SUNY Cortland is restructuring its communications and admissions operations behind a focused effort to maintain strong, high-quality student enrollment in the face of statewide demographic and economic challenges.
The re-organization, accomplished by redirecting existing resources and personnel, will unify the College’s diverse communications functions to better serve the public, SUNY Cortland alumni and the campus community. It will enhance the College’s ability to market itself as an engaging campus dedicated to academic excellence, transformational education and physical, mental and community well being.
Gradin Avery, former associate provost for enrollment management and marketing, has joined the College’s Division of Institutional Advancement with the new title of associate vice president for communications. Mark Yacavone ’94, former director of admissions, was named to the new position of assistant vice president for enrollment management.
Both changes were effective Feb. 1.
Neither administrator’s current positions will be filled, enabling the College to improve the effectiveness of its operations with little additional cost. As part of the restructuring, the College’s marketing function will be separated from enrollment management and the Division of Academic Affairs. It will be joined, under Avery, with SUNY Cortland’s public relations, sports information, publications and electronic media functions in Institutional Advancement.
“This restructuring will enable the College to coordinate the growing number of ways it communicates with potential students, the general public and the SUNY Cortland community,” SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “It will help us tell the exciting and constantly evolving story of the College in more engaging and effective ways.”
In his new role, Avery oversees the Public Relations Office, the Publications and Electronic Media Office and the College’s various marketing efforts. He reports to Vice President for Institutional Advancement Kimberly Pietro, and will be a member of her cabinet. Previously, he reported to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Mark Prus.
"Gradin will help guide our campus-wide communication and publication strategies as we look to enhance our marketing efforts,” Pietro said. “His leadership will assist the Division of Institutional Advancement as we look to connect with our colleagues across campus and throughout the SUNY system, engage current and future students, and deepen our relationship with alumni.”
Yacavone, in his new role, has responsibility for both admissions and student financial aid. He now sits as a member of the Provost’s Cabinet, where he will maintain the collaborative planning process needed to meet student enrollment needs.
Although SUNY Cortland’s enrollment remains strong, competition among colleges is growing as the number of high school graduates in New York State continues to decline. In addition, all traditional colleges now face challenges from the growth of online universities, changing student demographic profiles, evolving workforce needs and changes in the way many families, businesses and professions view the value of higher education.
Avery, an 18-year College employee, served as associate provost for enrollment management since 2005 and added marketing to his title in 2009. As head of the enrollment management operation, he was responsible for graduate and undergraduate admissions, financial aid and marketing. He served as interim associate provost for enrollment management from 2004 to 2005 before his formal appointment to the job following a national search.
Avery joined SUNY Cortland in 1995 as admissions director. A native of Little Falls, N.Y., Avery earned an associate’s degree in behavioral sciences from Herkimer County Community College, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from SUNY Albany and a master’s degree in counseling services from SUNY Oswego. He began his professional career as a New York State Division for Youth recreation program leader at a secure youth facility in Harlem Valley, N.Y.
Yacavone, a 16-year College employee, had directed admissions since 2005. A Homer, N.Y., native, he earned an associate’s degree in general studies from Onondaga Community College and a bachelor’s degree in health science from SUNY Cortland. He has a master’s degree in education from Alfred University, and was a health educator for the SUNY College of Technology at Alfred for more than three years.