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SUNY schools continue calls for more autonomy

Jonathan Cohen
Binghamton University
Binghamton University president Peter Magrath is calling for the state to "empower SUNY."

SUNY Binghamton's interim president, Peter Magrath, has a commentary in the Press & Sun-Bulletin urging the state to adopt the reforms proposed in "SUNY Empowerment:"

But SUNY face challenges in helping the state meet its needs. Our colleges and universities are burdened with red tape that inhibits them from establishing new partnerships and delays the purchasing of educational and research equipment. We are throttled by an unpredictable tuition policy that prevents students and families from planning effectively for their college education, confronting them with sporadic tuition increases totaling hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And finally, our campuses are hampered by budgetary policies that have resulted in a reduction of funding for SUNY of more than 35 percent over the past four years. These policies are unfair to our students, detrimental to our industries and harmful to our future.

Presidents of SUNY schools in the North Country are also arguing for tuition stability, reports Jamie Munks at the Watertown Daily Times:

Tuition too likely will increase at JCC [Jefferson Community College], but that isn't set yet. Tuition has increased at JCC every year that Mrs. [Carole] McCoy has been president. "It's not something I'm proud of and it's not who we are in spirit," Mrs. McCoy said. "We're really struggling with staying affordable. I'm afraid we could outprice ourselves." Despite the financial problems plaguing the SUNY schools, each of the three in the north country is thriving in its own way. Inquiries and applicants have doubled for some of the SUNY schools and selectivity has increased, which in turn increases student performance. JCC has had record-setting enrollments both in the fall and spring semesters this school year. The drawback is that if adjunct professors aren't found for some subject areas, students may have to be turned away from courses they want to take.

Engineering in NYC

New York City is reviewing the applications of universities interested in building an engineering school (including Cornell) reports Patrick McGeehan at the New York Times:

A total of 27 schools responded, some teaming up with each other or with corporations to send joint submissions. One joint submission came from New York University, Carnegie Mellon University, the City University of New York, the University of Toronto and I.B.M. “We received a response that was certainly equal to or exceeded our expectations,” said Robert K. Steel, the deputy mayor for economic development. Mr. Steel said he and other city officials would study the responses, then solicit more concrete proposals in what would amount to a competition for a big — or bigger — presence in the city. For sheer enthusiasm and ambition, it may prove difficult to match Stanford University, which has proposed building its first degree-granting satellite campus away from its home base in Palo Alto, Calif., said Lisa Lapin, a Stanford spokeswoman.

Higher ed and jobs

SUNY's Levin Institute is beginning a study into the decline of upstate manufacturing and global competitiveness, reports Dan Miner at the Utica Observer-Dispatch.  The first step in that study: a town hall meeting at 4:30 today at SUNYIT in Marcy.

There's another hearing tomorrow at SUNYIT (at 10 a.m.).  Congressmen John Kline and Richard Hanna have a letter in the Utica OD promoting higher ed's role in job creation:

As we work to improve the nation’s education system and foster economic growth, the thoughts and insight provided by the panelists participating in this hearing will be invaluable. Education and our workforce are vital to America’s future economic success on an increasingly competitive world stage. Both areas require flexibility; they rely on constant innovation to keep pace with rapid changes. In the 24th Congressional District, schools such as SUNYIT, Herkimer County Community College and Utica College are doing just that – adapting to the changing needs of our economy and leading the way with ground-breaking programs in the rapidly growing, high-tech field of cybersecurity.

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