Campus Update

Sat Oct 18, 2014
Technology drives deals, student opportunities with manufacturers

Sat Oct 18, 2014
Technology conference to raise bar of innovation

The keynote speaker for Oswego’s 75th Technology Fall Conference—set for Thursday and Friday, Oct. 30 and 31—will focus on the T and E in STEM, seeking to inspire teachers and students to carry the torch of innovation into an evolving landscape for technology education.

Yvonne Spicer, a 1984 Oswego alumna in industrial arts and technology who also earned a master’s degree here the following year, will introduce 400 to 450 technology educators and interested members of the campus public to best practices for improving the pipeline of STEM-literate students in technology and engineering.

Spicer, vice president for advocacy and educational partnerships at the Museum of Science in Boston, is a sought-after speaker and advocate for pre-college science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

Her talk will take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday in a room to be announced. For an in-progress agenda, visit

The conference has evolved into a premier professional-development opportunity for technology educators. Program chair Mark Springston of the technology education faculty said the conference’s agenda will reflect that Maker Movement in education that is sweeping the country.

Dozens of sessions will cover high school robotics, micro electro-mechanical systems for the classroom, the Google Classroom suite, the tiny Raspberry Pi computer for electronics projects and teaching computer programming, incorporating common core STEM concepts in bridge building, the next wave of 3D printing and advance manufacturing, and much more.

Sat Oct 18, 2014
Trustees schedule hearing

The board of trustees of the State University of New York will hold a public hearing Nov. 6 in conjunction with the November board of trustees meeting in New York City. It will be held at 3 p.m. at the SUNY Global Center, 116 E. 55th St., New York, New York.

The purpose of the hearing is to receive testimony and statements from concerned individuals about university issues.

People wishing to present prepared testimony are asked to get a letter to SUNY Board of Trustees, State University Plaza, T-11, Albany, New York 12246, or email, no later than noon Friday, Oct. 31. The communication should identify the subject of testimony and provide a telephone number and an address. Such testimony will be limited to five minutes, and the speakers are asked to provide seven copies of their written testimony on the day of the hearing.

People who wish to make extemporaneous comments of no more than three minutes are asked to file their names with the hearing registration officer on the day of the hearing.

Mon Oct 06, 2014

Since Sept. 22, University Police have investigated several cases of theft and vandalism, and made 10 arrests.

Motor vehicle misdemeanors

A 30-year-old commuter student was charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle and operating a vehicle without an inspection certificate, both misdemeanors, and possession of marijuana, a violation.

Four motorists were each charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle and various infractions. They included a 22-year-old commuter student, a 25-year-old Oswego man, a 41-year-old Weedsport man and a 21-year-old Oswego man who was also charged with failure to return license plates, another misdemeanor.


Officers charged five students with possession of marijuana: three residents of Seneca Hall and one each from Cayuga and Oneida halls.

Mon Oct 06, 2014
Campus signage, gateways project puts safety first

The college has begun work to add definition to four campus entrances and erect nearly three dozen exterior signs around campus—some as tall as 10 feet with color-changeable LED lighting.

“We wanted to improve the safety of pedestrian and vehicle pathways,” said Mitch Fields, associate vice president of facilities services. “These signs will be visible and will help safely guide motorists and pedestrians around campus.”

Sign location near Sheldon HallKicking off the publicly visible part of the $763,000 SUNY Construction Fund-financed project, general contractor PAC & Associates of Oswego has built a wall of native limestone blocks around the southeast corner of Sheldon Hall’s grounds, at Washington Boulevard and Sheldon Avenue. A small wall of the same blocks has risen across Washington, letting motorists know they’re entering SUNY Oswego.

“We’re trying to create the perception, psychologically, that you’ve entered the campus and you need to slow down,” Fields said.

A similar look and feel will greet drivers on Rudolph Road at Iroquois Trail on the west end of campus adjacent to the lakeshore. The project will modernize signs at the entrance on State Route 104 and all along Sweet Road and other key campus roadways—wherever workers have already placed precast-concrete bases for signs.

