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Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 8:00am

sed seal                                                                                                 






Higher Education Committee


Johanna Duncan-Poitier




The City University of New York Master Plan, 2008-2012


December 29, 2008


Goals 2 and 4






Issue for Discussion


Should the Board of Regents approve The City University of New York Master Plan, 2008-2012 and incorporate it into the Statewide Plan for Higher Education?


Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by State statute.


Proposed Handling


This matter will come before the Higher Education Committee for discussion at its January 2009 meeting.  It then will be before the Committee for action at its February meeting.


Procedural History


Section 6206(3) of the Education Law requires the CUNY Board of Trustees to adopt, every four years, a long-range plan or general revision thereof, and submit it to the Board of Regents for approval and incorporation into the Statewide Plan, and to the Governor for approval.  On June 21, 2005, the Board of Regents adopted the Statewide Plan for Higher Education, 2004-2012, which included the CUNY 2004-2008 long-range master plan.





Pursuant to the provisions of Section 137 of Chapter 82 of the Laws of 1995, the Statewide Plan is an eight-year plan.  However, §6206(3) specifies that the CUNY plan is a four-year plan.  Consequently, there was a need for the CUNY Trustees to adopt a new master plan halfway through the Statewide Plan.   


In October 2007, the Department sent CUNY a call letter for a new master plan.  The letter noted that statute requires the CUNY Plan to be “in such form as to provide a basis for the development of the regents statewide plan for higher education” and asked that CUNY consider how it will contribute to each of the Regents priorities as it develops its new Plan.


CUNY distributed a planning document to the colleges, the University Faculty Senate, and the University Student Senate, soliciting full community discussion and feedback by November 30, 2007.  The feedback was that the draft focused very heavily on central initiatives rather than the colleges, was incomplete regarding efforts to improve undergraduate instruction, and did not sufficiently address the role of graduate and professional education in the future of CUNY and the individual colleges.  They asked that it give greater emphasis to the need to add full-time faculty, to the commitment to a diverse faculty, to improvement of campus facilities, and to improving student services.


Between December 1, 2007, and March 2008, central administration staff collaborated with the colleges through meetings, telephone calls, and e-mail in preparing a revised draft.  On March 7, 2008, the CUNY Council of Presidents had a detailed discussion of the draft at its annual retreat, after which the draft again was sent to the colleges, the University Faculty Senate, and the University Student senate, soliciting wide discussion and feedback by April 21, 2008.


Between April 21 and May 15, staff used the feedback to shape the draft.  On May 15, an updated draft was sent again to the colleges, the University Faculty Senate, and the University Student Senate.  The draft was sent to the Board of Trustees’ Committee, which approved it on June 2, 2008.     


Following an opportunity for public comment on the proposed master plan at the Board of Trustees’ regular hearing on June 16, 2008, the Board adopted the new CUNY Master Plan on June 23, 2008, and transmitted it to the Regents and the Governor for approval. 


Background Information


Attached is a review of the CUNY Master Plan, 2008-2012 that addresses the Statewide Plan’s five priority areas.  The complete CUNY Master Plan also is attached.


Over the period of the 2004 Master Plan, CUNY’s enrollment grew by 9.5 percent.  Enrollment of Black students grew by only 1.9 percent; however, enrollment of Hispanic students grew by 16.2 percent and of Native American students, by 27.7 percent.  Enrollment of Asian students grew by 24.7 percent; that of White students by only 1.4 percent.  At nearly half the student body, the proportion of CUNY’s students who were Black, Hispanic, or Native American did not change between 2003 and 2007.


Focusing on undergraduates, the number of first-time freshmen grew by 21.4 percent between 2003 and 2007.  Black first-time freshman enrollment grew by 16.0 percent, Hispanic first-time freshman enrollment, by 34.0 percent, and Native American first-time freshman enrollment, by 25.6 percent.  Asian first-time freshman enrollment increased by 36.6 percent and White first-time freshman enrollment, by 5.5 percent.  In 2003, Black, Hispanic, and Native American students were 54.2 percent of all first-time freshmen; in 2007, they were 55.9 percent.




It is recommended that the Committee discuss the extent to which the new CUNY Master Plan relates to the Statewide Plan’s priorities.


