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.

 

May 14, 2018

Finals Week

Good luck to everyone who is studying for final exams, finishing projects, and grading all of this work! This is where the semester’s work comes to a critical point, and I’m encouraged to see the numbers of study groups in the library and in many other places across campus. I hope that everyone has a strong finish!

 

Commencement

This Saturday, Fredonia continues its tradition of having two ceremonies for Commencement in Steele Hall--one at 10:00 am and one at 3:00 pm. Fredonia alumnus Michael Marletta (‘73), who also chairs the Fredonia College Foundation Board, will receive an honorary doctorate for his pioneering work in biochemistry, and he will also speak at each ceremony. Senior Nicholas Hlifka will be awarded the Lanford Presidential Prize at the morning ceremony. I am looking forward to joining the faculty and staff as we see all the students and their families on this important day in their lives. Many thanks to all who provide music, set up the arena, work on the program and scripts, assist with visitors, participate in the program, and volunteer to be on hand that day for whatever arises. You make this a special event!

 

Continuing Budget Process

The processes continue in each division to finalize the choices for the 2018-2019 budget, which begins on July 1. Anyone with questions or comments on this process is welcome to send them along to budget@fredonia.edu.

 

Park and Ride Buses

Thank you to all who have sent in suggestions to Vice President Michael Metzger for reducing costs but continuing limited services of the Park and Ride buses. You can still send suggestions to him at Michael.Metzger@fredonia.edu. He will be presenting his proposal to the Cabinet on Wednesday, based on suggestions about alternatives to the current offering of on-demand service 12 hours a day, and will announce his conclusion later this week.

 

Kudos

Congratulations to all of the Fredonia Blue Devils who were honored at last week’s Athletics Awards and Recognition Gala, with special thanks to Jerry FiskMegan ValentineJerry ReillyGeoff Braun, and all the coaches and athletes who worked to put together such an impressive presentation of the athletic and academic achievements of individual teams!

 

I was honored to join in a number of academic department awards and recognition ceremonies over the past few weeks. At each one, I saw evidence of the remarkable accomplishments of Fredonia students, the guidance and mentorship from faculty, and the support of donors and friends who fund awards and scholarships. For many, these celebrations are as important as commencement, and they offer a more intimate glimpse into how well these departments know and support students. Great work!

 

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May 7, 2018

 

Continuing Budget Process

As I noted in last Monday’s budget presentation, each of the Vice Presidents is working between now and July 1 to identify the specific ways that they are reducing expenses in the 2018-2019 budgets in their areas. The process varies in each area, but each is also working on a communication plan and timeline to share their decision-making processes, opportunities for engagement and input, and announcements about those decisions. And we need continued conversations about how any decisions affect the services across divisions, as my next section illustrates.

 

Park and Ride Buses

There has been considerable concern in the past week about Vice President Metzger’s decision not to continue the Park and Ride Bus Service in the 2018-19 academic year, so I want to respond to a number of questions and statements that have come to me.

 

First, because there is some confusion, I want to clarify that there are several bus services besides this: the Escort Bus (that provides transportation to and from parking lots and downtown), the Community Bus (that provides transportation to stores and off campus), and the public buses (that pick up at the Williams Center and provide transportation to Buffalo). Several of these are funded through the Student Association and are continuing.

 

The Park and Ride service was established in 2009 when Maytum Hall was closed for renovation, and a number of campus offices were moved to modular units (Administrative Office Complex, or AOC) in the parking lot near the baseball fields. At that time, employees used the Park and Ride buses to avoid driving between the AOC and other offices on campus, and because the student population was high, many found it easier to park out near the AOC and ride the buses to Maytum or the Williams Center. When the University Townhouses opened in 2013, many students also found this a convenient way to get from their apartments on the edge of campus to the center of campus, particularly in winter weather. The Park and Ride Service is not a transportation service for people with disabilities.

 

In looking at the costs of maintaining vehicles and hiring drivers, Mr. Metzger also looked at the dwindling ridership of these buses and thought maintaining the program as it has existed was cost prohibitive. He is open to suggestions about alternatives to the current offering of on-demand service 12 hours a day (Michael.Metzger@fredonia.edu).

 

MyStrength

Thanks to the work of Tracy Stenger, Director of the Health and Counseling Center, and Kevin Kearns, Vice President for Engagement and Economic Development, everyone at Fredonia has access to a free tool to help manage stress. Through a grant obtained through Chautauqua Tapestry, we have access to myStrength--a free online tool that teaches skills to reduce stress, improve mood, and overcome other challenges. To access these free tools and resources, visit myStrength.com: click “Sign Up,” and enter the access code FredoniaBlueDevil for unlimited access to personalized help, including tracking your mood, managing depressive and anxious thoughts, and to access and share inspirations.

Kudos

Congratulations to the faculty and students in the Dance Program and everyone involved in this week’s very successful Fredonia Dance Ensembleconcert. Congratulations as well to the Visual Arts and New Media faculty and the students whose work is featured in Senior Show II in the Marion Gallery.

