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SUNY Albany brings back some humanities programs

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Adding an Italian minor isn't enough to "save face" at SUNY Albany, say some professors.

Professors at SUNY Albany say turning former foreign language majors into minors isn't enough to save face, reports Scott Waldman at the Times Union.  The school anounced big cuts to the humanities last October, citing budget difficulties:

Jean-Francois Briere, languages chair and professor of French studies, said the move is a face-saving measure and that it makes no financial sense to restore a minor and the full course offering of a major because the costs are the same. "The administration is recognizing it made a mistake," he said. "It's a half measure." Briere also said the threats of program cuts was being used by the school to push more faculty into retirement.

Community colleges are also wary of what cuts in the state budget could mean for their bottom line, as more students enroll, reports Julie Sherwood at the Messenger Post:

“Obviously, the state is in a huge financial dilemma and everyone will feel pain,” said FLCC President Barbara Risser. But the hit that community colleges would take under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget is significant, she said, particularly in light of previous cuts. State aid was cut 24 percent in the past two years, and Cuomo’s proposal of $2,034 per full-time student equivalent would put the aid back where it was in 1997-98. “We have had so many cuts, this would be really problematic for us,” said Risser. What happens in Albany will affect the bottom line for students. Because of previous cuts in state aid, the college has already implemented cost-saving measures to keep tuition increases minimal, she said. That includes paying existing faculty to take on more classes rather than hiring additional faculty to handle the load.

RIT

About 50 Rochester Institute of Technology students developed web startups in just 48 hours last week, reports Emily Shearing at the Democrat and Chronicle:

A total of 11 teams pitched ideas ranging from "Exchange," a website where students can sell, buy and trade textbooks, to the mobile application "Danger Zone," which alerts users when they're entering dangerous neighborhoods. PowerPoint presentations, video tutorials, logos and even live websites were used to present their startup companies. Sleep deprivation was a common excuse for minor typos. "We've probably gotten about 12 hours worth of sleep since Friday," said Chris Tosswill, a fifth-year RIT student, who created "Danger Zone" along with a team of fellow students. "It's been a long weekend," said event organizer and student Matt Gardner.

SUNY Research Foundation

The SUNY Research Foundation has picked up a grant to build a new telemedicine network in the North Country, reports Nancy Madsen at the Watertown Daily Times:

Building the network will tie in well with the lines the authority already plans to build through a grant of up to $20 million from the federal government's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant. The grant supported a line from Boonville to Utica and Star Lake and Cranberry Lake to Potsdam.

SU

Syracuse University is opening a satellite campus outside of Los Angeles reports C.J. Lin at the Los Angeles Daily News:

The current West L.A. building started as an alumni center in 2005, but outgrew its space as it developed into an admissions office for an increasing number of L.A. applicants, even as the school also launched new Hollywood-oriented programs for its students. Last year, the number of Syracuse students from L.A. rose 35 percent, bringing the number of undergraduates from the region to 322 and transfers to 619, said Joan Adler, SU's senior director of Los Angeles programs. "Certainly with the demise of the California school system, that's helping," Adler said. "Tuition is costing more and they're dropping classes."

UB2020

The Buffalo News editorial board writes that it's Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to his word that he will "embrace" UB2020, the plan to give University at Buffalo more autonomy:

This legislation is not about denying access but about increasing educational opportunities and turning the university into the economic engine that it should be. That's why this legislation is important to Western New York. It gives the university autonomy to raise the academic bar with reasonable tuition increases that include caps and provisions for needy students, while expanding UB's footprint in the downtown Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. In addition, projections for a full build-out of the UB 2020 plan would see thousands of new people on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a nearly $2 billion increase in the university's economic impact. It would create thousands of construction jobs and provide a vibrant academic health center downtown.

College rankings

Buffalo Business First has released college competitiveness rankings.  List leaders include Cornell University at the top spot, followed by Vassar, Hamilton and Colgate, reports G. Scott Thomas.

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