Along State Route 104 at Romney Field House, a low-rise digital sign will greet passersby with news of upcoming athletic events and, occasionally, other major college events. The sign—16 feet wide by about 2 feet tall—will rest on a stone base, Fields said.

The project, designed by Environmental Design and Research of Syracuse, is a subset of the five-phase project to bring all campus signage in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fields said. Facilities Design and Construction has worked with a cross-campus committee on signage.

The larger exterior signs are acrylic on an aluminum base, and have 24-color LED lights to allow the college to highlight large charitable efforts such as Pink for the Cure and Wear Red for Women, to celebrate big athletic contests and so on.

The first sign, to rise above the new limestone wall at Sheldon Hall, should be in place in time, Fields said, to commemorate the Oct. 16 formal launch of “With Passion and Purpose,” the college’s $40 million fundraising campaign.

PHOTO CAPTION: Sign of the times—A mockup acrylic sign at the new Sheldon gateway to campus shows where a similar, permanent sign will grace a better defined campus entrance along Washington Boulevard at Sheldon Avenue, part of a $763,000 SUNY Construction Fund-financed project to improve visibility and safety of exterior signage as vehicles and pedestrians move into and around campus.

Mon Oct 06, 2014
College leads project on transfers' degree attainment

SUNY Oswego last week won a nationally competitive “First in the World” grant of $2.88 million to lead an innovative program to spur degree completion rates among underrepresented transfer students.

Teaming with On Point for College and Mohawk Valley and Onondaga community colleges, Oswego’s four-year grant was one of 24 awards announced Sept. 30 under the U. S. Department of Education program, which supports innovation in higher education aimed at helping more students access college and complete a degree. Nearly 500 applications were submitted for the grants, part of President Obama’s agenda aimed at keeping college affordable and improving educational outcomes.

Oswego will target more than 1,100 underrepresented and underprepared students who stand to benefit from higher education. The program will encourage community college students to raise their sights to a bachelor’s degree and help them transfer to Oswego and succeed once there, with the goal of increasing both two-year and four-year degree completion rates.

“We’re thrilled to receive federal support for a collaborative effort that targets some of the most vulnerable members of the Upstate New York community, and we are grateful to Congressmen Dan Maffei and Richard Hanna and senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer for helping us win this highly competitive grant,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley.

Lorrie Clemo, vice president of academic affairs and provost at SUNY Oswego, heads up the four-part “Transfer Gateways and Completion” program for improving transfer students’ success and persistence to a bachelor’s degree.

The collaborative effort involves aligning coursework between the community colleges and Oswego in targeted degree programs, advisement and support for students in the program, a transfer bridge camp before they start classes at Oswego, and dual enrollment—enrolling students simultaneously in a community college and Oswego.

“We will begin immediately with our plans to target low-income, first-generation, two-year college students to help them transfer seamlessly on the path to a four-year degree,” Clemo said.

Array of innovations

Grant winners represent an array of innovative proposals from 20 other four-year colleges and universities, such as Purdue University and University of Southern California, and 4 two-year institutions such as Gateway Technical and Community College in Kentucky and LaGuardia Community College in New York.

SUNY Oswego officials noted that a significant number of students already transfer from OCC and MVCC to Oswego, and the project’s plans to expand articulation agreements, dual enrollment programs and course alignment will benefit all transfer students.

Ambitious goals under the new grant include informing and advising 1,175 community college students about transferring; boosting persistence through the community colleges to SUNY Oswego; and increasing the two-year and four-year completion rate to 50 percent, far surpassing the national average for its target population of students.

Professors at the three colleges will meet at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center to promote smooth transition from community colleges to four-year colleges by developing syllabi and coursework on the same knowledge base, according to the grant proposal.

