Dear Friends of Oswego State,
These are exciting times for our campus community. In this first of what I plan to be semi-annual letters, I hope to keep friends of our university apprised of all that is going on as Oswego State moves into the new millennium.
In many senses, we are entering on a new era at this point in our history. Teams of architects are on campus planning complete renovations of existing buildings and envisioning new ones. Sheldon Hall is back and becoming a vibrant part of our campus, as we decide how best to inhabit this historic and inspiring building. We are in the midst of the State University's Mission Review and preparing to launch an ongoing strategic planning process to guide us into the future. We are about to determine which path to take to upgrade our intercollegiate athletic program and make it a vital component of campus pride and spirit. All of this and more are described in this letter.
I thank you for your continued interest in and support of Oswego State, and I welcome your involvement as we move ahead.
Deborah F. Stanley
Oswego alumna wins top award
Alice McDermott, a 1975 Oswego graduate, won the 1998 Na- tional Book Award for fiction for her novel Charming Billy.
Of the five finalists, McDermott beat out two previous National Book Award winners — Tom Wolfe and Robert Stone. Charming Billy was one of 916 titles nominated by 197 publishers and imprints.
McDermott's earlier novels were finalists for the National Book Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award.
McDermott has credited the late English Professor Paul Briand with encouraging her in her writing career. She often mentions Oswego in media interviews and returned to her alma mater to receive an honorary doctorate at commencement exercises in 1993.
Campus to undergo historic renovation
The Campus Concept — a five-year, $50 million-plus renovation of campus
facilities and infrastructure — will eventually see several 30-year-old
buildings rebuilt from the inside out to meet the learning and technological needs of students in the 21st century.
A five-building study that was recently completed is likely to produce the first tangible results. It calls for renovating Rich Hall as the new home of the School of Business, which is now in Swetman Hall. Reconstruction is expected to begin by the summer of 2000.
The School of Business study got the green light from the SUNY Construction Fund in early 1997 when Oswego presented fund officials with a draft of the Campus Concept. The School of Business portion of the draft made the fund's list of approved projects.
After that decision, the campus community organized to help fulfill the vision drafted in the Campus Concept by forming the Campus Concept Committee.
The Campus Concept Committee began its work by surveying the campus community and drawing up a list of goals and principles that would inform the capital plan as it evolved. Completed last May, that list is posted on the campus World Wide Web site (www.oswego.edu).
Newly under way this semester is the Five-year Capital Planning Study for the entire Oswego campus.
While the campus has always had a capital plan, only in the past year has funding become available for more than such basics as new roofs. The State University's five-year plan for the first time allows for whole building renovation.
Hispanic journal profiles Oswego
Oswego State University is the subject of a three-page profile in the February issue of His-panic Outlook magazine.
The magazine regularly features one of the schools that have made its honor roll of best colleges for Hispanics nationally.
"Holding down the costs of a higher education gives Oswego State University a lock on the Hispanic Outlook Honor Roll, and makes it a most promising place to consider for getting a great education at a reasonable cost," the article states.
Historic Sheldon Hall returns to life and educational use
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has begun using part of Sheldon Hall for training its law enforcement personnel.
This is a transitional use for the building, which has stood empty since 1984, while the campus addresses how to make the best long-term use of its oldest edifice.
The DEC is using two floors of Sheldon Hall. Developed space on the lower level and common rooms throughout the building remain available for Oswego State programs.
The DEC Division of Law Enforcement conducted its six-month Basic Training Academy on the Oswego campus in 1996. At that time, its recruits stayed in the Lonis-Moreland-Mackin Complex.
Permanent facility discussed
The department is interested in establishing a permanent facility on campus for training law enforcement personnel not only within its law enforcement division but for other agencies in New York and elsewhere in the Northeast, according to Carolyn Rush, executive director of Oswego State's Center for Business and Community Programs.
Using Sheldon Hall as a temporary site, the DEC can begin to gauge the demand for a law enforcement academy beyond its own needs and see if investing in a new facility would be feasible. Such a facility on campus could mean opportunities for students, faculty research, program development and student recruitment.
For Oswego State, this transitional use of Sheldon Hall has begun realizing an income stream to cover the present cost of operating the building and to help pay for additional development and furnishing of the building while maintaining an educational use of the building.
