When you think of the word “technology,” you might picture an iPhone or a computer or perhaps a machine in a factory. But technology—in its broadest sense—is the application of knowledge for a practical purpose. SUNY Oswego was founded on a similar pedagogical approach when college founder Edward Austin Sheldon introduced object learning and Pestalozzian-style teaching that focused on the uniqueness of each student learner and students using all of their senses to engage their brains. He sought to raise the institution to “its highest degree of usefulness.”
Today, we continue to encourage our students to apply their learning in a variety of settings and in very tangible ways. This kind of minds-on, hands-on learning bridges the gap between theoretical understanding with practical knowledge that prepares our students to be productive employees in their chosen professions and civic agents in their communities. We have a long-established strength in technology education (formerly industrial arts) and have hosted the annual Technology Conference for educators from across New York for the past 79 years. We introduced the multidisciplinary master’s degree in human-computer interaction—the first such program offered in the state. More recently, we are developing curriculum to incorporate more virtual reality/augmented reality, robotics, machine-learning, wireless and sensor technologies, and other emerging areas—with our students graduating with multiple job offers in hand.
As a campus, we work hard to ensure that our classrooms are equipped with the latest technologies and tools to produce graduates who enter the workforce ready to contribute. SUNY Oswego’s Technology Initiative Project grants fund academic initiatives that relate to improving student learning through the use of technology, primarily via innovative or trial initiatives. Recent examples include communication studies acquiring a portable television broadcast system, providing students real-world experience in broadcast journalism; new digital editing computers for the cinema and screen studies editing and post production lab; creation of a hybrid makerspace for students of studio and graphic design; and iPads to assist the Theatre Department’s move to a digital format to manage all productions.
Technology is changing the way every industry works. In this issue of OSWEGO Alumni Magazine, we look at how technology intersects with a variety of career fields. From artists to marketers to educators, Oswego alumni are adopting technologies to innovate and move their careers—and society—forward. Some alumni such as digital marketing entrepreneur Jeff Ragovin ’00 have the vision to predict what the “next big thing” is. Read about his remarkable success with the various marketing waves enabled by new technologies in a story on page 28.
Like the many alumni included in this issue, we keep an eye on the future, anticipating what new challenge or opportunity waits around the next bend. Just as technologies have developed on the inventions that came before, we will use our past success to fuel our future, always focusing on knowledge that will be useful in lighting the path to wisdom.
Deborah F. Stanley, President