THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 10, Issue 21–April 15, 2016
Two Crazy Weeks, One More Coming
As the end of the term approaches, things get crazy busier for almost everyone and my job is no exception. Last week included a drive to Rome for the Dental Hygiene Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday, then to an Economic Development meeting in Syracuse and an Alumni gathering in Ogdensburg on Thursday, and a quick flight and drive to Cobleskill for an inauguration on Friday. More on these events can be found below. Whenever you’re out of the office a lot, things pile up, so not surprisingly, this week has been pretty much non-stop meetings.
Next week the same cycle begins again. On Saturday, I’ll be attending an Air Force ROTC Change of Command event. I leave for Albany on Sunday afternoon for Monday’s meetings of both the College of Technology presidents at 9:00 AM, followed by a meeting of all SUNY presidents with the Chancellor at 10:00. I then fly to DC on Monday evening for SUNY Days, which includes a number of meetings with our representatives, senators, and their staffs. I fly back on Thursday evening. Friday should be a lot of fun, dealing with everything that has accumulated over the week. And of course there’s Admitted Student Day on Saturday.
Speaking of crazy, the weather has been crazy too. We’ve settled into a recent pattern of light snow overnight followed by melting during the day with some rain in between. On Tuesday, things got really weird with a nice sunny beginning to the day, followed by snow flurries in the afternoon, followed by sleet in the early evening. It was all gone by morning on Wednesday, and the temperature should be rising to the 60’s this weekend. No doubt followed by some snow.
I knew we’d be paying for the very mild winter we’ve had sometime.
Students Win Chancellor’s Award
Congratulations to Codi McKee and Rebecca Burns, SUNY Canton’s two winners of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.
Cody is a Civil and Environmental Technology major, the Engineering Club president, helped design the ASCE chapter’s steel bridge and has been a resident assistant. He received the SUNY Canton Academic award for the highest grade-point average in his discipline three times. He also received the Richard W. Miller Excellence Award, Canino Prize for Academic Excellence, and is a National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholar. He has been on the President’s List for his entire SUNY Canton career and has received multiple scholarships. He is a member of the Tau Alpha Phi National Honor Society and the Golden Key International Honor Society.
Rebecca is a Veterinary Technology major, a member of the SUNY Canton honors program and has presented research twice during the college’s Scholarly Activities Celebration. She is a member of Tau Phi Zeta honor society and the SUNY Canton Veterinary Technician Association. She received President’s List honors for two consecutive years, as well as the Community Foundation Scholarship, Lawrence German Endowed Scholarship, Betsy B. Kaplan Memorial Endowed Scholarship, and Marie Simmons Scholarship. She is a student leader and student assistant in SUNY Canton Math and Science Tutoring Center, and works as a peer tutor through the Office of Accommodative Services. She volunteers at Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm, Pray Road Stables and the Potsdam Humane Society.
The Chancellor’s Award Ceremony took place on April 5 in Albany. Cody and Rebecca were accompanied by Vice President for Student Life Courtney Bish at the ceremony.
L-R: Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Rebecca, Cody, and V.P. Courtney Bish
About the Budget
The state budget has been released, and the news for SUNY is—well, let’s politely say disappointing. The legislature voted to not increase tuition, and no significant additional operating funds showed up in the final budget. Consequently, we’re in a bit of a squeeze. Our costs will go up next year from three sources: (1) There will likely be a salary increase, but while the state negotiates the outcome, we have to pay for it with no increase in our budget to cover it; (2) If there is an increase in enrollment (and things look good so far), the TAP gap (unfunded part of TAP that we have to cover) will get larger; and (3) inflation. In some good news, we received an allocation of $500,000 above our base State aid, thanks to our supportive legislators, that will help us to implement several of the new programs that are in the works.
The SUNY presidents and CFO’s will be talking with the Chancellor and her staff about our strategy going forward in Albany next week. It’s also possible that the legislature or governor will come forward with a v.2 of the budget in the next few weeks that might be more positive. In any event, it would be prudent to move forward assuming that next year will be tight.
Dental Hygiene Visit
Last Wednesday, several of us drove down to Rome to visit our Dental Hygiene program and meet with their advisory board. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the program since I came to SUNY Canton, but this was my first change to see the program close up.
Our visit began with a tour of their facilities, which are quite impressive. Their space includes a large number of individual spaces for working with patients, fully equipped like any number of dentist offices I’ve been to. Students in the program obviously get a lot of practical experience—several were working on patients while we visited. There are various support spaces as well, including an autoclave room, storage room for supplies, changing room, meeting room, offices, and a patient waiting room.
In addition to the practical experience, the students also (of course) take Dental Hygiene related courses and core courses, and these take place at the Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College. MVCC is expanding their main building in Rome, so the program will soon enjoy new classrooms as well. We met with the president and provost from MVCC, and then had a tour of the new construction.
The advisory board meeting was very positive, with our faculty talking about the various successes the program has enjoyed over the past year. Their retention and graduation rates are strong, and the students enjoy an essentially 100% placement rate upon graduation. Once again, the Dental Hygiene student association has won a national award for their community service from the ADHA. The members of the advisory board also agreed to help fundraise for the program, and our Advancement Office is looking forward to working with them.
