By Dr. Francis Battisti
By Dr. Francis Battisti
What do a prime-time Emmy winner, a U.S. ambassador, a special agent for the DEA, a nationally recognized fiction author, the creative director for Disney/ABC, SONY’s director of Digital Marketing and an associate director at Teva Pharmaceutical all have in common? They are all alumni of SUNY Broome.
SUNY Broome graduates excel in a wide range of fields, both locally and around the world, and for good reason: They received a rigorous education that prepared them for their future careers.
As the Chief Academic Officer at SUNY Broome and a proud alumnus, I am always a strong advocate of the College’s high academic quality. As the current crop of recent high school graduates ponder their future paths, I urge them to consider attending their local community college. Not only is it an affordable option, but one that will leave them remarkably well-prepared for their future careers and their lives — and without the crushing burden of debt many college students face.
Yes, a college degree can require years of hard work, but research shows that it is well worth the effort. Individuals with college degrees enjoy higher lifetime earnings, better jobs and more fulfilling careers. Studies have also shown that college graduates adopt healthier lifestyles, and contribute more as active and informed citizens. They’re more likely to vote, donate blood and make a lasting impact on their communities. Their children are also more likely to attend college themselves and have the same opportunities for the future.
While workforce needs change in tandem with technological advances, SUNY Broome’s focus on top-notch academics has remained consistent since its founding in 1946. Our Engineering Technology, Engineering Science and Health Sciences programs are among our oldest, and still draw talented students who go on to find professional success. We also continue to add degree and certificate programs that adapt to our changing world, including programs in New Media Design, Casino and Event Management, Sport Studies and more. Thanks to the generosity of a local dentist who donated his airplane, we are making progress toward a new degree in Aircraft Maintenance. A number of our degree programs are entirely online, which opens up the prospect of higher education to students who may otherwise be unable to set foot on campus.
Beyond workforce training, we continue to offer top-notch academic programs that challenge students intellectually, and enable them to transfer to great four-year colleges and universities, even in the Ivy League. Our Associate of Arts in One Year (AA1) and our Associate of Science in One Year (AS1) programs enable academically talented students to earn their degree in a single year, while taking highly challenging courses and engaging in research. Our new Honors Program, open to students of all majors, also presents students with the opportunity to engage in scholarship while networking with other dedicated students.
Speaking of research, more than a dozen students presented their research last spring at the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference. Their projects included groundbreaking research in the field of engineering science, an important study on hand washing — critical to health care — and even the fall of the Roman empire. For that last project, one of our students actually learned Latin — and not classical or church Latin, but a transitional form spoken in the Dark Ages!
This grounding in research and scholarship serves our students well when they transfer to four-year colleges and universities. In addition to being the largest feeder school for Binghamton University, we have agreements with many institutions — including Cornell — that allow for seamless transfer of credits. Students who go on to complete their bachelor’s degree or beyond have a great academic start — for a fraction of the cost.
SUNY Broome also takes great pride in providing opportunities to students that enhance and broaden their capacity to understand the use of concepts and knowledge they gain in the classroom. These Applied Learning opportunities include internships, practicums, clinical placements in the healthcare industry, volunteer efforts or courses that take them beyond the classroom. As of the Spring semester 2017, more than 125 courses on campus had an Applied Learning component, ranging from overseas humanitarian efforts in the Health for Haiti program to externships at local medical offices. For many of our students, these Applied Learning opportunities can provide much-needed experience in their fields — and even job offers once they complete their degree.
All this is possible due to our superb faculty, who are recognized as experts in their fields. Their ranks include opera singers and scientists, internationally known artists, historians and published authors, filmmakers, and more. Community members consistently praise our faculty members as one of the College’s strongest assets.
SUNY Broome has long been recognized as a regional leader in preparing students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities, as well as immediate employment in their fields. As such, we are one of the engines of the Southern Tier economy: training the workforce of tomorrow, inspiring future entrepreneurs and participating in a wide range of initiatives that foster the region’s economic development.
As the Irish author George Moore once wrote, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.” As you consider the next step in your journey — whether you are graduating high school, contemplating a career change or thinking of pursuing your passion — I urge you to consider the jewel in your own backyard.
Dr. Francis Battisti, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at SUNY Broome