We are now more than halfway through the fall semester, and I thank you for your ongoing commitment to our students’ success. I mentioned at convocation that the start of this academic year filled me with more confidence and positivity than I had felt for some time, because we had good student enrollment numbers, good retention figures, and a shrinking structural deficit. All of this is due to your hard work, and the ability of our community to work together on difficult issues. I am very appreciative of your efforts. Next month we will hold our first Budget Town Hall of the year, and I urge you to attend, or to attend a JPBC meeting, so that you can hear first hand what this hard work has achieved. I also wanted to let you know that our 2022-23 Annual Report which highlights the work that has been achieved over the last year, as well as plans for 2023-24, is now available online and I hope you enjoy reading it.
While many issues across the world are difficult and painful, and reading or watching the news is sobering, it is possible to hold two mutually exclusive things in mind at once: the world is in a very difficult situation, and our campus is moving in the right direction. We are truly Building a Better Brockport, from our work on campus climate and sense of belonging, to the work on buildings and grounds, to our work on fundraising and beyond. What I mean is that despite all that is wrong in the world, my positivity about the semester and our work on campus hasn’t dissipated. My meetings with other SUNY presidents and other local presidents show me that we are on the right track, and we should be proud of the collective effort that got us to this point. Other campuses are in more difficult situations, and I recognize that this can be disconcerting. But please know that the hard work we have all put in is reaping rewards, from our recruitment successes, to our first six week engagement activities for students, to our expansion of academic programs, to our careful review of expenditures. We are a strong and healthy institution, and we have every reason to believe that if we stay the course, we will remain so. Of course, there’s no guarantee that we’ll achieve ongoing student recruitment success: we must continue to strategize, invest, and work together to accomplish our goals. But I am confident that we can.
President’s Committee on Campus Climate
As I shared during convocation, we have finally received the full report that contains the results of our 2022 Campus Climate Survey from the external vendor who confidentially analyzed the data on our behalf. Numerous delays from our vendor made this a much longer process than we had hoped. The report indicates that there is an opportunity to strengthen our campus climate—an opportunity we must and will embrace. I have charged the President’s Committee on Campus Climate with meeting with every Division/School on campus to share survey results and, more importantly, engage our community in discussions centered around how we can work collectively to improve our climate. These forums are currently underway. The committee will meet with each of our academic schools this semester, along with other departments in Academic Affairs, before turning its focus to the other divisions. I strongly urge you to attend one of these forums and add your voice to the conversation.
We want to create a space for transparent, constructive conversations that can help us move forward in a transformational way. Please know that I am deeply committed to this process and recognize the role that senior leadership must play in our culture and our climate. At the Committee’s request, I am not attending these forums, but instead asking Cabinet members and Deans to take up the leadership role in their respective areas and lead the opening of these important conversations — while ensuring that space is provided for deep, meaningful and transparent conversations during breakout sessions.
Thank you for all that you have done over the last year, and all that you continue to do as we move forward.