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Presidential Speeches

Fall 2010 All College Meeting

All College Meeting, Sept. 20, 2010
2 p.m., Maureen Stapleton Theatre

Chancellor Zimpher will speak first and will be introduced by President Matonak.  President Matonak will speak as well, as will Greg Sausville (Faculty Association), Rosemary Schultz (Academic Senate) and new Student Senate president Tori Ramos.

2 p.m.: President Matonak begins to speak; introduces Chancellor Zimpher

Good afternoon, and welcome back to all! Before we start I want to thank all of you for a great start of the Fall Semester. Today, we are extremely honored and pleased to welcome a distinguished guest to our All College Meeting.

On June 1, 2009, Dr. Nancy Zimpher became the 12th Chancellor of the State University of New York.

I was going to do the official introduction for Nancy, but I am sure that she is getting tired of that same introduction. So, I am simply going to tell you that we are so fortunate to have Nancy Zimpher as our Chancellor. She has brought tremendous energy, experience, vision and fortitude to her leadership of SUNY. I am absolutely astounded to see what she has accomplished in a very short year and a half. She hit the ground running on day one and hasn't stopped to take a breath.

Chancellor Zimpher began her work at SUNY with a tour of SUNY's 64 campuses, which became the first phase of a system-wide strategic planning process. This plan, called "The Power of SUNY," was launched in April 2010, with the central goal of harnessing SUNY's potential to drive economic revitalization and create a better future for every community across New York.

Throughout her tour, she spoke to staff, faculty and students. She met with community leaders and began the process of reassessment and revitalization that just one year later is taking shape. The Power of SUNY is more than a strategic plan. It is a vision of our campuses working together, and strengthening our communities, our state and our country. It's a vision that puts SUNY at the forefront of economic development.

And Dr. Zimpher understands and appreciates what all of you do daily to change lives. She understands the impact that you have on our community in many ways. She understands the importance of the work that you do to prepare our students for 21st Century jobs.

In short, Nancy gets it. She understands the "Power of our Community Colleges" and Hudson Valley Community College. But most importantly, Chancellor Zimpher understands that "YOU are the power of SUNY".

Please join me in welcoming SUNY Chancellor Dr. Nancy Zimpher.

2:08 p.m.: Chancellor Zimpher speaks
2:38 p.m.: President Matonak speaks

Thank you, Chancellor for joining us this afternoon. Your presence here today is proof that you understand what drives a great SUNY institution like Hudson Valley. It's the people who are gathered here today – the faculty and staff who go the extra mile to help students succeed.

I would like to give you a small token of our appreciation for today's visit.

Nancy, we have about 30 minutes left for the meeting. You are certainly welcome to stay if you like.


As you all know, this state is facing some serious financial issues now and in the near future, as does the State University. That is one of the reasons why our State Legislature needs to continually hear the chancellor's message. SUNY is the key to a prosperous and bright future for all New Yorkers and SUNY will be a major driver of bringing us out of our fiscal challenges. I urge all of you to do everything in your power to echo the message of our Chancellor.

We'll talk more about the budget and enrollment in a few moments, and at the end of this meeting, we'll have the chance to welcome new faculty and staff members and also hear from Faculty Association President Greg Sausville, Academic Senate Chairperson Rosemary Shultz, and our new Student Senate President Tori Ramos.

Greg, I am really glad that you are President of the Faculty Association, but during one day of the year I wish Terri Pennisi was still with us. If you talk to Terri Pennisi in the near future, could you give her a message for me?
Michigan State    34     Notre Dame    31
OK Chancellor….       Ohio State        43        Ohio       7 

Briefly, I would like to touch on some of the strategic focal points for our institution in the coming academic year. Those priorities include:

1.   Stronger partnerships with four-year colleges and universities around the state;
2.   A renewed focus on student success and student and "customer" satisfaction; and
3.   A push for even healthier enrollments in our online courses and at TEC-SMART and other off-campus locations.

As we push the physical boundaries of our campus, we need to find new avenues to promote our programs and expand our reach.

Strategic Priorities for 2010-11

1.   Center for Advanced Studies

Academic Vice President Carolyn Curtis and her team have worked to provide greater mobility for our students by partnering with a number of four-year schools who are offering baccalaureate programs here on our campus.


You might recall that earlier this year we announced an agreement to host SUNY Plattsburgh's Criminal Justice B.S. program here on campus beginning this fall.  Add that to previous agreements with Sage College in Physical Education, SUNY IT in Nursing, and Cazenovia College in Human Services and we are beginning to see a groundswell of interest from four-year schools who wish to partner with Hudson Valley.

Soon we hope to house two more baccalaureate programs from Plattsburgh – Psychology and Broadcast Communications. We're also discussing the opportunity to host SUNY Morrisville's Business and Automotive programs and Alfred State's Construction Technology and Mechanical Technology programs.

