SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative

SBA2.jpgWe at ESF have been honored, six years running, to be a partner and to host the graduation program for the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative.  My congratulations to the SBA Syracuse District Office team led by our friend and colleague, B.J. Paprocki, to instructor, John Liddy, and to all of this year’s graduates!

Emerging Leaders is an intensive seven-month, executive entrepreneurship education series now available in 51 cities and communities across the United States.

Emerging Leaders seeks to accelerate growth of high potential small businesses located in America’s cities.  Developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Emerging Leaders offers qualified business owners powerful benefits including innovative strategies to grow, acquire financing, access new markets and leverage networking.

We all look forward to the 2017 class and program.

Chuck Spuches

Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board 50th Anniversary Meeting


David Bottar, Executive Director, CNY RPDB.

I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board’s 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting (Friday, October 28, 2016) at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown Hotel (please see related post about the full restored Hotel Syracuse).  Congratulations to Executive Director, David V. Bottar, and all of the CNY RPDB team!  Learn more at  CNY RPDB

Chuck Spuches




Go green and sustainable: Join us in March at Hotel Syracuse!


The magnificent, fully restored Hotel Syracuse, now the Marriott Syracuse – Downtown!

The New York State Green Building Conference (NYS GBC) has become the premier green building conference in the Northeast!  Thanks go to everyone involved and especially to our dedicated and progressive advisory council members who work on the conference year-round and who have fostered a collaborative and visionary spirit for over fifteen years. Last year’s conference attracted participants representing 8 states and 31 counties across New York State. Conference participants represented many roles from many industries including architecture, engineering, construction, consulting, deconstruction, landscape architecture, government, higher education, K-12 education, economic development, community planning and more.  .

Please learn more about how you can participate and/or sponsor this year’s conference at the program web site

I’d like to give a shout-out to one of our newer advisory council members, Nicole Schuster. Nicole is an architect in private practice (AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CPHC) and president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) CNY Chapter.  We in Syracuse and Central New York all have a stake in the results of the ongoing Interstate 81 Viaduct Project.  Nicole’s recent Op-ed is one of the most succinct and inspiring perspectives on this ongoing dialogue: Architects: We need big ideas, not a bigger Interstate 81.  Thank you, Nicole, for your vision and your leadership.

Please join us in March 30-31, 2017 at the historic Hotel Syracuse, now the Marriott Syracuse – Downtown!

Chuck Spuches

9th Annual NYS Biotechnology Symposium

Planning is well under way for the 9th Annual NYS Biotechnology Symposium to be held May 18-19, 2017 on the ESF campus. 


Symposium advisory council members, Dr. Tom Amidon (SUNY ESF), Mr Scott MacFarlane (SUNY Upstate Medical University), and Dr. Lee Newman (SUNY ESF). The Council includes leaders from  ESF, Upstate, Cornell University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Syracuse University, NYSERDA – and other organizations!

 Learn more about planning, participating and sponsoring at the program web site.  I also invite you to learn more about Upstate Medical University’s new hub center for industry-university collaborations and precision medicine laboratory at the CNY Biotech Accelerator.

You may also follow this link to a recent article about the new $5.4 million Medical Innovation and Novel Discovery Center, or Upstate MIND!

Make plans now to join us!

Chuck Spuches

ESF Open Academy Seminar

Please join us for a seminar series intended to serve our campus commitment to establish an ESF Open Academy and Teaching & Learning Collaboratory.

 Register now (for planning and preparation purposes):

Dr. Don Harter, Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University

11:00 AM – 12:20 PM (College Hour), Thursday, October 27, 2016

Outreach Training Room, Gateway Center (240)

Dr. Harter will dialogue with us about Syracuse University’s experience with 2U, an organization that “partners with top-tier universities to create online degree programs that are equal to — or better than — traditional programs, with fully integrated student and faculty experiences.”  Don is Associate Dean for Masters Programs and Associate Professor of MIS at the Whitman School.  He holds a degree from Michigan State University in mathematics and statistics, an MBA from Ohio  University, and a Ph.D. in management information systems from Carnegie Mellon University.

