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Dr Hubert Keen, Pres Farmingdale College
May 21, 2010 @ 12:00 am EDT
Our speaker this morning was Dr Hubert Keen President of Farmingdale College. We asked him to speak to our group and tell us what challenges and opportrunities the college faces.
According to Dr Keen only 32% of the school’s budget comes from state funding and that is down from 80% just a few years ago and it will continue to diminish. The upside is that the college is free to enter into partnerships with business. These partnerships create industry specific programs that provide cash for the college.
In the past there was only a miniscule amount of charitable funding that was available to the college. Over recent years that source has grown, and it will have to continue to grow.
President Keen told us that people will occassionally ask if they still teach farming at the school. That got a chuckle out of a few people in the audience because there hasn’t been a moooo heard on the campus in 30 years. There were two professors in the audience that more clearly demonstrated that the school was more rooted in current technology. One of them was conducting work in fuel cell design and innovation, the other was in bio-science. Solar technology is another field of work that has been part of the curriculum for years and it is the largest in the state system. Professor Tawflik told us about work being done bio-gasification, and some of the potential benefits of that work.
Misconceptions about the school include the idea that most degrees are associate degrees. That is not true. In addition the age make up of the student body has become more typical of other colleges. That is the 17 to 24 year olds, while still having an older age group of students. Last year they enrolled 10,000 students.
There is a very ambitious building program under way spanning a 6 year period to the tune of $190 million. These buildings are being built to the Silver rating of the of the LEEDS building codes. As usual the Q&A was lively.