College Council minutes for Feb. 17, 2017



Mr. Richard Farfaglia
Ms. Darlene Baker
Mr. Brian McGrath
Mr. Michael Goldych
Ms. Emily Nassir, Student Association President
Mr. Rick Yacobush (Alumni Representative)


Mr. James McMahon, chair, excused

Ms. Saleem Cheeks, excused

Mr. Baye Muhammad, excused

  Ms. Deborah F. Stanley, President
  Ms. Mary Canale, Interim Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations
  Mr. Nick Lyons, Vice President for Finance and Administration
  Mr. Walter Roettger, Acting Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  Dr. Jerald Woolfolk, Vice President for Students Affairs and Enrollment Management
  Ms. Kristi Eck, Chief of Staff
  Dr. Lisa Glidden, Faculty Assembly Chair
  Mr. Howard Gordon, Executive Assistant to the President
  Ms. Kelsey Henderson, senior, Marketing and Political Science
  Ms. Ellen McCloskey, Assistant to the President
  Dr. Allison Rank, Assistant Professor, Political Science
  Ms Angela Tylock, senior, Political Science and Global and International Studies
  Mr. Wayne Westervelt, Chief Communication Officer and College Council Recorder

1. Welcome and call to order: Richard Farfaglia, serving as chair of the meeting, called the meeting to order in the Marano Campus Center (Room 114) at 1:01 p.m.

2. Approval of minutes of Sept. 16, 2016: Richard Farfaglia asked for a motion to approve the minutes from the Sept. 16, 2016 meeting. Darlene Baker made a motion to approve the minutes, seconded by Michael Goldych. The minutes of Sept. 16, 2016 were approved by the Council.

3. VOTE Oswego: Richard Farfaglia introduced Dr. Allison Rank, SUNY Oswego assistant professor of political science, to lead a presentation on the VOTE Oswego initiative that took place on campus this past fall.  Dr. Rank was joined by students Kelsey Henderson, senior, marketing and political science major, and Angela Tylock, senior, political science and global and international studies major.

Angela Tylock described the initiative as a non-partisan, student-run voter globalization campaign for the 2016 presidential election. She described the Vote Oswego class as an opportunity where “students will learn the nuts and bolts of building and running a political campaign including how to set and revise campaign goals, develop a coalition, work with the media, recruit and train volunteers, and develop and articulate a unified message.”

Three phases of the campaign included recruitment, voter registration, and a Get Out the Vote campaign to get as many students to the polls on Election Day. The class measured their success and reported the impressive collection of 2,637 voter registration forms (1,054 voter registration forms and 1,583 absentee ballot requests).

Kelsey Henderson elaborated on the development of a campaign coalition and stressed the students’ efforts to leverage staff, interest groups and organizations on campus to meet their campaign goal of 10 partnerships. In fact, they surpassed their goal by forming 32 partnerships.

Kelsey shared information on “Blitz Week” – a campaign effort supported by 32 clubs and organizations, 164 volunteers who contributed 363 volunteer hours to collect over 415 voter registration forms and 598 absentee ballot requests. Vote Oswego campaign t-shirts were designed by a graphic design graduate; campaign buttons were created by the student Design club; and a website designed by students in the Advanced Web Design class.

Campaign-as-a-Course Model: Dr. Rank stressed her desire to achieve important curriculum outcomes – hard and soft skills and impactful education experiences that we want our students to get, including campaign skills, critical thinking, and analytical skills.

The students were very strong in planning and revising strategies and tactics and assessing the performance of themselves and colleagues and “learned that campaign work has extensively more depth that what I thought.”

Michael Goldych asked if the course and the campaign was only open to political science majors. Dr. Rank responded that it is not; it is set up as a 300 level political science topics course open to sophomores and above in any major. 

Michael Goldych followed up by asking how many students with majors in the physical and biological sciences were enrolled in the class. Dr. Rank indicated that there were none in the course itself but we did have some hard science majors that we recruited during the student activities fair that came out as part of coalition.  There were also a number of students who participated to amass community service or service learning hours as a way of fulfilling their service learning responsibilities.

Brian McGrath asked if the campaign effort was tailored to New York students.  Dr. Rank indicated that yes, but for the few out-of-state students, we walked them through the process and instructed them where to go.

Michael Goldych asked how many valid polling locations are on campus. Dr. Rank pointed out that the Board of Elections has one polling place on campus; it is located in MCC 133. 

Howard Gordon asked how the campaign team was able to get 32 student organizations involved. Kelsey Henderson responded that each student had their own goal of reaching out to one or two clubs/organization and were encouraged to reach out to the leader of each club.

President Stanley thanked Dr. Rank and the students for their work. She recognized their efforts for creating visibility and sparking a lot of interest in Vote Oswego.

