core affected how traditional disciplines addressed freshman and sophomore curriculum.  
  • Despite former Chancellor Matthew Goldstein's vaunted Decade of Science, CBBP (Chemistry, BioChem, Biology, Physics) is the sole science Discipline Council. 
  • There are few Discipline Councils in social sciences, with no representation of majors reportedly increasing in popularity nationally, such as Economics.
  • CUNY has huge health sciences programs.  But while there are Discipline Councils for Nursing and for Food and Nutrition, there are none for Dental Hygiene or medical technician fields.
  • Some Discipline Councils may overlap (Speech Communications, Media, Arts & Technology, and one proposed for Communications).
  • One large council has been proposed for Business, an increasingly popular major -- but business disciplines such as Accountancy, Finance, Marketing and Management are not necessarily closely related.
Coordinated Outfits

CUNY has lacked a consistent principle for choosing when to coordinate academic policies through ad hoc task forces versus Discipline Councils.  The latter may be better at providing consistency and institutional memory.  
As we move to a federal university with more shared courses across campuses, Discipline Councils are essential for shared governance in curriculum (including online courses), and can offer a forum for faculty development and instructional software evalution.  

The UFS and Discipline Council members should explore a model of fewer and broader Discipline Councils (like the current sciences one) that can be more engaged -- with the ability to farm out specific disciplinary issues to subcommittees with mandates.

#disciplinecouncils #interdisciplinaryeducation #curriculum #sharedgovernance #academicprogramplanning

These are my observations alone, and not those of either the Executive Committee or the Discipline Councils.  All errors are mine.

Jay Weiser is Associate Professor of Law at Baruch College, a member of the UFS Executive Committee and UFS Legal Affairs Chair.  Thanks to former Executive Director William Phipps and UFS staff member Stasia Pasela for research.  

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view. Have a comment about this post? Send it to the editor at etai@qcc.cuny.edu 

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Flying Coache At John Jay, With Better Results

posted Mar 3, 2017, 9:50 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated Mar 4, 2017, 1:35 AM by Jay Weiser ]

By Angela Crossman

The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) survey was administered to all full-time faculty across CUNY in the spring of 2015. John Jay College participated in the survey twice before (2009-10, pre-tenure faculty; 2011-12, tenured faculty).

Findings were not encouraging from any of the surveys. However, John Jay’s response to the most recent survey was different than in the past. Faculty are beginning to see changes on our campus as a result.

Understanding the results

We created a transparent, faculty-led process to understand the results. John Jay’s Provost (Jane Bowers), Faculty Senate President (Karen Kaplowitz) and Chair of the Council of Chairs (Jay Hamilton) created a Working Group on the Faculty (Working Group) that included two faculty members from each full time faculty category: Assistant Professor; Associate Professor; Full Professor; Lecturer/Instructor; and two administrative liaison members. The Working Group:
  • Studied the COACHE data; 
  • Talked with individuals about the findings (including faculty members, Office of Institutional Research (OIR), COACHE Associate Director, and representatives from other CUNY campuses); 
  • Made recommendations to the College community; 
  • Took appropriate action in response; 
  • Tracked progress in the implementation of its recommendations to maintain accountability. 
Making the survey results transparent was our primary responsibility. The Provost had disseminated the initial findings to all members of the campus community, including raw data, the COACHE reports, and additional College OIR analyses. The Working Group then began its analysis. I suspect this also helped drive greater transparency at other campuses and allowed the UFS to create a document comparing benchmark results across CUNY campuses. This data was invaluable to our campus. 

Action goals

Given the breadth of topics addressed in the survey, the Working Group sought to focus on the most salient issues. Our discussions identified a number of areas that reflected a high degree of relative dissatisfaction among respondents and were highlighted as “areas of concern” by COACHE. The Working Group decided to focus on three of these areas:
  • Tenure/Promotion;
  • Subgroups (Associate Professors, Faculty of Color (FOC), Women);
  • Workload (which encompassed consideration of service, compensation/benefits, and work-life balance issues). 
We also introduced a discussion of leadership priorities in our follow-up survey and focus group discussions. The Working Group created three sub-committees to probe, analyze and report on all of the findings and key concerns in these domains. We administered two additional brief surveys addressing these areas further and held numerous focus groups to discuss these targeted areas with faculty and seek ideas for addressing some of the issues raised. Toward the end of Spring 2016, the Working Group created a report analyzing the COACHE findings and making concrete, assessable recommendations for the College to address many of the concerns we had heard.

