Key Messages

Dear students,

It gives me a wonderful feeling that I have the privilege of welcoming students to another academic year at SUNY Oneonta. I am very excited for this year, my first full academic year as a Red Dragon.

The college is ready for move-in and for classes to begin. It is going to be an active and invigorating year, as evidenced by the number of events and activities happening during the first few weeks of classes. Later this semester, we will have events where all members of the college community can engage in activities and discussions regarding our Common Read book, "They Called Us Enemy" by George Takei. Please mark your calendars to hear this renowned actor, author and activist talk about his life and the book as he delivers the Mills Distinguished Lecture on Oct. 24. We will also welcome award-winning journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones on Nov. 3, when she will speak about the 1619 project in commemoration of the occurrence of the Black List. Additional information about these events will be shared as the dates get closer.

As everyone returns to school and our routines, I want to remind you of the special opportunity you have as part of an academic community. This means being part of a community that engages in discussions about many different topics and issues and, most importantly, engages with the world around us. This summer has certainly provided issues with which to engage. Recent Supreme Court decisions have altered the role of government and impacted our college, region, nation, and world. The dramatic shift in the governance of abortion rights through the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision and the overturning of Roe v. Wade is momentous and calls for institutions of higher education like ours to do what we do best – inform, debate and engage. It is important to remember that here in New York, our laws distinctly outline that residents of our state have the right to comprehensive reproductive healthcare, which includes the right to make choices about their healthcare and future. However, we cannot discount the greater impact this decision will have on public health and our society. Other decisions further strengthen this call to become involved in national deliberations. The Court's decisions on concealed weapons, overturning a century-old New York law, and the Environmental Protection Agency's authority over carbon emissions bring bearing on our college's hard work to provide a safe living and learning environment and core value of sustainability. The importance that all members of our college community engage in constructive conversations, carry out our role and responsibility to be informed and engaged citizens, and participate in elections cannot be understated.

I hope that you enjoyed time with loved ones, favorite activities or special places over the summer. I also hope you are excited to either begin your journey at SUNY Oneonta or reunite with your fellow Red Dragons and reconnect with faculty and staff. I know I am excited for you to be here, and I look forward to seeing you across campus and at the many great events that we have in store.

Have a wonderful start of the semester.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Dear colleagues,

I hope your summer has provided a season for replenishment and revitalization through time off or time to reconnect with loved ones, favorite activities or special places. We will, very soon, be back in the excitement of a new academic year, so reloading our energy reserves and enthusiasm is critical. As we approach the new academic year and fall semester activities, I want to highlight a few significant items and updates.

Although many outside of higher education may think that after commencement work is done here at the college for a few months, the reality is that we are very busy during the summer. The vice presidents provided me with an extensive list of the work carried out (and still ongoing) this summer. The list is too long to include here, but please know that the work is both recognized and sincerely appreciated - not only by me, but by the students and their families, both new and returning. They will observe and experience that we are prepared to meet expectations, support them and help them achieve their goals.

If you have been on campus, you have likely noticed the work to keep our grounds and buildings in pristine condition thanks to the excellent work of our grounds crew, facilities and maintenance staff. Facilities has also been busy overseeing multiple projects including, but not limited to, a major multiyear site project for ADA accessibility, continued work on the Alumni Hall project, renovations in Hays and Matteson Halls, the installation of a new sign at the West Street campus entrance, the addition of pedestrian crossing safety equipment and, in coordination with OAS/Sodexo, development of a new dining venue, Simple Servings, an allergen-free zone opening this fall in Wilsbach Hall. Academic Affairs has been hard at work block-presetting schedules for the incoming first-year students, refining the division's work on student success, planning for our next general education program, and continuing our Middle States self-study. We saw a return to faculty-led global programs and had over 40 students participate in undergraduate research and creative activities. Information Technology Services has been completing projects to improve our WI-FI network, data security and classroom technology, and reallocating computer lab resources based on trending demands. Colleagues in Student Affairs resurrected our summer orientation program, in which over 700 new students completed the Day One orientation session in July. The reviews for the summer Day One sessions clearly show a deep appreciation of the college-wide welcome. We also welcomed back summer camps, and Athletics was busy with various summer programs. The Division of College Advancement, in collaboration with over 20 other departments and offices, started the summer with a very successful Alumni Weekend in early June. The event brought about 750 alumni and friends back to campus, and their positive observations and sentiments about their experience and everything happening at the college were universal.

