March 12, 2015


Volume 9, Issue 30– March 12, 2015


Faculty Member Wins Chancellor’s Award

Congratulations to our own Jill L. Martin, who has won the 2014-2015 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching. Jill teaches English and has been at SUNY Canton since 2000. While she has had many successes, one of the more interesting things she has done is to incorporate volunteer service components in her courses, giving students the opportunity to learn through community engagement. There is plenty of research indicating that being able to apply what one has learned through community engagement leads to deeper learning and greater engagement than classwork by itself.


Jill and Terry Martin

Prior to coming to SUNY Canton, Jill taught high school for 34 years, giving her a firm understanding of the students’ high school to college transition needs. She also created an Adjunct Mentorship Program and authored the College’s first adjunct handbook to help new adjuncts acclimate to our campus.

The Chancellor’s Awards are recognition for “consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence”. Chancellor Zimpher, during the announcement ceremony, said: “Adjunct teachers across the SUNY campuses provide consistently excellent instruction and are a key component of our faculty as we seek to increase access, completion, and success among students. Those honored with this year’s award have demonstrated extraordinary dedication to their students and an exceptional commitment to quality teaching.

Congratulations, Jill!


CONTEST! Why SUNY Canton is the Greatest Place on Earth

As mentioned in the BLAB two weeks ago, we’re starting a contest called “Why SUNY Canton is the Greatest Place on Earth”. It’s obvious to all of us that SUNY Canton is the greatest, but we need to capture the story to prove it to the rest of the world!

I’m sure you’ve seen multiple examples of this—a great student project. A transcendent moment in the classroom or lab. A beautiful spot on campus. A great on-campus event. A winning moment in athletics. Cool students, faculty, and staff. Something funny or touching that captures the SUNY Canton spirit.

We want you to submit a picture (or short video clip) capturing part of our story, along with a suggested caption. We’ll number and post the good ones, credited to the people who submitted them, on our new website at You can see a few samples there now to give you an idea of what we’re looking for. The very best submissions will be saved for “milestone” numbers (#50, #100, and so on) and will win big prizes. There’s no limit to the number of pictures and ideas you can submit.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there with your camera and your imagination and start submitting. Just click on “submit a photo” to learn how, and you’re ready to be a part of history.


SUNY Canton Now Part of Coast Guard’s Auxiliary University Program

Students at SUNY Canton can now gain nautical education, operational training experiences, aviation studies training, leadership development opportunities, advanced maritime safety studies training, and homeland security training by participating in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Auxiliary University Program (AUP).

Coast Guard Auxiliary (2)

This non-credit bearing course of study will provide SUNY Canton students with service learning, internship, training, and Officer Candidate School opportunities with the active duty U.S. Coast Guard. Students who participate in this program will have no service obligation, but will receive free training while adhering to the U.S. Coast Guard core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty. Those who successfully complete the program will be designated as Auxiliary University Program (AUP) graduates.

Congratulations to Dr. Brian Harte for helping establish this program at SUNY Canton. Want more information? Just contact Dr. Harte at


Invest in SUNY


As many of you are aware, March is heavy budget time for our state government. Governor Cuomo has released his proposed state budget, and it’s now time for the State Assembly and Senate to weigh in with their proposals. Negotiations ensue, resulting in a final budget being passed, ideally by March 31. As a result, March is also the time that agencies, organizations, and individuals, all try to speak to members of the legislature and to the press regarding their needs and wants.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been involved in editorial writing, press conferences, and meetings with key legislators to tell the SUNY Canton story, including our role in supporting economic growth in the North Country (and beyond), our students’ successes, and our needs going forward. My fellow SUNY presidents and I have also been advocating for the state to Invest in SUNY, to provide the necessary additional funding for us to meet ambitious goals of increasing both graduation rates and the number of SUNY graduates (from 90,000 to 150,000 annually by 2020).