This new umbrella – called the Hudson Valley Center for Advanced Studies – will be actively seeking partnerships with fellow SUNY institutions and other colleges and universities to expand the opportunities for our students.

I know it's a cliché, but this truly is a "win-win-win" for our students, for Hudson Valley and for our partnering institutions.

2.   Student Success and Student/Customer Satisfaction

Next, I'd like to briefly discuss student success and "customer" satisfaction.

We have had some remarkable successes in the area of student retention, and I am proud that our retention initiatives -- and retention rates – have made our college a leader among its peers across the state and nation.

You will notice in our handout today a "Statement of Commitment." As that statement indicates, student success is at the center of what we do.  Hudson Valley is recognized nationally for the breadth and strength of the initiatives we have in place to help students succeed. 

Some of these programs, such as the Learning Assistance Center and Center for Counseling and Transfer, target students at all levels in every program offered by the college.  We also have programs to strengthen the skills of high-risk students, such as the Educational Opportunity Program and the Collegiate Academic Support Program. In addition, the Educational Opportunity Center and its "College Connections" initiative, as well as its "Prep 4 College Success" and College Preparation programs each work with high-risk students prior to their enrollment at HVCC help prepare them for success once they get here. And these are just a few of the initiatives.

According to ACT, the average fall-to-fall retention rate nationally for new, full-time, community college students who started in 2008 was 55.7 percent—and that's an all-time high!  Hudson Valley's fall-to-fall retention rate for the period of 2002 through 2009 averaged 57.1 percent.    Our fall-to-spring semester persistence rate is almost 75 percent.  That's pretty good, but good is not good enough. We aspire to be GREAT. I think we can reach 60% for fall to fall retention and 80% for fall-to-spring retention. Working together, we can accomplish that.

I'd like to call attention to one program – The Early Warning System.  All community colleges admit students whose previous background and lack of academic preparation make them an "at risk" student. Often, these are the students who are not doing the assigned reading before class, not participating in class discussions, or are showing a lack of enthusiasm for the subject.  As many of you know, we have a system in place for faculty to identify these students so that we can intervene and encourage the student to meet with the faculty member to talk about academic success. 

What I can't emphasize enough is how important it is to intervene with these students now -- early in the semester, when there is still an opportunity to turn things around.  Research proves that early warning systems work:  I encourage you to use our Early Warning System and give students a heads-up so that they can learn how to be good students.  As many of you know, I was one of those at risk students.  If it wasn't for that kind of intervention, you would be looking at another president right now.

Everyone here has differing responsibilities and different levels of engagement with our students.  To unify our work and to formally recognize our responsibility to help students succeed, the Retention Services Office has developed a statement describing our Institutional Commitment to Student Success. That statement is printed in your program for today's meeting. It reads:

Hudson Valley Community College is committed to maximizing student success and retention through the development of a system of structured academic experiences, a student-centered campus culture, and strategies for purposeful student engagement.  

This statement, along with additional supporting materials, has been posted to the Retention pages of our Web site. I urge each of you to explore the information, support the efforts already in place and make your own commitment to promote student success.

Along similar lines, I plan to place a focus in the coming year on what I will call "customer service."  Certainly students are our primary customers, but our customer base extends far beyond this core group.  Our customers also include the businesses and organizations with whom we work, community members who visit our campus for events, alumni, donors, community partners, other institutions………and -yes-  each other

Good customer service results in giving people an experience that sends them away satisfied, so that they pass their positive feedback to others, creating new customers and retaining the ones you worked hard to draw.  So customer service is a central part of retention.

Regardless of our particular position within the organization, all of us serve a multitude of customers every day.  Whether you work in Human Resources, the Cashiers Office, Physical Plant, Academic Affairs, or Student Affairs – whatever we do, the work we do impacts the people around us.
And the people around us -- regardless of who they are, students, staff, or members of the community –These are our Customers. It is important that we continue to maintain that margin of excellence that we are so proud of by serving each other, our students and our partners in the community, with collegiality, respect, timeliness and the highest-quality work product.

To that end, I have asked Executive to the President Michael Green to work with Human Resources to investigate opportunities for employee training in this area. You will be hearing more about this subject as the year unfolds.

I would now like to speak briefly about enrollment and financial issues.

Enrollment Update for Fall Semester

As of today, the college is just under our budgeted enrollment of 3% increase over last year at this time. Once again, I have the privilege of announcing that the college will have a record enrollment for the fall term and we are nearing the 14,000 student mark this year. 

In light of the recent state budget cuts, the task of managing the growth of our institution becomes more critical. It becomes more and more important to find new ways to serve our students and retain students.

As you may have noticed when you clicked on the college's home page in August, we have put a great deal of effort into marketing our off-campus locations. With the opening of our TEC-SMART facility in Malta, we have the ability to not only offer cutting-edge renewable energy training but it also can help us reach a whole new audience of students in southern Saratoga County who are looking to take a full slate of business and liberal arts courses. We are offering more than 30 credit and credit-free courses this fall at TEC-SMART, and many of them were not directly related to the technologies. Maximizing our off-campus locations can help us better manage the growth that we've seen over the past several years.

