College Senate talks Open SUNY, importance of interim period

Finding out different perceptions of SUNY Buffalo State was an important issue during the latest College Senate meeting on Friday.

David Carson, chair of the Senate, said that Buffalo State has entered what he believes to be one of the most pivotal periods in the university’s recent history.

“This interim period, I think, is absolutely critical,” Carson said. “We are in a new era.”

Carson talked about having the senators come together and speak with their constituents in order to find out where the campus stands. He spoke about using the interim period to think about what Buffalo State is not only for this year, but what it wants to be for the future as well.

“We, the faculty, the staff, the students, the administrators at Buffalo State have an opportunity that I think we must seize,” Carson said.

Carson charged Jason Grinnell, a senator, and the academic plan committee with finding out the different impressions there are of Buffalo State and the direction of available opportunities.

Grinnell said that the Senate is looking into ways to improve whatever perceptions there are of Buffalo State out there. He said it needs to try and find better ways to publicize student and faculty successes.

“We’re starting by looking at what the perceptions are out there of Buffalo State’s academic reputation and assuming wherever they are they could always be higher,” Grinnell said. “I think we need to be much more openly proud of who we are and what we can accomplish and what we have accomplished.“

The admissions office, college relations and alumni are all being contacted in order to find out more information about how Buffalo State can increase its academic excellence, according to Grinnell.

The academic plan committee will be working alongside the faculty and staff, and student welfare committees on this issue as well.

Trivet Jarmond, chair of the student welfare committee, gave a report about discussions on Open SUNY and perceptions of Buffalo State.

The student welfare committee will also be working on a separate project including enrollment and UPD and its involvement with students around campus.

Jarmond said that the committee would hopefully work with other committees for this project.

“We also plan on collecting data on open SUNY and the perception of Buffalo State within this month or next month,” Jarmond said. “Hopefully we’ll be presenting that data either at the next meeting or the first meeting of the next semester.”

Open SUNY was also a highlighted issue during the meeting. Scott Goodman, member of the university faculty senate, gave a report on his experience with Joe Marren, UFS senator, and Carson at the 165th Fall Plenary. During his report, he spoke about the implementation of Open SUNY.

Open SUNY will create an environment for SUNY colleges to bring all their offered online courses onto one shared network. The full implementation is expected to finish by 2015.

According to Goodman, Carey Hatch, associate provost for library and information services, gave the report on the expectations of Open SUNY. He said that Open SUNY has evolved into a “multifaceted piece.”

Rather than just adding a shared online network for all of the SUNY schools, it will include faculty and student support, as well as academic initiatives. He said that SUNY has emphasized the point that Open SUNY will not be a degree platform and only students from separate campuses will gain degrees from their own schools.

“One of the big questions at the meeting was where are all these students going to be coming from, are we going to be cannibalizing from each other,” Goodman said. “SUNY’s response in general is that ‘no, there are many students out there who need access … we’ll be increasing our enrollments, not cannibalizing from each other.’”

The pieces of Open SUNY that will be implemented in January 2014 will lead the way for what SUNY is planning to do in the future, according to Goodman.

“Technology is reshaping how students learn and how professors teach,” Carson said. “Open SUNY is a blunt instrument of that change.”

In other Senate news:

Don Erwin, chief information officer, gave an updated report on the transition from Angel to Blackboard and Degree Navigator to Degree Works. The Angel to Blackboard migration is in Phase Three. The last day Angel will be available for use will be Jan. 17, 2014.

Email: [email protected]