ALBANY, N.Y. – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher has announced that the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering will become a separate institution within the SUNY system by the 2014-15 academic year.
The SUNY Board of Trustees passed a resolution Tuesday endorsing Chancellor Zimpher taking immediate steps to separate CNSE from UAlbany and begin work on a new degree granting structure to include CNSE.
"Today, the Board of Trustees took a bold step to capitalize on the NanoCollege's successful model while ensuring the continued growth and excellence of UAlbany in a win-win for SUNY and New York State," said Board Chairman H. Carl McCall.
The decision was not unanimous, however, with three trustees voted no to the split with trustee Cary Staller citing what she called a "poorly done report," done by a working group. Others also voiced concern that the report contained no plan for the colleges moving forward after the split.
There was also disappointment that it did not contain input from UAlbany staff faculty or its president.
UAlbany student trustee Tremayne Price said students feelings about the split are mixed, and he expressed concern for what it could mean for their future.
"How will that affect the services that students receive will they be able to receive those services will they be getting the same quality of education?" said Price.
Those for the split say it will create additional jobs and encourage growth for both schools.
"It's a new business model that has a lot more speed to it that has a
lot more flexibility to it but it is what will keep us on the leading edge here,"
said trustee Linda Sanford.
In 2011, New York State entered into agreements providing for investments valued at a total of $4.4 billion from five leading international companies to create the next generation of computer chip technology at CNSE through the Global 450 Consortium.
CNSE is one of the leading economic drivers in the state and its curriculum and students are on par or superior to any of the top technology institutions in the nation. Currently, CNSE in Albany is home to $14 billion in private sector investment and it has created more than 3,000 jobs in the Capital Region and across Upstate New York. In addition, CNSE has facilities or partnerships in Syracuse, Canandaigua, and Buffalo.
Chancellor Zimpher will now work to establish a mutually beneficial Memorandum of Understanding between UAlbany and CNSE, and empanelling an "Implementation Team" of experts from SUNY Administration, the Research Foundation for SUNY, CNSE, and UAlbany to address outstanding issues such as mission, governance, academics, strategic partnerships, innovation, and shared services.
According to officials, CNSE currently maintains considerable autonomy within UAlbany and already has its own administrative structure. CNSE will continue to compensate UAlbany for student housing, general education courses, access to clubs, activities, dining facilities and other amenities.
In the months ahead, additional partnerships will be aligned under the CNSE umbrella, with the ultimate result being the creation of a statewide campus that expands high-tech educational opportunities for students, increases economic development across Upstate, and allows for efficiencies through shared services and consolidations. Importantly, there will be no additional costs to SUNY or New York State taxpayers.