 

In addition to all the recitals, awards ceremonies, and departmental celebrations in the past week, we’ve had several outside speakers that brought members of the campus together. Elif Çimşir spoke on supporting those with disabilities in Turkey, and alumnus Dennis Costello gave a seminar on technology solutions to climate mitigation.

There was a screening of the film, “The Ripple Effect,” featuring Kevin Hines, about suicide and its prevention. In addition, we had a poetry festival byWriter’s Ring, a step competition by Black Student Union and Brother to Brother, and fundraisers by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (with S.T.E.P.S. and It’s on US) and the Residence Hall Association.

 

Thank you to Michael Dunham for his continued offerings of Public Viewing sessions in the Observatory. Last week and this week, Reed Library is busy with students and faculty working on projects, conducting research, and studying for finals. In addition, Librarians on Location has brought the talents and services of Fredonia’s library faculty to locations outside the library (Fenton Hall and the Science Center), so that students can ask questions and get help.

 

 

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April 30, 2018
 

Budget Process and Presentation

This morning I gave the annual budget presentation in King Concert Hall. Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend this meeting. At that meeting, I shared this chart that shows the target that each division is working to meet in budget cuts:

   

Division

  Reductions in 2018-19 budget

Academic Affairs

1,250,000

Advancement, Engagement, & Economic Development

400,000

Enrollment & Student Services

250,000

Finance & Administration

600,000

President & Reports (includes ITS)

250,000

Utilities & Institutional

900,000

TOTAL PERMANENT CUTS

3,650,000

DIFR Funds (one-time offset)

1,250,000

TOTAL CUTS and OFFSET

4,900,000

 

The process for determining the cuts differ for each division, so Vice Presidents will be sharing with their divisions the choices that they will make. Although we had hoped to reach the entire overall target without using one-time offsets, the Executive Cabinet chose instead to balance the budget next year using one-time support from DIFR funds (Housing).

 

I am grateful for the hard work of all the Vice Presidents, work that continues over the next two months. The new budget will go into effect on July 1, 2018, and we will begin on that date our planning for the 2019-2020 budget.

A transcript of today’s presentation, which includes most of the graphics, can be found at Campus Budget Update, April 30, 2018. You are welcome to read the transcript and to send any questions about it to me. One of the things I announced is that between now and July 1, when the new fiscal year begins, there will be regular updates from Vice Presidents about their processes and decisions regarding cuts in their divisions. The Budget Office website will feature a FAQ page, so please send any questions you have about the budget to budget@fredonia.edu.

 

Advancement, Engagement, and Economic Development

One of the announcements in today’s budget session was about a restructuring decision I have made that will help the campus reduce expenses and bring together two areas that focus on relationship building, career development, and fundraising. I will be eliminating one Vice President, cutting the vacant line for a Vice President for University Advancement. On July 1Kevin Kearns will become the Vice President for Advancement, Engagement, and Economic Development, a new division that brings together Advancement, the Career Development Office, Alumni Affairs, the Fredonia Technology Incubator, StartUP NY and other potential corporate partnerships, government relations, and the Western SUNY Native American Consortium. On July 1Betty Gossett, who has been outstanding as Interim Director of the Fredonia College Foundation, will become the Director of the Fredonia College Foundation, continuing and focusing on the fundraising work that she is doing so well. The Nurturing Innovation campaign, which has already raised more than $14 million towards its $20 million goal, will be strengthened and stabilized with her permanent appointment. And I look forward to seeing the great steps we can take with corporate partnerships and sponsorships, as well as by bringing together Fredonia alumni and students just starting on their career paths.

 

Marketing and Communication

As part of the divisional restructuring, on July 1Jeff Woodard, the Director of Marketing and Communication, will report directly to the President, instead of to a vice president. Jeff will also serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet, since the work that he and his team do supports work across the entire university. I look forward to working with Jeff and having his input at Cabinet meetings.

 

Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

We have been notified that Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson has approved Lori Johnson, Secretary 1, to receive the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Classified Service. Congratulations, Lori, and thank you for all you do in Facilities Planning. She and other Chancellor’s Award recipients will be honored at the all-campus meeting on August 23

 

 

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April 23, 2018

 

Budget Process and Presentation

This week, the Executive Cabinet is meeting to discuss the proposed reductions in the state budget for each division across campus. The primary goal is to address the structural budget deficit as we plan our budgets for 2018-2019. Later in the week, I will meet with leaders from the University Senate, the Senate Planning and Budget Committee, and campus unions (CSEA, PEF, PBANYS, and UUP) to discuss proposed approaches. All on campus are invited to attend the annual Budget Presentation that I will give on Monday, April 30, at 11:00 in Rosch Recital Hall.

 

Accessibility and Assistance

Last Wednesday, an incident in McEwen Hall prompted concerns for an individual’s safety and dignity, as well as confusion about campus protocols when physical access is limited. When a student in a wheelchair learned that the elevator in McEwen was not functioning (and that Facilities had informed Disability Support Services that the repair could not happen that day), she felt that action other than missing class was necessary, weighed her options, and crawled up the stairs to get to class. Although people who saw this action kindly offered help, she did not want to be lifted or carried. She has since said, “my intent was not to scare everyone, just to get to class.” This is certainly not what anyone would choose to have happen, as we are committed to providing accommodations. The individual’s class has since been moved, and she has expressed appreciation for the caring community she has found at Fredonia, including the staff in Facilities Services and Disability Support Services for Students.

