All College Meeting addresses future of Hudson Valley

Hunter Wallace
News Editor

President Drew Matonak advised the Hudson Valley community of the state of the college and how it will move forward during the semi-annual All College Meeting held last Monday.

Matonak began the meeting by welcoming new vice presidents Dr. MaryAnn Janosik and Dr. Vance Valerio, the new leaders in Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management and Student Development, respectively.

He then explained how Dr. Roger Ramsammy will take over as college president come May 31. New faculty were welcomed and retirements were mentioned.

Professors Tom Rogan of the Health, Physical Education and Exercise Studies Department and Jim Slattery of the English, Foreign Language and ESL Department were also honored by Matonak for their 50 years of service to the college.

Matonak then spoke on various topics.

Presidential Transition
“Speaking of new beginnings, as you know, the search for our next president was concluded in November with the appointment of Dr. Roger Ramsammy. I am confident that Dr. Ramsammy will be a strong and successful leader for Hudson Valley.”

Matonak explained that Ramsammy will come to the college in May with over 30 years of higher education experience.

Excelsior Scholarship

“I think it will be a few years before we truly know how the Excelsior Scholarship has affected community colleges in New York, but we are happy to see close to 1,000 of our students taking advantage of this unprecedented opportunity for tuition-free higher education.”

The college president shared how the Excelsior Scholarship, of which approximately 360 Hudson Valley students applied for this spring, will raise its family income eligibility to $110,000 in 2018 and again to $125,000 in 2019.

CAMS Update

“I’m happy to share that we’ve made excellent progress on our fundraising goals for the new Gene F. Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing Skills.”

Matonak revealed the college raised $100,000 at its annual Foundation Gala in October and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a $2.9 million grant through the Empire State Development Corporation as part of the New York State Regional Economic Development Council awards.

He also stated U.S.Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced $1.5 million in federal funding for CAMS and, having secured nearly $6 million to date, the college plans to break ground on the building on Wednesday, April 11. CAMS will double enrollment in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology program become one of the most sophisticated manufacturing training centers in the country, helping local employers fill jobs necessary to expand and grow our economy in the Capital Region.

Bette Frisino Memorial Scholarship

“Thanks to overall contributions from faculty and staff totaling over $12,500 and the $12,500 match from the NTP union, we will now be able to endow the Bette Frisino Memorial Scholarship, making it available for students year after year.”

New Programs and Changes

Matonak announced Advanced Manufacturing Pathways, an “alternative pathway” established last semester for adults who wish to join the manufacturing workforce, but might not have enough time or ability to commit to a full degree.

Matonak addressed:

– The recent 2013 Ford Escape donation from Mohawk Honda to the college’s Automotive Technical Services program.

– The $25,000 investment from Cypress Creek Renewables will help students interested in the college’s WDI Photovoltaic Installation program.

– The new transfer agreement with Maria College that guarantees admission for “qualified nursing students into Maria’s BSN or their Health Care Management bachelor’s degree for students who successfully complete the [Hudson Valley] Community Health Navigation associate degree.”

– The new accelerated format for the college’s Surgical Technology degree program, which allows students to “start in the fall and work straight through the summer and graduate in 16 months.”

Technology

“Turning to technology, 2018 will be the year of the Banner 9 upgrade, as we and dozens of other SUNY schools transition to the newest version of Banner.”

“This upgrade will include a new user interface with better accessibility and navigation. It also adds several administrative applications that will be a lot more user-friendly. This project has to be completed by the end of the year. In addition, the college website update is also moving forward and is scheduled to go live later this spring.”

Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention

The college president continued by notifying the college of the issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“In this changing climate, it is important to note that colleges and universities are setting a standard for encouraging transparency,
prevention and action. Here at Hudson Valley we take the safety of our students very seriously. It is our number one priority to make sure that we create a safe environment for our campus community.”

He continued, “There are confidential resources on campus that students can take advantage of if they do not want to report the incident.

The only three resources that are confidential on campus are the Counseling Center, the College Health Services office and also [the] Campus Ministry. This is critically important.

Within the coming weeks, all college employees will receive instruction cards that detail the steps to take if a student comes to report an instance of sexual assault to them. This information is also available on the college website.

Introductory videos and a Blackboard course for incoming students to learn about sexual assault prevention, the definition of consent, the college’s code of conduct and the laws pertaining to this topic are also in the works.

Closing

Matonak concluded the meeting by thanking Hudson Valley.

“It’s hard to believe that this is my final All College Meeting address, and it is bittersweet, but I know that we have reached incredible milestones together and also met some difficult challenges along the way. And today, I have every confidence that this great college is heading in the right direction.”

The event finished with a short video of Ramsammy expressing his anticipation to serve the Hudson Valley community.

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