Spring 2021 - SUNY and the campus are preparing for the spring term. As you know, we are planning
to remain in a largely remote mode of instruction next semester. SUNY is likely to
require each campus to submit plans addressing the following: how its students will
safely leave campus at the conclusion of this term (this may require added testing
and quarantine); how the campus will test students and staff who will be returning
to campus at the outset of the spring term; and mandating regular completion of the
Screening Tool for those who work or attend classes on campus. Further, campuses that
anticipate starting their spring term before February 1 are asked to begin with remote
only instruction prior to; and each campus that is not teaching in an entirely remote
format may be required to eliminate its spring break. These requirements may be waived
only with University approval. SUNY is also urging campuses to explore virtual commencement
exercises or other celebrations with appropriate distancing in the spring. If these
requirements are put in place, we may need to adjust our spring academic calendar
and other plans. You may be aware that a number of campuses have reverted to entirely
remote instruction because of an uptick in COVID cases.
SUNY Statement on the White House Executive Order - I am very pleased to report that Chancellor Malatras has asked campus presidents
to join him in signing the strong response to the US Department of Education/Trump
administration September 22, 2020 Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. There has been much criticism of the executive order and I, along with many others,
have signed on to this very strong and compelling SUNY statement.
Commencement - Thanks to the tri-chairs of our commencement committee (Lynn Marsh, Tom Azzara and
Doug Lopalo) who are beginning to plan winter and spring commencements. It appears
we will hold virtual events by school in January. Spring is more complicated. We are
exploring another Car-mencement—which was very popular—as well as the possibility
of holding multiple outdoor ceremonies to permit distancing and limited audiences.
I recently met students who have completed the winter Intent to Graduate form to discuss
their preferences. They, overwhelmingly, would like some on-campus in-person program.
It seems unlikely that we can do so safely or in accordance with NYS requirements.
However, there were a number of good suggestions that we will seek to implement.
Engaging Students - Provost Joseph and I held a very lively meeting with a number of Arts and Sciences
faculty members. (How could it be anything but lively!) Much of the discussion focused
on the difficulties of engaging students in the remote learning environment. There
were a number of good suggestions and it was heartening to see the length to which
faculty are going to help students. It does seem that students who had the benefit
of several weeks of face to face instruction in the spring may have developed relationships
and were more thoroughly engaged with their remote classes. Student engagement beyond
the classroom is also challenging for us. I recently met with a group of students,
some of whom indicated great difficulty in moving between the various modes of remote
delivery. Others acknowledged a declining level of engagement as the semester has
progressed. Our students are overwhelmingly commuter, and 65-70% of them work. According
to the most recent NSSE survey, our students work on average, more than twice as many
hours per week as students studying at other SUNY state operated campuses. They also
spend twice as much time commuting to campus as their SUNY peers. Many of them appreciate
all that our faculty and staff are doing under these trying circumstances. A big thank
you to all of you who've gone to great lengths for our students.
Esports- Congratulations! This past weekend (October 17-18), the Farmingdale State College Esports club participated
in the Hudson Valley Gamer Con. This is the premier national championship event for
the Eastern College Athletic Conference, featuring colleges from the northeast but
extending nationally. Farmingdale Esports qualified for HV Gamer Con in two separate
games: Super Smash Bros and Overwatch. The Overwatch team was defeated in the first
round of their tournament. However, FSC's Super Smash Bros (SSB) team defeated SUNY
Canton 2-0 and beat U Albany in the semi-finals 2-0. In the national championship,
FSC defeated Johnson and Wales 2-1. The FSC SSB team includes Pedro Gelabert (Sophomore
- Psychology), James Freedman (Senior - Criminal Justice), Hassan Hajdaoud (Spring
'20 graduate - Professional Communications) and Cameron Olsen (Senior - Computer Science).
Cameron was named MVP of the HV Gamer Con event. A few days later, FSC defeated Molloy
2-1 to win the East Coast Conference League of Legends tournament! As a result, students
have qualified to participate in the Riot Games Fall College League of Legends Invitational.
The team will be featured in the November ECAC newsletter.