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Beginning in the spring of 2020, SUNY Empire State College will offer a Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies program giving students the opportunity become a Credentialed Alcoholism Substance Abuse Counselor in New York State.

The first-of-its-kind degree program is an effort to meet demand for substance abuse counselors across the state from the nationwide opioid epidemic.

Department Chair of Health and Human Services at SUNY Empire Talia MacMillan said the program is to offer students a chance to specialize in an area lacking the workforce it needs.

“Unfortunately this is a growing job market,” MacMilan said. “Every 11 minutes someone overdoses and estimates say only 18 to 20 percent of those who need treatment are getting it.”

She said college administration heard from students and faculty alike about the desire for the program and increased specificity around addiction treatment.

The program will have a mix of theory and hands-on experience that’s flexible and can meet the needs of new students and others who may be coming in with experience already but aren’t certified, according to MacMilan.

She said her and other faculty are expecting somewhere between 70 and 90 students in the first year across the full-time, part-time and online options.

Record-breaking scholarship raised

Skidmore College’s 40th annual Palamountain Benefit raised a record-breaking $327,560 this year, beating last year’s total by nearly $10,000.

The scholarship, in the name of Skidmore’s late president and his wife Joseph C. and Anne T. Palamountain, has provided more than 400 scholarships for Skidmore College students since its inception in 1979, according to a release from the college.

Nkosingiphile “NK” Nonhlakanipho Mabaso, who graduated from Skidmore earlier this year, received the sixth award at the event and talked about how much of a difference the scholarship made in her life.

“All of you are here out of your own kindness, love, support, faith, optimism and hope for others,” Mabaso said. “I am honored beyond belief.”

SUNY Empire names permanent provost

Meg Benke has been named as SUNY Empire’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs after an interim term in the position.

Benke has held several leadership positions in the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and advised the Board of Regents Advisory Council on a variety of topics, according to a release from the college.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be of continuing service to SUNY Empire State College,” Benke said in a realease. “I look forward to working with Jim Malatras, my colleagues in the Office of Academic Affairs and the faculty and, most importantly, the students as we work to improve the education we provide them each and every day.”

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Samuel Northrop is the education reporter for The Post-Star. He can be reached at snorthrop@poststar.com.

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