Institutional Self-Study Design






Submitted to:

Middle States Commission on Higher Education

November 3, 2008


Submitted by:

University at Albany

State University of New York

Table of Contents

Nature and Scope of Self-Study ...................................................................................................................................

Specific Goals and Objectives .......................................................................................................................................

Organizational Structure of the Self-Study Team .....................................................................................................

Subcommittee Charges and Issues to Address .........................................................................................................

Inventory of Support Documents ................................................................................................................................

Timeline ...........................................................................................................................................................................

Editorial Style and Format of Subcommittee Reports .............................................................................................

Format of the Self-Study Report ..................................................................................................................................

Profile of the External Evaluation Team .....................................................................................................................



Nature and Scope of Self-Study

The University at Albany has evolved rapidly, transforming itself from a distinguished college for teachers, founded in 1844, into a twenty-first century high-quality research University with an internationally recognized and highly productive faculty, an accomplished student body, and nationally recognized academic programs.  Its traditional missions of undergraduate and graduate teaching, research, and service are distinctively integrated to produce an intellectual and programmatic synergy that defines the University.  Today, the University at Albany is distinguished by excellence within distinctive disciplines and professions and by extensive scholarship and teaching across disciplines, including many combined accelerated degree options that meld knowledge and application.

The University’s stature and achievements have greatly accelerated over the self-study period (2000 – present) through increased capital investment, upgrades to its more recent Division I athletics program, and increased outreach and advancement efforts.  The Middle States re-accreditation process is therefore very much welcomed as a powerful opportunity to demonstrate the evidence behind the University at Albany ’s continuing ascent to the upper echelons of American higher education.

Preparation for the University at Albany’s Self-Study process began in early 2007 when then Officer-in-Charge and Provost and Executive Vice President Susan V. Herbst asked Dr. Sue Faerman , Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and Dr. Bruce Szelest , Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness, to attend the November 2007 MSCHE Self-Study Institute.  By November 2007, Dr. Herbst left UAlbany, and George Philip was appointed interim president.  Interim President George Philip agreed with the recommendation of Drs. Faerman and Szelest, developed in consultation with our Middle States’ liaison, Dr. Luis Pedraja, that despite a prolonged period of transition in senior campus leadership, the Self-Study process could nonetheless be a valuable vehicle to organize the campus to take stock of its strengths and areas for improvement in preparation for the eventual installment of its next president and leadership team.  Planning and preparation began soon thereafter and, in May 2008, interim President Philip issued a campus call for University community members to volunteer to participate on one of the various subcommittees that would help to draft the initial Self-Study document.

Interim President Philip also agreed with recommendations that a comprehensive Self-Study design would best serve the University’s interests at this time.  The comprehensive model, as stated in the MSCHE Self-Study, creates a useful process that “enables an institution to appraise every aspect of its programs and services, governing and supporting structures, resources, and educational outcomes in relation to the institution’s mission and goals.”   This approach will be particularly beneficial in informing the next president about the many aspects of the complex organization that is the University at Albany .  In order to maximize the efficiency of the working groups, given our historical institutional culture and organizational relationships between faculty and the administration, some accreditation standards were grouped together in the formal self-study design, resulting in nine working subcommittees in all.  The nine subcommittees are:

  1. Mission and Goals - Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal
  2. Institutional Resources
  3. Leadership and Governance - Administration (including Library and ITS)
  4. Institutional Assessment and Assessment of Student Learning
  5. Student Admissions and Retention
  6. Student Support Services
  7. Faculty
  8. Educational Offerings - General Education
  9. Related Educational Activities

The University’s last accreditation occurred in 2000, six years prior to the publication of the current MSCHE Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education , which delineates the newly adopted accreditation standards by which the University at Albany will be judged.  That said, the University was cognizant of anticipated changes in accreditation standards and new emphases on assessment processes that emerged in the 2002 edition of Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education , as well as the added emphasis that Middle States now places on the use of assessment results to inform decision making across the institution and to evaluate student learning objectives. 

The University developed an institutional assessment plan prior to its 2005 Periodic Review Report (PRR) to MSCHE, began assessment of learning outcomes in both the major and in its General Education program in the early 2000s, and incorporated assessment processes across administrative and academic units in the compact planning process instituted by President Kermit Hall in the 2005-06 academic year.  UAlbany has been without a permanent president since President Hall’s untimely death in August 2006, which is another reason to inventory and assess the many aspects of UAlbany in preparation for the planning processes and action agenda of the next president.  A comprehensive model is also seen as eminently adaptable, should a new president be chosen sooner rather than later, and can be modified to focus on particular areas of emphasis should the eventual new president deem that approach desirable.

Specific Goals and Objectives

Over the past decade, the University at Albany has experienced the vicissitudes of state financial support and frequent transitions in the upper levels of its administration.  Current interim President Philip, in consultation with the University Council and the University Senate, looks upon the Middle States’ self-study process as a timely opportunity to review thoroughly all units of the University, to examine our goals, and to examine how we continually assess progress towards achieving those goals.  Examining our current effectiveness across all aspects of the University, both administrative and academic, will be immensely useful to informing the agenda and planning needs of the next president.   It has been ten years since the development of the last formal strategic plan, and the University is now under the direction of its fifth chief executive over this time span, and thus we anticipate that the next president will wish to initiate a comprehensive strategic planning process.  A primary objective of this self-study is to inform that process.  While the execution of the University’s self-study will certainly identify areas of weakness, it is as important that it be viewed by University leadership as an opportunity to identify areas of resilience and fortitude.

The University’s goal is to produce a comprehensive and forthright reflection on its current state.  We fully expect that the resulting recommendations will strengthen the unity of the community, giving it greater insight and renewed purpose for carrying out its mission in the decades ahead.

Specific Goals and Objectives of the Self-Study

  1. Examine and assess the state of the institution’s current mission, goals, policies, procedures, structures, educational and related offerings and activities, research, teaching, assessment mechanisms, and resources.
  2. Empower a broad University constituency to participate in all aspects of the self-study process to ensure the maximum representation of various constituencies within the University and ownership of the process, its contents, and recommendations.
  3. Identify the institution’s strengths and weaknesses relative to each of the accreditation standards, in light of the University’s mission and goals.
  4. Make specific recommendations for improvement, particularly in assessment, planning, and resource allocation processes.

The nine subcommittees and Steering Committee will be asked to complete the following activities to accomplish these goals and objectives:

  1. Review their general charges, the Middle States’ standards of accreditation, and their respective charge questions.
  2. Further revise, expand, and refine their respective charge questions through the course of their examination, and with input from various facets of the University community. 
  3. Inventory and utilize major reports and planning documents and information generated within each vice presidential area and the schools and college to support analyses and conclusions.
  4. Gather additional data and information, as needed, to address issues of interest.
  5. Conduct interviews, focus groups, or surveys, as needed to support the information needs of the self-study process.
  6. Communicate to and be responsive to the broader University community in addressing issues of import throughout the self-study process, culminating in a final self-study document built through consensus and shared understanding.

Organizational Structure of the Self-Study Team

The University at Albany Middle States self-study effort is led by co-chairs Dr. Sue F. Faerman, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and Dr. Steven F. Messner, Distinguished Teaching Professor.   Interim President Philip appointed Drs. Faerman and Messner, in consultation with the University Senate, which also assisted by nominating Steering Committee chairs and members.

Both Drs. Faerman and Messner are past chairs of the UAlbany University Senate, and Dr. Faerman was the chair of the University’s 2000 Middle States self-study Steering Committee.   Joining Drs. Faerman and Messner on the self-study Steering Committee are the chairs of the nine subcommittees that are charged with examining UAlbany’s compliance with the Middle States standards of accreditation; Dr. Reed Hoyt, Associate Professor of Music and the immediate past-chair of the University Senate; Glenn Pichardo, president of the Graduate Student Organization; and Daniel Truchan III, Student Association president.  

Final selection of subcommittee chairs was made by Drs. Faerman and Messner, with considered advice from the University Senate.   Most Steering Committee chairs were chosen from among those who answered interim President Philip’s call for participation.   However, in some cases, individuals were directly solicited to ensure an appropriate balance among faculty and staff on the Steering Committee. As a result, one chair was actively solicited based on his leadership experience and reputation within the program review committee of the Council on Academic Assessment, and two additional subcommittee chairs were selected from nominations of senior faculty put forth by the Governance Council.    

