News Pulse - State University of New York at New Paltz

Pulse of New Paltz is strong

President delivers State of the College address

The continued increase in academic quality of incoming students and a great budget year from the state were two of the points emphasized by President Steven Poskanzer in his 2006 State of the College address at last Friday’s faculty and staff meeting.

Addressing a filled-to-capacity lecture center, Poskanzer explained that this year, 98 percent of the college’s freshmen come from the top two SUNY selectivity groups, with an average SAT of 1160 and a high school GPA of slightly over 90— the college’s highest ever. Almost one-third of this fall’s freshmen come from the highest SUNY group—also a new record, he said.

Poskanzer reminded everyone that for years he, the deans and the provost have pledged that if the college were to receive an increase in state funding, the highest priority would be additional full-time, tenure-track faculty lines. This year, the college received the most generous higher education budget in more than a decade, which Poskanzer said allows that pledge to be fulfilled -- as the college just hired 32 new full-time tenure track faculty and has begun searches for 37 more faculty for fall 2007.

“With these additions,” said Poskanzer, “New Paltz will be able to meaningfully address one of its longstanding problems— over-reliance on part-time faculty.

If all planned searches are successful, the president anticipates that the percentage of courses taught by adjuncts will drop by about 20 percent.

Poskanzer also emphasized the importance of providing more appropriate funding to help link student intellectual growth with faculty scholarship -- capstone experiences such as internships, student shows, and faculty-mentored research. Last year the college established a $90,000 pool of competitive student research grants, which he said have already proved popular and successful.

“Research like this benefits the local community and helps our strongest students grow intellectually—ideally to the point where they will be outstanding candidates for graduate school,” said Poskanzer.

Poskanzer also pointed out that although the “pulse” of the college is strong, it still has its vulnerabilities. He said that the four-year graduation rate for freshmen who entered in fall 2001 was 35 percent, which is lower than at many peer colleges.

Poskanzer said that the college has already made a concerted effort to raise the four- and six-year graduation rates by rewriting academic policies that promote progress to degree and adding new staff in Records and Registration, the Graduate School and Academic Advising.

For the entire transcript of the president’s State of the College address, visit

September 11, 2006
Volume 4, Issue 17

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