While the report itself was helpful in providing context for faculty concerns, the most vital part of the report was a task list with eight goals we recommended the college seek to improve faculty satisfaction, alongside measurable short- and long-term outcomes that would mark progress toward those goals. One important outcome was the creation of an Associate to the Provost for Faculty position. This faculty member is focused on faculty affairs and, along with the Provost, is using the Working Group’s report as a template for action. Of the eight goals, the campus has seen real progress on six already this year. The Working Group will continue to monitor progress.

#coache #johnjaycollege

Angela Crossman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a member of the University Faculty Senate.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

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Reconfiguring Community College Semesters

posted Mar 2, 2017, 12:30 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated Mar 4, 2017, 12:06 AM by Jay Weiser ]

By Philip Pecorino and Kay Conway

Several initiatives are driving CUNY’s community colleges (CCs) to consider moving from a 15 week semester schedule to a 12/6 schedule, where colleges offer courses in a two part 18 week semester. CUNY's Strategic Framework emphasizes access, completion, and students taking 15 credits per semester. Additionally, Gov. Cuomo’s proposed Excelsior Scholarship Program would require students to complete 30 credits per year with no failures or withdrawals. Lastly, under the new remediation placement criteria, more students needing more assistance will take credit bearing courses. In light of these factors the consideration grows more serious for moving the CUNY community colleges not yet on a 12/6 semester schedule into that format.

The 12/6ers

Of the seven CUNY community colleges, three are already 12/6ers: Kingsborough, LaGuardia, and Guttman. Of the remaining CCs on a 15/15 schedule (15ers), discussions may have already begun at Borough of Manhattan Community College, Queensborough, and Bronx Community College, while Hostos is reportedly at a more advanced stage of consideration.

The enhanced 18 week semester is broken into two parts: 12 weeks (Fall I or Spring I) and 6 weeks (Fall II or Spring II, which at other colleges are called Winter and Summer). A key component of the 12/6 schedule is that students can receive state financial aid (TAP) for the full enhanced 18 week semester.

Students at KCC and LaGuardia take a greater number of equated credits annually compared to the other community colleges (we have excluded Guttman as it is an entirely different model): 23.8 and 22.8 credits respectively versus an average of 19.4 at the other colleges. However there may be other factors impacting these results. Also, a larger proportion of KCC and LaGuardia students take 30 credits per year: 27.2% and 20.2% versus an average of 13.35% of students at the other colleges, making them eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship. 

Intensity and support

Many courses are not offered in the current winter terms at the 15ers because faculty believe they are not well served by the intense three week schedule, but lack of course availability may impede student progress to degree. Examples might include writing intensive, science lab, most upper level math and online courses. These courses might be offered with greater frequency if there were a six week term.

When students with lower level skills move directly into credit bearing classes, they need more attention to their work and time on tasks. Taking fewer classes at a time may help. But we also need to be cognizant of the school/life balance. While taking fewer courses might allow greater time on task, if students spend more time on campus in a given week, juggling work and family responsibilities might be an insurmountable challenge.

Current 12/6ers' experience should inform the discussion on the proposed moves, as well as considerable research on the impact of semester and class length on student outcomes, experiential learning opportunities, and other considerations.

We encourage the existing campus working groups to communicate with each other so as to maximize our resources. If you are at BMCC or QCC and want information on the advantages and challenges we have gathered thus far or if you want to contribute to this effort, please contact Kay Conway at kconway@bmcc.cuny.edu, or Phil Pecorino at ppecorino@qcc.cuny.edu. If you are at BCC or Hostos, please reach out to us as well so that we might coordinate this research effort across the campuses. If you are at a senior or comprehensive college and your faculty decide to explore the alternative calendar, please let us know. 

#12/6 #collegescheduling #remediation

Kay Conway is a Professor of Business at Borough of Manhattan Community College and Chairs the University Faculty Senate. Philip Pecorino is a professor of Philosophy at Queensborough Community College and serves on the UFS Executive Committee.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

Like the UFS Blog on Facebook.

