Dear Paul Smith’s community,
Last month I wrote about the importance of backing the continuation, if not expansion, of federal and state financial aid programs. As of this writing, it appears that NYS support for students at colleges such as Paul Smith’s will remain consistent with what currently exists, with possible new funding for some students in STEM fields. We should know more in the next few days.
We welcome the Middle States Commission on Higher Education visiting peer review team on Easter Sunday (also April Fool’s Day but this is no joke!). The visit is the final step of a process that began way back in November 2015. Accreditation is required for colleges to offer federal funding to students. Many thanks to the countless number of people who contributed, and especially to the tireless efforts and great leadership of our Steering Committee: Nicholas Hunt-Bull, Mary Lou D’Allegro, Mel Johnson, Jeff Walton, Mike Beccaria, Dan Kelting, Kelly Cerialo, Virginia McAleese, Eric Holmlund, Terry Lindsay and Kathleen Keck.
- While admitting new students is a year-round endeavor, our enrollment team is particularly busy right now:
- Deposits for fall 2018 continue to track ahead of the previous two years. To date, we are over 20% ahead of last year’s deposits, and almost 27% ahead of those at this time two years ago.
- Campus visits are also ahead of last year. We have two upcoming programs: Campus Visit Day on April 7, with 56 students currently registered to attend; and Accepted Student Day on April 27, with 74 students currently registered to attend.
- To date, we have put together almost 500 financial aid packages for new students. We will begin packaging returning students on April 15.
- The admissions team attended National College Fairs in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Hartford this month along with other recruitment events in NY, VT, CT, NJ, PA, and NC.
- In March, despite several days of difficult travel conditions, the Admissions team welcomed visitors to the campus for the Cooking and Baking for Scholarships and Campus Visit Day programs. We also welcomed large group visits from Plattsburgh High School, Malone Central School, Bronx Career and Preparatory High School, and Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida BOCES.
- Paul Smith’s College was represented at the New York State ProStart Culinary Competition.
- On March 14, Joe Conto gave the keynote address at the Adirondack Marketing Summit in Lake Placid. Several students attended.
- The Food to Table Sustainability class attended the Food Justice Workshop at the Wild Center.
- PSC faculty are leading great trips this May including those to the Everglades, Uganda, Italy, and Nepal.
- The college is offering some very interesting summer courses that our own students (or those visiting from elsewhere) might like to take advantage of in summer 2018. Please look for them on Self Service.
- Rebecca Romeo helped with the local and state Special Olympics competitions.
- Glenn McClure will attend the National Science Foundation project seminar at UC San Diego in April. He is part of a research team which has been granted a NSF I-Corps Award, which provides intensive support for the commercialization of NSF research. Their project focuses on using sound to analyze big data. This draws on his research work done on an NSF fellowship in Antarctica. Apparently, this is the first application in I-Corps history to originate from the Polar Division.
- Annie Rochon will be attending a Latin American Studies Association conference in Barcelona, Spain from May 23rd to May 26th, 2018. The conference theme is Latin American Studies in a Globalized World.
- On April 8th the PSC DECA Chapter will be sponsoring a BOOMERANG Road Trip! for the biennial alumni event. 30 Students and six faculty and staff will be traveling to Saratoga for a brunch with 12 alumni at the 2 West Bar and Grille in Saratoga Springs followed by tours of the newly renovated Adelphi Hotel and Mrs. London’s Bakery.
- PSC was notified that “An Exploratory Study of Bird-window Collisions in the Rural Landscape of the Northern Adirondacks, NY” by Grace Mayhew, Claire Nellis, Jonathan Stetler, Jorie Favreau; Andrew Bowe, Joseph Faryniarz, Jake Kuryla, Lewis Lolya, Kyle Nellis, Nicholas Sciolino won best undergraduate poster presentation at the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency meeting in April 2016 (yes, this date is correct).
- Jorie Favreau was elected Vice President of the New York chapter of The Wildlife Society.
- Dan Kelting continues to be recognized as an expert regarding the important topic of the impact of road salting. He met with the NYSDEC and NYSDOT commissioners and their deputies in Albany to share AWI findings on drinking water pollution related to road salting, and presented to the Biology Department at Clarkson.
- Dan Kelting & Corey Laxson presented a paper on high frequency lake monitoring at the Northeastern Chapter of the Geological Society of America Meeting in Burlington, VT.
- AWI is hard at work hiring staff for the Stewardship program. Over 100 positions have been filled, with about 50 more to go.
- Curt Stager, with recent PSC graduates Ken Aaron and Jon Stetler, presented research on Bear Pond’s recovery from acid rain at the Northeast Geological Society of America meeting in Burlington, VT.
- Curt Stager and Brendan Wiltse, with PSC students David Nardelli and Erik Yankowski, will be publishing an article on the sediment core history of Walden Pond, MA in the prestigious PLOS ONE journal in April.
