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The Path Ahead

Address to the Faculty Senate
April 10, 2012 


I am delighted to announce that the University’s extraordinary musicians have triumphed in a new art form. 

In recent years, the University, particularly our Eastman School of Music and Eastman’s alumni, have been recognized for:

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opera (Renée Fleming),

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jazz (Ron Carter),

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arranging (Jeff Beal),     

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composition (George Walker),

even architecture (Barber Conable Award for the Eastman Theatre renovation and expansion and, most recently, the Excellence in Historic Preservation Award from the Preservation League of New York State).

Similarly the YellowJackets have achieved national prominence on NBC's "The Sing-Off," and soon will begin film production on their documentary, United We Sing.

Let me now present our latest musical triumph – an Admissions video featuring The Midnight Ramblers in what undoubtedly will become be a rap classic – Remember oUR Name!  VIDEO The Midnight Ramblers singing Remember oUR Name, based on original song Remember the Name by Fort Minor.

This has been a highly successful year for our University.

We have achieved four of the University’s five priorities for this academic year.

On October 21 during Meliora Weekend, we publicly launched the largest capital campaign in our history.  I am pleased to announce that as of a few days ago we crossed the $800 million point in our $1.2 billion campaign.  We have to date made notable progress in each key goal – support for faculty, students, programs, facilities, and the annual fund. 

Since we last met, several new endowed professorships have been created, including the Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professorship, the Dr. Elizabeth R. McAnarney Professor in Pediatrics Funded by Roger and Carolyn Friedlander, the Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Professorship in Biology, and the Ernest and Thelma Del Monte Distinguished Professorship in Neuromedicine.

On July 14, Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Brad Berk announced a $20 million gift and pledge from Tom Golisano, which provided the pivotal lead gift for the Medical Center to proceed with the new $145 million, eight-floor Golisano Children’s Hospital. As I reported to you in September, this is the largest construction project in absolute dollars in University history.  On October 29, the Medical Center launched a $100 million campaign for the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

On December 14, New York State awarded $68.8 million to projects prioritized by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, which University Trustee Danny Wegman and I co-chaired.

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This included $5 million for the University of Rochester Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation (HSCCI), as what we hope will prove to be an initial New York State payment toward its one-third of a $100 million project combining the resources of the University, IBM, and New York to create one of the world’s best computationally enabled research centers dedicated to health research.  The Center for Governmental Research (CGR) estimates that when the Health Sciences Center achieves full capacity it will generate 880 new jobs and more than $49 million in additional labor income for our region.

Paralleling this advance has been substantial progress in our Center for Integrated Research Computing, which since it began in 2008 has grown 30-fold to more than 500 users, including Professor Hulin Wu, who in 2010 received an $11.9 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for biodefense immune modeling.

On February 17, Governor Andrew Cuomo publicly announced his commitment to the $100 million I-390/Kendrick Road Interchange project, including this year’s commitment to $26 million in funding, which will provide the basis for the new exit ramp and widening of the bridge at Kendrick Road.  The I-390/Kendrick Road project ultimately will enable the University of Rochester to create literally thousands of jobs and strengthen our position as one of the leading research universities of the 21st century.

A final commitment to College Town is the only one of our five University-wide priorities this year that we have not been able to announce to date.  Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Ron Paprocki and I are optimistic that this will occur later this year.  A recent estimate by Gilbane Development Company calculates that College Town will add 985 construction jobs, 585 full time equivalent (FTE) permanent jobs, and close to $5 million annually in tax revenues.

Notably our efforts to support projects that mutually benefit both our University and our community are not limited to College Town.  In March, the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency approved financing for a new, two-building, 80,000 square foot, mixed-use project near the Staybridge Hotel in Brooks Landing.  The project, which will be constructed and financed by private developers, will provide housing for UR students, as well as retail and commercial space. 

At our March Board meeting, the Board of Trustees also voted to reappoint for five years Ralph Kuncl as Provost and Executive Vice President and Brad Berk as Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Center.