We begin this semester seeing progress on several initiatives related to the Regaining Momentum Agenda. We have:

  • established a Student Success Leadership Team with the goal of purposefully coordinating our retention efforts;
  • begun the first training of the Faculty Academy - a faculty professional development program about inclusive pedagogies;
  • expanded the number of experiential learning opportunities - with the highest number of summer undergraduate research participants ever this year;
  • raised 90 percent of the funds needed to meet the goal of endowing the Student Emergency Fund;
  • held two meetings of the new Regional Innovation Council;
  • provided preliminary funding to several projects designed to support student success and community building, both on campus and off;
  • and begun the process of adjusting the course schedule so that, beginning in Spring 2023, the college will have a couple of hours when classes are not scheduled and designated as common meeting times. This is a strategic initiative to strengthen the opportunities for us to come together as a community and engage in collective discussions on critical college issues, as well provide additional opportunities for events and activities that celebrate our college community.

As a way to continue building on the momentum from last year’s dialogue sessions, we will aim to have at least one session per month this year.

Several times last semester, I indicated that the New York State Education Department Board of Regents changed the criteria for institutions to qualify for status as a university in the fall of 2021. Under the new criteria, SUNY Oneonta already qualifies to be recognized as a university. There are over 10 private institutions in the state that have already made this change, and all but two of our sister institutions (SUNY regional comprehensive colleges) are requesting university designation. This issue will likely be taken up at the SUNY Board of Trustees meeting in September. Designation as a university will strengthen the future of our institution and we are already operating as one according to the Board of Regents’ guidelines. I will present about our intentions to request university designation from the SUNY Board of Trustees during my report at the Aug. 29 Senate meeting, and then at dialogue and open forum on Aug. 31. I invite all employees to attend either meeting to learn more about what this means and provide feedback. Our moniker and branding would still remain “SUNY Oneonta,” but our official name on record would no longer contain “College at Oneonta.”

I would like to conclude by advising the campus about recent re-organizations and assignments intended to strengthen our operations. The first is the addition of Dia Carleton to the President’s Cabinet where she will provide representation of, and input regarding, personnel matters during discussions. Second is an expanded role for Karen Brown who is now serving as our Senior Enrollment Officer and Executive Director of Admissions and will oversee the Student Success Leadership Team. Lastly, to better represent her everyday work and responsibilities (which will still include internal communications), Karyn Wendrow’s title has been changed to Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Executive Communication.

SUNY Oneonta is a community that we should all feel proud to be associated with and part of. This does not mean that there is not work to do – there always will be, so that we can continue to realize a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. But it is also a place that, because of everyone’s hard work and commitment, stands in a very strong position to flourish and continue being a source of pride for generations to come.

I look forward to our continued collective work this coming year.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Today, we recognize the significance of Juneteenth in our nation's history and celebrate freedom and equity.

Opal Lee, known as the grandmother of Juneteenth, says that, "Juneteenth means freedom for everybody."

Opal is credited with helping to initiate the movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Between Sept. 2016 and Jan. 2017, she walked from Fort Worth, TX to Washington D.C. in a symbolic act calling for Juneteenth to become a national holiday. She walked 2.5 miles at a time, representing the 2.5 years it took Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger to arrive in Texas to inform some of the last enslaved people of the end of the Civil War after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in Jan. 1863. He arrived in Galveston, TX on June 19, 1865.

Opal was 90 years old when she completed her walk to Washington, and was a special guest at the signing ceremony when the bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday was signed into law by President Biden last year. She has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and is a driving force behind the planned National Juneteenth Museum in Texas.

Opal's story is a reminder that it is never too late, and no actions are too small, to make a difference. I hope everyone takes time to honor and celebrate this meaningful holiday.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Dear SUNY Oneonta Community,

Our state experienced a horrendous tragedy yesterday with the loss of ten New Yorkers as a result of a racist act of violence in Buffalo. The SUNY Oneonta community stands in solidarity with everyone who has been affected by the shooting and grieves for the victims and their families. We denounce not only the violence, but the hateful motivation and prejudice that fueled it.

As we support one another through this upsetting time, let us also stand together to condemn the intolerance and brutality displayed by this criminal act and others like it across our nation and the world. Our community’s commitment to valuing diversity, equity and inclusion is a critical antidote to bigotry and extremism.

For anyone who may be experiencing distress and would like support, or those who may simply want to talk through thoughts and feelings surrounding this terrible event, please reach out to the resources available to you at the college. Staff from the Counseling Center are available to talk with students and provide assistance. Faculty and staff can reach out to the Employee Assistance Program for referrals and resources.

Please also remember that the SUNY Oneonta Bias Acts Response Team and University Police are available to respond to incidents within our college community.