NY Women’s Suffrage Centennial: UFS & USS Commemorate 100 CUNY Women

posted Mar 1, 2017, 12:55 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated Mar 2, 2017, 12:02 AM by Jay Weiser ]

by Emily Tai 

In a ground-breaking collaboration, the University Faculty Senate and the University Student Senate will be joining forces to help celebrate the coming centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State. New York was not only at the center of the campaign for women’s suffrage, beginning with the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, but became one of the first states to support women’s suffrage, a full three years before national ratification, on November 6, 1917.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has established a Commission to commemorate New York State's historic role in the fight for women's suffrage, and several resources are being made available to commemorate African-American and Women’s history months that support teaching and learning in these areas and feature CUNY faculty. They include: grant opportunities from the New York Council for the Humanities; lectures and films at the New York Historical Society; and events at Lehman College; Borough of Manhattan Community College; and the Gotham Center for New York History and the Center for the Study of Women and Society at the CUNY Graduate Center.

In addition, the UFS and USS, working with the CUNY Office of Student Affairs, announce the a campaign to add the names of 100 CUNY Women to the database of New York Women Activists established by the New York City Records and Information Services.

Proposed names may be eminent female CUNY graduates; past or present CUNY scholars; or currently attending CUNY students who have distinguished themselves as activists and leaders. Please send your names by: June 1, 2017 to etai@qcc.cuny.edu and stevek@uss.gmail.com.

#20000by2020 #womensactivismnyc #nywomenssuffrage #nywomenssuffragecentennial #womenssuffrage #19thamendment

Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, and edits the UFS Blog. She would like to acknowledge the other committee members working on this project: Chika Onyejiukwa, Chair, University Student Senate; Kay Conway, Chair, University Faculty Senate; Fernando Araujo, Executive Director, CUNY University Student Senate; Andrea Shapiro Davis, Associate Vice Chancellor for Corporate, Foundation and Major Gifts Development; Zina Richardson, Coordinator, CUNY Women’s Centers; Nyisha Howell; Farouk Abdallah, Deputy Director of CUNY NYPIRG; and Steve Kleinberg, Women’s Suffrage Project, University Student Senate.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

Like the UFS Blog on Facebook.

Excelsior Scholarship Proposal: Faculty Q&A

posted Feb 17, 2017, 12:48 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated Mar 2, 2017, 12:03 AM by Jay Weiser ]

By Ned Benton

The Excelsior Scholarship Program (ES) is a proposed New York State financial aid program designed to cover tuition costs for students whose family income does not exceed $125,000. The program, if approved by the Legislature and enacted by the Governor, would be phased in over three years and would be coordinated with other forms of state and federal financial aid.

The following answers to questions heard from the faculty are based upon current information that may change as the legislative process continues. We hope it will help faculty members stay informed so that they can offer the best possible guidance to students.
  • Costs covered. ES would cover in-state tuition in CUNY and SUNY.
  • Income limits.  ES would be phased in over three years, beginning for New Yorkers making up to $100,000 annually in the fall of 2017, increasing to $110,000 in 2018, and reaching $125,000 in 2019.
  • Coordination with other financial aid.  ES covers the difference between the full tuition cost and what TAP, Pell, ASAP and other scholarships provide. It covers the remaining tuition dollars after all other scholarships are counted in. The program, as currently proposed, does not cover fees.
  • Academic eligibility requirements.  Students must complete 15 credits per semester. ES is intended to ensure 4-year graduation, and earning 120 credits for baccalaureate graduation in four years requires 30 credits per year.
  • How to apply.  The student must file a FAFSA which is the standard federal financial aid form, and also apply for TAP – the NY State Tuition Assistance Program. The student’s financial aid package will then include the federal and state financial aid that the student qualifies for, including ES, and the student’s tuition bill will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Student categories not eligible.  Graduate students, out-of-state students, international students, students who have not filed an up-to-date FAFSA financial aid form. Part-time students are also not eligible based on the full-time credit load requirements.
  • How 15-credit rule would apply to current students. This is currently being determined and we will update this document as the rules and regulations emerge.
  • Other eligibility criteria under consideration. 
    • Revising scholarship specifications to 30-credits per year (including January and summer courses) to provide more flexibility for students who might be eligible; 
    • Stop-out allowances for family and medical emergencies, and waivers for students with disabilities;
    • Applying past rates of credit accumulation. For example: would a student who took 27 credits in the first year of study be permanently disqualified?
    • Applying transfer or equated credits.
    • Applying community college excess credits for a student transferring to a senior college.
    • Applying remedial and compensatory course credits.
    • Undocumented students.  Governor Cuomo supports this and the State Senate majority does not.
  • Advising registering students to maintain their ES eligibility.  This is a campus responsibility. CUNY is attempting to update financial aid software to support accurate and timely advising, but this is very challenging.
  • Likely student questions for faculty members.  This FAQ is intended to provide the basic answers. However, if students ask specific questions about their tuition bills, each campus should have designated officials who can answer individual questions based on the information available. 
We will update these Frequently Asked Questions as more information emerges.

