President Horvath's Monday Message

Monday Updates are intended to keep the campus informed about current and upcoming events, to follow up on questions you ask, and to address special situations as they arise.


September 10, 2018


Revision of Search Guidelines Process

Last week in the University Senate meeting, there were a number of questions about the current work to review and revise the Search Guidelines that are used to assist departments, offices, and search committees in the hiring process. With thanks to those who have agreed to serve on the committee, I want to clarify that there has been confusion about the charge to that committee and whether it is an initiative from Academic Affairs. Because Provost Brown and Human Resources Director Michael Daley were not able to be at the Senate meeting, I fielded questions and incorrectly reported that the charge to the committee seemed to come from the Provost and HR Director. I apologize for that error. In actuality, Provost Brown was not leading that effort, and there was no formal, written charge to the committee. There is now a need to identify clearly the goals, timeline, and scope of their work.

What was first perceived as a simple update of the Guidelines to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations and to clarify internal procedures for using the electronic application system has evolved into a more complicated process, with opportunity to review and potentially revise some of the procedures in that text. Issues related to searches were raised by academic department chairs last spring, so this is a good opportunity to take time to review the document thoroughly and revise it as appropriate. Because these Guidelines are used to hire faculty and professionals across divisions, I have developed a formal charge to the committee, which includes opportunities for review of a revised draft by the Cabinet, the Senate Faculty and Professional Affairs Committee, and the University Senate. I will be scheduling a meeting with the current committee members soon to review the draft charge and determine whether, given the expanded scope of the work, they wish to continue. I will also be directing the committee to identify a co-chair to work with Mike Daley, and, as was suggested in Senate, I will invite the University Senate Chair to appoint another member to the committee.


PEPRE Process Update

The Process for Emergency Program Reduction/Elimination (PEPRE) is continuing according to the schedule shared previously. As a reminder, this process was developed in 2010-2011 through shared governance as a strategic approach to budgeting. As noted in the campus budget presentation on April 30, 2018, we will be using this process to look at strategic reductions and eliminations of programs and services as we plan for the 2019-2020 budget and continue our work in eliminating the structural deficit in our operating budget in the years ahead.  Across all divisions, data sets for Criteria 1 and 2 are being collected, and the Cabinet and Senate-designated representatives will be reviewing this information in preparation for discussions in the next few weeks. Here is a reminder of the timeline in the PEPRE guidelines, with specific dates for this academic year:

  • By September 14, 2018: Step 1: Based on meetings with VPs, President, and other Cabinet members, the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment (IRPA) will compile data sets identified for PEPRE Criteria 1 and 2, with Annual Reports, for the past four years.
  • By October 15, 2018: Step 2: The President, Cabinet, and the Senate-designated representatives will convene to review data sets and to identify a narrowed list of programs for potential reduction and / or elimination. Cabinet will continue discussions of possible reductions.


Enrollment Services Town Hall Meeting: September 27

All are invited to an important upcoming event: a Town Hall Meeting to discuss enrollment and recruitment. As explained by Dan Tramuta, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services, “we continue to build upon the record-making new undergraduate student recruitment enrollments of the past two years and reach for even greater success in Fall 2019.” This Town Hall meeting will include a re-cap of the 2018-19 recruitment cycle and enrollment planning for Fall 2019 and beyond. In addition, updates from Admission Recruitment and Operations, New Student and Transition Programs, and Financial Aid will be provided. The meeting, rescheduled from a previously announced date, will be on Thursday, September 27th at 4:00 pm in the Williams Center S204. In his invitation to the campus, Dan noted, “We appreciate your continued support with our new student recruitment efforts and we look forward to continuing the conversation at the Town Hall meeting.”