Ralph has been particularly outstanding in balancing three fundamental areas of responsibility.  First, that of senior leader at the University with involvement on virtually every significant senior leadership team at the University, including those that address budget and 19 University-wide committees, including Conflict of Interest.  Second, that of chief academic officer, where, among other things, Ralph has had the lead in reviewing over 100 tenure or promotion decisions and decanal reviews, as well as his role with respect to our deans, libraries, faculty diversity, and multidisciplinary initiatives. Third, that of de facto Chief Research Officer, where Ralph has orchestrated the quite successful initiation of the Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation and recently worked with Dave Lewis and the   Steering Group in helping move us toward selection of a new cloud-based Financial Reporting System.  The role of the Provost varies widely at United States research universities, in part depending on the budget model of the university.  Because Ralph’s work has had a particularly significant research component, the Board also voted to designate Ralph formally as the Chief Research Officer of our University.

At the same March meeting, the Board voted to reappoint Brad Berk.  No area of the University faces quite the range of challenges that the Medical Center does today in terms of its budget, structure, technology, response to new demands for alternative forms of health care delivery, and challenges to support of basic and clinical research.  Brad has assembled a senior leadership team at the Medical Center who have worked with him to do an outstanding job  implementing the Medical Center’s strategic plan, formally approved by the University Board in 2008, address ongoing needs to expand and modernize medical facilities, make difficult budget decisions in our hospitals, the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the School of Nursing, negotiate more supportive relationships with third party payors, and implement a new and important regional strategy. 

I am enormously pleased that the Board shared my view that Ralph and Brad deserve renewed support for their consequential leadership at our University.  I look forward to working with Ralph and Brad in the years to come.

We have much else of which to be proud.  College admissions applications through March 27, 2012 are up 9 percent with 14,824 applications, notably with projected increases in the two-score SAT and the strengthening of diversity of our student body.

In the January 30, 2012 issue of the Financial Times, the Simon School rose to 3rd in the world for finance among business schools (up from 6th last year), 4th in the world for economics (up from 5th last year), and 7th in the world for accounting.             

The Hajim School of Engineering faculty rank 4th in the nation for research and expenditures per faculty member at $930,775 and 28th for total research expenditures at $82.8 million.

In late February, the University announced that our new dorm on Wilson Boulevard will be named O’Brien Hall after our eighth University president, Dennis O’Brien, and SLIDE 23 
the Court including O’Brien Hall as well as Anderson and Wilder Halls and the Sage Art Center will be named after Thomas H. Jackson, our ninth University president.  This is a particularly fitting tribute to two pivotal presidents in our history.

O’Brien Hall appropriately faces across the Genesee River toward the greater Rochester community.  Dennis O’Brien was a leader in reaching out to our community.  The construction of the pedestrian bridge across the Genesee is a physical embodiment of his belief that a great university in the 20th century must be linked to its surrounding community.

Tom Jackson played a decisive role in reenergizing undergraduate education at our University.  Under his leadership the College designed and implemented first the Renaissance Plan and later the Rochester Curriculum with its nationally recognized cluster curriculum.  Both Dennis and Tom were instrumental as Tom put it, in “reasserting the greatness of the University of Rochester.”

In the fall of this year, the Memorial Art Gallery will begin a year-long Centennial Celebration that will include the opening of the Centennial Sculpture Park, with four new commissioned works by internationally recognized artists Jackie Ferrara, Tom Otterness, Albert Paley, and Wendell Castle; special commissioned music by RPO conductor and composer Jeff Tyzik; a keynote lecture by Nobel laureate Dr. Eric Kandel, recent author of The Art of Insight:  The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present; a lecture by noted poet Dan Gioio, former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts; a special exhibition, Memory Theatre 2012; and a Centennial Gala that will include a formal rededication of the 1913 building. 

On December 7, the School of Nursing announced that University of Rochester alumni Fay and Roy Whitney made a gift of $1 million to establish the Ralph R. and Fay Wadsworth Whitney Endowed Gift Fund.

In January, the Warner School of Education started two federally-funded grant projects, totaling $2 million, that over the next 5 years will provide full scholarships to 59 students pursuing teacher preparation programs to better serve underprivileged students – math and science students in high-need schools and children with significant disabilities in the other.