Today, I ask for us all to commit to contributing to a community, not only within our college, but also in our town, our region and our society, that fosters justice, kindness and peace.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Five Faculty & Staff Receive SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Excellence

I am proud to announce that five members of our faculty and staff have been named recipients of the 2022 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Simona Giura, Rebecca O'Donnell, Dr. Sarah Portway, Dr. Sasha Ramlal and Dr. William Wilkerson.

These members of our college community are leaders in their disciplines who have excelled in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service to the institution. Read more about them and their accomplishments at the link below.

Learn More About Our Recipients

Simona Giura

Dr. Simona Giura
Associate Professor of Management

SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

Rebecca O'Donnell

Rebecca O'Donnell
College Accountant

SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service

Sarah Portway

Dr. Sarah Portway
Assistant Professor of Fashion Merchandising

SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

Sasha Ramlal

Dr. Sasha R. Ramlal
Associate Professor of Education

SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

William Wilkerson

Dr. William R. Wilkerson
Professor of Political Science

SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

This is the highest honor for faculty and staff in SUNY, and our recipients will be recognized during commencement exercises on Saturday, May 21. Simona, Rebecca, Sarah, Sasha and William are most deserving of receiving this distinction, and I am proud to call them colleagues.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

As we wrap up the 2021-2022 academic year, I want to extend my best wishes for finals and the end of the semester. We have had a productive year, and I thank you for your contributions in helping it to be a safe and successful one. Have a healthy and energizing summer.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Read Transcript: Spring 2022 End-of-Year Message

May is here and we have just a few days before classes and finals are over and the 2021-2022 academic year is in the books. It is hard for me to believe that I joined the SUNY Oneonta community just eight months ago. My deepest appreciation for being such a welcoming community.

After attending many meetings, competitions, productions and ceremonies, I feel genuinely connected to both the on and off campus community. The opportunity to see first-hand what makes SUNY Oneonta such a wonderful place has been inspiring.

While this is the time of year we often look ahead to plans for the summer and the next year, I encourage you to take a moment to look back on all that we have accomplished this year.

The careful attention to COVID protocol and consideration for your fellow Red Dragons helped us have two successful semesters with in-person instruction, events and activities. I remain very much in awe by both the resilience and the flexibility demonstrated by everyone on campus. It was hard, but it has meant giving our students an experience that had been missing for over a year.

A few of the many bright spots we’ve seen this year include:

  • welcoming the class of 2020 back to campus for an in-person graduation celebration, a return to scholarly events like the Mills Distinguished Lecture the Student Research and Creativity Showcase, and co-curricular events such as musical performances, theatre productions, athletic competitions and entertainment events like O-Fest.
  • The college also served the region by serving as a community COVID testing site for several months during the winter.
  • We saw outstanding collaboration and community mindedness and that helped us through an unexpected power outage this spring.
  • We broke a record during the Powered By You giving challenge which generated more than 221 thousand dollars in donations to support students and the college community.
  • I’m especially grateful to all who participated in the institutional dialogue sessions that helped form the Regaining Momentum Agenda which will help guide our collective actions over the next 18 months. It was a privilege to hear from everyone and learn more about what makes our college a great place and about the opportunities we have to advance.

It has been a privilege getting to know all of you, and my appreciation goes to every student, staff, and faculty member for your effort and contributions this year. I hope you can fill your summer with activities that energize you and I thank you again for a wonderful year.

Four Students Receive 2022 SUNY Chancellor's Award

I am proud to announce our 2022 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipients, Alyssa Carbone, Gabrielle Cecere, Alexa Laska, and Teresa Lopez-Long.

These scholars have excelled academically, been exemplary leaders and dedicated extensive amounts of their time and energy to several organizations, committees and initiatives during their time at SUNY Oneonta. Read more about Alyssa, Gabrielle, Alexa and Teresa and their accomplishments at the link below.

Learn More About Our Recipients

​​​They were four of only 180 students across the SUNY system who received the award this year and were honored at a ceremony in Saratoga Springs today.

Alyssa Carbone

Alyssa Carbone is a December 2021 graduate from New City, NY, who majored in Spanish.

Gabrielle Cecere

Gabrielle Cecere is a senior from Smithtown, NY, majoring in Psychology and Child and Family Studies.

Alexa Laska

Alexa Laska is a senior from Lancaster, NY, majoring in Economics.

Teresa Lopez-Long

Teresa Lopez-Long is December 2021 graduate from Scotia, NY, who majored in Political Science and Communication Studies.