September 10, 2018


Founders Day: Wednesday, September 12

On Wednesday evening, we will be celebrating the second Annual Founders Day, recognizing the long relationship of the Village of Fredonia and the campus. Last year we celebrated 150 years since the citizens of Fredonia committed their time and resources to persuade New York State to establish one of four state colleges here, continuing a tradition of post-secondary education that had existed since the creation of the Fredonia Academy (a private institution) in 1826. Last year the program featured a dramatic reenactment of the citizen action that led to the founding of the Fredonia Normal School. This year’s program focuses on two key figures who were instrumental in the history of the institution now known as SUNY Fredonia: Reuben E. Fenton and Juliet Jacobson Anderson Rosch. The program will be held at 7:00 pm on the stage of the 1891 Fredonia Opera House, which was the site of the Fredonia Academy. For those who would like to march from campus, drummers will lead a group from the flagpole outside Gregory Hall, leaving at 6:30 pm and proceeding down Temple Street to the Opera House. The program includes a dramatic reenactment written by Ralph Blasting, who is co-producer to the event along with Kay Stonefelt. Music from the era will be provided by Trevor Napoli, Laurie Tramuta, and Nick Weiser, with additional music from the New Horizons Dixieland Band, led by Kate Levy. A highlight of the program will be a short video of interviews about remembrances of the campus and community: thank you to Town Historian Todd Langworthy and filmmaker Alisha Travis-Daughtery and all of those who took the time to share some of their memories. All are welcome to join in this event at the Opera House (9 Church Street). A reception will follow.


New Faculty Program Series

Thanks to the work of Dawn Eckenrode and Judy Horowitz, with input from academic deans, the Professional Development Center has created a series of programs to provide new faculty with tools they’ll need to be successful at Fredonia, to navigate their classrooms, and to engage with their new community. Beginning next week and throughout the 2018-2019 academic year, this comprehensive program will introduce new faculty to Fredonia culture as well as encourage the process of academic, professional, and pedagogical growth. Fall semester sessions focus on understanding and engaging students, being successful in the classroom and preparing for the reappointment process. The spring semester is geared toward scholarship and creative activity, work/life balance, and other topics. A fuller description of this program, with specifics about the programs, can be found at this link. Dates and times will appear in Events@Fredonia as they are confirmed.


Middle States Self-Study Working Group Training

Thank you to all who participated in the Working Group Training held on Friday, September 7. This was the first full gathering of the working groups that will be focused on preparing the self-study required for our campus site visit in the spring of 2020. The self-study focuses on seven standards for accreditation, and each of the working groups will be responsible for assessing and summarizing the campus effectiveness in one of those standards. This is an important process, as achieving regional accreditation is essential for any college or university. Thank you to Middle States Co-Chairs Lisa Hunter and Mary Beth Sievens for your guidance and commitment in leading these efforts.



Congratulations and thank you to everyone who was involved in last week’s Activities Night! With the addition of the Network on the Go tables to the student organizations, new and continuing students could learn about and choose from hundreds of opportunities to explore interests and be engaged in many ways. Way to go, Spectrum, Career Development Office, Mark Suida, Rachel Martin, and all who set up, performed, and welcomed students.


Congratulations to the string faculty who performed in the recent School of Music ExSTRINGvangana recital! As we prepare for the season of concerts, recitals, exhibitions, lectures, and dance and theatrical performances, it’s a great reminder of the many opportunities across campus to be part of exciting cultural programs. Please be sure to post complete information to events@fredonia and to check that calendar so you can join in!


Thank you to FSA, Facilities Services, the Teacher Education Club, and Athletics for all you did to make the annual Faculty/Staff Picnic a success! And thank you for all who attended and brought food donations for the Chautauqua Rural Ministry program and the campus Food Pantry. Your generosity makes a difference on campus and in the communities we serve.


And to all of the athletic teams who are playing hard and preparing for the opening of the SUNYAC seasons, go Big Blue! The women’s tennis team, currently 4-0, has been formidable in competition!


