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Class of 2014 set to begin their college journey

Posted on Aug 30, 2010

A new academic year will kick off with the arrival of the Class of 2014 this week.

Class of 2014 preview story

The 560 first-year students move into their residence halls Saturday, Sept. 4, beginning at 9 a.m. They will receive an official welcome from College leaders at 3 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. At 3:45 p.m., the students will say goodbye to their families before heading off to their group orientation activities.

At 6:30 p.m., the students pose for their class picture at the Nott Memorial. Orientation activities continue on Monday, with a full slate of programs.

The members of the Class of 2014 were selected from among 4,945 applications, the second largest in Union’s history. This includes 44 percent who were accepted through early decision, when a record number of students made Union their first choice.

The class is one of the strongest academically, with 62 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class and average SAT scores of 1290 (on a scale of 1600) and 1920 (on a scale of 2400), both equaling record highs. Union is an SAT-optional school.

Students of color of the incoming class comprise 16 percent; international students make up four percent.

Residence halls open for returning students Sunday, Sept. 5.

Fall term classes begin at 1:50 p.m. Monday, Sept. 6 (Labor Day).

Opening convocation, in which the Union community celebrates the official opening of the academic year, is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7 in Memorial Chapel

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Finding the power of words

Posted on Aug 24, 2010

Kathleen Portillo, an incoming member of the Class of 2014, was recently profiled in the Boston Globe.

Portillo is among the latest group of Posse Scholars at Union. Since 2006, the College has partnered with the Boston branch of the Posse Foundation, which also has sites in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington, D.C. Now celebrating its 20th year, the Posse Foundation selects extraordinary young people with leadership potential who excel academically, but may be overlooked by the traditional college selection process, and send them in multicultural teams – or posses – to top schools like Union.

To read about Portillo, click here.


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Seniors participating in study feel benefits of biking

Posted on Aug 24, 2010

The Daily Gazette reported on a national study examining the physiological and neuropsychological impact of cybercycling on seniors led by Cay Anderson-Hanley, assistant professor of psychology at Union. She is collaborating with Paul Arciero, an associate professor of exercise science at Skidmore College.

The two-year study was funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to explore how interactive digital gaming can improve the health behaviors and outcomes for people age 50 and older.

The College was among 11 other research teams that received up to $200,000 each from the foundation’s Health Games Research program to measure the effects of video games on the health of the young and old.

Hanley’s team of researchers, which included students from Union and Skidmore, monitored the cognitive function, heart rate, body composition, social relationships and other measures of the riders while they raced against a virtual cycling partner three to five times a week.

To read the Gazette story, click here (registration may be required).

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New leader named for Information Technology Services

Posted on Aug 24, 2010

Ellen Yu Borkowski is joining Union as the chief information officer, College officials announced today. She begins Nov. 1.

In her new role, Borkowski will oversee Information Technology Services, including all academic and administrative computing functions on campus, as well as Media Services and Telecommunications. She will supervise a staff of 30.

Ellen Yu Borkowski

Borkowski was selected following a nationwide search by a seven-member committee headed by Therese McCarty, the Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Since 1995, Borkowski has held a number of titles at the University of Maryland, including the last nine years as the director of academic support in the Office of Information Technology, where she supervised 24 employees. The department is responsible for the innovative use of technology in education and research, including instructional design and development, faculty training and instructional facilities.

In addition, Borkowski was in charge of developing an updated strategic plan for the Office of Technology, and she served as project manager for a university initiative to learn how mobile devices can be used to enhance the student education experience.

Before joining Maryland, Borkowski was the instructional multimedia coordinator at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

She has presented at numerous conferences, including EDUCAUSE and Campus Technology 2010 in Boston, and has published many professional articles.

“We are thrilled to have someone with Ellen’s experience and leadership abilities join our campus community,” said McCarty. “We look forward to her strategic leadership of the College’s use of information technology in partnership with offices across campus.”

Borkowski received her bachelor of science in computer and systems engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and her master’s in Education Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Maryland.

“I am excited to be joining Union, and I look forward to working with all members of the campus community in supporting their information technology needs,” Borkowski said.

Borkowski takes over for David Cossey, who retired this month after 23 years at Union, including the last seven as the chief information officer.

“Dave led Union’s IT department through a period of incredible technological change,” said McCarty. “He brought passion about his work and loyalty to Union College with him to the office every day, and he cared for members of the IT staff as if they were members of his family.”

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Middle States Commission reaffirms Union’s accreditation

Posted on Aug 20, 2010

After a two-year process of self-study and external evaluation, Union received word this summer that its accreditation status has been reaffirmed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which also commended the College for its accomplishments in a number of areas.

At its session in late June, the Commission issued a new Statement of Accreditation Status for Union. In doing so, it asked that the College provide a Periodic Review Report in five years’ time to document its ongoing assessment efforts. The Commission’s determination was based on the report of the external review team, headed by Daniel Weiss, President of Lafayette College.

Walking on campus near library

“It was the best outcome we could have received,” said Therese McCarty, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty. “Many colleges have to report back to the Commission within two years, or even one year, to show evidence of further progress. But Union does not need to submit anything until the five-year update report that is always required. I am also very pleased that the College was formally commended by the committee on a number of standards.”

The Commission evaluates 14 accreditation standards as part of its process, covering topics such as the institution’s mission and goals, its planning process, its leadership, its integrity, and its institutional resources. Union was found to have met all 14 standards, and was specifically recognized for the degree to which its Strategic Plan has been embraced and implemented by the campus community.

“We commend the College and President Ainlay for developing a Strategic Plan that resonates with the mission of the institution and that is widely endorsed by the college community,” the report states. “Indeed, the team was especially impressed by the extent to which the Plan serves as the touchstone for near and long-term decision-making and resource allocation across the College.”

Union was also commended for its financial discipline, its budget planning process, its efforts in recent years to enhance diversity on campus, and the collegial nature of its governance structure. The external review team and the Middle States Commission made several recommendations to the College regarding next steps for assessment of student learning, particularly in the areas of general education and institutional student learning outcomes. 

“The self-study process gave us an opportunity to mine our data and focus our assessment efforts on priorities that matter to us the most,” said David Cotter, professor of sociology and co-chair of the reaccreditation process with McCarty. “Feedback from the external review team will assist the college in further refining and focusing our assessment efforts so that we can use them effectively in achieving our educational mission.”

Both McCarty and Cotter expressed their gratitude to the entire campus community for its involvement in the reaccreditation process and key role in Union’s successful outcome.

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