Faculty and Professional Staff Meeting President's Report 12/13/05
It's been less than a month since our last meeting, and I figured that at this time in the academic year, you'd much rather finish reading papers and grading exams than read a lengthy tome from me, so I'll try to make this report, the last of 2005, a brief one.
Enrollment Management: The most significant new development in enrollment is a policy change in how we will be admitting transfer applicants. In recent years, just as our freshman applications have grown dramatically, transfer applications have also skyrocketed. In the past we accepted transfer students on a first-come, first-served basis, closing applications when our enrollment targets had been met for the year. In recent years, this has led to absurdly early cut off dates (possibly as early as January for next fall), and thus has shut out many applicants who were even stronger.
In order to recruit the most academically qualified transfer students, admissions decisions will now be made on a competitive basis (just as we compare freshman applicants), and applications for Fall 2006 will remain open into spring. In addition, in order to encourage transfer applicants to complete their lower division work or attain their Associate's Degree prior to applying to New Paltz, we will require students with fewer than 45 credits to submit their high school transcript, SAT/ACT scores, have an average GPA of 3.0, and meet the same requirements as freshman admissions candidates.
Turning to freshman candidates, consistent with last year's record-setting pace, more than 5,000 applications have already been received for approximately 1,000 freshman class seats. Of these applicants, approximately 1,800 are for Early Action, up 8% from last year.
Advanced registration for the spring semester has increased 2.5% over last year. Preliminary data suggest that graduate enrollments may have rebounded and that undergraduate retention remains strong.
As you all know, our December commencement will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17. Our special guest and keynote speaker will be our alumnus and Congressman, Maurice Hinchey. He will be receiving the President's Medal, the highest honor the campus can bestow upon an individual, in recognition of his ongoing support of his alma mater. Other distinguished guests will include U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and New York State Senator William Larkin.
I am also pleased to tell you that this December's ceremony has more participants than ever before. We have both more candidates for graduation - 200 more August and December candidates than one year ago - as well as more candidates actually participating in the ceremony. This means we are now pressing hard against the capacity of the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie. Consequently, for next year, we are considering two ceremonies in December (as we now do in May) and moving the graduate ceremony back to campus.
Construction Update: Work began last week on creation of a Welcome Center in the North side of the HAB Lobby. The Center will include a staffed information desk where visitors can ask for directions, inquire about campus services and events, buy tickets for performing arts events, and obtain a visitor parking pass.
van den Berg hall renovations are nearing completion. Furniture for the Business School has arrived and is being installed. The Nursing Department move is scheduled for the week of December 12. A handicap accessible parking lot is being installed behind the building, and will be ready for spring semester. It has a base coarse of asphalt and will be top coated in the spring. I trust that both Business and Nursing faculty are looking forward to beginning the spring semester in their newly renovated home.
According to the Construction Fund, the Athletic and Wellness Center is also scheduled for opening with the start of the spring semester, according to the construction fund. Floor installation is to take place this week, after which the weight room equipment will be installed. Painting, HVAC controls, glass installation, and electric work are continuing.
State and Federal Appropriations: Building on our record successes at both the state and federal levels this last year, we have begun consulting with deans about which projects might be good candidates for our next lobbying effort. If you have any suggestions you would like considered, please share them with your dean.
Faculty Awards: I'm pleased to learn from the Provost's Office that we are submitting more applicants this year than we have in the past for the SUNY-wide Chancellor's Awards for Excellence this year. Our faculty deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments in this way.
Last, we started this academic year talking about the importance of communication and consultation. I want to finish the semester on the same note. I have begun holding a series of brownbag lunches with faculty, where colleagues can share impressions and discuss concerns. At the same time, we are continuing discussions in departments and schools and administrative offices about how we can best accomplish the objectives that I discussed in my State of the College address. What I want to reiterate is that my door - and the doors of the deans, vice presidents and provost - are always open to you to discuss issues of importance to you and to this institution.