According to Provost David Lavallee, SUNY envisions a consortium of twenty SUNY institutions in three or four regions throughout the state to be part of the program. “Expanding two-year to four-year collaborations within SUNY is part of SUNY Strategic Plan, and important for the nation as a whole,” he said.
The initiative follows a SUNY sponsored “Building Bridges in STEM” conference held last fall in Albany where SUNY officials and representatives from various campuses gathered to discuss plans to replicate and expand a program that was originally introduced at Purchase College by Dr. Joseph Skrivanek in 2000.
At the direction of Provost Lavallee, Mr. Skrivanek, Mr. Scott and Mr. Warren will facilitate the expansion initiative by contacting various institutions to set up regional partnerships this spring. The National Science Foundation may be an initial funding source for the program’s first phase.
Since it began, the Baccalaureate and Beyond Community College Mentoring Program at Purchase College has evolved and works in collaboration with six community colleges. It provides a full range of academic and other support services for students including peer mentoring, academic advising, tutoring, employment, internships, cultural and leadership development activities, career planning, and assistance with graduate school admissions. The program is aimed at underrepresented minorities, low income students, or individuals who have started their college studies but may need encouragement and motivation to continue. Student success is paramount: the goal is retention and ultimately graduation with either a BA or BS in one of the sciences or liberal arts.
Students selected for the program work closely with faculty and mentors from Purchase College and their Community College while completing their studies at the community college. They then enter Purchase College or another four year institution poised with the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully continue their education.
The program has been recognized nationally for its success in increasing retention and graduation rates particularly among minority students beyond the current national norm.