Timetable for Implementation


Following the Committee’s discussion in January, the CUNY Master Plan will be before the Board of Regents at its February meeting for approval and incorporation into the Statewide Plan.  If the Board approves the CUNY Plan, it will be forwarded to the Governor for approval, as required by §6206(3) of the Education Law.







              The City University of New York Master Plan, 2008-2012 is in five parts:


  • Toward 2012: Core Academic Priorities
  • Enhancing the Learning Environment
  • Empowering Our Students for Success
  • Rebuilding our Campuses
  • Toward 2012: Serving the City


CUNY states that it builds on the reforms and initiatives accomplished under the 2000 and 2004 master plans and that it advances:


  • Adherence to high standards of teaching, scholarship, and service;
  • Accountability and assessment of every aspect of CUNY’s mission;
  • Engaging students who have not traditionally been served by higher education;
  • Supporting a growing population through innovative colleges, schools, and programs;
  • Prioritizing a seamless education from preschool through college, including smooth transitions between community and baccalaureate colleges;
  • Meeting evolving workforce training and economic development needs; and
  • Maintaining a historic commitment to “academic excellence and to the provision of equal access and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all ethnic and racial groups and from both sexes [§6201 of the Education Law].”    


This review relates the Plan to the Regents Priority areas in the Statewide Plan:


A. Maximizing Success for all Higher Education Students

B. Smooth Student Transition from PreK – 12 to Higher Education

C. Meeting New York’s Needs through Graduate Programs and through Research

D. Qualified Professionals for Every Community throughout the State

E. A Balanced and Regulatory Environment to Support Excellence.


A.          Maximizing Success for all Higher Education Students.


The Plan reaffirms CUNY’s commitment to access and equal opportunity, as noted above.  The following table shows the racial/ethnic distribution of enrollment at CUNY during the period of the 2004-2008 Master Plan:










Racial/Ethnic Distribution of Total Undergraduate, First-Professional Degree, and Graduate Enrollment, The City University of New York, Fall 2003 – Fall 2007



















Native American






Asian/Pacific Islander












Non-Resident Alien












Source: NYSED, Higher Education Data System, 2008.


              Over the five years, CUNY’s enrollment has grown by 20,249 students (9.5 percent).  Enrollment of Black students grew by 1,104 (1.9 percent); Hispanic students by 7,924 (16.2 percent); and Native American students by 80 (27.7 percent).  Enrollment of Asian students grew by 5,968 (24.7 percent); that of White students by 940 (1.4 percent).  At nearly half the student body, the proportion of CUNY’s students who were Black, Hispanic, or Native American did not change between 2003 and 2007.


Racial/Ethnic Distribution of First-Time Freshman Enrollment

The City University of New York, Fall 2003 – Fall 2007



















Native American






Asian/Pacific Islander












Non-Resident Alien












Source: CUNY Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, 2008.


              Focusing only on undergraduates, the number of first-time freshmen (full- and part-time) grew by 5,856 (21.4 percent) between 2003 and 2007.  Black first-time freshman enrollment grew by 1,162 (16.0 percent), Hispanic first-time freshman enrollment by 2,557 (34.0 percent), and Native American first-time freshman enrollment by 11 (25.6 percent).  Asian first-time freshman enrollment increased by 1,289 (36.6 percent) and White first-time freshman enrollment grew by 462 (5.5 percent).  In 2003, Black, Hispanic, and Native American students were 54.2 percent of all first-time freshmen; in 2007, they were 55.9 percent.


              Toward 2012: Core Academic Priorities.  The Master Plan begins by addressing strengthening CUNY as an “integrated university” as well as its individual colleges.  To do so it will emphasize coordination and interinstitutional collaboration while seeking administrative economies and working with the State and City to obtain financing.


The Plan also addresses hiring full-time faculty.  During 2008-2012, CUNY will seek to hire additional full-time faculty in line with the goal of the Commission on Higher Education (“rebuild CUNY and SUNY faculty ranks by strategically hiring an additional 2,000 full-time faculty from diverse backgrounds, including 250 eminent scholars, over the next five years”) to reverse the erosion of staffing from 1973 to 1999.  To do so, it will pursue a “cluster hiring initiative” (which focuses on hiring faculty in specific disciplines and professions) that will foster interdisciplinary teaching by disciplinary faculty.  The new faculty also will support the Macaulay Honors College program.