If you’re ever in the Rome, NY area, it’s well worth a look to see our program, arguably the best in the state and perhaps well beyond.
A Little More on GMMD
In the last issue of the BLAB, I wrote a little bit about what’s new in our GMMD program, and mentioned that their graduating seniors would be exhibiting their artwork in the Roos House starting on April 14. The work comes from Christopher Sweeney’s Multimedia Product Design 2 course, along with a faculty exhibition.
Jill, Mark and I went to see the exhibit yesterday evening, and just like last year, it was quite impressive. I saw student-developed video games, animation (in a style reminiscent of “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) projected on a painted background, a comic book about depression (as well as t-shirts and hats with the main character), an advertising campaign for a winery, an animated short, and some very nice artwork by both students and faculty. It was a very impressive exhibit, taking advantage of the Roos House space in an imaginative way. If you haven’t seen the exhibits yet, get down there right away before they’re taken down—it’s well worth your time!
Consul General from Germany Visit
This past Tuesday also featured the last of our Leadership Series speakers for the academic year, the Honorable Consul General Brita Wagener. I really appreciate her visit, especially considering the long distance she had to travel—she came by car, all the way from Manhattan, with rain from NYC to Albany, but decent weather through the Adirondacks. Of course, while she was on campus she got to see our little snow squall and then some sleet. We did assure her that the weather isn’t always like that up here!
Consul General Wagener’s talk initially centered on the trans-Atlantic alliance and Germany’s large volume of trade with the US—we’re now Germany’s largest trading partner (France used to be first). The largest and most interesting segment of her talk was about how Germany is dealing with the large influx of refugees—it took in more than 1.1 million last year. If one adjusts for the relative sizes of our populations, it would be equivalent to the US taking in 4-5 million refugees in one year. While there are some political parties in Germany that are against this, others in Germany see it as a good thing given the decline in the German birthrate—companies are having a very hard time finding new workers, and believe it will boost the economy and ultimately allow the country to maintain its social services. She also mentioned that given Germany’s history, most citizens see the country as repaying a moral obligation by taking in the refugees.
At dinner, we discussed a lot of different things, including ways that Germans and Americans are similar and different. Something I had never heard before is that lots of people in Germany watch a short comedy bit called “Dinner for One” on TV every New Year’s Eve, even though the bit is in English and utterly unknown in Britain. This got me curious, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. They say that this is actually happening in lots of European countries, and that “Dinner for One” is thereby the most rerun television program ever! The clip is available on Youtube, so I gave it a look. It’s pretty funny, but I have no idea what it has to do with New Year’s Eve or why it has such long-term popularity. I’ve put the link below, and you can judge for yourself.
Gender and Sexuality Studies
Back on April 1-2, SUNY Canton hosted the Gender and Sexuality Studies Conference, sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley. I had the pleasure of introducing the keynote speaker, Holly Hughes.
I knew I had seen that name before, and after a little research, found out that she had been one of four artists that had been recommended for funding by the National Endowment for the Arts, only to have the funding quashed by the NEA administrator. This became a lawsuit that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The artists won, and were paid an amount equal to the proposed funding, but the NEA subsequently changed its rules so that individual artists could no longer be funded. Holly Hughes became well known as a result, and has become a well-known activist for artistic freedom.
In her speech, she talked in a very humorous way about her personal history, and some of the audiences and issues she has had to deal with. She was articulate and witty, and I enjoyed the speech/performance immensely. I’m told that the panel discussions and other sessions were excellent as well. Thanks to everyone involved in organizing the conference!
Congratulations to Marion Terenzio
Congratulations to my colleague and friend, Dr. Marion Terenzio on her inauguration as president of SUNY Cobleskill. The inauguration was held last Friday, and it was a very nice affair. I flew down to Albany Friday morning and rented a car to get there on time. SUNY Cobleskill is located in a pretty valley, and the surrounding hills were frosted with a little snow that had fallen the previous night. Several of the other SUNY presidents were there, as were some from colleges where she had worked in the past.
The ceremony was quite moving and included a beautiful invocation, several poetry and musical interludes, and speeches by the Chancellor, the president of Bloomfield College (NJ), and of course President Terenzio herself. The ceremony brought back a lot of memories about my own inauguration one year earlier, of course with some relief that this time I could just sit back and watch.
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last week’s contest dealt with cities in New York. Our winner was Renee Campbell, who wins a disc from the vast Szafran repository. Here are the correct answers:
- According to the song, “It’s a hell of a town. The Bronx is up, and the Battery’s down. The people ride in a hole in the ground.” New York, New York.
- Nearby village named after a city in Germany. Potsdam.
- According to the song, “off we’re gonna shuffle, shuffle off to” this city. Buffalo.
- Also known as Salt City, now in the final four. Syracuse.
- The only U.S. seaport on the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the only city in St. Lawrence County. Ogdensburg.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
This week’s challenge is about words beginning with the letter “G”. Everyone with all five correct wins a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, or whatever else I’ve dredged up as a prize. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.
- They sell cookies every year to raise money, and have the motto “Be prepared”.
- Singer Stefani Germanotta, known for her songs Poker Face, Paparazzi, and Born This Way.
- Big web search engine, it also has a really good map app.
- Big Japanese dinosaur-type monster.
- Evil creature in “The Hobbit” that loved “his precious”.