All College Meeting addresses Hudson Valley’s future

Rebecca Jordan

News Editor

stephanie Saddlemire-Stephanie Saddlemire | The Hudsonian

During the All College Meeting last Monday, President Andrew Matonak brought the audience of professors, faculty, and staff up-to-date on the college’s successes and areas needing improvement.

“[The All College Meeting] is our one time during the semester – twice a year – where I’m able to tell the faculty about a lot of these different things,” said Matonak in an interview after the meeting. “We have a lot of vehicles to be able to communicate [during the regular semester], but so much is being thrown at us that we just don’t grasp it.”

Student Senate president Everett McNair was the first to address the audience. He spoke about the current generation of college students and its faults, and asked those listening to help their students to “become the best generation we can be.”

“I would like to ask you to help us overcome our weaknesses because so much of the time you’re told or asked to come to understand my generation and understand what makes us tick and to come down to our level,” McNair requested. “I would like to ask you to bring us up, take our weaknesses and teach us to overcome them.”

Sarah S. Retersdorf, chair of the Academic Senate, spoke next, followed by professor Gregory Sausville, president of the Faculty Association. Both officers updated the attendees on the achievements and doings of their respective organizations and asked people to get involved.

Matonak started his address by welcoming and directing listeners to the programs received upon entering the auditorium. He recognized those who received awards, earned tenure, retired, and were appointed to new positions, such as new department chairs and employees.

Accreditation was next on the agenda, and Matonak affirmed that the college’s accreditation through the Middle States Commission was once again secure, though the Commission requested a monitoring report to be submitted by Mar. 1 of this year. There will be a small team visiting the college after the submission to assure Middle States that everything is still in order.

Technology was a big part of All College this year. According to Matonak, there has been a lot of work put into improving technology at Hudson Valley because, “We want to make sure that the technology is as good as the people we have.” The college is looking to have a new Chief Information Officer to oversee these changes by the end of this semester.

Four new programs will be available in the fall 2016 semester in addition to the over 80 different programs the college currently offers: Clean Energy Management, Early Childhood Education, Health and Wellness Studies, and Exercise Sciences. Matonak touched on the opportunities for high school students that Hudson Valley offers.

According to Matonak, these new programs are, in part, an attempt to bolster declining enrollment at the college, which has taken a 3.2 percent hit this current semester. He encouraged faculty to do everything in their power to help recruit and retain students both for the regular school semesters and also for the summer classes. The lack of additional funding in the State Budget for community colleges is also a concern because of the decline in enrollment and the corresponding decline in tuition revenue.

SUNY has several new initiatives that Matonak mentioned. The first phase of DegreeWorks, an online tool that allows students to create semester-by-semester degree completion plans, is slated to go live with the registration opening. Also, SUNY is creating a new database that will match employers to student interns throughout the state.

Three new on-campus building projects are in the works, including the new athletic complex to be built on the site of the current fields. Second, the Physical Plant is in the process of tying the campus back into National Grid, a project which should be completed by the upcoming fall semester to stabilize the power. The third project, which is in the planning stage, will be a 40,000-square-foot addition to Lang Hall to double enrollment for the advanced manufacturing program.

Matonak brought up the student housing initiative, which should be completed by the United Group for fall 2017.

Measures are being taken to tighten up campus safety through the Emergency Response Committee. Tests on the existing PA system, new technology, installation of an external PA system and more detailed crisis management plans are all part of this initiative. “We hope nothing ever happens,” Matonak said, “but we want to make sure we are prepared if it does.”

The president also touched on scholarship opportunities, changes in new student orientation, and several other aspects of college performance and activity. He closed on a positive note: “This college does some very great things every day. In order to help each other, our students, community, and friends to see the benefit of our work, let’s make sure that we do everything we can to tell the story about Hudson Valley, internally and externally.”

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