Dr. Bruce Szelest , Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness, provides staff support to the Steering Committee and leads efforts to supply the subcommittees with the data and information needed to inform their work. Additional staff support is provided by Ms. Lana Neveu , Assistant to the President, and Ms. Sally Mills , Secretary to the Dean, School of Business .   Also joining the support staff to the self-study effort is Hirosuke Honda , a graduate assistant from the Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies’ doctoral program, who will be solely dedicated to the self-study effort.

The Steering Committee will coordinate the work of the nine subcommittees, and provide appropriate guidance so that the subcommittees stay true to the overarching goal of basing all evaluations, policy assertions, and recommendations on data and observable evidence.  Due to the related nature of several standards of accreditation, particularly within the University at Albany context, it was proposed to and affirmed by the Steering Committee that the first subcommittee address Middle States standards pertaining to mission and goals, as well as standards addressing planning, resource allocation, and institutional renewal.  The third subcommittee is asked to address leadership and governance, as well as the administration, which also includes an assessment of library and information technology services, as they are critical elements thereof.  In order to forge a comprehensive discussion of UAlbany’s assessment processes and their use at both the institutional level and across academic and administrative units, the fourth subcommittee is asked to address standards relating to institutional assessment and the assessment of student learning.  The eighth subcommittee is charged with addressing Middle States standards related to the University’s educational offerings, the discipline-based curricula at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and also those relating to general education, as general education at UAlbany is intricately related and complementary to undergraduate programmatic offerings.

Because the Middle States’ standard of integrity manifests itself throughout the other thirteen standards, the integrity standard is integrated within each of the content areas.  To ensure content coverage, each of the eighteen fundamental elements of integrity outlined in the Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education is assigned to the subcommittee to which it is most closely aligned to stimulate the subcommittee to think about and report on the totality of the activities it is concerned with and the degree to which the University demonstrates adherence to ethical standards and its own stated policies, providing support for academic and intellectual freedom.  As such, the standards of accreditation as related to integrity are not merely checklists to be covered, but rather themes of ethical and professional conduct than can be assessed in terms of the degree to which the University’s myriad actions to execute its mission mirror its stated policies.

In May 2008, interim President Philip issued a call for members of the University community to participate in the Middle States self-study process.  Eighty-seven faculty and staff members answered interim President Philip’s invitation to participate and, with only a few exceptions, volunteers were assigned to their first-choice subcommittee.  Each subcommittee has been provided with a charge and a guiding set of charge questions, as detailed below, which they will further refine based on additional input from the University community. They will also be asked to identify their methodology for addressing the charge questions, as well as generate a list of required resources, both existing and new, needed to answer the charge questions.  The committees will meet regularly to draft their reports and provide regular updates to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee, through Dr. Szelest, will coordinate efforts to obtain additional information, including any additional surveys of University faculty, staff, or students.

The Steering Committee has overall responsibility for reviewing and responding to the various components of the subcommittees’ reports, including purpose, charge, methodologies and recommendations.  It will compile the draft subcommittee reports into a comprehensive University-wide draft self-study document.  The Steering Committee also serves as a liaison to the University community, routinely informing it about the progress being made and ensuring that there is appropriate input from all constituencies.  The Steering Committee will use a variety of means of communication to ensure community ownership of the self-study process, content, and resulting recommendations, including regular updates to a wiki that has been created to support the self-study process (

Subcommittee Charges and Issues to Address


Subcommittee 1 - Mission and Goals - Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal

Fundamental charge: This subcommittee is asked to review comprehensively UAlbany's compliance with the first two Middle States Standards: Mission and Goals; and Planning, Resource Allocation, and Renewal. The work of this subcommittee is particularly important in documenting how effectively the University has functioned and been guided by its core mission and goals during the self-study time-frame (2000 through 2010), during which it experienced numerous transitions in presidential and other senior campus leadership positions, and varied approaches to planning and resource allocation. As important, this subcommittee is asked to outline the challenges and opportunities that UAlbany faces in the current higher education environment, both nationally and internationally, and particularly within New York State , given its leadership situation, and to recommend steps and processes that will help ensure the future success of the institution when stable campus leadership eventually assumes the helm.

Charge questions:

  1. How clearly are the University’s mission and goals defined?
  2. To what degree are goals consistent with the University’s stated mission, and how are they reflected in the allocation of resources?
  3. How extensively do the University’s mission and goals focus on student learning, other specific outcomes, and institutional improvement?
  4. How effectively do UAlbany’s mission and goals support scholarly and creative activity, at levels and of the kinds appropriate to UAlbany's historical standing as a research University?
  5. To what extent were the institutional goals and mission developed through collaborative participation by the University community and faculty governance, and in what ways have they been periodically evaluated and formally approved? 
  6. How effectively are UAlbany’s mission and goals publicized, and how widely known are they by the University community?
  7. How effective is the University’s mission in guiding faculty, administration, staff and governing bodies in making decisions related to planning, resource allocation, program and curricular development, and the definition of program outcomes?
  8. To what extent has UAlbany’s 1992 mission statement affected (positively and negatively) planning, resource allocation, and program and curricular development across the various levels of the University?
  9. To what degree do UAlbany’s mission and goals address external as well as internal issues and constituencies?
  10. How are the University’s mission and goals used at different levels within UAlbany (e.g., institutional level, by schools/colleges, or by departments), and how effective are they in guiding decision making?
  11. How do academic and administrative units plan, allocate resources, and renew themselves and how effective are they in those tasks with respect to the university’s mission and goals? 
  12. To what extent does UAlbany encourage and support academic and administrative units to reflect on their missions, goals, and to change, improve, and renew their programs and services?
  13. How has the achievement of UAlbany’s mission and specific goals been assessed since the last self-study, and has this assessment been timely and effective?

Issues to keep in mind and weave into discussions:

  1. How has the funding context for UAlbany influenced planning and resource allocation over the self-study period? What have been the effects on attempts at institutional renewal?
  2. Similarly, how have transitions in executive leadership affected (positively and negatively) UAlbany’s planning processes, resource allocation, and attempts at institutional renewal?
  3. To what extent are UAlbany’s mission and goals influenced by external contexts, including SUNY Central Administration policies and practices?

Fundamental elements of integrity to weave into discussions:

  1. To what degree have changes and issues affecting institutional mission, goals, sites, programs, operations, and other material changes been disclosed accurately and in a timely manner to the institution's community, to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and to other appropriate regulatory bodies?
  2. How does UAlbany ensure that factual information about the University, including such information as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education annual institutional profile, the self-study or periodic review report, the team report, and the Commission’s action, is accurately reported and made publicly available to the University's community?

Methodologies:  This subcommittee will review the available data and documents, beginning with the currently approved mission and University goals.  School/college and departmental mission statements and goals (perhaps on a sampling basis) will also be reviewed for consistency with the overarching University mission and goals.  Interviews or requests for process documentation from campus officials such as deans, department chairs, governance chairs, Office of Management and Budget staff, and others involved with planning and resource allocation functions may also be considered. 



Marcia Sutherland (chair) - Associate Professor and Department Chair, Africana Studies

Kathleen Botelho - Personnel Associate, Human Resources Management

Cynthia Brady - Assistant to the Vice President, Student Success

Ray Bromley - Vice Provost for International Education; Professor, Geography and Planning

Mary Fiess - Director of Executive Communications, Office of Media and Marketing

Robert Geer - CNSE Vice President for Academic Affairs and CNSE Chief Academic Officer; Professor of Nanoscale Science

Jil Hanifan - Director, Writing Center ; Lecturer, English

Kevin Kinser - Associate Professor, Educational Administration and Policy Studies

Elaine Lasda Bergman - Reference Librarian and Bibliographer for Gerontology and Reference, University Libraries

David Smith - Associate Professor, Finance

Daniel Truchan III – President, Student Association

Lynn Videka - Vice President for Research; Professor of Social Welfare

Felix Wu - Director, Systems Management and Operations, Information Technology Services


Subcommittee 2 - Institutional Resources

Fundamental charge:   The allocation of resources among programs, units, and individuals is an indicator of institutional priorities and is therefore reflective of the institution’s mission and goals through linkages to financial planning.  It is expected that through the course of this subcommittee’s work, the University’s methods for reviewing, analyzing, and monitoring: a) resource availability, and b) resource allocation policies and procedures, will be documented and assessed for their adequacy, efficiency and effectiveness.

