SUNY New Paltz welcomes nearly 1,800 new students

NEW PALTZ — Nearly 1,000 first-year students will move into their new homes on the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz on Thursday, Aug. 24, during the annual Moving-in Day. They will be joined by 795 new transfer students throughout the weekend. The college’s overall enrollment remains essentially the same, at 7,800.

Selectivity on the rise
This year, 98 percent of New Paltz’s accepted freshmen came from the top two of five SUNY quality groups, up from 94 percent last year and 67 percent in 2001. First-year students from the top two groups have a mean SAT score of 1160 and a high school average of more than 90. The average SAT score for college-bound students in 2005 was 1007 for New York state and 1026 nationally.

From an applicant pool of more than 15,000, New Paltz received 11,941 freshmen applications and 3,339 transfer applications. With an acceptance rate of 39 percent for first-year students and 38 percent for transfers, New Paltz remains one of the most selective universities in the Northeast and is among the 5 percent of campuses across the country that accepts less than half of its applicants. For the 16th consecutive year, New Paltz has led all SUNY university colleges in total applications received, total freshmen applications and total transfer applications.

Transfer admission is also selective. Of the 38 percent of accepted transfer applicants, about two-thirds of the students come from the seven regional community colleges. The others are from two- and four-year schools from throughout the state. The new transfer students have an average GPA of 3.25.

While entry to New Paltz is becoming more selective, the college is still attracting qualified students from all backgrounds. Minority students make up 23 percent of the undergraduate population, and roughly 475 international students are enrolled from more than 52 countries. New Paltz has more students studying abroad and more international students than any other SUNY college.

As the demand for a New Paltz education continues to grow, retention has also improved at the college. The first-year retention rate for fall 2006 is expected to be 85 percent, up significantly from 76 percent just eight years ago.

Hiring new faculty is top priority
In addition to new students the college welcomes 32 new, full-time faculty on campus next week. In previous years, the typical number of new faculty arriving in the fall has been 16-20.

College President Steven Poskanzer has said that with the additional state funding approved by the legislature and the governor this year, the college’s number one priority for the 2006-07 academic year will be hiring even more full-time, tenure-track faculty.

To that end, Provost David Lavallee has collaborated with the deans and department chairs to come up with a list of 38 faculty searches, which will get under way this fall. Those new hires will arrive on campus in fall 2007.

Lavallee said that the number needed for replacement of faculty who retire, resign or are not reappointed is typically 16-18 a year; thus, the college expects to add about 22-24 additional faculty lines for fall 2007.

With these additions, the college anticipates the number of classes taught by full-time faculty to go from about 70 percent to nearly 80 percent the following year.

The provost said the emphasis on having more full-time faculty on campus would benefit students, as they are “more available to students in a way that we cannot expect part-time faculty to be. Full-time faculty also design courses and curricula, conduct program assessment and are involved with reappointment, tenure and promotion processes.”

Although increasing full-time faculty is particularly pressing, the college will also consider if it can address other areas, such as hiring support staff where they are required and offering more robust support for academic programs and physical plant improvements.

Newly refurbished dining facilities
On Monday, August 28, the college will celebrate the re-opening of the Food Court in the Student Union Building (SUB), which underwent significant renovations during the summer.

Now known as the Hawk’s Nest, it will include Pandini’s, an upscale Italian restaurant that offers a fusion of old world style with new world flavor, a “smart market” that will offer organic food options, sushi, a salad bar and grilled items, and a deli with high quality meats, garden-fresh produce and fresh-baked breads.

In addition, the Huguenot Café that once operated in the Old Main Building will re-open as the Harvest Moon Café and will offer 100-percent organic and vegan food items.

Residence hall improvements
Also during the summer, as a part of the college’s ongoing residence hall maintenance schedule, windows in Bliss, Bouton and Scudder residence halls were replaced with energy efficient units and internal blinds. Upgrades were also made to the common areas of Bevier, Deyo and Gage halls, which included installing new carpet and lighting. New roof systems are being installed at Capen, Bevier and LeFevre halls and are expected to be complete by this October.

Of particular note, New Paltz has received an additional $13 million in state funding toward the $25 million renovation of the Old Main Building, which was built in 1908. The college is in the process of selecting an architectural consultant for the complete renovation and restoration of the building, which houses the nationally accredited School of Education.