 

But the incident reveals a need for clearer communication about access and assistance if we share responsibility for creating a welcoming environment for all. If any student, faculty, or staff member sees something that prevents access for anyone with limited mobility--such as a blocked passage or out-of-service elevator--please report it immediately to Facilities Services at (716) 673-3452, between 8:00 and 4:30 weekdays, or the Customer Service Center at (716) 673-3454 during evenings, weekends, and holidays. Facilities Services will address the issue and communicate with the campus about continued problems, such as an out-of-service elevator, and again notify the campus when it has been addressed. If you see someone who needs immediate assistance, please call the University Police at (716) 673-3333, who may be able to assist the person safely. Students who require accommodations for access and support should speak with Adam Hino, Coordinator of the Office of Disability Support Services for Students (716) 673-3270,disability.services@fredonia.edu, who can coordinate accommodations with faculty and staff. Faculty and staff who require accommodations should contact the Office of Human Resources (716) 673-3434.

 

Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

We have been notified that Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson has approved the following Fredonia faculty and staff for the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence:

  • Kimberly S. Mancino, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Lisa N. Melohusky, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service

  • Bruce Neal Simon, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

  • Daniel M. Tramuta, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service

  • Junaid Ahmed Zubairi, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities

Chancellor Johnson wrote to the recipients, “This nomination underscores the respect and esteem of your colleagues, students, and campus leadership for your professional accomplishments.” We will recognize them formally at the all-campus meeting in August.  Until then, please join me in congratulating these five recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

 

Alumni Gathering in New York

Last Thursday, Fredonia alumni in the New York City area met for a reception at the Heartland Brewing Company near Times Square. The group included graduates from the 1970s through 2015, and many are planning visits to campus in the next year. Thank you to Patty Feraldi and Betty Gossett for their work with this group.

 

Raising Awareness and Raising Funds

Over the weekend, several large events brought people together to raise funds for important causes. On Saturday, 33 student groups joined forces to stay up and walk the Steele Hall track in the 12th annual Relay for Life, which raises money for the American Cancer Society. The Survivors Walk was led by Provost Terry Brown and faculty membersSandra Ebling and Annette Franklin. Thank you to Joyce Smith and student leaders Taylor Chwalinski and Sabrina Horn, all members and e-board of Colleges Against Cancer for organizing this event and to all of the student groups who led more than 400 participants, including faculty, staff, students, and community members.

 

On Sunday, Hail! Fredonia Records hosted Lend a Paw to Autism: Star Paws, an event that brought campus and community members together to walk with their dogs on a beautiful spring afternoon. The event included food, music, and games--all to raise funds for autism research. Thank you to faculty members Armand Petri and Stuart Shapiroand the many students involved in planning, cooking, performing, and managing the event.

 

Earth Month

We actually had great weather for Earth Day, April 22, and I hope you had a chance to be outside, participate in a clean-up or nature activity, or use the day to consider ways to work to protect natural resources. On Saturday, the annual Electronic Recycling event brought 1,078 vehicles to campus with used electronics. More than 7 semi-trailers were filled with items that might otherwise have gone to landfills, with the assistance of student athletes. Senator Catharine Young--a co-sponsor of the event with Sunnking, Spectrum TV, and SUNY Fredonia--stopped by to greet participants and volunteers. Thank you to Sarah Laurie, Kevin Cloos, Rich Newton, and Terry Tzitzis for their work in organizing the event and directing traffic.

 

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April 16, 2018
 

Budget Process and Presentation

As I mentioned in an update to the campus last Thursday, we are working to address the structural budget deficit as we plan our budgets for 2018-2019. I will be working with the Budget Office to post all updates on the website, so that anyone on campus can see the steps and decisions that have been reached in the budget planning process. All on campus are invited to attend the annual Budget Presentation that I will give on Monday, April 30, at 11:00 in Rosch Recital Hall.

 

Earth Month

Activities continue this week as part of Earth Month, with today’s Repair Fair and No Impact Week. The calendar linked above takes you to the full schedule, with opportunities to learn about sustainable practices and to be part of clean-up and advocacy actions.

 

Alumni Gathering in Atlanta

On Saturday, Fredonia alumni in the Atlanta, Georgia, area met at an event hosted by Melanie (‘79) and Michael (‘78) Castelle. In addition to socializing and learning about the campus today, the alumni who gathered made a cash donation to support the campus food pantry. Thank you to June Miller-Spann and Patty Feraldi for their work with this group and to the alumni who contributed to an important cause related to student success.