On February 24, Paul Burgett and Sylvie Beaudette participated in the public announcement of a new Rochester Fringe Festival, scheduled for September 20-23, which will be held in part at the Eastman Theatre with the University as a sponsoring organization.  The Festival, inspired by the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, will include music, cultural programs, dance, theatre, art, magic, acrobatics, and street acts.  It will complement Rochester’s highly successful Jazz Festival and be another step toward making Rochester a city of festivals. 

In February, two Eastman School of Music graduates received 2011 Grammy Awards:  Christopher Lamb (BM ’81) for Best Classical Instrumental Solo and Robert Ludwig (BM ’66 Music Education and MM ’01 Trumpet) for Best Surround Sound Album.  In all, nine Eastman alumni were nominated for Grammys this year.

Riccardo Betti, professor of mechanical engineering and physics, was named a winner of the 2011 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for his outstanding contributions in research and development supporting the Department of Energy.

In February, James R. Fienup, the Robert E. Hopkins Professor of Optics and of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in recognition of his work in the development and applications of phase retrieval algorithms.

Richard E. Waugh, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and James M. Farrar, professor of chemistry, were elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).         

Susan H. McDaniel, the Dr. Laurie Sands Distinguished Professor of Families and Health, received the 2011 Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award in recognition of her influential teaching and inspiring instruction.

Orthopaedic surgeon Judith F. Baumhauer, professor and associate chair of academic affairs in the Department of Orthopaedics, was the recipient of Rochester’s 2012 Athena Award, which honors the achievements of exceptional women leaders.

On February 20, Eastman School of Music Professor Zvi Zeitlin performed a memorable farewell recital.  Two days later Zvi turned 90 years old.  This was his 45th annual recital at the Eastman School, a capstone to a remarkable career.  As Doug Lowry aptly said in introducing Zvi, “the older the fiddle player, the sweeter the sound.”     

Richard E. Kreipe, the Dr. Elizabeth R. McAnarney Professor in Pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital, received the Outstanding Achievement Award in Adolescent Medicine from the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine in recognition of his dedication over more than 30 years to advancing research, education, clinical care, and community outreach to address the health care needs of adolescents.

On March 19, Ann M. Dozier and Sheree L. Toth were honored as recipients of the 2012 Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards.  Dozier was recognized for more than three decades of community-partnered work to improve health for women and children and Toth for her commitment to reducing the impact of childhood trauma and achieving short- and long-term mental health, developmental, and physical health outcomes.

In March, Timothy E. Quill, director of the Center for Ethics, Humanities and Palliative Care at the University of Rochester Medical Center, assumed the presidency of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care.

On March 18, Eastman School of Music student Matthew Grills was named one of five winners of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions.  Nearly 1,500 singers competed for this year’s auditions, which are considered the most prestigious in North America for singers launching an operatic career.       

Twelve students have been awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships for spring 2012 to offset the cost of pursing international study abroad. 

Senior center Jodie Luther was selected as a First Team All-American by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. She is the first WBCA First Team All-American for Rochester since the 2003-04 season.  Luther was also selected to two All-America Teams and three All-Region Teams.  She finished her career eighth all-time in scoring and in the top 20 in rebounding.

Similarly, junior guard John DiBartolomeo was selected to two All-America teams, three All-Region Teams, and First Team All-UAA. He is thirteenth in scoring and sixth in career assists.

Our men's squash team had another outstanding season.  Senior player Benjamin Fischer was named the College Squash Association’s 2012 Skillman Award winner.  The Skillman is considered squash’s version of the Heisman Trophy. The Liberty League named junior Andres Duany as Player of the Year, along with naming four others to the All-Liberty League team:  seniors Joe Chapman, Benjamin Fischer, and Matt Domenick, and junior Adam Perkiomaki. Head coach Martin Heath and assistant coach Hameed Ahmed were also named Coaching Staff of the Year.

And perhaps the most intriguing sports stories this year is that of our Quidditch team, which is currently ranked fifth in the world by the International Quidditch Association. The University’s muggle-athletes have mastered this sport of wizards to become one of the world’s leading teams from among 47 official members.

