After 16 years at Stony Brook University, Senior Vice President for Administration Barbara Chernow will return to her alma mater, Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, as its executive vice president for finance and administration.
“What’s challenging is that we are delivering a service 24/7, whether it’s police services, fire marshal services, or the bursar, human resources, construction, busing—making sure that the more than 10,000 students that live on campus are getting the services they need and want is a full time job,” Chernow said about her various responsibilities.
In 1998, Chernow took on her first position in higher education by becoming Stony Brook’s Assistant Vice President for Entrepreneurial Programs. Under this title, she worked on fundraising galas and developed summer camps for local kids and teenagers, both academic and recreational, to give students an opportunity to acclimate to college. These camps not only give local youth a summer activity, but also employ students from the university.
Before becoming Senior Vice President for Administration, she worked as Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Services in 2003. She was promoted to Vice president for Facilities, Services, and Special Initiatives in 2006. From 2007 to 2013, she was president of the Faculty Student Association.
After being appointed to the position of Senior Vice President for Administration in 2012, President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. appointed Chernow to be the brain behind “Project 50 Forward,” an initiative that works to improve all facets of the university, and consists of three separate branches: operational excellence, building for the future and academic greatness.
“I am grateful for her assiduous efforts toward making Stony Brook University the outstanding facility it is, and helping us to move forward in many important areas,” Stanley said in a statement to the Stony Brook faculty and staff.
Chernow works with focus groups made up of students, faculty, and staff to help drive Project 50 Forward into the next few decades.
“Figuring out the best way to do it—not for them, with them—and that’s the fun part, working with students, faculty, and staff,” Chernow said about enhancing the school. She also said that without the voices of the students and faculty, it would not be possible to foster
a united university.
One of the accomplishments that Chernow said she is most satisfied with is the decrease in crime on campus. Compared to 2007, the crime rate has gone down by 87 percent.
“We have a reduction in crime while promoting a culture of reporting, encouraging students for counseling issues or whatever’s bothering them, and to report,” Chernow said.
Working with the Faculty Student Association, she made changes to the dining experience to give students what they desired. When students craved more diverse food, her team introduced Jasmine in the Charles B. Wang Center. When students sought faster options, they had food trucks come to campus.
Chernow also worked to lower the university’s impact on the environment. In 2006, the university saved more than $34 million by tweaking things like light sensors and thermostat regulations, according to Stanley’s statement.
With 500,000 square feet added to the campus in the last four years, energy consumption has actually decreased. Chernow also oversaw the expansion of the energy-saving initiatives such as Wolf Ride Bike Share, biodiesel-fueled buses, vehicle-charging stations and solar powered parking meters—just a few ways in which the university decreases pollution.
Even as Chernow packs up, her papers will be contributed to the “RecycleMania” effort on campus, as indicated by the massive recycling bin in her office. The university won the national competition for recycling the most e-waste in both 2013 and 2014.
Stony Brook recently made the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll, putting the university among the ranks of Harvard, Stanford, Cornell and Columbia. SBU was one of 24 schools that achieved a perfect score out of the 861 schools total. Additionally, Stony Brook received Tree Campus USA recognition in 2014.
Building for the future is executed through the Facilities Master Plan. Chernow oversaw the development of an extensive list of facilities, such as the Island Federal Credit Union Arena, the Simons Center, Joe Nathan Field, the Dubin Family Center, the Walter J. Hawrys Campus Recreation Center, West Side Dining, Nobel Halls, Frey Hall and West Apartments.
In 2013, Chernow also pledged $25,000 to introduce the Carol Chernow Memorial Scholarship for journalism students on behalf of her mother, an advocate for improved language
and writing skills.
Chernow has a passion for working with other people and will miss the people she had the pleasure of working with.
“I feel incredibly fortunate. I’ve had a great run here and it’s really because of the great staff and I’m really proud of them,” Chernow said.