Continuing its end-of-the-semester tradition of helping students de-stress during finals week, Alfred State’s Hinkle Memorial Library once again held its Dogs in the Library event May 9.
Students were able to relax with a group of friendly dogs and handlers and grab a snack to keep them going. This semester’s event featured 10 visiting dogs, the most the library has brought in so far, with breeds ranging from Australian Shepherd, to Newfoundland, to Basset Hound, to rescued mixed breeds. The dogs were registered through either the Canisteo chapter of Therapy Dogs International or the Pet Partners chapter out of Syracuse.
“Some of these groups have been coming long enough to have an ongoing rapport with the students, and students often will take an annual picture with their favorite dog,” said Library Instructional Support Assistant Amie Acton. “By continuing to offer this event every semester, we are establishing the library as a welcoming place for relaxation as well as studying. Students know we care about their well-being and their experience here at Alfred State, and we hope our efforts contribute to an overall positive college experience.”
When Alfred State determined that the largest residence hall on campus, the MacKenzie Complex, was due for a makeover, the design came from a very fitting source: architects who not only attended the college, but also lived in MacKenzie themselves. Their personal experiences offer a unique insight into what should be done to transform the residence hall to meet the needs of students both today and tomorrow.
“It adds a lot of excitement to my role in getting this accomplished,” said Mach Architecture Executive Vice President Douglas Schaefer, a 1985 architectural technology graduate. “It’s also a giving back to the college. As an architect, everything I do affects somebody’s life down the road with those spaces I build. Now, with MacKenzie, I know who it’s affecting.”
Schaefer along with Mach Architecture Associate Robert Brunner, a 2008 architectural technology graduate, recently unveiled plans dubbed the “MacKenzie Makeover” to a crowd of students, faculty, and staff.
Schaefer explained how the first phase of the project will involve renovating the East Tower to create a new entrance and gathering spaces for students on each floor, while reinventing the Central Quad to create an attractive core for the 1,200-student residence hall that is warm, welcoming, and feels like an extension of one’s own home. The quad’s design includes a 35-foot-tall atrium with the light illuminating natural surfaces of rock and wood throughout.
When compared to other residence halls across the state, MacKenzie will be in a class all of its own. Eric Gerken, Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) design manager, said that beginning in the fall of 2016 and continuing over the next several years, “this phased project will reconstruct MacKenzie into the largest, most modern dorm across the SUNY system.”
Gregory Sammons, vice president for Student Affairs, added that the goal of the renovation is to make the college’s largest residence hall the first choice for students. And Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of the college, stated, “Today certainly serves as a reaffirmation of our commitment to continuously advance our campus. The desire to continue to improve certainly is based on a single focus and that is making the experience even greater for our students.”
Talking about the next steps in the process, Glenn Brubaker, director of Facilities Operations, said, “As this project goes out for bids, we can get this off the ground this fall, with the construction fences up and the construction zone established when students return.”
“We are optimistic that this project will make MacKenzie the hub of a vibrant living community on campus and we look forward to moving ahead,” stated Matt Ryan, senior director of Residential Services, as he noted that MacKenzie will remain open for business during the construction.
Dave Sengstock, executive director of Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Services, Inc. (ACES), talked about changes due to the closure of MacKenzie’s Exit West Café, stating, “In response, we will be extending the hours of operation for dining facilities all across campus with nighttime offerings, and introducing a new food truck to serve the Alfred State campuses and in particular the area surrounding MacKenzie.”
During construction, a central laundry in the quad will be replaced with multiple smaller laundry areas and vending options closer to the residents’ rooms. Then when the reinvented central quad opens, students will gain new amenities, including a large laundry, dining services, and a fitness center.
Brunner said it is “almost breathtaking” to be a part of this massive project. He said having an inside knowledge from their student years has definitely given him and Schaefer an edge with helping to create the new design because they understood MacKenzie.
“It’s great having that inside knowledge of the building and being able to work on it and make it better,” Brunner said. “It’s architecture at its best.”
Alfred State is pleased to announce that the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) has approved reaccreditation of the college’s health information technology (HIT) program.
An independent, non-profit organization founded in 2006, CAHIIM accredits health information management and health information technology programs to ensure that they meet the necessary standards. Accreditation of the HIT program is required for students to sit the national Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam.
The reaccreditation, which lasts for eight years, was granted as a result of a very lengthy self-study process, recommendations from Health Information Management (HIM) Advisory Committee members composed of local HIM professionals, and the on-site review panel that submit its finding to the CAHIIM Board of Commissioners, which makes the final determination.
Tracy Locke, associate professor of Physical and Life Sciences and director of Alfred State’s Associate in Applied Science HIT program, MS, RHIA, said the college’s self-study began in July 2013 and its onsite visit took place Dec. 1-2, 2015. She noted that the reaccreditation was the result of hard work by many individuals.
“The reaccreditation demonstrates the quality of our HIT program, the largest online program at Alfred State,” she said. “We have students from all over the US, and even students around the world. The reaccreditation results also speak to our pass rate for the RHIT exam that students take upon graduation, which is generally 95 percent.”
Locke noted that graduates of CAHIIM-accredited programs who have the RHIT credential find employment in health systems such as hospitals, associated clinics, single or multi-physician offices, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, electronic health records (EHR) or electronic medical records (EMR) companies, and billing and coding services companies.
Among those who worked to ensure the reaccreditation are the HIT faculty and staff, including Locke; Lecturer Erica Matteson, RHIA; Instructional Support Assistant Lisa Boyle, RHIT; Physical and Life Sciences Department Chair Mark Amman; Physical and Life Sciences Secretary Annette Burdett; and the students and HIM Advisory Committee members who participated in the onsite visit with the CAHIIM Review Panel.
Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan said, “We are delighted at the reaccreditation of our health information technology program, which stands as a testament to the continued excellence of the program’s faculty, staff, students, and curriculum. Our students are the ones who benefit the most from the reaccreditation, and I thank all of those who made this possible.”
Dr. Robert Curry, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said, “I’m very pleased with the health information technology program’s reaccreditation. Though I know our program director, Tracy Locke, and our faculty and staff do an outstanding job delivering a top-notch program, this external accreditation affirms the quality of their work. It’s an excellent accomplishment for the Physical and Life Sciences Department.”
Mark Amman, chair of the Physical and Life Sciences Department, said, “Our accrediting body is an independent organization whose mission is to serve the public interest by establishing and enforcing the highest quality of education in health information technology, both didactic and experiential. This recent full reaccreditation validates not only the program, which we all knew was inherent, but also encourage prospective students to engage in an academic endeavor that will lead to job security in health information technology.”
Grasstravaganza, an event for farmers, conservationists, and consumers who are interested in soil health, grazing, and sustainable agriculture, will be held at Alfred State Aug. 4-6.
Taking place on the Alfred campus, the conference, “Healthy Soils, Healthy Animals, Healthy Farms,” will feature presentations by national and local grazing and soil health experts who will cover a range of topics, interactive soil health-related activities, and a trade show.
The featured speaker this year is Dr. Fred Provenza. For more than 38 years, Provenza has produced groundbreaking research on livestock grazing behavior. This work has influenced research in areas from nutrition and foraging behavior of animals and humans, to rural sociology and development.
Additional speakers include Justin Morris, Natural Resources Conservation Service soil health specialist; Matt Ehrhart, director of Watershed Restoration at the Stroud Water Research Center, an independent research institution focused on stream and river ecology; and Dr. Hue Karreman (tentative), a “first-generation” organic veterinarian, who began using alternative treatments in 1988 as a herdsman on a biodynamic farm.
For more information or to register, please visit the conference web site or call Karen Meade at 607-587-4714.
Alfred State students are riding high in the saddle after advancing to the national finals of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association in Lexington, KY. Among the equestrians’ many accomplishments, Travis Harvey (Alfred Almond) completed the season as the high point western rider of Zone 2, Region 1 and placed in the top 25 among all riders in the national finals. Previously this year, equestrian club members also brought pride to Alfred State when the polo team won 10 out of 12 contests, including two victories over Harvard.
With the continued success of equestrian sports, the college will add western riding to the Athletic Department’s varsity sports starting in the 2017-18 school year. The move further solidifies Alfred State’s support of equestrian competition and creates more chances for students to compete at the highest level in horseback riding.
“By adding western riding as the 19th official varsity sport for the Pioneers, we are recognizing the success of our student athletes and their mentor, Professor Victoria Bolton, who advanced the program to this stage where they are now able to leap to a whole new level,” stated Athletic Director Dr. Kelly Higgins. “Support runs deep for equestrian sports on campus with the strong backing of President Sullivan, the entire administration, and following an extensive review and approval by the Intercollegiate Athletic Board. The transition begins now and I’m anxious to take the reins of this new varsity sport in 2017.”
“It is a great day to be a Pioneer,” exclaimed Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan. "Alfred State is proud to be adding another official intercollegiate athletic program. Our equestrian team has been highly successful in recent years, and we are pleased to provide more great opportunities for our students."
Western riding is the first sport added by Alfred State since baseball returned to campus in 1995. Currently the equestrian program, including western riding, hunt seat, and polo, is a club team. The hunt seat and polo programs will remain club sports.
The western team, which currently consists of 17 members, competes in eight intercollegiate horse shows throughout the year where the riders earn points based on their placings at all of the shows. During the 2015-16 school year, the team was the reserve champion for Zone 2 Region 1. Six members of the team qualified for the regional show and three advanced to the semi-finals held in Murfreesboro, TN where Harvey then advanced to the national finals.
Vicki Bolton, who has guided the equestrian program during the club period is excited about the move. "The team is very enthusiastic about becoming a varsity sport, which will allow more students interested in horses and horseback riding an opportunity to compete."
The bond between a horse and rider is usually nurtured and developed over time. But in western equestrian shows, riders are paired with horses in a random drawing and the rider has only a few minutes to connect and build a partnership. The horses vary greatly in experience and it is the rider’s job to bring out the best performance after mounting the 1,200-pound animal for the first time. Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) riders are judged by their control of the horse, the rider’s body positioning, and their ability to make the ride appear effortless.
Proving that they have achieved a high level of skill and knowledge within their field, 35 seniors in Alfred State’s construction management engineering technology program recently aced the eight-hour Associate Constructor (AC) Exam.
Collectively, the students scored 14.88 points higher than the national average and accounted for a pass rate that was 11 percent higher than their peers across the country.
The exam is the first level of certification in the Constructor Certification Program. This level of certification is ideal for recent graduates of four-year construction management programs or those transitioning into construction management from other industries. AC's are individuals who have a high level of skill and knowledge in managing the process of construction.
“Those of us in the Civil Engineering Technology Department are very proud of our seniors,” said Erin Vitale, department chair. “For many years, they have outperformed, scored well, and excelled. And this year they’ve exceeded our expectations even further when comparing their scores with peers.”
The professional exam, which took place last month, covered all four years of coursework in the construction management engineering technology curriculum. This included communications skills; project administration; bidding and estimating; materials, methods, and project modeling and visualization; and more.
Dr. John Williams, dean of the School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology, said the students’ results are impressive and a testament to the dedication, experience, and quality of Alfred State’s faculty and programs.
“The exam verifies the knowledge and skills of our students in construction,” Williams said, “and the certification helps graduates secure excellent positions in a highly competitive field.”