Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Paul Smith’s president: The college has no plans to close

A message from Dan Kelting, interim president of Paul Smith’s College:

Last night an erroneous news story circulated that Paul Smith’s College was tasked with creating a “closing plan.”

Let me be clear, Paul Smith’s College has no plans to close. In fact, we continue to strengthen our world-class programs, like culinary, forestry, and climate/sustainability and are excited to welcome our incoming and returning students this fall.

In August 2022, like many other colleges and universities, Paul Smith’s College was a target of a cyberattack that impacted many of our IT systems, including financial aid. Those systems have been rebuilt to state-of-the-art standards. In January 2023, an independent expert confirmed that the improved cyber security infrastructure of Paul Smith’s College is sound.

However, because of the cyberattack Federal Student Aid put the college on Heightened Cash Monitoring (HCM)—a more robust review of our financial aid programs. This triggered an automatic process with our accreditor, Middle States, to require what is known as a “teach out” plan.

This process, merely a precaution, requires us to ensure that in the drastic event we needed to close, that we would have a plan to ensure every student had options to complete their education. The details of the plan, once approved, would be shared publicly but includes a comprehensive communication plan for all stakeholders.

Let me reiterate, we have no plans to close. Just two weeks ago, the New York State Education program approved our new Associates in eSports Management. We expanded our culinary program to Manhattan with a new certificate program. We are preparing to undergo a major infrastructure project to address outdated piping. We continue to recruit the next class of Smitties well beyond next year. And with all of this, we continue to show our North Country grit.

We are near the end of another academic year, with capstone presentations, commencement, and other activities right around the corner. This should be a celebratory time and hope that we rally together as a campus.

Paul Smith’s Forever.

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com

5 Responses

  1. Susan Day Fuller says:

    North Country grit. Yes! Thank you for this encouraging, informative, fact-based correction to this irresponsible reporter’s attempt to create another titillating “bad news rumor about the Adirondacks” stories. What can folks who want to demonstrate our support of the wonderful resource PSC is, do to help?

    • Pablo Rodriguez says:

      That wasn’t a “fact-based correction.” It was an email from the college’s interim president. The news story in question said the same things but without a spin. It also wasn’t “an erroneous news story that circulated,” but an article published in the Adirondack Explorer, an environmental publication based in Saranac Lake. You will note that the email from Kelting doesn’t say what the error(s) were. Maybe a second email could point those out? Based on his email, I couldn’t find any.

      • Robert says:

        I wholly agree; after a couple of rereads the original article I can’t find any falsifications (nor did I expect to). I would image people were reading headlines on Facebook made their own quick assumptions.

        Meanwhile the Enterprise has a piece on the college today, which includes a detail that faculty are effectively under a gag order relating to anything outside their specific areas of scholarship. Between that, upcoming layoffs and fall numbers, I’m more inclined to trust independent reporting than anything that comes from the college.

  2. Richard Monroe says:

    My son & daughter-in-law to be are both PSC grads. They have each landed fantastic private sector jobs in their chosen environmentally related fields, earning great salaries, doing what they love, with great benefit packages. They each already make more money than Mom & Dad EVER did! Supporting our son’s decision to go there was one of our family’s greatest decisions. Ever. Period.

  3. louis curth says:

    Not too long after we were settled-in at Paul Smith’s College, my classmates and I assembled in the old science hall for “Introduction to Forestry” class. Our colorful instructor, Gould Hoyt, entered, strode up front to the chalk board and, in huge capital letters, scrawled the word “IMPROVISE”.

    That one word seems to capture the central lesson that Paul Smith’s College has survived by, and has impressed on so many of us who have benefitted greatly from the PSC practical, hands-on education we received. It is also why we remain loyal supporters of PSC despite the college’s seemingly endless struggles to remain viable.

    With this current financial proposal, As I read it, PSC will be acquired by a city based job training entity called Fedcap Group. It may be a good option – or maybe not. I remain hopeful, but suspicious, due to the lack of details and transparency about this proposal. For that reason, I welcome the reporting of Jim Odato doing what he does so well – investigate, fact check, and report back to us what he finds…

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