The main points of Invest in SUNY are:

  • Establishing a SUNY Investment Fund, which would include a five-year performance funding plan, allowing SUNY to support evidence-based programs such as:
  • “Finish in Four” completion guarantee programs
  • Expansion of online programs through Open SUNY
  • Improved remedial pathways
  • Improved coordination and advisement in high school and college
  • Increased opportunities for applied learning and internships
  • Expansion of the Educational Opportunity Program, where we have 30,000 applicants annually for only 2,500 available seats
  • Establishing a Master Innovators Program, which would enable SUNY to successfully recruit and retain high-profile professors who generate the greatest research, development, and commercialization opportunities.
  • Extending the Rational Tuition program to 2020.
  • Providing additional capital dollars to build and maintain infrastructure, as part of a multi-year capital plan.
  • Providing adequate support for the State’s teaching hospitals.

To support the Invest in SUNY effort, I wrote an editorial titled “State Must Invest More in SUNY, Students” that was published as a letter to the editor in the Watertown Daily Times and in North Country This Week (you can see it here). On March 5, several of us traveled to Watertown for a press conference. I joined Jefferson Community College’s president Carol McCoy and Jefferson County Local Development Corp.’s David Zembiec in advocating for Invest in SUNY, and we received a lot of press: in newspapers (here), on TV (here), and on the radio (here). SUNY Canton has also established a website to support Invest in SUNY (which can be found here).


Trip to Albany

From Monday to Wednesday, Lenore VanderZee (our Executive Director of University Relations) and I were down in Albany, talking to key members of the Assembly and Senate and their staff about Invest in SUNY and about SUNY Canton’s major needs. Our needs include renovation of Dana Hall, supporting the development of critical new majors in Agriculture and Mechatronics, and increased funding for TAP (so that the “TAP Gap” can be eliminated).

The trip started at 11:00 on Monday, with us driving down to Albany through the Adirondacks. It was a beautiful day, sunny and relatively warm (28°F, warmer than it has been) and the roads were almost totally empty. After a stop for a bite and to gas up midway, we got to Albany about 3 PM and checked in to the hotel. We were at the airport Hampton Inn, because all the hotels downtown were booked solid by other people down to see the legislature. It’s about 7 miles from there to the legislative office building and the capitol with no simple route going there, so going back and forth to the hotel was a little bit of a pain.

Our first meeting was with John Bojnowski, Legislative Director for Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie, at 4:30 PM. It was a very pleasant meeting, telling him about our college in general and that many of our students come from the Speaker’s home district in the Bronx. Speaker Heastie has recently advanced a new initiative to help students from needy backgrounds be able to afford to go to college. Many SUNY college presidents (including me) signed on to support this initiative.

After the meeting, we went to dinner. I drove over to my favorite Indian restaurant in Albany, but couldn’t find a parking place anywhere near it. I finally found a place a few blocks away and as it turned out, there were two other Indian restaurants just across the street. One was named Lazeez, and since VanderZee, Szafran, and Zvi all have z’s in them, I decided it was an omen and we should go there instead. As it turned out, the food was great and it was a good choice.


On Tuesday, we saw our own Assemblymember Addie Russell (Chair of the Task Force on Food, Farm, and Nutrition Policy) and had an interesting discussion about stronger linkages between the high schools, BOCES, and the college; and creating career pathways as a way of improving graduation rates.  Addie is a strong supporter of SUNY and its role in the economic development of the North Country.


Lenore VanderZee, Assemblymember Addie Russell, and Me

We also saw Assemblymember Deborah Glick (Chair of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee), and Franklin Esson (Director of the Higher Education Committee for Senator Kenneth LaValle, Chair of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee).   Both were very familiar with SUNY Canton and supportive in our discussion.  That evening, we attended the SUNY Legislative Reception, held at The Egg, where it was a pleasure to see Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and lots of people we know from the SUNY central office, from the Board of Regents, and from other SUNY campuses, as well as several other legislators.

On Wednesday, we saw out our own Senate member Pattie Ritchie (Chair of the Agriculture Committee).  Senator Richie is a strong supporter of SUNY Canton, and was very interested in the Agriculture programs we are developing and the important role they could play in supporting the economy in the North Country.


