Technology Sector Concerns
Winter Plenary, University at Albany
February 1, 2008
Thank you, Dr. Clark, for your addressing faculty concerns in the budget process. We appreciate the attempt to fund the Digital Library Initiative and other programs supported by faculty.
We are aware that you are sensitive to the concerns of the Colleges of Technology, but we want to reiterate our interest for a plan for the mission and vision of the sector. Members of the sector expressed surprise at the paucity of mention of the sector in the Report of the Commission on Higher Education, and thus see no plan for the sector. Although we are aware that SUNY System Administration is not responsible for the Report, we are very much interested in any response by System to conditions not analyzed by the Report. For example, jobs in agriculture continue to be a large portion of the workforce of New York State. The Colleges of Technology continue to be engaged in workforce development in numerous areas, and are thus integral to workforce development in the State.
Another issue of interest is the disparity between campus strategic initiative requests and what the Governor’s Office is willing to fund. This results in a substantial shortchanging to the sector campuses. As class sizes increase in the sector, we will lack the capital improvements to accommodate more students.
Senators from the sector are interested in an examination of the Budget Allocation Process (BAP II), with a view to a reconsideration of the formula, in order to resolve differences between sectors. As the Colleges of Technology do not have teaching assistants, class sizes are much smaller than those at larger campuses, thus creating funding disparities.
The Colleges of Technology are also interested in special mission adjustments, such as the six million dollars allocated to the ESF conservation camp in the Adirondacks, as well as arrangements with other campuses. Over the years campuses in the technology sector have been told that their facilities (such as farms) are expected to make money. Our needs should not be treated differently from the special needs of other campuses, however. These include lab equipment, as well as programs engaged in workforce development.
While we are concerned with articulation agreements and transfer both with community colleges and comprehensive colleges, there should be additional thought to the role of the Colleges of Technology amongst other SUNY sectors. As community colleges increasingly make dorm rooms available to their students, we are concerned with competition between the community college and college of technology sectors. At the same time, we offer an increasing number of baccalaureate programs and are interested in accommodating students and veterans, and ask to be considered as an alternative to capacity problems in programs at the comprehensive colleges.
In conclusion, we look forward to discussion with the Provost’s Office concerning strategic planning for the Colleges of Technology sector and its place, both present and future, in the SUNY System.