Serving and solving

Oswego's students, faculty and staff reached out into the world beyond the college's boundaries in 2011-12 to help schoolchildren thrive and achieve, job seekers to become career ready, businesses to build a skilled work force, and communities in need to mend and rebuild.

Initiatives with schools target children at the margins

Children of migrant workers at Discover College Day
Children of migrant workers at Discover College Day
Oswego's School of Education received one of the first and largest shares of federal Race to the Top funding to pilot a rigorous model of teacher preparation for high-need schools. The $1.73 million project integrates apprentice teachers more fully into the community where they're placed, whether it is in rural Oswego County or a New York City borough.

The residency-based program for graduate students addresses a need for secondary teachers in special education, languages, sciences and math. By raising the proficiency and readiness of new teachers, the Oswego Residency Initiative for Teacher Excellence aims to help the schools and children they go on to serve to achieve at higher levels.

To improve the high school graduation rate in Oswego, the college's Mentor-Scholar Program, launched in 2011-12, works directly with eighth-graders. It pairs college students with Oswego Middle School students identified as at risk of falling behind or dropping out. The mentors — college students of any major — work with eighth-graders on thriving in school. They seek to build their self-confidence and give them tools to be effective students and become good citizens.

Meanwhile, over in the psychology department, Dr. Matthew Dykas is helping lift the social and emotional skills of children in Oswego pre-kindergarten classes. His SOAR project (Socio-emotional Adjustment and Resilience) started with consultation and planning with community stakeholders and moved on to research and training in responsive parenting and healthy child development.

In the pre-kindergarten classroom
In the pre-kindergarten classroom

In the pre-kindergarten classroom, college students use fun, highly visual exercises to help teach 4-year-olds how to be friends, listen, respect each other's space, cooperate, and handle their own and others' emotions. Dykas believes that these skills are as important as math, reading and writing skills. Understanding how to deal with social situations effectively, he said, frees up children's minds and bodies to develop optimally.

Career readiness supports state's economic competitiveness

Just as SUNY Oswego works with school and community programs to help groom schoolchildren for their next steps in life, the college also works to extend access to higher education and ease entry to careers.

Marshall Ennis

"What co-op allows you to do is take the questions and topics that you learned in school and find out how they apply to the real world in a company setting, in a workplace atmosphere."
— Marshall Ennis
     Co-op student at Welch Allyn

Affording college is a hurdle for many students and their families, yet lack of higher education hurts employment prospects. A first principle at Oswego is to provide high-quality education for a comparatively modest price. USA Today and Princeton Review validated our efforts in 2012 when they named Oswego a Best Value College.

One way the college eases access and reduces students' expense is by growing online offerings. Oswego's Winter Session was completely online in 2012, for example, and experienced its highest enrollment.

Another innovative way Oswego offers students to afford their college education is the college's new cooperative education program. This earn-and-learn model alternates months of academic study on campus with months in a co-op job placement — a paid work experience relevant to the student's long-term career interests that also helps to cover college costs and reduce the need for loans.

SUNY Oswego provides countless paths that connect traditional college students as well as adult learners to career opportunities. Among new ones in 2011-12:

E-commerce incubator
E-commerce incubator
  • With a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the college established a temporary e-commerce incubator in Fulton to help displaced workers start and promote their own small business. An on-site business adviser provided skills and interests assessment, advice and training. Thirty people attended the initial "What Business Should I Start?" workshops. Among the ventures that resulted were a greenhouse and nursery and a graphic design business.
  • The School of Business offered its MBA "Entrepreneurship Seminar" at the college's Metro Center in downtown Syracuse for the first time.
  • New high-profile internship placements offered through Oswego's well-established Experience-Based Education Office included the U.S. Supreme Court, Citigroup and Radio City Music Hall, plus a new set-aside placement for Oswego broadcasting students with the David Letterman Show.
  • With a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant, the college began developing a program to attract and groom talented science and math students for careers in teaching as well as to entice teaching candidates changing careers from business and industry. The program's vision is long-term: Good teachers in these fields will prepare future generations of scientists and engineers who have the potential to kindle economic growth with their discoveries and inventions.
  • In response to a growing work force need, SUNY Oswego developed new health information technology and integrated health care systems certificate programs. The college collaborated with health care professionals and businesses to design programs that train people for specialized jobs managing medical records.
Culture of service pervades Oswego college community

Isabelle Bichindaritz, Early Starter, 2012

"Becoming involved in these projects has really changed my life and even inspired me to change what I want to do with my life to focus more on helping others."
— Lexie Avery
     Sophomore childhood education major

SUNY Oswego continually shapes its programs to address the changing challenges facing the region and its people. Initiatives like those cited above reinforce the "cradle to career" pipeline. Others endeavor to mend or strengthen other parts of the social fabric.

In 2011-12, for example, to serve a growing population of returning military veterans, Oswego teamed with Syracuse University to start a trauma research program. Undergraduates who are veterans themselves conduct research aimed at determining which trauma victims are vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder and, ultimately, preventing it or hastening recovery. To address a health care challenge posed by immigrants in Syracuse, the college's Metro Center provided a non-credit course in medical Spanish.

Attending to needs in communities beyond the college campus is important to our college, faculty and students. The breadth and depth of their involvement helped SUNY Oswego receive national recognition, "with distinction," on the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the second straight year in 2012.

Sudan book drive
Sudan book drive

The national Honor Roll spotlighted Oswego student service work rebuilding storm-stricken communities during winter and spring breaks, the Adopt-a-School initiative and a book drive for the new nation of South Sudan. Between service learning courses, volunteering and other community involvement, over 4,000 Oswego students contributed more than 430,000 hours of service.