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Archive Notes - August 2009


Dear Colleagues,

On July 29, Chancellor Nancy Zimpher visited our campus at the midway
point of her 64-campus tour of SUNY. Her stay with us was one of the
longest of any visit on the tour, as she began at 8 a.m. and continued
until shortly after 5 p.m. I am so very proud of everyone who helped to
make the visit the tremendous success it was, and I extend my deepest
thanks to all for their help.

There were several salient points
I wanted to convey to Chancellor Zimpher. These points all originate
from the key areas of our Bicentennial Plan. By far, the most
significant is that we have an academic program of the highest quality
based on three core elements: we strive to be the leading campus of
the arts in SUNY, we have a tradition of programs of quality and
strength in teacher preparation, and all of our undergraduate curricula
are based in a broad and rigorous general education program grounded in
the liberal arts and sciences.

Beyond these three guiding
areas, we also sought to highlight the elements of the student
experience on campus. In this, we focused on the high-impact
educational opportunities for which we are well known, such as
undergraduate research, first-year programs, learning communities,
internships, service learning, and student leadership programs. These
are the fundamentals of what I have called the handcrafted education
that characterize the student experience at Potsdam. The Chancellor had
the opportunity to hear about exciting programs in the Literacy Center
and progress on the Performing Arts Building. She observed a student
actor at work; examined works of art by our students and faculty
members; talked to community, alumni and foundation board leaders; was
treated to a brief recital by students and faculty members in Crane;
and sat in on a round-table discussion of student engagement programs.

We
also shared with Chancellor Zimpher the historic nature of what we do.
We currently are celebrating 175 years of state financial support for
teacher preparation. In just a few years, we will celebrate the 125th
anniversary of the founding of The Crane School of Music and the
beginnings of music education in the United States. Of course, in 2016,
we will celebrate the bicentennial of the College itself.

For
her part, the Chancellor explained her desire to have a more strategic
plan for SUNY. This plan will recognize the individual strengths of the
campuses and provide guidance as campuses seek to expand, or reduce,
program offerings. She acknowledged there is great frustration
throughout the system regarding what we call ?mission creep,? the
proliferation of four-year programs among historically two-year
campuses, as well as the expansion of graduate programs to doctorate
level on comprehensive (master?s degree-only) campuses. She has pledged
to work closely with our elected officials to forestall further
reductions to the system and to seek to increase our financial
well-being. Lastly, she conceded that the method whereby funds are
distributed within the system has serious flaws, and she will work with
the presidents and others to implement a better system.

At the
end of the day, I can safely say she was extremely impressed with SUNY
Potsdam. Before leaving the campus, Chancellor Zimpher made a brief
video, which can be found on our home page under vlogs. I encourage you
to watch it, and see for yourself what she thought of her experience.