 

Connecting with the Community

Several events over the chilly weekend connected members of the campus community with neighbors in Dunkirk and Fredonia. On Sunday, Kappa Sigma organized the Spring Egg Hunt--held indoors in Steele Hall--for more than 100 children and families. Other volunteers were Sigma Alpha Iota, Sigma Gamma Phi, Joyce Harvard Smith, and community member Michelle Twichell. On the same day, the Village of Fredonia organized a neighborhood cleanup, and teams went around and picked up trash and brush. A number of student groups were involved across the Village. Thank you to all for giving your time and helping others!

 

Kudos

Congratulations and thanks to Khristian King, Director of the Intercultural Center, for organizing and leading the very successful Men of Color Summit on Saturday! Over 130 young men gathered for workshops and speakers designed to empower young men and build networks: the participants included students from Fredonia, Allegany College, Monroe Community College, Erie Community College, Say Yes Buffalo, Breaking Barriers Buffalo, and several others colleges and high schools. Cedric Howard was also instrumental in providing a workshop and bringing speakers to campus.

In the past week, our campus featured a full range of events for personal development, learning, and fun. There were presentations on domestic violence prevention, conflict management, and sexual assault. Pride Alliance sponsored Queer Prom on Saturday, and Paraskevidekatriaphobia: Senior Show I opened in the Marion Art Gallery on Friday.

The week was also filled with musical events: in addition to many student recitals, there were performances by the Percussion Ensemble, Flutasia (with special tribute to Susan Royal), and Jazz Workshop. A master class was given by Amr Abul-naga (Principal Horn of the Cairo Symphony) and Clarinetist John Weigand gave a guest artist recital.

The Big Read, this year focused on Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, featured a keynote this week by poet and former Fredonia faculty member James Stevens.


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Monday April 9, 2018

 

Middle States Visit

Today Fredonia welcomes Dr. Ellie Fogarty to campus. She is a vice president at the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, where she serves as a liaison for accreditation services to many institutions. She will be leading an open session for faculty, staff, and students today from 3:00 to 3:45 in the Williams Center S204, discussing the purpose and process of regional accreditation. Before joining Middle States, she worked for 17 years in various roles at the College of New Jersey. She earned an undergraduate degree in economics and business from Immaculata University, a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.B.A. from Temple University, and an Ed.D. in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. As our campus liaison for the Middle States accreditation process in 2020, Dr. Fogarty is visiting today to learn more about the campus and to provide advice as we prepare for this important step. Terry Brown is the Executive Sponsor for our reaccreditation process, and Lisa Hunter is our campus liaison. Mary Beth Sievens and Scott Richmond are also serving in leadership and support roles. My office is supplying clerical and administrative support.

 

Budget Process and Presentation

Vice President Mike Metzger and I are working with each of the Vice Presidents this week to determine ways that costs can be reduced in their divisions and in institutional accounts, and we are exploring a number of other options to have our 2018-2019 budget move us significantly toward a balance of revenues and expenses--and then to align our finances and structures with our institutional identity and priorities. We cannot rely on our rapidly dwindling reserves and must take the difficult steps of bringing our expenses in line and investing in Fredonia’s future. All on campus are invited to attend the annual Budget Presentation that I will give on Monday, April 30, at 11:00 in Rosch Recital Hall.

 

Kudos

April was described by T.S. Eliot as “the cruelest month,” and it feels that way with snow still dusting the ground and so many activities that we all try to get in before the end of the academic year. But it’s also an exciting time, with many student recitals, faculty and guest presentations, and final work on projects and research.

Congratulations to Jessica Hillman-McCord and all the cast members, musicians, designers, and crew members who worked to open the production of the musical Spring Awakening over the weekend! And many thanks to Kate Huff, the dedicated Admissions staff, and all faculty and staff who participated in theAccepted Student Reception on Saturday. There were 425 registered students (1,140 total guests), and the School of Music offered a Faculty Constellation Concert the night before. The work you all are doing to recruit and retain students and to share our commitment to student learning and engagement makes a difference.

Several guest speakers were on hand in the past week to engage the campus and community in discussions of science, identity, design, and culture. Neal Evans presented a Brown Bag lecture and a public lecture, "Astrochemistry: A Song of Ice and Dust.” Raquel Willis gave a keynote address on intersectionality at the Women’s and Gender Studies Symposium, and graphic designer Mitch Goldstein presented as part of the Visiting Artist Program. The featured speaker at the Mary Louise White Spring Symposium, Madelyn Detloff, spoke about the persistence of fascism, using the works of Virginia Woolf as a point of departure.

A Guest Artist Recital featured jazz vibraphone artist Christos Rafalides, accompanied by members of the Fredonia Student Association Percussion Guild and faculty member Alec Dube. The Fredonia Chamber Choir and Fredonia College Choir performed on Saturday, and six a cappella groups performed atAcafest that night. On Sunday, Divine Sound offered their powerful spring concert.

The Writers@Work program held its second “Four Years Out” residency and welcomed four 2014 Fredonia alumni to discuss their professional journeys:  Erin Dorozynski, Sylvana Dussan, Courtney Gfroerer, and Patrick Kennedy. Those of us who remember these students in their first year and beyond had a chance to catch up and to hear about how they use what they learned here every day on their jobs. And math faculty member Julia Wilson presented her work with the Climate Change Education Initiative to Sigma Xi. This week, another full schedule of activities can be found on the Events@Fredonia site. I hope to see you at many of them!

