By JOHN NADER //
The past few weeks have been challenging for all of us, and especially for our students preparing to complete their degrees, graduate school and enter the job market.
Higher-education institutions have a unique responsibility – not only to continue to operate in a remote environment, but also to find ways to be a source of comfort. As a campus community, we have made monumental and creative adjustments since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our faculty made a truly amazing transition to distance instruction and did so in the space of only two weeks. At the same time, nearly every member of our staff was required to work remotely with only a few days’ notice.
With all of these changes, the college continues to fulfill its core academic mission – at what is perhaps the most difficult period in FSC’s history.
Although few staff members remain on campus, we are moving ahead with all of the tasks needed to serve our community, whether that’s getting much-needed technology into the hands of our students, faculty or staff; continuously sanitizing spaces on campus; our librarians acting quickly to provide resources and assistance to students and faculty alike; and so much more.
It is truly extraordinary to see how a college of 10,000 students and 1,500 faculty and staff members can operate with practically no one being physically present on campus.
We have been addressing the technology needs of our students, faculty and staff by supplying laptops, Chromebooks and other equipment to help them complete their jobs remotely. Almost 200 laptops and Chromebooks have been distributed. More than 200 people are accessing our virtual desktops daily to gain access to the software and files they need, and training on virtual videoconferencing software is ongoing.
In addition to the multitude of operational changes we have made, Farmingdale State College is actively engaged with our campus and surrounding communities to help us all get through these unprecedented times.
Our Foundation and Alumni offices have established an emergency fund for students whose ability to continue their coursework is threatened by the economic shutdown. The college’s Small Business Development Center is working with more than 200 small-business owners to assist them with the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program and help them recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.
It takes a village, and Farmingdale State College is ready and doing its part for our students, faculty, staff and surrounding communities. It’s a part of the social responsibility we embrace as an institution, so vital to the region.
John Nader is the president of Farmingdale State College. The former SUNY Delhi provost and mayor of the City of Oneonta is also co-chairman of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council’s Workforce and Education Committee.