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Dean shines spotlight on NYSUNY 2020
By Eric Coker

NYSUNY 2020 will build on the excellence that already exists at Binghamton University, Harpur College Interim Dean Wayne Jones told the Binghamton University Forum on Sept. 27.

"This is an opportunity for Binghamton to grow and promote excellence," Jones said. "It is also an opportunity for the Binghamton community to grow, find new jobs and bring in new University partnerships. And it's an opportunity for New York state to lead the nation and the world in energy generation, storage and efficient use."

Jones discussed the NYSUNY 2020 challenge grant during the Forum's first program of the 2012-13 school year. The University's NYSUNY 2020 plan, which was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Aug. 8, calls for the addition of 2,000 students, 150 faculty members and 175 staff members over five years and the construction of a $70 million Smart Energy Research and Development Facility.

The additional students, along with a rational tuition policy that allows for yearly increases, will help bring financial stability to the University, Jones said.

"We are going to have a net increase in our budget," he said. "When I talk to my colleagues across the country, they talk about fiscal challenges. None of them can talk about a steady, stable budgetary situation that is going to allow for growth over the next five years."

NYSUNY 2020 will also produce economic partnerships between the University and local, state and national industry, Jones said.

Binghamton's existing research in areas such as solar and thermoelectric energy harvesting and energy efficiency in electronic systems will be "pushed to the next level – not by staying within the ivory tower, doing research in our labs and publishing papers that don't mean as much," he said.

"It's about trying to partner with industry so they can take ideas that start with our students and faculty and transition those into real technology that is going to be produced by companies in the area, and at the same time growing more jobs," Jones said.

Students will benefit from these research projects by obtaining hands-on experience that will help them get jobs in the future.

"We have to get the students involved in the learning process," Jones said. "All learning is personal."

Smart energy and Binghamton University are an ideal fit, Jones said, because "we have all of the pieces in place." He emphasized resources such as the three buildings that will be part of the Innovative Technologies Complex, the Advanced Diagnostics Lab used by local companies and researchers, and the relevant research being conducted by Binghamton faculty members.

"We can't just sit back and wait for new energy technology to be created," Jones said.

The Smart Energy Research and Development Facility could open by fall 2017 and is expected to create 840 jobs in the Southern Tier and attract $7 million per year in additional funding for energy research.

Ultimately, though, NYSUNY 2020 will continue to expand and promote the characteristic that Harpur College was founded upon in 1950: academic excellence.

"This lays the foundation for a lot more than what we think about as smart energy," Jones said. "It lays the foundation for growth at the University and growth in the area for years to come."

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Ambitious plans for the future
By Steve Seepersaud
From Reaching Higher: The Binghamton University School of Management Magazine

When George "Skip" Curth Jr. '90 reflects on his time as a student and thinks about today's School of Management, the most obvious difference is the physical environment. He attended SOM classes in the basement of the library, while today's students enjoy a modern facility.

In the years since he graduated — as an engaged alumni supporter — he has contributed to other changes within the school. Named SOM's 2012 Alumnus of the Year, Curth enjoys being a guest lecturer every semester, sharing insights about his professional work and helping the newest students become acclimated to the school.

"When I was a student, I took liberal arts in the first two years, and it wasn't until my junior year that I got to take classes in my major and really feel part of the School of Management," says Curth, a partner in the structured finance advisory services group at Ernst & Young in New York City. "Now, there's much more of an effort to reach out to freshmen and help them feel connected."

To further enhance the student experience, the school has ambitious plans for the future. With alumni support, an anticipated increase in state funding and some strategic curricular changes, the school is poised to rise in the rankings of the nation's top business schools.

NYSUNY 2020, the recently approved state legislation that allows SUNY schools to raise tuition and retain the funds, will fuel SOM's growth. Across campus over the next five years, the University will add a total of 2,000 students and 150 faculty members. This fall, SOM added 40 undergraduates, 10 graduate students and three faculty members to total 1,700 students and 36 tenure-track faculty. The school will grow in similar increments over the next four years to reach a total enrollment of 1,900 students by 2017.