#excelsiorscholarship #advisement #cuny #financialaid

Ned Benton is a Professor of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he directs the MPA Program in Inspection and Oversight, and serves as the chair of John Jay’s Faculty Senate. 

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view. 

Like the UFS Blog on Facebook.

Budget Update: Excelsior and the IG

posted Feb 15, 2017, 10:35 AM by Emily Tai   [ updated Feb 21, 2017, 9:36 PM by Jay Weiser ]

By Kay Conway 

Governor Cuomo released his Executive Budget last month, which included the Excelsior Scholarship, a program he announced at LaGuardia Community College. 

Excelsior or bust

The Excelsior was met with much fanfare and in general is a very positive development. However, as our UFS Committee on Student Affairs, and USS leadership has noted, the Excelsior Scholarship doesn’t address the needs of our part time students, or those of undocumented students. The Excelsior also requires students to be enrolled for 30 credits annually--so even some of our currently full time students, taking 12 credits per semester, would not qualify.

Breaking down the budget

The Governor’s overall support for CUNY in the budget was met with a positive reaction from our administration. Mayor DeBlasio also released his budget and an analysis of both the city and state budgets was presented by SVC Sapienza at our plenary last week. A couple of key points, (my observations, not SVC Sapienza’s):
  • The NYS budget includes approval of a tuition increase of $250 for the next five years.
  • The budget includes significant planned costs savings from administrative efficiencies. CUNY hired McKinsey to evaluate our processes and to identify areas where CUNY might improve service as well as reduce costs. A copy of the related presentation made to the Board of Trustees can be found here.
  • The NYS budget calls for a “tithe” on CUNY’s private foundations – essentially a requirement that 10% of funds be used for needy students. The details on this are yet to be determined but since the foundations are separate entities and a good portion of their donations may be restricted, this requirement is problematic. It is also worth noting that a “tithe” was not a proviso in SUNY’s allocation from the State.
  • Gov. Cuomo’s budget also calls for increased oversight of the CUNY Foundations, by expanding the authority of the state Inspector General to investigate the foundations. Since the interim report of the New York State Inspector General was issued in the fall, CUNY has initiated a number of steps to address the concerns raised. (A list of the steps CUNY has taken are provided below.) 
  • The NYC budget request by CUNY included an amount for a reduction in workload. This item was not in the Mayor’s preliminary budget, but might still be a possibility in his Executive budget. 
  • Both the State and the City provided funds for the retroactive salary increase and the City included funding for the future costs associated with the new contract. The State however did not include funding for the “out” years which could result in a shortfall and a need to make cuts at the senior colleges. Sone of this shortfall could be covered by the tuition increase noted above. 
After the IG Interim Report
  • Administrative recommendations
    • Instituted a new annual report of use of all non-tax levy funds. The University Chief Financial Officer is implementing a form to be used by each college for annual reporting. 
    • CUNY's Director of Communications is working with each Vice Chancellor and the Office of the Secretary to make key reports on financial management, enrollment and student success, and staffing and diversity, as well as all materials prepared for Board of Trustees meetings and Board committee meetings unless confidentiality is required by law or Board policy, available promptly and publicly. 
    • The Chief Financial Officer is reviewing all CUNY Financial Management Guidelines, including those with policies pertaining to the Foundations, College Associations, and Auxiliary Enterprise Corporations and Boards, to develop centralized spending policies that ensure sound fiscal practices system-wide. 
    • CUNY’s Interim General Counsel and the Compliance Officer met in early December with staff of the IG’s Office to review the process for CUNY’s prompt reporting of all required allegations to the Inspector General. 
    •  The Chief Financial Officer and University Senior Counsel met with staff from the Inspector General’s Office to discuss CUNY’s Financial Management Guidelines and Affiliated Foundations Handbook, which includes policies pertaining to university affiliated foundations, college associations and auxiliary enterprise corporations and boards, as well as the memoranda of understanding between colleges and affiliated entities. 