President’s Open Office Hours

In response to requests for opportunities for informal dialogue, I have tried to reserve time each week when members of the campus community can stop by without an appointment to see me. The hours may vary each week, given changes in my schedule, but I am trying to have two times each week, and I’ll announce them in the Monday Update. This week, open office hours are Wednesday, September 12, from 12:00 - 1:00 pm in 138 Fenton Hall and Sunday, September 16, from 6:30 - 9:00 pm in the Reference area of Reed Library. If you have an issue you are working to resolve, you should continue to meet directly with the person or office who can resolve that with you. But I’d be glad to hear how things are going and learn about what’s on your mind.


September 3, 2018

 Activities Night: Wednesday, September 5

For many students, Activities Night is one of the best evenings of the semester! Returning students present information about their clubs and organizations, and new students and others have a chance to sign up. With more than 170  clubs and organizations recognized by the Student Association, Fredonia has everything from Accounting Club and African Student Union to Ultimate Frisbee, Blue Ice Step Team, Live Action Role Playing (LARP), sports, Greek organizations, and many more. Everyone is welcome to come to Dods Grove from 6:30 - 8:00 pm to sign up (if you’re a student) or to support student organizations. In case of rain, the event will be held in Steele Hall.


Big Blue Welcome Week

Thank you to everyone who planned and carried out all of the activities and events of Big Blue Welcome Week! These events stretched all through the first week of classes, with pop-up treats across campus: kettlecorn outside Fenton Hall, ice cream outside Thompson and Maytum Halls, smoothies outside the Science Center, coffee and tea in the International Student Lounge (Williams Center), hot dogs and veggie burgers on the Williams Center patio, and donuts between Reed Library and Mason Hall. A few years ago, students joked with me that we should call our institution FEEDonia because there is so much food, and that was certainly true last week. There were many meet-up events, too, such as bingo, speed-friending, and a clock party. This whole week resulted from the creativity and good ideas of a team of people in Enrollment and Student Services, so hats off to you! A community member who had seen the fun video of events produced by Marketing and Communications asked me, “Do your students have any time for class?” Yes. Yes, they do. Several returning students lamented as we were serving up the hot dogs that the ideas of “syllabus day” and “syllabus week” (short information sessions for the entire first week of classes) seem to be gone. “We jumped right in on what we were learning,” they reported. Good! So now that everyone is welcomed--and weltering--wipe the last little bit of the Blue Devil smoothie from your lips and teeth, and keep studying!


Yellow Ribbons

Some of you have asked about the yellow ribbons tied around some trees on campus, especially near Rockefeller Arts Center. These ribbons were placed by Prof. Samantha Kenney, Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, and students and faculty so that we can offer encouragement that one of Fredonia’s alumni will soon be home. Samantha Sayers (B.F.A., Technical Theatre, 2013), disappeared on August 1 while on a solo hike on Vesper Peak in Washington State. Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Sam, now 28, had moved to Seattle for full-time work in theatre after several years of professional theatre work across the country. She is an experienced hiker who had successfully climbed that same mountain in the North Cascades, as well as many other hikes. There have been extensive searches of the area since she disappeared without a trace: it’s known that she reached the summit, but she did not return to her car at the planned check-in time. The local sheriff’s department searched for weeks, and now teams of mountaineers with dogs continue to comb the massive area. More than 30,000 people follow the social media sites (#findsamsayers) and scan drone videos and photos in the hopes of seeing any sign of her in the thickly wooded and rocky terrain. Those of us who remember her work on many Mainstage and PAC productions know of her talents on stage and behind the scenes, and we join her family and friends in hoping and praying for her safe return. The website about her and links to the drone footage is


President’s Open Office Hours

If you would like to meet with me, I am available this week on Friday from 1:00 - 2:00 pm in 138 Fenton Hall and on Sunday, September 9, from 6:30 - 9:00 pm in the Reference area of Reed Library. Faculty, staff, and students are welcome to stop by my office or the library without an appointment. I’d be glad to hear how things are going and learn about what’s on your mind.




August 27, 2018 


Welcome to the New Academic Year!

