If I were asked to sum up the past year in one word, it would be historic.
Not only did we celebrate a significant campus milestone, but it coincided with an unprecedented effort to expand academic offerings, facilities, access, support services, and extracurricular opportunities. As we looked to the past to commemorate our successes during “50 Years on the Hill,” our recent accomplishments reaffirm SUNY Canton’s ability, once again, to remain agile and meet the challenges the future presents to higher education.
Without question, among this year’s crowning achievements are the addition of several four-year degrees that will allow graduates to enter expanding, high-paying fields. This fall, we will begin new programs in Cybersecurity, Technological Communications, and Mechatronics Technology. These areas are in perfect alignment with an economy that demands a work force equipped with robust STEM skills. Equally critical, we are launching a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Care and Management, meeting the need for high-quality childcare options in New York.
A key component to supporting academic excellence is investing in state-of-the-art facilities. Our new Digital Studio Lab, completed last fall, is an environment like no other on campus. It’s a high-tech learning space where students from diverse programs - Game Design and Development, Graphic and Multimedia Design, and Technological Communications - can come together to learn, innovate, and bring their ideas to life. We haven’t forgotten our existing facilities either, with extensive renovations underway at Dana Hall and Chaney Dining Center.
We are also opening up new opportunities for students to be successful outside of the classroom. As part of a new co-curricular transcript initiative, two badges in Leadership and in Cultural Competency will launch this fall to recognize achievements beyond coursework. And in addition to joining a new athletic conference, we formed a varsity esports team and were the first in the state to join the National Association of Collegiate Esports. We received national media attention for our efforts and recently unveiled a state-of-the-art esports arena to compete with the top schools in the nation.
In recognition of the importance of our mission as a college of access, we have worked diligently to implement Governor Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship Program, which benefitted more than 150 of our students last year. This groundbreaking scholarship, coupled with strong fundraising and other efforts to reduce costs, will bring higher education within reach of even more families in the future.
Now that our “50 Years on the Hill” celebration has concluded and we prepare for the upcoming academic year, the College is in the midst of another exciting chapter in our history. The collective work of faculty, staff, alumni, students, industry, and community members detailed in this report will make us stronger than ever before.
SUNY Canton President
Five decades ago, SUNY Canton forged its own path and relocated from a small cluster of buildings at St. Lawrence University to a beautiful, state-of-the-art campus of our own, beginning a reputation as “The College of the Future.”
Much has changed in 50 years. In 1967, the College offered 5 two-year degree programs to 1,437 students. Today, more than 3,200 students are studying in 29 bachelor’s degree programs, 21 associate degree programs and 5 certificate programs.
The College capped off a “50 Years on the Hill” celebration this spring by exceeding a yearlong community engagement challenge to complete “50 Acts of Kindness.”
Students, faculty, and staff completed more than 1,600 volunteer hours over eight months. Notable projects included student-led efforts to collect supplies for Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, renovate space for the North Country Children’s Museum in Potsdam, and assist community members with lawn maintenance.
Management students helped four area businesses identify ways to become more profitable through a collaboration project facilitated by Professor Charles R. Fenner, Ph.D. This applied learning opportunity gives students the chance to solve real-world challenges.
The annual Scholarly Activities Celebration featured faculty and student research on topics such as clean water accessibility, biomimicry, and techniques to solve crimes. Alumnus and keynote speaker Glen Greenberg ’77 discussed high-tech innovations in the glass industry, and Graphic and Multimedia Design students hosted an art exhibition that included photography, graphic design, and illustration projects.
The College’s American Society of Civil Engineers chapter placed fifth in the 2018 Upstate Regional Student Steel Bridge Competition. The team upset Clarkson University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the United States Military Academy.
Student-athletes consistently maintained a high GPA during 2017-2018.
The “Roos Pathway to Graduation” program was piloted this year to assist academically struggling student-athletes. Nearly 50 students completed time-management workshops, attended study halls and tutoring sessions, and received personalized academic counseling. The program will expand in the coming year.
Funds raised by the Canton College Foundation assist with scholarships, programs that offer unique academic experiences, classroom and facility improvements, and more. Total giving for the past year was $1,173,263, which is a 70 percent increase from the previous year.
Business and Accounting students gained valuable experience by helping North Country community members file their state and federal taxes by volunteering for the VITA program, which provides free income tax return assistance to income-eligible individuals and families.
Throughout the past year, faculty members have conducted research, published and presented scholarly work, or shared their knowledge in a variety of ways. Some highlights include:
Assistant Professor Joel M. Canino, Ph.D., ’13, Curriculum Coordinator for the Mechatronics Technology program, is leading student-assisted research to develop a robotic exoskeleton that can be used in the rehabilitation of stroke victims. A key element of the project includes a foundational study to examine brain activity of injured patients, used to create an integrated artificial intelligence system.