Please join me in congratulating Alyssa, Gabrielle, Alexa and Teresa on this well-deserved honor.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the agenda that has resulted from our collective efforts during the dialogue sessions this spring. "Regaining Momentum: An Agenda for SUNY Oneonta" outlines the integrated approach and cross-cutting principles that will steer our actions over the next 18 months as we agree on and accomplish some or all of the strategic opportunities listed within the document.

The full agenda, background information and links to the notes and materials from the dialogue sessions are available on the Regaining Momentum webpage.

Information about applying for funding to support efforts related to the strategic opportunities will be distributed soon. I encourage everyone to think about ways that you and your department can contribute to accomplishing the opportunities and resulting plans or projects. Updates and information will be shared as we proceed through the next year-and-a-half.

Yesterday I gave a brief presentation about the agenda and would like to reiterate my thanks to everyone who dedicated attention and energy to this important process over the past 10 weeks. As the agenda indicates, we are approaching these opportunities from a position of strength, and I am excited about what lies ahead. With collaboration and consistency, endeavors both big and small will have a positive impact, build trust and help keep us moving forward.

Sincerely
Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Over the last week and a half we have watched the Russian government continue with an unrestrained invasion of Ukraine.

As a community, our thoughts are with all who are directly impacted by this act of aggression and all forms of aggression across the world. As an institution of higher education that values and works toward global interconnectedness, we echo these words of the Dalai-Lama: “We need to develop a sense of the oneness of humanity…. this is how we will build a more peaceful world." As a group of educators and learners, we ask all members of our community to engage in conversations with one another about these current events and other conflicts across the world that minimize any person’s humanity.

In order to further our mission of open discussion and debate, an event supported by the divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs will be held on Wednesday evening. All are invited to attend the conversation titled "Making Sense of the Unthinkable: A Roundtable Discussion of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine," on March 9 at 7 p.m. in the atrium of the Physical Science building. The program will feature the expertise of faculty from SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College and opportunities for all to examine and engage. Special thanks goes to the Political Science department for organizing this important conversation.

Counseling, mental health services and other resources for support in processing all that we are hearing and seeing about the conflict are available to students through the Counseling Center and to employees through the Employee Assistance Program.

There are also many in our community who would like to support those in need due to this crisis. The U.S. State Department has information on its website on how to help.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Dear colleagues,

As we are all busy preparing for the beginning of another semester, I want to welcome you all to Spring 2022. Please watch the video above and review the Planning Dialogue Lib Guide, which houses a copy of the invitation to the upcoming dialogue sessions and corresponding planning documents. I look forward to seeing you throughout the upcoming weeks and months.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Read Transcript: Spring 2022 Welcome and Dialogue Session Reminder

Hello. First of all, I'd like to wish you all a happy New Year. I, as you, hope that this new year brings us continued optimism for the future of our college. I also hope that you were able to enjoy the break in a way that helped you replenish your energies as we begin a new semester.

As you know, our plans are to start classes on Wednesday in an in person format. The current trends in the state's COVID incidents and the re-entry plans that we have instituted, which includes required boosters, testing, and masking - sets us up well to have a successful opening of the semester. It will continue to be all of our responsibility to ensure that we all abide by our guidance and prevention policies so that we can have a safe completion of the spring semester. I look forward to attending the wide array of events planned for the semester starting with the speakers that have been scheduled to commemorate Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month. I look forward to seeing you at these events and others throughout the semester.

As I begin my second semester here, I've invited the campus to a series of campus dialogues to help me set an agenda for the next 18 months. Included in the email that I sent with this video is a link to the electronic site that has the invitation as well as the background information. As I say in the invitation, the college needs a strategic plan. However, we as a campus are not in a position to engage in such a process at this time. So the hope is that through these dialogues, the campus collectively can assist me as well, as the whole campus, in completing a list of the strategic opportunities that can guide the colleges work until we initiate a strategic planning process in about 18 months.

I thank you for your continued commitment to our students and I look forward to seeing you soon at one of the dialogues, or all the dialogues, and at other campus events. Have a wonderful weekend.

Dear colleagues,

Let me first wish you and your families a happy new year.

As we approach the beginning of the spring semester, we are all clearly concerned with the current state of the pandemic. I want to assure you that the COVID Response Team (CRT) continues to regularly monitor the trends in the state as well as guidance emanating from SUNY, the Department of Health and the Governor’s office. Please continue to watch for and review messages from the CRT as we prepare for our in-person start on Jan. 26.

In addition to responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic, it is critical that we continue to prepare the college for the coming years, as higher education faces new and continuing challenges.

