Fall 2020 Semester Begins at SUNY Schenectady
SUNY Schenectady students, faculty, and staff began the Fall 2020 semester today with the College offering a hybrid model of courses as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented since March 2020, the College has remained innovative and steadfast in its commitment to ensuring student safety and empowering students in their academic pursuits. The fall semester illuminates this commitment through a well-crafted mode of instruction; technological, academic, and wellness support services; renewal of more than $4.6 million in federal grants for health care programs and student support; and the final phase of the one of the largest capital projects in the College’s history.
In mid-March 2020, SUNY Schenectady moved all classes to remote instruction. This semester the College continues to conduct all lecture style classes in a virtual format, but is also offering a limited number of Science and Culinary Arts labs, as well as Music performance instruction, on campus. Those in classrooms will adhere to social distancing measures and wear face masks. Everyone coming to campus will complete health assessments upon entering buildings through only four entry points, and disinfecting/cleaning regimens are in place.
“As we join educational institutions across the country in wading into uncharted waters this semester, we have designed virtual instruction and on-campus labs that provide students with the excellent academic offerings they need as part of our 56 degree and certificate programs, while maintaining student safety as our top priority,” said Dr. Steady Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady. “The resources we offer, including our new online chat feature where faculty/staff are on call to answer student questions, and services that address food insecurity and technological needs, are some of the ways in which we support our students, especially during the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.”
Students have benefitted from support services including a laptop loan program. So far 75 students have been given laptops to assist them as they learn remotely this fall. (The College has loaned a total of 280 laptops to students since March 2020.) During the pandemic, the Food Pantry on campus has remained open, providing food, toiletries, and other supplies to students in need. Student Success Coaches check in with students regularly and Librarians are available to connect with students virtually to help them with research projects.
Over the summer, the College was informed of the renewal of two important federal grants totaling more than $4.6 million that will serve hundreds of under-represented students. SUNY Schenectady earned another highly competitive Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG 2.0) through the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The $3 million grant, an extension of the current HPOG 2.0 grant, will allow the College’s Office of Workforce Development and Community Education to continue to train hundreds of eligible students for a variety of healthcare careers. The College’s TRIO program was selected for renewal of funding from the United States Department of Education for $1,676,555 for five years. This funding allows SUNY Schenectady to annually serve 175 first-generation, income-qualified students with support including tutoring, academic workshops, transfer counseling, and career guidance.
Finally, as the College looks toward the future and serving generations of students to come, construction has entered the final phase on the new Learning Commons, a complete rebuild of the interior of the Begley Building. The new $10.1 million Learning Commons will occupy approximately 30,000 square feet of space to enhance support services and expand academic resources for students through centralized math, writing, accounting, and other academic support areas; the Center for Excellence in Teaching; study rooms; student collaborative spaces; the Educational Opportunity Program; IT support; a reading area; café; and library stacks. Funding for the renovation project is provided by Schenectady County, through one of the largest single financial commitments the County has ever made, the State of New York, and the SUNY Schenectady Foundation.
“We are in unprecedented times, but our students, faculty, and staff continue to demonstrate resilience, as they adapt to new learning and teaching methods and ways to connect to one another,” said Ann Fleming Brown, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “This fall semester may be different from all those that came before, but our commitment to the well-being of our students and their academic success remains the same. We are here for them and we look forward to a fruitful and rewarding fall semester.”