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Sandi Cooper’s Statement to the CUNY Board of Trustees!

Dear Commons Community,

As a follow-up to my earlier post on the CUNY Board of Trustees actions at its June 27th meeting, below is a statement released by Sandi Cooper, UFS delegate to the Board.

We thank Sandi and others who give tirelessly in representing the faculty to the rest of the University.

Tony
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June 27, 2011

Statement to the Board of Trustees Mon June 27 2011

Sandi E Cooper, chair

Regarding Item 5 L Policy on Integrity

The Faculty wishes to express its thanks to V C Schaffer and his staff for their careful and respectful consultation with us on the revised Integrity resolution. This is an effort to insure fair treatment both to students charged with academic malfeasance as well as faculty who are responsible for maintaining honesty and standards. Enforcing a fair
integrity policy is only right for those who do honest work. The Vice Chancellor went the extra mile to balance competing issues and improve on earlier drafts. This process was a model of collegiality.

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Regarding Item 5M Resolutions on Transfers

Though I have no doubt you will endorse this proposal unanimously and that vote will be followed by noisy, even raucous, approval from its supporters – many of whom are thrilled to see the CUNY faculty spanked in public – I am obliged to point out to you that:

1) You are voting for a veritable coup in public higher education. You have moved to an administrative office in the Chancellery, not staffed by teaching faculty, the thousand year old authority of university faculty to determine curricula in higher education. This is step one towards the creation of a high school system in all but name. Were we medical doctors, I doubt if the hospital trustees would tell us what steps to take before a surgical procedure. This process in this resolution implies huge disrespect for the professionals you have hired and tenured.

2) Faculty do not object to the creation of an all CUNY Curriculum Committee. But as on our campuses where these groups are not appointed by presidents or provosts but elected by peers, the University Faculty Senate proposed similar arrangements. It has not been accepted. Asking us to recommend a dozen names and then picking a group from the central office trumps college governance charters.

3) We have had standing Discipline Councils across CUNY for years – some livelier than others. Their central role in shaping what constitutes general education should be driving this process, not a cherry picked group of students, administrators and friendly faculty.
4) Some members of this chancellery have turned this into a circus by organizing student groups to applaud policies that they think will put faculty in their place and make life easier.

Yes, there is a transfer problem – it is not to be solved by eliminating the kind of education that prepares people to cope with a world where they are likely to be fired in two to four years from the job they have trained for. Nor is the outcome of a slippery transfer policy likely to help any student who does poorly after transfer because of lack of preparation. Nor is the degree to be of any value if students in the same college have not been equally prepared – something that can ONLY come from cross campus Discipline Councils which we have urged the central administration to help us organize.

The faculty did NOT object to a centrally coordinated policy to improve transfer but it vigorously rejects a methodology that is cumbersome, unworkable and ultimately unenforceable unless we become a high school.

6) To those who think the faculty have avoided this problem, I suggest that you check the facts. The University Faculty Senate has worked on this since the mid 1990s with very little support and produced a general education statement a decade ago

(http://www.cuny.edu/about/administration/offices/ue/degreepathways/UFSResolution022701.pdf
(text attached.)

Sandi E. Cooper, Chair
University Faculty Senate — CUNY
535 E 80 Street
New York, N Y 10075
212 794 5538

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