Richard Farfaglia pointed out how he recently had the opportunity to spend time in the classroom with the students who led this campaign effort.  He stressed how knowledgeable and engaged the students were in the craft of political campaigns and hopes the program continues in the future.

4. Student Association Report: Emily Nassir, Student Association president, reported on several initiatives and projects that the Student Association (SA) has been working on since September 2016.  The SA worked with Auxiliary Services to create a project called the Dining-to-Go initiative, which brings students' favorite dining hall food items to the cash operation locations on campus. The items currently being put on shelves are chicken patties, Buffalo chicken patties, and tortellini Alfredo. The SA created their own President's Council in the fall, which is a monthly meeting platform for organization presidents to come together and receive campus-wide/SA updates, collaborate with each other and address concerns in their organizations where they may counsel and collaborate with each other. Emily shared that the SA has ratified their Constitution this past fall and the Bylaws were ratified this month.

The Student Association Election process is beginning with petitions being released on February 24. All fee-paying students are encouraged to run for either President or Vice President of the Student Association. The Student Association Budget process has also begun. Budget requests were due on Sunday, February 19. The process will be completed at the end of the spring semester. The SA is also working on the Director of Finance hire for the 2017-2018 year.  The search is currently ongoing with applications due by March 3, 2017.  The SA is hoping to hire a student for this post by the middle of the spring 2017 semester.

The Thousand Words Campaign was created this past fall to help spread positivity on campus. Another event highlighted by Emily Nassir included the Get Real Series -- a series of workshops that are meant to educate students and the community on real life skills that they might not learn in the classroom. A sampling of workshop topics include how to apply to grad school, how to file taxes, tenants’ rights, how to take out a loan and set up a repayment plan, and how to jump start a car and change a tire. The workshops will be held weekly on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in Lanigan 104. In addition, planning continues for the OzFest Concert and Extravaganza, to be held May 5, 2017. This year’s festivities will feature a popular band that was requested by students via a survey. The students are working with a company, Concert Ideas, on the planning and marketing of the concert, games and related activities.

Emily added that the SA established an on-campus food pantry this past semester for students and community members in need. Vice President Nick Lyons commented that he attends the SUNY Business Officers meetings with system administration and one of the major concerns that the trustees have is that a number of students attending college and cannot afford food or are below the subsistence level. Currently, only SUNY Oswego and Stony Brook have food pantries on campus.  We are proud to be a model in this service to our campus community.  

5. Alumni Report: Rick Yacobush provided the alumni report.  He asked all to mark their calendars for June 8-11, 2017 for the college annual alumni reunion. This past fall, the Homecoming tradition continued at SUNY Oswego. Approximately 700 people participated in the many activities planned for alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends throughout the Nov. 4-6, 2017 weekend.  During the fall 2016 semester, 79 alumni returned to campus to speak in classes and share career expertise with students in support of our Alumni-In-Residence (AIR) program. So far, during the spring 2017 semester, we have had a total of seven alumni return and a number of upcoming visits are being planned.  Our Alumni sharing Knowledge (ASK) program is also doing well.  During the fall 2016 semester, 26 presentations to various classes and student groups were completed, and 49 students completed the program. A total of 10 students have applied to the program this semester. Both student ASK coordinators are continuing to track all student-mentor communications, frequency of communications, and student follow up. Beginning in mid-February, we will open up the ASK program to second-semester freshmen, as well as Graduates Of the Last Decade (GOLD), to maximize our growing pool of mentors, as well as maintain relevancy with our students and recent grads.

Rick reported on the positive alumni regional activity happening. He shared that since July 1, 2016, 47 regional events have taken place, with eight upcoming events planned through the end of the fiscal year. A GOLD Lunch and Learn Webinar took place on Wednesday, Nov. 9, for which 29 alumni registered and 16 participated.  Another GOLD Lunch & Learn Webinar took place on Wednesday, Feb. 1, featuring Cyndi Williams ’13, market manager for Facebook. The webinar focused on marketing yourself in your career. Of the 28 alumni registered, 17 participated. CNY Career Connections was held on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center, with 16 students and 13 alumni participants. Alumni in the region were invited to attend this new event to network with SUNY Oswego juniors and seniors, as well as to share career advice. Our annual NYC Career Connections program was held on Jan. 12 in Manhattan. We had 35 alumni participants and 75 student attendees at the evening networking event. 

The Commencement Eve Dessert Reception for Dec. 2016 graduates was held on Dec. 16 in the Sheldon Hall Ballroom, and drew 215 seniors, parents, families and friends. The Senior Class Planning Committee also held a Halfway to Grad Day celebration on Feb. 15 at The Shed.  This year’s Commencement Eve Torchlight Dinner and Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 12, featuring Alumni Master of Ceremonies Aunree Houston ’00.

