About President Kleniewski
Good morning. It is my great pleasure to host this breakfast to kick off the 2013-14 academic year. We have a lot to be proud of and to celebrate this year.
First, I want to thank those of you who inquired about my health this summer. I especially want to give a shout-out to the many offices and individuals who participated in a get-well video under the direction of Todd Foreman. My spine surgery was successful and I am on the track to full recovery. I am currently working half time but over the next few weeks I expect to return to full time.
This breakfast is always a great opportunity to welcome the new faculty and staff who have joined the college since last year. If you joined SUNY Oneonta since last fall, please stand for your colleagues to welcome you. You are helping us build for the future.
Another way we build for the future is through implementation of our strategic plan. It is hard to believe that our Strategic Plan 2010 is now in its fourth year. We continue to make good progress on the six pillars and again this year are putting Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship in the center of the plan. Last year, we piloted a process called StAR, which stands for Strategic Allocation of Resources, and which sets aside institutional money to fund proposals that help the campus meet our strategic goals. Last year, 18 proposals were funded, touching five of the six pillars. Later this semester, we will again invite campus members to submit proposals for funding for strategic projects.
One of our most important and broadest strategic initiatives is our reorganization of academic programs. I'd like to acknowledge our new schools and the deans who have been selected to lead them. I would ask each dean to stand as I call your school, and please remain standing until all five have been named. In alphabetical order, they are: School of Arts and Humanities, Interim Dean, Dr. Wade Thomas; School of Economics and Business, Dean, Dr. David Yen; School of Education and Human Ecology, Interim Dean, Dr. Richard Lee; School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Dean, Dr. Venkat Sharma; School of Social Sciences, Dean, Dr. Susan Turell. Please give them all a warm recognition for the work they are undertaking. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who participated in the reorganization discussion and the searches for the deans. I invite you to attend the reception celebrating the new schools, which will be held next Friday, September 6, at 4 p.m. in the Otsego Grille.
This fall, we are requiring a common book for first-year students to read and discuss and for any other students, staff and faculty who care to participate. This exciting new initiative will build on the theme of diversity and inclusion that started with Cornel West's visit last September. I invite all of you to read the book "Flight" by Sherman Alexie and to attend his lecture on September 10. Alexie is a well-known Native American author and frequent speaker on college campuses on the theme of American Indian experiences and culture.
As you know, a team from the Middle States Association visited our campus last semester, and I am delighted to report that the Middle States Commission on Higher Education accepted the report and recommendations of the team to extend our accreditation for another 10 years. The final report is now available on the college website under Middle States. One of the most rewarding aspects of the process was the participation of literally dozens of people in the research and data collection that went into the college's self-study. Many thanks are due to all of the participants, and particularly to the co-chairs, Dr. Patty Francis and Dr. Anuradhaa Shastri, for the quality of the self-study. The Middle States report affirmed the strengths of our college and contained a number of recommendations that will help us become even better.
In April, we launched the college's new fundraising campaign, Possibilities Full of Promise, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the college. We intend to raise $12.5 million to support initiatives in the college's strategic plan, to help strengthen our hands-on teaching, learning and research, provide global experiences for students and faculty, and add more scholarship funding for students. I am happy to report that we have already raised $7.3 million, and we are on track to reach our goal. One of our most recent additions is a gift by Jean Parish, faculty emerita of art, of $400,000 for scholarships and for showing public art on campus. We are most grateful to Jean for this wonderful gift. Now, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you about your opportunities to help with this campaign. You may give a contribution, you may help cultivate a gift by speaking to alumni or friends of the college about your program, you may communicate to others the strengths of the college and the positive direction in which we are headed. On behalf of the college, I want to thank everybody who has already contributed either financially or through your activities, and I especially want to acknowledge our co-chairs, Yvonne Cummings, Class of 1972 and Jeff Strauss, Class of 1971, for their leadership.
The college is doing great, and 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. I want to thank Sodexo Education Division for this fabulous breakfast, and Jared Stanley of the Office of Communications for the video you are about to watch. Thank you and have a good year!