Welcome from the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost - Spring 2016
As 2016 begins, we look back on a year that saw Binghamton University grow in size, quality, diversity, and impact. We also look ahead to a year in which we will continue to build on the foundation we have laid in our Road Map strategic plan (http://www.binghamton.edu/president/road-map/index.html) to further enhance Binghamton's quality and impact. In short, we will continue the relentless pursuit of excellence and willingness to embrace opportunity that have characterized Binghamton University since its founding in 1946 as Triple Cities College.
Binghamton's excellence begins with its students: a bright, talented, curious, and diverse group that is drawn from top applicants from New York, across the U.S., and around the world. This past August, we welcomed one of the strongest freshman classes in our history—a group that boasts a mean SAT of 1304 and a high school average of 95. We also enjoyed continued success in recruiting outstanding graduate students. In the past four years, graduate enrollment has grown by 17%, enhancing research and contributing to the intellectual vibrancy of campus.
We're not resting on our laurels. As 2016 begins, we are hard at work to assure that we continue to recruit the best and brightest and that our students have the support and opportunities they need to achieve their aspirations. With a 91% first-to-second-year retention rate and a graduation rate of 81%, it's clear that Binghamton is serious about student success.
Perhaps nothing is more important to student success than outstanding faculty. Binghamton faculty combine a passion for teaching with a commitment to research that offers students rich opportunities to learn from—and with—faculty who are discovering knowledge that is shaping the future. A case in point is Stan Whittingham, inventor of the lithium ion battery and a leading contender for this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Deeply engaged with graduate students in our Chemistry and Materials Science programs, Stan also works closely with freshmen and sophomores in our innovative Freshman Research Immersion program (http://www.binghamton.edu/freshman-research-immersion/), helping them engage in high- level research the moment they set foot on campus.
Binghamton has great faculty, and we're recruiting more. In the past four years, we have hired 224 tenured and tenure track faculty. We welcomed almost 60 new faculty to campus in August 2016 and are currently conducting 60 searches for new colleagues. Our aggressive hiring offers students a wider variety of classes and has reduced our student-faculty ratio and strengthened research.
Much of our recruitment has been linked to our Transdisciplinary Areas of Excellence (TAEs)—five themes that address important scientific, social, technological, cultural, and policy questions that can best be answered by teams of faculty from multiple disciplines (http://www.binghamton.edu/tae/). With almost 150 Binghamton faculty associated with one of the TAEs, we are creating intellectual communities that offer rich possibilities for collaboration, establishing a bold new approach to inquiry, and shaping the future of research on our campus.
From its earliest days, Binghamton developed an outstanding reputation for excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. That tradition is maintained by our largest school, Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, which offers undergraduates a liberal arts education that prepares them for success in graduate and professional schools and a wide range of careers in medicine, education, science, business, finance, law, and public service. During the past forty years, we have added a wide range of highly regarded professional schools—the Decker School of Nursing, the College of Community and Public Affairs, the Graduate School of Education, the School of Management, and the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences—that prepare students for lives as successful professionals. A seventh school—our School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences—will welcome its inaugural class in August 2017.
We are an elite public university, but not an ivory tower. Binghamton is deeply engaged with the community and a driving force in the economic, educational, and cultural life of New York's Southern Tier. Faculty and students in music, art, cinema, creative writing, and theater are an integral part of the region's vibrant cultural life, while their counterparts in education, public administration, social work, and arts and sciences are deeply engaged with area schools, local government, and non-profit organizations.
Our Southern Tier High Technology Incubator (https://www.binghamton.edu/research/innovation/econdev/sthti.html), now under construction in downtown Binghamton, will augment business incubation spaces already available in our Innovative Technologies Complex. The University is also a driving force in the Southern Tier's Regional Economic Development Council, which President Harvey Stenger co-chairs. The Council was recently awarded $500 million by Governor Andrew Cuomo to seed a wide range projects that will fuel the region's economic revitalization (http://www.binghamton.edu/inside/index.php/inside/story/13573/st-regional-economic-development-council-a-best-plan-awardee-in-upstate-rev/). The University will take the lead on two critical aspects of the plan, the Health Sciences Technology Park in Johnson City and the Flexible Electronics and Advanced Manufacturing initiative in Endicott.
While 2015 was a great year for Binghamton University, 2016 promises to be even better as we build on the successes of recent years. We have changed a lot since our humble beginnings after World War II, becoming one of the best public research universities in the U.S. and a force for innovation in the regional, national, and international arenas. One thing, however, has not changed: our commitment to excellence. We remain a place where world-class faculty conduct path-breaking research and help remarkable students realize their enormous potential.