Record Number of International Freshmen and 58 New Full-time Faculty Join the University, New High Needs Programs Chart the Future of UAlbany
Classes begin Aug. 25 for the Fall 2014 semester at the University at Albany. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)
ALBANY, N.Y. (August 19, 2014) – The University at Albany will begin its 2014-2015 academic year by welcoming an academically talented incoming freshman class of over 2,500 enrolled from an applicant pool of more than 21,768. The students will be joined by 58 new full-time faculty members this academic year, many hired through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NYSUNY 2020 initiative. Students in the Class of 2018 boast an average high school grade of 90.1 against an admission rate of 55.8 percent. Some 236 freshmen are enrolled as Presidential Scholars, including Frederick Douglass Scholars, while the University’s Honors College becomes home to 130 new students. UAlbany’s freshman class is one of the more diverse to enter the University, with 42.4 percent students of color among its ranks. The freshman class also includes a record number of international freshmen, more than 140, from over 20 foreign countries. Overall during the 2014-2015 academic year, UAlbany will help pave a path of success for 17,373 students – 12,818 undergraduates and 4,555 graduate students.
Expanding New Degree Programs in High Needs Areas
A new undergraduate Digital Forensics major offered through the School of Business recently received final approval from the New York State Education Department. Digital Forensics is a fast-growing, billion-dollar market which holds long-term projected demand for trained professionals. Similar to DNA forensic scientists in the physical world, digital forensic analysts understand how to follow digital “fingerprints” in the form of electronic data from computers, networks, the cloud, GPS systems, and smartphones to investigate incidents and track activities.
UAlbany also continues to develop a curriculum and associated hiring plan for a new undergraduate program in computer engineering, supported in part by SUNY’s investment in a high-needs area. Developed through the Office of the Provost, the College of Computing and Information and the College of Arts and Sciences, the interdisciplinary program will expand the University’s profile and align with its other academic offerings in STEM fields. UAlbany is targeting student applications for fall 2015.
A third new program, an undergraduate degree in Informatics, in the College of Computing and Information, is currently being reviewed by the State Education Department. Informatics is the application of technology in a field and how it interacts with society. The proposed program offers students the choice of seven unique concentrations in areas such as cybersecurity, social media and data analytics with one concentration intended to be offered fully online.
UAlbany is also pleased to reactivate Theatre as a major to its students.
Expanded Programs Require More Faculty
With various plans for expanded programming in the works, some 58 new full-time faculty members join in 2014. Many hired through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NYSUNY 2020 initiative program, the additions include lecturers, researchers and tenure-track appointments across the University’s eight schools and colleges. The NYSUNY 2020 program is an initiative designed to make UAlbany a leading catalyst for job growth in New York State while strengthening the University’s academic and research programs.
Leading the University’s esteemed faculty ranks is newly announced Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, R. Timothy Mulcahy, Ph.D. Most recently, the Glens Falls native served as Vice President for Research at the University of Minnesota and in numerous leadership roles during his executive tenure at the University. He also spent nearly 20 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in capacities including associate vice chancellor for research policy, professor of pharmacology, associate dean for biological sciences in the Graduate School, and professor of human oncology.
Providing Students the Best Experience Possible
In its mission to provide students with the best possible higher education experience, UAlbany continues to advance its Living-Learning Communities (L-LCs). L-LCs provide students a unique opportunity to connect classroom learning with residential life by pairing on-campus housing with students who share similar academic goals and interests.
New 2014-2015 living-learning residence communities include creativity and entrepreneurship, psychology, and health psychology. They join already thriving L-LCs in accounting, business, writing, technology, fitness and sports, environmental sustainability, community service, career discovery, biology, chemistry, history, East Asian studies, and laws and justice. This year, transfer students will also have access to a new Living-Learning Community and additional support programs through Transfer Transition Leaders.
All new students will learn about the wide variety of UAlbany support programs through a new series called Fall Fridays for First Year Students, while all undergraduate students can meet with their professors outside of class to discuss research and career opportunities through the Food for Thought program.
With so many opportunities for students, UAlbany has launched its first, free downloadable mobile app so students and the entire campus community have on-the-spot access to the latest information. The app is easily accessible via the app store on both IOS and Android platforms.
Building a 21st Century Campus
The University’s uptown campus, originally constructed in the mid-1960s, has seen its enrollment grow from 10,000 students to more than 17,000, and requires constant revitalization and expansion of structures and facilities to meet modern needs. This year’s list of improvements includes a wide range of upgrades to enhance and support the learning and living environments.
The 24-story, 440-bed Mohawk Tower at Indian Quad has been completely renovated to provide a fresh and efficient new living environment. The interior lobby has been reimagined to provide spacious gathering options, the penthouse has been equipped with new instructional and study space, and all rooms are completely new.
Not far from Indian Quad sits Liberty Terrace, a 20,000-square-foot apartment-style student housing complex overlooking Indian Pond. This year it became the University’s first certified LEED Gold facility. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a designation awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to incorporate environmental, social and economic benefits throughout a building’s lifecycle.
A $62.2 million, multi-phased expansion and renovation of the Campus Center is underway, with a 21,000-square-foot East addition slated for completion in September 2015. The East addition will feature enhanced dining facilities with market-style food-service venues and a new kitchen. The 55,000-square-foot West addition, completed in spring 2017, will include a new 400-seat auditorium and student group spaces.
The new Information Technology building has recently opened, housing the relocated University Data Center and computing infrastructure. Designed to host expanded enterprise and research computing and storage capacity, it will fully support the growth and evolution of computing for University applications and UAlbany’s world-class faculty and researchers.
The fall semester will also see the opening of the newest section of the Purple Path, the segment around the SEFCU Arena on University Drive. Running, biking, and walking pathways create a safer, more attractive recreational and exercise amenity for the University and community-at-large.