College to welcome 1,880 new first-year and transfer students

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz will welcome 1,195 new first-year students to the College during the annual Moving In Day beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 22.

The new students will be joined Tuesday, Aug. 23, by 685 transfer students, for a total of 1,880 new students; this figure is consistent with the number of new students in prior years and in line with the College’s goal to keep enrollments stable.

According to L. David Eaton, vice president for enrollment management, “The academic profile of incoming first-year students is very strong, and this class will be among our most racially and ethnically diverse in a number of years, and represents the largest numerical cohort of new freshmen from traditionally underrepresented groups in the history of New Paltz.”

Lisa Jones, dean of admissions, said the class of 2015 reflects academic quality and diversity for which New Paltz is well known. Incoming students who indicate they are from diverse backgrounds and under-represented groups constitute 31 percent of the total class, an increase from 2010.

“New Paltz is very proud to attract high-caliber students from diverse backgrounds and under represented groups and this year is no exception–our numbers continue to grow,” said Dean of Admission Lisa Jones. “We feel that this is an essential attribute that promotes communal acceptance and understanding as well as increasing the College’s scholarly prestige and reputation. Our diversity makes New Paltz a well-regarded and respected institution.”

For the 22nd consecutive year, New Paltz had the most applications for admission (16,894) among SUNY’s comprehensive colleges.

Graduate enrollments for fall 2011 have increased over fall 2010, reversing a several-year decline. Some decline stemmed from suspension of several under-performing programs due in part to the budget reduction of 2008-09. New Paltz has revised (e.g., by streamlining curricular requirements) and re-instituted Master of Science in Education (MSEd) and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs in Adolescence Education.

Fall Convocation

Students of the Class of 2015 will attend the 25th annual Fall Convocation at the Athletic & Wellness Center on Wednesday, Aug. 24. This event formally introduces new students to the academic atmosphere and to the New Paltz faculty.

Professor Peter Kaufman of the Sociology Department will be the featured speaker. The title of Kaufman’s Convocation Address is “Three Questions, Three Challenges, and A Bit of Advice.” Kaufman was the recipient of 2011 Chancellor’s Award for Teaching. His ethos is that learning should be an active and organic process where the teacher is the catalyst for learning.

“It is a great honor for me to deliver the Convocation lecture,” Kaufman said. “I know the beginning of the school year is filled with so many mixed emotions–excitement, anticipation, nervousness. I hope my brief lecture will fuel the students’ excitement and allay some of their fears.”

Kaufman’s scholarship includes editing “Critical Pedagogy in the Sociology Classroom,” serving on the editorial board for “Teaching Sociology” as well as numerous contributions to journals and monographs.

New Leadership

Dr. Donald P. Christian was appointed eighth president of State University of New York at New Paltz in June after serving as interim president since July 2010. Christian joined New Paltz in August 2009 when he began serving as provost and vice president of academic affairs.

Cheryl B. Torsney was appointed interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at New Paltz, effective July 15. Torsney will serve as interim provost for the 2011-12 academic year, while the College conducts a national search for a new provost.

Rededication of Old Main

The three-year renovation of the 65,000-square-foot Old Main Building, home of the College’s School of Education, is nearing completion. The main portion of the building will re-open in time for the beginning of classes in August. The new south wing offices, which replaced the former gymnasium and indoor running track, and the Studley Theater will be finished later this fall. Old Main, which dates from 1907, has housed multiple schools and offices through the years, including the entire College at one time. The renovated landmark will be rededicated later this fall. The $32 million project was supported by a special appropriation secured by State Senator John Bonacic and State Assembly Member Kevin Cahill (a 1977 alumnus), as well as funding secured by the State University Construction Fund and the College itself.

In line with New Paltz’s dual strategy for academic excellence and a green campus, the renovation incorporated the installation of high-tech classrooms, modern faculty offices, complete electrical upgrades, central air-conditioning and meticulous attention to the interior finishes of the building to restore its natural elegance and ornamentation.

The College anticipates that the renovation will be the first campus project to attain a Leadership in Energy and Environments Design (LEED) Silver certification. Green features included maximizing water efficiency; a highly efficient air-conditioning system, lighting and other systems that will achieve 10 percent more energy efficiency than the standards established by the New York State Energy Code. Materials with recycled content were incorporated into new construction, including steel beams and columns, and finishes such as carpet, vinyl tile flooring and acoustic ceiling panels. During the demolition, more than 90 percent of the material removed from the facility was converted into recycled content, contributing to New Paltz’s effort to achieve LEED certification.

Complete Renovation of Crispell Hall

Crispell Hall, which closed for major renovations in December 2010, is reopening in August. The $12.5 million project is the first of the five Hasbrouck residence halls scheduled for renovation.

Work included new plumbing and electric throughout the building, new heating and air-handling systems, wireless computer access in all rooms and lounges, more Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible bathroom facilities, and reclaiming underutilized space to create more spacious suite common areas. In addition, all student rooms will have more electrical outlets, fire suppression sprinkler systems, and fully renovated restrooms. The College anticipates that the renovation of Crispell Hall will receive a LEED Silver certification.