Support for the students is key in the project. Early in students’ community college careers, transfer advisers from Oswego will begin working with them. There will be a tutoring and mentoring program, as well as a five-day summer bridge camp at Oswego focusing on math, writing and computer skills.

Dual-enrollment provisions will guarantee admission to SUNY Oswego for students who meet program requirements, and enable registration for an initial course at Oswego, with transportation provided to Oswego.

Besides Clemo, project collaborators include Virginia D. “Ginny” Donohue and Samuel D. Rowser of On Point for College; Stephanie C. Reynolds, vice president of student affairs at Mohawk Valley Community College; and Cathleen C. McColgin, provost and senior vice president at Onondaga Community College.

Donohue, class of 1988 at SUNY Oswego, created On Point for College, which for the past 15 years has helped more than 4,600 first-generation low-income high school students get into college. The nonprofit organization has offices in Syracuse and Utica. On Point deploys college-access advisers to more than 23 sites, including homeless shelters.

The Associated Press distributed news of the “First in the World” awards based on a Post-Standard story that highlighted SUNY Oswego, and the report ran in top publications across the country, from the Wall Street Journal to the Sacramento Bee.

Fri Oct 03, 2014
Jason Zenor relishes exploring media law, audience appeal of TV shows

In this issue’s Spotlight, meet Jason Zenor, assistant professor of communication studies specializing in media law. An avid researcher in the field and in questions of morality in audience reception of media entertainment—from “Dexter” to “Family Guy”—he hopes to move pre-law toward more formal status on campus.

captionQ. What drew you to SUNY Oswego?
After law school, I learned they were looking for a visiting professor with a juris doctor to teach media law. Actually, my job interview was the same week as the bar exam. My first year, I was a VAP (visiting assistant professor). Then they hired me—this is my fifth year, and my fourth on the tenure track.

Q. Where do you hail from?
I was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. Manchester is more like Boston North now, but when I was growing up, it was much smaller. The rest of New Hampshire is like Upstate New York—parks and lakes and trails. So I adjusted here quite well.

Q. Can you talk a bit about your educational background?
I went to Utica College for my undergrad (degree). I just floated around at first—pre-dentistry, journalism, history, political science. I eventually settled down with communications and history as my double major, with a minor in political science. The question was always, “What are you going to do with history? Are you going to teach?” I’d say, “No, I’m not going to teach. I’m not going to teach.” (Laughs.) I decided I wanted go to grad school and study media effects, so I went to Newhouse at Syracuse for a media studies master’s (degree) with a concentration in political communications.

Q. How did you wind up in law school?
I went back to New Hampshire and was teaching at two or three schools every semester, putting classes together to make a full-time gig. I worked at a brewery for a while, as well. I’d get to schools where they’d see my background and ask, “Do you want to teach media law as an adjunct?” and I said OK. I realized that was what I was really interested in. So I decided to go to law school at the University of South Dakota, because it was the least expensive out-of-state school.

Q. Why didn’t you choose to practice law?
I had been a summer associate a couple of places, for the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago and for the First Amendment Project in San Francisco. First Amendment law was my passion, but there are not a lot of jobs in that field. I was also teaching in the journalism program at South Dakota, and I kind of caught the bug again. I realized that I wanted to teach and do research.

Q.  What do you think of SUNY Oswego students?
Many come in thinking (college) is the next step, they have to do it. It’s very expensive, even with SUNY tuition. At first it’s, “What do I have to do? What do I have to learn?” Getting a job after this is very important to them, as it should be. The hard part of that with some of the courses I teach—the law, the politics, the theory—you have a hard time connecting the theory to what’s important to them at the moment. But what about being a critical thinker, a good citizen? Sometimes they don’t see the instant gratification of that. It’s a little more work on my end. But the challenge is fun. ... With the first exam on questions of media law, they’re sort of lost. By the end, to use a sports analogy, they’re seeing the whole field. I find that rewarding.

