The Student Affairs Committee has enjoyed an active and productive governance year. The student involvement continues to increase and we have benefited from this energy and commitment from this group. In addition, we have continued representation for the Federation Board of Governors and have two students represented in the SUNY Student Assembly.
The committee convened on a monthly basis with in-person meetings at the Governance Retreat in July 2004, in Saratoga in October 2004 and at the Northeast Center in February 2005. All minutes and agendas are available for public view on the Empire State College website.
Along with discussing several college-wide issues and proposals, the committee focused on two main areas this governance year.
A transformation will be taking place November 4-5 in Saratoga Springs in the form of Empire State College's 2005 Student All College Conference. The Student All College Conference is modeled after the college's annual All College Conference for faculty, staff and professionals, which brings together members of all areas of the college to share and learn from each other. The Student All College Conference seeks to bring together Empire State College students for sharing, support and inspiration. This conference will serve as a public recognition and celebration of our students and their academic and intellectual achievements and pursuits. Student development workshops and activities also will be offered.
The Student All College Conference grew out of the efforts of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC). Last year, SAC examined the ways we recognize the academic and personal achievements of our students. After researching already existing regional events and brainstorming new ideas, SAC wrote a proposal and secured funding through the Student Activities Fee (SAF) for this conference, the first of its kind for Empire State College.
The Students Assisting Students subcommittee was created to facilitate communication between the student SAC reps and the students they represent. The student SAC reps have commented that they feel like they act in isolation: when issues are raised in SAC meetings, they have no effective way of soliciting input from their constituents. And while the semi-annual SAC newsletter does provide a forum for informing students of policy changes and important deadlines, there is no process in place for communication other than twice a year. We need to design a flexible and efficient system that is easy for both SAC reps and students to use.
To this end, the SAS subcommittee is experimenting with the global e-mail function that is being used by several centers and programs around the college. We will be working with Computer Services to come up with a system that enables two-way communication between SAC and students. A pilot project is planned for this spring and we will make a final report at the end of this governance year.
In addition to the pilot project, the SAS subcommittee has also worked to get the word out to the entire student body about the reconditioned, inexpensive computers being sold by Per Scholas as part of an arrangement with Empire State College. SAC representatives now have copies of the informational flier and we expect that fliers will be included with orientation packets and prominently displayed at all centers and units.
The committee spent considerable time discussing the Front Porch Initiatives and looks forward to continuing the conversation throughout the next governance year. Kathleen Egan, who is also a member of the Front Porch Committee, distributed copies of the grant proposal. Our goal will focus on gathering student feedback on any proposed initiatives.
The committee has published two newsletters in the fall of 2004 and spring of 2005. This has been our most successful year in gathering student and faculty submissions and we remain committed to making this publication more useful to students.
The committee spent much time this year discussing the pros and cons of academic calendar and its potential impact on students. The committee is currently exploring options for gathering meaningful student feedback on this proposal.
Amy Tweedy, Co-chair