College history

SUNY Oswego was founded in 1861 as the Oswego Primary Teachers' Training School by Edward Austin Sheldon, who adapted the object teaching technique of the Swiss educator Johann Pestalozzi to meet the academic and educational needs of his day. The campus moved from the city of Oswego to the current lakeside location with the construction of Sheldon Hall in 1911-1913.

The institution became Oswego State Teachers College and one of SUNY's charter members in 1948. While maintaining its high standards as a center for teacher education, the institution began to broaden its academic perspective in 1962 when it became one of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences of the State University or New York.

Oswego's student body quadrupled during the 1960s and early 1970s, a time of building on campus as well. The current campus consists of 46 buildings with classroom, laboratory, residential, and athletic facilities. The Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation is the newest, opening in fall 2013. Today, Oswego is one of 13 university colleges in the SUNY system. More than 8,000 students enroll annually, and there are over 78,000 living alumni. Oswego offers more than 100 academic programs leading to bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and certificates of advanced study.

State University of New York

The State University of New York's 64 geographically dispersed campuses bring educational opportunity within commuting distance of virtually all New Yorkers and comprise the nation's largest comprehensive system of public higher education. The university's motto is "To Learn, To Search, To Serve."

When SUNY launched in 1948, the university consolidated 29 state-operated but unaffiliated institutions whose varied histories of service dated as far back as 1816.

As a comprehensive public university, the State University provides a meaningful educational experience to the broadest spectrum of individuals. Nearly 460,000 students are pursuing traditional study in classrooms and laboratories or are working at home, at their own pace through the SUNY Learning Network distance learning online system.

The State University is accredited by the University of the State of New York, which embraces all education programs in the state, and is directed by the Board of Regents, with the state education commissioner as President. Within that legal framework, however, the State University is effectively autonomous. SUNY has its own Board of Trustees, appointed by the governor, that establishes university policy and carries overall responsibility for operation or the campuses. Under the direction of the Board of Trustees is a Chancellor who directs the System Administration. Though considerable autonomy is also granted the separate State University units, final policy-making authority is vested in the System Administration.

Oswego is one of 13 university colleges in the SUNY system. Comprising the rest of the system are four university centers, two health science centers, five colleges of technology, five specialized colleges, two statutory colleges that are funded by the State University but located on private campuses, and 30 locally sponsored community colleges.

College Council

At Oswego, as at other units of SUNY, a College Council serves the local institution with broad powers of advice and review, all subject to final approval by the State University Board of Trustees. The council consists of nine members appointed by the governor plus one member elected by the student body. A member of the voting faculty, elected by the general faculty, has observer status on the College Council.

The council, whose members serve staggered nine-year terms, has certain supervisory and consultative responsibilities including recommending candidates for appointment as President of SUNY Oswego, reviewing major plans for operation of the institution, making regulations concerning care and management of campus properties, reviewing proposed budget requests, fostering the development of advisory citizens committees, naming buildings and grounds, and making or approving regulations governing student conduct.

The Policies of the Board of Trustees, distributed periodically to all faculty members, contains further information on university-wide administration and administrative policies.

College organization

The President of SUNY Oswego holds delegated responsibility from the Chancellor for administering the campus, supervising personnel, making procedural or developmental recommendations, preparing the annual budget proposal and making or recommending appointments.

The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs serves as the Chief Academic Officer of the institution and reports to the President. The Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, and the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations also report to the President.

The academic departments of the institution are in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the School of Communication, Media and the Arts; the School of Business; and the School of Education. Departmental chairs and directors of offices or academic service areas report to the appropriate Dean or Vice President, or directly to the Provost or President. A complete organizational chart is available in Appendix A of this handbook.

Faculty Assembly

At Oswego, a Faculty Assembly consisting of members elected from each department on campus, members elected by the professional staff, members elected by the administration and student representatives, exists as the deliberative body through which the faculty participates in the governance of the institution. Faculty Assembly makes recommendations to the President on matters of concern to the faculty, the professional staff and students. A copy of the Faculty Bylaws is reprinted in Appendix G.

University Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate, founded in 1953, is a university-wide organization with senators and alternates elected by a weighted formula from each of the 36 units. The Chancellor also appoints two senators, plus alternates from System Administration. The term is for three years with a maximum of two consecutive terms. An alternate senator is elected to serve in the absence of or inability of the regular senator to act when the need arises.

The purpose of the Faculty Senate, as defined in the Policies of the Board of Trustees, is to "be the official agency through which the University Faculty engages in the governance of the University. The Senate shall be concerned with the effective educational policies and other professional matters within the University." It generally deliberates those issues of concern and importance that are university-wide in scope. It may also address local campus issues if they are deemed to have broader system-wide implications.

Under this mandate, the work of the Senate is carried on through its standing and ad hoc committees. The current standing committees are: Governance, Graduate Academic Programs and Research, Undergraduate Academic Programs and Policies, Student Life, University Operations, University Programs and Awards, and Public Information. There is also an executive committee, which is composed of the Senate President, immediate past president, vice president/secretary, immediate past vice president/secretary, five elected senators representing campus types and one senator from System Administration selected by the Chancellor.

Three plenary Senate sessions, each lasting two days, are held each year in the fall, winter and spring. The meetings are rotated among the campuses, with each campus hosting the meeting approximately every 10 years. The agenda for the meetings, prepared by the executive committee, consists of the Chancellor's report and a subsequent question period, President’s report, executive committee report, a presentation or workshop on important issues of higher education, reports by the standing committees, sharing of concerns and action items which usually take the form of resolutions of the Chancellor and/or the Board of Trustees. There is a fall planning meeting attended by members of the executive committee, members of standing committees, campus governance leaders and new senators.