Laursen takes over as acting president at SUNY Poly

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MARCY — With the new spring semester at SUNY Polytechnic Institute comes a new acting president in Dr. Tod A. Laursen, who was appointed just before the start of the new year.

Laursen was the senior vice chancellor and provost of the State University of New York, a position he took after helping to found Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, where he served as leader since 2010. Laursen earned his Ph.D in mechanical engineering at Stanford University and has a long career in academics.

“As the SUNY System Provost, I have admired and respected SUNY Poly’s accomplishments, and I feel fortunate and motivated to join you,” Laursen said of his appointment.

“I am committed to connecting with as many community members as I can, as soon as I can, and to working collaboratively with you as we prepare our Utica and Albany campuses for the spring semester. My approach to the leadership of SUNY Poly will be ‘all in’.”

Laursen joins the campus as they continue to expand their health and safety guidelines during the pandemic.

An estimated more than 2,800 students are enrolled in the spring semester, and school officials said they spaced out campus move-in across three days. New students arrived on campus on Jan. 29, with returning students on Jan. 30 and 31. All students were expected to submit a negative COVID test within a week of arrival.

All SUNY Poly students and employees are taking part in a weekly, SUNY-wide pool surveillance testing. Groups are tested together, and if there is a positive result, school officials can then zero in on that specific group and those specific students and employees.

The first week of classes was held entirely online until all students had submitted their negative tests, and all classrooms are marked with how many people are allowed inside. Seating is arranged to ensure social distancing.

SUNY Poly officials said they will continually update their safety plan and keep it posted on their website for all students to read.

For the new year, SUNY Poly officials announced new partnerships with Hudson Valley Community College and Onondaga County Community College. The new agreements will allow for a seamless transition for students wishing to continue their education at SUNY Poly. There are 29 unique bachelor’s degree programs for students from Hudson Valley, and 20 program-to-program courses from Onondaga County.

“Across the country, college students face a significant barrier to graduation when they change programs,” college officials said.

“This partnership addresses that barrier and ensures that students are prepared to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years.”

SUNY Poly officials also announced that 11 students were awarded the merit-based Cree Wolfspeed Scholarship, which serves students from historically underserved or marginalized communities.

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