After a great weekend of move-in and orientation activities, the new academic year begins today! Many thanks to those who planned activities for new and returning students and all who assisted over the weekend in having spaces and people ready. Special thanks to Erin Mroczka (Director of First-Year and Transition Programs) for her leadership in re-imagining orientation programs, held Friday and Saturday; Khristian King (Executive Director of Intercultural Student Support Services) and her team for a successful first Intercultural Street Fair on Saturday; Jerry Fisk (Director of Athletics) and colleagues for organizing the first Big Blue Spirit Night; Kathy Forster (Director of Residence Life) and all the Residence Directors, Residence Assistants, and athletic teams who had a clear, smooth, welcoming process for those moving into residence halls; Reed Library faculty for organizing fun events to introduce new students to the resources and services at the library; and Darin Schulz (Executive Director, FSA) for changing the approach to food service for move-in weekend. After spending time with new students at several events over the past few days, I can confirm that this is a talented and engaged entering class, eager for the challenges of college and ready for all that is coming their way. It is great this morning to see students in classes, benefiting from the efforts of faculty in research, creative activity, and course design over the summer. Let’s all play a role in welcoming these students and returning students and helping them all succeed!


All-Campus Meeting Video Available

Thank you to all who attended the All-Campus Meeting on Wednesday, August 22. At that meeting, I provided an overview of some highlights from last academic year and a preview of the work ahead. Chancellor’s Awards were also presented to seven people, and the Heart of Fredonia Award was presented to Mark Kinney. Thank you to Andrea Waisura from Marketing and Communications for filming the entire meeting and for making it available on the President’s Office website: All are welcome to view it and to send comments and questions to


Middle States Reaccreditation Timeline

In the United States, all public institutions are required to be accredited by a regional accrediting body, and Fredonia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Reaccreditation occurs every ten years, when the institution is evaluated according to seven standards. As Fredonia prepares for reaccreditation, Middle States Co-Chairs Lisa Hunter and Mary Beth Sievens, and Executive Sponsor Terry Brown took these steps:


  • Identified 3 Institutional Priorities for the self-study: equitable and inclusive student success, continuous improvement through integrated planning and assessment, and financial sustainability
  • Drafted the Self-Study Design, which was vetted by campus and finalized in spring 2018
  • Hosted MSCHE Liaison, Dr. Ellie Fogarty, on campus to answer questions and provide feedback on our self-study design in April 2018
  • Revised the Self-Study Design, which was submitted and accepted by MSCHE in May 2018
  • Formed seven Working Groups, one on each standard, as well as the Middle States Steering Committee
  • Appointed Scott Richmond as the Evidence Inventory Librarian

In the 2018-2019 academic year, here is the timeline developed by the Steering Committee, as we prepare for the accreditation site visit in April 2020:

  • August 22, 2018: Self-Study Kick-Off with Poster Session during the reception after the All-Campus meeting, so that the campus community can familiarize themselves with the Middle States standards and Institutional priorities. These posters will soon be on display on campus.
  • September 7, 2018: Working Group Training
  • September 7, 2018 - February 28, 2019: Working groups gather, review, and analyze evidence, draft reports
  • November 2018: Co-Chairs attend Middle States self-study writing workshop
  • January - May 2019: Team Chair and site visit dates chosen, Self-Study Design sent to team chair, Self-Study drafted and shared with campus community


Office Hours with the President

If you would like to stop in, without an appointment, I am glad to hold open office hours for conversations with students, faculty, and staff. On most Sunday evenings from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., I am in the Reference area of Reed Library and available to any who want to stop by and talk, make a suggestion, or ask a question. I have also reserved an hour from 8:30 to 9:30 on most Friday mornings for those who would like to stop in my office (138 Fenton Hall) without an appointment. All are welcome!

Mrs. Denise Szalkowski
Assistant to the President
Phone: (716) 673-3456

Dr. Virginia Schaefer Horvath, President

138 Fenton Hall
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3456