Dear Commons Community,
Sandi Cooper, Chair of the University Faculty Senate, shared her notes (below) on the public hearing of the CUNY Board of Trustees that was held yesterday at Hostos Community College. This is the last public hearing on several important matters including transfer policy, general education requirements, and budget cuts, on which the Trustees will deliberate on Monday, June 27th.
BRIEF SELECTIVE REPORT ON THE BOROUGH HEARING IN THE BRONX AND THE PUBLIC HEARING OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
June 20, 2011 at Hostos Community College
5:00 p.m. – 8:15 pm
About 64 or the 92 people who signed up to speak at the above captioned hearing did appear, the main item addressed was the Transfer Resolution which the Board will vote on at its June 27 2011 meeting. People lined up outside for several hours in the hot sun awaiting the opportunity to sign in to speak but discovered that well over a dozen students had preceded them. Faculty were not aware that the students were holding a meeting at Hostos prior to the hearing and evidently were given priority to sign up – which annoyed a number of faculty since they were informed that sign up began at 4 pm. However the Vice Chair of the Board insisted that speakers were called in the order that they were signed up … this, of course, is true. The question is was the original sign up a level playing field.
As expected the students representing the University Student Senate, groups of disabled students, the LGBT student organization and a few individuals found nothing but merit in the CAPPR resolution. They recounted tales of funds unavailable from NYS VESED, for instance, for disabled students, if they were expected to retake the same course. Their concerns were losing credit for courses from one college to another; financial problems; difficulty in graduating. Some asserted that the resolution would put CUNY in line with national practice.
Faculty witnesses agreed that a transfer problem existed, that it needed remediation BUT that transfer and general education were two separate categories. One did not have to diminish general education, especially in the senior colleges, to have an accepted common core of 30 credits; nor did the unique and new assertion that all courses should transfer face the reality that AAS degrees were largely career training paths with few liberal arts courses. Moreover, the resolution asserts that there will be NO graduation requirements allowed and asserts that the large majors will have a common set of three entry courses. Faculty viewed this as an unwarranted intrusion into their professional training and responsibility. Resources for better advisement and improved IT were what faculty saw as crucial to smooth transfer.
Several faculty addressed the likely cuts to adjunct employees resulting from the impending budget cuts, protesting that the services of long time, devoted part time faculty were being targeted. A Bronx C. C. Faculty member observed that the cuts in the adjunct budget at the very time when enrollment was increasing clearly meant a diminution of quality teaching.
The texts of the speakers’ presentations will eventually be available electronically and are public knowledge.
Sandi E. Cooper, Chair
University Faculty Senate — CUNY