Welcome from the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost - Summer 2013
It's hard to believe, but another academic year has passed. Less than a month ago, we conferred degrees on almost 3,000 students. Now we are preparing to welcome the Class of 2017.
This has been an especially exciting year for me as I settled into a new position with its many challenges, surprises, and rewards. It has also been a good year for Binghamton University as we continued to build our reputation as the premier public university in the Northeast and began to pursue our goal of becoming the premier public university in the nation.
In April, President Harvey Stenger unveiled the Binghamton University Road Map, a new strategic plan that articulates an ambitious and inspiring vision for the University while allocating resources to help realize it. The product of nine teams that included 400 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members, the Road Map will provide strategic direction during a period of significant growth. Not only is the final product something we can be proud of, the process by which we created it represents the transparency and collegiality that makes Binghamton special.
The Division of Academic Affairs has begun to implement priorities identified in the Road Map. We have allocated additional support to our Center for Learning and Teaching, enhancing its ability to support faculty who wish to redesign courses and experiment with new approaches to teaching. We have also identified resources to recruit top Ph.D. students and develop career-directed masters programs, expand support for undergraduate research, invest in Bartle Library's collections, increase need-based aid to undergraduates, and augment start-up funds for new faculty.
Our faculty will lead the way in helping us achieve the Road Map's ambitious goals. Fortunately, there will be more of them to do that, as we implement an aggressive hiring plan to grow our tenure track faculty by 25% between 2012 and 2016. During the past year, schools and departments were busy searching for excellent new tenure-track and tenured faculty. As the summer progresses, we will put the final touches on the 2013-14 hiring plan, which will allow us to continue to build the ranks of our exceptional faculty.
To assure that we hire strategically, I have worked closely with faculty leaders to identify five areas in which Binghamton University has significant strength and can become internationally recognized by making additional investments. The areas address important scientific, social, technological, cultural, and policy questions that can only be answered by teams of faculty from multiple disciplines. These transdisciplinary areas of excellence, as we have labeled them, will shape faculty hiring in the coming years, as we recruit groups of faculty from different disciplines to expand our strength in each of the five areas.
Binghamton University's growth—in faculty, staff, students, and programs—will enable us to expand our role as an economic engine for the Southern Tier and the entire state. As the Spring Semester came to a close, we received news that we were successful in garnering resources from two SUNY competitions designed to build capacity in programs that produce graduates for high needs areas and conduct research that contributes to New York's economic vitality. The SUNY High Needs Program will provide $1.7 million over the next three years to help us hire faculty in nursing and engineering, while $1 million from SUNY's Empire Innovation Program will support recruitment of senior faculty in one of our transdisciplinary areas of excellence, Smart Energy.
In addition to recruiting exceptional faculty, we have welcomed outstanding colleagues to key leadership positions. Susan Strehle, distinguished service professor of English, became interim vice provost and dean of the Graduate School in January. Recently, Laura Bronstein, professor and chair of Social Work, assumed new responsibilities as interim dean of the College of Community and Public Affairs, replacing Patricia Ingraham who retired after seven years of exemplary service as founding dean. James Pitaressi, distinguished teaching professor of Engineering, began the summer by taking on new duties as assistant provost and director of the Center for Learning and Teaching. Anne McCall, who has been dean of fine arts, humanities, and social sciences at the University of Denver for the past five years, will begin work in August as the new dean of Binghamton's oldest and largest school, Harpur College of Arts & Sciences.
This has been a year of significant change as Binghamton University grows in size, ambition, and quality. One thing, however, has not changed: our commitment to excellence. We remain a place where world-class faculty conduct path-breaking research and help remarkable students realize their enormous potential.