Second meeting of Power of SUNY teams

On Thursday Jan. 6, members of the Power of SUNY implementation teams met for the second time since Stage IV of State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher's plan was implemented last October.

Representatives from Geneseo included Dennis Showers of the School of Education, Jeremy Grace of the political science department, Associate Dean of the College Savi Iyer, Administrative Director of Health and Counseling Melinda DuBois and Paul Schacht and Maria Lima of the English department.

The Power of SUNY is Zimpher's five-year strategic plan for strengthening the university system, and is based upon SUNY's Six Big Ideas, not to be confused with President Dahl's Six Big Ideas for Geneseo. Broad goals of the plan include demonstrating SUNY's economic value to New York state, developing quantitative data sets to measure where the system succeeds and where improvement is needed and building a more unified SUNY system.

"Why are we competing against each other when we could work to support each other?" DuBois said.

The first meeting was characterized by general discussion and abstract ideas, but Showers said, "Something tangible is coming together now." Showers is a member of both the SUNY and an Energy-Smart New York Innovation Team and the Shared Governance Transformation Team.

"The first meeting was just brainstorming," said Grace in comparing the first and second meetings of his implementation team, SUNY and the World. "In this meeting we came up with five or six concrete ideas about how internationalization affects SUNY."

Grace's team articulated six benchmark indicators which, when measured, could contribute to a SUNY report card in May.

"The chancellor is determined to produce a meaningful document for stakeholders of the State University system that describes that we're doing a good job and will continue to improve," Schacht said.

The benchmarks on which SUNY and the World settled measure: the number of external fellowships and scholarships received by faculty researching international policy; the number of SUNY students enrolled to study abroad; the number of international students enrolled in SUNY; the number of students enrolled in foreign languages; the economic impact of international students to college communities as well as the state in general and the total value of economic benefits reaped by faculty studying international activity through grants and other sources.

Members of Schacht's group, the Academic Excellence Transformation Team, tried to formulate ways in which they could measure an abstract concept like academic excellence with concrete data. "We are still looking for something in this discussion that really measures the excellence of an individual student's education," Schacht said.

Many teams split into sub-committees, Showers said. The Energy-Smart team broke into two groups, a technical sub-committee and an educational sub-committee. Showers is a member of the latter group, which works on questions about curriculum and community education.

DuBois' group, SUNY and a Healthy New York, also split into three sub-committees: a Wellness Network, on which DuBois sits, The Right Health Professionals in the Right Places and SUNY Policy and Quality.

"Geneseo provides a lot of prospective health care professionals to the field," DuBois said. "It's important that we speak about the needs of our students when it comes to health and wellness."