New Instructional Initiatives.  CUNY plans to add at least three more on-line baccalaureate programs, through the School of Professional Studies, over the next four years.  Individual colleges also will develop on-line programs.  The number of on-line and hybrid courses will increase.  CUNY plans to develop a University support center for technology-enhanced teaching and learning that will provide links to model projects and foster community and faculty dialog.  It intends to expand the assignment of Instructional Technology Fellows (who are graduate students) to all colleges to facilitate faculty and student use of technology.  A new interinstitutional Academic Technology Task Force will make recommendations to deepen CUNY’s use of technology.


CUNY expects to invest further in programs, facilities, and curricula in the fine arts over the next four years.


Enhancing Academic Excellence.  To enhance teaching by its faculty, CUNY is participating in a Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and will expand the work now underway by creating a network of teacher-scholars and administrators concerned with teaching and learning.  Over the next four years, the network will facilitate a working group of directors of teaching and learning centers; hold annual grant competitions to fund faculty inquiry groups in the areas of general education, Writing Across the Curriculum, the first year experience, and the STEM disciplines; support the work of the Provost’s Advisory Council; and develop a digital commons to document research and scholarship on teaching and learning.


To enhance academic advising, over the next four years CUNY will promote continuity of advising from entrance through graduation, reassert the faculty’s role in advising, invest in campus advising staff, and focus on advising for evening and weekend students.  It will evaluate the efficacy of academic counseling efforts over the same period.


The Plan also sets forth efforts CUNY will make to educate students as leaders, strengthen co-curricular experiences, and provide student health services and career services.  CUNY expects its new Enterprise Resource Planning system, CUNY FIRST (Fully Integrated Resources and Services Tool), to improve delivery of services to students and faculty on every campus.  Over the next four years, CUNY’s libraries will expand their expedited request and delivery service from books to journal articles from any college’s library.  The libraries will work with classroom faculty to integrate library resources with Blackboard, CUNY’s on-line course management system.  Libraries will assess the information literacy of CUNY students and certify to major employers in the City that students have met CUNY’s information literacy goals by graduation.


Across all colleges, CUNY strives for academic excellence through its Coordinated Undergraduate Education (CUE) system, which drew together such programs as Summer Immersion, Coordinated Freshman Writing, Writing Across the Curriculum, Academic Support, and Faculty Development Grants.  CUE Directors at the colleges annually prepare CUE plans that are included in the Performance Management Process, implemented, and assessed.  Over the next four years, CUE will focus on CUNY’s Campaign for Student Success, the scholarship of teaching and learning (as noted above), University-wide efforts to improve transfer and articulation, and maximizing the potential of academic technology.


Since 2003, CUNY’s General Education project has engaged faculty, students, and administrators in revising the colleges’ general education requirements.  Representatives of all 17 colleges have come together to define the ways in which general education is conceived and practiced and to support individual campus work.  Over the next four years, the project will focus on the role of teaching within general education and its effect on learning.  By 2012, each college will have an oversight structure for sustained local attention to general education through curriculum development, innovative teaching, faculty development, and the academic experiences of first-year students.


Other efforts identified in this part of the Plan include Strengthening Entry Experiences through Summer and First-year Programs (formerly University Summer Immersion Programs), Writing Across the Curriculum, Integrating Mathematics Across the Curriculum, and Globalizing Undergraduate Education.  Over the next four years, Summer Programs will focus on instructional opportunities to prepare students for general education, test preparation,  orientation, increased use of cohort learning groups, and expanded tutoring services.  Writing Across the Curriculum efforts will focus on articulating goals for student writing and communicating them to students, faculty, and administrators.  The Integrating Mathematics Across the Curriculum effort will use innovative teaching to bolster student self-confidence and success in doing quantitative work.  Globalizing Undergraduate Education will seek to increase the number of students who incorporate study and/or work abroad into their degree programs, foster awareness and appreciation of other countries and cultures, and facilitate collaboration  among campuses directors of international education.


CUNY will increase efforts to encourage and assist students in applying for and receiving prestigious scholarships.  In the area of mental health counseling, it will increase accessibility, improve responses, and establish a referral system.  CUNY will put into practice best practices to assist veterans return to civilian life, establish veterans’ centers on each campus, create student leadership opportunities for veterans, develop protocols for the needs of veterans with disabilities and female veterans, and help integrate veterans into the larger CUNY community.  To serve students and faculty with families, CUNY will increase the number of nationally accredited child-care centers and secure the space needed to meet the needs of new centers.


