Smarter All the Time: The Freshman Class
Greta Petry (September 12,
fall’s entering freshman class is the strongest academically
that Director of Admissions Robert Andrea has seen since he
joined the University at Albany four years ago.
class, made up of 2,100 traditional freshmen, was drawn from
17,316 applicants. With an average high school GPA of 90 and
mean SAT scores that were 15 points higher than last year’s,
the class is scholastically talented. There are 200 Presidential
Scholars in the incoming class, compared with 173 last year,
and more than 100 College Scholars, up from 87 last year.
focus remains on improving the quality of the entering class.
This class is much stronger on the top end,” said Andrea,
who said the word is getting out about UAlbany’s increased
selectivity. His words are backed up by the rising numbers
of top students in the freshman class. A full 94 percent of
the class is in Groups I and II, the highest selectivity criteria
set by State University of New York System Administration.
This compares with 87 percent last year. As of mid-August,
more than 625 students from Group I (as determined by high
school GPA and SAT scores) were expected to enroll, an increase
of 11 percent from last year.
continues to make a targeted institutional investment in merit
scholarships for high-achieving undergraduates by increasing
the dollars committed to these students over the last 10 years.
Two new honors programs in women’s studies and public policy
have been introduced to keep top undergraduates challenged.
These programs allow the students to work with senior distinguished
faculty on self-designed, interdisciplinary honors projects
whose product may be a thesis based in part on a related internship
or similar field experience.
addition to strengthening scholarships for undergraduates,
the University has worked hard to improve stipends for doctoral
students in order to stay competitive with major public research
universities across the nation. Targeted funds for specific
programs have achieved measurable results in terms of recruiting
and retaining quality doctoral students.
of the elements of attracting and retaining quality students
is providing a physical environment conducive to learning.
Every student who has taken a class in recent years in one
of the rooms on the first floor of the Humanities building
or in the lecture centers can appreciate renovations that
were completed this summer. Students also benefit from a separate
project in which new furniture and window treatments were
installed in all suites on Indian and State quads.
renovations are the result of a long planning process kicked
off last fall. The Space Management Office, in conjunction
with the Facilities Office and the Office of the Registrar,
prepared a conditions assessment of the 92 Registrar-scheduled
uptown classrooms and 18 downtown classrooms. They documented
the quality of lighting, the condition of flooring, and the
age and comfort of seating, and prioritized a list of instructional
spaces for renovation. The immediate focus was on the most
heavily used rooms: the Lecture Center and Human ities classrooms,
which account for more than 50 percent of class section enrollment.
Within those buildings, six Lecture Center rooms and 21 Humanities
rooms – accounting for more than 25 percent of class
section enrollment – were targeted for summer renovations
and improvements. This $1 million project is part of a multi-year
commitment by President Karen R. Hitchcock to improve instructional
spaces across the University.
welcome sight for returning students and faculty alike, the
first floor of Human ities has been renovated. Human ities
classrooms have been painted, with larger tablet desks and
chairs, an attached basket for books, new lighting, and new
window treatments. The desktop is a durable graphite, and
the chairs have a flexible seatback. Gone is the old carpeting,
replaced by gleaming white tile edged in black. Colorful purple
tiles at the floor corners match the acoustical fabric that
covers the walls. Three of the renovated Humanities rooms,
HU 124, 128, and 129, are “smart classrooms,” equipped with
multimedia equipment that includes a new sound system, instructor
computer, and VCR. In addition, the hallways have new flooring,
ceilings, and lighting.
the Lecture Center classrooms, match ing black chairs replace
the old assortment of blue, orange, and brown; the carpet
has been replaced with a complementary, heavily stain-resistant
design; and some ceilings have been replaced. Light gray tabletops
in the LCs have been replaced by a darker graphite. The seats
have a 10-year warranty. So far, LC 1, 2, 20, 21, 24, and
25 have been redone.
amount of dedication, coordination, and hard work from all
those on the project has been incredible,” said John Giarrusso,
director of the Office of Space and Capital Resources Management.
“From the coordination necessary to reschedule summer classes
out of these rooms, to meeting with student representatives
to help choose the seating styles, to the finishing touches
by the talented staff in the Uni versity shops, this project
is one of which the entire renovation team can be proud.”
we continue to improve our facilities by updating and renovating
the Human ities building and the lecture centers, these are
all ways to enhance that first impression for students who
come here on a campus visit. In addition, the renovations
will contribute to a positive undergraduate experience,” Andrea