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UAlbany Awarded SUNY Funds to Enhance Student Outcomes and Assessments

A growing trend with students entering SUNY's University Centers is for programs in STEM and other disciplines, for which more preparation for critical gateway courses is required.

ALBANY, N.Y, (March 22, 2016) — On Tuesday, the State University of New York announced that UAlbany, in addition to the three other SUNY University Centers, received $250,000 to build common student learning outcomes and assessments to increase completion in high demand/high impact gateway undergraduate courses offered online.

The million dollar investment is part of the more than $4 million in Investment and Performance Fund awards for SUNY campuses across the state, including $2 million dedicated to helping students complete their degrees with online courses and programs through Open SUNY.

The request for funding was developed by Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education Jeanette Altarriba, in conjunction with her counterparts at the University at Buffalo, Binghamton University, and Stony Brook University.

Altarriba and her colleagues identified a growing trend with students entering any of SUNY’s four University Centers who were seeking demanding programs in STEM and other disciplines. They discovered that the preparation period in critical gateway courses is frequently not sufficient to ensure their success, resulting in extended time to degree, diminished retention, and fewer graduates in critical fields of study.

Together, the University Centers proposed a pioneering partnership dedicated to building common student learning outcomes and assessments focused on high-demand/high-impact gateway undergraduate courses that meet the needs of both native and transfer students. The intention is to leverage best practices, digitally-enhanced learning technologies, and supplemental digital materials while infusing the system with data-driven metrics that facilitate and assess student learning and promote scholarship of teaching and learning.

The team plans to implement first at the University Centers and then across all of SUNY.

According to SUNY, fewer than half of all New Yorkers currently hold a college degree, and by 2020, nearly 70 percent of jobs in the state will require one. To fill this gap, the SUNY Investment and Performance Fund was established last year with a first-of-its-kind investment by New York in the 2015-16 State Budget. The Fund supports SUNY’s Completion Agenda, which aims to boost the number of degrees awarded annually from 93,000 to 150,000 by bringing evidence-based programs to scale.

This award is the second installment of funding for UAlbany announced during the Chancellor’s State of the University address in January following $1.5 million in funding to support UAlbany Advantage, a powerful coupling of resources in Academic Affairs and Student Affairs divisions as part of its overall enrollment and retention strategy.

Utilizing cutting-edge data analytics and personalized support systems, UAlbany Advantage is designed to empower students to reach new levels of success by linking them with advisors who can provide the support needed to stay on track academically. The program will begin to roll out with training for faculty this May with a full program implementation scheduled for Fall 2016.

All of the Investment and Performance Fund awards announced to date can be found online at www.suny.edu/investment-fund. All funding is designed to support commitments campuses have made in their individual Performance Improvement Plans, part of the SUNY Excels performance management system.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.