In March a presidential symposium addressed energy in the 21st century, including as speakers Kristina Johnson, former Under Secretary of Energy; Carmichael Roberts, General Partner at North Bridge Venture Partners; and Eric Toone, Deputy Director for Technology for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy.  Few topics are more vital to our nation than energy.  In fact, fully half of what were predicted to be the top ten global issues of importance affecting university research involve energy, climate change, or related topics.  At our University, alternative energy has been a particular focus, with our Laboratory for Laser Energetics a national leader in research for inertial confinement fusion.

“Change the Conversation,” our third annual diversity conference on April 20, is designed to build upon last year’s conference theme, “Why Diversity?” This conference will explore ways to focus on areas of potential and actual change.  Claude Steele, eminent social psychologist and dean of the School of Education at Stanford University, will deliver the keynote address.  

May will be a busy month for us.  In May, the Medical Center will expand its eRecord system to reach our outpatient areas so that all of our patients benefit from this seamless access and exchange of information among our providers.

On May 3, the Simon School will host its third annual conference in New York City, “Economic Action and the Management of Risk: Critical Decisions Hanging in the Balance.”  Featured speakers include Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric;

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer JP Morgan Chase & Company, who will also be presented with Simon’s Executive of the Year Award; Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and Larry Kudlow ('69), Host of CNBC's “The Kudlow Report.”  This year attendance is expected to be a record, with more than 350 persons present and CNBC agreeing to cover the event.

And, on May 20th, Ruth Simmons, the 18th president of Brown University, will deliver the commencement address at the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering’s ceremony.  Ruth is retiring this year after 11 outstanding years at Brown, where she has been an eloquent spokesperson for higher education, including initiatives to grow and strengthen the faculty and increase support and resources for undergraduates.



During fiscal year 2011, the University received government and private research funding of $398 million, somewhat less than the previous year.  In addition, the University received $17 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  This was our second consecutive year of greater than $400 million in total support. 

In its 2012 study of the Economic Impact of the University of Rochester, the independent Center for Governmental Research (CGR) describes our University as “a vital cornerstone in our region’s economic health.  Bucking the trends observed by most firms and institutions during the recent national recession, the University has continued to add jobs and research capacity that position it for present and future impact locally, regionally and nationally.  Our region’s scorecard for innovation potential ranks us ahead of New York and the nation and it is significantly related to the University and its cutting edge research.” Specifically, summing up selected economic contributions of the University to the Rochester regional economy, including both those of direct employment and those of the “spillover” or “local and traded” sector, CGR estimated that our University currently is responsible for a total of 47,000 jobs, approximately 9 percent of total employment in the Rochester Metropolitan Statistical Area, $2.4 billion in wages, and $143 million in sales, personal income, and local property taxes. 

At our March Board meeting, Ron Paprocki presented a financial report.  Our key financial indicators remain positive, notably including a slowing in percentage increases in operating expenditures, which was 8.4 percent in 2008 and 5.4 percent in 2011.  These figures include both increases in our expenses and growth in employment, student enrollment, faculty size, and patient volume.

There is good news in our reported Advancement results this year.  Gift receipts midway through the year are up 41 percent when compared to last year at this time.  Total commitments (combining pledges and gifts) were up 71 percent for these same first six months of our academic year; the Annual Fund, up 25 percent.

Our endowment also has had an impressive performance for the first nine months of this academic year, up over 3 percent during a time when global stocks lost 1.5 percent.  Net of all fees, our endowment outperformed its global benchmark by about 2 percent each year during the past decade, returning approximately 7 percent per annum.

Underlying these data are challenges that we continue to address.  Sponsored research expenditures halfway through this academic year have declined by 3.5 percent for the University as a whole.  Federal support of sponsored research is likely to decline further for our University and indeed research universities generally in the coming years as the federal government addresses enduring massive budget deficits. 

Our University continues to achieve an impressive level of fiscal discipline.  Our endowment use this year is within our budget, with our endowment spending for next year scheduled to continue to be below 6 percent using our five-year rolling average computation. This has been the consequence of our deans and Medical Center leadership continuing to do the hard work of developing budgets during challenging times.  This has required a number of sometimes difficult decisions.

A top priority remains protecting our core – the jobs of our outstanding faculty and staff.  We have actively pursued cost containment initiatives, including addressing benefit costs, purchasing and supply chain, and energy management.  So far in this academic year, for example, the University has achieved more than $8 million in savings in purchasing and anticipates close to $4 million in savings in energy purchases next academic year. 

