SUNY Schenectady, which has been empowering thousands of students to achieve their goals since the College first opened its doors in September 1969, ushers in its historic 50th anniversary year with construction of a transformational Learning Commons, recent full reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission, exciting new academic programs, and campus renewal projects. Classes began on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
A new Learning Commons, one of the largest capital projects in the College’s history, will completely rebuild and reprogram two floors in the Begley Building. The new Learning Commons will occupy approximately 30,000 square feet of space and include the following entities to enhance support services at the College and expand academic resources for students: labs for math, writing and accounting; a Tutoring Center; the Center for Excellence in Teaching; study rooms; student collaborative spaces; a Career Center; IT support; a reading area, a café, and library stacks. Funding for the $10.1 million renovation project is provided by Schenectady County, through one of the largest single financial commitments the County has ever made, and the State of New York. The College’s Foundation is currently raising funds to help equip the new space with state-of-the-art equipment and learning tools. The College’s library has been temporarily moved to Elston Hall, Rooms 130 and 132 while this project is underway.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education Reaccreditation
The College was informed this summer that it received full reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education until 2027, which is the maximum term, with no findings or follow-up reports. This followed completion of a comprehensive Self-Study this spring by working groups on campus, under the direction of Professor Eileen Abrahams and Dean Brett Wery, which examined ways in which SUNY Schenectady met the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Standards of Accreditation. An External Review Team then visited campus in March 2019 to meet with a cross-section of the College community, delivering a positive report at the conclusion of their visit.
“Middle States reaccreditation is outstanding news for our institution and a testament to the excellent work done by our faculty, administrators, staff, and Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Steady Moono, College President. “It recognizes all of the ways in which we adhere to the high standards set forth by Middle States, as we continue to serve our students and empower them to achieve their goals.”
The College was recognized by the Schenectady County Legislature on July 9 (above).
New Academic Programs
The Fall 2019 semester brings new programs that continue the innovative thinking and strong learning environment that have served as the foundation for SUNY Schenectady since its inception, adding to the more than 58 transfer degree, career degree, and certificate programs at the College.
The computer gaming industry is booming and through the new Programming for Game Development degree program, students now have the opportunity to begin their education in the Electric City on the path to employment in this ever-expanding industry.
With the rise of popular food truck festivals, the mobile food industry continues to grow and the new Mobile Food Service certificate program provides students with an avenue for immediate employment in the industry.
“These new academic programs are strong examples of how we continue to fulfill the College’s mission and offer more opportunities for our students in expanding career fields,” said Ann Fleming Brown, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Our renewal projects enhance the campus in a variety of important ways for all of the members of the College community and for those who visit every day. As we start to commemorate our 50th anniversary, they all point to our tradition of excellence and the forward-thinking that has been a part of the College since it was established.”
Campus Renewal Projects
Through campus renewal projects, SUNY Schenectady continues to provide students with renowned academic programs in a campus atmosphere that is welcoming, inclusive, diverse, and collaborative.
· An inviting new fountain, surrounded by flowers and creative landscaping, adds to the welcoming atmosphere of the Campus Quad and was made possible through a landscape improvement grant from the Carlilian Foundation and matching funds from New York State.
· With the College Foundation’s support, a comprehensive wayfinding project, with new directional signage, was completed and provides clear directions to individuals navigating campus buildings and offices, supporting student access and enhancing campus navigation.
· New concrete stairs and an attractive block retaining wall were constructed to the entrance way of the Gateway Building, replacing an old damaged staircase and preventing soil erosion in the front of the building.
· Additional projects on campus include replacement of the HVAC units on the North wing of Elston Hall and replacement of three underground power transformers with a new above-ground unit.
“As we begin our 50th anniversary year, we reflect on how much SUNY Schenectady has grown from the early life of the College when students were taking classes in one academic building, Elston Hall, to now when they are pursuing their dreams in labs and classrooms in five buildings on campus, as well as at our extension sites,” Dr. Moono said. “Our new Learning Commons and latest campus renewal projects, which include the truly transformational new Learning Commons, continue the momentum that began in the Electric City decades ago and provide students and visitors with the excellent learning atmosphere and campus that honors this legacy.”
“Fifty years ago, the Schenectady County Legislature understood the importance of educational opportunities for our residents and how it benefits our entire community, and created Schenectady County Community College,” said Anthony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature. “As we celebrate the College’s 50th anniversary, the Legislature continues to make education and the needs of our community a priority by investing millions of dollars into campus facilities and supporting the expansion and creation of new programs in fast-growing industries, such as gaming technology, healthcare, and the food industry. These investments are important as we continue to prepare our residents for the jobs of the future.”