Celebrating the many different cultures represented at Alfred State, as well as the benefits of international education and exchange, the college recently hosted a weeklong series of events to coincide with International Education Week (IEW).
A joint initiative created by the US Department of State and US Department of Education in 2000, International Education Week is part of an effort that seeks to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States. Today, IEW is recognized in more than 100 countries.
Cyan Corwine, interim coordinator of International Student Services at Alfred State, said, “Having an entire week dedicated to the celebration of cultural exchange provides us with an opportunity to not only highlight the wonderful diversity that exists here on our campus, but also to share in some of the initiatives nationally and worldwide that further illustrate the benefits of international education and cross-cultural exchange.”
Among the numerous events that took place at the college were traditional Indonesian Batik fabric dying, African drumming lessons, Japanese umbrella painting, Latin American dancing, and much more. The programming initiatives were a joint effort among the International Student Services Office, Coordinator of Intercultural Student Support Thomas Daniels, and the International Club.
A particularly noteworthy aspect of IEW was the hosting of the Cornell University Humphrey Fellows, who visited both the Alfred and Wellsville campuses. The Fellows are experienced mid-career professionals from selected countries throughout the world who are looking to enhance their leadership potential and managerial skills.
Corwine said the Fellows’ visit “felt like the perfect bookend to the week,” noting that School of Applied Technology Dean Ana McClanahan and the Wellsville campus hosted the majority of the Fellows during the day on Friday, while one Fellow enjoyed a tour of a local quarry with Civil Engineering Technology Associate Professor Timothy Piotrowski.
“The evening event offered an opportunity for the Fellows, faculty, staff, and students to engage in meaningful conversation about the types of issues faced the world over,” Corwine said. “Following the evening chats, some of our international students even expressed interest in one day applying for the Humphrey Fellowship themselves.”
Ivory Humutowo, a business administration major from Jakarta, Indonesia, said IEW was one of the best weeks of the semester so far because, “We had the chance to see so many students from different cultures, countries, and backgrounds interact with one another throughout the week. I definitely made a lot of new friends and encourage people to share their stories, culture, and background so we can all learn and grow as a community together. It was also nice to create a professional network with the Humphrey Fellows, who come from all over the world, as it will have a positive impact on our future.”
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.
Alfred 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.”
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.
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.