COLLEGE PRESIDENTS’ SERIES
New York Institute of Technology:
President Edward Guiliano
By Joan Baum, Ph.D.
Given the economic slow down and an inevitable reduction in federal and state support for higher education, it’s easy to understand if college and university administrators want to spin bad news as “challenge” and “challenge” as “opportunity.” Who wants to acknowledge belt tightening that may be perceived as adversely affecting admissions and programs? But here is New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), which, ironically, is not only holding the line in the downturn, says its president, Dr. Edward Guiliano, but doing well—applications have increased, graduates are landing good jobs, the coffers are secure.
The president is sensitive, of course, to the “real hurt” felt by many colleges and universities, particularly public state institutions (60% of the approximately 4,500 institutions of higher education in the country), and he understands the reluctance of elite universities not to dip into more than 5% of their endowment and appreciates that they are accustomed to supporting their budgets and program through robust philanthropy that is creating stress for them this year, as it is falling far short of projections. But he quietly allows as to how mid-size, private, non-profit, independent tuition-dependent colleges in general and 50-year old NYIT in particular can even take advantage of tough economic times by competing for top faculty hires and “tweaking” a program or two. He insightfully points out that times of budget crunch can prove opportune for reordering and strengthening priorities because members of an academic community understand necessity and are more disposed to trust their institutions to initiate change in the interests of the common good.
Although New York State Governor David Paterson is proposing an alternative student loan-easement program by reducing interest—“a home run,” Dr. Guiliano calls it—some students will have trouble packaging loans, getting scholarships and, in tight markets, finding work study and off-campus jobs. Certainly the nearly 1,200 students who attend NYIT’s medical school need much more financial assistance than the typical undergraduate. Dr. Guiliano is nonetheless confident that NYIT will continue to provide both funding and counseling regarding student loans. As is, the school can boast a remarkable default rate of only 1.6%. “Our graduates get jobs and pay their bills,” he noted.
NYIT has other advantages going for it in tough times: a sustaining commitment to educate students for career-oriented professions, and a growing reputation for placing graduates in significant positions all over the world. Surely, at a time when unemployment is inching toward a new high, there’s nothing wrong with jobs, jobs, jobs, especially when these are not just entry-level posts but positions on a track of career advancement, many in growth fields such as education and allied health. Approximately 50 percent of NYIT’s 15,000 students are graduate students taking degree programs in one of the institute’s seven professional schools. These include the award-winning School of Architecture and Design, the only accredited architecture program on Long Island, and the College of Osteopathic Medicine, founded by Nelson Rockefeller, the first and one of only two medical school in Nassau County. NYIT also prides itself on other “niche specializations”—for example, its degree programs in Computer Security (the school has a contract with the federal government) and an enhanced Computer Graphics and Fine Arts curriculum with contractual ties to NASA that offers new “motion capturing” imaging techniques to model future space craft.
A multi-campus institution, with hubs at Old Westbury and Manhattan, NYIT also has campuses abroad in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Manama, Bahrain; Nanjing, China; Vancouver, Canada; and Amman, Jordan; and M.B.A. programs at several China sites, not to mention online. Although “contemporary cutting-edge curricula” give the school national and “global cachet,” the president cannot resist noting that some jokingly say that NYIT may be better known in the state of Washington than in nearby Port Washington.
A scholar and teacher, Edward Guiliano has a B.A from Brown and a Ph.D. in English from The State University of New York in Stony Brook. A specialist in Victorian literature and especially Lewis Carroll, he may be among the very few who immediately knew the answer to a recent Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle clue: a five-letter word for Alice’s cat.
Dr. Guiliano has been at the helm of NYIT for nine years, moving from professor to Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost and currently chairs the Long Island Regional Advisory Council on Higher Education (LIRACHE), a consortium of 19 public and private institutions. Though dedicated to promote “inter-institutional cooperation,” he is, understandably, proud of what he thinks makes NYIT special: the word “value” comes up often, a perception obviously shared by new students: admissions are up.#