The Student Committee (SAC), co-chaired by Joyce Haines and Maureen Kravec (faculty/staff) and Paul Fields (student), met at the All College Conference on April 2-4, 1997. At the governance retreat, held July 8-9, 1997, Maureen Kravec and Carolyn Barnett were elected co-chairs for 1997-98. Maureen Winney continued her appointment as administrative liaison. The committee held telephone conference meetings on September 29, 1997, October 6, 1997, and February 9, 1998, a meeting at the Northeast Center on November 14, 1997 and a meeting at the Disabled But Enabled and Empowered Conference in Rochester, March 21, 1998.
This year has been productive for SAC. Several subcommittees have been active: Financial Aid, Services for Students with Disabilities, Writing and Critical Thinking, and a newly formed Technology Committee. In addition, a group has been studying a proposal brought to SAC for instituting an honor society or finding some other way of honoring outstanding students.
In this time of increasing tuition and fees, SAC has been seeking ways to assist students. This fall, we worked with Dean Thomas Rocco to plan a procedure that will allow students who cannot pay the increased assessment fee to apply for institutional scholarship aid. Students whose financial aid does not cover the fee, and who are unable to pay it themselves, may apply for institutional assistance through their center directors.
In Spring 1997, SAC submitted a request for funding a new brochure describing institutional scholarships. Under the leadership of Grants Officer Patrick Ryan, the brochure has been designed and should be printed and available soon throughout the College. The Financial Aid Committee has also developed a list of scholarships for nontraditional students, which it hopes will be available online or on disk within the next year.
This committee's goal is to increase College-wide access to information on services available to students with disabilities. A long-term project is to create a handbook for students with disabilities. A shorter-term goal is to find a means to provide more information to faculty and staff. This subcommittee and the Writing and Critical Thinking Subcommittee met at the Disabled But Enabled and Empowered Conference to discuss and refine its recommendations.
Building on the efforts of last year's committee, which gathered college-wide resources for student writers, the committee is compiling a bibliography of books and articles about adult students with learning disabilities. It is hoped that in time, this bibliography will be available to both students and faculty on the Empire State College web site. Several committee members also attended and participated in the Writing and Critical Thinking Workshop held in Latham, NY in September 1997, in which strategies for helping student writers were discussed.
With the other standing committees of the Senate, SAC was asked to respond to the Distance Learning Task Force Report. Our student members expressed enthusiasm for learning more about computers and distance learning. They emphasized the need for more training and access and the hope that distance learning via computers and other media would develop in an atmosphere that would preserve the mentor/student relationship and the availability of diverse learning modes. In a meeting of the whole committee, SAC recommended that students be included in the College's technology planning process and that SAC should continue to explore student computer access and literacy. Therefore, SAC created another ad hoc committee that will continue to study technology implementation as it affects the student population.
Acting on a proposal brought to SAC by the Board of Governors at the summer governance retreat, SAC began studying the possibility of forming an honor society for outstanding students. In discussion, both philosophical and practical concerns have been raised. SAC is, therefore, investigating alternate means of recognizing the achievements of outstanding students.
SAC continues to promote the use of governance learning contracts for students actively engaged at local, center/program or college-wide levels. We continue to support the dissemination of information regarding nominations to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. We have also discussed the implementation of the SUNY card, on which Dennis Belt presented an update at the 1997 All College Conference.
An area in which the Student Affairs Committee seeks to make progress is in encouraging student participation in conference calls and at the All College Conference. Most student members responded, some in detail, when asked their views on the Distance Learning Task Force Report. However, most told us that, due to busy schedules, many of them found participating in meetings very difficult. We would like to find ways to increase students' participation in SAC and in all levels of governance during the coming year.
Maureen Kravec and Carolyn Barnett Co-Chairs