Academic Catalog 2015-2016 
    Feb 22, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Support and Services

Academic Support and Services

Academic Affairs

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of the Faculty: Therese McCarty, Feigenbaum Hall, (518) 388-6102

Dean of Academic Departments and Programs: Wendy Sternberg, Science & Engineering S-100, (518) 388-6233

Dean of Studies: Mark Wunderlich, Science & Engineering S-100, (518) 388-6234

Dean of Academic Planning and Resources: Nic Zarrelli, Feigenbaum Hall, (518) 388-6033

Academic Affairs is responsible for the formulation of educational policy, matters involving the faculty, and all academic related processes. The Academic Affairs Office includes the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of Academic Departments and Programs, the Dean of Studies and the Dean of Academic Programming and Resources.

The Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of the Faculty has responsibility for all academic matters related to faculty and students, the curriculum, and academic budgeting. Supervisory responsibilities include, Information Technology Services, Intercollegiate Athletics, International Programs, Registrar’s Office, Schaffer Library, the Union College Academy for Lifelong Learning (UCALL), the Director of Engineering and the Director of Assessment.

The Dean of Academic Departments and Programs oversees all academic departments and interdisciplinary programs, playing a key role in faculty recruiting, curriculum development, and advising the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of the Faculty on matters associated with the review and promotion of faculty. Supervisory duties include the Director of Interdisciplinary Programs, the Director of Faculty Development, and all academic department chairs and program directors.

The Dean of Studies has responsibility for implementation of academic policies and has supervisory responsibilities that include Academic Mentoring Programs, the Academic Opportunity Program, Advising, the Common Curriculum (General Education), the Health Professions Program, the Law and Public Policy Program, Post-Baccalaureate Fellowships & Scholarships, the Scholars Program, Undergraduate Research, and the Writing Center

The Dean of Academic Planning and Resources manages academic finances and facilities, supervises the Engineering Machine Lab and supports the Vice President of Academic Affairs, other Academic Affairs’ Deans, faculty, administrators and staff within Academic Affairs on various resource matters.

Academic Achievement Office

Director: Gale Keraga, Becker Hall 104, (518) 388-6493

The office provides academic support for all students at Union to help them reach their full academic potential. A variety of programs are available to assist students in becoming stronger, more independent learners.  Individual consultations are available with the Director of Academic Achievement to help students develop a plan for success and provide support as they work towards their goals.  In addition, academic coaching and study skills development through peer mentoring is available through the Minerva Mentors program. Supplemental Instruction (SI) provides academic support for some of our traditionally challenging courses by offering optional, collaborative, peer-led study sessions. The SI program is jointly sponsored by the Union Scholars Program. The office also supports the academic progress of sophomores and returning students on academic warning.

Academic Opportunity Program/Higher Education Opportunity Program

Director: Philip Poczik, Bailey Hall 101, (518) 388-6115

The Academic Opportunity Program (AOP) and the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) have a long and proud tradition of scholarship and academic excellence, serving students for over forty-five years. Both programs offer support services to ensure academic success for a select group of students. Services include: an intensive five-week pre-first year student summer program; individualized and group tutoring; and academic, career, and financial counseling.


Director: Professor Sarah Watkins (Classics), Lamont House 204,  (518) 388-6764

Academic advising is central to the mission of a liberal arts college such as Union and is a key faculty responsibility. Union students enjoy a close working relationship with the faculty advisors who encourage and assist their advisees to make informed choices that maximize the benefits of a liberal arts education. First-year students are assigned advisors by the Dean of Studies while upper-class advisors are chosen by the student. Students may request a change of advisor at any time through the Dean of Studies office. Additional information on advising can be obtained on the advising website.

The College also has a peer mentoring program, Minerva Mentors. For more details, contact Gale Keraga (Director of the Academic Achievement Office), (518) 388-6493.


Students interested in support services for learning disabilities should refer to “Disabilities ” in the Student Services section for additional information. Students are also encouraged to consult with the Director of Student Support Services, in the Dean of Students office.