This and additional seminars will focus on online enabled education best practices,  instructional models, course development processes, and related program/administrative dimensions.

Thank you!

Chuck Spuches, ESF Outreach

Our intention…


The purpose of this and additional seminars is to have our faculty and campus community benefit from others who have demonstrated expertise and success in online-enabled learning environments, and in related faculty and program support.  By engaging these individuals and organizations, we will create a shared understanding of the nature of online-enabled education, and we will further  generate faculty- , student- and stakeholder-driven policy and operating principles for an Open Academy and a Teaching Collaboratory that advance ESF’s online-enabled education goals.

Our seminar series and related efforts will explore the many dimensions of online-enabled education such as faculty development, best instructional practices, priority setting, intellectual property, universal design for accessibility, access to learning resources, assessment, and more.


To support ESF’s online-enabled education efforts, we were successful in a competitive SUNY granting process and have received a SUNY Expanded Investment and Performance Fund grant.  The executive summary is available here.

Here are two related blog posts…

Save the Date…

Dr. Scott Turner, Chair, President’s Advisory Group: Needs and Opportunities for Online Content, 12:00 – 1:00 PM, Friday, November 4, 2016

Thank you for registering for the Thursday, October 27, 2016 seminar with Dr. Don Harter!


ESF Hosts NYS Education’s Smart Scholars Regional Meeting

ESF proudly hosted the recent New York State Education Department’s Smart Scholars Early College High School Western-Central Regional Meeting

Organized and hosted by Evelyn Maclutsky, Smart Scholars ECHS Program, NYSED, along with Lynanne DeTore, Vice Principal at Nottingham High School (Syracuse City School District), and Dr. Valerie Luzadis, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President at SUNY ESF.

Along with Evelyn Maclutsky, Jill Lansing, Assistant Vice Chancellor of SUNY, and teams from Buffalo NYSED2.jpgCity School District,  Buffalo State College, Erie Community College, Niagara Falls City School District, Niagara University,  Rochester City School District, Monroe Community College, St. John Fisher College, Syracuse City School District, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, and Onondaga Community College gathered to share program highlights, best practices, and next steps in this incredibly important and successful initiative.

As part of the program, Dr. Tom Amidon, Professor of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering at ESF discussed biofuels and biotechnology, and Fil Larosa, Plant Utilities Engineer at ESF, provided a tour and discussion of the Gateway Center’s innovative combined heat and power system.

All of us at ESF are proud of our partnership with the Syracuse City School District and of all our Smart Scholars colleagues.  Thanks and congratulations to everyone involved and to Katherina Searing and the ESF Outreach staff for their leadership and support!

Dr. Chuck Spuches, ESF Outreach

NYC Students do SCIENCE in Syracuse

For the second summer, high school students from New York City spent a week at ESF this immersing themselves in hands-on science.

The students co08-05-seome to ESF through the New York City-based non-profit organization, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Scholars (SEO).  Participating students investigated a number of topics including renewable energy, participated in a nature hike at Clarks Reservation paying particular notice to the history and geology of the park, learned about the ecology of Onondaga Lake and area streams, and discussed the impact of invasive species on native plants and animals.

The SEO scholars worked with the ESF SCIENCE (Summer Camps Investigating Ecology in Neighborhood and City Environments) program, and the ESF Science Corps who offer a series of weeklong camps through the summer in collaboration with various public, private and community-based organizations. Along with the Science Corps’ undergraduate and graduate student staff, SEO students worked with Professor Emanuel Carter and other ESF faculty and staff.

Visit the ESF Outreach web to learn about ESF SCIENCE and read a related article here.

Dr. James Gibbs: Restoring the Giant Tortoise Dynasties of the Galapagos

Dr. Don Leopold has announced this Fall’s exciting Dale Travis Lecture featuring ESF’s Dr. James Gibbs.


eCybermission Virtual Science Fair

I am honored that ESF is one of three SUNY campuses to be invited to partner with the SUNY system and the New York Academy of Sciences in a pilot project funded, in part, by the Army Educational Opportunity Program (AEOP) and the Battelle Memorial Institute.