Macaulay Honors College. Since its creation in 2001, enrollment in the Macaulay Honors College (MHC) program has grown from an inaugural class of 189 to a four-year population of over 1,200.  For admission to the Class of 2012, CUNY received 3,846 applications for 350 seats, including applications from pupils at such selective schools as the Bronx High School of Science and Stuyvesant High School.  MHC faculty will be encouraged to adopt use of advanced media and interactive teaching.  Upper division courses will make use of such techniques as on-line discussion groups and videoconferencing.  Funding will be sought to enable MHC students to take advantage of semester-long study abroad.  MHC will focus on internships and create a professional development center for career services and for graduate study.


Articulation and Transfer.  To further remove barriers to transfer among colleges, over the next four years CUNY will review existing articulation agreements in terms of clarity and effectiveness and encourage colleges to develop more 2+2 arrangements.  A new faculty-driven Collaborative Syllabus Initiative will seek to develop consensus on the essential design of general education and pipeline courses and to make model syllabi available for faculty adaptation.  An interinstitutional articulation and transfer task force will seek ways to further streamline and simplify the process, with implementation beginning in the spring of 2009 and completion by the spring of 2012.


Programs to Close the Performance Gap.  The Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge (SEEK) and College Discovery (CD) opportunity programs will focus on enhancing student performance, providing 21st century co-curricular tools and increasing international learning opportunities for SEEK and CD students, and increasing alumni participation.  CUNY will continue to develop a SEEK/CD student progression from associate to baccalaureate to master’s to doctoral degrees.


The Plan addresses the Black Male Initiative (introduced in 2004).  It consists of efforts to assist under-represented populations to overcome inequalities that lead to poor K-12 performance; weak higher education enrollment, performance, and graduation; and disproportionately high unemployment and incarceration.  The efforts focus primarily on outreach and mentoring to improve recruitment and retention.  Though targeted at Black men, the Initiative’s projects do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national origin, or other characteristics; all programs are open to all eligible CUNY students. 


Students with Disabilities.  To meet the needs of students with disabilities, CUNY will conduct a comprehensive Americans with Disabilities Act needs assessment, partner with the Dormitory Authority to develop short and long-range plans to remediate barriers, and seek funding both for capital projects and for staffing campus disability services offices.  It will continue its partnership with VESID to improve employment outcomes for CUNY graduates with disabilities.


B.          Smooth Student Transition from PreK – 12 to Higher Education.


Under “A Seamless Education in New York,” the Plan addresses pre-collegiate endeavors, collaborative programs and college preparedness; transitions between high school and college; and articulation and transfer between colleges.  CUNY will expand its collaborative programs, including College Now, the Middle Grades Initiative, and Early College high schools, and seek additional opportunities to expand dual enrollment opportunities.  School teachers and college faculty will co-plan and co-teach new courses in both high schools and colleges.  College Now will continue working with New Visions for Public Schools to improve understanding of college preparedness and to increase the likelihood of success at CUNY of graduates of New Century Schools.




C.          Meeting New York’s Needs through Graduate Programs and through Research.


Decade of Science.  The Plan addresses development of a University School of Public Health at Hunter College and Decade of Science (2005-2015) activities.  Decade of Science efforts include: building a research-active, grant-funded faculty in STEM fields, continuing efforts set in the 2004 Master Plan to construct and refurbish science facilities on campuses and in the CUNY-wide Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), enhancing the research environment to take advantage of infrastructure improvements, investing in doctoral student support (which the Commission on Higher Education recommended), and training the next generation of math and science teachers for the City schools, through CUNY’s Teacher Academy and campus efforts.


To build a research-active faculty, CUNY will continue cluster hiring in STEM disciplines over the next four years and add a new hiring cluster in cyberinfrastructure.  In addition to the ASRC, construction projects include new and refurbished science buildings at Brooklyn, City, Hunter, John Jay, Lehman, Medgar Evers, and Queens Colleges and a new academic building for New York City College of Technology, among other capital efforts.


The Plan cites activities underway to enhance the research environment, including appointment of a Vice Chancellor for Research, expansion of CUNY’s Higher Performance Computing facility (located at the College of Staten Island), and strengthening CUNY’s new Technology Commercialization Office.


