Schoharie County

Aging faculty means new faces at SUNY Cobleskill

The year 2013 is turning into a time of new faces at SUNY Cobleskill, where nearly two dozen new fac

The year 2013 is turning into a time of new faces at SUNY Cobleskill, where nearly two dozen new faculty members are expected to add to a half-dozen administrators in new positions.

The major influx of new staff is due, in part, to a large number of senior professors ready for retirement. It’s also rooted in several years of internal reflection, said Debra Thatcher, the college’s former provost and vice president of academic affairs, who took over as acting president June 1.

“Really I think what’s happening is a convergence of two conditions,” Thatcher said.

In most colleges, junior faculty make up the largest population of instructors. It’s the opposite at Cobleskill.

“They’re very experienced, they’re very good, but many of them have reached retirement age,” Thatcher said.

Those retirements are expected to lead to the addition of 23 new faculty members by the fall.

Over the past three years, Thatcher said the college has been engaged in “a lot of self-study,” including accreditation and a review of different operations on the campus.

“During that period, we’ve held off on hiring and we’ve been waiting to assess where we are and make judgments about where we should invest resources,” she said. “It’s incredibly exciting because we’ll have this really interesting mix of people with campus history, who know the whole path of the college and are passionate about the school. Then we’ll have the new blood in, the new people with fresh ideas.

Thatcher’s appointment as acting president left her previous position vacant. That was filled by Sue Zimmerman, who had served as interim dean of the School of Business and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Jeffrey M. Anderson, dean of humanities, fine arts and social sciences at Illinois Valley Community College, will take over Zimmerman’s former post effective July 29.

And last month, Timothy Moore was named dean of the school of Agriculture and Natural Resources following a national search.

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