Me, Senator Pattie Ritchie, and Lenore VanderZee

Our final meeting was with Robert Mujica (Chief of Staff for Senator Robert Skelos, the Majority Leader of the Senate) who we were pleased to see was already familiar with SUNY Canton and what we are trying to accomplish.  It was extremely gratifying to see the strong support SUNY Canton (and SUNY in general) has in the Legislature—everyone was aware of the  high quality of our graduates and was supportive of our role in the economic development of our region.

On Wednesday, I also represented the Technology College sector in the Chancellor’s Invest in SUNY press conference on Wednesday, which you can read about here.  The Chancellor, several members of the Board of Trustees, and several SUNY presidents all made the case for why investing in SUNY is a smart move for the future of our students and for the state, and that we can do even more great things with some additional funding in key areas.

We finished up at about 12:00, and drove back up to Lark Street to make another attempt at the original Indian restaurant, the Jewel of India. This time I found a parking place right on State St. a little before Lark. When we got out of the car, there was a big protest going on involving hundreds of young schoolchildren, carrying signs and chanting for better school funding. The restaurant was excellent as usual, and we got onto the highway at about 1:30, reaching Canton at 5:30 after another beautiful ride on a sunny day in the Adirondacks.

This morning, I traveled to Ogdensburg for a 7:30 AM interview on YES-FM about (you guessed it) Invest in SUNY. You can hear the interview in all its splendor here.


Adirondack Challenge

Last Sunday (March 8), Jill, Mark and I headed down to Lake Placid to enjoy Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Adirondack Winter Challenge.  I had previously attended last summer’s Adirondack Challenge, so I knew that it was going to be a good time.  The trip to Lake Placid was a little iffy with snow squall breaking out periodically and NY 458 needing a bit of repair from this past winter.  Nonetheless, we persevered, arriving in Lake Placid in the early afternoon.

There were lots of people participating in winter sports–bobsledding, downhill skiing, ice fishing, the luge, and many others.  Lake Placid is a pretty town with lots of nice stores too–I only wish we had gotten there earlier to get in some shopping time!

The festivities ended with a cocktail party and a dinner.  As soon as we went into the social hall, I was happy to see Joe Rich and his lovely wife Carol.  Joe is a member of SUNY Canton’s College Council, and he and Carol are among the nicest people you’d ever want to meet.  We all sat down for dinner and after finishing, the program began.  Governor Cuomo talked about the importance of tourism in the North Country economy, and posed for pictures with the winners of the various Adirondack Challenge events.


Afterwards, Governor Cuomo shook hands with the crowd.  My son Mark shook his hand and then offered him a bottle of Coke.  The Governor smiled, and then handed it back saying “I think you’d like this better”.  It was clear that Mark had become a lifelong Cuomo supporter!


Receiver, Redux

Thanks to Amazon and its two-day free shipping (if you’re an Amazon Prime member, which I am), the new receiver arrived Wednesday and upon returning from Albany (see above) I immediately installed it. It’s another Onkyo and this one comes complete with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so one can stream internet radio and sync an iPhone to it. With all that, it doesn’t cost more than the previous one did—amazing! I immediately put in an SACD and sat back to enjoy the great sound. There’s nothing like great music in SACD format on a good system. Ahhhhhhh…


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest dealt with “capitals” or words that sound similar. Our winner was Lenore VanderZee and there was only one other entrant–my sister Drorit.  What happened to everyone else?  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Albany.  Capital of New York.
  2. Building in Washington DC that the Senate and House of Representatives are in. Capitol Building.
  3. Founded by Johnny Mercer, its stars included Nat King Cole, the Beatles, and Katy Perry. Capitol Records.
  4. If you make a profit on selling a stock or other asset, you have to pay this on your taxes. Capital Gains Tax.
  5. Book written by Karl Marx, laying the foundation for communism. Das Kapital.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

In honor of the Albany Indian restaurant, this week’s challenge deals with words starting with the letter “Z”. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. They’re actually black with white stripes, not the other way around.
  2. Introduced in 1963, they replaced zones in addresses for mail.
  3. There are twelve, including Gemini, Cancer, and Pisces.
  4. Song from the Disney movie “Song of the South”, the second line is “My, oh my, what a wonderful day.”
  5. African country formerly known as South Rhodesia, its president is Robert Mugabe.
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