Buffalo State College President Katherine Conway-Turner kicked off the fall 2018 semester with her annual opening year address, Tuesday, September 11, at the Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall, emphasizing the imperative role education plays in a democratic society.
“I have always believed that education forges a responsibility,” Conway-Turner said. “A responsibility to utilize critical thought and analytical skills in making decisions regardless of your professional work. The responsibility as I see it is a responsibility to participate in the betterment of your community and those around you.”
Conway-Turner is one of 19 college presidents in the county that has signed on in support of Campus Compact’s Education for Democracy initiative. During her address, she outlined the core components of the Compact’s initiative and the role those values play in democratic learning. From developing student leaders to fostering continuous discussion and debate of our shared future and encouraging students to vote, Conway-Turner challenged faculty and staff to consider the many ways they can help Buffalo State students become active participants in our democracy.
“We seek for our students to not only be personally and professionally successful, but we seek to foster students’ commitment to the larger good, the public good,” Conway-Turner said. “We seek to develop fully engaged citizens.”
Conway-Turner spent the first half of her address celebrating many of the accomplishments and milestones from the previous academic year, highlighted by:
In September 2017, Buffalo State received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award for the fifth straight year from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. The award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The Honors Program was expanded with the addition of the Dean’s Honors Program, offering first-year participants the opportunity to pursue their education goals through specialty courses and out-of-class experiences.
New academic programs were developed, including conflict analysis and resolution, data science and analytics, and environmental geography.
A new emergency relief fund was established in the Dean of Students Office via a $75,000 grant to help students experiencing unforeseen financial hardships or emergency situations stay on track toward graduation.
Seven intercollegiate athletics teams advanced to postseason play in 2017-18, including football, men’s hockey, men’s soccer, women’s basketball, women’s hockey, women’s lacrosse, and softball. In addition, 105 student-athletes were named to the SUNYAC Academic Honor Roll last year.
- Several capital projects moved forward in 2017-18, including the Jacqueline Vito LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center, phase four of the Science and Mathematics Complex, renovations to Tower 3 and Bishop Hall, as well as the design of the new Academic Commons in E. H. Butler Library.
Conway-Turner also addressed the college’s three-year budget rebalancing efforts, noting that the campus achieved its year-two goal this past summer, bringing the total budget reduction thus far to $4.2 million of the $7 million goal.
“Although it is always more enjoyable to have more resources than you need, this shortfall has pressed us all to think creatively and strategically about the work we do, to collaborate more fully, and to forge cross-division connections to get the work done,” Conway-Turner said. “These new efforts are not without some adjustment, but they represent the sustainable work of the future so that we can continue to be relevant and effective as we serve the educational and future needs of our students. Thank you all for your individual and collective efforts to meet our rebalancing goals.”