Budgetary Issues
As many of you know, the "one-third, one-third, one-third" model for funding community colleges in New York State with the state, the local sponsor and the students each picking up an equal portion of  the college's budget is no longer viable as a result of state and local fiscal issues. This year student tuition and fees pay nearly half (46 percent) of the college's total budget. The state's share accounts for 25 percent of our budget. Per-student funding from the state is now at the level it was in 1999! For the coming year, our unbudgeted shortfall in state aid will be in the area of $2.8 million.

As a result, we needed to increase tuition by $300 per year. Even with the increase this year, our tuition rate continues to be in the lower third of all NY community colleges.

Additionally, on the cost side we have made several cuts while still managing not to impact instruction and student support.  Here are a few ideas we will pursue through the coming year.

From a personnel standpoint, we are working to increase efficiencies by evaluating all non-instructional positions on a case-by-case basis.  In some cases a decision may be made to keep the line vacant.
In addition, any requests to hire temporary employees would need to be approved by me. We are also reviewing the faculty instructional loads to maximize the level specified by the contract. With the current state retirement incentive, we will replace faculty positions with adjunct instructors to achieve the requisite cost savings. However, the college's ratio of full-time to part-time instructors is among the strongest in our peer group, and I expect our ratio to continue to be stronger than our peers.

We are also pursuing cost savings in a number of other areas – from reducing the printed publications, cutting office supplies, seeking energy savings through increased efficiencies, and delaying some campus deferred maintenance projects. None of these decisions have been taken lightly, but this fiscal crisis is very real and the future is uncertain in terms of funding from the state.

Thanks to the college's fiscal prudence through the years, we're in a better situation than many of our sister colleges and universities across the state.  All of us need to seek out ways to make our institution more effective and efficient. If you have an idea, forward it on to your supervisor or our Vice President for Finance, Joel Fatato. As employees of the college we all have a responsibility to serve this mission – making the college more efficient and effective. 
So we don't take up too much time, I will refer you to the handout you received on the way in regarding the new academic programs that are starting up this year. There's also a roundup of the campus improvements over the summer months and some of the recent Foundation endowment and grant funding we have secured since we last met. This funding includes a recent $3 million NSF grant to create an Advanced Technology Center for Semiconductor and Nanotechnology Education. Also, earlier this year, the college received $3.3 million DOL grant to support biotechnology and biomanufacturing instruction at the college.

Wrap up / New Faculty Staff Introductions

Before we invite Tori, Greg and Rosemary to speak, I would like to welcome the new members of the Hudson Valley community who have started their careers here – or assumed a new assignment here - since our last meeting. More detailed information on our new colleagues can be found in the handout. But in the interest of time this afternoon, I would like to ask all of the New Full-Time Faculty to please stand? Non-Teaching Professionals? Classified Staff?

You are joining the best faculty and staff in the SUNY System and I look forward to hearing about all the great things that you will do during your tenure with us.

New Full-Time Faculty:

Shawna-Kay Addison
Mary Ellen Bolton
Eileen Casey
Jerome Crucetti
Jaya Dasgupta
Andrew Donovan
Marcy Fiet
J. Thomas Gardner
Catherine Huber
Michelle King
Charles Lanier
Katie Martens
Anthony Nuvallie
Matthew Perry
Jennifer Walker

Non-Teaching Professionals
Nancy Bush
Michele Chavers
Shihong (Steve) Chen
Mary T. Craig
Nicholas Dier
Jaime Drake
Christopher Earnshaw
Hoda Fadlalla
Anne Connor Flynn
Kelly Fox
Sara Garrison
Jason Houghtaling
Rachel Kimmelblatt
Sharon Wright
Thomas A. Vandermeulen

Classified Staff
Nechelle Armstead
Alice Busman
Lori Christian
Thomas Cioffi
Robert Connolly
Joshua Dowd
James Dreimiller
Gary Einarsson
Edward Harpinger
Bobbie Hockaday
Karl Hoegemann
Muhammad Khan
Don Lescarbeau
Toni Miller
Elisa Pruden
Alyssa Smith
Mark VanAmburgh
David Wojcik

2:50 p.m. President Matonak introduces Student Senate President Tori Ramos

It is now my pleasure to introduce new Student Senate President Tori Ramos

2:51 p.m. Tori Ramos speaks
2:51 p.m. President Matonak introduces Greg Sausville

It is now my pleasure to invite Greg Sausville, president of the Faculty Association, to address you.

2:52  Greg Sausville speaks

2:53 President Matonak introduces Rosemary Schultz

I now invite Rosemary Schultz, chair of the Academic Senate, to say a few words.

2:53  Rosemary Schultz speaks


2:55 President Matonak closes

Thank You Rosemary. I am looking forward to another great year with the Senate. Thanks everyone and have a great day!