Charge questions:

  1. How does the University assess and plan for resource availability to the University and its constituent parts?  To what extent do resource assessment and planning inform annual budget and multi-year projections for the institution, as well as its constituents? What changes, if any, are needed in the resource allocation processes to better support the mission of the University?
  2. How are resource allocation policies, procedures, or models developed?  How does this process involve stakeholders?  How are conflicts among stakeholders addressed during this process?  How do we know that the decision-making process is conveyed to individuals of all constituents with accuracy and in a timely manner? Do the constituencies regard these processes as transparent and fair?  How satisfactory are these policies, procedures, or models for determining the allocation of institutional resources?  To what extent are these policies, procedures, and models able to incorporate changes in institutional resources, strategic plans, and priorities of the Universities various constituents?
  3. How are allocation policies and procedures developed, modified and communicated as the needs of the University and its constituents evolve?  How does the University ensure that key constituencies are represented in the crafting of policies?  How are these policies modified to meet the changing needs of the University?
  4. How adequate are the University’s comprehensive facilities master plan and facilities/infrastructure life-cycle management plans?  How are these plans utilized and updated?
  5. How does the University plan for learning and research resources (e.g., classrooms, information resources, technology, etc.) that are fundamental to all educational and research programs and libraries?  How well are these resources supported and staffed to accomplish the University’s mission?  How are decisions reached regarding the number of faculty, staff, and administrative support personnel?  What methodologies are applied to measure the adequacy of classrooms, information resources, and technology? 
  6. How adequate is the University’s educational and research equipment acquisition replacement process?  How is the process evaluated and revised?
  7. What institutional controls are in place to ensure the appropriate and legal use of financial, administrative, and auxiliary operations, and how effective are these controls?  Do people consider these policies to be rational and consistent?  What are the procedures that determine the allocation of resources, and are they sufficiently flexible?  Do the controls in place impact negatively on the efficiency of resource use? Is the time to adoption of new procedures assessed to improve communication and adoption?
  8. How does the university respond to audit recommendations? Is the process designed to align with the overall facilities and resource allocation planning processes? How do audit flags assist the university to improve processes and procedures? How are these changes communicated to key constituencies?
  9. What are the campus procedures for conducting periodic assessments of the effective and efficient use of institutional resources?  What are the strategies employed to measure and assess the level, and efficient utilization, of resources to support the University’s mission and goals?

Data available:   This subcommittee will review the available data and documents, beginning with the currently approved mission and University goals.  Other data and reports include: MSCHE Periodic Review Report (2005), which details the campus budgeting process; divisional academic equipment replacement plans; internal control policies and compliance reports; facilities master plan and process documents; classroom utilization reports from the space committee; minutes of the University Planning and Policy Council (UPC); and others, to be determined by the subcommittee.


Methodologies:  This subcommittee will review the available data and documents relating to resource allocation and budgeting, beginning with the currently approved mission and University goals.  A primary source of information will be the office of the Vice President for Finance and Business (F&B), and interviews with F&B staff by the subcommittee may be entertained.


Timothy Gage (chair) - Professor, Anthropology;

Erik Andersen - Assistant Director, Office of Student Accounts

Yu-Hui Chen - Bibliographer and Outreach Librarian for Education, University Libraries

Dolores Cimini - Director, Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program; Assistant Director for Prevention and Program Evaluation, University Counseling Center

Lisa Donohue - Assistant Director of Environmental Health and Safety, Office of Environmental and Safety

Brian Gabriel - Assistant Dean, College of Computing and Information

Daniel Goodwin - Associate Professor and Department Chair, Art

Maciej Kucharczyk - Fiscal Officer, School of Education

Mary McCarthy - Director of Social Work Education Consortium, School of Social Welfare

Anna Radkowski-Lee - Library Personnel Officer, University Libraries

Carole Sweeton - Director ITS Client Support Services, Information Technology Services

Richard Zitomer - Professor, Biological Sciences


Subcommittee 3 - Leadership and Governance - Administration (including Library and ITS)

Fundamental charge:   This subcommittee is asked to focus on three critical aspects of institutional structure: faculty governance, administration, and the institutional governance by the State University of New York Board of Trustees and the University at Albany University Council.  These are the critical leadership structures that ensure that UAlbany stays focused on its mission and objectives, and that it conducts itself with integrity in all regards.  Through examination of the Middle States standards of accreditation with regard to these three elements, this subcommittee will describe, with appropriate reference to documentation and evidence, how these leadership groups have effectively performed over the self-study period, and also recommend or suggest avenues for improvement. The subcommittee also will consider how, union agreements, the Research Foundation, University at Albany Foundation, and other organizations influence governance and administration at the University at Albany.

General Question:

To what extent do members of the various constituencies involved in University governance understand their own functions and responsibilities and those of others within shared governance processes?  How well are the established processes of shared governance followed in arriving at University policies and other decisions?


Charge questions:

Part I – Institutional Governing Bodies

  1. Given the dictates of New York State statute and the organization, roles, and responsibilities of the University's governing bodies, how effectively have these bodies performed over the self-study period?
  2. How well defined are the governing bodies' roles? Are their roles communicated and shared with the University community in an effective way?  How effectively do the governing bodies of the University interact with administration and faculty governance, and how is this measured or assessed? 
  3. What information about the University and its operation is regularly presented to and discussed by the governing bodies?  How effectively are faculty, administration, and students able to communicate regularly with the governing bodies? 
  4. On what basis, and through what mechanisms, do the governing bodies certify to the Commission that UAlbany is in compliance with the eligibility requirements, accreditation standards and policies of the Commission, and that they describe themselves in identical terms to all their accrediting and regulatory agencies, and communicate any changes in UAlbany’s accredited status? Do the governing bodies agree to disclose information, including levels of governing body compensation, if any, required by the Commission to carry out its accrediting responsibilities?
  5. How effectively do the governing bodies implement their conflict of interest policies addressing such issues as remuneration, contractual relationships, employment, family, financial or other interests that could pose conflicts of interest, and assuring that those interests are disclosed and that they do not interfere with the impartiality of governing body members or outweigh the greater duty to secure and ensure the academic and fiscal integrity of the institution?
  6. To what degree do the governing bodies assist in generating or securing in effective ways the resources needed to sustain and improve UAlbany?
  7. How effectively do the processes for orienting new members of these governing bodies, and for providing continuing updates for current members on the institution's mission, organization, and academic programs and objectives, operate at the University?
  8. To what degree have the policies and procedures of the Board of Trustees been implemented in an appropriate manner with respect to the appointment of the chief executive officer?  How effectively have periodic assessments of institutional leadership and governance been conducted and the results utilized in a meaningful fashion?

Part II – Faculty Governance

  1. How effectively defined is UAlbany’s system of collegial governance, as reflected in written policies outlining governance responsibilities of administration and faculty that are readily available to the campus community? Do the relationships among the University-wide, school/college, and departmental levels of faculty governance operate in a way faithfully reflecting these written policies?
  2. How effectively does faculty governance interact with governing bodies and with the administration? How is this measured or assessed?
  3. How reliably does the operation of faculty governance reflect its written governing documents, such as its constitution, by-laws, enabling legislation, charter or other documents that delineate the governance structure and provide for collegial governance?
  4. How effectively does faculty governance relate to and/or inform administrative operation given its structure, composition, duties and responsibilities?
  5. How effective are the working relationships between faculty governance and the president, other administrators, and university governance?  How is this measured or assessed?
  6. How effectively does the University Senate represent the various University constituencies (i.e., faculty, students, and staff) and inform these broader constituencies of the work of the Senate and the administration?
  7. How effectively do student organizations, particularly the Student Association and the Graduate Student Organization, participate in the University Senate?
  8. How effectively is faculty governance assessed at the University-wide, school/college, and departmental levels? Do the processes in place for improving governance structures and procedures operate as intended, thereby producing such improvements?
  9. To what extent are the relationships between union agreements and faculty governance understood at the University, and to what extent do these relationships operate as specified?

