In carrying out the duties of the Presidency, the successful candidate will face several key opportunities and challenges:
Provide strategic vision and entrepreneurial leadership for the College
The President will, in close collaboration with campus constituencies, lead a process that articulates a clear vision and strategy for the future success of SUNY Ulster. This vision will be entrepreneurial and data-driven in its response to increased challenges with regard to student demographics and funding. It will remain student-focused, finding creative ways to generate resources, working collaboratively with the SUNY system and leveraging the energy of faculty, students and staff by drawing upon the strong sense of institutional pride that already exists at SUNY Ulster.
The President will thus help to strengthen the College’s identity as an indispensable provider of reliable, accessible and affordable instruction, helping students have the best training for relevant employment opportunities in the community, while also continuing as a provider of quality liberal arts education that prepares students for further study.
Create a learning organization
SUNY Ulster features innovative faculty and staff attuned to best practices in higher education. The new President will capitalize on this characteristic to create a learning organization adept at continuous improvement by benefitting from and leveraging, not merely reacting to, change. As chief learning officer, the President will hold himself/herself accountable to the campus community to stay abreast of major demographic, pedagogic, economic and social shifts so that SUNY Ulster is positioned for continued success.
Bolster student enrollment and retention
Despite a significant population decline brought about with the closure of IBM in Ulster, SUNY Ulster has managed to keep its enrollments somewhat stable in recent years. The effect of population decline was mitigated when the College created successful high school programs (the Collegian Program) in which high school students could take SUNY Ulster courses to get a head start on college.
The success of these programs notwithstanding, enrollment, as well as student retention, continues to be a challenge. The new President must support the creation and continued development of College-wide systems, policies, procedures and communication networks that support the recruitment, retention and success of students.
Lead an assessment of new and existing programs
The President will lead a continuing assessment of existing programs and encourage the consideration of new programs (degree, non-degree, online and in-person). The President must lead the College in making decisions that are data-driven and evidenced-based. This will allow SUNY Ulster to continue to develop educational programming for the current and future needs of the College’s students and the larger community, setting priorities based on criteria such as student interest, community need, transferability, employment possibilities, chance of success and affordability.
Highlight economic development and enhance partnerships with the community
The future of SUNY Ulster and the prosperity of the Hudson Valley Region are inseparable. Given the economic challenges facing the region, economic development is paramount to the relationship of SUNY Ulster with the community. The College’s presence in Kingston can be further leveraged to increase its impact. It is critical for the new President to understand and continue the focus that has been placed on issues regarding economic development, not only for the College but also for the continued economic health of the communities SUNY Ulster serves.
The President should also strive to integrate SUNY Ulster’s curricula with the needs of the business community. Mutually beneficial partnerships should be developed with the potential to match learners with appropriate educational or work-experience opportunities.
Manage the budget strategically and with transparency
While SUNY Ulster is positioned to continue its steady financial condition, there are challenges in maintaining financial health. County and State appropriations have not kept pace with inflationary pressures resulting in increasing tuition rates. This factor, coupled with statewide decline in high school student enrollment, poses significant financial challenges in the future.
The President, working closely with the Board and Dean of Administration, will be responsible for leading the development and prudent execution of the College’s operating budget and for working to ensure financial stability through a transparent process. To strengthen its position in a competitive market, SUNY Ulster must identify the core values on which it cannot compromise and identify the programmatic opportunities that it must seize in order to move ahead. This will necessitate systematically making strategic choices, managing budgets with care, and allocating resources to their best and highest use.
Generate and steward financial resources
The President must ensure that the College garners support from a diversified range of sources. S/he will diligently work with elected and appointed public officials in a wide variety of public bodies, including the executive and the legislature at the municipal, county and state level to advocate for the College’s economic needs. In addition, the President will work with the Ulster Community College Foundation in helping the College raise money through philanthropic donations, and generate corporate sponsorship through partnerships with the area’s businesses, industries and public-sector enterprise.
Be a visible and collaborative member of the campus community
The College’s faculty, staff and administration are deeply committed to the success of SUNY Ulster’s students and the organization as a whole. The President will continue to foster this commitment by taking a genuine interest in the lives of students, faculty and staff. S/he will be eminently present, attending campus events and being accessible to members of the campus community.