I want to invite you to take part in a collective dialogue about strategic opportunities that the college should focus on over the next 18 months. You can review a more in-depth invitation and document that provides additional information about the dialogues and planning process, or you may go directly to the Planning Dialogue Lib Guide, which will give you access to the invitation and all other corresponding documents.

As we begin the new semester, we as a college and as part of the higher education sector will not only face challenges but also, more excitingly, opportunities to strengthen our institution. In a time of national uncertainty, SUNY Oneonta can be a source of continuity, an example of determination and a beacon of optimism.

Let us engage collectively and not merely as a community of individuals. Thank you for your continued commitment to our students.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle, PhD MPH
President

Reflecting on Jan. 6, 2021, One Year Later

As a college, we are a cornerstone of educational opportunity and are committed to educating future generations of our society. This means making sure we partner with, and respond to the needs of, our local communities, and it also signifies a responsibility to strive for a truly open democracy. We will accomplish this by continuing to ensure that our graduates are informed, analytical and engaged members of our cities and towns, states, country and world.

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection at our nation's Capitol, let us all recommit ourselves to the objectives listed above. This responsibility is not new, and many before us saw the danger of what can happen by not committing to these objectives. In 1947, President Truman's Commission on Higher Education stated that a college education provides "the means to a more abundant personal life and a stronger, freer social order." As an institution of higher education enveloped in the liberal arts, it is particularly important for us to use the events of last year to remind ourselves that the actions we — faculty, staff and students — take are the building blocks of our country’s continuous efforts toward a more perfect democracy.

Today is a day to not only reflect, but also to dedicate ourselves to what we can be: a more inclusive and freer democracy.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

SUNY Oneonta Type Logo & Snowflakes

This festive season brings the opportunity for us to express our warmest wishes

to you and yours for a happy and healthy new year.

Alberto Cardelle & Rachel Frick-Cardelle

Happy New Year from SUNY Oneonta Video

As of today (Nov. 22, 2021), I have been on campus 73 days - a flash of time in comparison to the institutional timelines that govern the life, culture and character of an institution, especially an institution with the rich history of SUNY Oneonta.

During my interviews with the search committee, campus community, SUNY Board of Trustees and the Chancellor’s office, I made it clear that I believed the college stood on strong foundations. Over the last 10 weeks, this has become even more evident to me after completing the following actions:

  • ​​​​​reviewing the institution’s historical enrollment data,
  • visiting high school counselors across the state,
  • having conversations with dozens, yes dozens, of alumni I have been able to encounter,
  • hearing stories from students and faculty of how funds from our donors distributed through our foundation have helped them advance their education and careers,
  • attending art exhibitions, plays, dance performances, cultural events and athletic competitions,
  • sitting in on academic and scholarly lectures,
  • interacting with students at the summer research showcase and during the visit with the Chancellor to our Counseling, Health and Wellness Center and Experiential Learning Center,
  • holding dialogues with recent retirees,
  • listening to faculty and staff during multiple forums and, most importantly,
  • listening to students throughout the different meetings and forums held this semester.

I list these not as evidence of me being busy but as tangible indicators of the talent, capacity and commitment generated by all of you.

The pride every student and employee I spoke with has in being a member of the Red Dragon community was unmistakable. Those conversations made it evident that this community understands the value of public education and the transformational role that SUNY Oneonta has the opportunity to play in every student’s future.

I have, throughout my career, had the privilege to be closely involved with three other state systems of higher education, and just last week I was at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Presidents and Chancellors meeting. Using perspectives from these experiences, it is very clear that this institution is in a stronger position in terms of enrollment, finance, academic reputation and student experience than many regional comprehensive colleges across the country.

Therefore, the question to ask ourselves is not, “Does our institution have the assets to address the challenges facing us?” Nor is it, “Do we have to restructure the institution so we can prepare for the future?” It’s a much easier question: “How do we remind ourselves of, refocus our efforts on and recreate what was already here - a strong community of educators working collectively to serve our students and the broader community in the aspiration of a brighter future?”

Of course, there are national and regional challenges ahead of us that will require us to assess some of our practices, some of which include:

  • a public that is more skeptical of the benefits of public higher education,
  • a decline in the population of high school students, particularly in the northeast,
  • incoming students who are more diverse and have taken novel paths to higher education,
  • K-12 school systems that perpetuate an opportunity gap among under-represented student groups, and
  • for the next several years, incoming classes of first-year students who lost over 18 months of in-classroom instruction during their high school careers.

