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Closing in on Enrollment Targets

The Excelsior Scholarship

Last month I presented a preliminary fall enrollment report describing where we stood in terms of applications, deposits and the academic profile of the Class of 2021. Since then we have had further indications that the new class will be robust.

As of May 10, deposits by first-time, full-time students (freshmen) were up by 274 over last year, from 1,189 to 1,463, compared to our goal of 1,330.

The class will be more diverse, with 28.5% of deposits from AALANA (African American, Latino/a, Asian, Native American) students. This is a nearly 4% increase over 2016.

We also expect to increase the number of new students from outside of New York. SUNY Oneonta enrolled only 12 new, out-of-state undergraduates last fall. Based on current deposits, we will double that number this fall and hope to continue growing that population.

One area in which we expect to fall short is international recruitment. Our goal is 10 new, first-time international students. However, deposits for this cohort are down by three this year, and international transfer admissions are flat.

During the summer we are still accepting transfer students, whose deposits are due by the end of July. We have received 396 deposits for fall 2017, 49 fewer than last year’s tally at this time.

While discussions about enrollment often focus on admissions, the majority of the college’s students are continuing from last year. There is good news in this area, too.

Courtney Murphy of the Academic Advisement Office has led a campaign to call, email and write to continuing students who haven’t registered for fall classes to remind them to do so. Results have been encouraging. Our total so far for returning undergraduates is 4,052, just 30 students shy of our goal.

Another initiative expected to impact enrollment is the Excelsior Scholarship. The Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) anticipates releasing the scholarship application on June 6. Our college’s Excelsior Scholarship webpage, launched last week, already has recorded over 2,000 visits. While interest in the scholarship continues to build, how it will affect the incoming class remains unclear.

The Excelsior Scholarship and our aggressive enrollment targets have made fall 2017 recruitment different from past years’ efforts. However, we are in an excellent position with regard to new students, and we continue to make progress overall toward our enrollment and retention goals.

Kevin Sutton, Making Cent$ Program Coordinator

Highlight: Sutton Nationally Recognized for Making Cent$

For May, we are highlighting Kevin Sutton, who coordinates the Making Cent$ program, and his supervisor Kelly Zack-Decker. Late last month, the National Financial Educators Council presented Kevin with a certificate of appreciation in recognition of his efforts to improve the financial knowledge of SUNY Oneonta students and his positive contributions to financial literacy initiatives. Kelly nominated Kevin for this honor, saying that he worked tirelessly to develop this financial literacy initiative, and that he is the go-to person students seek out for assistance with their money management questions.

Kevin and Kelly are reaching students through creative programming. They also are helping the college fulfill strategic plan objective 3D, to “increase students’ financial literacy and reduce their loan debt at graduation.” The college is proud of Kevin’s recognition and thankful for his thoughtful, enthusiastic approach to such an important subject.


- In this Edition -

Momentous Fundraising Year for SUNY Oneonta

Redesigning signs: campus way finding initiative continues

Survey policy anticipated

The Class of 2017 is off and running!


Momentous Fundraising Year for SUNY Oneonta

Paul Adamo
Vice President for College Advancement

Paul Adamo

Heading into the last month of fiscal year 2016-17, gifts and grants raised through the Division of College Advancement are 24% ahead of last year at this time. Thank you to our campus partners who helped raise these funds, welcomed alumni who returned to Oneonta, and who themselves, made donations.

Approximately 65% of the gifts and grants we raise are restricted for endowment, ensuring that growth continues. The remaining unrestricted, expendable gifts provide flexibility to support campus programs and new experiences.

Our students and faculty experience the financial impacts, ranging from reduced loan debt to opportunities to attend national conferences. As Marguerite Tompkins, a member of the Class of 2017 and recipient of the Walter J. and Anna H. Burchan Scholarship, put it: “Receiving my scholarship means so much to me because it provides me with the finances I need in order to not have to take on an extra job outside of school… I fortunately have more time to do my schoolwork and to focus on my future.”

Comparitive Fundraising Snapshot
Comparative Fundraising Snapshot
Gifts and Grants as of May 15
Fiscal Year 2016 - $3,149,740
Fiscal Year 2015 - $2,535,448
5-Fiscal-Year Average (2012-2016) - $2,584,599

Many factors affect our ability to support students like Marguerite, but few are more influential than culture and maturity of programs. SUNY Oneonta weaves philanthropy into its organizational culture, involving people who are asked to give our college their time and money. The results are evident almost everywhere on campus. Endowment and expendable giving fund faculty development, student research, internships, scholarships, travel funds, lectureships, and the Milne Library.

