Faculty and Staff:
As the calendar begins to turn to fall and we move more fully into the academic year, I want to welcome everyone back to campus for what is now my second year at SUNY Brockport. As I indicated at the conclusion of my remarks during the Welcome Back event, I consider myself fortunate to be here at Brockport, working collaboratively in an open and inclusive environment to provide the best possible educational opportunities for our students.
A Great Start to the New Year
I want to begin by thanking faculty and staff who participated in our welcome week events, especially the APS instructors who gave up their Sunday to work with incoming students and all others who came out for Academic Convocation. We had over 100 faculty and staff participating in the event and more than 1,000 students were in attendance.
Personally, I enjoyed the opportunity to meet a dozen students in an APS section on Sunday morning, getting to know a little about them, what brought them to Brockport, and their goals and aspirations. When you make time to get to know students, you appreciate how much they value connection with the faculty. Those personal connections that we make with students are one of the most significant aspects of Brockport education.
To help students develop these connections, make sure that the photo you have on our webpage is up to date. While our communications team prefers a standard headshot, guidelines now permit you to upload a professional photo of yourself in the workplace (or field). Get information on how to update your photo.
I also want to welcome our new faculty and staff. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the new faculty through our new faculty onboarding process, with a mix of social and educational activities. What an outstanding and dynamic group! Please make the time to get to know these new faculty and help welcome them to campus.
Efforts of faculty and staff were critical in turning around our enrollment trend. We have outstanding growth this year, with an increase of more than 500 students compared to last year. That’s an increase of 7.8% in overall student enrollment. Included in that count is an increase in graduate enrollment of 18%, and with 1,498 graduate students, graduate students now account for more than 20% of our total student body. Some of this growth can be attributed to new programs recently implemented that are attracting high-quality students. In addition, faculty and staff have been engaging with prospective students, describing their deep sense of commitment to student success. By working cooperatively across departments and divisions, we are demonstrating the strength of our collective vision and positivity.
During Spring 2023, the Office of Accountability and Assessment (OAA) led a discussion around converting our Periodic Program Review process into a continuous improvement paradigm. This will be a multiyear process that is in the very early stages. Each program submitted a set of Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs). Frances Dearing and Jenny Green in OAA reviewed these and have provided suggestions to department chairs on the next steps. To support the effort, we will bring to campus this fall an expert on program assessment who can help guide further development, while OAA will work individually with each unit to create a set of metrics against which the PSLOs can be measured. We will continue to offer professional development opportunities throughout the year. This continuous improvement process doesn’t replace the periodic review needed for accreditation, whether it be the unit’s professional accreditation or our Middle States accreditation. Rather, through this process, we will build a library of annual assessments that will form the basis for the accreditation report, or the SUNY program review.
A second goal for this year is to begin developing career awareness as a theme within our curriculum. This requires resources. We are fortunate that SUNY has provided us with approximately $350,000 of new money to promote internship opportunities for students. I have proposed to use some of these funds to develop the Office of Career Services and another portion to directly support students completing internship opportunities. I would like to see expanded use of Handshake to support students from all disciplines as they seek internships and related experiences. I am also interested in building these experiences into the curriculum to ensure that all students will benefit. We know that some of our students do not have the resources to access the more extensive experiences, and thus we need to provide alternate, less costly or time-intensive experiences, that engage students in meaningful ways. A new task force, led by Laurel McNall, from the Department of Psychology, will review previous efforts, and seek further input into tools and methods that can be used for this purpose. Professional development through CELT will support faculty who we hope will work collaboratively with the expanded Office of Career Services to develop new opportunities for our students. This will be an ongoing effort and I will share more information periodically as this initiative develops.
We have several other initiatives planned for this year, most of them building from the Academic Affairs Strategic Plan that was developed last year: reviewing transfer processes, increasing CELT offerings, developing micro-credentials, enhancing support for research and scholarship, and more. It is my goal that SUNY Brockport should be the best comprehensive institution in the SUNY system, and one of the best in the nation. With your support, I know that we can achieve that goal.
Thank you for your continued support for our students and all your efforts to make Brockport a great place to learn and a great place to work.