Faculty and Professional Staff Meeting President's Report 4/11/06
Athletic and Wellness Center Opening: I trust that many of you have already had an opportunity to visit our new Athletic and Wellness Center, which officially opened on March 28. We waited over 40 years for new athletic facilities, with many a false start and stop along the way. Finally we've eliminated this nagging gap for our campus community. My hat is off to the staff in Athletics and to our Facilities team who worked so hard on this project and opened the building with panache. I hope you'll take advantage of the very reasonable memberships being offered to faculty and staff to utilize the new gym, weight rooms and track.
Accepted Students Day: My sincere thanks to all faculty, staff and student volunteers who were literally on the front line of our recruitment efforts on Accepted Students Day. Your hard work making presentations about your programs, giving tours, sprucing up the campus, and answering prospective students' and parents' questions succeeded! We received a record number of deposits-54-last Saturday alone, with a total bump during and after ASD of 110. David Eaton tells me that Sheila Smith and Dorothy Padin of Student Accounts cheerily helped families to "sign up right now"-and that as they collected deposits in person other families were simultaneously paying on-line.
Admitted students carefully weigh their options, and a "last look" during ASD makes this a real crunch time for us. With only limited scholarship funds available, we make or break our case on academic quality, campus appearance (which was crisp and clean) and our collective "personality." Everyone's willingness to help New Paltz put its best foot forward makes me proud.
We currently have a total of 450 freshman deposits, almost half of our target of 1,000. Transfer deposits are running 16% ahead of last year. Recall, however, that this year we are focusing on admitting the strongest transfer applicant (those with a g.p.a of 3.0 or better, as opposed to admitting transfers on a "first come, first served" basis as we did in the past). The transfer cohort will be smaller than last year, but will include more full-time students and will be substantially better prepared academically.
Faculty Staff Campaign: Once again it's the time when I ask you to contribute to this important Campaign. We're hoping to beat last year's participation rate of 33%. This report is not the place for a hard sell; let me simply ask you to do what you know is right to help make New Paltz stronger. Please give what you can.
State Budget: Thanks to a confluence of favorable circumstances (e.g., it's an election year; the state has a surplus; smart and coordinated lobbying by SUNY and UUP [with our own Glenn McNitt playing a big role]), this year's budget is potentially the best in several decades for SUNY. The prospects for New Paltz in particular look very good, but as I write this report there is still a chance of gubernatorial vetoes, so I'll hold off on any celebration. As I've also mentioned before, SUNY Central's final decisions about the structure and use of the new Budget Allocation Process will determine how much we have to spend on pressing needs such as additional full-time, tenure-track faculty lines. Stay tuned...
Student Faculty Research: You'll surely recall that last fall I asked our Faculty Governance leaders to help us consider how best to link student learning and faculty scholarship. I'm impressed with the thoughtful manner in which John Vanderlippe and others have risen to this challenge, and I urge you to support the proposal on today's agenda to create both a new part-time position of Director of Student Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities and an Advisory Board of faculty to shape and encourage this kind of faculty-student academic collaboration.
I also want to note some other important work being done by Faculty Governance. The Personnel Task Force is preparing to present its findings at a Special Meeting in early May. All of us should care deeply about this subject and should plan to attend. At the April 11th meeting, we'll also take up a resolution (from the Academic Affairs Committee) that passed the Academic Senate unanimously. This resolution-which I hope you'll support as consistent with our duty to help students make meaningful academic progress-would make students who have a g.p.a. of less than 2.0 for successive semesters subject to academic probation.
Commencement: Our Commencement Speaker this year will be Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., the publisher of The New York Times. We also plan to award the President's Medal to our Congressman and alum, Maurice Hinchey.
Meeting with Construction Fund: Senior administrators recently met with the State University Construction Fund to review New Paltz's capital priorities under the Fund's current 5-year plan. Consistent with our MOU, the Fund (which, like us, is eager to get moving with projects) is focusing on the following items:
- High Temperature Hot Water Line Replacements throughout campus
- Humanities Air Conditioning
- Student Union Building Addition
- Old Main Renovation
Lobbying: Finally, I spent April 5 in Washington lobbying for a federal appropriation to support the construction of a climate-controlled art storage facility in Smiley Arts Building. Such a facility is clearly needed to house the Dorsky Museum's growing collection. I hope this proposal will be favorably received and acted upon.
May the semester wind to a happy and productive conclusion for you all.Steve Poskanzer