  Part III - Administration

1. How is the president's administrative role formally defined, particularly in regard to the achievement of University goals and responsibility for the University administration?  Do the operations of the University closely align with this definition?

2. How clearly defined is the president's role in relation to that of the SUNY Board of Trustees, University Council, and the University Senate through written policies?  How widely available is information regarding these policies?

3. How effectively does the administration interact with governing bodies and with faculty governance? How is this measured or assessed?

4. How clearly are the requirements and qualifications of the president and senior administrative officers, such as vice presidents, formulated and defined?  How effectively is the performance of the president and senior administrative officers assessed?

5. Are the various administrative units appropriately staffed, given the overall institutional mission and goals?

6. To what extent do clear lines of organizational authority and responsibility exist to foster an appropriate degree of accountability in administrative offices?

7. To what extent do administrative units review their mission and goals, and assess the performance of their activities in pursuit thereof?  Are there clear and consistent campus policies and procedures for the regular review of administrative functions?

8. What types of professional development or administrative training are regularly offered to administrative staff to promote excellence in their functions, and how effective are they?

9. Do adequate information and decision support systems exist to appropriately inform administrative decisions?  In particular, is the information technology infrastructure adequate and well functioning to support both the academic mission and the administration's support of it?

10. Do the policies and procedures in place to enhance data security, and prevent the inappropriate use of information in University operations, operate in an effective manner?

11. How do various union agreements covering University personnel, and other external organizations, relate to and influence administrative decisions?   Do these relationships operate as specified in these agreements?

12. To what extent does the Libraries’ infrastructure effectively support the academic and research mission of the University? 

Fundamental elements of integrity to weave into discussions:

  1. Have the administration and appropriate governance councils worked together to develop fair and impartial processes, published and widely available, to address student grievances, such as alleged violations of institutional policies? To what degree are student grievances addressed promptly, appropriately, and equitably?
  2. How consistently are fair and impartial practices in the hiring, evaluation and dismissal of employees applied? How effectively and thoroughly are related decisions documented?
  3. To what degree has institutional leadership instituted sound ethical practices and respect for individuals through its teaching, scholarship/research, service, and administrative practice, including the avoidance of conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict in all its activities and among all its constituents?
  4. How well does the University promote a climate that fosters respect among students, faculty, and staff for a range of backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives?
  5. Has UAlbany modified its structure and operations in effective ways based on periodic reviews and assessments of the integrity of institutional policies, processes, practices, and the manner in which these are implemented?

Data available: New York State Education Law, Article 8,  Section 356 under which the University Council operates;  the University Senate Charter and bylaws;  Undergraduate and graduate bulletins, which contain academic policies and codes of student conduct; UUP and CSEA labor agreements, which detail hiring and grievance policies and procedures; and other documents as to be solicited by the subcommittee.


Methodologies:  This subcommittee will review pertinent documents, and may seek to interview campus officials and student representatives in developing its report.


David McCaffrey (chair) - Distinguished Teaching Professor and Collins Fellow, Public Administration and Policy

Robert Bangert-Drowns - Acting Dean, School of Education

Nan Carroll - Director, Center for Legislative Development

Richard Collier - Senior Research Associate, Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness

Edward Cupoli - Professor and Head of Nanoeconomics Constellation

Martin Fogelman - Visiting Assistant Professor, Management

Jane Kadish - Associate Director for Applications Development, Information Technology Services

Sheila Mahan - Assistant Vice President, Enrollment Management

Candace Merbler - Reference Support Associate, University Libraries; President, Albany Chapter of United University Professions

Kabel Stanwicks - Head of Circulation and Media Services, University Libraries

Helen Strother - Director, CAS Computing Services, College of Arts and Sciences

Kathleen Thies - Manager, International Tax and Immigration Services, Human Resources Management

Daniel Truchan III - President, Student Association


Subcommittee 4 - Institutional Assessment and Assessment of Student Learning

Fundamental charge:   This subcommittee has one of the most critical charges, that of detailing how UAlbany assesses both its broader institutional mission and goals, and student learning.  As such, this subcommittee is asked to review and document the degree to which UAlbany has developed and implemented an assessment process that evaluates its overall effectiveness in achieving its mission and goals, and its compliance with related accreditation standards.  At the very heart of the academic enterprise is student learning. This subcommittee is also asked to gauge the degree to which UAlbany has policies and procedures in place to ensure at graduation, or other appropriate points in time, that its students have the knowledge, skills, and competencies the University professes to instill in them.

Charge questions:

Part I - Institutional Assessment

  1. How have UAlbany’s assessment processes evolved over the self-study period, and how has this been impacted (both positively and negatively) by the frequent changes in senior administrative leadership?
    1. How does UAlbany evaluate and improve its total range of programs and services, in relation to its mission and goals?  How are these assessment processes documented, organized, and sustained to achieve this end?  In particular, is the assessment process aligned with UAlbany’s mission; does it contain clearly articulated institutional, unit-level, and program-level goals that encompass all programs, services, and initiatives; are the goals and programs appropriately integrated with each other?
    2. Is the process systematic, sustained, and thorough in the use of multiple qualitative and/or quantitative measures that clearly and purposefully relate to the goals they are assessing?
    3. Are the assessment measures of sufficient quality that results can be used with confidence to inform decisions?
  2. Do assessment processes contain clear and realistic guidelines and a timetable?  Are they also supported by appropriate investment of institutional resources?
  3. Are there provisions for periodic evaluation of the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of UAlbany’s assessment process?
    1. Are the evaluations performed in a timely manner?
    2. How well are the provisions working?
  4. What types of assessment plans or evaluation procedures exist in each of UAlbany’s administrative units?
  5. For units with formal assessment plans:
    1. Are assessment plans based on the unit’s mission and goals, in relation to overall University mission and goals?
    2. Do the unit assessment plans focus on specific outcomes that are related to their mission?
    3. Are faculty, staff, and/or students from outside the unit involved in the unit’s assessment efforts?
    4. Do unit assessment efforts maximize the use of existing data, but also gather additional data if needed?
    5. To what degree are assessment results shared within and outside of individual units to inform both unit and campus-wide planning and resource allocation?
    6. Are goals, objectives, and timetables for unit assessment plans reasonable, and are they supported by the needed resources to execute activities?
    7. What evidence exists to demonstrate that administrative units are “closing the loop” in terms of using assessment results to reflect on and adjust programs and/or services, and to also re-examine and adjust the assessment process itself?


  1. For units without formal assessment plans:
    1. To what degree do units without formal assessment plans evaluate their performance and goal achievement?  How do they do this, if that is the case, and what are the parallels with formalized assessment processes?  What specific evidence can be brought to bear on this question?
    2. What are the obstacles to developing and/or implementing assessment plans in these units?
    3. Can current assessment procedures in other administrative offices be adapted?
    4. Are alternatives to formal assessment plans, as will be detailed in the answers to the items noted above, sufficient to meet Middle States’ assessment standards, or are formal assessment plans absolutely required in all administrative units, regardless of the cost/benefit of so doing?
    5. What University or vice presidential supports are needed to assist offices in developing assessment plans and activities?
  2. What evidence is there that faculty, administration, staff, students, and external constituencies are involved in the assessment efforts?