Our development and fundraising programs strengthened during our most recent campaign, Possibilities Full of Promise –The 125th Anniversary Campaign for SUNY Oneonta. This campaign raised gifts and pledges of over $13.6 million in four years, and elevated awareness about the roles of charitable giving at our college.

In the past two years, we honed our programs even more. One critical change was migration of our database from Banner to Blackboard Raiser’s Edge, the preeminent fundraising software in use today within the nonprofit sector. Raiser’s Edge already has increased our efficiency in managing our over 100,000 records. We expect that it will broaden the opportunities the college is able to offer students and other members of our campus community.

Redesigning signs: campus way finding initiative continues

Hal Legg
Executive Director of Communications

Sign updates will continue this summer

Last year the college installed exterior lettering on several buildings in an attempt to improve way finding, especially for motorists and visitors unfamiliar with our campus. Facilities Program Coordinator Scott Barton, with input from the Institutional Communications Group, led this project and developed its winning aesthetic: large aluminum signs that are easy to see, yet complement the brick and block on which they’re hung.

Sign updates will continue this summer. Work will include:

List ItemRemoval of the small post-and-panel—sometimes called “Chippendale”—signs in front of many buildings;

List ItemReplacement of the large directional sign on Ravine Parkway down the hill and across from the Health and Wellness Center with a more modest “ladder” sign;

List ItemRemoval of the college seal from the side of Alumni Field House facing Ravine Parkway;

List ItemIncreasing the main entrance sign’s setback from West Street, which will to improve motorists’ line of sight at the Ravine Parkway/West Street intersection; and

List ItemDevelopment of updated graphics for the field hockey scoreboard and the campus map signs.

Planning is underway to reduce the number of large post-and-panel signs and replace them with ladder signs, and to redevelop the sign at the intersection of West Dorm Drive and Ravine Parkway to serve as a more prominent marker for motorists entering campus. The college also expects to add exterior lettering to residence halls and several buildings not included in last year’s project.

Thoughtfully designed and placed signs make it easier for visitors to navigate SUNY Oneonta and reduce the overall physical footprint of signs at the college. These new signs will also have a consistent look and feel that reflects the standards of the College Style Guide, helping to tie the campus together visually.

Survey policy anticipated

Ernesto Henriquez
Director of Assessment

Online Survey

Surveys are increasingly popular tools for gathering information from college constituencies. As the point person for several institutional, SUNY, and external surveys, such as the National Survey of Student Engagement, I see a growing need to more intentionally organize our efforts to seek feedback, especially from students.

As a first step, I am drafting a college-wide survey policy with input from the Data Governance Committee and the President’s Cabinet. My hope is that having an institutional framework will curb “survey fatigue,” which often causes lower response rates to surveys, overall. Unfortunately, this is what we’re seeing now on our campus.

To begin reversing this trend, we can take steps to:

List ItemReduce the collection of duplicate data;

List ItemCombine data collection needs when possible and appropriate; and

List ItemManage the number and timing of multiple surveys to any single group of respondents.

Another subject to wrap our arms around is survey tools. It would valuable to keep records of which software—SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics are two examples—is in use on our campus.

Under a new policy, I anticipate that the Office of Institutional Assessment & Effectiveness (OIAE) will coordinate survey activity to a greater extent. For example, my office can create a survey calendar to share with the campus community when surveys are scheduled and to mitigate survey fatigue. OIAE can also provide training based on best practices in data collection and security, and help offices and departments avoid conducting surveys to collect data that is already available.

An institutional policy will establish procedures and quality standards to ensure that survey design, administration, analysis, and reporting are methodologically sound. One objective here is to maintain a consistent level of quality that enhances the college’s reputation among audiences we survey. The other result we hope to see is better data, and more of it, that creates new knowledge and informs decision-making.

The Class of 2017 is off and running!

Office of Communications

Online Survey

It’s only been nine days since commencement, and some of our graduates are already off and running. From a research internship studying theoretical physics in Australia, to a Teach America assignment in South Carolina, the Class of 2017 is beginning some exciting new pursuits this summer. Watch this video to see a sampling of where our graduates land after Oneonta.

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