"We want to grow but continue to enhance the quality of our incoming students," says Upinder Dhillon, dean and Koffman Scholar. "When we hire new faculty, there is a change in the dynamics of our faculty. They bring new energy, new ideas and cutting-edge research and teaching skills."

SOM has recently implemented curricular changes so students are well prepared to face challenges in the modern workplace.

Starting this fall, the MBA program offers three concentrations: accounting, finance and business analytics. Dhillon says he and his colleagues examined what skills are needed in the marketplace and found there is a demand for professionals skilled in business analytics.

"E-commerce generates a great deal of data that needs to be analyzed and interpreted," Dhillon says. "Firms want people who can convert data into information that leads to a strategic vision. The businesses we hear from say that they are going to hire our business analytics majors."

On the undergraduate side, the school has introduced changes to the sophomore and junior core curricula (S-core and J-core). Advanced Computer Tools within S-core will now become a three-credit course, up from two credits, and will provide an Excel curriculum that includes programming components and project management.

Also, any student will be able to take J-core if he or she has junior standing. In the past, a student could only take J-core after taking S-core, regardless of academic standing.

Taniel Chan '12, who advocated for this change while a member of the Student Advisory Board, says the flexibility will benefit students who are ahead of the game in earning credits. He says students will be able to determine earlier if they wish to pursue careers in finance, marketing, international business or organizational behavior. Taking J-core earlier can help students prepare themselves to work at firms that require this advanced level of knowledge and are open to hiring sophomores.

"I believe all students, regardless of credit standing, should have this option because the standing doesn't say anything about a student's performance in the course and should not be a limiting factor," Chan says. "It says a lot about the administrators that they are open-minded to listening to the students. [These changes] show that they want the students to have the most pleasant experience, one that will set them up as much as possible for a solid career upon graduation."

Already near the top of the Business Week rankings, there's not much room for SOM's accounting program to move up, although the school wants to further solidify its standing as a high-quality program. To that end, SOM is seeking a separate Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Business Schools (AACSB) accreditation for the accounting program. Two years ago, the school as a whole successfully went through the process to reaffirm its AACSB business accreditation.

AACSB will soon assign a mentor for the accounting program who will help the school go through its self-study process and prepare materials for final review. Dhillon expects SOM to encounter little difficulty and to receive a positive answer in about a year.

One development in the MS accounting program should certainly help the school's reputation: Starting in fall 2013, students can opt for a tax concentration by taking three 4-credit electives.

"We lose some students because we don't offer a master's degree or a concentration in tax," Dhillon says. "There's really not enough demand for the full tax MS program here, so we'll add a concentration. The accounting firms tell us they're fine with either option."

Already in the New York market with a 12-month Fast-Track Professional MBA program, the School of Management started an Executive MBA program in Manhattan in 2011. This allows students without undergraduate business degrees to earn an MBA in 18 months while working full time. About 20 students were in the initial cohort, and recruiting is taking place for the second class that will start in September 2013.

Alexandra DeMartino '09, MBA '10, is the program's New York-based administrative director and aggressively recruits for the professional and executive MBA programs. Following a year in which fewer students took the GMAT and applied to MBA programs, she was able to recruit 30 students, which makes this fall's professional MBA cohort one of the largest ever for Binghamton.

"This is a fiercely competitive market," DeMartino says. "Many of the prospective students who look at our program are also looking at places like Columbia and NYU. I work hard to make sure these students know our program is prestigious. The private schools charge a lot because their names hold a lot of clout. But because of our lower cost and high quality, our program delivers an incredible return on investment."

Going forward, the school will strive to innovate in teaching at all levels. To that end, Dhillon is actively engaging in conversations with students and faculty to solicit their ideas on how to improve the student experience in the classroom.

