College to open new Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach: Gerald Benjamin to lead
NEW PALTZ -- The State University of New York at New Paltz has created a new Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) on the New Paltz campus, which will be directed by Gerald Benjamin, current dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The center will serve as the principal locus of the college’s efforts to raise its level of engagement within communities, government and businesses across the Hudson Valley.
Providing knowledge and expertise to help state and local government best serve the citizenry and fostering opportunities for collaboration with surrounding communities and organizations have long been core purposes of superior public universities in the United States. In this tradition, the Center will marshal existing intellectual resources from across the academic units of SUNY New Paltz and focus these in service to the region and New York state.
“Although for many years New Paltz has supplied faculty expertise and talented graduates across the Hudson Valley,” said College President Steven Poskanzer, “this new center will let us raise the visibility and impact of such intellectual engagement to a whole new level. When we decided to create the Center, one name – and one name only – leapt to mind as the perfect leader. Over the last three decades Gerald Benjamin has compiled an unmatched record as a profoundly influential scholar and commentator of New York government, as a committed public servant and community leader, and as a prominent political ambassador of the college.”
Poskanzer noted as well that the new center will help advance the institution's effort to "become a cultural and intellectual hub of the mid-Hudson Region," a top college goal articulated in his 2005 State of the College address.
According to Benjamin, the center’s portfolio will include, but will not be limited to: conducting and publicizing research on regional topics; encouraging faculty to build regionally-based service activity into their scholarship and teaching; creation/direction of one or more institutes focused on specific topics of regional interest; leading the college’s academic outreach to local governments, non-profits and for-profit organizations; and creating programs to train newly-elected regional officials. The center will also house the college’s existing Regional Education programs under the new leadership of dean Helise Winters.
In order to effectively direct the Center, Benjamin, who is known throughout New York state as an expert on state and local government, will assume additional titles of CRREO Director and Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement. He will be stepping down as dean in May 2008 after a very successful 12-year run in the position. A search for Benjamin’s successor is already underway.
“Public service must be at the core of the mission of any great public university,” said Benjamin. “We have a truly distinguished college with a fine record of leadership and service in the Hudson Valley. I have long been an advocate for the creation of a regional center at New Paltz to focus and advance our efforts in this area of our mission. It has been deeply rewarding to spend my academic career in the Hudson Valley and, in recent years, to lead the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I am excited now to be called upon to provide leadership for this new SUNY New Paltz initiative.”
Gerald Benjamin was named by the SUNY trustees in 2002 as Distinguished Professor of the University in Political Science. He was an elected member of the Ulster County Legislature from 1981 to 1993 and during that time served as both majority leader and chairman. Dean Benjamin has been involved in a number of major efforts to reform state and local government New York State. He chaired the commission that proposed the first charter for Ulster County, N.Y., adopted by popular vote in November 2006. Benjamin was appointed to New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer’s Commission on Local Government Efficiency in 2007.
Winters, who has been associate dean of Continuing and Professional Education and director of Extension and Distance Learning for nine years, said that for many years New Paltz has been performing community outreach to serve the region through its graduate programs and advising, summer session, alliances with teacher centers, extension and distance learning, doctoral program and the Language Immersion Institute.
Winters also serves on the Academic Affairs Committee, the Budget, Goals and Plans Committee and the Academic Senate at the college.
“Helise is a wise, practical leader who knows how to develop programs that expand people’s life opportunities,” said Poskanzer. “She is going to be a wonderful dean of Regional Education.”
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.