From the President's Desk

May 2016

It has been a long and eventful academic year at SUNY Potsdam.Over this year we have learned a great deal about working together through challenging issues. Even as we strived to make progress on our difficult budget situation and the challenges of creating a truly inclusive campus community, we have also experienced great joys, including the celebration of our 200th anniversary.As the semester comes to a close, I hope you are able to take some time to reflect on our accomplishments and the extraordinary experiences we provide students both in and out of the classroom. Now reaching the end of my second year as president, I remain increasingly grateful for the efforts of each one of you to support our students and ensure their success.

Invitation to Bicentennial Plaza Dedication

Please join us Friday, May 20th, for the dedication of the Bicentennial Plaza, located between the Crumb Library and Merritt Hall.  The dedication is scheduled for 1 pm, as part of the Party in the Plaza celebration for our graduating seniors (12:30-2:30 pm).  All faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends are invited to the dedication and celebration. Lunch will be provided along with a cash bar and entertainment by KTX.

Opening the Fall Semester

As we prepare to close out this 2016 spring semester, we are already looking ahead to the fall. Please mark your calendars and plan to join me for the traditional Opening Address and Breakfast Reception on Thursday, August 25 at 9:00 a.m. in the Proscenium Theatre in the Performing Arts Center.

Commencement

Unless there is a dramatic change in the weather forecast, it appears we will be outside for commencement on Saturday. Faculty who are processing should report to the east side of Crumb Library robed and ready to go no later than 9:30 on Saturday morning for lineup and instructions.

Student Code of Conduct

We are reviewing the preliminary results of the external review of our Student Code of Conduct. With the search for a new Conduct Officer nearing a conclusion, recommendations for revisions will be forthcoming in the fall semester. Any changes to the Code will require approval of the College Council.

Budget

As you are well aware, the state budget did not include any increases for SUNY and state funding is an increasingly smaller part of our budget, as it is for state-funded institutions across the country.Robust student enrollments are critical for both our short-term and long-term financial wellbeing, and increasing our enrollment modestly is a major strategy to achieve the financial health of the College.We are well into the yield season for new enrollments for the 2016 fall semester. I want to express my gratitude to each and every faculty and staff member who has worked throughout this year to bring new students to the campus and to retain our continuing students. This is a campus-wide endeavor and your extra efforts have not gone unnoticed. Over the summer, I will continue to work with governance leaders on new budgeting strategies and ways to make financial information available to the entire campus community.

Planning

The President's Council with the addition of representatives from our teaching faculty and Student Affairs has been meeting throughout the spring semester to begin the process of refining a strategic plan for the campus. This group has also met with members of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the Leadership Forum to further those conversations. We are arranging a joint planning session of President's Council and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee over the summer so that an outline of a plan can be shared in the fall with the entire campus for input and discussion. I look forward to expanding this conversation to all who are interested in participating.

Highs and Lows

What a year it has been!We proudly opened our Center for Applied Learning, the first of its kind in the SUNY System. We cheered our Crane students on the stage at Carnegie Hall. We held the fifth annual LoKo Festival, celebrating our creative spirit in a variety of forms and by all areas of the campus. And we sang, ate birthday cake, and took picture after picture during our Big Bicentennial Birthday Bash. We cut the ribbon on our new WISER greenhouse, and by fall the new WISER facility will be ready for use.Several new programs have made their way through campus governance, including new bachelor's degree programs in geographic information systems and arts management.But we also had difficult conversations about race and inclusion, sexual violence, and safety.Although we have much work ahead of us, we are a stronger, better campus as a result.

Whether you are taking a well-deserved break this summer, teaching and working on your own scholarship or helping to get ready for our fall class of students, I wish you the very best for the summer months and look forward to welcoming you back at our opening address on August 25.