Health Professions Program

Director: Professor Carol Weisse (Psychology), Bailey Hall 101, (518) 388-6300

The Health Professions Program at Union College is designed to advise students who are planning a career in medicine (including osteopathy, dentistry, podiatry, veterinary medicine, and other allied health professions). In addition to providing academic advising, the program works closely with students to help them identify the kinds of experiences on campus and in the community that will foster personal growth and the development of interpersonal skills necessary for a successful career in healthcare delivery.

Professional schools give no preference to any particular major when seeking candidates; therefore, Union College does not offer a “premedical” major. Although many major in the natural sciences, students are encouraged to choose a major in any field in which they are interested. Today more than ever, professional schools are searching for students who have not only mastered the sciences but who also have backgrounds that are well-rounded and diverse. Most professional schools require students to complete and do well in the following courses:

Note: Introductory Psychology or Sociology and statistics are also recommended. Some health professions programs (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing) also require additional courses such as Microbiology and Developmental Psychology as well as Human Anatomy and Physiology, the latter of which is not offered at Union but can be taken through the Hudson Mohawk Consortium at neighboring schools.

Information Technology Services

Chief Information Officer: Ellen Yu Borkowski, Peschel Computing Center, (518) 388-6293

Housed in the Stanley G. Peschel Center for Computer Science and Information Systems and the first floor of Steinmetz, Union’s Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) manages the College’s distributed network and the many computing and technology resources on the network along with voice transmissions from any College-owned location. There are more than 2,100 College-owned computers and workstations on campus, with over 700 available for student use. A high-performance computing cluster, which consists of 88 different servers and more than 1,000 individual processors, was installed in the summer of 2011 and supports research at the college. The network is the backbone for much of the computing on campus, including academic, research, and administrative work; linking classrooms, offices, laboratories, and all College-owned residence hall rooms.

More than 60 smart electronic classrooms are used to enhance the academic program. Other facilities on campus include several departmental computer labs running a variety of Windows, Macintosh, and Linux computer systems. Information Technology Services maintains a 24/7 computer lab along with computers that are fully equipped for the development of multimedia projects located in the Learning Commons (first floor of Schaffer Library). In addition, several departments and programs have installed computer facilities for specialized use by faculty and students.

Union College and Information Technology Services make computing resources available to all students. All students are entitled to an account on the academic computers, including full access to the Internet. Each student is also provided with space for a personal website and for file storage. Wireless network access is available in most buildings on campus. Additionally, all classrooms have wireless access. Outside wireless access is available in Library Plaza and the College’s outdoor classroom. Union College has partnered with Apogee to provide high-speed internet access through the residential network with 24/7 customer support. There are also many other resources dedicated to assist students. Assistance with hardware and software problems is provided by USTAR, the student-run technical support program providing assistance to students by students. Full-time Help Desk personnel are also available to provide assistance. Additional information including network access, assistance, training, computing policies & forms can be obtained from the ITS website.

Language Center

Director: Audrey Sartiaux; Schaffer Library, (518) 388-8363

The Language Center is open to all students with a valid Union ID. The Center is divided into a main lab, a collaborative workspace, and a reception/social space. The main lab contains a Smartboard, 15 iMac computers with dual boot OSX/Windows 7 and integrated webcams. Microsoft Office 2011 and Skype are installed on all machines. The collaborative workspace area contains 5 iMacs with dual boot (OSX/Windows 7) and integrated webcams, a multi-standard VCR and 2 multi-zone DVD players. Headsets with microphones are available upon request. Language methods for self-study are available for the languages taught at the college (to be used in the center only). All computers have East Asian, Slavic, and Arabic languages enabled as well as Romance Languages. Language Assistants (skilled in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish) also hold their office hours in the collaborative workspace. The Center is open during Union College academic terms. Consult the Language Center website for more information.