Professor Charles R. Fenner, Ph.D., Curriculum Coordinator for the Management program, authored research titled “A Phenomenological Examination of Nongovernmental Organizations in Mentoring Entrepreneurship in Haiti,” with Pierreline Mwanza, Ph.D., of Northcentral University in San Diego. Their research was selected as best paper by the Academy of Business Research.
Assistant Professor Barat Wolfe, Ph.D., Applied Psychology, has received a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology grant to begin studying the physical, mental, and social health of collegiate esports players. Co-investigators include Assistant Professor Janet Parcell-Mitchell, Ph.D., Health and Fitness Promotion and Associate Professor Christopher Sweeney, Ph.D., Graphic and Multimedia Design.
Professor Jondavid S. DeLong, who teaches in the Legal Studies program, and Assistant Professor Ran Li, who teaches in the Accounting program, delivered a presentation titled “Accounting Students' Participation in the IRS VITA Tax Program to Assist Underserved College and Local Community Members” at the Teachers of Accounting at Two-Year Colleges’ 2018 annual conference.
During the 2017-2018 academic year, major capital projects completed include the rehabilitation of campus-wide water distribution, new roofs on Cooper Service Complex and Payson Hall, and upgraded mechanical systems at Southworth Library Learning Commons.
For the second year, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York provided the financing to complete a nine-month, $4 million renovation to Mohawk Residence Hall, which is best known for housing the College’s pet wing. A similar project is underway at Rushton Residence Hall, which will be back online in Fall 2018.
One of the most popular attractions on campus is the Cyber Café in Southworth Library Learning Commons. The College Association reopened the space in October 2017 and expanded hours to accommodate for night-time study sessions. State Senator Patty A. Ritchie helped secure funding for the renovation.
Chaney Dining Center is in the midst of an $8 million upgrade. The space will soon house new pizza ovens, an organic fair-trade coffee shop, and a completely renovated dining space. These renovations will help facilitate the College Association’s commitment to offering customers fresh, sustainable, and locally-sourced foods.
To accommodate for Chaney’s complete overhaul, students will be dining in Dana Hall’s Alumni Gymnasium, which is also undergoing a complete transformation. The building is in the middle of a $4 million reconstruction, with a new roof, lighting, doors, windows, and modern zinc exterior siding.
To accommodate the needs of more students, a pilot program was launched this year to offer courses ixn a converged modality format. This flexible environment is not only beneficial to those with job and family commitments, it also serves to promote student interaction and support various learning styles. The program will expand in the 2018-2019 academic year with the support of a SUNY Performance Improvement Fund grant.
Gateway to Success, a program designed to assist students who need some preparatory coursework to be admitted into their program of choice, has become a best practice in helping students adapt to college-level studies. Approximately 85 percent of students who entered in the program were retained between Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters. The mentored learning environment has provided students an avenue to catch up with, or even surpass, their peers through co-requisite remediation.
The popularity of the College’s Winterterm and Summer Sessions continues to grow, with record enrollments each of the last five years.
This February, the College was the first four-year SUNY institution to implement an application fee-waiver policy for active-duty military, National Guard members, reservists, and veterans. The cost is paid for by generous donations from alumni and friends to the Canton College Foundation, and to date, a total of 17 applicants have received the waiver.
Results from the 2018 SUNY Student Opinion Survey have placed SUNY Canton first in a host of categories that help increase retention and graduation rates, as well as assist in attracting new students.
The college took the overall top spot in 14 categories:
When compared to its peer technology-sector institutions, students rated the College first in 40 categories. Some of the highlights include:
The New York Energy Manager has reported the College has reduced its energy usage by 17.17 percent, a 2 percent decrease from 2016. Following current trends, the energy efficiency of all buildings will meet the Governor's energy reduction goal of 20 percent by 2020.
Updates to the Wicks and MacArthur Hall buildings are currently in a study phase. The project is integrated with the Geothermal Clean Energy Challenge administered by the New York Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to install a large-scale, ground-source heat pump system to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. SUNY Canton was approved as one of the first 75 candidates to receive a free ground-source heat pump screening analysis through the program.
Fort Drum soldiers enrolled in SUNY Canton’s Solar Ready Vets program participated in a community service project last fall to install photovoltaic panels to power a local landmark fountain in Norwood, N.Y., that had fallen into disrepair. Solar Ready Vets launched in 2016 and has trained a total of 139 soldiers for careers in renewable energy.
SUNY Canton hosted the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley’s “Sustainability Day” event, which brought together experts in a wide range of ecological topics. The goal is to provide a forum where representatives and community leaders can collaborate on sustainability initiatives.