My style as a higher education administrator has been to approach complex problems such as these through a collective impact approach. The concept of collective impact hinges on the idea that in order for organizations to create lasting solutions to large-scale problems, they must coordinate their efforts and work together around a common agenda using a structured form of collaboration and strong, continuous communication.

I believe our institution is well placed to engage in collective endeavors.

The high-impact opportunities provided to our students through the Experiential Learning Center, the broad range of student development programming we offer, governance bodies such as the College Senate and its committees and, most importantly, our strong academic programs all demonstrate that the college already knows how to collaborate.

In terms of communication, last year a taskforce on internal communication was created which has since become a presidential advisory committee. This group, along with my office, has been actively working to strengthen the institution’s internal communication practices.

Finally, the common agenda. I am aware that the institution does not currently have a strategic plan, which I believe is important in order to form the foundation of a common agenda. However, I am also aware that there is institutional fatigue with the implementation of new initiatives and plans. Therefore, I do not believe it is wise to engage in a strategic planning process at this time. Instead, there are a series of documents and plans in existence that I believe can serve as the foundation for what I would like to call "a process of institutional priority checkup." The idea is to use all the existing plans and documents to collectively identify a set of institutional priorities that can help us align our work for the next 18-24 months until the institution is prepared for a new strategic plan.

Over the next few weeks, before we depart for the winter break, I plan to discuss this idea with the appropriate governance groups, but I do not envision a heavy lift or an overly-structured process or product. Instead, the process could be a continuation of the presidential transition process - the creation of forums and spaces where the different constituent groups, taking the priorities already set out in the existing documents as a starting point, can provide feedback and input to establish a broad set of institutional priorities.

Out of these talks, I hope we can identify areas of focus that build upon three main themes. These themes recur across various existing documents and are key for us in facing and prevailing over the external challenges I previously mentioned.

  • First, prioritizing the strengthening of a student-centered teaching and learning environment. As our incoming students not only change demographically, the pre-baccalaureate experiences of all students will have had an 18-month curtailment that will impact their college readiness. We must be prepared with a renewed focus on professional development in teaching and learning, so that we all may serve as effective educators to these students. This development and practice must always be based on a bolstered culture of inquiry, service and scholarship.
  • Second, continuing our unwavering commitment to ensuring that institutional goals for diversity, equity and inclusion are integrated into all plans and efforts. On a personal level, I want to make it clear that I am committed to making SUNY Oneonta, and the broader Oneonta community, a place where there is no space for hate, discrimination or bigotry of any kind.
  • Third, facilitating an increase in students’ engagement throughout their collegiate experience. This is what Peter Felton of Elon University calls a “relentless welcome” (The Relationship Rich Education, 2020). Felton’s work demonstrates the importance of providing students with a welcoming environment where they can make connections. The literature shows that the greater the number of connections made by a student, the greater the likelihood for the student’s success in terms of retention, progress toward graduation and post-graduation outcomes.

I am looking forward to further conversations that will help us continue to align our work over the next 18 months.

As a way to initiate activity and advance movement around these identified institutional priorities, we will use them to help guide a process for funding strategic initiatives. The funding will be provided for up to three years. Like similar processes previously enacted, this will be guided by the College Budget Committee. Information about the priorities and funding process will be available in the middle of the spring semester.

I understand that many individuals in our community are feeling disconnected and weary, and that there are many factors that contribute to this. Clearly the exercise of returning to in-person work and learning has been taxing, but there are also other challenges. There is the pressure of trying to find a sustainable balance between work and a personal life; growing economic pressures of an increased cost of living coupled with income that is not keeping pace; a constant level of uncertainty related to the path of the pandemic, and finally, changes in the way we teach, work and learn.

As president, I want to work with other college administration leaders, college governance, our bargaining units and the student body to collectively identify solutions. The issues I’ve discussed are structural issues that will not be resolved by just one of us. We must all become enfranchised in finding the solutions. The college leadership has already made commitments to begin this process.

First, we have been approving, and will continue to approve, searches for positions that will help alleviate the growing workload in many areas. Two I want to highlight are the searches for two counselors for our Counseling, Health and Wellness Center, and the searches for 22 faculty positions.

Second, we are proposing the creation of a taskforce in collaboration with the bargaining units that will begin in the spring to evaluate the starting salaries of faculty and staff as well as address issues of salary inversion and compression.

Third, the divisional leaders and I will be assessing our current telecommuting pilot program and identifying ways it may be able to grow and provide a mechanism for greater work flexibility and effective outcomes.

Fourth, the Health and Wellness Committee will be proposing various initiatives to continue to apply a comprehensive level of attention to the wellbeing of our entire campus.