While in operation, the DEC training activity on campus would realize significant other revenues in dining services, facility fees, furnishings and various campus services.
The DEC chose Oswego for its training site in 1996 because of the availability of classrooms, gymnasiums, Fall- brook Recreation Center, Rice Creek
Field Station, Lake Ontario and, nearby, the Tug Hill Plateau, Oswego County Airport and Oswego River.
The DEC recruits eat in campus dining halls and train in campus classrooms and athletic facilities, Penfield Library, Fallbrook and Rice Creek Field Station.
Campus aims to make most of athletics
A campus Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics concluded nearly two years of study last semester by issuing recommendations that include taking steps toward advancing men's ice hockey to the Division I level of National Collegiate Athletic Association competition. It also recommends adding Division I women's ice hockey.
President Deborah F. Stanley is consulting with the campus community and expects to render a decision later this spring. She had charged the 13-member commission of faculty, staff, students and alumni with studying how to maximize the value of Oswego's intercollegiate sports for the campus community.
Currently, the Lakers compete in 11 men's sports and 10 women's sports, all at the Division III level. Nationally, the majority of institutions in this division are small private colleges. Four other SUNY institutions have decided to move into Division I since 1995.
The commission judged that moving a single sport in Oswego's program to the Division I level would support enrollment by providing Oswego with greater visibility nationally and regionally, boost student spirit and identification with the university and add fund-raising opportunities.
The commission offered the following caveats on this path, however:
• "Diverting resources away from the academic program must not be an option."
• "Athletes should be required to enroll under the same admissions requirements applicable to all candidates."
• "Athletes . . . must be mentored and nurtured by the university, not exploited."
• The sport elevated to Division I "should be specifically chosen to enhance the prospects of greater participation opportunities for women students."
Ice hockey has a powerful tradition at Oswego in the men's sports program, the commission noted, and nationally ice hockey is a growing sport for women.
Strategies for enhancement
The commission devoted much of its report to ways of enhancing the Division III program by developing a strategic plan and instilling a planning approach in promotion, facilities improvement, personnel management and budgeting.
Funding for improving the athletics program should come from the student athletic fee, fund raising and reallocation, the commission recommended.
McAuslan named to council
Gov. George Pataki has appointed Thomas McAuslan, the executive direc-tor of the Port of Oswego Authority, to Oswego's College Council.
McAuslan said he was honored by the appointment. "Oswego State is certainly one of our area's greatest assets," he said. "I look forward to working together with College Council Chairperson Kerry Dorsey, President Deborah Stanley and the distinguished members of the Col-lege Council as the future of higher edu-cation creates exciting opportunities."
New provost hails from Michigan
John Woodrow Presley, formerly dean of arts, sciences and letters at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, became provost and vice pres-ident for academic affairs at Oswego on March 1.
The position had been filled on an interim basis since 1995, first by C. Thomas Gooding, a dean at Oswego who retired in August, and since then by Donald Mathieu, a former provost who came out of retirement to fill the position again temporarily.
Presley was dean of Dearborn's College of Arts, Sciences and Letters since 1992. For three years before that, he was at La-fayette College in Pennsylvania as associate dean of the faculty, acting provost and associate provost.
He began his academic career teaching English at Georgia's Augusta State University in 1974, attaining the rank of professor in 1984, chairing the freshman English and developmental studies programs and serving his last year there as assistant vice president for academic affairs.
Presley is an accomplished scholar with more than 60 publications to his credit. He is the author or co-author of several books and textbooks, most of them on reading and writing. He is associate editor of the journal of the Robert Graves Society.
He brings to Oswego a range of experience on the national level. He served on a task force on diversity for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and is involved with a national study being conducted as part of an American Association of Higher Education project.
A native of Arkansas, he earned his doctorate in modern British literature in 1975 from Southern Illinois University, where he also received a master's degree. His 1970 bachelor's degree in English is from Arkansas State University.
The State University of New York is conducting a Mission Review of each campus. Oswego submitted its mission summary last fall. A team of faculty, staff and administrators will meet with a team from SUNY System Administration in May to discuss Oswego's mission. Mission Review is the process by which campuses take a new look at their course offerings, campus life, research programs and other elements to ensure the highest standards of quality and access.