"This is part of our continuing improvement strategy," Dhillon says. "We want to continue to get better. No matter how good you are, you can always be better. We don't want to just look at best practices. We want to identify the next practices."

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School hosts OpEx conference
From staff reports

The Department of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering (SSIE) hosted the Pursuit of Operational Excellence conference during Binghamton University's Homecoming Weekend. This event took place in the Engineering and Science Building of the Innovative Technologies Complex.

Industry professionals, University professors and SSIE alumni shared their insights into the capabilities of industrial and systems engineering practices offered by the SSIE Department and students. Presentations and discussions were held in the areas of healthcare systems, electronics packaging, globalization issues, and defense and commercial industries. Participants gained knowledge on how industrial engineers can lead to simplifying complex systems and can contribute to the success of an organization.

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The unfiltered truth
By Merrill Douglas, MA '82

Most pregnant smokers know that cigarettes can harm their babies. But stern lectures from authority figures won't help them quit.

That message came through loud and clear when Binghamton researchers went into the field to learn how to deliver information about tobacco use to pregnant women. Based on insights from front-line experts — pregnant smokers and their healthcare providers — the investigators created a video that they hope will succeed where other interventions have failed.

Twenty-six percent of women in upstate New York who gave birth in 2009 smoked during the three months before they conceived, and 12.24 percent still smoked in the last three months of their pregnancies, according to the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In some rural areas the problem is worse, says Geraldine Britton, assistant professor at the Decker School of Nursing and director of Binghamton's Interdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Program (ITURP). In western Steuben County, for example, 52 percent of women enrolled in Medicaid, Obstetrics and Maternal Services (MOMS) in 2009 said they smoked during the three months before they became pregnant.

Even that figure may not be telling the whole story. "Rates of smoking during pregnancy are profoundly under-reported," Britton says.

Hoping to devise better smoking-cessation strategies, Britton and her colleagues in ITURP, supported by a March of Dimes grant, conducted a series of nine focus groups. Three of those groups consisted of pregnant smokers and six of healthcare providers. "The purpose was to increase the understanding of the pregnant smoker, including the motivation to quit," Britton says. The researchers also asked for ideas about how to communicate the message.

One important insight that emerged from the groups is that it's hard to appreciate a risk you can't see. Unlike a baby born with fetal alcohol syndrome, the child born to a smoker may look like any other newborn. But a mother's smoking can create a host of hazards for the baby, including low birth weight, nicotine withdrawal, asthma, cognitive delays and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). "We had to somehow put a face to the problem," Britton says.

The idea of a video appealed to both the groups of expectant mothers and to the healthcare professionals. One nurse, for example, mentioned that New York state requires all new parents to watch a video on shaken baby syndrome before leaving the hospital, says Pamela Manktelow, coordinator of the MOMS program at Saint James Mercy Hospital in Hornell, N.Y. "She said, 'If we had a smoking video for pregnant women, so they would know what they're doing to their baby as they watch it, I think that would help.'"

A video also allows you to control the tone of the message — an urgent concern that emerged from the focus groups. "The pregnant women have an absolute cynicism, or even fear, about being lectured," says ITURP co-investigator Sean McKitrick, former assistant provost and director of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment at Binghamton University.

Having analyzed the themes from the focus groups, ITURP contracted with White Knight Productions of Vestal, N.Y., to shoot the video. The researchers then returned to groups of pregnant women and nurses for ideas about content. To provide maximum impact, focus-group participants decided that the video should feature real people, not actors. For example, in one vignette, a woman who smoked during her pregnancy describes how she and her family resuscitated her weeks-old infant, who had stopped breathing — and then cautions pregnant women against smoking. "Her little girl is 4 years old and has severe asthma now," Britton says.

Along with mothers from participating hospitals and clinics, Manktelow and several other nurses, including Lucy Keith from Arnot Ogden Medical Center's MOMS, appear in the video. The producers also used children to talk about the dangers of smoking. "The pregnant women felt that this message was probably better delivered by children," Britton says.