Part II –Assessment of Student Learning

  1. Are there articulated statements at the institutional, program, and course levels that clearly state expected student learning outcomes?
  2. Are the educational outcomes at the program level appropriately integrated with broader institutional learning outcome goals, and are they consonant with the institution’s mission, and with the standards of higher education in the relevant disciplines?
  3. To what extent does UAlbany employ a well documented, organized, systematic, and sustained assessment process to evaluate and improve student learning?  Is it marked by the use of multiple qualitative and/or quantitative measures that maximize the use of existing data and information?
  4. Do assessments of student learning clearly and purposefully relate to the goals they are assessing, and are they of sufficient quality that results can be used with confidence to inform decisions?
  5. Do assessments of student learning include direct evidence of student learning?
    1. Is the evidence of student learning sufficient?
    2. Is the evidence of student learning used?
  6. To what degree do assessments support collaboration between and among the faculty at-large, the administration, and faculty governance?
  7. To what degree are students expected, or invited, to help shape student learning objectives and assessment of those objectives?
  8. What is the degree of regularized, collaborative institutional processes and protocols for ensuring the dissemination, analysis, discussion, and use of assessment results among all relevant constituents, within a reasonable schedule?
  9. Do assessments have clear, realistic guidelines, assign responsibility to individuals or appropriate bodies for specific activities, contain reasonable timetables, and are they supported by appropriate investment of institutional resources?
  10. Are assessments sufficiently simple and practical, but have enough detail and ownership by the program faculty to be sustainable and useful?
  11. What is the extent to which UAlbany periodically evaluates the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of its student learning assessment processes?
  12. Do assessment results provide sufficient, convincing evidence that students are achieving key institutional and program learning outcomes?
  13. To what extent is student learning assessment information shared and discussed with appropriate constituents and used to improve teaching and learning? When assessment of student learning uncovers deficiencies, to what extent is the program supported by the administration to make the appropriate changes that will eliminate those deficiencies and improve student learning?
  14. To what extent is student learning assessment information used as part of institutional assessment?


Fundamental elements of integrity to weave into discussions:

  1. Is information on institution-wide assessments available to prospective students, including graduation, retention, certification and licensing pass rates, and other outcomes as appropriate to the programs offered?
  2. Is institutional information provided in a manner that ensures student and public access, such as print, electronic, or video presentation?


Data available: MSCHE Periodic Review Report (2005); Institutional Assessment Plan;  Compact plans; Program review guidelines, self-studies and academic assessment plans of academic units; Vice presidential assessment reports; school/college annual assessment reports; Assessment summaries created by the director of program review and assessment; minutes of the Provost’s Assessment Advisory Committee; reports and minutes of the Council on Academic Assessment (CAA); and other data and documents that may be requested by the subcommittee.

Methodologies:  This subcommittee will begin its work by reviewing the inventory of assessment-related documents and reports.  It may, through the course of its activities, interview various campus officials, including department chairs and administrative office heads to gather additional evidence and perceptions about campus assessment processes.


Peter Duchessi (chair) - Associate Professor and Department Chair, Information Technology Management

Heidi Andrade - Assistant Professor, Educational and Counseling Psychology

Mitchell Earleywine - Associate Professor, Psychology

Kristina Bendikas - Interim Director of Program Review and Assessment, Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness

Samantha Bernstein – Vice President, Student Association

Michael Christakis - Assistant to the Vice President, Student Success

Virginia Goatley - Associate Professor, Reading ; Vice Dean, School of Education

Irina Holden - Outreach/Instructional Services Librarian, University Libraries

Linda Krzykowski - Vice Dean, School of Business

Darri Scalzo - Assistant Internal Control Coordinator, Finance and Business

Malcolm Sherman - Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics

Lynne Shultis - Personnel Associate, Human Resources Management

Matthew Vogel - Research Assistant, Center for Human Services Research

Vivien Zazzau - User Education/Reference Librarian, University Libraries


Subcommittee 5 - Student Admissions and Retention

Fundamental Charge: This subcommittee will examine recruitment and admissions policies and procedures for consistency with the mission of the University, and for their efficiency and effectiveness and integrity. It will examine the record of student success and retention for the effectiveness of University support for a diverse student body.

Charge Questions:

Part I - Undergraduate Applicant Pool, Admissions, and Recruitment

  1. Who does the University consider its natural applicant pool and why? How has the University used internal and external trends to inform recruitment efforts?
  2. What has the University done to expand its applicant pool beyond its natural constituency? How effective have these measures been, and how have they been formalized and applied?
  3. How does the University evaluate potential transfer credits from other institutions? Is the process used to evaluate transfer credits effective? How effective are methods for informing potential applicants about the criteria used?
  4. What are the quantitative and qualitative standards/guidelines for admission? What is the evidence that we adhere to formal policies? Are our admissions policies and decisions yielding the desired student body?
  5. How does the University weigh academic qualifications and other factors such as athletic ability, legacy status, and racial, special talents, socioeconomic status or geographical diversity when making admission decisions?  Is this weighting appropriate for meeting our mission? Are we getting the diversity that we seek?
  6. Following student acceptance, what additional recruitment steps does the University take to enroll accepted students? Does the University identify specific categories within the admitted classes and target them differently? How are these categories defined, formalized, and allocated recruitment resources? What procedures are used to ensure timely communications with prospective students? What procedures are in place to ensure the confidentiality of student records before and after enrollment? How effective are the current procedures? How often are procedures and strategies reviewed and revised?
  7. What are the guidelines governing the awarding of financial assistance to students? Is financial assistance consistent across programs and identity categories? How effective are guidelines and policies and how frequently are they reviewed?
  8. How does the University ensure that admitted students get the information they need to make informed decisions about choosing this University, academic programs, services, and financial aid?
  9. How does the University assess the effectiveness of its policies and procedures for generating its applicant pool, admitting its entering classes, and recruiting admitted students? How does it ensure that these policies and procedures comply with federal, state and other institutional regulators (such as NCAA) and the University's mission?
  10. How does the University understand its connection to non-matriculated students? How interested is the University in having these students matriculate? How well does it communicate expectations for matriculation to non-matriculated students?

Part II - Undergraduate Retention

  1. How does the University determine retention rates? How has the analysis been used to inform programmatic and retention issues? Is retention rate information shared with various stakeholders? How are the stakeholders responding to retention rate information?
  2. What efforts, and specific programs and services, does the University offer to address retention issues? How effective are these?
  3. How are at-risk students identified and supported after enrollment? How are they tracked? What are the student categories the University has formally identified as "at-risk" by offering specific services for them? What level of resources does each one receive, and how are these levels determined and evaluated for effectiveness?
  4. What are the factors that have been identified as affecting the time to degree for undergraduate students? How did the University determine these factors and how is it responding to them?
  5. What assessment mechanisms does the University use to identify reasons for permanent attrition from BA/BS programs? What assessment mechanisms does the University use to assess initiatives to reduce attrition and to foster continuous attendance?

Part III - Graduate Applicant Pool, Admissions, Recruitment and Retention

  1. What is the University's role in graduate recruitment and admissions relative to that of the departments? How are specific policies formalized and evaluated for effectiveness? How does Graduate Studies work with graduate programs to encourage departmental responsibility for admitting students likely to succeed?
  2. How does the University allocate financial resources to attract and retain graduate students? How has the University assessed past and current practice in order to change its allocation model?
  3. How does the University ensure diversity in its graduate student population, and what mechanisms exist for reporting back on our success? How effective are these mechanisms?
  4. What has the University identified as factors that affect graduate student success?  Are there services and programs to promote graduate student success? How do we assess the success of available programs and how have we used this assessment to revise programs and adjust resources?
  5. What are the various paths for non-matriculated graduate study provided by UAlbany?  How do these students use these opportunities? What promotes or limits the success of students who enter programs in non-matriculated status?


Data available:  Data and published policies include:  Admissions policies in the Undergraduate and Graduate bulletins, SUNY five-year enrollment plans, internal campus enrollment management documents; transfer articulation agreements; Retention Committee minutes and annual reports; and assessment reports and retention/attrition data made available by the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness (IRPE).  The compact plan and other supporting documentation from the Office of Academic Support Services will also be made available.

Methodologies:  This subcommittee will begin its work by reviewing available admissions policies and procedures, at both the undergraduate and graduate level.  Review of the Retention Committee’s annual reports and IRPE data will also be invaluable to the subcommittee.  Additional information may be required, to be determined by the subcommittee, as well as potential interviews with faculty and staff, and with the leaders of various student support offices.


Carol Lee Anderson (chair) - Associate Librarian, University Libraries

Ligil Abraham - Research Analyst, Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness

Christine Bouchard - Vice President, Student Success

Patricia Chu - Assistant Professor, English

Dawn Kakumba - Associate Director, Advisement Services Center

Aaron McCloskey - Assistant Director Classified Staff Personnel Operations, Human Resources Management

John Murphy - Associate Vice President, Student Success

Michael Sattinger - Professor and Department Chair, Economics

Joshua Sussman - Student Association Senate Chairman


Subcommittee 6 - Student Support Services

Fundamental Charge:   This subcommittee will determine the variety and scope of student support services, as well as examine the degree of access to these programs, coordination, and contribution made by these programs to the academic, personal, and social development and well being of students.

