There’s a change taking place at New York state’s University of Albany and its College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE). Some call it a split, while others call it a new symbiotic relationship. Given the importance of the nano effort in NY state (my July 17, 2008 posting about IBM’s $1.5B investment in the state’s nanotechnology sector) and the CNSE’s prominence and outreach efforts (my May 28, 2013 posting), I checked into this further.
A July 17, 2013 posting by Charles Huckabee for The Ticker blog on The Chronicle for Higher Education website provides an overview of the situation and some of the funding considerations leading to the new relationship (Note: Links have been removed),
Trustees of the State University of New York [SUNY] voted on Tuesday [July 16, 2013] to begin the process of splitting off the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering into a separate, degree-granting institution, according to reports by the Times Union newspaper of Albany and the Associated Press. Several trustees, however, challenged whether the separation was necessary, saying it had not been sufficiently reviewed and could end up duplicating administration costs for SUNY.
In a news release from SUNY, the system’s chancellor, Nancy L. Zimpher, who champions the move, said the task of separating the institutions would be completed by the 2014-15 academic year. …
… a study group assembled by Ms. Zimpher concluded that to achieve its goals, the college needed more independence. Those goals, according to the Times Union, include amassing up to $500-million in research dollars in 2015 alone while continuing to build up space used for classes and research by public- and private-sector scientists.
As might be expected, not everyone is entirely thrilled with this change. From the July 24, 2013 interview by Haley Viccano for The Business Review (Note: Links have been removed),
I spoke with Karen Hitchcock, University at Albany’s president from 1996 until 2004, about the split between UAlbany and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
Hitchcock discussed the history of the nanocollege’s growth during her presidency and how she believes the restructuring could affect both campuses.
She said she is concerned about the decision to split because it has the potential to hurt UAlbany’s reputation and diminish its stature as a research institution.
It’s an interesting read and I’m inclined to agree with Hitchcock’s analysis. Dave Lucas’s July 23, 2013 posting (which includes an embedded radio interview [running time: a little over 3.5 mins.]) for WAMC; Northeast Public Radio, acknowledges the doubts and the hopes for this action,
David Doyle is Director of Communications for the State University of New York. He admits there are obviously many questions and issues that need to be resolved over the next year of transition.
Although the colleges will “split,” University at Albany President Robert Jones agrees they will forever be interlinked. He expects both schools have important roles to play and will rise to new levels of education and innovation. Jones adds there is no issue that can’t be worked out to make a smooth transition from one school to two.
Nano College Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Alain Kaloyeros was not available for comment. An op-ed piece for the Albany Times Union Kaloyeros co-authored with Jones states that the action “by the SUNY Board of Trustees is not the end of the process; it is the beginning.”
The posting is not a full transcript of the radio interview, so you might want to check out the interview to get such tidbits as Doyle’s and other’s description of the symbiotic relationship (not split) they hope for.