Finally, if our college is going to help counter the growing skepticism of the value and benefits of public higher education, we must strive to be good stewards of place. This means that we must leverage SUNY Oneonta’s values of service, scholarship and sustainability to strengthen ties with our host communities and serve as a vital anchor institution in the continued development of our region. Our external partners will be part of forums in the spring so that we can begin to bring these key external voices into the discussion and discern the areas of coordination, collaboration and integration. SUNY Oneonta should strive not only to be in Oneonta, but to be of Oneonta. The relationship between the institution and the community is, I believe, not merely a partnership, but rather a symbiotic collusion in which the host city’s future and the institution’s future are inextricably linked.

I want to thank you for the time allotted to me and thank you for listening, and I want to conclude by also thanking all of you and the broader community for welcoming my wife, Rachel, and me to Oneonta. We have found ourselves feeling at home very quickly, so much so that just yesterday we added a new member of the college community – Yeobo, a five-month-old puppy.

Thank you, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving and end to the semester.

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Giving Thanks

This week, many of us will take time to enjoy the company of friends and loved ones, and it is also a time to reflect. While managing new routines and overcoming challenges in our studies, work and personal lives, we have persevered toward a successful semester. I thank you for your dedication and hope you can find time to pause and relax.

Sincerely,

Alberto J. F. Cardelle
Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

Read Transcript: A Thanksgiving Message from President Cardelle

Hello Red Dragons. Before the beginning of the holiday season and before the frenzy and excitement of the end of the semester I want to share with you a few reflections about this past semester.

At a personal level, I want to let you know that I am incredibly thankful to have become a member of the SUNY Oneonta college community -- a group of talented students, engaged faculty, committed staff, and supportive friends. I feel privileged to have found a community committed to the dissemination and creation of knowledge, and to the development of a transformative learning community.

I also want to encourage all of you to consider the impact you as individuals, and our collective efforts, have had on the lives of those who call SUNY Oneonta home. This college, which encompasses the passion, commitment, and efforts of all, returned from a year like no other. While many challenges still lie ahead, this community overcame obstacles and capitalized on the underlying benefits and opportunities that can only be found in an academic community.

I can tell you that I have heard from many students about how grateful they are to be back learning, growing, thriving and living together on campus. I encourage you to think about this gratitude and more importantly about the strength of spirit that achieved it.

You should all be proud of contributing to the well-being of every Red Dragon and I offer you all my warmest wishes for a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving.

First Generation

Today, SUNY Oneonta is participating in a very special nation-wide event, the annual National First-Generation College Celebration. Members of our college community who are the in the first-generation of their family to earn a bachelor’s degree are being spotlighted on our website and social media all day long. I encourage you to take a moment to read about our first-generation students, faculty, staff and alumni and their hard work, resiliency and incredible achievements.

Meet First-Generation Red Dragons

To support current and prospective first-generation students and families, the college has created a webpage with academic and financial aid information and resources, and short profiles of more than 25 SUNY Oneonta first-generation students, faculty, staff and alumni. I am also pleased to announce the establishment of our own chapter of Alpha Alpha Alpha, the national first-generation honor society. Our first group of honorees will be inducted in the spring. Lastly, you can stop by one of the celebration tables in Hunt Union, Fitzelle Hall, Wilsbach Hall, or the quad today to get a celebration button, refreshments, and information on resources for first-generation students.

My thanks goes to those who organized our celebration as well as the many Red Dragons who shared their stories. Your experiences are inspiring and help to better educate us on what it means to be first-generation, the systemic barriers plaguing higher education, and the supports needed for first-generation students to access, and succeed at, college.

As you know, ensuring equitable access to a quality education is of the utmost importance to me and many others at SUNY Oneonta. I hope you will join us in celebrating our first-generation Red Dragons today.

Sincerely,

​​​​​​Alberto J. F. Cardelle

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

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Dear Red Dragons,

As we approach the October break, I thank you all for your efforts to follow COVID guidelines and help keep the number of cases among our campus community low. These efforts are working, so the COVID Response Team is in the process of reviewing the campus and residence hall visitor policies and will provide details on any updates next week.

If you are planning to travel or gather with others over the break, please use caution and your best judgement. Protect yourself and others by wearing a mask in social situations, and get tested if you feel sick or have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID.

