Public colleges and universities in Western New York will focus on undergraduates this year.
At the University at Buffalo, where the first on-campus undergraduate housing in 25 years is being built, students are able to monitor the progress of the town house-style apartments by accessing the UB Webcam Web site.
Here, using a computer mouse, they can see live images of the construction.
"With the amount of changes and advancements going on at UB, one of the problems is that everyone doesn't always know what is going on," said UB Web Team design architect William B. Wieners Jr. "This gives people the opportunity to actually be part of what is going on."
More than 600 UB students will be able to live in the privately built apartments, expected to be ready for fall occupancy.
"They are already two-thirds rented -- even though we don't have a single unit to show," noted UB President William R. Greiner, who credits the Web access for much of the high advance interest.
"This suggests the enormous demand for on-campus housing," Greiner also said, adding that construction of the long-awaited $7 million Mathematics Building on the North Campus is expected to begin in the spring.
The building will eliminate the more-than-20-year requirement that undergraduates travel to UB's South Campus for mathematics courses.
Construction is also expected to begin this year on a new student services building behind Capen Hall on UB's North Campus -- a building that Greiner calls "one-stop shopping for students" in that it will consolidate such services as financial aid, admissions and career planning.
"It will be two stories to begin with -- with later expansion to a third," he said, noting that quality of life for the undergraduate at UB will be enhanced by more personal attention beginning this year.
"This is the first real year of the College of Arts and Sciences, and you'll be seeing a very rich consolidating of academic advising with other student services. Every student will be contacted, at least once, by an adviser checking on the student's progress," Greiner said.
Food service will also be enhanced, he noted, with a new eating facility in the Ellicott Complex and an expansion of the Student Club there.
"Food will all be cooked on site, right in front of your eyes," Greiner said.
North Campus and South Campus beautification will continue this year, as will rehabilitation of existing buildings, particularly labs on the South Campus, and the conversion of one student residence on the South Campus to apartments.
UB is also expecting the state Research Institution on Addictions "to become an institution within UB," Greiner said, noting that a memo of agreement has been signed for the transfer of the institute.
"This would dovetail with our plans for a very significant expansion of our School of Social Work and our family counseling and addictions programs," Greiner said.
At Buffalo State College, $1.3 million in improvements and renovations to classroom and other instructional space are expected to be completed this year.
The college, which recently received another $50,000 from the Statler Foundation, is also expanding its Statler Foundation minority hospitality education program. The initiative attracts, recruits, educates and otherwise prepares minority students for careers in hotel management.
This fall, the first three Ross B. Kenzie Presidential Scholarships will be implemented at Buffalo State as well. The former longtime College Council chairman established an endowment to fund the minority honors scholarships when he retired from the council last year.
Buffalo State will also continue to raise money toward renovation of the proscenium theater in its Theater Arts Building.
The refurbishing project was launched last year with donations from Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Tom Fontana, and national television producer and writer Diane English, both alumni of Buffalo State.
Fontana is leading the effort to renovate the theater, in honor of his former Buffalo State theater professor and mentor Warren Enters.
Geneseo State College, in a new vision statement, "aspires to be the premier public liberal arts college in the country."
Toward this end, College President Christopher C. Dahl has appointed a Strategic Planning Advisory Group to define goals, evaluate priorities and recommend goals and strategies that will strengthen the mission of the college.
A President's Commission on Diversity and Community has also been formed to make Geneseo State "a diverse and welcoming community."
The college, which saw one-fifth of its students register for their spring courses via "KnightWeb," expects all matriculated students to register for the fall semester by computer.
Fredonia State College, one of the last institutions in the State University of New York system to permit its public safety officers to carry weapons, began doing so Jan. 1.
The college's director of public safety, Ann McCarron Burns, continues to head the force. Now that its public safety officers are university police officers carrying arms, she is the first female police chief in Chautauqua County.
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Colleges: $6 million renovation
is planned at Alfred State
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Alfred State College of Technology expects a $6 million renovation of its 30-year-old engineering technology building to begin this year. The school is also hoping to expand its baccalaureate offerings -- and expects to present proposals for four-year degrees in:
Architectural, computer and telecommunications engineering technology; culinary arts; forensic science; biotechnology; chemical technology; medical laboratory technology; medical writing, technology management, industrial sales and distribution and information technology.
A sports management degree program will begin at Alfred State in the fall -- for students who want to combine a practical business background with an interest in sports. The program is designed for transfer to colleges such as Brockport State, Ithaca or Springfield.
Two programs will also be added in the welding field at Alfred State this year -- an advanced certificate welding expert program and an associates degree program in occupational studies.
Niagara County Community College has a new president -- Antonette J. Cleveland, most recently dean of academic affairs at Herkimer County Community College.
NCCC also has a new one-year certificate program in pastry arts. NCCC officials claim it is the only program of its kind in Western New York.
Also new is a certificate program in chemical dependency counseling, and a dental assisting program that has been converted to credit.