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Buffalo State leader focusing on student success

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Photo provided by Buffalo State College
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Buffalo State President Aaron Podolefsky delivered his annual address Thursday outlining his goals for the 2012-13 academic year.  

Podolefsky, who is entering the third year of his presidency at Buffalo State, focused much of his address on the institution’s commitment to student success and a renewed investment in its academic mission by increasing the number of full-time faculty members.

“Central to everything we do at this institution is a strong complement of full-time faculty who teach, advise, mentor, and nurture our undergraduate and graduate students, conduct research and creative activity, and provide critical service to our campus, our disciplines, and our communities,” Podolefsky said in announcing plans to add a net of 30 new full-time faculty members over the next three years. “This initiative will enhance the already outstanding educational quality provided by our current faculty and should enable us to reduce our reliance on part-time faculty to a more appropriate balance.”

In 2011-12, there were 403 full-time faculty members teaching at Buffalo State.  Over the years, the number has been as high as 433 in 1997 and as low as 376 in 2001.  “It is time to reverse that trend,” Podolefsky stated as he detailed plans to return to 433 full-time faculty by the 2014-15 academic year.  A net increase of 13 new faculty members has already been added for the 2012-13 academic year.

Other main topics included:

Transforming Lives: A Campaign for Buffalo State

Podolefsky offered a brief overview of Buffalo State’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, Transforming Lives: A Campaign for Buffalo State.  Over the next three years, Buffalo State is seeking to raise $20 million in philanthropic support from alumni, friends, businesses, and foundations to build on the institution’s long-established strengths and provide a platform for future growth.

“As you all know, philanthropy is becoming more and more important for public universities,” Podolefsky said.  “Private dollars can support scholarships, critical equipment and endowed professorships.  As states reduce their support for public institutions, we become more ‘privatized,’ and so we must act, in some ways, like private colleges – and Buffalo State is no exception.” 

After a year in the silent phase, or leadership phase of the campaign, the campus is launching the public phase of Transforming Lives with a campus celebration on Friday, September 28, at 4:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall.  The campus community and general public are encouraged to attend a brief program in the Performing Arts Center and a reception in front of Rockwell Hall.

Creative Parking Solutions

Podolefsky discussed how new technologies, including mobile apps and GPS tracking, could make the parking and transportation experience easier at Buffalo State.   

“We want parking to be as easy and stress-free as possible,” Podolefsky said. “And if technology reduces cruising for parking or waiting in the lot with the engine running until a space opens, it will considerably reduce the carbon footprint of the campus. Yes, there are other options and issues, and we will deal with them as they come up, but the technology is available to get this done and it is time to get moving.”

Recent Successes and Looking Forward

Podolefsky highlighted some recent campus successes, including Buffalo State’s recognition as a Great College to Work For by the Chronicle of Higher Education and as a Military Friend School by G.I. Jobs Magazine, new academic programs and minors, the opening of the Community Academic Center, the institution’s $350 million physical transformation, and the Year of the City celebration, among other topics.  

“The key message today is optimism, opportunity, and forward momentum,” said Podolefsky. “We are prepared to not only continue to thrive as a vibrant institution, but to take Buffalo State to the next level of excellence and to seize the opportunities that are all around us.”