(Albany, NY; June 1, 2011) – The president of Stony Brook University, together with a number of high-profile Long Island business, labor, and community leaders, presented a comprehensive plan today to Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the State Legislature that would increase student access to the University, while creating thousands of well-paying jobs and enhancing health care services on Long Island.
University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., M.D. was joined at the presentation by Jim Simons, former chair of the University’s mathematics department; Kevin S. Law, president of the Long Island Association; Bob Catell, chairman of the Advanced Energy Center at Stony Brook and former chair of Keyspan and of National Grid USA; Jimmy Castellane, president of the Nassau-Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council, and Cheryl Hamilton, director of the University’s Educational Opportunity Program.
The plan they presented is the University’s application in response to Governor Cuomo’s NY SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant, an initiative designed to make the State University of New York a leading catalyst for job growth in New York State, while strengthening the academic and research programs at SUNY’s four University Centers: Stony Brook, Buffalo, Albany and Binghamton. The initial phase of the program focuses on a $35 million capital construction challenge grant that will be awarded to each Center upon approval of a detailed, long-term economic development and academic enrichment plan.
Stony Brook’s SUNY 2020 application includes plans to build a new translational medical research building; hire additional faculty and staff; and, launch economic development partnerships with industry in the Long Island region. It would also give Stony Brook the ability to implement a predictable tuition program that will protect families from runaway tuition hikes and, at the same time, increase financial assistance for eligible students from families with an income of $75,000 or less.
|The proposed Medical and Research Translation building (MART)|
"This plan is not just about expanded research and economic development, although it accomplishes both of those goals," said Dr. Stanley. "Most importantly, it’s about increasing access to a quality education at Stony Brook. Students will be able to get the classes they need to graduate on time and we will be able to open our doors to 1,500 more students over the five year period of the plan. At the same time, we’ve made a commitment to increase our financial aid so that our most economically disadvantaged students will be protected against a tuition increase. Every student will benefit."
Programming for the translational medical research building (MART) will focus on cancer research, advanced medical imaging, and cancer care. The 250,000-square-foot facility would be located on the Stony Brook University Medical Center campus where scientists and physicians would work side by side to research and discover new treatments and technology which would be brought to market more efficiently and quickly. Construction of the MART would create 4,200 construction-related jobs.
Over the past three years, difficult economic times have resulted in reduced funding to SUNY. At Stony Brook, this has led to a reduction in faculty positions; fewer class offerings for students and larger class sizes; students being shut out of required courses which leads to delayed graduation, and students being forced to take summer and intersession classes, or an additional semester or year, which are not covered by TAP or Pell grants, so the additional costs come directly out of the student pockets.
The infusion of additional revenue generated through elements of Stony Brook’s plan will allow for the hiring of 245 faculty, 80 medical professionals, and several hundred new graduate students and staff over the next five years and while enabling Stony Brook to admit an additional 1,500 students during that same period. Courses taught by full-time faculty would greatly increase, as would the number of undergraduate course sections available to students in every discipline.
With additional faculty, the student-to-faculty ratio, which is currently 28-to-1, would be reduced to 22-to-1, an important industry benchmark that matches the average of public AAU institutions – the organization comprising the top 62 research universities in North America, including Stony Brook. With significantly enhanced course access, Stony Brook’s four- and six-year graduation rates would improve by eight per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “Stony Brook University’s NYSUNY 2020 proposal promises greater access for students, higher academic quality, a state-of-the-art venue for groundbreaking medical research, and job creation for Long Island and New York State. Governor Cuomo's vision of reopening New York to business by empowering the SUNY university centers fits perfectly with our ability to be an economic driver for New York. Stony Brook University is clearly prepared to play a pivotal role as SUNY answers this call."
Mr. Law, of the Long Island Association, said, “Long Island’s economy is fragile. Long Island has been losing well-paying jobs which are being replaced with lower paying ones. As a high-cost region, Long Island needs higher-paying jobs, and the Stony Brook plan will help create more than seven thousand of them. It is imperative that we seize this opportunity because economic stimulus at Stony Brook University is economic stimulus for Long Island.”
Mr. Castellane, of the Nassau-Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council, said, “This recession has hit the construction industry very hard, and while other industries have begun to recover, the unemployment rate in the Building and Trades’ industry remains around 30 percent. This project will mean well-paying, steady work for us, and the money we earn on this project will in turn support other businesses on Long Island, and the Nassau-Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council strongly supports Stony Brook’s SUNY 2020 plan.”
Mr. Catell, of the Advanced Energy Center Advisory Board at Stony Brook, said, “Stony Brook has a proven track record for research, innovation and economic development, bringing $10 million to $15 million of royalty income from patents annually. Under SUNY 2020, the operating money under Stony Brook’s plan will allow the University to hire the faculty and researchers in the burgeoning fields of energy and wireless technology, that will further advance the State’s investment and vision in the Center of Excellence for Wireless and Information Technology and the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at Stony Brook.”
Ms. Hamilton, of the Stony Brook University Educational Opportunity Program, said, “The SUNY 2020 plan is critically important for our most economically disadvantaged students because they are limited in the number of semesters they can receive TAP funding, and Pell grants are no longer available for summer classes, so the money they spend for classes outside of the traditional eight semesters is right out of their pockets. For many students a traditional four year degree costs more now due to the need to take summer and intersession courses than it would cost if we raised tuition by the less than $200 a semester that this plan envisions. That’s how this plan will increase access and make a Stony Brook education even more affordable."