I have accepted the recommendations of a task force on resources chaired by Ron Paprocki and Ralph Kuncl to make modest adjustments to our benefit programs in order to achieve further savings.  

Of particular consequence to the faculty will be a modification of the dependent children’s tuition benefit for those employees with ten or more years of service.  For the employee whose dependent child attends the University, instead of receiving 100 percent of that child’s tuition, faculty and staff will be responsible for paying an amount equal to the in-state tuition at the SUNY universities.  Using next year’s tuition figures, this would mean that the University would provide $37,620 or 88 percent of the dependent child’s annual tuition, and faculty and staff would be responsible for $5,270.  The new policy will begin in 2013-2014 and will not affect any dependent child currently enrolled.  All covered dependent children also may apply for other forms of financial aid.

When all details are settled, we will also address employee and spousal benefits.  Full details on all of these benefit programs will be provided when available.



Since we last met, a policy debate on the magnitude of tuition increases has taken on greater national significance. 

President Obama, during his State of the Union address in January, called the cost of college “the most daunting challenge” high school graduates currently face, and he challenged American universities to keep tuition down or risk losing funding.  This year Obama has also proposed limited initiatives to reward colleges and universities that keep their tuition low and provide “good value” by using federal campus aid programs, including College Work Study, Perkins Loans, and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants as well as new competitive funding programs.  He has particularly focused on efforts to motivate state governments to increase their investments in higher education.

House Speaker John Boehner pointedly has claimed that increases in tuition can be blamed on “wasteful spending by college and university management” and that increases have persisted “regardless of the circumstances such as the economy or state funding.”

The debate over tuition occurs at a time of increasingly vitriolic attacks on the purpose of higher education. Several books and articles about higher education have asserted, among many other things, that tuition and fees are too high and are rising too fast; professors are overpaid and spend too little time teaching; and administrative positions have proliferated to excess, in part, because universities no longer are simply focusing on education but are also addressing programs such as athletics.

I disagree with much of this criticism.  These types of arguments oversimplify and systematically ignore the fact that our leading research universities, buttressed by peer-reviewed government research programs such as those of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation as well as visionary philanthropy, today provide the world standard for economic development and for study in the 21st century of science, health care, engineering, professional education, the humanities, social sciences, and the creative arts. 

Nations such as China and India are spending hundreds of billions of dollars in additional funds because they appreciate the decisive role United States research universities have played in our nation’s remarkable post-World War II economic and social progress.  As Deng Xioping put it in a pivotal 1977 speech, “[t]he key to achieving modernization [in China] is the development of science and technology [and education].”

It is misleading to focus solely on the cost of higher education without simultaneously considering the benefits to our nation, our students, and our future that our research universities provide.  Focusing entirely on cost is one consistent oversimplification of these critiques.

A second consistent oversimplification is to treat all institutions of higher education as if they were the same.  Let me highlight how segmented our universities and colleges are.  Too often the discussion of the costs of higher education has lumped together our leading research universities, all public and private four-year institutions of higher education, community colleges, and for-profit institutions. 

Currently, for example, there are approximately 4,500 postsecondary institutions, of which 1,167 are community colleges.  Community colleges often are in the front line in state workforce development programs and focus on key entry-level areas of employment.  It has been quite concerning the extent to which the national discussion has often attempted to urge that all postsecondary institutions should be equally focused on entry-level work force development.

Today there are approximately 1,200 postsecondary for-profit institutions.  They have been defended because they provide access to many who would not be able otherwise to attend a college or university. But there are important questions about the effectiveness and quality of the for-profit segment that have not been meaningfully addressed to date.  Too many for-profit institutions, such as the University of Phoenix, have graduation rates as low as 12 percent.  For-profit institutions enroll approximately 12 percent of all students but receive approximately 25 percent of all federal student aid.  When data such as these are reported, legitimate questions can be posed about how well these institutions are aligned with our national interest.  These questions are particularly pertinent today.  Between 2000 and 2011, enrollment in for-profit institutions has quadrupled. 

Today 2,774 of our nation’s postsecondary institutions provide four-year undergraduate programs.  But not all four-year programs are alike. 