 

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Monday April 2, 2018


Budget Presentation on April 30

All on campus are invited to attend a Budget Presentation that I will give on Monday, April 30, at 11:00 in Rosch Recital Hall. I have given such an update every year, after we have the details from the New York State enacted budget, which was just approved this past Saturday. In previous years, I have presented the three areas which have been impacting Fredonia’s finances: the need for stable enrollment, the need to reduce costs, and the need to explore and benefit from new revenue streams. As I have noted for several years, our campus has been operating with a structural deficit since 2002, balancing the annual budget with fee support and--in recent years, as that deficit grew larger--with funds from campus reserves. I am working with Vice President Mike Metzger and the staff in the Budget Office to develop a plan for 2018-2019, along with a multi-year plan to align the budget more logically and to live within our means. Mike and I will be meeting with each Vice President to discuss their divisions as we face some very difficult choices. We do have to make cuts, and this next month will be focused on where those should be, based on our mission, commitments, and focus on student learning.


Makers’ Space at the Incubator: MIDS

The Fredonia Technology Incubator is announcing the formation of the Multimedia Innovation Design Studio (MIDS) at the incubator. The studio was inspired by a groundswell of student interest in video game development, virtual reality, and other forms of interactive media that use and fuse the visual arts, animation, video recording, sound recording, writing, and coding. The studio will include high-performance computers, specialized software, peripherals, and recording equipment for innovative cross-disciplinary collaborations and development. Equipment has been ordered for the first phase of the studio, and the Incubator anticipates that it will be operational by the end of the semester. MIDS is being funded by a successful NYS Incubator Consolidated Funding Application grant and the generous support of a private donor.


President’s Awards for Excellence Luncheon

On Wednesday, April 25, we will have the annual luncheon to celebrate winners of the President’s Awards for Excellence and the College Council Award for Community Engagement, recent and imminent retirees, and those who have reached milestones in their years of service at Fredonia. Congratulations to Kimberly Conti (Senior Lecturer, Mathematical Sciences) who will receive the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning; Amy Jo Dorler (Secretary 2, Office of the Provost) who will receive the President’s Award for Excellence in University Service; and Tracy Collingwood (Director of Engagement and Career Development) who will receive the College Council Award for Community Engagement. Please join this event by registering for the lunch buffet, which begins at 12:00 and costs just $5.


Kudos

As we finish Advising, I am grateful to the faculty and professionals who have met with so many students and assisted them not only in course selection but academic development and decision-making about internships, research, employment, and achieving career goals. This attention to student learning is at the heart of a Fredonia education, and it takes considerable time and effort. Thank you!

This week also featured a concert by the Fredonia Clarinet Ensemble, under the direction of Andrew Seigel. Two Fredonia alumni--Jeff Humphrey ('15) and Lawrence Gwozdz ('75)--joined faculty member I-Fei Chen as guest artists in a saxophone recital. And Syed Ali Haider, a faculty member in Computer and Information Sciences gave a talk on software-defined networks. At the Geneseo Early-Season Invitational track and field meet on Saturday, a number of Fredonia Blue Devils placed in their events, with senior Sarah Couperus winning the women's high jump. Congratulations to all!

 

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Monday March 26, 2018
 

A New SUNY Distinguished Professor

Last week, the SUNY Board of Trustees approved the nomination of Andrea Zevenbergen to be promoted to the rank of SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor! Congratulations, Andrea, on this significant accomplishment! At the all-campus meeting next August, we will recognize her with those promoted to other ranks, and her portrait will soon appear with other Distinguished Professors in the lobby of Fenton Hall.
 

President’s Awards for Excellence Luncheon

On Wednesday, April 25, we will have the annual luncheon to celebrate winners of the President’s Awards for Excellence and the College Council Award for Community Engagement, recent and imminent retirees, and those who have reached milestones in their years of service at Fredonia. Congratulations to Kimberly Conti (Senior Lecturer, Mathematical Sciences) who will receive the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning; Amy Jo Dorler (Secretary 2, Office of the Provost) who will receive the President’s Award for Excellence in University Service; and Tracy Collingwood (Director of Engagement and Career Development) who will receive the College Council Award for Community Engagement. Please join this event by registering for the lunch buffet, which begins at 12:00 and costs just $5.


Multicultural Weekend

This past weekend, Fredonia welcomed 89 prospective students to Multicultural Weekend. Students traveled by bus from New York, Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo to participate in academic sessions, admissions and financial aid sessions, and many activities, such as the Intercultural Center Carnival, the BSU Fashion Show, and bowling at Lucky Lanes. Thank you to Erica Arlequin, Khristian King, and Brandon Williamson who organized all the events, to those who coordinated communication, to the 26 students who hosted visitors, and to all who helped and joined in on the good times!


All-Gender Restrooms Update

In Mason Hall, an all-gender restroom has now been opened on the first floor. Facilities Planning and Facilities Services will be continuing their work to ensure that remaining buildings without all-gender restrooms will have options in place as soon as possible.


