University dialogue discusses strong points

Alex Palmieri News Writer

The dialogues President Joe Bertolino hosts are meant for people on campus to bring issues to the forefront to talk to the president and get his opinion about certain situations, Robert Sheeley said.

“It’s always interesting to see what is going on throughout campus,” said Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities. “This is a forum of which it can take place.”

The dialogue lasted for a little over an hour. President Bertolino had the chance to discuss main topics that are happening throughout campus, and address it to the faculty of the Southern community. Sheeley said he went to both dialogues the president held and it is good for the university.

“Anytime you open up a dialogue it’s always good,” said Sheeley.

Bertolino said the Social Justice Week that Southern held was positive. With over 100 events on campus about the issue, Bertolino said it was a good stand by the Southern community to advance the meaning of social justice.

“It is my hope that this active involvement,” said Bertolino, “will foster ongoing conversations about critical issues of social justice, that this will be the beginning of a continued conversation, and that we will learn and grow from observing each other’s viewpoints, backgrounds and experiences.”

Another issue President Bertolino highlighted in his dialogue was the issue of Southern being one of the greenest colleges in the nation, by the Princeton Review. He said they recognized Southern’s active commitment to sustainability of all its forms.

Next fall, Bertolino said Southern will pilot with Housatonic Community College. He said this can produce an excellent source for enrollment. Essentially, Bertolino said Southern would work with Housatonic as an academic pathway for students.

“These students will have the opportunity to be a part of two communities simultaneously, easily making the transition,” said Bertolino. “This program can really be a win-win for both institutions.”

The graduate prioritization program is another topic Bertolino talked about during his dialogue. This program was started about two years ago, and is now on the move again. Bertolino said SCSU has formatted a working group constructed by graduate dean, Christine Broadbridge and graduate studies coordinator, Lee DeLisle.

“[They] have assembled a working group,” said Bertolino, “with primary membership from the graduate council executive committee…that will talk to the dean about steps that have already been taken and then recommend future planning efforts.”

Obiageli Okwuka, a professor in the public health department, said the dialogue was very encouraging. She added that the university needs the partnership with the President to make the university progress. She added without the partnership, there is no school.
“It is very transparent,” said Okwuka. “I think it is going to move our university forward.”

President Bertolino essentially discussed important issues as they pertain to Southern, and took questions toward the end of his dialogue. This is always important for the President of a university to do, since it makes all faculty and staff feel welcomed.

“I like to remind you that,” said Bertolino, “I’ve been very encouraged by the energy, and the creativity and the commitment and talking about a lot of the key priorities moving forward.”

Photo Credit: Alex Palmieri


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