Faculty and Professional Staff Meeting President's Report 11/15/05
Thanks to everyone who made our Open House on Saturday a resounding success. David Eaton, Vice President for Enrollment Management, estimates attendance at 6,000 people, of whom 2,500 were interested students. Faculty and staff did a terrific job representing departments and assisting visitors. The campus looked great and whoever was in charge of the weather deserves our special thanks. We're getting better and better at handling large influxes of people on campus. All of this translates into the figure I want to share with you now. Enrollment is up 3.4 percent from 7,600 last fall at this time to 7,860 at this point of the semester. Let me reiterate as we start recruiting for next fall's freshman class that our intention is to seek a far smaller class than this fall.
For the first time in the history of SUNY New Paltz, we are receiving monies in the form of a federal appropriation, thanks to the efforts of our alumnus and Congressman Maurice Hinchey ('68, '70g (D-NY). The $750,000 appropriation is funded through the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.
The funding is part of a joint proposal submitted by New Paltz and SUNY Ulster this spring. The two schools will use the funds to offer a full range of environmental education and training opportunities that address biological, geological, and chemical water issues and problems, including growing concerns about bioterrorism threats to the region's water supply.
The monies will refurbish and modernize existing laboratories at each school, create new laboratories at each school, equip a mobile monitoring unit and strengthen an existing health, safety and environmental training center at SUNY Ulster - all with the specific focus on the study of water availability, storage, transport and protection.
The award will also allow New Paltz to jump start recruiting for the new Environmental Geochemical Science program and will support our Geology, Chemistry and Biology programs, especially the research of some of our faculty in those programs.
I'm sure that you've been reading the same newspaper articles that I've been reading about the state budget. The yearly ritual for state funding has begun. The first news we've received is positive. System Administration is asking for significant increases in funding for SUNY and there is no tuition increase in the Chancellor's Budget Proposal. The best piece of information for New Paltz is that the proposal includes full restoration of the $50 million that was taken from some campuses to subsidize others. For New Paltz, that would mean a return of $3.3 million to our base-operating budget, which would allow us to hire more full-time faculty. The Chancellor has also asked for more funds to cover additional energy costs and negotiated salary increases, which have not been funded in previous years, leading us to have flat budgets or essentially budget cuts. System is also pushing for more monies to support honors colleges and honors programs, which New Paltz could certainly take advantage of. Essentially, you don't get unless you ask, so let's see what the Governor and the Legislature do with the Chancellor's Proposal. We're leading off on the right foot in this annual budget dance!
Student Union Building Advisory Committee:
In an effort to comply with the Academic Senate resolution passed on November 4, Dr. David Rooney, Vice President for Student Affairs, has expanded the Student Union Building Advisory Committee to increase student, faculty and staff membership.
Dr. Rooney met with John VanderLippe, Presiding Officer of the Faculty, on Tuesday, November 8, and asked him to suggest a second faculty member to expand faculty participation on the committee. Dr. Rooney also discussed his plans to expand the Committee, at which time Dr. VanderLippe indicated he believed the plan to be reasonable and responsive.
Dr. Rooney reviewed the space requests for the Union, and found that the Educational Opportunity Program is the most frequent user of space in the SUB among non-academic departments. He then asked the EOP Director to suggest a member of the EOP staff to fill the call for additional staff representation.
In accordance with the SA call for greater student representation, Dr. Rooney asked Dr. Ray Schwarz, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, to speak with Student Association President RJ Partington III regarding additional student slots, including, but not limited to an athletic representative (perhaps the president of SAAC Student Athletic Advisory Committee), a Greek (perhaps the president of SGA), and some agreement between SA and RHSA about general student representation. These students would be in addition to the RHSA president, and two students who had previously agreed to serve on the advisory committee, including a graduate student, Danielle Howard, and a Student Activities Manager, Nicole Potestivo. The meeting between Dr. Schwarz and Mr. Partington took place on November 9. Mr. Partington said he would need to discuss it with other students before responding. To date, Dr. Rooney has not heard from Mr. Partington.
Stanley K. Coffman Memorial Service:
The college will hold a memorial service for the late Stanley K. Coffman Jr., president of SUNY New Paltz from 1972-1979, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the College Terrace. The service is open to the public and I would encourage faculty and staff who knew President Coffman to attend. Dr. Coffman, 88, of Kingston, died on Tuesday, May 24, 2005. At the Nov. 19 service, I will make remarks, and past Executive Assistant to the President, Gail Gallerie, whose 34-year tenure included Coffman's seven-year term, will share some memories. In addition, Bill Connors, former dean of the Sojourner Truth Library, will read selections of poetry. Members of the Coffman family will also offer remembrances.
During his tenure, Dr. Coffman created the college's professional programs in business, nursing and computer science. He also chartered the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, making New Paltz one of the first SUNY campuses to pursue private support.