Welcome back to campus! I hope you had a restful break with friends and family and that you are looking forward to starting the spring semester. It has already been a busy time, with our College Leadership Summit, the Academic Affairs Kick Off, and our Teaching and Learning Day all happening last week.
This year for the first time we will be beginning our classes on a Thursday, and incorporating a reading day into the schedule. We will be reviewing the reading day option this summer, to see how beneficial it has been for our students’ preparation.
I have a number of things to update you on, including good news. For example, our Doctorate in Nursing Practice has passed the last regulatory hurdle, and we will be recruiting for the first cohort to start in the fall. I am grateful to all who worked so hard to ensure that Brockport achieved this important milestone, including the entire Department of Nursing, but especially Beth Heavey and Kathy Peterson, as well as everyone who interacted with SUNY, State Education, and the governor’s office. Look out for some good publicity on the new program coming out of the RBJ in the next few weeks. Updating and expanding our program array helps us to be a great college at which to learn.
We are also a college engaged with our community, and these efforts have been recognized in many ways, most recently through a National Association of Division III Athletics Administrators (NADIIIAA) Community Service Award for our student athletes’ and Athletics Department’s work with Camp Good Days and Special Times.
Some of you may also have seen the announcement regarding funding for the Brockport Loop project, which will create new access across the Erie Canal that connects the College with the Village of Brockport as well as the Empire State Trail. The canal guard-gate near Commissary Park will be transformed into a pedestrian bridge, supported by a $2 million grant from the Ralph Wilson Foundation.
To be a sustainable college, we are continuing to work on our Managed Print Services project, which you will hear more about shortly. Did you know that it takes 12 ounces of water to produce a single sheet of paper, or that printing a ten-page PowerPoint presentation in color costs as much as making a box of breakfast cereal? (For more information and similar comparisons, see the report from Citigroup and Environmental Defense entitled “Copy Paper, Hidden Costs, Real Opportunities.”)
To be a great place to work, we are once again offering our leadership development program on campus, as well as investing in other training through HR, OEDI and other areas. Please continue to read The Daily Eagle, which gives details of these and other opportunities on campus.
Day of Giving
We are looking forward to honoring all that is Brockport on Thursday, March 5, with the College’s Day of Giving Campaign: “The Difference A Day Makes.” Three campus priorities—student scholarships, academic programs, and Brockport Athletics—will be featured throughout the day and will compete for challenge money through a donor participation contest. Everyone who takes part is invited to join the Philanthro-Pie Party from 1:30-3:30 pm in the Seymour Ballroom that day to celebrate with pie and ice cream.
Bias Response Update
As you are likely aware, the Bias Response Coordination Team has coordinated responses to bias-related incidents over the past few years, and I appreciate the work that they have done collectively. One of the primary purposes of setting up the bias response system was to compile information on campus climate and trends, and to ensure that we develop appropriate training opportunities through the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (OEDI) and elsewhere. These outcomes remain important.
Established processes now exist within each area of campus that receives reports through the former system, reducing the need for a separate team to review them collectively and assign a responder. From now on, reports can be made directly to each reporting option, and we have developed an Issues Center to help direct individuals to the appropriate resources. The new web page can be accessed here Issue Reporting Center. I would encourage you to take a look at the new site, and bookmark it for future use. Bias incidents can be reported as follows
- Our Affirmative Action Officer, Tammy Gouger, will remain the point person for employees, as was previously the case under the bias reporting system;
- Enrollment Management and Student Affairs (EMSA) will take the lead for student issues, as again was the prior process; and as necessary, these teams will coordinate.
In all areas, we’ll continue to follow the Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) established between HR and OEDI, and EMSA and OEDI, recognizing the ways in which the offices and areas intertwine. OEDI retains the crucial role of providing training across campus and assisting our campus with responding to and de-escalating campus issues.
In addition, we will still collect assessment data related to reported incidents. That way, the holistic benefits of the bias reporting system remain (the ability to understand and respond to trends), while the concerns regarding the system (misunderstanding and use of the form in the absence of other forms; privacy concerns; union concerns) will be alleviated. I am thankful to Megan Asbeck from College Communications for all her hard work on the new web page, which will continue to be updated as needed, and the Bias Response Team, Cephas Archie, Sara Kelly, Eileen Daniel, Karen Podsiadly and Tammy Gouger, who developed both the content and the vision for the new Issue Reporting Center.
Rebranding as SUNY Brockport
Many of you were at the College Senate meeting last semester where our communications team outlined the recent market research that was undertaken this fall. Still others of you attended the Brand Open Meetings held throughout December. We undertook the market analysis to review recruiting potential undergraduate and graduate students, our name recognition downstate, and how closely the College is identified with SUNY. I wanted to share a few key results with you, as well as next steps.
We found that 61% of those surveyed weren’t sure of the relationship between The College at Brockport and SUNY, and 10% were sure there was no affiliation. The same survey respondents had an 81% positive impression of SUNY schools. Most respondents referred to the college as SUNY Brockport (45%) or simply Brockport (48%); none of them referenced us as The College at Brockport.
In a time of heightened competition for new graduate and undergraduate students, name recognition matters. In an era in which the Excelsior Scholarship is getting more traction (and Governor Cuomo’s proposed rise in eligibility level to an annual family income of $150,000), it matters that students know we are a SUNY school. It matters when college and university fairs position our recruitment table near the small, local, private schools and not with our SUNY peers. It also matters within SUNY. Chancellor Johnson supports any initiative that raises the profile of our collective strength.
Another area of note is the fact that in any published list of colleges, we could come under T for The; B for Brockport; C for College; or S for SUNY. Brand confusion is never helpful. We might not be able to shift the demographics in Western New York regarding the number of 18 year olds looking for colleges, but we can capitalize on our SUNY reputation and we can raise our profile regionally and nationally.
Officially, our name is and always will be SUC Brockport (it’s how we are registered with NYSED). But from 2020-21, we will revert to calling ourselves SUNY Brockport in the press, on our web, and in our marketing materials.
There are costs attached to the name change, and I don’t deny this; but the costs of not changing are, in my view, even higher. For every 100 students we do not recruit, we have an impact of $1 million on our budget.
Over time, we will make changes to our signs, and as our banners wear out, they will be replaced by banners with the new name. Our logo will be slightly adjusted and updated visually to take into account the new name, but we will stay with the torch and shield, because that has proven to be a strong visual connector for us. The official change will take place after commencement. But if you wish to change your email signature or other materials before then, please feel free to do so.
I am often referred to as the President of SUNY Brockport in public, and over the last year, I have decided not to correct people. From now on, I’ll wear the badge proudly, because I am truly proud of SUNY Brockport and all that we have and will achieve, together.
Enjoy the semester!