As a Baruch student, I enjoyed the inclusion of Baruch’s Global Strategic Plan in this weeks readings. My main reaction to this is the possibility of politics and money impeding the goals of the plan. In my higher ed Administrative Services course, my professor has discussed the history of the conflict between CUNY and Governor Andrew Cuomo. As part of the New York State budget due April 1st, the governor has proposed cutting state funding to CUNY by $485 million. While a wide backlash to the proposal and support for CUNY among Albany lawmakers make these cuts unlikely, it does bring to mind that spending by CUNY is subject to scrutiny. Would any of the plans proposals be considered politically controversial? While initiatives such as an increase effort in international recruitment have financial benefits to Baruch, what about the measures that require an increase in spending? The strategic plan first addresses this in their section about faculty research, noting that private fundraising will likely be needed and the goal to identify international and national funding agencies. The final bullet point before the conclusion is significant. It calls for a permanent and sustainable budget model to fund global activities at Baruch. They seek to follow the example of other institutions and use revenue from ‘international activities’ to fund the proposed office of the Vice provost for Global Strategies. I wish this strategic plan had included a definition of Baruch ‘international activities’. It is unlikely that they are referring to campus events, as most events are free for students or priced low to offset expenses. Is it referring to fees specific to study abroad applications? Many of the proposals in the strategic plan seem to rely on establishing a sustainable budget model, but the plan in unclear about the specific source of revenue funds will be drawn from. This post is not meant to come off as an oppostition to Baruch’s Global Strategic Plan. It seeks to benefit the Baruch community as a whole, with the initiative to create global academic programs as a way to increase internationalization at home. The recognition of the administrative programming challenges and the need for department integration to accommodate the increased workload and improve student services is vital. My questions for our professor would be the following: Do state lawmakers have a viewpoint on funding global strategies in public higher ed or do they leave this to the institutional leadership? Do you think the proposed sustainable budget model is realistic and sustainable?
Addendum: Interesting article about Governor Cuomo and protests to CUNY cuts. We should know the outcome by this time next week. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/nyregion/after-moving-to-cut-cuny-funding-cuomo-faces-loud-backlash.html