Consistent with our longstanding commitment to engage middle school students in STEM education and career pathways, the eCybermission program is a virtual science fair that engages students in STEM fields by asking them to identify and propose a solution to a problem in their own community.

Syracuse City School District (SCSD) 8th grade students will work in teams of 3 or 4 students, under the Chrissupervision of their teacher and a team mentor (graduate student), to develop and submit a project.  That project, submitted online, will be judged and will compete for state, regional, and national recognition and rewards.

Our goal is to engage seven ESF graduate students to volunteer as mentors for these teams.  Mentoring will entail 1.5 – 2 hours generally every other week from the beginning of October to the end of February. Mentors will visit our partner school to work with the students and provide guidance on their projects. On non-school visit weeks, mentors may, for example, respond to e-mails, and direct students toward appropriate resources.

Teams and projects will be registered in December and submitted by mid-February 2017.  This will result in a time commitment of approximately 30-35 total hours.  Transportation costs will be provided (or we will help to arrange transportation to the school and back to campus).

Some examples of successful projects from previous years include: Designing a hearing device to notify hearing-impaired people of danger; Removal of mosquitoes without chemical pesticides; and Treating wounds in a post-antibiotic-resistant world.

I am very excited for this opportunity to engage and inspire SCSD students in STEM, along with the opportunity to have our graduate students serve as part of the ESF Science Corps and to work as front-line role models and mentors for young people in our community.

Thanks go to the ESF Graduate Student Association (especially Tyler Shields and Caitlin Slife), Dr. Beth Folta (EFB), Tim Pede (environmental engineering Ph.D. student), the SCSD, and the Outreach team for all of their thoughtful, capable and active support – Thank You!

Dr. Chuck Spuches, ESF Outreach


ESF Graduate Students:  As a first step, please e-mail me ( and Dan Collins ( to let us know of your interest. We will hold an information session(s) in the next week.

ESF Open Academy: Fall 2016 Update

As we embark on a new academic year, this is an update on the status of ESF’s Open Academy (Announcing the ESF Open Academy and Teaching & Learning Collaboratory, Posted on May 12, 2016).

OAOur efforts are supported, in part, by a SUNY Investment Fund grant (Chancellor Announces Funding in State of University Address, Posted on January 25, 2016).  An important dimension of this grant and related activities entails working through a SUN-facilitated “Open SUNY Institutional Readiness” process.  This process is a system-wide effort designed to assist campus leadership teams to assess and improve resources, processes and policies necessary to successfully meet our own and SUNY’s aspirations strengthen online-enabled learning opportunities for current and future students. Among our next steps, we will reconvene the ESF leadership team to discuss our progress and to prepare for the third phase of this process.

We are also pursuing several projects that have emerged as pilot Open Academy initiatives. These projects will both inform and advance our Open Academy efforts, and include

  • SUNY Grand Challenge: Water Course.  This SUNY-led initiative is envisioned as a collaborative online-enabled course intended to serve students throughout SUNY and beyond.  Faculty from several SUNY campuses (currently Binghamton, Buffalo, Stonybrook, Albany, and ESF) are collaborating.
  • Advanced Certificate: Leadership for Environmental Problem-Solving and Public Engagement. This is a new fully online advanced certificate based upon the College’s long-standing advanced certificate in Environmental Decision Making (EDM) offered by the Environmental Studies Academic Department.
  • SUNY SPARE (Solar Power as Renewable Energy). We developed SPARE, with support from a Congressional Earmark grant, and have offered it as a four-day face-to-face workshop for over a decade.  This project entails adapting this non-credit professional development program, with its focus on system design and applications for grid-connected and off-grid photovoltaic (PV) systems, to an online-enabled approach.
  • eCybermission Online Science Fair.  Consistent with our longstanding commitment to engage middle school students in STEM education and careers, eCybermission is a virtual science fair that engages students in STEM fields by asking them to identify and propose a solution to a problem in their own community. See related post.
  • COIL (Center for Collaborative Online International Learning).  ESF has committed to re-engaging in the COIL program that supports international co-teaching opportunities.

I welcome and look forward to your further thoughts and questions – thank you.

Chuck Spuches