November 6, 2013

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Leaders talk Open SUNY at Purchase

uupdate 11-6-13

UUP President Fred Kowal discusses details of SUNY’s Open SUNY and seamless transfer initiatives at a Purchase College Chapter meeting Nov. 6.

More than 100 chapter members attended the meeting, which also included talk about UUP’s new contract with New York state and a plea from UUP officers for Purchase members to expand the union’s advocacy efforts into their communities

“The work we’re doing to broaden and deepen the political reach of UUP is so important,” said Kowal. “We will be with you, we will go anywhere we’re needed. We are going to be deeply involved in the political process like never before because we have to, to survive.”

“Building relationships in the community is so important,” Kowal said. “This is not just about dealing with the political leadership in Albany. “We need to focus that power, and the way we do that is by forming alliances. Anyone with contacts with local organizations, politicians, unions—any of those links—can be utilized in building a social movement.”

VPA Jamie Dangler, VPP Philippe Abraham, and Secretary Eileen Landy were at the meeting, as were statewide UUP Outreach Committee Co-chairs Tom Tucker and Arty Shertzer.

Dangler laid out the union’s position on seamless transfer and Open SUNY, which SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher claims will make SUNY the nation’s largest online learning network once it’s implemented. UUP’s concerns about Open SUNY are many, including access, educational quality and transparency.

“The public has not been part of this conversation, our legislators have not been part of this conversation, and our members have had a limited role in this conversation,” Dangler said. “This is under the radar.”

Dangler pressed Purchase members to learn more about Open SUNY and share the union’s concerns with local politicians and students.

“This is a tremendous transformation in curriculum and courses,” she said. “Our academics, students and programs will be deeply affected. We need to keep control of our own curriculum and service delivery systems, that’s our message.”

Kowal encouraged Purchase members to get involved with college governance curriculum committees, and demand a review of Open SUNY and seamless transfer plans on their campuses. Writing about the issues in chapter newsletters and websites are other ways to spread UUP’s message.

“If SUNY could give us sound, strong reasoning for why the Open SUNY and seamless transfer initiatives are necessary, that would be worth discussing,” he said. But it hasn’t happened. The end game to Open SUNY is to create a core curriculum in higher ed and massive expansion of online education. Profiteers are out there waiting to jump on the bandwagon.”

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