President Harvey Stenger touted "high-impact opportunities" such as undergraduate research, community service and study abroad that await incoming freshmen during his talk at Harpur College orientation on July 9.
"We want you to get involved not just by taking classes," Stenger said, "but by being involved in the community, thinking about how you can help Binghamton and the Southern Tier as a volunteer, and then thinking about how you can become an international student by traveling in one of our many study-abroad programs."
Stenger spoke at the opening session of orientation in a packed Osterhout Concert Theater to new Harpur College students and their parents. The session, which provided an overview of Harpur and advice for students, also featured Harpur Interim Dean Wayne Jones, Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose, Student Association President Matt Soriano, and Peter Nardone and Betsy Staff of New Student Programs. Orientation programs for Harpur College and the professional schools will continue throughout July.
The new students were welcomed by Stenger, who told them: "The class of 2016 has a nice ring to it." He detailed Binghamton University's rankings in publications such as The Princeton Review, praised faculty members such as David Hacker, David Sloan Wilson and Anne Bailey, and emphasized the growth that is planned for the University over the next four years.
"You are going to be part of an important phase in Binghamton University's history," he said. "We will add more than 150 net faculty in the next four years. Those faculty members will teach from freshman English to PhD work in anthropology. And we will be adding buildings. You can see the construction already going on now."
Rose used the campus construction to provide some humor for his presentation.
"One of the rankings we expect next year is that we now have more miles of construction fencing than any other university in the country," he said, prompting laughter from the crowd. "Our school motto will henceforth be 'Detour.'"
Rose told parents that there had been "a real sense of distance" between institutions and parents two decades ago. But the University is now working to communicate with parents on a consistent basis, offering a monthly newsletter that offers news and updates on events, programs and services.
"We encourage you to share information back and forth and urge (your children) to take advantage of our programs and services," he said.
Rose's main advice to students: Manage expectations about building an academic schedule.
"I know what you want: Classes only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday that begin at 11:30 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.," Rose said. "Some of you may get everything you need fit into a great block. But for the majority of you, it isn't going to happen that way."
Rose urged students to be flexible about their approach to schedule-making and to be sure to take the advice of academic advisors who can help guide them across different routes and paths to their goals.
"If you are flexible about how you manage your schedule, I think in the long run it will actually work out better for you," he said. "At this point, I've always wanted to cue the music and play the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You (You Get What You Need) from that 20th century philosopher, Sir Mick Jagger."
Jones, who became interim dean on July 1, told students that this is an exciting time in their lives.
"You should be fired up because this is a new opportunity for you," he said. "I know a little bit about new opportunities. It wasn't that long ago that I was chairman of the Department of Chemistry. I've now been dean of Harpur College for 211 hours."
Jones gave students three pieces of advice as they take advantage of opportunities in the liberal arts. The first: Challenge yourself and do something you haven't done before.
"Take a course that pushes you in a direction you have some interest in, but you always thought was just out of reach," he said. "You don't have to take all of your courses that way, but at least once a semester, make a reach."
A second bit of advice was to "keep your doors open." If a potential science major is interested in history, he or she should take a history course that will allow the student to advance in the field, Jones said.
Finally, Jones advised students to get to know one faculty member every semester.
"They are lonely," he said to laughter. "They'd love someone to visit during office hours."
Faculty members don't expect Nobel Prize questions from visiting students early in the semester, Jones said, but showing up and asking straightforward questions shows that the student is interested in the class and in building connections.
"If you make it a point to go to one office hour for every one of your faculty, I guarantee that you will find one faculty member out of that group who will resonate with you," he said.
Jones also showed incoming freshmen that he cares about what happens to them outside of the classroom, as he offered the students a deal: "Have fun with your friends for 40 hours a week. In exchange, I want the rest of the week."
Jones stressed the importance of students getting seven hours of sleep per night, as that number rapidly declines when students get busy. He also suggested 2.5 hours a day of eating; two hours per week as a part of a group to broaden the mind and develop networks; exercise; room cleaning; and an hour per week just to reflect on everything going on.
"And I'd like you to bathe," he said, drawing laughter from students and parents, "particularly if you sit in the front row!"
That leaves 40 hours during the week for classes, homework and study groups.
"If you break out your fun time so that it matches up with your work time, you're going to have a much better chance of not falling behind – and of being successful across the board."
Gupta receives grant for sustainability course
From staff reports
Vishal Gupta, assistant professor of strategy, received a $10,000 grant from PricewaterhouseCoopers for the development of a course in sustainable business management. The course, to be offered this fall/spring, would prepare students to participate in and lead financially successful, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable enterprises. Gupta wants to approach the course with a cross-functional perspective addressing how various disciplines such as finance, marketing, information systems and organizational behavior can provide inputs into understanding the social and environmental challenges confronting managers in today's businesses.
In total, PwC US has announced $520,000 in new funding for 52 universities in the United States. The grants are being awarded through the PwC INQuires program (substantially from the PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., in addition to funds from the firm) to help domestic colleges and universities incorporate important updates and issues facing the accounting profession into their curricula.
For more information about PwC's efforts to support colleges and universities, visit pwc.com/faculty.
Binghamton University wins National FAA Design Competition for fourth year in a row
From staff reports
A team of Binghamton University students, led by William Ziegler, associate professor of computer science in the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, was recently selected as first-place award winners in the National Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) Design Competition for Universities.
