SUNY Faculty Senate discusses state-wide degrees

"The State University of New York consider instituting a SUNY-wide degree program which would allow students to take courses from multiple SUNY schools to earn their degees.

""This would be very specialized degree programs not available on any one campus, and the faculty teaching the courses would still get credit for their teaching, much of it online, regardless of the student’s home campus," said Laura Brown, Oswego State’s representative for the SUNY Faculty Senate.

"According to Susan Camp, Faculty Assembly chair, this would make it easier for SUNY students to get a degree in a unique program that many of the 64 SUNY campuses lack, such as a B.A. in Latin or a PhD in nursing. When the SUNY-wide degree comes to fruition, more students might pursue majors like these because they will be more accessible and more flexible. This plan is still in its beginning stages and is not fully developed.

""There will soon be a website with the transfer credit information available to campus governance first, then later the general public," Brown said. "The SUNY Provost’s office is working on a plan to make smoother transitions for transfer students, both between community colleges after associates degrees, and also between four-year schools as well."

"The recent budget cut is a factor in SUNY Central’s plan.

""Consolidation and elimination of programs is a subject that always comes up during difficult budget times, and this is no exception," said Nick Lyons, vice president for administration and finance. "Some feel that our offerings are too broad and that savings could be made by restricting the availability of certain programs to specific campuses."

"Students may be concerned that the credibility of their own campus will be affected.

""The prestige of each school participating will be enhanced rather than compromised, as the interdisciplinary and inter-campus collaborations fit the SUNY Strategic Plan goals," Brown said.

"Camp also believes that the prestige of individual campuses will not be affected.

""In a job interview no one would know the difference," she said. "Where you get your degree, unless you go to a school like Harvard or Yale, is not nearly as important as what you bring to the table."

"Prestige is not the only concern. Lyons fears that the identity of each state school will be compromised.

""While I understand the logic, I don’t agree with the concept," Lyons said."SUNY campuses tend to have their own personalities and I think that it’s important to preserve that individuality and choices for students," Lyons said."The demand for SUNY is very high, especially in tough economic times. SUNY needs to be thought of as part of the solution to the State’s economic condition."

"The creation of a SUNY-wide degree will soon impact faculty, also.

""Faculty members are hired based on the priorities of the campus," Camp said.

"When individual SUNY schools eliminate programs, they will also eliminate jobs. As professors retire, new hires will not be within the departments of rare and unique programs like it once had.

"The number of admitted students, particularly of Oswego State, will remain unaffected. Even with the prospective SUNY-wide undergraduates, the number of admitted students will not increase.

""With 8,300 to 8,400 students total, Oswego State does not plan to grow," Camp said.