Oswego's School of Education hosted an accreditation visit by a National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Board of Examiners in early March. The accreditation decision will be made next fall.
Dean of education
Finalists for the position of dean of the School of Education are visiting campus for interviews this spring. Linda Markert is serving as interim dean.
A campus-wide transformation in the design of many courses and in professors' strategies in the classroom is in the works, spurred on by Oswego's three-year Science, Mathematics and Technology Project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation. The campus has formed a Task Force on Teaching and Learning and provided incentives for faculty to design or redesign courses this summer. The curriculum design work will infuse courses with inquiry-based, active learning strategies that involve students in the mutual act of discovery.
Computer science faculty at Oswego continue their collaboration with Sun Microsystems on various research and development projects. The partnership has yielded material benefits to the campus. Most recently, Sun donated more than $100,000 in computer equipment, including a high-powered server and six Java Stations.
Off the press
Timothy Thurber, assistant professor of history, has written a book that looks at the issues of liberalism and race in the post-World War II period through the career of Hubert H. Humphrey. The Politics of Equality: Hubert H. Humphrey and the African-American Freedom Struggle, 1945-1978 was published in December by Columbia University Press.
David Conrad's studies of oral history in Western Africa have drawn worldwide interest. His Epic of Bamana Segu has recently been translated into Dutch and Bamana. Conrad, an associate professor of history, spent winter break teaching doctoral students at the University of Paris. He was invited there in part as a result of his 1995 book, Status and Identity in West Africa, which he coedited with a SUNY Stony Brook professor. The work is cited frequently by French scholars.
'98 Fall Classic surpasses all previous Oswego fund-raisers
The Oswego State Fall Classic last semester raised a record-breaking total of over a quarter million dollars.
The total Fall Classic income, including additional funds raised during the event, is about $270,000, an increase of 24 percent over last year's gross.
In the nine years the Fall Classic has existed, receipts have reached more than $1.4 million, with proceeds going to Oswego State for projects and programs to serve students.
Proceeds from last year and this have funded the Presidential Scholars Program, which awards merit-based scholarships to the most academically successful new and transfer students as an incentive for them to enroll in Oswego State.
This year's 145 Presidential Scholars — some of whom received top awards of $10,000 over four years — joined Fall Classic sponsors and volunteers at a reception hosted at Shady Shore.
Speaking on their behalf, freshman Casey Conaway said, "The [Presidential Scholars] program has made Oswego State a sound choice both economically and academically. Seeing how such a
generous gift has affected my college career, and in turn my future, I extend thanks on behalf of my fellow scholars to the benefactors who have made this possible. Without their generous support, many hard-working students may have missed the opportunities associated with higher education."
The Fall Classic is coordinated by Oswego State's Office of University Development. Major sponsors are Sithe Energies, ANR Pipeline Co., Enron Capital and Trade Resources, and Laborers' Employers Cooperation and Education Trust Fund. A host of generous local, regional and national sponsors also supported the ninth annual fund-raiser.
Campus mourns loss of past leaders
Oswego has lost two major figures from its past: former presidents James E.
Perdue, who died in November, and Virginia L. Radley, who died in
December. Memorial services for each will be held this spring on campus.
Dr. Perdue's presidency from 1965 to 1977 spanned a time of dramatic growth of the Oswego campus, student body, and faculty and staff. Residence halls, dining halls, Hewitt Union, Penfield Library, Culkin Hall and several academic buildings were built. Enrollment reached an all time high of more than 9,000 students.
While at Oswego, he was elected to the board of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He left Oswego to become a vice chancellor for the State University of New York system.
Dr. Radley succeeded Dr. Perdue, having served as his executive vice president and provost after a year as provost for undergraduate education for the State University of New York system. She was the first woman president of a SUNY campus, serving from 1978 to 1988.
Her presidency was noted for Oswego's rise in academic standards. Among accomplishments of her administration were the establishment of the Honors Program in Liberal Studies and the Student Advisement Center. Dr. Radley was a commissioner in the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and chair of the American Council on Education's Commission on Women.