Charge Questions:

  1. To what extent are student support services available, and to what extent do students utilize them? How does the university meet special access needs of, for instance, students who live off campus, transfer students, students with disabilities, international students?
  2. How effective are our methods for informing students of available support services both prior to enrollment and when needs arise?
  3. How does the university assess the effectiveness of support services? How does it determine which services to initiate, enhance, or reduce? Are the methods for coordinating services effective in avoiding duplication or gaps in service?
  4. To what extent do the student support services acknowledge and meet the needs of the university’s diverse student population (e.g., international students, older/non-traditional students, graduate students)?
  5. To what extent do the current services exhibit sensitivity to cultural differences and expectations?
  6. What are the services offered for students at academic risk? How effective are these programs in assisting students at academic risk? How are these students identified and notified of services available?
  7. Is there an adequate number of qualified professionals to staff the support services required to serve current and projected student populations?  How does the University determine the appropriate number of necessary staff?
  8. To what extent do the existing physical facilities and technology adequately serve current and projected student populations?
  9. Are the policies and procedures for addressing student complaints and grievances (pertaining to academic or non-academic matters) effective and known to students?  How are these created, updated, assessed and disseminated to students, faculty and professional staff? How are records of student complaints maintained?
  10. Are the safety policies and procedures for the campus accessible and known to students? How effective is the process for notifying students, faculty, and staff of emergency procedures, emergency resources and emergency situations?  Are the policies and procedures appropriate for the size of the campus?  What are the emergency procedures and resources for addressing a wide-impact violent incident or an outbreak of disease?  How are these policies and procedures evaluated?
  11. What is the current availability of campus housing (both on and off)? How does the university determine access to housing?  Do students consider the existing processes for determining housing fair?  What will the University do to address the increasing demand for student housing (on and off campus)?
  12. How effective is the University in working with the community officials and organizations to ensure the safety of students who live in off campus housing?
  13. Are the policies, procedures, and resources available for the initiation and continuation of student-run clubs and organizations regularly assessed and modified, as appropriate? How do such activities support the mission and goals of the University?
  14. Are the policies, procedures, and resources available for the initiation and continuation of recreational, intercollegiate and intramural athletic programs regularly assessed and modified, as appropriate? How do such activities support the mission and goals of the University?


Data available:  UAlbany primary and vice presidential organizational charts; Student Success planning and assessment documents; Student Opinion Survey; Academic Support Services operational policies and procedures, and compact plan; Student Association charter and roster of student groups; Admissions Office promotional materials.

Methodologies:  This subcommittee will begin its work by categorizing and reviewing available information (e.g., academic services and non-academic services) made available by the division for Student Success, and the Enrollment Management office, which includes the Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions offices.  Interviews with the Student Success leaders about how their offices support student well being and development may also be conducted.


Clarence McNeill (chair) - Assistant Vice President for Student Success; Director, Office of Conflict Resolution & Civic Responsibility

Joel Bloom - Associate Director, Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness

Tracy Bohl - Staff Assistant, Office of International Education

Mary Jane Brustman - Head, Dewey Library; Bibliographer for Social Welfare and Criminal Justice, University Libraries

Pinka Chatterji - Assistant Professor, Economics

Courtney D'Allaird - Student Association Representative

Lisa Grippo-Gardner - Lecturer, Educational and Counseling Psychology

Karen Kettlewell - Assistant Executive Director, University Auxiliary Services

Kelly Lamb - Transfer Experience Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Education

Martin Manjak - Information Security Officer, Information Technology Services

Suzanne Phillips - Director, Advisement Servcies Center

Daniel Smith - Assistant to Vice President for Student Affairs; Director of Student Services, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Dianne Villar - Residence Hall Director, Student Success

Benjamin Weaver - Assistant to the Provost, Academic Affairs


Subcommittee 7 - Faculty

Fundamental Charge: The goal of this subcommittee is to determine how effectively the University recruits, utilizes, assesses and supports its faculty.  A quality faculty lies at the heart of a research university, and this subcommittee is charged to assess the extent to which the faculty and other qualified professionals are able to support the University’s programs and assure their continuity and coherence. 

Charge Questions:

  1. What steps are being taken to attract and retain high caliber faculty at the University (high caliber to be defined in the response), and how effective have these steps been?
  2. How successful has the University been in diversifying its faculty?
  3. How comparable is the support of the faculty through grants, leaves, etc. to support provided by peer institutions?
  4. What processes, in addition to tenure/promotion, are used on a regular basis to evaluate individual performance and provide feedback and follow-up? How well are these processes being translated into practices that improve the University?
  5. How does the University measure the productivity of its faculty as scholars and researchers?
  6. To what extent does the University support faculty professional development as researchers and as teachers?
  7. Are the policies and procedures that govern appointment, promotion, tenure, grievance, discipline and dismissal effective and executed in a timely fashion?  Moreover, are they adequately reviewed and followed?
  8. How are the appointments of part-time and contingent faculty made?  How consistent are practices for appointment and evaluation of these faculty across the University?
  9. How does the University award and encourage excellence in research, teaching and service, and how effective are these efforts?
  10. How well do academic freedom policies work, and how effective is the grievance process?
  11. What mechanisms does the University have in place to protect the faculty against potential violence in the classroom?  How well do these mechanisms coordinate with other campus services to offer training and information to faculty for dealing with potentially harmful situations or abusive students?
  12. Has the workload or the balance of the research-teaching-service workload changed in the past 10 years for untenured full-time and part-time faculty compared to that of full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty?   If so, what has been the impact, and what is the desired outcome if we continue the present trend or modify it?
  13. How does the pay scale of part-time and full-time contingent faculty compare to tenured and tenure-track faculty, and what are the implications of any differentials?  What protections does the University offer its contingent faculty (e.g., job security, academic freedom), and how effective are these protections?
  14. To what extent do graduate students serve as instructors of record for classes?  What is the connection between the teaching obligations of graduate students and the time to degree?  How well does the University protect graduate students from being “overused” as teachers?  Are these issues governed by formal policies and procedures, and how well do these policies and procedures work?
  15. What training and support does the University provide for its graduate student teachers?
  16. How does the University support and encourage its faculty to become engaged citizens through service to the University and community, and how effective are these efforts?
  17. How has the current budget and the absence of sustained leadership at the University affected the ability of the faculty to conduct research, scholarship and teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels?

Fundamental elements of integrity to weave into discussions:

  1. How does the University ensure that sound ethical practices and respect for individuals exist throughout its teaching, scholarship/research, service, and administrative practices?  This would include the avoidance of conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict in all its activities and among all its constituents.
  2. How well does the University cultivate a climate of academic inquiry and engagement, supported by widely disseminated policies regarding academic and intellectual freedom?
  3. What provisions are in place to ensure commitment to principles of protecting intellectual property rights?

Data available:   Faculty hiring guidelines; Faculty Handbook; 2007 COACHE survey report on faculty policies and procedures; 2003 HERI faculty survey report; campus policies regarding professional ethics enacted by the University Senate and signed by campus presidents; campus Clery report, internal Clery safety audit, and crime statistics reported by the University Police Department (UPD); tenure and promotion (T&P) guidelines of the Council on Promotion and Tenure (CPCA) and campus tenure and promotion policy; aggregate statistics provided by the Provost’s Office on the number of T&P cases and their disposition over the self-study period; and other data, policies, and reports as requested by the subcommittee.

Methodologies:  This subcommittee will begin its work by reviewing available information made available by the relevant administrative offices and University Senate Councils and committees.  Interviews with governance leaders and faculty at-large, and with administrative staff may also be conducted. 


