Harpur dean shines spotlight on NYSUNY 2020Tweet
NYSUNY 2020 will build on the excellence that already exists at Binghamton University, Harpur College Interim Dean Wayne Jones told the Binghamton University Forum on Sept. 27.
“This is an opportunity for Binghamton to grow and promote excellence,” Jones said. “It is also an opportunity for the Binghamton community to grow, find new jobs and bring in new University partnerships. And it’s an opportunity for New York state to lead the nation and the world in energy generation, storage and efficient use.”
Jones discussed the NYSUNY 2020 challenge grant during the Forum’s first program of the 2012-13 school year. The University’s NYSUNY 2020 plan, which was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Aug. 8, calls for the addition of 2,000 students, 150 faculty members and 175 staff members over five years and the construction of a $70 million Smart Energy Research and Development Facility.
The additional students, along with a rational tuition policy that allows for yearly increases, will help bring financial stability to the University, Jones said.
“We are going to have a net increase in our budget,” he said. “When I talk to my colleagues across the country, they talk about fiscal challenges. None of them can talk about a steady, stable budgetary situation that is going to allow for growth over the next five years.”
NYSUNY 2020 will also produce economic partnerships between the University and local, state and national industry, Jones said.
Binghamton’s existing research in areas such as solar and thermoelectric energy harvesting and energy efficiency in electronic systems will be “pushed to the next level – not by staying within the ivory tower, doing research in our labs and publishing papers that don’t mean as much,” he said.
“It’s about trying to partner with industry so they can take ideas that start with our students and faculty and transition those into real technology that is going to be produced by companies in the area, and at the same time growing more jobs,” Jones said.
Students will benefit from these research projects by obtaining hands-on experience that will help them get jobs in the future.
“We have to get the students involved in the learning process,” Jones said. “All learning is personal.”
Smart energy and Binghamton University are an ideal fit, Jones said, because “we have all of the pieces in place.” He emphasized resources such as the three buildings that will be part of the Innovative Technologies Complex, the Advanced Diagnostics Lab used by local companies and researchers, and the relevant research being conducted by Binghamton faculty members.
“We can’t just sit back and wait for new energy technology to be created,” Jones said.
The Smart Energy Research and Development Facility could open by fall 2017 and is expected to create 840 jobs in the Southern Tier and attract $7 million per year in additional funding for energy research.
Ultimately, though, NYSUNY 2020 will continue to expand and promote the characteristic that Harpur College was founded upon in 1950: academic excellence.
“This lays the foundation for a lot more than what we think about as smart energy,” Jones said. “It lays the foundation for growth at the University and growth in the area for years to come.”