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Union and other colleges form New York Six Consortium

Posted on Jun 30, 2009

A consortium made up of Union and five other liberal arts colleges in upstate New York has received a one-year planning grant of $100,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to begin collaborative work with the goals of controlling business costs and learning from each other’s experience in areas of student life and staff development.

In addition to Union, the “New York Six” includes Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, St. Lawrence University and Skidmore College.

Stephen C. Ainlay, president of Union College, suit, 2-09

The group will focus on six broad areas of collaboration and cooperation: 

· Harnessing technology to allow for greater collaboration in all areas, with emphasis on shared human resources, high end computing collaboration and advanced computer infrastructure.

· Acquiring of goods and services, including benchmarking, joint purchasing and risk management.

· Promoting sustainable institutional environments, including recycling operations and alternative energy supplies.

· Maximizing student engagement, including wellness programming, alcohol and substance abuse intervention strategies, responses to differential learning styles and collaboration among teaching and learning centers.

· Shaping workforces, including faculty development, staff development and preparation of future academic leaders.

· Fostering intercultural literacy, including strategies for ensuring our students are prepared to live in a global and diverse world.

“Upstate New York is blessed with some of the finest liberal arts colleges in the country, and the opportunity to share our resources and expertise will greatly benefit each of us,” said Union President Stephen C. Ainlay. “This collaboration will expand opportunities for our students while controlling costs, changing the model of higher education management for the foreseeable future.”

The consortium, which will be headquarterd at Hamilton College due to its central location, has hired a project manager, Amy Doonan Cronin, who will work in consultation with presidents, chief financial officers, directors of information technology and others on each campus. In the area of information technology, directors at the six schools already have begun working together on potential collaborations. Groups of administrators and staff in student affairs, teaching and learning centers and human resources, as well as academic deans and members of the faculty, will also work together.

Cronin, most recently a public relations and management consultant in Ithaca, N.Y., spent eight years in the Office of the President at the University of Virginia, five as the President’s special assistant and chief of staff. In that role, she was closely involved in the university’s engagement in two consortia – the Atlantic Coast Conference International Academic Collaborative and Universitas 21, a global network of leading comprehensive universities.

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Schools hope venture yields savings, sharing

Posted on Jun 30, 2009

Union is among six upstate liberal arts colleges who have formed the New York Six Consortium, which will collaborate on academic and purchasing projects to benefit all campuses.

The other five schools are Skidmore College, Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Saint Lawrence University. The consortium, which was created using a $100,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will be headquartered at Hamilton because of its central location.

To read a story in the Times Union, click here

To read a story in the Watertown Daily Times, click here.

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“Small and Mighty”: Union invited to join national Hillel initiative

Posted on Jun 30, 2009

Union College Hillel, the Jewish student life group, has been selected by Hillel international to take part in the “Small and Mighty Campuses of Excellence II,” a pilot program to enhance Jewish life on small college campuses.


Hillel Small and Mighty

Organized and funded by the Soref Initiative for Emerging Campuses, the program offers specialized training and financial resources, including new opportunities for Alternative Break trips, grants, site visits from a Hillel Schusterman International Center representative, and priority for Taglit, an organization that provides educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults between 18 and 26.

Union and six other colleges – Dickinson College, Elon University, Hamilton College, Kenyon College, Smith/Amherst Colleges and Wellesley College – are part of the second cohort of schools to be designated Small and Mighty.  

Hillel aims to increase student engagement at these schools by 30 percent and double the number of Jewish students participating in immersion experiences.

“Hillel at Union is an example of how a small college can provide great opportunities for Jewish life on campus with limited resources,” said Union Hillel Director Bonnie Cramer. “Our involvement as a Small and Mighty campus means that Hillel may receive grant money to support an alternative spring break project as well bring Jewish authors to campus and provide networking among similar campuses.”

Approximately 17 percent of Union’s student body is Jewish, and members of Hillel have included students from all denominations of Judaism. Hillel-organized events include Shabbat services and home-cooked dinners, academic forums, holiday celebrations and Taglit-birthright trips to Israel.

The largest Jewish campus organization in the world, Hillel provides opportunities for Jewish students at more than 500 colleges and universities to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity through its global network of regional centers, campus foundations and Hillel student organizations.

“We want to ensure that despite the small population, Jewish students feel engaged in Jewish life and have access to the same opportunities as do campuses with large Jewish student populations,” said Deb Geiger, director of the Small and Mighty initiative.

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