Up against nearly 50 colleges and universities worldwide, the Binghamton University team captured the top prize in the Airport Operations and Maintenance challenge with the submission titled, "Web-Based Smartphone Applications for Pavement Analysis: A Geographical Information System Approach." The team was recognized for its adoption of existing technology in new and practical ways at airports.
Binghamton University also received a second place award in the Airport Operations and Maintenance challenge category for a project titled, "Runway Excursion Modeling and Analysis: A Web-Based Geographic Information System Solution," which was developed by a second team of students.
For the past four years, Ziegler has used the competition as an educational opportunity in his technical engineering writing classes. Students work side-by-side with industry experts from the Greater Binghamton Airport and McFarland Johnson, a leader in the planning and design of major transportation and facilities projects, to develop a 70-page design proposal in just 14 weeks.
About the competition: The design competition was created by the FAA to engage individual students or teams of students at U.S. universities working under the guidance of a faculty mentor to address airport operations and infrastructure issues and needs. Students are presented with a number of technical challenges relating to airport operations and maintenance, runway safety, airport environmental interactions, and airport management and planning while providing important lessons in management structure, team decision-making and problem-solving.
Alumna receives nursing award
From Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Christy Shea '01 was honored with the Excellence in Nursing Practice Award at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York for her dedication to competence and compassion in the daily care of patients.
Each year, Memorial Sloan-Kettering recognizes nursing excellence with the Samuel and May Rudin Nursing Awards, held each year during National Nurses Week. The awards are supported by the Rudin Family Foundation. Recipients are nominated by fellow nurses, administrators, physicians and patients.
As a renowned cancer center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering is committed to exceptional patient care, leading-edge research and superb educational programs. Collaboration between physicians and scientists enables the center to provide patients with the best care available and to discover more effective strategies to prevent, control and ultimately cure cancer in the future.
Destination South Africa
Department of Social Work
Professor Josephine Allen is offering a summer course that is based on her experience as a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa in 2008 and 2009. She was based in Bloemfontein at the University of the Free State (UFS), a former apartheid university and one of South Africa's oldest universities, and in Alice at Fort Hare University, a historically Black university.
The course will look at experiences of African Americans, some of whom emerged from the 'peculiar institution' of slavery in the United States, and those of Black South Africans emerging from a set of political and societal norms governed by and organized around the apartheid system. Binghamton University is also collaborating with the University of the Western Cape, which is devoted to the education of South Africa's colored population, to establish formal institutional ties.
The course will focus on issues of transformation, social justice, leadership, reconciliation and the importance of unifying the faculty, staff and students at this university, including integrating campus student residences. Contextual issues surround diversity, leadership and citizenship issues of institutional change, transformation, democracy and multiculturalism as experienced by UFS, as well as the broader destabilizing issues associated with the enormous income gap and massive inequality in all areas from education, employment, housing, access to healthcare and many other areas of social and economic injustice.
UFS has also established a 'Leadership for Change' initiative; an International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice; and an international initiative that has sent student leaders to universities in the United States, Europe and Asia for the past two years. In fall of 2010 and 2011, Binghamton University's Department of Social Work, with the assistance of the Office of International Programs, hosted two groups of students and their faculty and staff mentors. In July 2012, the UFS is hosting a global summit of delegations of students, faculty and staff from its international university partners in Bloemfontein.
The summit is organized around nine major themes: transformational leadership, citizenship, race, education, globalization, gender, change agents, social justice and reconciliation. Bishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and the university's Rector and Vice Chancellor Jonathan Jansen will be among the distinguished speakers. The major objectives of this summit are consistent with the objectives of the summer course, including sharing perspectives, ideas and program initiatives; creating opportunities for intercultural interaction and exchange; expanding linkages for international professionals; creating academic networks; expanding opportunities for new cooperative initiatives; and pursuing possibilities for participating in international research partnerships using the UFS experience as a case study. A visit to the QwaQwa campus of the UFS and various elective cultural excursions will also be part of this experience.
The course, sponsored by Binghamton's Department of Social Work in the College of Community and Public Affairs in collaboration with the Office of International Affairs, will be taught and directed by Professor Josephine A. Allen. Brian Flynn, director of admissions and student services for the Department of Social Work, and Oktay Sekercisoy, associate director of the Office of International Programs, will also participate in the summit and study tour.
Classes began at Binghamton and included readings and discussions that contextualize the experiences that will be part of the study tour and the summit. Each student engaged in a research project associated with South Africa's history, social, economic, cultural and political life. The program includes an introduction to the historical and the contemporary South Africa. In addition to participating in the summit, the group will tour Johannesburg and Soweto, the Apartheid Museum, Bloemfontein and Cape Town, including Robben Island, Table Mountain, the District Six Museum, the University of the Western Cape and Khayelitsha. A service-learning experience will also be organized so that the importance of the HIV/AIDS pandemic can be better understood.
GSE graduate receives Chancellor's Award
From SUNY reports
William Hollister, MA '96, MAT '03, PhD '03, associate professor of biology at Broome Community College, received a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching for the academic year 2011-12.
The Chancellor's Awards for Excellence are system-level honors conferred to acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence. These programs underscore SUNY's commitment to sustaining intellectual vibrancy, advancing the boundaries of knowledge, providing the highest quality of instruction and serving the public good. The awards provide SUNY-wide recognition in six categories: faculty service, scholarship and creative activities, teaching, librarianship, professional service and classified service.