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Campus News

UAlbany Welcomes Students; Offers New Programs

By Greta Petry (September 1, 2004)

Interim President Ryan helps students move into Indian Quad.

Interim President Ryan helps students move into Indian Quad.

This fall, as it has for the last several academic years, the University at Albany is welcoming new first-year students, inaugurating new academic programs, welcoming 32 new faculty, and celebrating the completion of several important renovation projects.

UAlbany continues to be a school of choice for many top students. This fall a projected 2,100 freshmen, including more than 200 Presidential and Frederick Douglass Scholars and two National Merit Finalists, entered the University. An estimated 38 percent of the entering class falls within the highest selectivity grouping established by the State University of New York System Administration, a slight increase from 36 percent in 2003.

Robert Andrea, director of Undergraduate Admissions, said of the freshman class, “Their list of activities while in high school is impressive and includes participation in student government, music, theater and the arts, newspapers, literary journals, and radio. They also contributed many hours of outreach efforts through community service projects and volunteer activities.”

Among the University’s new academic offerings is an expanded journalism program. Two new courses in journalism are part of the program’s continuing efforts to offer students the most contemporary training in journalism reporting, writing, and analysis, according to William Rainbolt, Ph.D., program director. The first, Public Affairs Reporting, will be taught by Mike Hendricks, editor of The Business Review and former reporter and news editor for The Associated Press. The class gives students a chance to study and report on the presidential campaign locally, as well as other areas of public affairs journalism. The other, Broadcast Journalism, is taught by David Guistina, special projects director for WAMC Radio and former news producer at WNYT-TV, Channel 13.

The journalism program, which is a minor, has expanded to hire two full-time faculty members in addition to part-time professional media lecturers. Nancy Roberts, Ph.D., joins the University this fall from the University of Minnesota’s School of Mass Communication and Journalism. She is the author of four books, and the editor of the most widely used survey textbook of American media history. In January, Thomas Bass, Ph.D., author of five nonfiction books as well as articles in The New Yorker, Wired, Smithsonian, Audubon, Discover, and others will join UAlbany from Hamilton College.

New faculty have been recruited and appointed to 27 departments and programs. These include four new faculty members hired through the University’s new interdisciplinary Information Technology (IT) Commons Initiative. Through joint appointments, this initiative seeks to bring to the campus outstanding scholars and teachers in the interdisciplinary fields related to information science and informatics. One such appointment is that of Yvette Mattern, who has joined the faculty in Art, Music, and the School of Information Science and Policy. Mattern is teaching a new course, History and Practice of Video Art, offered in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“The video class will add a dynamic course to our new program in combined media and will benefit both the studio arts and art history programs,” said JoAnne Carson, chair of the Department of Art. The course will focus on the history and theory of video art and the history of performance in video from the late 1950s through the early 1980s.

Even as the UAlbany campus continues to move ahead academically, there have been physical improvements as well.

The parking and mass transit office has moved to a new location on Center Drive East by the Chemistry Building. The old parking management construction trailer was demolished over the summer to make way for Podium West, a 216-space parking lot for students, faculty, and staff. No overnight parking will be permitted. “This is the area of the campus where parking is most desired, so this will be a very welcome addition,” said Vice President for Business and Finance Kathy Lowery.

The Indian Quad (Podium East) parking lot is being replaced. This will have 136 spaces for students, faculty, and staff; 24 hour parking will be permitted. This is being termed replacement because, perhaps by as early as next summer, the existing Indian Quad parking lot will be closed due to the relocation of the grounds and warehouse facility to that location.

In addition, parking changes include reconfiguring the visitors’ lot next to Collins Circle, an interim measure to implement a reconfigured vision for the Collins Circle entrance. This will eliminate all parking from the cobblestone area and will expand the lot in front of the Arts & Sciences building, and is for visitors only.

Other projects include: the re-opening of Oneida Hall on Indian Quad to students after complete renovation; rehabilitation of 14 classrooms in the Humanities Building, two lecture centers, and one room in the Business Administration building; installation of a new sidewalk between the parking lot adjacent to Empire Commons and Washington Avenue; and renovations to the first floor of Milne Hall on the downtown campus.

In addition, the Page Hall Lounge is scheduled for a major renovation, with completion expected by the end of October, 2004. Page Hall lounge capacity will go up to 150 for non-seating events, like receptions. The audio system in Page Hall is also being improved.