Erie Dining Hall

Well, I misspoke, and I’m sorry! I had thought that Erie Dining Hall, which has been closed for several years, was in the plans to open this coming fall, and I mentioned this to several groups, including students at the Pizza with the President event last week. But I have learned from FSA that replacing the kitchen equipment and preparing for the kind of food that the dining hall will offer will take more time. So those of you who are eagerly anticipating this will have to hold on until Fall of 2019. And please send suggestions for this dining hall and other FSA menu ideas to Darin.Schulz@fredonia.edu.


Campus Visit to Albania

A small group from Fredonia visited Albania from March 11-15, reciprocating a visit last fall from the Rector and others at Aleksander Xhuvani University in Elbasan, Albania. I joined the team of Naomi Baldwin (Director, International Education Center), Andy Karafa (Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), and Kim Tillery (Chair, Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences) as we met with faculty and students. The trip also included a stop at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana and the office of EducationUSA, an organization that provides information and assistance to students in their home countries who wish to enroll in U.S. universities. We are looking forward to formalizing further partnerships with this university and with Albanian students.


Kudos

We’ve had an exciting week on campus, with residencies by Sarah T. Schwab and Brian Long (Writers@Work); Marc Trawka (Pittsburgh Opera Director of Musical Studies); Christopher Robbins (sculptor), and Zuill Bailey (Grammy-award winning cellist), as well as a concert by visiting guitarist Paul Galbraith. The Fredonia Business Club honored two Fredonia accountants, Sham Bahgat '88 and Louann Laurito-Bahgat '88, at the 40th Annual Business Person of the Year dinner. Music professor Father Sean Duggan amazingly offered three piano concerts over three consecutive nights to celebrate J.S. Bach’s 333rd birthday, and Mathematics professor Joe Straight gave a talk to Sigma Xi on “Cutting a Triangle in Half.” Visual Arts and New Media professor Alberto Rey spoke at the Arts & Business Luncheon at the Incubator. The Educational Development Program held its 36th Annual Awards Celebration, recognizing EDP students and volunteers for their achievements. For the 13th straight year, Fredonia sent at least one diver to the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championship, each earning at least one All-America or Honorable Mention All-America; last week, sophomore Christian Krasnek continued the diving Blue Devil tradition and earned Honorable Mention All-America status on the three-meter springboard. Even though I am capturing only a fraction of a typical spring week--with many student organizations, recitals, and athletic events--there is much to connect with and much to be proud of here!


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Monday March 12, 2018

 

Admissions Office Move

Thanks to the hard work and good planning of so many people, the Admissions Office has moved from Fenner House to the sixth floor of Maytum Hall. This move brings together those who work to recruit students, welcome prospective students and families,  process applications, and plan admissions events. The entire operation was moved with just a few minutes of phone lines not operating. The floor has a new look, and the planning team continues to work on making the spaces leading to Admissions more welcoming.

The Admissions welcome sessions and tours now are held in the Williams Center.

Thank you to everyone who worked to have this move go so smoothly: Vice President Cedric Howard, Associate Vice President Dan Tramuta, Admissions Director Cory Bezek, Director of Facilities Services Kevin Cloos, Chief Information Officer Steve Rieks, and all of their teams. To do this so well in a busy time for all is quite an accomplishment!

Best wishes to all for a Spring Break that lets you catch up, rest up, and prepare for the busy weeks ahead!

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Monday March 5, 2018

 

Congratulations to Cedric Howard

Tomorrow at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) in Philadelphia, Vice President Cedric Howard will receive the Scott Goodnight Award. This national award is given to a lead student affairs professional who is “collaborative, effective, and inspirational” in providing programs and services to students and in developing staff. Congratulations, Cedric, on this prestigious award!


Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm?

It was remarkable how quickly the snow fell last Thursday and Friday and how much it piled up. Thank you to all involved in the clean-up: many people helped dig out cars, clear parking lots and sidewalks, and shovel steps and entrances. When you walk around campus and in the community, you see that there is still much work to do in clearing downed branches and taking care of the damaged trees. This work will continue in the next week, and I’m grateful to the Facilities Services staff for all their efforts.


Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching

Congratulations to Laurie A. Tramuta, Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Music, for receiving the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching.  This award reflects her mastery of teaching, dedication to students, adherence to the highest academic standards, and continued professional achievement.  


Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Now that Fredonia’s campus nominations have been confirmed by the Chancellor’s Office, I’m pleased to announce that this year’s Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipients are Zachary Jones, Brittany Sanford, and Kerri Williamson. Zachary is a French Adolescence Education major with minors in Spanish and European Culture Studies. Brittany is completing her studies as a Music Education major and active member of the percussion studio. Kerri, who graduated in December, double majored in Biology and Dance. All are outstanding students not only in their academics but in their service and leadership. Congratulations!


All-Gender Restrooms Update

In Mason, an all-gender restroom will open this week. Facilities Planning and Facilities Services will be working to ensure that each of the remaining buildings without all-gender restrooms will have these in place as soon as possible.

