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Campus News

Applied learning prepares Alfred State students to ‘Hit the Ground Running’

Posted Date: Monday, November 28, 2016 - 15:45

Alfred State has long been a recognized leader in applied learning, and is now the first State University of New York (SUNY) college to require this form of “learning by doing” among its official Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLO) for every student on campus. The college has also identified the enhancement and expansion of applied learning as a primary goal in its new Strategic Plan.

“I am pleased to see Alfred State enhance applied learning by embedding it throughout the curriculum,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “This action will further boost student support so real-world, hands-on experiences are more carefully integrated into course work. Simply put, students will be better prepared by entering internship, research, or service placements that enable them to gain more from direct experience and reflect on that experience, creating citizens who are prepared to address the real-world challenges of the day.”

For many years, programs at Alfred State have already required applied learning and practical training before graduation. By formally including these job-ready activities in the ISLO, the school can now better track and measure how much students are gaining from the hands-on learning.

“Ensuring that students receive hands-on experience in their program of study has long been a hallmark of an Alfred State education,” said SUNY Provost Alexander N. Cartwright. “By viewing applied learning through the lens of student learning outcomes, Alfred State is further strengthening applied learning experiences within and outside of the classroom. This work supports completion and positions students well for the job market.”

Institutional Student Learning Outcomes are defined as clearly stated, specific, and measurable goals for the accumulated knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students develop during a course of study. For the past year, members of the Faculty Senate conducted research, solicited feedback in discussion sessions, conducted schoolwide surveys and held an open comment period before defining the four ISLOs. Through this process, Alfred State adopted the ISLO that students will demonstrate the ability to address and meet real world challenges by engaging in applied learning activities.

Alfred State is also launching a new Strategic Plan through a collaborative, participatory process. In the applied learning strategic priority, the college states “through sustaining innovations, Alfred State will enhance and expand applied learning opportunities across the student experience.” Both the Strategic Plan and the ISLO reaffirm Alfred State’s continued commitment to all aspects of applied learning, including project-based learning, internships, practicums, clinical experiences, applied research, and many other forms of hands-on learning. In the context of this work, Alfred State leaders are sharing the accomplishment with their peer institutions.

“At the recent SUNY Applied Learning Conference, Alfred State shared how applied learning enhances the student experience in both curricular and co-curricular experiences. Many of these experiences also highlight civic engagement and sustainability, which are important aspects of Alfred State culture,” said Alfred State Provost Dr. Kristin Poppo. “By formally recognizing how critical applied learning is for student success, Alfred State can continue to prepare students for careers in high-demand areas and remain the go-to school for many employers.”

Poppo, along with Associate Vice President Charles Neal and English and Humanities Assistant Professor Jason Stupp, were featured speakers at SUNY’s Applied Learning Conference. They spoke on topics including faculty engagement, approvals needed for applied learning activities, and the leadership required to make applied learning a top priority.

two students outside with survey equipment

Kaitlyn Brown named associate director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations

Posted Date: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 09:00

Kaitlyn BrownAlfred State is pleased to announce that Kaitlyn Brown has been appointed as the college’s associate director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations.

Brown, a Syracuse native who currently resides in Alfred, graduated in 2015 from Alfred State with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Her appointment to her new position was effective Aug. 11.

As the associate director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations, Brown reports to the director of Alumni Relations and works closely with the director of Annual Giving, assisting both with the advancement initiatives and projects for the college. In addition, Brown is responsible for overseeing and supporting the operations of numerous projects involving the annual fund, solicitations, alumni events, alumni chapters, and various special projects.

Serving as the development liaison, both internally and externally, Brown also assists with advancement programs that cultivate and engage alumni, business and industry, and friends who want to invest in the future of Alfred State.

Danielle White, executive director of Institutional Advancement, said, “We are thrilled to have Kaitlyn join our division. Kaitlyn is a model example of what Alfred State graduates are like - very well-prepared for her role, organized, articulate, professional, and driven for success. She is a perfect fit.”

Equal opportunities in education and in contracts

Posted Date: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 08:30
Alfred State Controller Joe Greenthal
Controller Joe Greenthal

Alfred State’s track record for attracting more female students into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs is not the only way that the college of technology is encouraging under-represented groups to achieve success. By awarding more contracts to minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE), the college is partnering with an increasingly diverse set of business owners.

“Due to our location, MWBE vendors are scarce in certain trades and industries,” said Joe Greenthal, controller. “This requires a significant effort by our Procurement and Payment Services Department to find certified vendors that provide us the products and services we need.”

Alfred State has once again met a goal set by the State University of New York (SUNY) for 30 percent or more of its discretionary spending to be with MWBEs. Greenthal described how difficult it can be to effectively encourage these new vendors, while juggling additional priorities.

