(WKTV) - After half a decade of a sometimes-laborious examination of sweeping and historic change, a new SUNY-Oneonta has emerged.
"We've been talking for five years about how to restructure our academic programs to gain more coherence, to allow the different departments to interract with each other better and, really, to give our students a better education," said school President Dr. Nancy Kleniewski.
"We had some long discussions, and they were very frank -- and sometimes controversial -- and resulted in a very clear plan that we needed to have separate schools with some meaningful alignment of the disciplines."
SUNY Oneonta now offers a five-school structure: Business and Economics; Arts and Humanities; Social Science; Natural and Mathematical Sciences; and Education and Human Ecology.
Kleniewski on Friday officially opened the schools during the college's annual opening breakfast, at which she also introduced three founding and two interim deans to the college community.
While it sounds like the physical campus has grown, the five-school concept is more conceptual and organizational. And, according to Kleniewski, will offer students a more personal experience with more access to their professors and mentors.
"We have more deans now, so it's going to be fewer students per dean and they will have a lot more interraction with their deans and be able to get to see them," said Kleniewski.
The students were the impetus behind the change.
"We certainly want to make sure they're employable and we give them the skills that are necessary to be successful," says Dr. Venkat Sharma, founding dean of the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.
The ceremony continues on Sept. 6, when the five schools are founded during a Celebration of Schools event at the college's Otsego Grille in the Morris Conference Center.