With production complete, members of ITURP are seeking funds to help them test the video. They plan to show the segment, which runs about 10 minutes, to pregnant women during their prenatal visits. Researchers will measure whether women who see the video, compared with a control group, are more likely to quit or cut down on cigarettes and less likely to resume smoking.

Besides producing a new smoking-cessation intervention, the project has helped to solidify ITURP's partnership with community healthcare providers. Such alliances are crucial for developing effective solutions based on real-world evidence, Britton says. "I like to call it the 'triple helix' — practice, research and theory," she explains. "You need to start in practice in order to develop questions, design effective interventions and conduct research to test and build theory. Then you must return the findings to practice."

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CCPA welcomes new faculty
From staff reports

Carrie A. Moylan, assistant professor of social work, will teach Foundations of Scientific Inquiry with Social Systems, and Generalist Social Work Practice with Families and Groups at Binghamton University.

Moylan, originally from Birmingham, Mich., received her undergraduate degree in women's studies and sociology from Oberlin College, her master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in social welfare from the University of Washington.

Before receiving her doctorate, Moylan worked for seven years as a domestic violence and rape crisis advocate, providing counseling and support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Her research interests include sexual assault, domestic violence, trauma and interdisciplinary collaboration. Moylan enjoys knitting, reading and playing with her son.

Marguerite Wilson, visiting assistant professor of human development, specializes in gender, development, education and social justice.

Wilson, who is originally from Montreal, but mostly grew up in Orinda, Calif., and Germany, received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California-Santa Cruz, and her master's degree and doctorate in education from the University of California-Davis.

She previously worked as a graduate student teaching assistant at the University of California-Davis. Wilson will teach Gender, Development and Education, and Child Development at Binghamton University. She enjoys hiking, skiing, yoga, knitting and traveling.

Denise Yull, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development, will teach courses on politics of education, youth and social policy, social justice and research methods at Binghamton University.

Yull, from Buffalo, received her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from SUNY Buffalo and her master's in mathematics and doctorate in education from Binghamton University. She has served as an adjunct lecturer at both Binghamton University and Broome Community College.

Yull has received the Michael V. Boyd Educational Opportunity Program Service Award and Clifford D. Clark Graduate Fellowship. Her research interests include educational disparities, social and historical foundations of education, multicultural education and mathematics education. Yull enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.

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Student teaching experience offers many life lessons
By Kathleen Rubino '13

The Graduate School of Education is dedicated to researching and implementing the best instructional practices to create the most experienced, qualified teachers a university can offer. And, while learning in a classroom is important, sometimes learning hands-on has much more of an impact.

Tim O'Brien, a current GSE student, feels that student teaching has been a worthwhile experience, as he has watched children who were uninterested in science transform into eager scientists.

"It's cool to see the kids excited about learning about science – a huge difference from when I first started," he said. "They have such a voracious appetite for learning."

O'Brien has taken a more unusual path in the Graduate School of Education. He attended Binghamton University for his undergraduate degree in chemistry, but completed some GSE requirements during his senior year. O'Brien has pursued a combined degree and will graduate with his master's degree in May.

The student teaching program lasts 14 weeks. O'Brien has spent the first few weeks teaching 8th grade physical science. Then, in a few weeks, O'Brien will leave middle school behind to tackle the challenge of high school and will spend the second half of the semester teaching high school chemistry.

"I think I will like high school better because it is more directly related to my undergraduate degree," O'Brien said. "However, I'm also nervous because there is less of an age gap. I hope I don't get mistaken for a student."

O'Brien is no stranger to the classroom or leadership. During his time as an undergraduate student, he was a resident assistant. He also worked as a teaching assistant for the Physics Department in the summer. For those who wish to pursue a career in education, O'Brien advises remaining stress-free.

"Don't worry about the future. Thinking you have to have your whole life planned out is fairly ridiculous," O'Brien said. "Look for open doors but keep as many doors as possible open."

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Last Updated: 11/12/13