SUNY Oneonta

President Nancy Kleniewski

President's Welcome

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About the College

About President  Kleniewski


2012 Opening Breakfast Remarks


From President Kleniewski
To All Faculty and Staff
August 24, 2012

Good morning and welcome to the 2012-13 academic year. I’m happy to report that the college is doing well, and this morning I have some highlights to share with you.

The Cabinet recently reviewed the college’s Strategic Plan 2010-15 and will propose several revisions this fall. Symbolically, instead of presenting our six goals as parallel pillars, we propose to move Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship to the center. This presentation better shows the relationship between our core activities and the related goals of student engagement, diversity, community partnerships, global connectedness and sustainability. The Strategic Planning Council, under the leadership of Lisa Flynn, will solicit campus input into proposed changes to the plan. Next, we will intentionally direct resources to the highest priority areas. For example, to maximize the impact faculty members have on our students, we are adding 10 new tenure-track faculty positions for 2013. To enhance teaching, learning, and scholarship, Provost Thompson has instituted faculty development activities led by Theresa Russo and Bill Wilkerson and has appointed Wendy Mitteager to the new post of Service Learning Coordinator.

Another high priority this year is diversity: both how much diversity we have and our positive campus climate. To increase student diversity, we are using new Admissions strategies such as broader outreach and targeted scholarships. To increase faculty diversity, we expanded the Dissertation Fellow program and included diversity in the criteria for allocating new faculty positions. To make the campus climate more welcoming, we initiated several programs. One is the Bold Campaign against bias and prejudice, which provides information and strategies to combat racism, sexism, homophobia and other bias acts. Bernadette Tiapo and the members of the campaign committee prepared the cards and buttons on your table, and I hope you will use them. A second program is the Campus of Difference workshops from the Anti-Defamation League. Twenty-four of our faculty and staff have already been trained as Campus of Difference workshop leaders, coordinated by Mary Bonderoff and Theresa Russo. I ask all of you to participate in the Campus of Difference workshops. During the coming year, we will also redefine the role of the President’s Council on Diversity; those discussions will be led by Zanna McKay and Robin Nussbaum. Coming up very quickly, world-famous author Cornel West of Princeton University will speak on intergroup relations as part of our September 4th remembrance, a full day of educational activities coordinated by Gretchen Sorin, Art Dauria and Colleen Brannan. Please participate, and faculty members, please consider using the September 4 sessions for your classes.

I’m happy to report that the college’s finances are stable, and we intend to invest a portion of our savings toward our highest priorities. In a few weeks, the Budget Advisory Committee, led by Deborah Farro-Lynd and Todd Foreman, will announce a new budget process called Strategic Allocation of Resources, or StAR. Through the StAR process, all units of the college will be invited to request funds for activities that help meet our strategic goals. Please watch for that announcement.

SUNY Oneonta benefits greatly from the generosity of our friends and benefactors, donors who help the college sustain excellence. Last year we received nearly $3 million in gifts, which helped support scholarships, undergraduate research and faculty travel. Currently the Advancement staff and Foundation Board are preparing to launch a new campaign to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the college and raise awareness of philanthropy as a value. Many faculty and staff members contribute to the College at Oneonta Foundation, and I thank those of you who gave gifts during the past year.

Admissions and enrollment continue to be very strong. This year’s freshman class is impressive; a group of 1,080 selected from more than 12,000 applicants. Our new students are high achievers, with an overall high school average of 90.8 and combined SAT scores of 1130. They are also a diverse group, including the largest number of AALANA first-year students in at least 10 years. We hear from guidance counselors around the state that SUNY Oneonta is the new “it” school.

Our Facilities Department is currently working through $62 million of construction and renovation projects. Fitzelle Hall will reopen in 2014 as our largest and most up-to-date academic building. Littell Hall just reopened as the last of the First Year Experience halls. This summer we improved our underground utilities, parking lots, sidewalks, windows and roofs to make the campus more attractive, functional and energy-efficient. Groundbreaking for the townhouse complex will be delayed until next year due to a number of factors beyond our control, but we are still committed to the project.

Looking ahead to the coming year, we will host an accreditation visit from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. In October, our team chair, President James Muyskens of Queens College, will visit, and the full team will be here in March for four days, arriving on St. Patrick’s Day. The draft self-study is nearly complete and will be posted on a new Middle States web page, along with a great deal of data. Nearly 100 people participated in the Steering Committee and six work groups, led by co-chairs Patty Francis and Anuradhaa Shastri, and we appreciate their hard work.

In closing, I want to remind you that YOU are the reason for SUNY Oneonta’s continued success and outstanding reputation. Thank you for the work you do every day to help make us ever better as an institution. We value the many contributions of every member of our campus community. Sodexo Education Division deserves a special thanks for this fabulous breakfast, as does Jared Stanley of Creative Media Services for the video you are about to watch. Have a good year!


Nancy Kleniewski