Q. What are your research interests?
My two areas are media law and audience reception studies. I’m currently doing a lot on obscenity. A lot of my research springs from class discussion and debates. I usually find questions of morality and ethics that are going on in entertainment media. We did a study on “Dexter.” Why do people watch “Dexter,” such a terrible subject? The same thing with “Family Guy”—very offensive humor. It’s the same research question: How do people reconcile their version of morality with these shows? Dave (Moody) and I did a study on “Boondocks.” That paper is going to be part of a collection I’m editing that comes out later this month about how audiences interpret politics in entertainment.

Q. Do you have other involvements on campus?
I’m on the Faculty Assembly. I’m on the Affirmative Action Advisory Council. I was on the climate committee for a while, and civic engagement. I sometimes end up speaking on subjects of interest, like Constitution Week. I also do pre-law advising across the campus.

Q. What can you tell us about your family?
My wife, Rebecca, is an optician in Oswego. We have three kids, a 5-year-old, Toby; a 3-year-old, EJ; and a 7-month-old, Marshall. A house full of boys—my property value is going to go down as they break things. (Laughs.) I lucked out: My parents moved to Oswego about two years ago to help out. They wanted to be closer to the grandkids.

Q.  What do you like to do in your down time?
You never appreciate how much free time you had until you have kids. I worked at a brewery at one time, and I was addicted to the Food Network and taught myself how to cook. I used to make fancy meals and drink homemade beer and wine. Now I just make macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. (Laughs.) I read a lot of nonfiction—when I have time to read.

Q. What are your goals?
I haven’t had time to stop and think about it. Usually, my goal is to survive the day when I’m home with my kids. Certainly it is to keep writing and researching. I would also like to develop pre-law—something more formalized on campus.

Fri Oct 03, 2014
Live broadcast to make case for supporting SUNY Oswego

Steve LevyESPN anchor Steve Levy, a 1987 Oswego graduate, will join President Deborah F. Stanley for a live online broadcast of “The Tomorrow Show,” the official kickoff of an unprecedented $40 million campaign for SUNY Oswego on Oct. 16.

The show, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16, will launch the public phase of “With Passion and Purpose: The Campaign for Oswego.” Students will produce the broadcast, which will highlight Oswego’s faculty and students. It will broadcast live from the college’s home page that day.

The campaign will provide resources to support students and create a more vibrant intellectual campus climate.

The silent phase of the campaign has already brought about significant changes. The largest private gift in college history—a $7.5 million bequest from the estate of Lorraine and Nunzio Marano—came earlier this year. Previously, Barbara Palmer Shineman made a $5 million gift in honor of her late husband and chemistry department founder, Richard S. Shineman. Barbara Shineman, a longtime professor in Oswego’s School of Education, received her bachelor’s degree here in 1965 and master’s in 1971.

“We are at a defining moment in higher education,” said Stanley. “The need to remain affordable, relevant and student-centered has never been greater. To meet those challenges, SUNY Oswego is intensely focused on keeping costs within reach of all families, promoting student learning and development, and preparing and motivating graduates to lead productive lives and enrich their times.”

The president noted the campaign’s phenomenal momentum to date: “Through the campaign leadership phase with the support of our generous friends, college community and alumni donors, we are pleased to announce that the campaign has already raised more than $31 million on the way to our $40 million goal,” Stanley said.

“The Tomorrow Show” will culminate a full day of activity at the college:

- A 24-hour challenge will start things off at midnight. Levy is pledging a $40,000 gift to the college if 750 people make a gift—of any size—to SUNY Oswego between midnight and 11:59 p.m. Oct. 16.

- Al Roker, a 1976 alumnus, is scheduled to bring to campus the entire “Wake Up with Al” show and NBC’s “Today” show segments in live broadcasts starting at 5:30 a.m.

- At 2:30 p.m., media icon Charlie Rose will receive an honorary degree before joining Roker, Pulitzer-winner Connie Schultz and Dennis Thatcher of Mission Broadcasting on the panel of the 10th Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit. Esteemed author and media critic Ken Auletta, a 1963 graduate of Oswego, will moderate. And Louis A. Borrelli Jr., of Oswego’s class of 1977 and founder of the media summit, will receive the SUNY Oswego Presidential Medal for outstanding contributions to his alma mater.

