Archive Notes - November 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Our thoughts are with faculty, staff, students and alumni whose homes or whose families and friends are in coastal areas that were hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, as well as our fellow SUNY institutions that were impacted. Thank you for your patience during the power outage on our campus, and especially thanks to the employees who go above and beyond to make sure that we get back to business, no matter what the weather brings our way.

Social Hour – Whine & Jeez

Some of our colleagues from around the campus are finding their way to the monthly “Whine and Jeez” social hours and having a good time visiting with one another. Please mark your calendars to attend the next “Whine & Jeez” from 4-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 14.


In the most recent SUNY Student Opinion Survey, SUNY Potsdam was ranked the highest among comprehensive colleges for food service on campus. Kudos to PACES for taking first place...we have long known that their dedication to local, sustainable produce, quality and variety have added so much to our campus community. We are so glad to say we are No. 1 in this category.

Other accolades from students

Also in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey, we are also ranked highest among comprehensives for the following categories:

  • #1 for availability of courses in students' majors
  • #1 for discussions, meetings, or conversations with instructors outside of class
  • #1 for developing a mentoring relationship with a faculty/staff member
  • #1 for developing skills in speaking clearly and effectively
  • #2 for engagement in research or other creative projects under the guidance of a faculty member
  • #2 for collaborating with other students on class assignments
  • #2 for developing an understanding of self
  • #3 for parking
  • #3 for athletic/recreational facilities
  • #3 for course registration processes
  • #3 for academic advising

Provost named to NYS Teaching Board

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Margaret E. Madden has been named to the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, which was established in 1998 by the Board of Regents to advise the Regents and the Commissioner of Education on matters related to teaching in New York State. The board is comprised of 28 members, including K-12 teachers and administrators, higher education representatives, public representatives and one teacher education student.

Faculty achievements

Our hardworking faculty members continue to distinguish themselves through their scholarship and professional activities. Here are just a few achievements of note:

  • Stephanie Coyne DeGhett, a lecturer in the Department of English & Communication, won the 2012 Press 53 Novella Contest with her novella, “Hazzard’s.” She and Donald McNutt will read selections from their poetry and prose on November 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the College Writing Center through the Faculty Writers Reading Series.
  • Associate Professor of Voice Donald George is working on a book, under contract from Oxford University Press, entitled “Master Singers: Advice from the Stage,” featuring interviews with opera artists including SUNY Potsdam alumni Stephanie Blythe and Dimitri Pittas, among others.
  • A poem by James Allen Hall, an associate professor of English and Communication, has been included in “The Best American Poetry 2012,” the foremost annual anthology of contemporary American poetry. The poem is entitled “One Train’s Survival Depends on the Other Derailed.”
  • Professor of Art Marc Leuthold is exhibiting sculptures in New York City in an ongoing exhibition at the George Billis Gallery through November 17. He is the first artist to exhibit ceramics at the gallery, which normally features only paintings.
  • Algonquin Books has published “The Beach at Galle Road,” a novel by Joanna Luloff, an assistant professor of English and Communication, whose story draws on her experiences serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sri Lanka.
  • An article of mine, entitled “The Expansion of Nahuatl as a Lingua Franca among Priests in Sixteenth-Century Mexico,” appeared in the journal “Ethnohistory,” vol. 59, number 4.
  • Professor of Chemistry Maria Hepel was awarded the 2012 Northeast Region, ACS Award. The Northeast Region established this award in 2008 to recognize notably outstanding achievements by a chemist in the Northeast Region.  The award is conferred annually on a scientist who has made meritorious research contributions leading to the advancement of pure or applied chemistry.

Graduate Recruiting & Enrollment Announcement

In an effort to revitalize graduate recruitment, I am pleased to announce that the Admissions Office will be assuming responsibility for the recruitment and enrollment processing of the graduate student applicants. Heather teRiele has been appointed as the new Graduate Recruiting and Admissions Counselor for in-state enrollment, and Kelly Crosbie as the new Graduate Recruiting and Admissions Counselor for out-of-state and international enrollment. Graduate Faculty will continue to approve candidates for admission into their programs.

The College has also begun a search for a new Director of Graduate Studies to work collaboratively with faculty and staff on all aspects of the graduate studies program. The current graduate recruiter, Peter Cutler, will assume the role of Assistant Director of Graduate Studies.  In addition to the new Director, these positions will allow the scope of the Graduate Studies Office to be expanded.


On Friday, Oct. 19, the College's chemistry department served up a whole lot of fun for the community with its second annual Chemtoberfest. Part fall festival, part science fair, the event had a variety of activities to spread a passion for chemistry to young and old. Even though the weather wasn’t very cooperative and most events were moved inside, Chemtoberfest 2012 was an incredibly successful event.

Alumni Participation

According to the FY2010/2011 Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) Report (which is the most recently available data):

  • SUNY Potsdam ranks #15 in the nation in alumni participation in giving for public masters universities.  
  • Among its 13 peers (SUNY masters universities), although Potsdam is one of the smallest (larger only than Purchase), we still rank:
    • #1 in total amount given by alumni ($1,697,039)
    • #1 in percentage of undergraduate alumni who give (10.4%)
    • #2 in total funds raised per student ($697)

Gunther Schuller visit

The Crane School of Music will welcome a distinguished artist-in-residence from Nov. 10 to Nov. 15. Gunther Schuller, the innovative and influential composer, conductor, performer and music theorist, will work with Crane students in panel discussions, masterclasses, coaching sessions and concerts. Don’t miss the capstone “Tribute to Gunther Schuller” concert on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall. The performance will include the Crane Jazz Ensemble, the Crane Wind Ensemble and the Crane Symphony Orchestra presenting Schuller’s compositions. He will take the podium to conduct Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to close this special concert. For more information on the visit, see

Civility Sit-In

I am so proud of the many students, faculty and staff who joined in the first-ever Civility Sit-In on Oct. 18. In the first-ever simultaneous event like this that we have held with SUNY Canton, the sit-in brought together our BEAR @ Potsdam (Be Ethical And Responsible) initiative with Canton’s CARES Project. The campus will continue to work to raise awareness and address issues of incivility.

SUNY 2020

SUNY Potsdam submitted two proposals for Round II of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grants. One of the proposals was jointly submitted with SUNY Canton and would provide support for the Institute of Arts, Sciences, and Technology which was outlined in the July joint report to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees. The second proposal submitted by SUNY Potsdam would support the beginning phases of the creation of a hotel and conference center and housing in Lehman Park, an economic development opportunity long desired in Potsdam and outlined in the College’s Facilities Master Plan.

Shared Services Update

We are making good progress in conversations with SUNY Canton regarding shared services.  Provost Madden, Dean Marqusee, and Prof. Jan Trybula will be the Potsdam representatives on the Steering Committee for the SUNY Institute for Arts, Sciences, and Technology.  The Steering Committee will develop mechanisms to bring faculty and departments together to discuss collaborative curricula and ensure that shared governance practices are included.  In administrative areas, the integration of Payroll and Human Resources are progressing smoothly.  Our joint CFO, Natalie Higley, is working with both campuses to develop single offices for Purchasing and Travel, and for Accounts Payable.  System CFO Brian Hutzley has asked that we develop a timetable for integration of most administrative functions over a two-year period.  As the President’s Council embarks on that timetable, we will be working with individual offices and employees.