Health and Wellness Thank You! - This semester has been taxing on all areas of the College, and many areas have
gone to extraordinary lengths to help colleagues and students during this very difficult
period, none more so than our Health and Wellness staff. As of this writing, they
have administered over 4,200 tests, implemented a prevention program, and worked continuously
to protect the campus community. I appreciate their work and their remarkably high
level of competence and commitment. Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the CDC, recently
mentioned that outbreaks on university and college campuses have been largely avoided
through the deployment of surveillance testing combined with infection prevention
measures and indicated that "... many colleges and universities really stepped up
to developing comprehensive mitigation steps." FSC exemplifies Dr. Redfield's comments.
Perhaps no other college's Health and Wellness Center has, proportionally, done as
much. Keep in mind that H&W at Farmingdale is staffed based on an overwhelmingly commuter
student body. We do not have the staff of a large residential campus, though we have
10,000 students. FSC was a leader in voluntary testing going back to the summer. Our
program was replicated by both private colleges and other SUNY's. Imitation is the
highest form of flattery. Thank you to Director Kevin Murphy and the remarkably dedicated
Spring 2021 - We will continue with largely remote instruction into the spring term. About 15%
of our courses will have some on-campus presence. SUNY has asked campuses to forgo
a spring break, which we have agreed to do. We intend to begin our semester on January
29. That's one week later than initially planned. We plan to conclude classes on May
7 with finals taking place May 11-17. We await SUNY approval of our revised calendar.
Innovation Challenge - Thanks to Betty Feng and other faculty members who helped organize the recent USPS
Direct Effect Innovation Challenge. The competition involved creating an integrated
marketing campaign to include both print and digital components. Judges representing
HP, Amazon, the US Postal Service, Mohawk Paper (the client) and RRD marketing participated.
Thirty students from 7 colleges competed. Congratulations to the FSC team—winner of
the best of Overall Campaign.
State Grant Support - Thanks to Senator John Brooks and Assembly member Kimberly Jean-Pierre, we will
be receiving over $500,000 in funding to install upgrades to our electronic lock system
on campus and for enhancement of pedestrian walkways and curb cuts.
Offshore Wind Training Institute - FSC and Stony Brook will serve as the hubs for the New York State/NYSERDA OSWTI.
Farmingdale and SBU will serve in key administrative and coordinating roles for the
initiative. The Institute will work with colleges, organized labor, non-profit groups
and Offshore wind developers to provide the training required to work in this industry
on Long Island. This project began in summer of 2019. Marj Issapour, Director of the
RESC and Dominic Esposito, Director, Research Foundation & Sponsored Programs, will
be our designees to the OSWTI board.
Retention and Enrollment - Thanks to Pat Lind-Gonzalez who recently shared SUNY-wide data on enrollment and
retention. Good news: FSC ranked among the top SUNY campuses in increasing fall to
fall retention rates from 2018 to 2019. Farmingdale's first-year retention rate increased
about 3 ppt. over the prior year cohort to nearly 83% with the fall 2019 cohort of
first-time, full-time baccalaureate students. That places us within the top ten in
SUNY. We also placed in the top tier for undergraduate enrollment growth from fall
2019 to fall 2020. A pretty impressive feat in the current environment.
President's Gala - Over 300 loyal Farmingdale alumni, faculty, staff, corporate sponsors and friends
participated in the President's On-Demand Gala. Over $130,000 was raised to support
areas of the College's greatest needs. The virtual event preserved the Foundation's
signature fundraising effort to support the College. Each guest received a customized
"Gala Box" with the "Wine & Cheese, When You Please" theme, featuring champagne, FSC
signature wine glass and a charcuterie. The program promoted as "The Best Event You
Won't Attend in 2020" premiered "On Demand" in November just as gala boxes were arriving
on participants doorsteps. An entertaining video program was created by the Office for
Institutional Advancement which included two performances from Billy Joel band member
and singer/songwriter Michael DelGuidice.
Micro-credentials - Thanks to Jennifer Bryer and Justin Dolce of the Provost's office and Ru Jurow
from IA for preparing a thorough and well-done Micro-credentials Handbook. The document
provided a highly detailed guide for developing and delivering a series of courses
that lead to verification that "specific skills and/or competencies have been achieved."
The College currently offers seven different Micro-credentials.
Honors Program - Thanks to Provost Joseph for assembling an honors program work group. The group
includes faculty representatives from all four schools as well as representatives
from Development, Admissions, and the RAM program. The group will provide a report
and recommendations near the end of the academic year. This has been a goal for both
Provost Joseph and me for some time and is an option that our strongest students deserve.
Winter Commencement - Thanks to Tom Azzara, Lynn Marsh and Doug Lopalo who have done a truly terrific
job of organizing our winter commencement ceremonies. These will be four virtual events—one
for each school—with remarks from four valedictorians and the school deans. In meetings
with students it's very clear that they value the ceremony and recognition. Attending
to the details for these events takes an enormous effort—especially while working
remotely. Thanks also to Institutional Advancement for all of the video work and assistance
in arranging and printing the commencement program.
Last but not least - This will be the last Update of 2020. Words alone cannot express my appreciation
for the efforts that so many have made. I wish all of you a safe and enjoyable holiday
season and I look forward to a brighter 2021.