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University Forum focuses on achievements and goals

President Lois B. DeFleur speaks to faculty and staff during the University Forum, held Jan. 16.
President Lois B. DeFleur and leaders from each division of the University discussed the past year’s achievements and the coming year’s goals at the annual University Forum on Jan. 16.

Roughly 400 faculty and staff members attended the event, with a theme of People, Progress, Positioning. >>Power Point Presentation

Several divisions are eagerly watching the progress on the new University Downtown Center, where the College of Community and Public Affairs will move this summer. Work on the four-story facility in Binghamton is going smoothly.

“It is really essential to our future that we have a more vibrant and active downtown Binghamton,” she said.

DeFleur also took note of the establishment of the School of Education and CCPA, the new Biotechnology Building at the Innovative Technologies Complex, Binghamton’s designation as a Center of Excellence in small-scale systems integration and packaging, improvements to the Peace Quad, a record-breaking fundraising year, the University’s growing national reputation and its response to the devastating June floods.

However, she said, the University faces an increasingly competitive higher education environment, one that challenges schools to be more innovative and adaptive than ever before. The pace of change, driven by new technology and new expectations, is also quickening.

“We have a strategic plan, but we cannot be static with that plan. … We have to be nimble, and we have to take advantage of opportunities,” she said.

Academic Affairs
Nancy Stamp, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, spoke on behalf of Provost Mary Ann Swain.

She noted the University has hired more instructors and is nearing its goal of a 20-1 student-faculty ratio. The division is also boosting its efforts at assessment.

“We want to continue to make progress in what we offer to students,” Stamp said.

Looking ahead, she said, the division hopes to see a judicious growth in enrollment and continue to improve graduate stipends.

Gerald Sonnenfeld, vice president for research, said Binghamton has seen a 34 percent increase in research awards in the past year – at a time when the national trend is toward stable or declining awards. It also had a 53 percent growth in patent licensure revenue.

He noted that the United States needs to keep pace with other national economies by training more scientists and engineers and finding ways to be more innovative. His division is encouraging interdisciplinary work and trying to boost student involvement in research.

Student Affairs
Rodger Summers, who plans to step down from his post as vice president for student affairs soon, refused to call his remarks a “swan song” since he’ll continue to work on campus. Still, he said: “The next time you hear me speaking before a large group, they’ll be paying tuition.”

Summers cited progress in staff development and diversity training for the City of Binghamton’s police force among his division’s achievements. Alcohol education through AlcoholEdu has also been a major undertaking, he said.

External Affairs
Marcia Craner, vice president for external affairs, said her division will focus on the University’s second comprehensive gifts campaign, branding and Web development and alumni and parent relations in the coming year.

“It takes an entire campus community to create committed alumni and donors,” she noted in outlining plans for the fundraising campaign.

James Van Voorst, vice president for administration, reported that Human Resources provided three times as much training last year as it did the year before. In addition, several parts of his division were realigned.

Physical Facilities, which is also part of his division, is doing more design work on campus in order to accelerate building projects, Van Voorst said.

“I think you’ll agree that the campus looks great and the temporary inconveniences we have to deal with are worthwhile,” he said.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08