 

Fredonia’s Radio Station: Number One in the Nation . . . AGAIN!

Congratulations to everyone at WCVF for being named the Best College Radio Station in the entire nation for the second year in a row! Other honors at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Awards include Best College Station for under 10,000 students, Best On-Air Personality, Best Hockey Play-by-Play, Best Promotional Video, and Best News Director. Congratulations to everyone associated with the station, including the faculty and sponsors.


Preparing for Summer Orientation 2018

Fredonia’s SEM Plan (Tactic 5.1.c) identifies a need to re-imagine our current orientation programming and align it more intentionally with campus recruitment, retention, and growth mindset principles. In addition, new student enrollment growth has provided us the opportunity to think proactively about how to better support incoming students. Upon review of our current orientation activities, national best practices, and orientation models at peer institutions, Fredonia is moving this summer to a three-step transition process for all new undergraduate students. Details about each step are available by downloading this document:  2018-2019 Undergraduate Transition and Orientation Process. An Implementation Team, with campus wide representation, will communicate schedule information throughout the spring semester. Thank you to Erin Mroczka, Director of First-Year and Transition Programs, for her leadership in this effort and for providing this update.


Congratulations

Kudos to the hockey team who made us proud in the SUNYAC championship game at Geneseo on Saturday. Although we didn’t win this year, your work through the season was inspiring to watch. Kudos as well to those who brought transgender activist Chase Ross here last week for a talk on representation in the media and to those who welcomed Lorna C. Hill to campus for a presentation based on her work as the founder and Executive Director of Ujima Company, Inc., the oldest professional repertory theatre company in Western New York. Kudos to all members of the Wind Symphony who performed on Wednesday, and the All-College Band, who performed as the snow fell on Thursday. Congratulations to clarinetist Guangzhao Huang, Fredonia Concerto Competition winner, who was featured with The Fredonia Wind Ensemble on Sunday.

Kudos to those who hosted and competed in Opera Scenes at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House and the Intercollegiate Poetry Slam here on campus. Congratulations on the opening of the Knowing Paper exhibition in the Marion Art Gallery. This is a vibrant campus, with so many opportunities to learn, to enjoy the arts, and to make snowy weekends much more exciting. Thank you!

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Monday February 26, 2018

 

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. This week, I am following up on several issues related to diversity, inclusion, and campus climate. Campus safety is also mentioned here, as it has been an important topic of discussion by several groups, including union leadership and the President’s Student Cabinet.


Racist Snapchat and Fight

The Office of Student Conduct and the DEI Office have concluded the investigations about the recent racist social media post and related violence. All involved parties are agreeable to the resolution that was determined by Student Conduct. As with any student behavior investigations, privacy laws prevent the sharing of specific information about the case, including any actions by the university.


All-Gender Restrooms

Recently, I learned that no all-gender restrooms are available in Mason Hall and found this troubling on two levels. First, we need to have all-gender restrooms in all academic buildings, as this is a basic right and need for transgender individuals and any who seek privacy for various reasons. Second, we need to have better planning so that we can be proactive on such issues, with space and facilities needs rising from users in buildings across campus. Students should not have to petition for this kind of need to reach the attention of those who can do something about it. In making our campus more inclusive, changing spaces is the easiest thing we can do; changing minds and practices related to inclusion is much more challenging.  


For the situation in Mason, a solution is being developed to convert at least one restroom to all-gender within the next week. I have asked Facilities Planning and Facilities Services to ensure that each of the remaining buildings without all-gender restrooms will have these in place as soon as possible. The Space Planning Committee is also working on a process to identify and prioritize needs in buildings across campus.


Visit from Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale

Thank you to everyone who participated in one of the sessions led by Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale, who visited Fredonia last Thursday. She met with different groups throughout the day and held a public session in the evening. The reviews of this visit were mixed, to say the least. For some, she offered valuable perspectives about the challenges of changing people’s minds and behaviors when interacting with people different from themselves. For many, though, her comments and approach inflamed anger from those who are already angry about discrimination they face on campus and in the community. Although she was brought to campus to share her experience in leading organizations to be more inclusive and to value diversity, these points were unfortunately lost. What was clear from this visit, however, is that as a campus community we need reconciliation to address the real hurt of many people, training for all, clearer structures to support diversity, and continued commitment to being an inclusive community.


Campus Safety and Emergency Planning

Soon you will see a posting for a Campus Emergency Planning Coordinator who will lead efforts for all of us to be better prepared in the event of a campus emergency. This is something that the CSEA and UUP leaders have asked for and that the Cabinet supports. Our University Police are certainly prepared to respond to emergencies, but across campus, we all need to know what the protocols are for fires, bomb threats, chemical spills, active shooters, weather-related emergencies, and other events that require clear heads and fast action. Before first responders can reach a scene, we all have a responsibility to do what we can to save lives. The Emergency Planning Coordinator will ensure that protocols are communicated effectively, that the campus engages in regular drills and training, and that communication processes are clear.


