December 19, 2013
Dr. Stephen K. Astmann
FM’s campus is a rural campus straddling the county line and located between the urban areas of Johnstown/Gloversville and Amsterdam. However, in spite of its somewhat remote location, FM is well connected by its many professional affiliations. Our faculty and staff belong collectively to over 100 professional organizations which provide workshops, meetings, seminars, speeches, and personal interaction opportunities. These one, or multiple day, conferences sharpen skills and enhance awareness of current issues, trends, and specific programs for our staff in their respective fields.
Virtually, all areas of campus activity are represented by memberships in and participation in the activities of these organizations including the President’s Office, Buildings and Grounds, the Registrar, all the academic disciplines, Financial Aid, the Library, Business Office, Student Affairs, instructional technology, and others. Access to professional publications and conferences gives participants an important opportunity to be aware of trends and practices in their fields. This allows our campus to be in the vital mainstream rather than be trapped in backwater, stagnant areas.
Professor Laurie Freeman actively reaches out to her colleagues stating, “I go to professional meetings whenever I can because I’m addicted to learning. I bring back fresh ideas to use not only in classes but also in committees on campus. In addition, I make valuable connections with professionals at other institutions. I keep in contact with these colleagues and call on their collective expertise when I’m working on a project at FM.”
Some random examples of organizations represented include the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Professional Association of Volleyball Officials, American Nurses Association, Academy of American Poets, Association of Physical Plant Administrators, American Library Association, Community College Business Officers Association, American Counseling Association, and the Fulton County Bar Association.
The range is fascinatingly broad and reflects the complexity of the mission and operation of the College.
The rewards of participation in these organizations enrich the participants, our students, and the two counties in a direct way. FM financially supports this participation because it is critical to institutional health. Our teaching and support staffs need to leave campus occasionally to gain a sharpened, broader perspective on their fields.
President Dustin Swanger notes, “We encourage and support faculty and staff to participate in local, national, and international organizations for professional development as well as to share their expertise with communities and colleagues around the world.”
It’s important to be aware of the fact FM has also hosted professional meetings thereby offering our own campus as a source of growth for others. Recently we hosted conferences involving library, technology, and biology instruction at two-year colleges, and tutoring approaches for students and faculty.
Route 67 connects to the rest of the world. It is to the benefit of all for us to go “on the road” and keep us meaningfully connected to our local, state, national, and international venues. As you glance at our campus when passing by on Route 67, keep in mind that there’s much more than meets the eye.
Dr. Stephen K. Astmann is an Adjunct English Instructor at FM.