Eric Lifshin (chair) - Professor of Nanoscience; Director, Metrology & Electron Imaging Facilities; Co-Director, Center for Advanced Interconnect Science & Technology (CAIST)

Hassaram Bakhru - Professor of Nanoscience; Head of Nanoscience Constellation; Chair, CNSE Faculty Council

Laura Benson-Marotta - Research Associate, Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness

Rita Biswas - Associate Professor, Finance

Alison Ciesielski Olin - Operations Officer, School of Education

Sharon Dawes - Director, Center for Technology in Governement; Associate Professor, Public Administration

Sandra Graff - Director of Personnel Operations, Human Resources Management

Glyne Griffith - Associate Professor, and Department Chair, Latin American, Caribbean & U.S. Latino Studies

Nadieszda Kizenko - Associate Professor, History

Lorre Smith - Librarian for Digital Library Initiatives, University Libraries

Joette Stefl-Mabry - Assistant Professor, Information Studies; Assistant Research Professor, School of Education


Subcommittee 8 - Educational Offerings and General Education

Fundamental charge:   The University’s educational offerings at the undergraduate and graduate levels are the foundation for the University’s teaching mission.  This subcommittee will examine the Educational Offerings of UAlbany for the 1) extent to which they support the University’s mission and goals, 2) the appropriateness of their academic scope, content and rigor; 3) balance between the General Education requirements and the requirements of the undergraduate major/minor/interdisciplinary program, and 4) the level of support for current and potential educational offerings.

Charge Questions:

Part I – Educational Offerings

  1. How well do the current educational offerings, at the undergraduate and graduate level, support the mission and goals of the University?
  2. How does the University attempt to ensure that there is an appropriate number of qualified faculty so that students will be able to access the classes they need to complete their undergraduate or graduate degree in a timely manner, and how effective are these efforts?
  3. Are there sufficient numbers of qualified faculty to teach the current number of educational offerings?  Given University guidelines, how does the understanding of “qualified” faculty differ across disciplinary areas and departments, and is the University able to draw upon the expertise available in the larger external community?
  4. How clearly have the expected learning outcomes of each of the educational offerings been defined and made known to current and prospective students?
  5. How does the University assess the extent to which students are meeting the learning objectives?  How does it ensure that the measures are valid and reliable?  What mechanisms are in place to identify and ameliorate academic difficulties of students?
  6. How does the University support faculty and programs wishing to make instructional and/or curricular improvements, and how effective is such support?
  7. Are there quality opportunities for interdisciplinary study available to students, and how well are these opportunities supported by the institution?
  8. Do current degree programs contain sufficient content, rigor and depth, and is there a clear distinction between undergraduate and graduate education?
  9. To what extent do the educational offerings of undergraduate and graduate programs foster a coherent student learning experience?
  10. How effectively does the University provide knowledge, skills and tools, and physical resources to use available information, new technology, and media for study, teaching, and research?
  11. Are there sufficient learning resources such as library collections and facilities and information technology staffed by qualified professionals to support relevant academic activities at the graduate and undergraduate levels?
  12. How well do the institution’s extra-curricular (out-of-class lectures, study abroad programs) and co-curricular (service-learning, out-of-class lectures) offerings contribute to the overall curriculum?  Are these opportunities widely available, well known, and valuable to students?
  13. How clear are the policies and procedures for comparing graduate and undergraduate academic credits from other institutions?
  14. How responsive are educational offerings to non-traditional students, adult learners, distance learners, and students with disabilities?
  15. How effective are processes intended to foster and support the development of innovative educational offerings to meet changing needs?

Part II – General Education

  1. To what degree are students provided with a well-rounded, quality, liberal arts education?
  2. How well does the General Education program support the mission and goals of the University?
  3. How sufficient are the number and variety of General Education courses to enable students to complete the requirements in a timely fashion?  If General Education requirements present barriers, what mechanisms are in place to overcome these barriers?
  4. Is there an appropriate number of qualified faculty to teach General Education Courses, and is the composition of that faculty (e.g., tenure-track, non-tenure track, teaching assistants, etc.) appropriate?
  5. What opportunities do students have to integrate their General Education program skills into their degree an d c ertificate programs so that they can become more proficient in these skills within the context of their chosen fields, and are these opportunities sufficient?
  6. Is there an appropriate balance for students between general knowledge requirements of the General Education program and more specialized knowledge within chosen programs? How does the University measure that balance?
  7. How clearly have the expected learning outcomes of each of the educational offerings been defined and made known to current and prospective students?
  8. How has assessment been used to improve the General Education program?
  9. What are the mechanisms available to faculty and programs for introducing new courses or making instructional and/or curricular improvements to existing General Education courses, and do these mechanisms receive sufficient support?

Fundamental elements of integrity to weave into discussions:

  1. Are required and elective courses sufficiently available to allow students to graduate within the published program length?
  2. Is there reasonable, continuing student access to paper or electronic catalogs?  When catalogs are available only electronically, does the University’s web page provide a guide or index to catalog information for each catalog available electronically, and are catalogs appropriately archived when sections or policies are updated?


Data available: Basic data and reports to support the work of this subcommittee include items such as a roster of programs, by degree level, faculty headcounts by department or programmatic area, student/faculty ratios, departmental self-studies, and details about governance processes for addressing curricular matters.  The General Education assessment plan, as well as the University’s plan for Strengthened Campus-Based Assessment (SCBA) will also be made available, as well reports from the Council on Academic Assessment’s General Education Assessment Committee.

Methodologies: In addition to the initial data and reports to be made available to the subcommittee, the subcommittee will develop a listing of additional data and reports it requires to address the charge questions.  The subcommittee will also interview faculty and staff who have served on governance committees with purviews for curricular oversight and development, such as the Undergraduate Academic Council (UAC) and the Graduate Academic Council (GAC),  the Council on Academic Assessment (CAA), and their committees, such as the General Education Committee, and/or the Academic Program Review Committee and the General Education Assessment Committee; as well as other University officials such as the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, as appropriate.


Karyn Loscocco (chair) - Professor, Sociology

Mary Applegate - Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Management; Associate Dean, School of Public Health

Gregory Bobish - Senior Assistant Librarian, University Libraries

Gerald Burke - Bibliographer of Humanities, University Libraries

Bruce Dieffenbach - Associate Professor, Economics

Anne Hildreth - Associate Professor, Political Science

Trudi Jacobson - Head of User Education Programs

Richard Matyi - Professor, Nanoscience Constellation

Christopher Moore - Instructional Developer, Information Technology Services

Kellen Recquet - Student Association Representative

Anita Rua - Academic Advisor, Advisement Services Center

Gladys Santiago-Tosado - Senior Academic Counselor, Educational Opportunity Program

Helene Scheck - Associate Professor, English; Director of English and Medieval/Renaissance Studies Programs


Subcommittee 9 – Related Educational Activities

Fundamental charge: This subcommittee will determine 1) the extent to which related education activities support the mission and goals of the University; 2) if sufficient mechanisms are in place to demonstrate that activities contain sufficient content, rigor and depth in accordance with their purpose; and 3) whether they relate to and enhance the core educational offerings of the University.

Charge Questions:

  1. How are related educational activities defined at UAlbany?
  2. How well do the related educational activities support the mission and goals of the University?
  3. How does the University determine that its related educational activities are appropriate for its particular student population?
  4. What are the mechanisms in place to assess the appropriateness, scope and rigor of related educational activities, and how effective are these mechanisms?
  5. How well are related educational activities integrated into the overall educational experience of the student?
  6. How clear are the policies and procedures that govern the introduction and administration of these related activities?
  7. How do related educational activities benefit or enhance program and department core educational offerings?
  8. What mechanisms are in place to identify students that may benefit from or need certain types of related educational activities? How does the University know that the activities are meeting the needs of the students they were designed to meet?
  9. What procedures are in place to determine that related educational activities are offered by qualified faculty or professional staff?
  10. How adequately supported are related educational activities by professional staff, administration, and how adequate are campus resources such as library holdings, meeting space, or access to technology for these activities?
  11. How do the goals of related educational activities relate to student learning outcomes? What mechanisms are in place to regularly assess related educational activities, and how effective are these mechanisms?
  12. What impact does the involvement of students in related educational activities have on academic performance, retention and graduation rates?
  13. If related educational activities are contracted out, how is the institution ensuring academic integrity and consistency with its mission and goals?
  14. What procedures are in place for departments and programs to introduce new related educational activities to meet the changing needs of its students?


Data available: Basic data and reports to support the work of this subcommittee include items such as an inventory of related educational offerings, number of students served, and a brief description of each. These items will be expanded to include any additional data items requested by this subcommittee through the course of its work.