Fri Oct 03, 2014

Researchers and artists gathered recently at New York University to discuss how people’s relationships to natural resources are mediated by images. Lindsay Bell, a visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Oswego, attended the two-day symposium, “Lines and Nodes: Media, Infrastructure and Aesthetics,” at NYU’s Department of Media, Culture and Communication and shared the results of her research on the effects of oil development on Canada’s sub-arctic. With her collaborator, artist-researcher Jesse C. Jackson of the University of California at Irvine, she showed how even aborted pipeline plans have residual infrastructural effects that people live with for generations. The work is part of a grant-funded research initiative that will involve Oswego anthropology students in uncovering the powerful role arctic images have played in shaping ideas about the past and future.

Several articles by Thomas Bertonneau of the English department have appeared in recent months. “Globalism as Sacrificial Crisis,” a review of Jean-Pierre Dupuy’s “Mark of the Sacred,” and “System Failure,” a review of Eric H. Cline’s “The Year Civilization Collapsed,” appeared during the summer in The Brussels Journal. “Ur-Civilization, Cosmology, and the Invention of History” and “The Poet as Rebel: Inside Coleridge’s Pleasure Dome” (in “two parts) appeared during the summer in The People of Shambhala. His article on “Literary Criticism without Literature” appeared in May at the website of the Pope Center for Higher Education. The reviews of Dupuy and Cline belong to a series in which Bertonneau has explored the minority position that sees in so-called globalism the breakdown rather than the consummation of the Western order.  “Ur-Civilization, Cosmology, and the Invention of History” is a study of the cyclic theory of civilization in both fiction and non-fiction, from Plato’s story of Atlantis to late-19th century novels by Rider Haggard, C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne and Pierre Benoît, and in ostensible non-fiction from the work of Olaus Rudbeck in 17th-century Sweden to the work of geologist Robert Shoch in connection with the archeological site at Göbekli Tepe in Anatolia. “The Poet as Rebel” places Coleridge with Joseph de Maistre and Edmund Burke as an important critic of political modernity. “Literary Criticism without Literature” examines yet another aspect of what, in previous articles, Bertonneau has referred to as “post-literacy.”

Pat Clark, chair of the English and creative writing department, was invited to be a part of the LongHouse Food Scholars Program, an intense workshop for new and mid-career food writers and media professionals that took place in August in Rensselaerville. Among others involved were NPR’s Von Diaz (“StoryCorps”) and the Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson); Kathy Gunst, resident chef of NPR’s “Here and Now”; and the executive director and founder of LongHouse, cook book author and former New York Times food columnist Molly O’Neill. Clark wrote an article for Syracuse Media Group/Post-Standard that appeared Sept. 18. The article, “LongHouse Food Revival serves up delicious sermon”, covers the culminating event of LongHouse.

An article by Richard Cocks of the philosophy department appeared in The Brussels Journal. “The Feminizing of Culture, and Male Self-Hatred” is about Betty Friedan’s suggestion that it would be counterproductive for women wanting to gain access to the workforce in the 1960s to depict themselves as victims and Warren Farrell’s notions of the cultural consequences of ignoring Friedan’s advice.

Barry Friedman of the School of Business is the author of two recently published articles: “The Relationship Between Effective Governance and the Informal Economy” in the August issue of the International Journal of Business and Social Science and “Competency Based Team Formation: An Experiential Exercise” in the July issue of the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science.

Gwen Kay teachingIn May, Gwen Kay, pictured, of the history department was elected vice president and secretary of the SUNY University Faculty Senate for a two-year term. An Oswego faculty member last held this position in the 1960s, according to Senate archives. The vice president and secretary has primary responsibility for the official records of the Senate. The position gives Kay ex-officio status on some SUNY-wide committees. Among her upcoming engagements are SUNYCON 2014 later this month in New York City and the Chief Academic Officers meeting in the spring. The vice president and secretary serves on the Senate’s executive committee.

