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Archive Notes - February 2012

With the spring semester well underway, things are moving at a fever
pitch on campus, and I am looking forward to what the rest of the
academic year holds for SUNY Potsdam.

Black History Month

is Black History Month. Let us all remember the words of Martin Luther
King Jr. as we join together this month. ?The function of education,
therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think
critically,? Dr. King said. ?Intelligence plus character?that is the
true goal of education.?

Our campus is taking that to heart this
month, as we celebrate diversity by ?lengthening? Black History Month
into March. The SUNY Potsdam Black History Leap Year series will stretch
from Monday, February 27 to Monday, March 5, and we are proud to invite
the campus to take part in a variety of events. The series begins with a
visit by renowned fiction writer, essayist, journalist, and television
commentator Tour, whose latest book, "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?:
What It Means to Be Black Now," was named a New York Times notable book
for 2011. Spike Lee expert Luvena Kopp will also visit campus, and there
will be two different roundtable discussions. Dr. Lonel Woods of The
Crane School of Music and A?Keitha Carey of the Department of Theatre
and Dance will present very special performances as well. For a full
schedule of events, visit

want to thank the Diversity in Action Coalition for helping to organize
these events. The Coalition serves as a clearing house for issues
dealing with diversity on campus to assure that we have an integrated
and coordinated approach to making our campus reflect the diversity of
the world in which we live.

NSSE Results

The emphasis on
critical thinking and character building is at the heart of the Potsdam
promise. We monitor how we?re doing through many measures, including the
National Survey on Student Engagement, which surveys both first-year
and senior SUNY Potsdam students and compares the results with peer
institutions across the region and the country. We are proud to say that
SUNY Potsdam is head and shoulders above similar institutions in some
very important categories in the recently-released 2011 report?with high
percentages of freshmen reporting that they were highly engaged in
classroom discussions, discussed ideas with others outside of class, and
had serious conversations with students of other religious and/or
political backgrounds. In addition, 84 percent of those students
positively rated their relationships with faculty members (compared to
71 percent average for mid-East public institutions) and 71 percent
positively rated their relationships with administrative personnel and
offices (compared to the 55 percent average). Many thanks to our
hard-working faculty and staff. These numbers just reinforce what we
already know?you make the difference in the lives of our students.

Middle States Team Visit

March 25 to March 28, the team from the Middle States Commission on
Higher Education will visit campus as part of our 10-year
reaccreditation process. First of all, I want to thank co-chair Jim
German for his phenomenal effort at writing the narrative summary of our
self-study findings. It was a job very well done. In addition, I also
want to thank everyone who has worked so hard on the self study and all
the details behind the campus visit, especially co-chair and Dean of
Students Chip Morris. Please remember to keep March 26 and 27 clear for
meetings with the visiting team. The members of the team will include
Dr. William Ruud, President of Shippensburg University, PA (chair),
Philip E. Ginnetti (Edinboro University), Jan E. Holly (Frederick
Community College), John V. Moore, III (Temple University), Paul Mathews
(Johns Hopkins University), Lisa R. Shibley (Millersville University),
Raquel G. Vargas (University of Puerto Rico ? Arecibo) and Linda Wagner
(Gannon University).


Governor Andrew Cuomo recently
presented his budget request. Due to last year?s historic NYSUNY 2020
legislation, the budget ?holds the line? on outright budget cuts for
SUNY. We are waiting to hear more details on his proposal to open up a
competition for three $20 million challenge grants to the other 60 SUNY
campuses, beyond the university centers. SUNY has established several
legislative goals. The one of greatest interest to Potsdam is a
restoration of 10 percent of the 2009 tuition increase, which the state
absorbed to cover the deficit. There was an agreement that SUNY would
recover half of the money, but so far, only 40 percent has been
restored. If this is righted, SUNY Potsdam would stand to receive about
$350,000. There are also requests concerning the state contribution to
community colleges and for the benefits packages provided by the SUNY
hospitals. Taken as a whole, our preliminary projection of the
2012-2013 budget shows stability and very slow growth, thanks largely to
the increase in tuition approved by the Legislature last year. I will
work closely with the members of the President?s Council as we refine
our spending plan for next year. We anticipate that next year?s budget
will not differ in any significant way from this year?s. The Vice
Presidents will have a small amount of increased funding with which to
address critical issues in their areas, while we also work to undo some
of the temporary fixes we have used to get through the crisis.

Shared Services

her State of the University Address, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher
called for the 64 campuses to embrace ?systemness.? The shared services
initiative with SUNY Canton has entered a new phase of concrete actions.
We are at the point of selecting a new joint veterans advisor to be
shared by the campuses. The search for a single CFO has entered the
on-campus interview phase, with arrangements being made to invite three
candidates to visit our two campuses over the next few weeks. Our
Payroll and Purchasing offices have begun conversations, which have also
included representatives from SUNY Plattsburgh, about the creation of a
regional office to serve all three campuses in these areas. Provost
Madden, CTS Director Andy Harradine and I have analyzed the
recommendations made by the IT consultants from SUNY, and will begin
conversations with the IT folks at SUNY Canton about how we might work
together along the lines suggested in the report.

Festival of the Arts

a generous fund established by Kathryn Kofoed ?54 and Donald Lougheed,
The Lougheed-Kofoed Festival of the Arts will serve as an ?umbrella? for
the full range of the arts and provide financial support for an annual
campus spring festival, to include theatre, dance, visual arts and
creative writing. It will encompass all forms of artistic expression,
with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary artistic experiences, and will
offer lectures, programs, exhibits and performances that are free and
open to the public. The 2012 festival will be held April 20 - 29 and
will culminate with the annual Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra

AP Report

The Associated Press reported this
weekend that in 2006, the New York Police Department conducted web
surveillance of Muslim Student Associations at universities across the
Northeast, including the Potsdam group, which includes SUNY Potsdam and
Clarkson University students.

SUNY Potsdam was not aware of this
monitoring. Our University Police department was never consulted and
the institution did not condone or assist with the NYPD investigation in
any way.

We support appropriate steps to ensure public safety.
However, unless more information comes to the public's knowledge,
monitoring individuals or groups merely because of their religious
beliefs or affiliation does not fall intoour definition of appropriate
steps to ensure public safety.

SUNY Potsdam respects and honors
our students' rights to Constitutional freedoms. Our commitment to
diversity and mutual trust is at the core of the College's academic
mission. As the Potsdam Pledge says, we are an open community
uncompromisingly protecting freedom of thought, belief and expression.