Rick shared that since re-launching our new and improved OsweGoConnect online community in April 2013, we have already acquired more than 7,551 registered alumni users in nearly four years (as of Feb. 14).  SUNY Oswego also continues to increase its efforts to utilize all social channels to share news, events, alumni success stories as well as campus activity.  The spring 2017 issue of the magazine will mail in April. The cover story will highlight Oswego alumna Nancy Fire Breslau ’83, design director for HGTV Home.

6. Faculty Report: Lisa Glidden reported that the faculty passed an implicit bias resolution this past fall, aimed at raising awareness of biases that influence dynamics in the classroom and on campus. Lisa shared that the Faculty Assembly website was recently reorganized and applied learning has been a hot topic on campus. She added that SUNY is asking campuses to consider making applied learning a graduation requirement. As a result, a task force was formed to review and assess applied learning at SUNY Oswego.  This task force will be presenting at a future Faculty Assembly meeting. It is anticipated that a vote will take place at the end of April 2017.

Brian McGrath asked what is our definition of applied learning.  Lisa Glidden responded by defining applied learning as an educational approach whereby students learn by engaging in direct application of skills, theories and models.

Lisa Glidden highlighted that the faculty approved a new interdisciplinary major, Philosophy, Politics and Economics this fall. The major has been sent to Albany and we are waiting on approval from SUNY and the NYSED.

Teach NY is a SUNY initiative spearheaded by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.  SUNY Oswego’s Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Adrienne McCormick is a member of the Teach NY steering committee. Pam Michel, Dean of the School of Education has been very active on our campus and met with the chancellor last summer about Teach NY – an initiative that seeks to develop bold policy that would transform teacher and school‐leader preparation in New York commensurate with our state’s and society’s needs.

Lisa Glidden shared that she is very excited about a new minor in the digital humanities that will be presented to Faculty Assembly in the near future. The minor is another example of an interdisciplinary effort that brings together the natural sciences and social sciences with that of the digital world in which we now live. 

Michael Goldych asked if the digital humanities minor would include an ethics class. A discussion ensued about incorporating ethics into the general curriculum or a component to every major we have. 

Brian McGrath asked what is the buzz of the faculty.  Are there any particular issues on the radar? Lisa Glidden responded that the topics of sanctuary campuses and sanctuary cities, including DACA students (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and the Attorney General’s guidance on local law enforcement agencies handling of immigration issues are being discussed by faculty and students across campus.

President Stanley shared with the Council that she put a question to the faculty at the Feb. 13, 2017 General Faculty Meeting and discussed with students at the open Town Hall meeting.  Given what we see happening at colleges and universities across the country (e.g., University of California, Berkeley and NYU), wouldn’t it make sense for us to be prepared for what kind of institutional response we’ll have if we have speakers on campus that are highly controversial. How will we deal with splintered interests on campus? President Stanley added that there are outside influences who are forcing the matter on college campuses and using college campuses to highlight some sort of repression of free speech and the exchange of ideas.

7. President’s Remarks/Campus Update: President Stanley reported on new appointments, the Governor’s proposed budget, the NY Attorney General’s guidance document on local authority participation in immigration enforcement, a salary study, enrollment updates, the Periodic Review Report (PRR), diversity and inclusion, the Provost search, and the recently held meeting with SUNY Provost Alex Cartwright.

New Appointments: Mary Toale was appointed Interim Dean of Graduate Studies.  We have recently completed a national search for a new dean, and anticipate making an offer soon. We expect Mary to be in the interim position through the end of the semester before returning to her full professorship this fall.

Financial Plan: President Stanly shared with Council members that SUNY Oswego stands behind Governor Cuomo’s proposed Excelsior Scholarship Program that would, when fully implemented, eliminate tuition costs at SUNY or CUNY institutions for families making $125,000 or less annually, removing a significant portion of the financial obstacles and enabling more students to complete a quality college education in the Empire State. This is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning after TAP, after PELL and other scholarships received, Excelsior Scholarship dollars would be applied to tuition only.  The Excelsior Scholarship incentivizes full-time enrollment and college completion – both of which are proven game changers in students’ success. There is a 30-credit/year requirement. Moreover, it increases the likelihood that our promising youth, especially those from lower-income and middle-class backgrounds, will earn college degrees and emerge ready to conquer the next chapter of their lives.

Michael Goldych commented on how generous NYS TAP is and has been to private colleges.  President Stanley stressed that public colleges in New York State strive to keep the threshold as low as possible so individuals can access higher education and that is what the Governor’s proposed Excelsior Scholarship does.

Dream Act will provide undocumented students access to TAP and other State-administered scholarships.

NYSUNY2020 Challenge Grants: $110 million allocated to SUNY and CUNY for new round of Challenge Grants.

Tuition Plan: Five-year plan gives the SUNY Board of Trustees empowerment to raise undergraduate tuition by a maximum of $250/year. If New York state approves salary raises without tuition increase, this will be the same as a budget cut.

