The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Higher Education and Professional Practice


Maria College: Associate in Science (A.S.), Research Technologist


January 28, 2004


Approval (Consent Agenda)


Master plan amendment is required when an institution offers its first program in a new discipline area


Goals 2 and 4






Maria College of Albany seeks Regents approval of an amendment of its master plan to authorize the College to offer a research technologist program leading to the Associate in Science (A.S.) degree.  Master plan amendment is needed because this would be the Collegeís first associate degree program in the disciplinary area of biological sciences.


The Office of Higher Education has determined that the proposed program, if approved, would meet the standards for registration set forth in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.


Recommendation:   I recommend that the Regents take the following action:


VOTED, that the master plan of Maria College of Albany be amended, effective February 23, 2004, authorizing the College to offer an Associate in Science (A.S.) research technologist program.  This amendment will be effective until February 28, 2005, unless the Department registers the program prior to that date, in which case master plan amendment shall be without term.






Maria College

Associate in Science, Research Technologist


Academic Review


            Maria College, Albany, requests master plan amendment and registration of a Research Technologist program leading to the A.S. degree.  The purpose of the Research Technologist program would be to prepare graduates to use scientific knowledge to work in entry-level positions in the field of nano-technology and other research-related fields.


            The central assumption that drives this new program is that the Capital Region has become the location of a burgeoning industry in computer and medical technology.  According to the College, consortiums among business organizations, industry leaders and institutions of higher learning have made clear the need to train employees in the Capital Region who would do the entry-level work necessary to make these new industries successful.


            The curriculum will be based on lower-level science, mathematics and computer skills with internship/collaboration experiences to allow for a straightforward transition into full-time employment.  As a two-year vocationally-oriented college, Maria College has experience in preparing non-academically oriented students to learn the practical scientific academic content needed to be successful in vocational work.  The Research Technologist program is in keeping with the mission of the College of providing an educational opportunity for individuals from lower to middle socioeconomic, ethnically diverse groups to qualify for careers that will improve their lives and to work in careers that will serve the community when they graduate.


            The program has a unique curriculum comparable to European apprentice models that teach academic content integrated to workplace skills.  The foundation of the curriculum is collaboration by students in their coursework and participation in internships in industry laboratories. The following are the programís two educational objectives: (1) the student will learn critical thinking, technical writing, interpersonal/ collaborative, and research skills and become familiar with issues of contemporary ethics in order to work as a productive team member; and (2) the student will gain core technical skills in order to complete elementary research-based tasks in technical environments through internships in the workplace.


            The admission standards for the program will be the same as that for other A.S. programs at Maria College. These are high school-level -- four units of English, two units of college preparatory math, two units of science, three units of social studies and five elective units in academic studies.  Applicants who lack the required levels of mathematics and/or science will be required to complete remedial coursework prior to admittance.


The target population for the program will be the underemployed or re-entry adult and high school graduates or tech prep students.  These are the populations that Maria College serves in its other registered vocational programs.  According to the College, the program is designed to attract populations that are not typically included in the employment mix for technology/computer industries and to improve employment possibilities in the Capital Region.  The projected full-time enrollment will be 15 students the first year and 30 in the fifth year.  Part-time enrollment will be limited to approximately five students per year. 


            The program will use existing facilities. No new equipment, faculty, or other academic resources will need to be acquired to support the program.  The program will consist of core courses and biology, mathematics, and computer science courses that are already in place supplemented by four new interdisciplinary seminars.


Planning Review


            The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nano-electronic manufacturing will continue to be one of the most rapidly growing manufacturing industries in the United States with employment expected to increase faster than the average for other occupations.   The Research Technologist graduate is intended to provide employers with competent, skilled individuals for entry-level positions.   Maria College believes that it can contribute to making the Capital Region into an international center for research technology by training technicians to work as research assistants. 


            Only one institution of the 30 higher education institutions in the Northeast region responded to the canvass.  SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill was concerned that the proposed program would adversely affect enrollment in its A.S. and A.A.S. programs in science-related areas.  Cobleskill withdrew its objection upon receipt of additional information about the content of the program and clarification of the programís purposes.