Office of Higher Education

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OHE Newsletter

From Office of Higher Education Deputy Commissioner John D'Agati
January 17, 2013

Quick links to headlines in this edition of the Higher Education Newsletter:

Dear Colleagues,

As we move into the New Year, we remain energetic and excited about the work we are doing and the partnerships we are building around the state.  We have had the opportunity to work with many faculty and higher education administrators, either through an official working group such as the Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, through our program review and accreditation work, by attending various conferences and simply meeting people as we visit campuses. 

I thank you for your support and hard work as we continue to improve the education for all of our State’s students and their future.

I hope you enjoy this edition of the higher education newsletter. Topics include:



Statewide Plan for Higher Education

New York has a proven and effective higher education system of public, independent, and proprietary colleges and universities. To coordinate that system, every eight years, the Board of Regents, in collaboration with the higher education community, develops and adopts the Statewide Plan for Higher Education, setting system goals and objectives, eventually becoming the Regents blueprint to advance higher education in NYS.

On November 29, 2012 in New York City at The City University of New York Graduate Center and on December 3, 2012 in Buffalo at the University of Buffalo's Center for Tomorrow, the Board of Regents held Public Hearings on the 2012-2020 Statewide Plan for Higher Education.  The Hearing Panels included Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett, Regent Charles Bendit, Co-Chair of the Regents Higher Education Committee, Commissioner John King and Deputy Commissioner John D'Agati.

Every sector of the higher education community (SUNY, CUNY, independent and proprietary) provided testimony on their contributions to the Plan.  Additionally, other stakeholders and the general public were well represented at the hearings and through written comments.  State Education Department staff are reviewing the testimony and comments and will present the final draft of the 2012-2020 Statewide Plan for Higher Education at the February 2013 Board of Regents meeting for approval.


P-20 Data System

A significant component of the federal Race to The Top funding includes the development of state longitudinal data systems that will provide essential information about our students throughout their educational journey and into the workforce.  The goal for such a P-20 system is to better understand what aspects of our educational system are successful and what areas are in need of attention. 

This last year, design and testing began on the collection of the postsecondary component of New York’s P-20 data system.  Files are currently being submitted for the first-time by the State University and City University central offices for all of their colleges.  SUNY and CUNY are very interested in receiving data, including data on the high school performance of their students to analyze for improving their understanding of college readiness and refining their admissions programs. 

The State Education Department will also use P-20 data to inform high schools about the college readiness of their graduates, and to better understand the factors affecting college persistence and graduation.  The Department is also beginning to develop agreements with other state agencies to integrate their data into the system, in particular, to obtain employment data from the Department of Labor. 


Faculty Development MOUs

In order to help ensure that institutions of higher education have the support and guidance needed to support ongoing professional development opportunities for faculty and program directors from education and school leader programs, as well as faculty from their respective Colleges of Arts and Sciences, we have developed a memorandum of understanding with both SUNY and CUNY. The independent sector agreement is in its final stages of review with the State Comptroller’s Office at this writing.

The initial workshops and symposiums have proven very successful as a means of exchanging information, demonstrating new approaches to learning about the new requirements and answering important questions that are essential to student success.   We are excited about this program and look forward to working closely with the higher education community to ensure that education and school leader programs have the resources and material needed to support their work.


Opportunity Programs

Higher Education continues to administer a group of access programs commonly referred to as “opportunity programs.”  These are the Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP), the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP). These programs have developed a number of practices that identify critical needs and deliver support to each student in a timely and effective manner.  

This coming year, as we prepare to reissue the five-year HEOP Request For Proposals (RFP), we will plan to examine existing regulations and communicate with the field to explore ways to improve the HEOP for the students and the institutions that support the program.  Since its inception, HEOP boasts more than 37,000 college graduates who, because of academic and economic circumstances, would otherwise not have been able to attend a postsecondary educational institution.

Another initiative that is supporting students who are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education is the Smart Scholars Early College High School (ECHS) Program.  In addition to providing preparation for college, this program provides students the opportunity to earn 20 or more college credits by the time they graduate high school.  To date, approximately 5,100 students are enrolled in the Smart Scholars ECHS program.  Ninety percent of participating students passed all offered credits and 98% are on track to graduate.  The Board of Regents has confirmed a bill that would provide state funding to sustain ECHS in New York as one of its legislative priorities for 2013.


New Degree Program Application Process

In 2012, the Office of Higher Education implemented a new submissions and review process for degree program applications.  As part of this initiative we made changes to our review process and provided updated guidance on our website in a more user-friendly format.  Under the new review process, for master plan amendments and other program changes, we will review the application within 30 business days of its submission.  Within those 30 days, if the proposal cannot be approved, the college will be contacted, and they in turn have 30 business days to amend the application so that the proposal meets the standards established by the Board of Regents.  This new system works strictly on a first-come first-served basis, and initial feedback has been generally positive. However, we expect to make adjustments and changes as needed, and certainly continue to welcome feedback from the field.


Test Security

In March 2012, the Department established the office of Test Security and Educator Integrity. The new office consists of two component units: the newly-established Test Security Unit (TSU) and the existing Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA). The TSU’s mission is to enhance the integrity of the State Testing Program at every stage of the testing process through measures that include policy initiatives, enhanced training, the investigation of educator-based testing fraud allegations, and the pursuit of appropriate sanctions for cheating misconduct. TSU legal and investigative personnel review and investigate allegations of cheating submitted to the Department from sources including school districts, educators, parents, and the public. The TSU will serve an important training and educational function as well, developing model testing policies and practices, and educating district personnel about them. OSPRA remains primarily responsible for the intake, investigation, and related discipline proceedings, concerning questions about the moral character of individuals who hold, or who are applicants for, New York State teaching certificates. These matters include allegations involving inappropriate student-teacher relationships, criminal convictions, and other non-State testing misconduct. Both units report to the Executive Director for Test Security and Educator Integrity.



edTPA 1-Day Worshops

The edTPA is the new teacher performance assessment for initial certification. We are pleased to announce that Stanford University will be offering a series of 1-day workshops led by the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) on Looking at Candidate Work through the Lens of the edTPA.  To be held at various locations across New York State, these sessions will be led by faculty from other states who have had experience implementing edTPA.  Upcoming events are listed below and at least 3 – 4 additional dates/locations will be added soon. Information about these events will be sent to each campus edTPA coordinator:

Syracuse – Syracuse University         
January 28, 2013     9-4pm

Buffalo – Buffalo State College         
January 30, 2013    9-4pm

Rochester – Nazareth College           
February 1, 2013    9-4pm

Disaster Management

In 2011, the Office of Higher Education sent out notices and coordinating information prior to Hurricane Irene (2011), and did so again prior to Hurricane Sandy (2012) to campuses to remind them to coordinate locally.  One campus replied, “It was good to see that the Department utilized our contact information to inform us about the pending hurricane this fall. The notification system worked.” Office of Higher Education staff also serve as 24 hour contacts for educational institutions, serve on the state’s Human Services Branch work group, and support the larger state emergency response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.  

Hurricane Sandy Resources and Guidance

New Website for the Office of Higher Education

Certification Exams Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: February 4, 2014
February 4, 2014