Welcome from the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost - Fall 2015

Provost Donald G. NiemanDonald G. Nieman, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

In less than seventy years, Binghamton University has earned a reputation for academic excellence and become one of the best public research universities in the nation. Our excellence has been built by world-class faculty who are internationally known for their research and creative work and some of the best students in the world. It's the interaction between top faculty and students that provides the spark that makes Binghamton special.

This fall, we continue that tradition as we welcome an exceptional group of new students and faculty.

Our freshman class of 2, 570 was selected from almost 31,000 applicants and is among the strongest in Binghamton's history with an average SAT of 1300. We also welcomed an outstanding group of 1,100 transfer students who bring with them an average GPA of 3.5. As a major research university with outstanding professional schools, we remain a popular destination for top graduate students. This fall, almost 1,100 new students entered our masters and doctoral programs.

Outstanding students deserve top faculty, and this fall about 60 new tenure track faculty joined schools and departments across campus, lowering our student/faculty ratio, increasing critical mass in research programs, and bringing with them fresh ideas and new approaches to scholarship and teaching. These new colleagues join 102 new tenure track faculty hired in the past two years. The quality of our new hires is as impressive as the number hired. Already they have enjoyed success in the scholarly realm, strengthened research programs across campus, and brought new classes and perspectives to our curricula. The campus is clearly on track to achieve its goal of hiring 150 net new tenure track faculty by 2016.

During the past two years, much of our hiring was 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.

Our transdisciplinary approach is strengthening research at Binghamton. As the semester began, a team of researchers led by Distinguished Professor and Vice President for Research Bahgat Sammakia and Professor Mark Poliks of our Department of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering were awarded $40 million over the next five years by the U.S. Department of Defense and New York State to conduct research on flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing. This new research initiative joins three existing federal centers on campus: the Northeast Center for Chemical Energy Storage, led by Stan Whittingham, distinguished Professor of Chemistry; the Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center, led by Distinguished Professor of Psychology Linda Spear; and the Center for Energy Smart Electronic Systems, led by Professor Kanad Ghose, chair of our Department of Computer Sciences.

In addition, such internationally known research centers as the Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center, the Integrated Electronics Engineering Center, the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the Fernand Braudel Center, the Watson Institute for Systems Engineering and more than a dozen other organized research centers bring faculty from a variety of disciplines together to explore important social, cultural, intellectual, scientific, and technological issues.

Our new School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will further strengthen transdisciplinary research in the health sciences through partnerships with faculty in biochemistry, biology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, neuroscience, nursing, and systems science and industrial engineering. Gloria Meredith, a distinguished neuroscientist and experienced pharmacy dean, joined us in April and has begun building her leadership team and recruiting faculty. Design of a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility, to be located adjacent to the Wilson Hospital campus in Johnson City, is complete and groundbreaking is anticipated soon. We are on track to welcome our first class of Pharm D. students in August 2017.

Graduate programs like pharmacy provide advanced education that prepares students for success in the knowledge economy and are also a vital part of the research enterprise. Expanding our portfolio of graduate programs and increasing graduate enrollment are, therefore, among our highest priorities. We have created a new Ph.D. program in Community and Public Affairs and are developing a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences as well as a Pharm D. At the masters level, we have initiated new programs in health systems engineering, taxation, public archaeology, applied statistics, and sustainable communities, with several more in development. Our new and existing programs have been popular with students, helping us achieve a 16% increase in graduate enrollment since 2011.

Binghamton University has long been known for excellence in undergraduate education, and we work hard to offer our exceptional students a transformative education. Guided by Road Map to Premier, Binghamton University's strategic plan (http://www.binghamton.edu/president/road-map/pdfs/binghamton-road-map.pdf), the Division of Academic Affairs continues to make significant investments in state-of-the art learning spaces, our dynamic Center for Learning and Teaching, undergraduate research (including an innovative Freshman Research Immersion Program supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute), a wide array of study abroad opportunities, advising, and, of course, more outstanding faculty. We have also expanded partnerships with colleagues in the Division of Student Affairs to assure that our unique residential communities bring living and learning together.

The coming year will be a time of significant change as Binghamton University grows in size, ambition, and quality. One thing, however, will not change: our commitment to excellence. We remain a place where world-class faculty conduct path-breaking research and help remarkable students realize their enormous potential.

Last Updated: 9/2/15