Buffalo State College President Katherine Conway-Turner challenged the campus community to “ignite innovation” during her annual Opening Year Address on Thursday, October 17, in the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
“Higher education cannot hide from the reality of the sea of change that we swim in today,” Conway-Turner said. “We must embrace the new higher education environment and set our goals to educate, innovate, and graduate students who are ready to lead in our shifting and complex world of today and tomorrow.”
Conway-Turner underscored the need to constantly adapt to the changing needs of students, ensuring that high-impact programs and support systems are available and tailored to students today.
“A solution that may have been effective 10 years, five years, or even two years ago may not be fully effective today or in the future,” Conway-Turner said. “Igniting innovation is ongoing.”
Conway-Turner also emphasized the need to provide students—most of whom were born into a digitized and sometimes impersonal world—with true, meaningful, in-person mentorship.
“Students often tell me and others that they want more contact with faculty and staff, not less,” she said. “They express a clear longing for campus mentors and guides. So, it is important to not confuse swimming in a digital sea with a lack of desire for close, consistent, and deep connections with campus faculty and staff.”
Conway-Turner closed her address by noting that Buffalo State is well positioned to thrive and adjust to the changes confronting higher education.
“We will ignite innovative strategies, build on successes, and evolve and respond to the current and future higher education environment,” she said. “We will lead in this sphere and, as SUNY’s urban-engaged campus, let’s move ahead and model what we can do together as innovators and leaders in higher education.”
2018–2019 in Review
Conway-Turner opened her address by highlighting several accomplishments from across the campus during the previous academic year. Some examples:
- The development of a new undergraduate certificate in statistics in insurance. The 15-credit program prepares students to enter the actuarial or financial profession, as well as provides a strong background in statistical analysis.
- The reintroduction of the Africana studies major on campus, thanks in part to Buffalo State’s designation as a pilot institution for SUNY’s new PRODI-G initiative, Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth.
- The introduction of a new general education course, Positive Psychology: Happiness, Hope, and Humor (PSY 120), which has attracted more than 100 students.
- A number of facilities improvements, including the installation of new turf at Coyer Field, work on Phase 4 of the Science and Mathematics Complex, and continued progress on the new Academic Commons in E. H. Butler Library.