    • Arranged training sessions with the staff of the IG and appropriate employee groups at CUNY. The first such training session was with the Administrative Council, the group of chief business and administrative officers from all colleges and the central office. 
    • Planning mandatory training sessions on internal controls to be conducted by the IG for all college presidents and deans, beginning in March. CUNY’s Director of Internal Audit will participate in training sessions and serve as a resource to colleges and the central office with regard to ongoing guidance on internal controls.
    • Established a task force to review the charter and other governing documents for the CUNY Research Foundation to ensure that the policies regulating the relationship between CUNY and the CUNY Research Foundation meet the highest standards. The task force will propose changes in the Foundation’s charter and a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) governing its relationship with CUNY. 
    • Directed all presidents and university-wide deans to terminate contracts with outside lobbyists.
    • Instituted a moratorium on use of non-tax levy funds for supplemental salaries for new presidential and university-wide dean appointments. Such supplements are now the subject of Board policy, which will be reviewed by the Board as part of the broader consideration of the Executive Compensation Plan.
    • As noted above, CUNY retained McKinsey & Co. to review CUNY’s administrative and business functions and make recommendations for operations efficiencies, central business policies, and enterprise-wide risk management. 
    • Continue to look for ways to reduce administrative costs. In the last fiscal year, University-wide efficiency savings totaled over $51 million, and plans are for additional savings of approximately $37 million in the current year, with disproportionately large savings at the central office. 
  • Recommendations for the Board of Trustees
    • Conduct a comprehensive review and update of the Board’s Executive Compensation Plan (ECP), in consultation with the New York State Division of the Budget and the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations. 
    • Establish a new senior management position, the University-wide Director of Enterprise Risk Management, reporting directly to the Chancellor. This new officer will manage all aspects of the risk function, including implementation of processes, tools, and systems to identify, assess, measure, monitor and report risk. 
    • Conduct a comprehensive review and update of the Board Bylaws and the Manual of General Policy to significantly strengthen central policies, uniform controls and oversight of CUNY’s operations. 
    • Work with the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), the independent national organization that works with university and foundation boards to support best practices, to convene workshops and training sessions for affiliated foundation board members and staff, as well as relevant college personnel. 
    • At the last Board meeting, a new audit committee was established as a full standing committee of the Board, replacing the current Subcommittee on Audit. The new committee has a considerably broader mission and a new charter, including oversight of risk management. 
#excelsiorscholarship #cunybudget #igcunyreport

Kay Conway is a Professor of Business at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and Chair of the University Faculty Senate.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

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Graduation Rates Up, Preparedness Down: No Cause for CUNY Celebration

posted Feb 13, 2017, 11:04 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated Mar 2, 2017, 12:05 AM by Jay Weiser ]

By Philip Pecorino

Both the State and the City of New York have recently reported a rise in high school graduation rates.  But c
ollege preparedness still leaves much to be desired.  It presents a major challenge for colleges that admit students whose reading, writing and mathematical skills are not at the level needed for academic success. 

Real college readiness levels

Close to 80 percent of the Department of Education (DOE) graduates entering CUNY in the Fall of 2015 needed remediation of some kind. While the NYC DOE cites a 79 percent 
 graduation rate as evidence that schools are improving, only an average 37 percent of students graduate college-ready. College readiness sank to 1.9 percent last year at the FDNY High School for Fire and Life Safety in Brooklyn, which had an 83 percent graduation rate in 2016. Bronxdale High School boasts of a 76 percent graduation rate for their 430 students, but only 4 percent of graduates received qualifying scores on CUNY placement exams

Changing Standards

Both the State and City have been altering their standards 
for graduation to boost those numbers. Now CUNY has changed its requirements and methods for placing people into remedial classes. 