The 59 United States members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) are a small proportion of these institutions but perform an extraordinary role in pursuing national goals in research.  AAU institutions currently account for 58 percent of all federally sponsored research expenditures; have many graduates in positions of national leadership; and make numerous contributions to medicine, science, engineering, professional schools, the humanities, social sciences, and creative arts. 

Our University as well as the AAU and other leading university organizations today are involved in determined efforts to defend our segment of higher education and to make the case for the alignment of leading research universities with our national interest.

Our leading research universities have been highly responsive to a national preference for budget discipline.  Reporting peers to date have adopted tuition increases for FY 13 ranging from 3 to 4.9 percent.

In our College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering during the past seven years, tuition increases have decreased from 8.1 percent to 4.5 percent this year, despite significant increases in tuition remission and reductions in endowment payout.

Today, in what should be a leading national debate concerning higher education, state support for public universities continues to plummet.  In a nation where universities are the laboratories of medical, scientific, and engineering discovery, the weakening of a vital segment of our nation’s universities is not in our national interest. 

Significantly, access to our leading universities also has declined.  A recent Century Foundation study calculated that 74 percent of those attending what it characterized as the nation’s top 146 colleges come from the top income quartile, with only 3 percent coming from families in the bottom quartile.

Respondents to the 2012 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College & University Presidents characterized “potential cuts to federal student aid” as the leading challenge confronting their institutions over the next two to three years.

The rest of the world is not standing still.  The United States global share of research and development funding declined from 38 percent to 31 percent between 1999 and 2012, while Asia’s share increased from 24 to 37 percent.

This year the AAU responded to a recent Report of the Executive Office of the President and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Engage to Excel:  Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  The AAU launched a five-year initiative to strengthen undergraduate teaching in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, particularly focused on the first two years of college. 

The enhanced United States emphasis on STEM fields has already made some difference.  In 2009 and 2010, the Department of Labor reported two of the highest years of college enrollment in our history.   

Underlying this debate are a number of dynamics that deserve our attention.

First, as Moody’s Investor Service recently put it, currently there is a “flight to quality,” with higher-rated institutions achieving undergraduate FTE growth, and lower-rated institutions experiencing marked declines in graduate FTE enrollment.  Given the combination of declining state support, the revenue advantages some institutions have because of endowments and federal support, and the enhanced need for institutions with lower job placement data to engage in significantly increased tuition discounting, this trend is likely to continue.

Second, information technology (IT) is performing a larger role in postsecondary education.  In some instances, IT has been oversold as the key to rapid cost reductions in higher education, without a serious analysis of quality trade-offs and a thoughtful focus on learning itself.  But online education also can be a complement to the core mission of universities such as ours if done working in tandem with faculty and deans.  I have asked Provost Ralph Kuncl to begin a review of efforts that we can pursue to develop a complementary online academic program at our University.  I have been impressed by the effectiveness with which many of our peers earlier have pursued similar missions.  I will ask Ralph to report to you in future meetings about these efforts. 

Third, anxiety about the cost of higher education also has led to increased questioning of the wisdom of the tenure system.  In 2011, for example, less than one quarter of college leaders who responded to a Pew Research Center survey done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education indicated that they would prefer full-time, tenured professors to make up most of the faculty at their institutions.  I was one of those who held that view.  I will not attempt to speak to the realities of all postsecondary institutions.  But at leading research universities such as ours and others in the AAU, tenure is absolutely vital in attracting and retaining leading faculty and preserving academic freedom.  Both points deserve emphasis.  Today competition for leading faculty is global.  If our University were to curtail in any meaningful way the protections for our faculty, the effectiveness of efforts elsewhere throughout the world to persuade our faculty to join other institutions would be enhanced.

Academic freedom is perhaps the most misunderstood concept in the general public discourse about universities today.  Universities are not like other social institutions such as the military or business corporations.  There is no party line here.  One of the reasons that outstanding scholars join the academy is because of the desire to say and write exactly what they believe without fear of discipline or dismissal.  This type of protection should be cherished.  This does not mean that we will not sometimes disagree with each other, including disagreements in public.  It does mean that in our broadest conversations, all are equal in their right to express their intellectual views without fear of punishment. 

