President’s Report to Academic and Professional Faculty

Read President Donald P. Christian’s March 2016 Report to Academic and Professional Faculty.

This report contains a few updates on the heels of my report last week.


Women’s Basketball. Congratulations to members of the Women’s Basketball Team and coach Jamie Seward for winning the SUNY Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championship, for the second time in the program’s history. New Paltz defeated Geneseo 65-52 in last Saturday’s final game, following the previous day’s semifinal win over Oneonta 77-68. In securing the SUNYAC title, the team automatically qualifies for the 2016 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament. They will play Rowan University tomorrow evening in the first round at Rowan. Bravo!

Alumni Relations. Three years ago, Vice President David Eaton chaired the Alumni Relations ad hoc task force. Among its recommendations were the creation of an Alumni Council reporting to the Director of Alumni Relations and an overhaul of alumni office best practices. Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Erica Marks took up this charge and we have now achieved a watershed moment for the department and for all alumni. Here are a few recent milestones:

  • Shana Circe ’02 ’08 was hired as the College’s Director of Alumni Relations after a competitive national search (see news story here). Shana is charged with strategically engaging alumni, securing commitments to provide professional expertise and volunteer service. As Director, she oversees the Alumni Council and directs the planning for class reunions, special events to recognize outstanding alumni, and events nation-wide. She coordinates the alumni network that spans the United States and abroad. We will continue recent efforts that have dramatically stepped up the pace of alumni events and activities on campus and beyond.
  • A new Alumni Relations website was launched with many new features and information.
  • The year-old Alumni Council at its meeting last month ratified its constitution and elected officers, who, along with the Director of Alumni Relations, make up the Council’s Executive Committee. Special thanks go to David Eaton for his work in drafting the bylaws. The Council is the governing body representing the interests of our approximately 65,000 New Paltz alumni (each a member of the Alumni Association) with the Office of Alumni Relations. It advises the Director of Alumni Relations and advances our goals of alumni engagement. The newly elected officers are:
    • President, Anthony Winn ’92 (Business Administration)
    • Vice President, Robin Cohen-LaValle ’77 (Psychology and Communication) ’82g (Psychology)
    • Secretary, Amanda Gresens-Rogers ’08 (Communication)
    • Representative to the College Council, Alan Dunefsky ’69 (Biology) ’91g (Multi-cultural Education)

I am grateful for these and other efforts that are advancing a critical essential initiative of our strategic plan, “Engaging Alumni in the Life of the College.”

Business Journals Ranking. The Business Journals has ranked SUNY New Paltz among America’s 75 best public colleges and universities in the most recent installment of its annual list. The list is derived from a study by Business First, publisher of The Business Journals, which analyzed 477 U.S. four-year public institutions using data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Rankings on this list are based on selective admissions processes, strong retention and graduation rates, prestigious reputations, affordable tuition and housing costs, diverse faculties and student bodies, and economically robust communities. As Vice President Eaton noted in our news release, this accolade is “very much in keeping with others we have received in recent years.”

Many are rightfully dubious about such rankings, but I would rather be included in them than not! We must recognize that rankings like these largely miss our marks of distinction, all that I hear from students they most value about New Paltz: great professors who they learn from in and out of the classroom; staff who support and guide them through many twists and turns; faculty and staff who care about their success; a rich array of student clubs and organizations, activities, leadership roles, volunteer opportunities, internships, the Honors Program, undergraduate research opportunities, and other co-curricular learning initiatives; engaging residence life programs; the opportunity to interact with and learn from people different from themselves; a great college town and stunning natural and cultural region. These are the strengths that we must highlight in other ways as we meet with prospective students and parents, and as we showcase our many points of pride.

I look forward to seeing you at tomorrow’s meeting of the Academic and Professional Faculty, where I will be available to respond to your questions.


Donald P. Christian