The student-run Environmental Change Organization (ECO) Club expanded composting operations with help from a campus enhancement grant from the Canton College Foundation. The club collaborated with students from the Canino School of Engineering Technology and Physical Plant staff to pour a new concrete pad to continue their on-campus composting initiative.
Both efforts divert solid waste from the landfills and presented a combined savings of more than $1,000.
According to data from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, college textbook prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation over the last two decades. In response, the College has sought to expand the use of no-cost, open educational resources (OERs). Throughout 2017-2018, a total of 22 course sections utilized OERS, which collectively saved students nearly $200,000. The College is working to expand this effort in 2018-19.
In an effort to study the future viability of the College’s Greek organizations, a Greek Life Task Force was formed to examine the relationship fraternities and sororities have with the campus and surrounding community, and deliver recommendations to campus leadership on ways to improve the quality of Greek life.
The Enrollment Management Working Group (EMWG) has directed the creation of six subcommittees to examine specific issues related to optimizing enrollment: recruiting, academics, retention, marketing, emerging strategies, and finance. Findings will be utilized by the EMWG and other campus leadership committees to make informed decisions.
The Student Affairs and Student Support Services Divisions are working to increase online student connectivity and satisfaction with campus life and services. With the support of the SUNY Performance Improvement Fund and an Innovative Instruction Technology grant, the College now has the capability to live-stream campus events, enhance online tutoring services, provide courses in a converged modality format, and create opportunities for online students to compete in esports.
The North Atlantic Conference (NAC) selected SUNY Canton to become full members for the 2018-2019 academic year. The NAC features competition in 12 of SUNY Canton's 15 NCAA Division III-sponsored sports.
To accommodate distance-learners, the College held its first online professional clothing fair, which provided interview attire for more than 100 students, 35 of whom were online. Student volunteers oversaw the website storefront to obtain real-world retail management experience.
As part of an annual training plan, University Police held a table-top exercise involving members of the Emergency Response Resource Group, State Police, the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, and Canton Volunteer Rescue Squad to practice response to an off-campus emergency. These training experiences help create invaluable partnerships before an emergency occurs.
Students in SUNY Canton’s TRiO program held a “Cans for Cupcakes” drive to collect donations for the college’s food pantry.
Guest lectures from alumni, professionals, and political leaders over the past year offered students the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions and learn from experts in a wide range of fields. The College hosted:
Retired New York State Police Maj. Charles E. Guess, the Incident Commander during the Dannemora Prison manhunt, who spoke during Law Enforcement Leadership Day.
New York Lt. Gov. Kathy C. Hochul, who discussed the role of women in politics and the voting rights movement in honor of the anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John G. Maines III ’77, who delivered the keynote address at the 2018 Commencement ceremony.
Douglas G. Zeif ’13, the principal of Next! Hospitality Advisors and Founder and President of The Concept Gurus, who spoke as part of the Excellence in Leadership Lecture Series.
The announcement of the formation of the first varsity esports program in SUNY garnered local, regional, and national media attention. SUNY Canton was featured on ESPN.com, Kotaku.com, WGRZ Buffalo, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily, the Syracuse Post Standard, the Watertown Daily Times, and WWNY Watertown.
The Public Relations Department received a 2018 SUNYCUAD Excellence in Design award for an innovative brochure that introduces prospective students to the College. The interactive, origami-style piece allows users to fold various panels to discover facts about SUNY Canton, such as student-to-faculty ratio, athletic and academic degree offerings, student life, and more.
The Public Relations Department completed the first phase of a regional marketing campaign to increase awareness of, and enrollment in, online programs. The campaign message, “It’s Your Time,” was incorporated into memorable video and print advertisements that were seen in eight states on the East Coast and southeastern Canada. The ads creatively convey the flexibility and convenience of distance learning and encourage those who may be considering an online degree to seek out more information.
G.I. Jobs, Military Times, and Military Advanced Education & Transition magazines have all endorsed SUNY Canton as a top military friendly school for 2018. In addition, U.S. News & World Report once again ranked the College among the best regional colleges.
A dedication ceremony was held this spring to celebrate the naming of SUNY Canton’s School of Nursing for the late Dr. Margaret D. Sovie, a pioneer in health care. The naming was in recognition of a generous gift from Margaret’s husband, Alfred L. Sovie, in honor of her accomplished career. Alfred, a 1958 SUNY Canton graduate, passed away in 2016 and wished to keep his wife’s legacy alive in the North Country.
The Canino School of Engineering Technology hosted two community events to help get middle and high school students excited about STEM: the annual Women in Engineering Day and fourth annual Engineers Week Open House. More than 400 students attended both events and participated in hands-on workshops that aligned with the College’s academic programs.