Fourth, philosophically, the most challenging aspect of the current debate about tuition involves our culture.  Stefan Collini overdramatized his argument recently in “The Threat to Our Universities,” published in the British newspaper, The Guardian, when he wrote, “The Government is hell-bent on trying to make universities function more like cost-cutting skills retailers, to whom employers can outsource their job training.”  What happens to the liberal arts, the humanities, the creative arts, athletics, and leadership training if our primary focus simply becomes cost efficiency?  To me, this is among the most important policy questions in the current debate.  The United States has become a global magnet for undergraduate and graduate education, because we have emphasized the integration of our academic disciplines and have understood that scientists, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals will be both more productive and intellectually more nimble in their chosen fields as well as wiser citizens if their education is broad and multidisciplinary.  

The example of Steve Jobs is instructive here.  At the conclusion of Walter Issacson’s wonderful biography of Jobs, he quoted Jobs’ belief that the intersection of the humanities and science is “magical.”  No other country has entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists who have worked in such spaces as well as in the United States.



Against this backdrop, let me frame where our University is likely to progress during the next few years.  In October 2008, our Board of Trustees approved strategic plans for the University, the Medical Center, and each of the academic divisions.  As I reported at the beginning of the October 2011 Board meeting, we have made substantial progress in implementing these plans at the University and divisional levels.

We have strengthened our position as a leading research university, notably in our top ten rank in federal research expenditures received by our faculty, normalized for tenure and tenure track faculty in FY 08 and FY 09, the most recent years for which data are available. 

Our faculty has grown from 2,009 in FY 04 to 2,474 in FY 10, with our nonmedical faculty percentage relative to our peers stabilizing after years of decline. 

Our student body has grown from 8,300 students in FY 04 to our FY 16 goal of 10,000.

We have built or benefited from new dorms, improvements in dining facilities such as the Commons and Danforth Dining Center, and we have capital and campaign capital plans for athletics and performing arts.  Since the October Board meeting, we have committed to a plan of major improvements in our River Campus athletic facilities, which includes upgrades to the Speegle-Wilbraham Aquatic Center in the Goergen Athletic Facility, expansion of the soccer field on Wilson Boulevard, replacement of the lighting at Fauver Stadium, and upgrades to the baseball field that include synthetic turf and lighting.  

We have initiated new programs, including the Ernest J. Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute, the Technical Entrepreneurship and Management master’s program that links the College and Simon, and 13 new majors in the College since 2006, including most recently a new major in Digital Media Studies, which will be available to students beginning with the fall 2012 semester. 

We have spent or have planned expenditures of more than $650 million on 20 new major facilities and infrastructure upgrades since FY 06. 

Recently, the Medical Center has completed the acquisition of the privately owned clinical facility at 125 Lattimore Road.  Its proximity to the Medical Center, acreage (six acres), and convenient parking lot (almost 400 spaces) made the purchase of this property particularly appealing for locating off-site programs.  It is planned that the 80,000 square foot building will eventually be fully occupied with Medical Center programs. 

Currently in construction are SLIDE 92 
LeChase Hall, which will be the new home of the Warner School of Education when it opens in January 2013, and SLIDE 93 
the vertical expansion of our James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, scheduled to be completed in July 2012, which will add 30 beds and 112,000 square feet to our Cancer Center. 

Soon construction will begin on our new Media Arts and Innovation Center building near Wilson Commons.

We have doubled annual giving and created the George Eastman Circle, today with 2,108 members, with a reset goal of tripling annual giving by FY 16 to support operating expenses at our schools.

Our community leadership has been enhanced with a growth in our aggregate direct full-time equivalent employment from 17,926 in FY 06 to 20,340 at year end 2011.   

This growth has fortified our position as the sixth largest private employer in New York State.

At the October 2011 Board meeting, I also highlighted that fundamental contextual changes had occurred or accelerated since 2008.  These included:

  • In the aftermath of the 2008 economic meltdown, an enduring high degree of uncertainty concerning our economy, with implications for fundraising and federal programs, including sponsored research, Medicare and Medicaid, state health care support, and third party payors.
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    Continuation of red shift – that is the variance between the rate of growth in size of endowments of our leading and less well endowed peers.
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    An increase in for-profit universities and colleges.
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    And a decline in real, and potentially nominal, financial support for federal sponsored research.

