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February 8, 2013

SUNY Oneonta does'self-study'

By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star

---- — SUNY Oneonta has been looking into a series of mirrors to evaluate teaching, learning and other academic and campus matters.

The reflective exercises are part of an application seeking re-accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the required ``self-study’’ will be presented to the College Council of the State University at Oneonta today.

The council’s public meeting will be in the Craven Lounge of Morris Conference Center on campus at 4:30 p.m. Endorsement of the self-study, changes to the student code of conduct and other reports are on the agenda.

Re-accreditation by Middle States is considered every 10 years. SUNY Oneonta faculty, staff and committees have been working on the self-study and other preparations for the Middle States review since 2011.

The self-study also evaluates support services and engagement by students. SUNY Oneonta has an enrollment of about 6,000 students, mostly undergraduates.

Through the self-study, SUNY Oneonta has conducted a thorough appraisal of its current status and will use that information to guide the institution for the next five years, an executive summary said.

A serious challenge is the expected decrease in high school graduates, projected by the state Department of Education to be 16.5 percent by 2019.

Since SUNY Oneonta’s 2003 self-study, the college has made great advances in most areas of performance, the summary said, including student applications and selectivity; retention and graduation rates; student satisfaction and engagement; faculty hiring; facilities management and sustainability; and fundraising.

SUNY Oneonta has under gone significant leadership changes with the appointment of college President Nancy Kleniewski in 2008 and other top administrators, the summary said. Further changes are projected as the college expands from two to five academic divisions, each to be headed by a dean, effective this fall.

The summary said other examples of actions already taken as a result of the most-recent self-study are the addition of 10 new tenure-track faculty lines to be filled in 2012-13; creation of a associate vice president for academic services position; implementation of ``faculty learning communities’’ to address issues of first-year student engagement; and formation of ad hoc committee to review the college’s general education curriculum.

A Middle States evaluation team is scheduled to visit SUNY Oneonta in March, college officials said.