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The Office of the President

Updates 10/18/2005

Faculty and Professional Staff Meeting President's Report 10/18/05

At the first Faculty and Professional Staff meeting of the year, I spoke about the steps we should take as a campus community in the coming years to help make New Paltz an even more outstanding college (State of the College). At the outset of this periodic report, I wanted to reiterate the eight items on our "to-do" list:

1. We must continue raising the academic quality and selectivity of our students. We shall do this while remaining a very diverse institution in terms of student ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geography, and intellectual interests.

2. We must hire and retain faculty who are serious about both their scholarship and teaching.

3. We must teach a curriculum that prepares students for their careers and lives.

4. We must link student intellectual growth with faculty scholarship. Our faculty's excitement about their own research and creative activity should inspire students, both in the classroom and in focused capstone experiences for undergraduates. To this end, we have earmarked $90,000 each year to fund faculty/student research projects.

5. Our residential character must reinforce our educational goals. We want to offer a rich and lively co-curriculum that

  • reinforces what students learn in the classroom;
  • responds to students' interests; and
  • takes full advantage of New Paltz's extraordinary geographic location.

6. We must meet student needs. This means understanding the services that students require to achieve their goals and making sure that our administrative processes and policies help us provide those services.

7. We must address regional economic and schooling needs. We will be a willing partner-- and supplier of talent in the form of graduates and faculty expertise -- to local business and industry, school districts, and social service agencies.

8. New Paltz will be a cultural and intellectual hub for the mid-Hudson region. Our fine and performing arts events, athletic contests and public lectures should be magnets that draw friends and fans to the college.

These tasks must drive our budget and operational goals, including new investments and reallocations of effort and/or resources. While much of the necessary work is already underway, we will still need to measure our progress toward these goals with appropriate data, share the results broadly, and discuss how we are doing with interested constituencies.

I will be happy to take questions about this speech--as well as any other topics--at our meeting next week.

Enrollment Management: Our growing popularity has made it necessary for us to close transfer admissions for Spring 2006 in September -- even earlier than in previous years. Traditionally, we have taken 300 transfer students for the spring semester, but this year we only have capacity for 200 given the large freshman class and the large number of continuing students. We have historically accepted transfer students on a first-come, first-served basis. However, going forward, we will base admissions decisions for transfers who apply to New Paltz without an A.A. or A.S. degree on high school transcripts and SAT scores as well as college transcripts.

Construction: This summer, the campus completed several construction projects and made progress on several others.

  • The van den Berg Hall renovation will be finished shortly and the School of Business and Nursing Programs will move into the new space in time for the beginning of spring semester. The building's HVAC system is up and running and all rooms have been painted on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Fire alarms are being installed and punch list work is nearly done.
  • We are told the new Athletic and Wellness Center will be completed by the end of December, a few months behind schedule. We are seeking recompense for financial losses we suffer because the project will not be completed when expected.
  • This summer we removed existing carpet, abated vinyl asbestos tile, installed new carpet and replaced all windows in Capen Hall. We refurbished the common areas in Bouton and College Halls, and will make similar upgrades in other halls next summer. In addition, the final phase of our total overhaul of the residence hall fire alarm system was completed ahead of schedule to accommodate occupancy by the Empire State Games athletes in late July.
  • We opened a west entrance to campus-known as Hawk Drive-off Route 208. Landscaping work is being done along the new entrance road.
  • Our renovated tennis courts, athletic fields and dugouts are now sporting New Paltz blue and orange. Our four racquetball courts have also been repaired.
  • In the Old Library, we are creating new graduate student space and a 20-station teaching/working computer lab for the Graphic Arts program. Completion is expected next month.
  • In the Sojourner Truth Library, new carpet was installed on much of the main floor.
  • College Hall has new doors. They are manually operational at this point and automation for the openers is being installed as I write. The card swipe installation will soon follow.
  • The Student Union Building renovation will be led in conjunction with the New Paltz Facilities Management Office by Vice President for Student Affairs Dave Rooney, who managed a similar project at California State University, Sacramento. A committee that includes three students, John VanderLippe (Presiding Officer of the Faculty), Ray Schwarz (Associate Vice President of Student Affairs), and Sue O'Driscoll (Student Activities Director) has been formed to advise Dr. Rooney. A Request for Proposals for selection of a architectural firm has been advertised. The program study and design will follow through Summer, 2007.
  • Middle States Periodic Review: The campus committee working on our five-year Periodic Review Report for Middle States Commission on Higher Education convened this week to make assignments for sections of the report. The committee includes:
    Mick Adams, Professor, Mathematics
    Kristin Backhaus, Assistant Professor, School of Business
    Mary Beth Collier, Executive Assistant to the Provost, Academic Affairs
    Johanna D'Aleo, Vice President, Administration
    L. David Eaton, Vice President, Enrollment Management
    Laurel Garrick Duhaney, Associate Provost, The Graduate School
    David K. Lavallee, Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs
    Kelli Parmley, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Research
    John VanderLippe, Presiding Officer, Faculty Governance
    Shelly A. Wright, Executive Assistant to the President, President's Office

    A draft report will be available early in the spring semester for campus review.

As I write this report, we are gearing up for Alumni Reunion Weekend. I hope to see lots of faculty and staff attending the weekend's events.