Recognition of Finalists for the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Last week, students were invited to a lunch with the Cabinet to congratulate them on their selection as campus finalists for the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Only three of these nominations were sent forward to SUNY to receive the award, as this is the maximum number of awardees for our campus. All of the campus nominees have excellent records of academic achievement and leadership, and the Cabinet was proud to recognize them. Once the campus nominations are confirmed by the Chancellor’s Office, we will announce the names of the Award winners and campus finalists.


Congratulations

Kudos to all who participated in the Intercollegiate Choral Festival, brought Daisy Pulls It Off to the Bartlett stage, organized and led the closing ceremony of Black History Month, upset Oswego and earned a place in the SUNYAC hockey championship game, organized and participated in the Black Empowerment Retreat, participated in the Constellation Concert and School of Music auditions, organized the Chinese New Year celebration, led and participated in the WWI Centennial Events on War and Peace, organized and attended the Student Association summit, performed in recitals, and brought guest speakers to campus to discuss net neutrality, Hungarian society and culture, and Black history. You make our campus stronger, more vibrant, and more interesting through all of these efforts!

 

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Monday February 19, 2018

I’m writing to keep the campus informed about the ongoing situation involving a recent student social media post and events leading to and stemming from it. To limit the number of emails sent to you, I will now be posting an update on the President’s Office page each Monday to communicate about current and upcoming events, to follow up on questions you ask, and to address special situations, such as this one, as they arise. This week, my theme is the role of diversity on campus. This week, diversity educator Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale will be on campus (Thursday, February 22, 5:30, McEwen 209). It’s a visit that was planned last fall but could not be more timely.

A university should be a place that values the diversity and range of experiences that each person brings to campus, where debates and disagreements lead to challenging one’s assumptions and learning. It should not be a place of name-calling or antagonism based on difference from oneself.

 

Racist Snapchat and Fight

These incidents are being investigated by several offices, including the Office of Student Conduct and the DEI Office in compliance with university policies to determine appropriate courses of action. With the winter break, those interviews are not yet concluded and the outcomes not yet determined. Please know that as with any student behavior investigations, privacy laws prevent the sharing of specific information about the case, including any actions by the university. What is important for the campus to know is that a series of actions are being taken to address this specific situation and to try to prevent similar ones in the future.

 

Campus Climate

The social media post provoked considerable anger and hurt because for many, it was just one more sign of an atmosphere of inequity and unwelcome on campus and in the community. In the forums on diversity held last semester, participants described acts of discrimination based on race, gender, gender identity and expression, and other biases. Students, faculty, and staff tell their heartfelt and heartbreaking stories of discrimination here and elsewhere. I am hearing very clearly that people of color and their allies are tired of forums and discussion, tired of trying to educate others, tired of what feels like an increasingly hostile climate at a predominantly white institution. The suggestions from these kinds of discussions are shaping the next steps of the campus. People want and need action.

 

Next Steps in Changing Our Culture

Although change will not happen overnight--or even over a few months--we have put in place several next steps that build on areas helpfully identified by students, faculty, and staff, the directions in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan, and the Blueprint for Excellence (Fredonia’s new strategic plan).

The Blueprint for Excellence includes a strategic theme of Equity and Culture, which includes these goals: 1) Foster a vibrant climate of inclusiveness and global awareness for all; 2) ensure that the campus and community are places where differences are welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard, and every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion; and 3) promote a positive environment for all students, employees, and campus visitors. Our success and the success of Fredonia’s students depends on our reaching these goals, and we have a long way to go.

These are some of the current areas on which people are working:

  • My office, the DEI Office, and the Intercultural Center are working to develop and implement an extensive diversity training program for all on campus--not a one-time workshop but continued, frequent sessions to engage everyone in learning about ways to interact with understanding across our differences. We will be having a consultant bring a program to train the trainers and will seek volunteers from across campus to assist in these efforts.

  • The DEI Office is working to create a  clearer process for Bias Incident Reporting, which will include training an Incident Response Team to follow up on reported incidents.

  • The Fredonia Foundations program is now being built for its launch in Fall 2018, and this new general education program includes required coursework in Global Perspectives and Diversity.

  • Fredonia will be sending a team to a SUNY conference on April 11-12 that focuses on First Amendment Rights on campuses. Free speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution, but sorting out the place for free expression in a divided culture can be challenging. I will ask the team to give a public presentation when they have returned so that we all can benefit from understanding the differences between protected speech and harassment, robust difference of opinion and a hostile environment.

  • We will administer a campus climate survey this year which will assist in identifying the areas that need to be improved for Fredonia to attract, retain, and support faculty, staff, and students from underserved groups.

  • This week, we are sponsoring a visit from Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale, a diversity consultant with decades of experience in training organizations. She will be on campus all day on Thursday, February 22, meeting with groups and giving a public presentation at 5:30 in McEwen 209.

All of this matters greatly to me. With all of the challenges that we face--changing facilities, balancing finances, implementing new initiatives--none is more important than actually being the place Fredonia could and should be: one that welcomes all people, treats everyone with respect, and is stronger because of its diversity.

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