Methodologies:  This subcommittee will review the available data and documents, and may interview campus officials responsible for overseeing educational programs that fall under this category.


Lisa Trubitt (chair) - Assistant to the CIO, Information Technology Services

Joseph Aini - Assistant Director, Career Services

Barbara Altrock - Assistant Director Professional Staff Personnel Operations, Human Resources Management

Stacey Berkins - Student Association Representative

Jane Domaracki - Staff Associate, Educational & Counseling Psychology

Jeffrey Gerken - Assistant Director, Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness

Deborah LaFond - Social Sciences Bibliographer, University Libraries

Eugene Monaco - Public Service Professor and Executive Director Professional Development Program, Rockefeller College

Maria Panayotou - Academic Advisor, Advisement Services Center

Jerusalem Rivera-Wilson - Senior Faculty Associate and Director of Clinical Training and Field Experiences, Educational Theory and Practice

Christine Smith - Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions Services; Assistant to the Dean of Graduate Studies

Inventory of Support Documents

This section will detail the identification of data reports, policies, and other documents to support the work of subcommittees.  This inventory is intended to grow appreciably as the self-study process gets underway, and will be continually updated. 

All support documents will be made electronically available to all subcommittee and Steering Committee members via the self-study web resources page, which will be maintained by the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness.


The following comprehensive timeline will serve as a guide for the Steering Committee and the nine subcommittees, and also to inform the University community of important milestones to encourage all University faculty, staff, and students who wish to stay abreast of and/or provide input into the self-study process the opportunity to do so in timely manner.

May 2008

Broadcast e-mail from interim President Philip soliciting nominations for subcommittees.

June 2008

Interim President Philip announces working subcommittee and Steering Committee assignments;   charges provided to subcommittees.

Summer 2008

Subcommittees meet electronically or in-person to organize around their charges.

Summer 2008

Administrative offices begin to gather/produce data and information needed by subcommittees.

September 2008

MSCHE liaison visits campus, meet with president, University Council, and Steering Committee about self-study design and development. 

Submit self-study design to MSCHE.

September - December 2008

Subcommittees involve various campus constituencies, as appropriate, in their work.   Regular progress reports and drafts to be submitted to the Steering Committee.

October 2008

MSCHE selects evaluation team chair, UA approves; site visit dates for evaluation team and chair's preliminary visit scheduled; study design sent to evaluation team chair.

January - May 2009

Subcommittees continue to involve campus community, as appropriate, in their work.   Monthly progress reports and drafts to be submitted to the Steering Committee.

May - August 2009

Steering Committee compiles draft reports from subcommittees and develops draft self-study.

August - September 2009

Substantial draft of self-study to be completed.

September - October 2009

Review and comment on self-study report by campus community and University Council.   External evaluation team chair to review as well.

October - November 2009

UAlbany formally prepares final version of self-study.

December 2009/ January 2010

Evaluation team chair makes preliminary visit to UAlbany

January - February 2010

MSCHE selects evaluation team, UAlbany approves.

February 2010

UAlbany sends self-study to evaluation team and MSCHE six weeks prior to visit.

February 2010

UAlbany appoints and charges a hospitality logistics committee for the evaluation team visit (IT needs, transportation, airport/hotel pickups, etc.).

March/April 2010

Evaluation team visits.

May 2010

Evaluation team report provided to campus.

June/July 2010

UAlbany response to evaluation team report submitted.

Summer 2010

MSCHE Committee on Evaluation Reports meets, and Commission action is rendered.


Editorial Style and Format of Subcommittee Reports

All documents presented to Middle States will be editorially reviewed by the Steering Committee and support staff to ensure consistency in format, voice, and style.  Each subcommittee is requested to follow the format guidelines listed below to facilitate the creation of the final report:

Software: Microsoft Word 2003

Spacing: Single spaced

Font: Times New Roman (12 pt)

Margins: 1” top, bottom and sides

Headings: Heading style 1

Paragraphs: Block style, left-justified

Length: 10 to 15 pages, except for subcommittees 1, 3, 4, and 8, which may expand to 20 to 30 pages to accommodate their multi-standard charges.

Editorial Style: Third person, present tense, active voice, parsimonious text

Guiding principle: Limit opinion, base all assertions on fact, as supported (and cited) by               evidence provided in appendices.


The comprehensive self-study report will be initially edited by the self-study co-chairs and support staff, and will then be returned to the subcommittees for review.  Changes and suggestions from the subcommittees will be considered and incorporated into the document to the extent possible and, when not accommodated, reasonable explanations shall be provided.  The second draft will be made available to the Steering Committee and to all members of the subcommittees.  Additional comments for improvement will again be solicited, and accommodated to the extent possible.  Reasonable explanations will once again be provided for any suggestions not incorporated.  A third draft of the self-study will be posted on the University’s self-study home page on the world wide web for the campus community to review and comment on.  Notice will also be provided on the self-study website that hard copy of the draft self-study is available in the University Libraries, at both the uptown and downtown campuses.  Further comments received from the University community will be incorporated into the self-study as appropriate, and the Steering Committee will be provided with the reasons for not incorporating particular feedback.  All evidential reports and supporting documents used to develop the self-study will be made available to the University community and to the eventual external review team.

Format of the Self-Study Report

The University will prepare its final Self-Study report according to the format outlined below:


  1.                   Executive Summary
  2.                Overview of the Self-Study Process
  3.              Major Findings and Recommendations
  4.              Institutional Profile
  5. Chapter 1 – Mission and Goals - Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis of Subcommittee Charges
  3. Summary of Findings
  4. Recommendations
  1.              Chapter 2 - Institutional Resources
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis of Subcommittee Charges
  3. Summary of Findings
  4. Recommendations
  1.            Chapter 3 - Leadership and Governance - Administration (including Library and ITS)
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis of Subcommittee Charges
  3. Summary of Findings
  4. Recommendations
  1.          Chapter 4 - Institutional Assessment and Assessment of Student Learning
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis of Subcommittee Charges
  3. Summary of Findings
  4. Recommendations
  1.              Chapter 5 - Student Admissions and Retention
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis of Subcommittee Charges
  3. Summary of Findings
  4. Recommendations
  1.                 Chapter 6 - Student Support Services
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis of Subcommittee Charges
  3. Summary of Findings
  4. Recommendations
  1.              Chapter 7 - Faculty
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis of Subcommittee Charges
  3. Summary of Findings
  4. Recommendations
  1.            Chapter 8 - Educational Offerings - General Education
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis of Subcommittee Charges
  3. Summary of Findings
  4. Recommendations
  1.          Chapter 9 - Related Educational Activities
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis of Subcommittee Charges
  3. Summary of Findings
  4. Recommendations
  1.          Conclusion
  2.             Index of Recommendations
  3.          Inventory of Supporting Documents
  4.        Appendices

Profile of the External Evaluation Team

The University at Albany suggests that the visiting evaluation team include faculty and administrators drawn from public research universities external to New York State .  For purposes of planning, UAlbany has developed a list of current peers and aspirational peers, which we include here, to give Middle States a sense of the institutions we use in assessing our academic effectiveness.

Current peers outside of New York State: Georgia Institute of Technology, Northern Illinois University , Old Dominion University , the University of Colorado at Boulder , the University of Connecticut , the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Houston at University Park , the University of Vermont , and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee .

Aspirational peers outside of New York State : the University of California at Irvine , San Diego , Santa Barbara , and Santa Cruz ; the University of Oregon , and the University of Virginia .

Additional public research universities in the Middle States region from which members of the evaluation team would appropriately be drawn include:  University of Delaware , University of Pittsburgh , Rutgers University New Brunswick , and Temple University .

UAlbany would also like to request that the Chair of the Evaluation Tram be an experienced team chair, presidential level and from a peer or aspirational peer institution, or other institution with similar characteristics.  Faculty on the Evaluation Team members should include individuals with traditional arts and sciences backgrounds, as well as individuals from professional schools comparable to those at UAlbany.

In addition, UAlbany requests that several of the evaluation team members have some experience with the challenges associated with managing complex partnerships across sectors, i.e., managing major campus operations that involve government and private industry, as well as the campus.  Finally, we would like to request that several of the evaluation team members have experience with operating a multi-campus university.