As we say goodbye to the 2021-22 academic year, I want to thank you again for all that you do to support our students. Our commencement ceremonies—Thursday and Friday this week for our SUNY Brockport students and on June 7, 2022, for our REOC students—offers evidence of the culmination of your hard work, and I appreciate you for all that you have done this year.
It has been another year marked by COVID and all the uncertainties around this virus. As we turn towards a post-pandemic world and into an endemic world, we continue to face challenges, but I am confident that we have learned enough over the last 26 months that we will adjust to this new reality.
One thing is clear: over and over I’ve heard from you about the need to re-establish community on campus. The UUP dinner and Senate in-person final meeting were two examples of this over the last week, as well as the recent joint unions event held at Seymour and the many celebrations within and between divisions over the last two weeks. Because of COVID and changes in our events management, we have moved our annual employee recognition dinner to the early fall, but I hope you’ll join your colleagues to celebrate achieving another successful year at that point. More details will follow in August.
In the spirit of building community, I would put one last 2021-22 plug in for recognizing your colleagues: submitting a Green and Gold Star Award nomination for anything a colleague does that makes a difference to your world. The process is easy: just follow this link to submit.
Finally, four of your colleagues will be recognized at Commencement as Presidential Teaching Excellence Award recipients, and I hope you will be able to attend the ceremonies and not only celebrate our students, but celebrate your colleagues, too. I’m pleased to report that from June 2021 – May 10, 2022 there were 341 nominations submitted. Thank you to those of you who have already recognized your colleagues’ good work!
Academic Strategic Planning
I want to thank the many people involved in Academic Strategic Planning this year, from our original committees working on Academic Master Planning, to the reconfigured teams working throughout the year on reviewing our academic portfolio, to College Senate for their review of processes, to departments who have taken on this important task and responded positively by creating new curriculum paths and proposing new degree programs. While not everyone has agreed with every step along the way, I am grateful for your continued commitment to the process and for your suggestions for future improvements in how we do this crucial work. My thanks go most heartily to Provost Delene for her tireless efforts in trying to navigate this complex and sometimes emotional work. We have learned a lot through this process, and will continue to review and refine how we do academic strategic planning going forward. This is not a one-and-done process, but an ongoing review of the range of programs that make up this wonderful college.
The next stage is for a full review of the resource requests, which I will undertake first with Provost Delene and then continue with Provost Abraham when he arrives. While not every request for a position will be released in 2022-23, we have established a three-year timeline to accomplish what is needed to invest in our immediate future. What is clear is that a good faith effort has been made to critique our academic array and to plan for the future with confidence and real resources. I would urge departments to continue to consider how best to collaborate with other departments on this process, as cross-disciplinary areas are ripe for continued exploration. No one structure will ever fit all circumstances, and no one structure is likely to remain in perpetuity. We have the opportunity to meet our prospective students where they are, and transform them into soaring Golden Eagles upon the completion of their studies. Thank you again for all of your efforts in this important endeavor.
Fall Parking Changes
If you are on a ten-month contract, you will return in August to a transformed campus. Much of the work on New Campus Drive will be nearly complete, and work on Residence Drive will be ongoing, which will mean a temporary loss of parking spaces alongside the construction work. In order to accommodate this work, a new shuttle bus will run from 7:30 am throughout the regular working hours Monday to Friday from Lot X on a continuous loop. We have spaces for 200 individuals to sign up for this new service. Using the shuttle will mean that you will not have to hunt for a space to park, which can be frustrating. There is no charge for the shuttle during the construction period. We have discussed the parking changes with UUP and with CSEA, and more information will be forthcoming regarding signing up for the shuttle service. I appreciate your patience as this construction continues.
This is a moment of goodbyes beyond our graduating seniors and our graduating graduate students. We have seen a number of people at all levels of the college retire this year, from faculty to staff to long time administrators. I wish all the best to our departing colleagues. I want to thank Dave Mihalyov and Nancy Ensman for working so closely with me over the years. You will be missed.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank Linda Delene for taking on the role of Interim Provost this past year. Provost Delene has implemented a number of new processes and procedures, and has led Academic Affairs at a crucial juncture in our college’s history. We are now well placed to welcome Martin Abraham to lead Academic Affairs starting in June, and I am grateful that Linda gave us her time and energy over the last 12 months.
For all of you, I wish you peace, happiness, and health over the summer, and look forward to seeing some of you on campus this season, and to welcoming others of you back in the fall.
Enjoy your summer.