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A Foundation of ‘Excellence, Innovation and Discovery’

Havidán Rodríguez, 20th president of UAlbany, delivered his Fall Faculty Address at the University Senate Meeting on Wednesday.

President Rodríguez speaks to faculty on Wednesday afternoon in the Campus Center Ballroom.

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 2, 2017) – President Havidán Rodríguez put the spotlight on student success during his first Fall Faculty Address at the University Senate Meeting, held on Wednesday in the Campus Center Ballroom.

“Students are at the heart of what we do,” said Rodríguez, who has 25 years of experience in higher education. “We are truly a university on the move, and people are noticing.”

A record 24,900 freshmen applied to UAlbany for the 2017-2018 year, producing a record freshman class this Fall of 2,815, according to Rodríguez.

The president also cited “research excellence, globalization, public engagement and community outreach, and diversity and inclusion” as priorities for the University over the next five years.

“We have a powerful and unique constellation of academic and research strengths,” he said. “I believe we are positioned to be a nationally leading institution in many, many areas.”

Rodríguez, who has two books set to be published this year, has researched the socioeconomic impacts of disasters and the economic well-being of minority populations in the United States and Puerto Rico. This research informs him, he said, about how he sees the University’s opportunities.

“How are we impacting our communities locally, and as an anchor institution that continues to contribute to the growth of this great region, as the economic engine that we are?” he said. “How can we contribute locally, nationally and globally?”

Initiatives Announced

Rodríguez also used the address to introduce an expanded Strategic Planning Committee (SPC), comprised of representatives from throughout the University community. He said that SPC seeks to advance five core institutional priorities — student success, research excellence, globalization, public engagement and community outreach, and diversity and inclusion — relying heavily on interdisciplinary collaboration.

“The three imperatives that we’re building on to form a strong foundation, and that will allow us to move forward, are excellence, innovation and discovery,” he said.

Rodríguez emphasized the need for alignment between the strategic plan and two other concurrent planning processes: the University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign and the ongoing branding initiative.

In addition, he said, a new President’s Council will “serve as a vital conduit for input and information across all areas” of the University. Meeting twice per semester, the Council will include leaders of academic and administrative units, the University Senate, graduate and undergraduate student associations, and other key staff from across campus.

“The President’s Council will expand our knowledge base on issues critical to the functioning of the University by incorporating broad representation of units across campus,” he said.

In the two months since arriving, Rodríguez has made numerous visits to UAlbany’s nine schools and colleges across its three campuses, as well as to many of its administrative units, as part of his “Listening and Learning Tour.” These visits are meant to facilitate collaboration and communication on key issues and initiatives within the University, he said. 

“I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to seize the momentum that all of you have built over the years,” he said. “I am truly optimistic about our future as an institution of higher education.”

A Q&A session followed his remarks.

Watch the full speech.

The agenda, minutes from the Spring 2017 Faculty Meeting, and the annual report from the last Senate Chair are available on the University Senate’s website.

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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.