- Curt Stager is co-organizing a joint PSC-SUNY Potsdam archaeology field course to be offered on campus in July with SUNY Potsdam professor Tim Messner.
- The IT department has completed the first phase of the classroom infrastructure improvement project which included improving lighting and updating projectors. Phase 2 will address the simplification and improvement of teaching podiums. A test unit is already in place, and the plan is to have all the new podiums done this summer. Anyone using the test unit in the Hutch (which includes a HDMI cable to plug in your laptop) is asked to give feedback so IT can optimize the final design.
- Andy Johnstone has completed the first phase of a Search Engine Optimization project to improve our rankings on Google search. We track 150 keywords/phrases, and 34 of them now appear in the #1-3 spots. Broad search terms are especially challenging, but we’re making strides. As an example, our site is the #16 search result for “forestry”, up from #65 in January. Other terms such as “arboriculture jobs,” or “best culinary college” have made jumps of 30+ in the search rankings. Special thanks to Andrew Relyea whose collaboration helped to kick off this effort. Search results vary based on the individual; these metrics are tracked and reported by an independent 3rd party.
- The VIC has exceeded revenue targets by 125% for this fiscal year with 4 months left to go. We’ve enjoyed a triumphant ski season and begun rebuilding our winter programming, while coordinating 200+ summer programs for summer 2018. Kudos to Karen Potts, Martha Van der Voort, and especially Andy Testo for their great work in the financial turnaround and increasing the facility’s utilization by the campus community, neighbors and tourists.
- Peer Educators collaborated with the Resident Assistants to sponsor a “Drunk Driving Relay” which educated students of the dangers of driving cars and snowmobiles while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
- The Peer Educators attended a training called “Escalation” focused on the early warning signs of intimate partner violence.
- We are excited to be expanding our athletics programming. Even as we launch new sports and programs, we have great activities and student-athlete successes to applaud:
- The basketball program ran a great Bobcat Classic program for local students in partnership with Saranac Lake Middle School Coach Joe Akey.
- The Athletic Department hosted a successful basketball visitation weekend for prospective students and their families.
- The Counseling Center hosted Safe Zone Training (becoming an LGBT+ ally)
- Adaiah Bauer was selected to represent the United States at the World University Games Volunteer Leaders Academy this coming June in Kazan, Russia.
- Margret Montag and Mike Wert placed fourth in the Snowshoe World Championships in Fuente de, Spain. Montag earned a gold medal as she was a member of the United States Women’s Junior Team that took first place at the World Championships. Cathy Pedtke earned a silver medal in the 20 – 29 age class at the World Championships in Spain.
- The Paul Smith’s College men’s team placed fifth overall at US Snowshoe Nationals.
- The men’s 4 X 2.5 Km relay team with Cody Sears, Mike Wert, Isaac Leach, and Matt Frye placed first in the collegiate category.
- We now have a Lost Alumni Directory on our website. In the first two weeks we have received information to help us reconnect with 20+ people! We also released an Alumni Update Form fillable PDF, as well as a web version, for those experiencing problems with the PDF version of the Alumni Update form. We have received quite a few responses to that as well.
- Approximately 100 alumni and friends gathered at the annual “Pancakes at Bob’s Trees” event hosted by Linda & David Eaton ’61.
- We had a great turnout for the recent career fair. In addition to 113 employers, Alumni Board members Karen Frank and Joe McCranels were present to speak with current students and with returning alumni.
- A Campus Budget Advisory Committee has been established and is expected to begin meeting in mid-April. The CBAC is intended to advise on the budget process and decisions, and to enhance understanding of the budget for the campus community. The members are: Janet Waldron, VP for Finance and Administration, Chair; Dr. Don Kirsch, Faculty Senate Chair; Jorie Favreau, Chair Natural Science; Vanessa Case, Staff Council Chair; Amanda Wilson, Student Government President; Michael Beccaria, Director of Library and Technology Services; Teresa Gay, Coordinator of New Student Orientation, Student Services; and Alex Bryden, Controller.
- The Adirondack Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival was named runner-up as “Best Festival of the Adirondacks” in the annual survey conducted by Adirondack Life magazine.
Upcoming Events of Note
- April 4: SGA Town Hall, Bobcat, 4:30pm
- April 14: 1st Annual Student Leadership Conference
- April 19: Student Leadership Banquet
- April 21: Women’s Alumni Rugby: Plattsburgh
- April 24: Housing Selection Night
- April 25: Sexual Assault and Spoken Word Poets, Co-Sponsored with Planned Parenthood
- April 28: Sugarbush Breakfast and SAM Fest
- April 28: Men’s Alumni Rugby: Paul Smiths
- April 28-29: Alumni Board Meetings: Paul Smiths
- May 4-5: Capstones
- May 12: Commencement
- May 16: End of Semester meeting for faculty and staff