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From the President's Desk

January 2018

While it may be cold outside, the campus has certainly warmed up with the return of our students. I am always energized by the start of a new semester and I hope that you are also experiencing a similar feeling.

State of the System Address
I recently had the opportunity to attend Chancellor Kristina Johnson’s first State of the University Address. The vision that she has for the System includes the themes of Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Individualized Education; Sustainability; and Partnerships. It will be a challenging budget year in the State, but I believe SUNY is in good hands because of her leadership. As the budget year proceeds and as the Chancellor’s vision becomes a reality, I will keep you updated. I encourage you to read her full speech online.

Enrollment and Financial Status
I am happy to report that from the fall to spring semester we have met our retention targets. I am extremely grateful to the Student Success Center, along with many additional faculty and staff who put energy into ensuring that we retain our students. As we enter the admissions yield season, we must work together to build our fall incoming class. I am grateful for the work of the Office of Admissions, athletic coaches, faculty and staff who help to recruit students. Our budget and resources are directly linked to our enrollment numbers, and I want to ensure that it is a campus effort to both recruit and retain students.

Personnel Updates
I would like to share that Dr. Walter Conley has agreed to remain as Interim Dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies for a second year. I am grateful for Walt’s leadership and vision not only for SOEPS, but for the campus, and especially for his leadership role.

In other areas, Beth Todd is now serving as the permanent Director of Student Accounts. Beth has been a tremendous asset to Student Accounts and is working closely with the Office of Financial Aid to help students and their families more easily navigate the process from financial aid eligibility to payment.

Chief Financial Officer Search Update
Near the end of the fall semester we invited candidates to campus for the Chief Financial Officer position. Unfortunately, we were not able to successfully conclude that search, and have decided to revisit the job description and start the search again. I would like to thank all of the search committee members for agreeing to continue to serve on this important search.

Members of the search committee have met to review the job advertisement and duties. The position will now be called Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer with oversight of physical plant, information technology, purchasing and payables, and other campus business functions.

Over the coming weeks the search committee will be reviewing applications and conducting interviews. Please mark your calendars for on campus interviews which will be held April 16, 17, and 18, 2018. More information will be sent to the campus as it becomes available.

Gender-Neutral Locker Rooms and Lactation Rooms
The College is strongly committed to making SUNY Potsdam a welcoming and inclusive campus for everyone. Therefore, we are in the process of changing one of the locker rooms in Maxcy Hall to be a gender-neutral space. Additionally, we have designated two spaces on campus for lactation rooms and will be exploring more options across campus. A campus announcement will be sent soon about the details of these spaces.

Campus Food Pantry
During his State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo charged all SUNY and CUNY schools with having a food pantry on campus. As you know, our students are coming to college with greater needs, and ensuring that they have access to food and basic toiletries is critically important.

SUNY Potsdam established a food pantry in 2014, located in 100-D Dunn Hall. I would like to thank Sarah Lister, Community Health Internship Coordinator, who is currently overseeing the food pantry.

The food pantry exists only because of the generous contribution of donors. PACES has recently joined this effort by allowing students to use unused meals to donate towards the food pantry. If you would like to donate any food items or funds towards supporting this important resource for our students, please contact the Public Health and Human Performance department (formerly the Community Health Department).

Building Name Change
As many of you recall, our College Council approved a naming resolution at their November meeting. The Crumb Library will officially be renamed the Lougheed Learning Commons on May 4, 2018 during a campus celebration. The Crumb Memorial Library will be rededicated on the second floor of the building at that time. I hope you will join us in thanking the Lougheeds at the event. We will be fully transitioned to the Lougheed Learning Commons starting in fall 2018. Over the summer, Jenica Rogers, Director of Libraries and Dorf Endowed Director of Applied Learning, will be working with her team on all aspects of the changeover.

Change in Travel Protocol
As you may recall from the Budget Update and Guidelines email that I sent last semester, we implemented new travel guidelines, which can be found here. I wanted to provide an update regarding the meal reimbursement policy.

Meal expenses incurred while in travel status may be reimbursed up to the per diem amount when paid with personal funds, or the receipted amount when paid with your TCard. There are unique circumstances for day trips and overnight trips without a lodging receipt. Travelers should become familiar with all policies on the Purchasing and Payables website and contact the department if you have any questions.

Also, I want to remind you that when traveling on Foundation dollars, the same rules and spending limits apply as when traveling on State funds. Please, help us stretch our scarce travel dollars by traveling as frugally as possible, regardless of the source of funding.

Employee Recognition Ceremony
In just a few months we will once again be hosting our Employee Recognition Ceremony. Please save the date for this year’s event on May 23, 2018 at 10:00 AM.

As you may recall, one of the areas I was seeking input on last summer was this ceremony. Based on campus feedback, we will be making some changes to ensure that the ceremony provides time to celebrate our colleagues, but also the opportunity to interact with one another before the summer break. After this year, we will assess changes to ensure the event is a yearly highlight for campus employees.

Computing and Technology Services (CTS)
CTS has been busy with many projects and improvements to our campus infrastructure and uses various platforms (Twitter, Facebook, blog) to provide ongoing updates to the campus. I am grateful for their work and their commitment to communication with the campus.

Although members of the CTS team have been busy improving services, I want to encourage you to contact them if you do face any challenges with campus technology. Please do not assume that someone else has reported the same problem that you are having.

Please report any problems you experience with technology-equipped classrooms from the classroom as soon as possible by calling x4444 or emailing CTS ( CTS cannot always respond immediately, but they prioritize teaching-in-progress whenever possible.

More information about CTS, the Helpdesk, and campus IT-related policies and procedures can be found on the CTS webpages.

The campus has transitioned to a new logo and letterhead template. By February 9, 2018 we ask that offices transition to using the new letterhead. We also encourage you to access the Communications Toolbox online that has many other templates including brochures, newsletters, PowerPoint slides, and much more. If you have any questions about the transition, please contact Mindy Thompson, Assistant Vice President for Communications ( We highly encourage you to reuse and recycle old letterhead for scratch pads.


I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the Strategic Planning Champions for their efforts that have resulted in a final version of the Strategic Planning Roadmap that can be found online. It is now time for us to roll up our sleeves and work on our campus commitments.

I know that 2018 will be a year of possibilities for SUNY Potsdam and am grateful for your role in turning the plan into a reality.

President, Dr. Kristin Esterberg