“A delicate balance must be created to provide opportunities to MWBEs, while remaining an economic engine to the small businesses within our local communities,” said Greenthal. “We have an obligation and a responsibility to both, but it does create challenges to ensure we give appropriate attention to the college’s many stakeholders.”

Recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosted the sixth annual MWBE forum to allow MWBE firms to network, find mentors, and to learn about major contract opportunities such as redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport and other top infrastructure projects.

While Alfred State’s contracts are nowhere near the size of those for major infrastructure projects around the state, Greenthal said it’s important for the college to follow the guidelines.

“A goal of the program is to stimulate competition in the market and work to reduce barriers to entry, which, ideally,” he said, “will create better pricing to the end consumers.”

Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) maintains a comprehensive directory of firms that are MWBE certified and qualified companies are encouraged to join the list. More information is available at: www.esd.ny.gov/doing-business-ny/mwbe.

Winter concert to take place Dec. 2

Posted Date: Monday, November 21, 2016 - 13:45

The Performing Arts Department would like to invite you, your family, and friends to a free combined vocal and instrumental music winter concert on Friday, Dec. 2, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Orvis Activities Center’s Cappadonia Auditorium.

The concert band, under the direction of Gerald Ives, will perform the works of McBeth, Galante, and Reed, along with a medley of songs from the motion picture, “Pirates of the Caribbean.” The college’s vocal group, under the direction of Mary Weimer, will be performing songs from Broadway musicals.

This is the second full year of the rock ensemble, which will play classic rock numbers during the show. The jazz ensemble will be performing music ranging from the standard jazz repertoire to popular music.

“Our concert will close with the combined concert band and vocal groups performing a number to help celebrate the holidays,” Ives said. “Please come, watch, and enjoy Alfred State’s talented musicians ringing in the holiday season.”

Attendees are also encouraged to bring in their unused instruments and donate them to help an aspiring young musician - who cannot afford an instrument - enjoy and create the sounds of music.

‘Spirit of Unity’ event brings together Alfred State community

Posted Date: Monday, November 21, 2016 - 12:00

With the 2016 presidential election having taken an emotional toll on the nation, Alfred State recently held an event for the entire college community to come together to discuss and share their dreams for a better future.

Kassie Buffham, a forensic science technology major from West Monroe holds up a postcard expressing her dream for a better future
Kassie Buffham holds up a postcard expressing her dream for a better future.

The college’s “Spirit of Unity” event invited all in attendance to socialize, decompress, and fill out a postcard beginning with “Dear America: I hope” stating their hope and vision for making the country better. The forward-focused postcards were strung together and put on display at the Student Leadership Center “as a symbol that recognizes while people all hold individuals beliefs, they can still work together to make a better tomorrow,” said Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan.

“By coming together with fellow students, faculty, and staff, we as a college community were able to share our positive hopes and dreams with one another,” Sullivan said. “The Alfred State Family is strong, safe, and tight-knight because we look out for one another and want to see each other succeed. Also, we are fortunate to be in a community that cares about our students and employees, regardless of political orientation.”

Kassie Buffham, a forensic science technology major from West Monroe, wrote on her card, “I hope we are able to overcome our differences and come together as one.” She was grateful that the college hosted the event.

“I really appreciate that the faculty, the administration, and President Sullivan were able to come out and address everything because I think the election has created a lot of tension, and so I think it’s really nice that they took the time to organize the event and express that we’re still a safe community,” she said.

Business professor, retired judge Damrath meets with Honors Program students

Posted Date: Friday, November 18, 2016 - 11:45

Joseph Damrath, just two months into retirement after 27 years as Hornell City Court judge, had some very powerful memories to share when he met with members of the Honors Program Nov. 14. 

Following a brief explanation of the local, county, and state court systems, Damrath, first elected in 1989, told students of the satisfaction he felt serving as judge in the same community for nearly three decades. Despite hearing some very unsavory cases over the years, Damrath says he still has faith in humanity, believing that “most people are good people.” 

Sounding a further positive note, he praised the area’s public defenders and prosecutors who worked with him. He is particularly proud of helping establish the drug court to work with non-violent offenders.  

When Damrath finished his comments, students got to turn the tables and question the judge about his experiences in his time on the bench. Damrath, a professor in the Business Department, said he plans to continue teaching for at least another year.

Joseph Damrath with students in the Honors Program
Front row, from left, Casandra Ryan (mechanical engineering technology, Gloversville), Ivory Humutowo (business administration, Jakarta, Indonesia), Mary Rose Ricotta (forensic science technology, Derby), and Serene Good (accounting, Wappingers Falls); and second row, from left, Paige Pensgen (architecture, Pittsford), Trevor McDonough (electrical engineering technology, Alfred Station), Grant Tinker (electrical engineering technology, McGraw), Joseph Damrath, Annie Francavilla (forensic science technology, Buffalo), Eryn Cochran (architecture, Andover), Sarah Travers (architecture, Pittsford), and Kayla Class (human services management, Buffalo).