Michael Schummer, a visiting assistant professor in the biological sciences department, is the author of a guest post on the Johns Hopkins University Press blog. “Guy Baldassarre: The Man, the Book, and the Marsh” is an appreciation of this ornithologist who taught at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry for 25 years.

In Memoriam

Lenore Shapiro, 78, an associate librarian here in the 1970s, died Sept. 30 at Crouse Hospital.

Thu Oct 02, 2014
Faculty poet's 'Watershed' collection rises on observation, perseverance

Laura Donnelly with poetry bookLaura Donnelly of the English and creative writing faculty recently released “Watershed,” an award-winning poetry collection whose genesis is a story of observation, practice and perseverance.

“Watershed” earned the 2013 Cider Press Review Editors Prize and was published by the company. In this collection, Donnelly finds inspiration in the often-overlooked work and experiences within women’s lives—ranging from her mother studying Darwin’s finches to ongoing challenges facing women artists.

“Many of the poems try to listen closely to the quiet moments of our experiences, whether from a small gesture or a piece of music, and use that to explore larger questions of culture and identity, especially for women,” she said. These observational poems draw on such varied inspirations as the lives of famous figures, everyday women or even women depicted in paintings.

“The Principle of Flickering,” which at one point was the collection’s working title, serves as “a kind of anchor to the book,” Donnelly said, and “talks about change and being in motion and the process of transformation.”

The theme fits her life well. Originally trained as a classical pianist—groundbreaking pianists and composers Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn are among those explored in her poetry—Donnelly also majored in English literature, where she really enjoyed her first poetry class.

The rhythms of poetry appealed to her, and the disciplines had other parallels. “The musical training complements poetry because of the importance of practice,” Donnelly said. “I was used to spending a lot of time in practice rooms, so I was very comfortable with the idea that you have to practice a phrase over and over to get it right.”

Many poems people read that seem very immediate and spontaneous are really the result of a lot of writing and revising, Donnelly noted, an important part of creativity she passes along to students.

The title poem of “Watershed” views the watershed region of the Hudson Valley through an environmental lens, but the collection came together with a lot of images of water, natural for somebody who grew up around the shores of Lake Michigan.

The water connection followed her. Donnelly recalls marveling at Lake Ontario when she visited to interview for her position at SUNY Oswego. “Do you realize how amazing this is?” Donnelly kept saying of the Great Lake during her visit.

Tale of perseverance

Her experience in writing, revising and getting a collection of poems spanning from 2005 to early 2013 finally published helps her communicate the importance of perseverance to her students. Donnelly planned to make that lesson a major part of her presentation in the college’s Living Writers series earlier this week.

“The writers who are getting published are sending their manuscripts to more than 100 publishers,” she explained. “My message is that if you’re trying to get published and getting rejected, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.”

Her poems have appeared in journals that include Cimarron Review, CutBank, Flyway and Poetry East. A former editor in chief of the national literary journal Third Coast, Donnelly has been a finalist for the Brittingham and Pollak Prizes, the Orlando Prize and the St. Lawrence Book Award.

The experience publishing “Watershed” and an earlier chapbook with Finishing Line Press—“Nocturne—Schumann’s Letters” on musicians Robert and Clara Schumann—helped inform a capstone class project she developed asking students to put together 15-to-20-page chapbooks.

“Working on these has helped me think about ways to encourage them to put their poems into a cohesive whole,” Donnelly said. “Students can do a themed collection or individual poems, but they should still figure out how their poems are talking to each other and to develop an arc for the whole collection.”

PHOTO CAPTION—Award-winning poet—A collection of poems by Laura Donnelly of the English faculty earned the 2013 Cider Press Review Editors Prize and recently was published by the company under the title “Watershed.”

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