What this portends remains to be seen for students just entering into credit bearing courses with skills that are even lower than in the recent past. One strategy is to provide a non-algebra path to a degree. Such intellectual skills and mental habits as might be inculcated by the mastery of algebra are thus being set aside in the hopes that those no longer burdened by graduation requirements including algebra will graduate and find some sort of employment.

But will we have given these students the best education possible? 

#hsgraduationrates #hsgraduationstandards #collegereadiness #remediation #collegeremediation #collegealgebra #cookingthebooks #cunyplacementexams #collegemath #nycdoe #cuny

Philip Pecorino is a professor of Philosophy at Queensborough Community College, where he chairs the Faculty Executive Committee. He also serves on the UFS Executive Committee. He wishes to thank Kathleen Barker, a Professor of Psychology at Medgar Evers College, and UFS Vice-Chair, for several references in this article.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

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Higher Education and Upward Mobility

posted Feb 12, 2017, 6:59 PM by Emily Tai   [ updated Feb 13, 2017, 7:41 PM by Jay Weiser ]

By Emily Tai 

Last Monday evening, a conference/panel at the CUNY Graduate Center presented more findings from the recent study mentioned in a recent New York Times article, discussing the impact of public higher education on economic mobility. Higher Education and Intergenerational Mobility featured the study’s author, Raj Chetty, Professor of Economics at Stanford University; CUNY Graduate Center Presidential Professors Philip Kasinitz (Sociology) and Leslie McCall (Sociology and Political Science) and CUNY Chancellor J.B. Milliken.

The session presented the most inspiring conclusion of Chetty’s research: that CUNY campuses propel almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all eight Ivy League campuses combined.

Such findings demonstrate the way that the 21st century City University continues to live up to the high ideals of its mission, first articulated by Townsend Harris in founding the Free Academy that became City College in 1847, to “educate the whole people,” and, as stated in the New York Education Law, to provide “academic excellence,” and “equal access and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all ethnic and racial groups.”

Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, and edits the UFS Blog.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

Like the UFS Blog on Facebook.

University URLs: College & the Job Market, Reconsidered

posted Feb 10, 2017, 5:22 AM by Emily Tai   [ updated Feb 13, 2017, 11:31 PM by Jay Weiser ]

by Emily Tai 

Last Sunday’s New York Times Education Life section considered the role that college education, linked with professional apprenticeships, can play in preparing Americans for manufacturing jobs that often require advanced mathematics and computer science skills.

Educating the Apprentice

The UFS Blog has discussed the apprenticeship model—more common in Europe than in the United States—before. In the U.S., however, choosing such an educational path can carry a stigma as a non-college track. This belies its practical appeal to students who may lack the interest or the finances to pursue a traditional Liberal Arts B.A.—students like Ryan Lee, a native of Oklahoma profiled in the section’s article on students from rural areas.

As Director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce Anthony D. Carnevale noted in the Times, educational programs that serve workforce-oriented students uphold “the dignity of labor” and create “ways for students to choose training and education in their own time and sequence.”

Bricklayers & Poetry

But it’s also worth pointing out that opportunities to earn a B.A. in a traditional liberal arts subject might well beckon to these students later in life—as they move up the management ladder, for example, or even as a source of post-retirement enrichment. One might recall the words of Bud Jensen, a former bricklayer who finished his career as an advocate for liberal arts education in the Iowa community college system. “These are the hands of a bricklayer,” Jensen told the Iowa legislature in 1965. “They are calloused and hard but they have given both me and my family and excellent living. Would you deny these hands or the hands of my children or other children throughout the state the right or opportunity to read a good book? To caress a book of poetry or to learn something about higher math?”

In exploring new ways to make college accessible and affordable for everyone, colleges and university programs thus might also consider how to make it easier for non-traditional students—including adult learners who might wish to study at night, or part-time—to earn degrees in the traditional liberal arts—and realize the most democratic ideals of public higher education.

Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, and edits the UFS Blog.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

Like the UFS Blog on Facebook

Photo credit: http://torange.biz/2919.html, cc

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