Western Region President of Empire State Development Sam Hoyt delivered a presentation on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s annual State of the State Address and Executive Budget Thursday, Jan. 21 in the Alfred State Student Leadership Center.
More than 200 faculty, staff, students, and community members and leaders attended the presentation. Hoyt served for nearly 20 years in the New York State Assembly, representing the 144th Assembly District, before his appointment to senior vice president for Regional Economic Development at the Empire State Development Corporation in 2011.
In his presentation, Hoyt said the governor’s budget invests $6.9 billion in SUNY and CUNY. It also proposes a five-year extension for the 2011 legislation that established the NYSUNY 2020 and NYCUNY 2020 program to keep tuition increases low and predictable, while providing $470 million in additional resources to the state’s public colleges and universities.
According to Hoyt, the program will continue to provide $110 million in new capital matching grant funding through Empire State Development for the NYSUNY 2020 and NYCUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program. This will be coupled with an additional projected increase of $400 million in state funding over the next five years.
Hoyt said the governor is also committed to keeping state spending under 2 percent, noting that for a sixth time, the budget again limits the annual growth in State Operating Funds spending to 1.7 percent. He also said Cuomo is proposing to cut taxes for both small businesses who pay via the corporate tax and those who pay through personal income taxes.
Other topics included allocating $300 million to the Environmental Protection Fund, providing enhanced training and equipment to state troopers, investing $20 billion over five years in a $10 billion plan for affordable housing and a $10 billion Homelessness Action Plan, and raising the minimum wage for all workers to $15 an hour.
Photo by Jason Jordan/The Evening Tribune
The National Research Center for College and University Admissions’ (NRCCUA) 2015 Enrollment Power Index Report has awarded Alfred State an “A-minus” overall grade on its newly implemented responsive design website, www.alfredstate.edu, which launched in November 2014.
The college website’s Small Public Four-Year Institution rank was first out of 327 colleges, and its Northeast rank was second out of 581. On a national scale, the website ranked fifth out of 2,929 higher education institutions. Alfred State’s total score of 80.72 was higher than the national (44.26), Northeast (54.33), and Small Public Four-Year Institution (54.86) averages.
The Enrollment Power Index is a comprehensive evaluation of nearly 3,000 college websites in the country, scoring each one for the presence or absence of vital components necessary to take a prospective student through the admissions and enrollment process. College websites were rated on 37 different criteria, including page design and navigation, website interaction, online admissions tools, contact information availability, and much more.
Jeff Wilcox, an officer with the New York State University Police at Alfred State, was among numerous SUNY police instructors of all ranks across the state to receive training on the new “Fair & Impartial Policing Perspective” model Jan. 12-14 in Syracuse.
SUNY and its University Police Departments strive for excellence, thus it is appropriate to adopt this state-of-the-art training that addresses issues of bias. Numerous police agencies across the country are rapidly adopting this model. The plan is for a core group of instructors to take this training to all of the SUNY police offices statewide.
The “Fair & Impartial Policing Perspective” reflects a new way of thinking about the issue of biased policing. The course was led by Lt. Col. JoAnn D. Johnson from the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation, and Anna Laszlo, managing partner/COO of Fair and Impartial Policing LLC. This is the latest effort to build trust and strengthen the relationship between the University Police and the campus communities they serve.
According to the model’s website, www.fairimpartialpolicing.com, the training is “based on the science of bias, which tells us that biased policing is not, as some contend, due to widespread racism in policing. In fact, the science tells that even well-intentioned humans (and thus, officers) manifest biases that can impact their perceptions and behavior. These biases can manifest below consciousness” and this training addresses this.
The website also mentions that, “The implication of the science is that even the best law enforcement officers may manifest bias because they are human, and even the best agencies, because they hire humans, must be proactive in producing fair and impartial policing … This program addresses biased policing and the overwhelming number of well-intentioned police in this country who aspire to fair and impartial policing, but who are human like the rest of us.”
Elements of this comprehensive program encompass (a) recruitment/hiring; (b) agency policy; (c) training; (d) leadership supervision and accountability; (e) assessing institutional practices and policies; (f) outreach to diverse communities; and (g) measurement. This type of training has been recommended by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
There are approximately 600 State University of New York (SUNY) police officers at 29 campuses across New York State. All of the campuses have full-service police departments, some of which are accredited by New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (NYSDCJS) and/or the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Authorities (CALEA). SUNY police officers serve the largest Public University System in the country.
The ongoing support of the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc. has greatly contributed to student success at Alfred State through a generous annual donation to peer tutoring.
Since the 2010-2011 academic year, the Foundation has provided $5,000 annually to the college’s peer tutoring program. As a result, the program has fulfilled more than 400 student requests over the last three years, providing more than 2,200 hours of support.
Students receiving assistance through peer tutoring have earned a significantly higher GPA (1.12 GPA points on average higher), and report, through student surveys, a “stronger confidence in the course material.” Furthermore, the peer tutoring program has initiated a new Tutor Training Program to enhance the service provided, with future aspirations of earning national College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) Certification.
Alfred State offers free peer tutoring services for most courses. Peer tutors are students who have earned an “A” or “B” in a course and have received special training. Sessions are usually face-to-face, but online tutoring may be arranged upon request.
The peer tutoring program is housed in the Student Success Center, located in the Hunter Development Center on the Alfred campus, and the Student Services Building on the Wellsville campus. Casey Cowburn is the peer tutoring coordinator in Alfred and Leslie Buckley serves as tutoring coordinator and coordinator for Disability Services in Wellsville.
The Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., is a private foundation representing faculty, staff, and friends of Alfred State dedicated to improving the college community through the support of educational programs. The activities pursued by the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., are governed by a board of directors made up of representatives from each of the following groups: alumni, College Council, faculty and staff, and friends of the college.
The Foundation provides monetary support to enhance learning opportunities for students through scholarships, work grants, and community service projects. The Ed Foundation also funds the Building Trades programs’ hands-on home construction projects.
Additionally, the Foundation owns and maintains the School of Applied Technology campus in Wellsville. The campus, which attracts some 800 students annually, is recognized as one of the best applied technology schools in the nation.
Since 1966, the foundation has invested approximately $8 million in improvements on the campus.
A group of students in Lecturer Jessica Hutchison’s botany class last semester were able to help NASA with a project that was truly out of this world.
The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) program involves an orbiting observatory (satellite) that measures the amount of water in the top 2 inches of soil everywhere on Earth’s surface while traveling in a polar orbit around the globe.
By taking frequent and reliable soil measurements, SMAP will help improve the predictive capability of weather and climate models, according to NASA’s description of the mission. SMAP, NASA states, will assist with monitoring drought; predicting floods; assisting crop productivity; improving weather forecasting; and detailing water, energy, and carbon cycles.
In order to verify the satellite’s findings, Alfred State students and others at various points around the globe collect data and enter it into the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program’s website at www.globe.gov, where it is viewed by NASA scientists.
Brian Campbell, senior NASA earth science education specialist, said the SMAP satellite uses an onboard radiometer sensor to measure how much water is in the soil. The combination of satellite measurements and ground-based ones provides the science community at NASA and beyond with a much more robust soil moisture dataset.
“We can take the GLOBE student measurements of volumetric soil moisture, obtained through the SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture Protocol, and compare them to the SMAP satellite data,” Campbell said. “GLOBE students can also compare their data to that of the SMAP satellite data. This is a vital technique that will help validate the SMAP satellite data for users all across the planet and help us better understand how our planet works.”
Alfred State is one of 30 schools around the world taking part in the project, and the only one in New York State. Countries of other participating schools include the United States, Croatia, Puerto Rico, Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago, Oman, and Italy.
To collect the ground-based data, nearly every day beginning in October, a student collects a small sample of soil outside the college’s greenhouse, takes it inside the Agriculture Science Building, and weighs it. The student then places the soil inside a drying oven set at 100 degrees Celsius for 24 hours. The sample is removed from the oven, weighed again to determine how much water it originally held, and that data is entered online.
Kayana Fonseca, an agricultural technology major from Nashville, TN, one of four Alfred State students who worked on the project, said she and the others used a chart in order to determine when the satellite is flying overhead. The students then had to take a ground sample within three hours.
“We are the ones from this area who are taking the samples and entering in the data,” she said. “It’s no one else’s job, so I think it’s pretty cool. Looking online and seeing the locations where this is being done all over the country and all over the world, it’s just nice to know you’re part of something bigger.”
Peter Meyer, an agricultural business major from Long Island, said he never thought he would be working on a project for NASA, and jokes that when he tells people about it, they don’t believe him.
“I can’t believe it myself,” he said. “It’s awesome.”
The two other students who worked on the project during the fall 2015 semester were Trevor Hoffmier, agricultural business, Newark Valley; and Noelle Pomfrey, agricultural technology, Alfred.
Going forward, Hutchison said she plans to continue the project with her spring 2016 semester soils class students, though acknowledges they won’t be able to take any soil samples when the ground is covered in snow.
“I think it’s been really great,” Hutchison said of the experience her students have been having with the project. “Ever since I came to this college, I’ve been looking for ways for students to get involved outside of the classroom because applied learning is really emphasized here. I think the students make good contacts, they have something really cool to put on their resume, and they develop some real-world skills through this project.”
In photo above: Peter Meyer, an agricultural business major from Long Island, and Kayana Fonseca, an agricultural technology major from Nashville, TN, take a sample of soil to analyze as part of their involvement in NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) program.
Faculty and staff from public and private institutions alike gathered at Alfred State Jan. 13 for an Accessibility Conference on the Alfred campus.
Emphasizing the importance of accessibility in education, the conference drew 71 total attendees, with participants representing Alfred State, Alfred University, the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Buffalo, SUNY Brockport, Monroe Community College, the University of Rochester Medical Center, SUNY Geneseo, Open SUNY, Temple University, St. John Fisher College, and Northeastern Illinois University.
The agenda consisted of keynotes and sessions that addressed accessibility issues facing institutions today. Topics included making course content accessible through Microsoft Word (or PowerPoint), audio, and video; an overview of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and its application to the college setting; and improving the accessibility of online courses through the Open SUNY Course Quality Review Rubric.
Keynote speakers were Andrew Lessman, associate director for State Authorization: Office of Digital Education at Temple University; and Dr. Whitney Rapp, associate professor of Inclusive Education in the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. School of Education at St. John Fisher College.
Other speakers included Meghan Pereira from Buffalo State, Danyelle Moore from Alfred State, Dan Feinberg from Open SUNY, Angela Atwell from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide, Ginger Bidell from Buffalo State, and Thomas Tobin from Northeastern Illinois University.
“Overall, I think the conference went very well,” said Ellen Sidey, interim director of Online Learning at Alfred State. “The keynote speakers and session instructors were engaging, and I was pleased with the number of attendees.”
In photo above: Dr. Whitney Rapp, associate professor of Inclusive Education in the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. School of Education at St. John Fisher College, delivers a keynote presentation at the Accessibility Conference.