9:16am

Thu March 10, 2011
Morning news round-up: higher ed

Zimpher calls for stable tuition increases at SUNY

Speaking to a Senate committee Wednesday, SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher called for the right to raise tuition annually, to amortize the cost for parents and students, rather than raising it sporadically in big chunks.  Tom Precious at the Buffalo News reports that Zimpher also lambasted "sweeps" of tuition dollars:

Zimpher said the state also needs to take steps so there is "never, ever, ever again a sweep of tuition" revenues into the state's general fund "to solve other budget problems." Past tuition increases often saw the proceeds going to Albany instead of the campuses, which SUNY officials say today helps explain larger class sizes, more reliance on adjunct professors and the dropping of some educational programs.

If Gov. Andrew Cuomo's higher education plans are embraced, Zimpher told the senators, SUNY will have seen a cumulative cut of $1.6 billion in state operating aid the past three years. Cuomo's budget plan does not call for a tuition increase. Student groups are split over the issue; some favor it as a way to bolster campus programs while others say it could push low-income students from the system and raise post-graduation student debt levels.

Picking presidents

Buffalo's Artvoice calls out Zimpher for rejecting the candidates for president of Binghamton University without explanation.  In the editorial the paper questions how the action could affect the search currently underway for a new chief at University at Buffalo:

Kinda makes you wonder what’s going on over at that big old public “economic driver of  the 21 century.” The last SUNY at Buffalo presidential search yielded lumber heir John Barclay Simpson. That time, according the Buffalo News and the Chronicle of Higher Education, UB spent $220,000 on the search. That included $161,000 to a private search firm, and $39,000 for travel and expenses incurred by the search committee. They also spent $15,000 on travel, lodging, entertainment, gift baskets, and other incidentals for the candidates themselves.

Do you wonder what they just spent in Binghamton? And do you wonder why Zimpher so blithely flushed all that time, money, and effort down the toilet?

Or are these not the sort of questions that New York state taxpayers should be allowed to ask?

Meanwhile at the Press & Sun-Bulletin, a retired BU professor proposes keeping interim president Peter Magrath at the helm of the school:

There is an axiom that states "everything happens for a reason." Perhaps all the time and resources devoted to vetting the pool of discarded candidates this week now opens up serious consideration of the current interim to fill the role?

My sources inform me that in the short time Magrath has been back to the campus he first headed back in 1972, he has continued the outstanding impression he made back then. In particular, he has been transparent in his dealings with various constituencies that a person in his role oversees. In a short time, while leaning on the vast experience he gained while serving at much larger and more complex universities (Minnesota and Missouri), he has brought to the BU campus both stability and a renewed confidence in its mission. Why seek to "buy that" in a new administrator when you already have that in Peter Magrath?

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