If you begin to show symptoms over the break, get tested immediately. The Counseling, Health and Wellness Center will be closed over the weekend and on Monday, Oct. 11, but will resume normal operating hours on Tuesday, Oct. 12. You should contact your primary care provider or get tested at a local pharmacy or testing site if you need a test while the Health Center is closed.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the on-campus surveillance testing upon your return to campus in case you came into contact with COVID and to prevent spread by any asymptomatic spread. The on-campus testing center in Morris Conference Center will have adjusted hours due to the break:

  • Sunday, Oct. 10: 4 - 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 12: 4 - 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 17: 1 - 8 p.m.

Next week we will be halfway through the semester, and I am confident we will all continue to work together to help our community remain safe and healthy. I hope you enjoy some well-deserved time off!


Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President

SUNY Oneonta's 9/11 memorial sculpture

This Saturday will mark 20 years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our nation. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost in the attacks, including seven members of our SUNY Oneonta alumni family. Many of us still remember the shock, grief and sadness of that day. It is hard to believe that two decades have already passed.

As we witnessed tragedy on 9/11, we were also witness to acts of selflessness, cooperation, unity and love. Those who responded to the scenes of the attacks, and countless others who supported victims and their families over time, remind us that there are heroes among us and that, by working together, we are stronger.

The SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association will host the college’s annual remembrance ceremony tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 10, at 9 a.m. at the 9/11 memorial sculpture on the upper quad outside of Fitzelle Hall. The event is open to everyone and will feature special music, the University Police Department's honor guard, and a presentation of a wreath and flowers. Masks and social distancing are encouraged for all who attend.

Milne Library is also hosting an educational exhibit, September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World, featuring archival photographs and images of artifacts from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. This exhibit is available to view through Sept. 30 on the third floor of the library, outside of the Alden Room.

I encourage everyone to reach out to a friend, family member or colleague who might need extra support as we approach this significant anniversary. Collectively, we can honor the memory of those we lost and commemorate the resiliency of our communities and our nation.

Sincerely,

Alberto J.F. Cardelle
President​​​​​​​

Read Transcript: SUNY Oneonta Presidential Transition

Dennis Craig: Hello, Red Dragons! August is here and the college is gearing up to welcome our new and continuing students in just a few short weeks. That also means that my time as acting president is winding down. As you know, a new president has been named to begin in a permanent role starting in September.

Dr. Alberto Cardelle and I have already begun meeting and I believe his passion and commitment to student success, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and public health are among many characteristics that will serve our college well for years to come.

Serving as acting president for the last ten months has been a privilege and I am proud to have been part of such a resilient community. Students, faculty, staff and alumni all banded together to support one another during a tenuous time by remaining true to the supportive community that Oneonta has always been. My sincere thanks for the hard work put in by everyone across the college.

I will continue to serve as acting president until September 3. Until then, we have much that we will accomplish together in the weeks ahead as we prepare for the fall semester. Our work continues to move forward on improving communication, planning graduation activities for the classes of 2020 and 2021, and focusing on enrollment initiatives that bring Oneonta back to the environment we enjoyed prior to the pandemic. Please stay tuned for important updates and ways you can support these efforts and stay informed in the weeks ahead.

After my departure, I will continue to be invested in the success of SUNY Oneonta and offer my continued support as a colleague and friend.

It is now my pleasure to introduce Dr. Alberto Cardelle, who is very eager to officially arrive on campus next month.

Dr. Alberto Cardelle: Hello SUNY Oneonta! I am so pleased to have a chance to introduce myself, express my gratitude and briefly present my plans for when I arrive on campus.

First, I would like to thank Acting President Craig for those kind words and to acknowledge how very appreciative I am for his willingness to generously share of his time, counsel and support as I prepare to join the Red Dragon family next month.

It is very clear that this community has been working hard over the past year to overcome significant challenges. Most importantly it is clear that you have been supporting one another to stay on track and remain a strong academic institution. Your strength of spirit is admirable, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with individuals who are so kind, committed, and passionate.
I pursued this role because of my belief in the transformative role of public higher education, a commitment to equity and a strong sense of optimism about the potential future generations hold to continue to improve our world.

And I plan to use those principles to direct my work with you in achieving the collective vision of this institution. During this first year I hope to first of all implement the thorough plans already developed to ensure that we complete the academic year safely. I will also want to spend time meeting with all of you listening. This will help me better work with you in setting out a plan for rebuilding a sense of community both on campus and in the city and town of Oneonta.

I can’t wait to meet you all in person and introduce you to my family – my wife Dr. Rachel Frick Cardelle, and my daughters Marianela, Catalina and Josephine.

I have heard a lot about the vibrant student life, quality academic programs and the many campus traditions. It is an honor to be joining your community and I will continue to stay in touch throughout the next month and I look forward to all that we will accomplish together.

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