Capital funding increased from $200 million /year to $550 million /year for five years. Richard Farfaglia asked if the capital funding includes money for Laker Hall. Vice President Nick Lyons responded by indicating that yes, there are pieces of Laker Hall in our capital planning process.

NY Attorney General’s Guidance Document on Local Authority Participation in Immigration Enforcement:  We have already been in this stance for many years in that we don’t treat the campus as a place for law enforcement to come and apply its investigative arms. We have our own police force who operate according to the law.  We do not have to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs Board of Protection (CBP) unless there is a warrant. We are not using the term, sanctuary, but have expressed our desire to work with any students needing assistance.

President Stanley encouraged council members to go to NYS Attorney General’s website if they would like more information. 

Faculty Salary Study: The College hired Engaged OneGroup, a benefit-consulting group, to conduct a salary student.  We expect to share the completed study at the end of February. The study will prepare comparison faculty salary study by discipline, job title, and compare SUNY Oswego to SUNY comprehensive colleges, local private institutions, and CUPA (College University Professional Association) Northeast data.

Enrollment: We received 906 applications for the spring 2017 semester, with 265 new students enrolling at SUNY Oswego. First year applications for fall 2017 are the highest ever --11, 212 applications received.  Our acceptance rate of 48-53% is right where we want to be as we have offered enrollment to 5,280 students as of Feb. 1, 2017. STEM applications continue to rise (2,950 in fall 2017 compared to 1,309 in 2007). International student applications received are steady (275 in fall 2017). New York City applications received have risen to 4,200 for fall 2017 enrollment. 

Upstate applications (Oswego and contiguous counties) are stable, while out of state applications are growing. Over 50% of the applicant pool is diverse with 5,630 applications coming from under-represented minorities (African America, Native American, Latinos, Hispanic and Asian).

Discussion ensured in response to Brian McGrath’s question as the cause of this growth in diverse student enrollment. President Stanley pointed to our strategic efforts to recruit in highly diverse populations, and in high schools with highly diverse populations. She added that we have initiated programs that are directly responding to concentrations of students and families in target geographic areas. Additional discussion focused on the college’s efforts to seek greater diversity among the faculty and staff.

Periodic Review Report (PRR): Our Middle States 5-year report is in the final stages of development. Since Middle States did not have any recommendations for SUNY Oswego in its reporting five years ago, we are evaluating the recommendations we set for ourselves.  The PRR is due to Middle States by June 1, 2017.

Diversity and Inclusion: The campus hosted the following Oz Diversity speakers – TJ Holmes, ABC/Good Morning America; Kevin Powell, humanitarian/president of BK Nation; Winona LaDuke, environmentalist, economist and writer. Our students, community and staff are all benefitting from our collaborative efforts to create awareness, promote diversity and civic engagement.

SUNY Oswego submitted its Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Plan to SUNY in November 2016.

James Felton was hired as the new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) following a national search.  He will begin his employment with us on April 3, 2017, and will be responsible for strengthening diverse hiring practices; training, professional development around diversity; further diversifying the campus; and establishing a campus culture of support for diversity and inclusion. The position reports to the president and is a member of President Stanley’s cabinet (President’s Council).

Provost Search: The national search for a Provost is underway. Onsite interviews for final candidates are planned for April with hopes of hiring a new provost by this summer, in advance of the fall 2017 semester. A national firm, Academic Search, is working with SUNY Oswego on the Provost search.

Strategic Enrollment Management meeting with SUNY Provost: Provost Cartwright and a panel of SUNY representatives were pleased with SUNY Oswego’s progress on all accounts. The Feb. 14, 2017 conversation included much discussion about our strategic enrollment effectiveness, progress with respect to our Performance Improvement Plan, vision for SUNY Oswego, and how we establish partnerships and work with partners in our community and region.

8. Old Business:  Michael Goldych inquired about the status of a bubbler or water circulator to be placed in the lagoon in front of Culkin Hall. Vice President Nick Lyons shared that we are having a study done.

9. New Business: Michael Goldych suggested that the college consider offering a public course in the evening to interested community members on multicultural topics.

Richard Farfaglia presented, part of which reads:

Whereas, William Scriber has declared his intention to retire from this body, effective January 30, 2017; Therefore, Be It Resolved that the SUNY Oswego College Council, with deep appreciation for the outstanding service he has rendered in pursuit of his duties as a member of the College Council, sincerely commends and thanks William Scriber for six years of dedicated service and wishes him well.

Michael Goldych made a motion to approve the resolution (attached in its entirety), seconded by Darlene Baker. The resolution was approved by the Council.

Motion to adjourn made by Brian McGrath, seconded by Darlene Baker and approved by all at 3:02 p.m.