Now that Spring Break is behind us, we all begin to focus more clearly on the second half of the semester and everything that leads up to Commencement.
On March 25-28, the visiting team from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, our accrediting agency, was on campus for its decennial visit. The team was chaired by Dr. William Ruud, President of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. We are very grateful for the assistance that everyone on campus provided to the team. I want to extend my thanks to co-chairs, Dr. James German and Dean Chip Morris and all the members of the Self-Study Steering Committee for a job well done, and to Provost Margaret Madden for supervising the process. I also want to thank everyone on campus who worked so hard to ensure a successful visit, especially to Carol Rourke for her work in coordinating the master schedule.
The initial report delivered by President Ruud at the end of the visit was extremely positive. There were many commendations and the preliminary recommendations involved connections between planning, mission, and assessment, which is a direct correlation to the self-study document. In many cases, the Visiting Team canceled a number of meetings on their second full day when they realized that the initial meetings on Monday were confirming all the points outlined in the self study. We appreciate the flexibility and understanding of all those involved in the canceled meetings.
I would like to invite the campus community to a celebration of this successful accreditation visit to be held at Dexter’s Café on Monday, April 2, from 3:30 to 5:30.
On Monday, March 26, we celebrated the 196th anniversary of the founding of the College. The celebration took place in the food court of the Barrington Student Union. Alumni volunteers Virginia Cayey and Jane Subramanian presented their pictorial history of the College which has just been published. Copies are available for purchase at the College Bookstore.
On Saturday, March 31, at 8:30 p.m., SUNY Potsdam will join hundreds of millions of people across the globe in switching off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour, the world’s largest public environmental action. By taking part in this global ‘lights out’ event SUNY Potsdam will be acknowledging its commitment to operational actions that benefit the planet in the year ahead. SUNY Potsdam will also host an event in the academic quad in front of the Satterlee clock tower starting at 8pm open to campus and community. We will be turning off the clock tower and as many building lights with the exception of safety lights and emergency lighting including sidewalk and parking lot lights. If you have any questions/concerns about this event please contact the Office of Sustainability at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In winter sports, both of our hockey teams qualified for post-season play. Most importantly, Jay Green, coach of the women’s hockey team, has been honored as the ECAC West Women’s Coach of the Year. Congratulations to Jay, and to both the men and women’s hockey teams.
Within a week, the next issue of Potsdam People will be in the mail and online. The most recent issue highlights the importance and value of the liberal arts and sciences for our students and for our alumni in an ever-changing global environment. You can read the current issue as well as back issues of Potsdam People online at www.potsdam.edu/alumni/connecting/people.
In early March, the search committee for the joint Chief Financial Officer to serve both the Canton and Potsdam campuses recommended to President Kennedy and myself that the search be stopped. The committee reported that it would be unable to meet the charge it had been given. I accepted the recommendation. Shortly thereafter, the SUNY Potsdam College Council voted urging me to continue the search for a Vice President for Business Affairs for just the SUNY Potsdam campus, using the Potsdam members of the search committee and the applicant pool developed for the CFO search. I have accepted that recommendation and asked that the newly constituted search committee continue to search for a Vice President. The committee is meeting to review the applicant pool. We have invited three finalists to visit campus in April. The finalists include: Dr. Natalie Higley, Mr. Richard Metz, and Dr. Troy Adair. There will be two open forums for each candidates, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, when students, faculty, and staff will have an opportunity to meet and converse with the candidates. The candidates’ résumés and campus schedules can be found online: www.potsdam.edu/offices/hr/vpcandidates.cfm.
The Legislature seems to be moving towards an on-time budget. We do not foresee any major surprises. This allows us to develop our spending plan for next year with a bit more room to breathe than in previous years. Our best guess is that the state support to the campus will remain largely the same as this year. Provost Madden, Vice President Lewis, and I will be meeting with the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate to discuss priorities in building next year’s budget.
In order to make it through the worst of the economic crisis we were forced to use some financial counter measures so that we did not have to cut budgets even more than we did.
This year we have imposed just under $3 million in counter measures. While we can repeat them for a few years, we will eventually need to wean ourselves from the practices. By using these counter measures we have dramatically lessened the amount of money which might have previously been carried over from year to year.
As we look at the likely budget picture for next year, we see very little change. The good news is that our base budget should remain largely stable: that is, no additional cuts of any consequence. On the other hand, we anticipate no additional state support and slightly less than $1 million in additional tuition. This means that we have nearly $3 million in counter measures to solve with less than $1 million in new revenue.
Within Academic Affairs the Provost and I are seeking assistance at prioritizing needs. We all know that departments need additional OTPS funds. We cannot continue to defer the purchase of academic equipment. There is a real need for professional development funds in most areas. We would like to enhance the number of sabbaticals offered. We would like to reduce the instructional component of faculty workload. And we would like to continue to improve compensation for faculty and staff, just to name a few of the more pressing needs. The consultation in which the Provost and I are engaged with faculty and staff will greatly assist us as we build the budget for next year.
In recognition of his leadership in the area of institutional effectiveness and enrollment management, the Chancellor and Provost of SUNY have appointed Dr. Rick Miller, our Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Enrollment Management, to be the System Associate Provost for Institutional Research. Dr. Miller is taking a one-year leave of absence to serve the SUNY System. In his absence, Dr. Bruce Brydges will supervise the areas of Institutional Research and Assessment, Financial Aid, Student Accounts, and Admissions. Dr. Brydges will not sit on the President’s Council, but will report directly to me. As head of the division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, Chip Morris, will report directly to me and continue to serve as a valuable member of the President’s Council. It is a testament to Rick Miller’s work and the quality of leadership that Potsdam exhibits in SUNY that he has been selected to add to the SUNY System team.
April 20 - 29, 2012
Through the generosity and artistic vision of Kathryn (Kofoed) ’54 and Donald Lougheed, The Lougheed-Kofoed Festival of the Arts will resurrect the tradition of a dynamic and comprehensive campus spring festival, to include theatre, dance, vocal, and instrumental performances; visual arts exhibitions; creative writing programs; and guest artists and lecturers. The Festival will encompass all forms of artistic expression, with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary artistic experiences, and will culminate with the annual Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra spring performance under the baton of the Dorothy Albrecht Gregory Visiting Conductor. It is the Lougheeds’ hope that additional endowed funds will be established to provide financial support for special programs and visiting artists. The Festival will kickoff with a reception and performance on Friday, April 20; all activities are free and open to the public. Visit www.potsdam.edu/about/artscampus/artsfestival for a complete listing of events.
Recently, there have been several multi-year major gift pledges to the Fund for Potsdam (the unrestricted fund for greatest opportunities and needs). In addition, over the past few months, the College has been the recipient of several generous major gifts/pledges at the $20,000+ level that have endowed new scholarships or program funds. Following is a partial list:
SUNY Potsdam is holding its first ever “Return To Potsdam Weekend” March 30 - April 1, 2012. This weekend, sponsored by The SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association and All Greek Council, is open to all alumni but is specifically targeting our “young” Alumni from the classes of 2001- 2011. For more information on the weekend, view the Schedule of Activities (PDF) or contact Julie Dold, Assistant Director of Campus Life at email@example.com or ext. 2947.