Governor Announces Higher Education Commission

Governor Eliot Spitzer has issued an executive order charting the mission and composition of the Commission on Higher Education.

Since the January announcement of his intention to form this Commission, we have eagerly awaited these details. While we were not successful in getting an academic librarian named to this commission, your letters and phone calls to the Governor’s office succeeded in letting everyone know that academic librarians must be a part of this conversation. The energy NYSHEI members demonstrated has opened a dialogue with the Governor’s office that will give us access to the Commission, and a voice in future policy decisions.

Spitzer named Cornell University’s former leader to direct the commission. Hunter Rawlings, president emeritus of Cornell and the University of Iowa, is chairing a group that must report back by Dec. 1 and complete a final recommendation document in June of 2008.

The Commission operations will be run by Manuel Rivera, Deputy Secretary for Education, John Reid, the Assistant Secretary for Education, and Lloyd Constantine, Senior Advisor to the Governor. John Reid will serve as the Commission’s Executive Director.

The members of the Commission are:

Hunter Rawlings, President Emeritus, Cornell University Chairman
Lee Bollinger, President, Columbia University
Don Boyce, Student, Rockefeller School of Public Affairs
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Syracuse University
John Clark, Interim Chancellor Nominee, State University of New York
Milton Cofield, New York State Board of Regents
Lois DeFleur, President, Binghamton University
John Dyson, Chief Executive Officer, Pebble Ridge Vineyards and Wine Estates
Peter Fishbein, Special Counsel, Kaye Scholer LLP
Hon. Deborah Glick, Chairwoman, Assembly Higher Education Committee
Matt Goldstein, Chancellor, CUNY
Carl Hayden, Former Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents
Elena Kagan, Dean, Harvard Law School
Dr. Marcia V. Keizs, President, York College of the City University of New York
Abraham Lackman, President of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities
Hon. Senator Kenneth LaValle, Chairman, Senate Higher Education Committee
Eduardo Marti, President, Queensborough Community College
Richard Mills, Commissioner of Education
Myron Mitchell, Faculty, State University of New York
Robert Paaswell, Faculty, City University of New York
Hon. Crystal Peoples, Member of Assembly
Bruce Raynor, President, UNITE HERE
William Scheuerman, President, United University Professions
John Sexton, President, New York University
John Simpson, President, State University of New York at Buffalo
Tom Schwarz, President, Purchase College – State University of New York
Marc Shaw, Trustee, City University of New York
Lauren Talerman, Student, Queens College
Adam Urbanski, President, Rochester Teachers Association



  1. Carey Hatch
    Posted May 29, 2007 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Interesting that the Commission includes such a heavy representation from the private institutions, while the focus of the commission activities will be on public higher ed. I hope the Commission actually leaves politics at the door and takes a look at what is in the best interest of New York and the taxpayers. But hey, it’s NY so let’s not be naïve.

    I know that SUNY is looking for a consultant to provide a report to the Commission on certain aspects of our operations, including libraries and distance learning. What can we do to get the representatives from private institutions to recognize libraries as something worth looking at?

  2. Louise Sherby
    Posted May 30, 2007 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Yes, I was also disappointed to see so many members from the private sector given that the Commission is looking at public higher education. I hope that the Commission will look carefully at all the aspects that make up higher education and the important role that academic libraries play in student learning and retention. Perhaps NYSHEI can take the lead in providing information on the role that we play to be used in their deliberations? Or we could suggest that a subcommittee be formed to look at academic libraries and their role in public higher education?

  3. Gary Thompson
    Posted May 30, 2007 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    While I understand that the Commission must be limited in size and scope, I am disapponted that there is no academic library representation on the Commission. I think that librarians, as academic partners and in many cases as library faculty, have a valuable perspective on higher education. I would like to encourage Jason Kramer to work through his connections to see if we might suggest that a NYSHEI representative could be added to a list of “resource persons” who could advise the Commission at certain points in the process about important elements to be included in the final recommendations of the Commission, OR at least that NYSHEI representatives could not make a presentation to the Commission.

  4. Loretta Ebert
    Posted May 30, 2007 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the library directors from both private and public institutiions in NYSHEI with representation on the Commission could contact those commission members with a message regarding libraries (could NYSHEI help to draft such a message?) I suspect that since the commission is evaluating public higher education, from what I’ve heard on the news, that the private members are expected to offer unbiased evaluation or not be self-serving.

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