During our recent March Board meeting and during the next two Board meetings, we will focus on how to revise our strategic plans given these and other relevant developments.

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Our University has three broad areas of strategic choice.

First, we can strengthen our build-up in Rochester through means such as the Medical Center regional strategy; key facilities such as the College’s potential new science and engineering building or the Eastman School’s potential plans for Block F; as well as continuation of our super-computing partnership with IBM. 

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Second, we can explore expansion of academic programs in New York City, building upon the initial success of the Simon and Eastman Schools.

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Third, we can explore expansion of international programs.

 These are not mutually exclusive choices.  No doubt we will pursue some initiatives in each domain.  The question is how we will balance our efforts.


During our recent March Board meeting, the University Board reviewed international and New York City opportunities. This was not a meeting where decisions were made, but one of framing what will be an ongoing topic in future meetings. 


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    We currently have a significant presence of international students and faculty on our campuses.  For example, 16 percent of the undergraduate class that will graduate in 2015 are international students – up from 2.7 percent for the Class of 2008.  Approximately 50 percent of all international undergraduates are from Mainland China or Taiwan.  How well are we integrating the much increased number of undergraduate and graduate students into our University?  Are there additional steps that we should be pursuing to address their needs in areas as variegated as English as a second language to job placement?  What would happen to our schools if United States visa policy were to abruptly change and make it more difficult for international students to join us as did happen in the aftermath of the tragedy of September 11, 2001?  Currently China has about 30 million students in higher education institutions, with plans to expand to 40 million by 2020.  This is roughly twice the total for United States students.  China’s motivation to continue to send students to the United States and elsewhere abroad is understandable given the challenges of developing a sufficient number of spaces at its leading institutions of higher education in the next decades.  But what do we do if China’s enthusiasm for education abroad or in the United States changes?   The significance of these types of questions is fundamental to our future.  As Yale President Richard Levin stated in a February address to The Royal Society in London:  “…the East is rising.  The rapid economic development of Asia since the Second World War – starting with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, extending to Hong Kong and Singapore, and finally taking hold powerfully in mainland China and India – has altered the balance of power in the global economy… The rising nations of the East all recognize the importance of an educated workforce as a means to economic growth and they understand the impact of research in driving innovation and competitiveness.”
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    Our study abroad programs provide students with the opportunity to experience the rest of the world.  If study abroad were to be further expanded, what are the implications for student housing, budgets, and teaching needs?
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    What is our current inventory of international programs, including laboratories, faculty affiliations, study abroad, and other programs abroad?  Many of our peer universities have far more advanced international programs than our University. 
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    What are current school and Medical Center plans to expand internationally?

On the global scale, what separates United States research universities from those in some of the world’s other most economically competitive nations is our intellectual freedom, the magnitude and peer-reviewed nature of our historic commitment to basic and applied research, the humanities, and creative arts, insistence upon critical thinking, and breadth of academic experience. Over time, the rest of the world will try to replicate these aspects of our university experience.  But we should not gainsay the extent to which our nation’s commitment to intellectual and academic freedom provides a powerful advantage in this global academic competition.

 In May, the key focus of our Board meeting will be discussion of a new strategic plan being developed by the Medical Center.  Among other topics, this discussion will address the Medical Center’s regional clinical strategy and its response to declining NIH support.

 In October, new or revised strategic plans will be presented by the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering, Eastman, Simon, and Warner. 



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The University of Rochester builds today on considerable momentum and from a position of relative strength compared to many of our public and private peers which were harder hit by the 2008-2009 recession, diminishing state support, or other causes.

I particularly look forward to future presentations to the Faculty Senate and working with the faculty on efforts to revise or in some cases rewrite our strategic plans. 

The work of all successful social institutions in the 21st century is never done.  We are permanently works in progress.  But this is good.  This keeps us young, provides opportunities for those with new or fresh ideas to be recognized, inspires us to better appreciate and sometimes partner with our national and international peers. 

I have often repeated the final words from Martin Brewer Anderson’s inaugural address in 1854, “Our work is but begun!”  This remains as true in 2012 as it did 158 years ago.