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President Harvey Stenger, right, and Provost Donald Nieman kick off the initial Road Map campaign in September 2012. Stenger will discuss a Road Map "revival" at his State of the University address on Sept. 8.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Road Map projects receive funding
September 1, 2016Tweet
Another round of Road Map funding has been announced – for 2017-2018 – with 10 projects receiving funding and 17 others being funded from divisional operations budgets. (See the list online.)
Initially, 76 proposals were received and reviewed by the Faculty Senate Budget Review Committee, the Professional Staff Senate and undergraduate and graduate student leadership, as well as the Road Map Steering Committee, vice presidents and division directors. By the time the steering committee met for its decision-making meeting in early summer, 27 proposals remained under consideration.
“The extensive feedback we received from all of our partners in this process had a big influence on decisions that were made by the Road Map Steering Committee, vice presidents and division directors,” Provost Donald Nieman said.
The final decisions weren’t easy, Nieman added. “There were a lot of really excellent projects that would meet significant needs and advance our Road Map strategic priorities, so when it became clear we could only fund about 10 Road Map projects with the $2 million available, we asked the division directors to look at where they could reallocate funds for some of the other proposals.”
Reviewers at all levels take their responsibility seriously, Nieman said. “Each proposal gets careful consideration and we do everything we can to fund as many projects as possible.
“One thing we often hear is that someone took time to do this proposal and it wasn’t funded, so ‘why bother?’ Yet the odds of this are so much higher than an NSF or NEH proposal where you’re looking at 5 percent of proposals being funded.”
Nieman cited replacement of the sound system in Watters Theater and new audio visual equipment for the Osterhout Concert Theater as an example of persistence paying off.
“Gary Pedro put that proposal in three years in a row before being funded this year through the Division of Academic Affairs,” he said. “Don’t be discouraged. Good ideas get funded, just not always the first time.”
Nieman called the Road Map process a great opportunity. “We welcome the proposals and learn a lot about campus needs from them, and we get ideas for how to better achieve our Road Map priorities, so keep them coming,” he said.
And with divisional investments, proposals the Road Map funding can’t touch have a second chance. “For example, by reallocation of resources since 2013, the Division of Academic Affairs has invested $12.5 million in one-time funding and $5.8 million to base funding. Every division has done something like this. If you look at the projects, you see how they align with our strategic priorities.
“Funding that comes out of the Road Map process is really the tip of the iceberg.”
The campus can expect another round of Road Map funding at about the same level for the next cycle of proposals, due in December.
Though NYSUNY 2020 was not renewed by the legislature, Nieman doesn’t foresee cutbacks for Binghamton. “Where we are is where we expected to get in terms of faculty hiring from NYSUNY 2020. We’ve grown tenure and tenure-track faculty at a faster rate than our student population, grown enrollment with quality and grown facilities to accommodate student growth. In the grand scheme of things, we’ve shown good planning,” he said. “We’re not in a retrenchment mode or a situation where we’re cutting back. We’re just not in the rapid growth mode we were in for the last five years.”
“The name of the game now is increasing graduate enrollment to bring additional resources to campus and we’ll use those resources to support and hire for programs that are growing,” Nieman said. “Those who figure out a way to grow will have a claim to resources. NYSUNY 2020 is over and we did an effective job managing it to make Binghamton stronger. And that was hard to do, because we were already such a good place. When a campus performs at the level this campus does, squeezing more out is difficult.
“We’re at a pivoting point,” Nieman said. “We had all these NYSUNY 2020 resources and we’re moving into a new environment where there are fewer guarantees, and perhaps fewer opportunities, but we still have opportunities.”
Because the environment is different we need a different approach, said President Harvey Stenger, noting that there is a need for extending the cooperation and collaboration efforts that we have had and we will continue to have at Binghamton.
“That’s where the opportunities are going to be to get better,” Stenger said. “It’s harder to get bigger now, but we can still be getting better with our current size, with more collaboration, more transdisciplinary initiatives and more cooperation … all the ways we can work together.
“We’re lucky because we’re still small, we can collaborate across more disciplines than our larger competitors because our collaborators are right down the hall, a stone’s throw away. Having added 257 new faculty – 150 net new – the design of the campus, the closeness of our community, the atmosphere of friendship and collaboration; we have to take advantage of that.
“So I’m going to propose that we reorganize our Road Map process, have a renewal and bring people back together around our original strategic priorities about how we can become more collaborative,” he said.
At Stenger’s State of the University address, at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, in the Osterhout Concert Theater, he will discuss the Road Map renewal and announce that he will be forming teams and recruiting participants around the strategic priorities. Beginning in the spring, there will be an entire semester of conversation with as many people who want to be involved to use the spirit of collaboration to find ways we can continue to get better.
“How we grow is what I will talk about,” he said. “How do we get people enthused again because you lose that enthusiasm after four or five times. What else can we do?”