Prelaw Advising

Advisor: Associate Professor Bradley Hays (Political Science), (518) 388-6102

Union College provides prelaw advising to students interested in graduate legal education. As a general rule, law schools do not require a specific major but instead look for academic success in a student’s chosen academic discipline. Given the many available academic paths to law school, prelaw advising is inclusive of general curricular and extracurricular guidance, insight into the Law School Admission Test and the application process, and aid in targeting appropriate law schools for admissions.

National Fellowships and Scholarships

Director: Lynn Evans, Schaffer Library 203, (518) 388-6643

The Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships provides support to students and alumni applying for prestigious, external undergraduate and postgraduate awards. Students are recruited to apply for fellowships and scholarships months before their national deadline. During the recruitment period, the director works closely with students to understand their goals and to match opportunities to their strengths and needs.The office then oversees the application process for the appropriate awards.   Union regularly supports students for awards such as the Rhodes Scholarship, the Marshall Scholarship, the Fulbright programs, the Watson Fellowship and many more.

Registrar’s Office

Registrar: Penelope Adey, Silliman Hall, (518) 388-6109

The Office of the Registrar is responsible for overseeing the functions of online registration, maintenance of student schedules, creation of each term’s course and final exam schedules, creation of the academic calendar, assignment of classrooms, grade entry, Webadvising, rank in class, Dean’s List, academic records, certification for graduation, transcript processing, certification of eligibility for veterans’ benefits, and the maintenance of the online academic register, Acalog. The Registrar’s Office also coordinates the reporting of student enrollment status and degree verification to the National Student Clearinghouse, which in turn, reports to the National Student Loan Data System.  For additional information, please visit our website.

Schaffer Library

College Librarian: Frances Maloy, (518) 388-6277

Schaffer Library provides print and electronic information resources in a comfortable environment for reading, writing and conducting research. The library is open extended hours during the term and 24 hours/day, 7 days/week during exams. A friendly and knowledgeable staff assists the campus community with determining information needs, providing the necessary skills to effectively and efficiently find information, and evaluating those resources in an appropriate and ethical manner. The library has quiet study spaces, collaborative learning spaces (the “Learning Commons”) and production spaces furnished with both Apple and Windows workstations with a variety of software tools, scanners, printers, and other hardware. The Adirondack Research Library, located 4 miles from campus in the Kelly Adirondack Center, houses an extensive collection on the 20th century wilderness movement in New York State’s Adirondack Park. The Special Collections and Archives Department houses rare and unique materials that document the College’s history along with rare books and prints that are available for research upon request. The Mandeville Gallery, the College’s art collection and exhibitions program, is also managed by the Schaffer Library. Refer to the Schaffer Library website for additional information.

Undergraduate Research

Director: Associate Professor Rebecca Cortez, Steinmetz Hall 237, (518) 388-8784

Students are encouraged to explore the many different ways that student-faculty collaborative scholarly activity is promoted at Union. All students complete a Sophomore or Scholars Research Seminar as part of the Common Curriculum. There are generous funds available to students for research opportunities including the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund, which provides funds to students who work on independent projects with a sponsoring faculty member. The Student Research Grant program provides financial support for students for sophomore research project, practicum and senior thesis/project expenses. In addition, Union annually sends students to professional society meetings and to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research to present their research results. More than 500 students take part in the annual Steinmetz Symposium, a celebration of student scholarly work, held in early May. Students communicate the results of their scholarly efforts through oral presentations, exhibits, posters, and performances.

Writing Center

Director: Joseph Johnson, Schaffer Library 226, (518) 388-6085

The Writing Center offers help to Union students with all forms of writing: essays, reports, research papers, theses, personal statements, etc. The director and trained tutors are available to work with students to plan, organize, revise, or edit their writing to improve its structure, style, clarity, or overall effectiveness. Supporting the College’s mission to improve students’ writing and critical thinking skills, the Writing Center provides assistance to students of all ability levels and within all disciplines. Open afternoons and evenings from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon, no appointment is necessary.