Teacher Academy.  The Teacher Academy, which operates at Brooklyn, City, Hunter, Lehman, Queens, and York Colleges and the College of Staten Island, focuses on preparing teachers in the STEM fields who have majors in biology, chemistry, earth science, mathematics, or physics.  It has launched programs for associate degree students at Borough of Manhattan, Hostos, and Queensborough Community Colleges; their students will transfer to City, Lehman, or York College, respectively, after two years.  Teacher Academy students receive four years of paid tuition and fees, paid internships in middle and high schools, small classes, dedicated advisors and tutors and a dedicated Teacher Academy space, and placement in selected middle and high schools for four years of observation, study, and practice.  In exchange the students agree to teach in a New York City public school for at least two years following graduation.  The Plan calls for CUNY to assess the Teacher Academy’s progress, including student achievement and resource allocation, over the next four years.     


D.          Qualified Professionals for Every Community throughout the State.


              Nursing.  CUNY offers programs in nursing ranging from those preparing LPNs to a Doctor of Nursing Science (D.N.S.) program.  The Plan reviews the initiatives taken by the colleges to expand nursing education but notes that many nursing programs lack the capacity to accept all qualified applicants.  The Master Plan states that fast-track nursing programs for the most qualified students will be piloted. A CUNY-wide clearinghouse will be established to facilitate transfer of highly qualified students from overcrowded programs to those seeking to increase clinical enrollments.  In partnership with the health care industry, CUNY will assist recent graduates to grow in their profession.


              Teaching.  In teacher preparation, the Plan notes that about 2000 CUNY students annually take the LAST examination for teacher certification, with a 98 percent pass rate.  Over the next four years, CUNY will seek increased national recognition of its programs.  It states that such recognition is a necessity if some of the pressing problems of urban education are to be addressed.  It will continue to invest in teacher preparation partnerships with the New York City Department of Education; review and, where warranted, strengthen existing institutes and centers related to teacher education; continue to improve both the qualifications of entering teaching candidates, their graduation rates, and their performance on teacher certification examinations; improve data collection and management systems that allow the colleges to monitor the impact of their student teachers and graduates on pupil learning; and identify campus centers of excellence in teaching, research, and clinical practice.  It will align pre-service and professional development opportunities with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.  It will develop on-line courses to meet in-service teachers’ needs.


Other Professional Graduate Programs. CUNY will focus on professional master’s degree programs, such as those offered through the school of journalism and the proposed CUNY-wide school of public health at Hunter College, and will investigate the feasibility of establishing a school of pharmacy.  Baruch, City, John Jay, Medgar Evers, and York Colleges will introduce or expand enrollment in professionally oriented master’s degree programs, including programs in new Regents-licensed professions.  Some professionally oriented programs will be offered on line.


Workforce Development. In the area of workforce development CUNY will continue to develop career pathway programs to start entry-level workers on career tracks, assist mid-level workers to advance, and enable experienced workers to keep up with changing practices in their fields.  It also will emphasize the development of relationships between non-credit programs and academic departments and encourage colleges to articulate continuing education workforce courses with degree programs.          


E.          A Balanced and Regulatory Environment to Support Excellence.


Accountability.  The Plan emphasizes the Performance Management Process through which CUNY has since 2001 set annual goals based on the goals of the Master Plan, with the colleges then setting their own annual goals against which performance is measured.  Compensation for administrators is tied to the results of the annual reviews.  CUNY sees PMP as a process that enables it to set clear priorities, focus on outcomes rather than activities, and recognize outstanding performance.


Facilities.  The Plan states that CUNY’s most critical capital need is to upgrade and improve facilities to meet 21st century demands.  It provides an overview of the 2008-2012 Capital Budget Request and the 2008-09 State appropriations for CUNY’s capital budget.  Projects include both new facilities and rehabilitation and repair of existing facilities at the colleges.  It notes the ability of some colleges to attract private gifts for facility purposes, including the MHC building and Queens College’s Kupferberg Center for the Arts.


CUNY will exercise leadership in areas of sustainability.  Each campus will develop a campus sustainability plan that will contribute to a cumulative reduction in CUNY’s carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2017, in accordance with the Mayor’s PlaNYC goals.  This will require efforts in the areas of energy, operating efficiency, curriculum and faculty development, procurement, fleet management, waste and recycling, communication, and professional development.