A Blossoming Binghamton University

By Erika Mahoney

September 14, 2012 Updated Sep 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As part of SUNY 2020, Binghamton University is growing in a big way through the Challenge Grant.

This fall, 60 new faculty members joined the campus.

Assistant History Professor Kent Schull is one of those new hires.

While he says Binghamton is quite different from his home, he says the new job is everything he has been looking for.

"I'm coming from Memphis, Tennessee, at this point, and I'm adjusting well," said Kent. "Students seem really engaged, I'm really excited about how willing they are to talk."

"That is what is exciting, you know, 60 brand new people on campus with different experiences from across the world," said BU President Harvey Stenger. "It is going to make this a much more vibrant community and vibrant campus."

Over the next five years, the goal of the university is to add 150 faculty members and 2,000 students. Stenger says it is a big transformation, but that the university is ready for it.

"I think people always wonder, do you have everything ready for this growth, do you have enough classrooms, do you have enough offices, do you have enough residence halls?" said Stenger. "And the answer is 'yes,' we've really been planning the physical structure around this since 2006."

The goal of the growth is to lower class size while adding more courses.

"I think it's great to have more classes, more options, especially because I'm not sure what I want to do," said sophomore Mark Carotenuto. "And more opportunities could really help me out."

Opportunities for the students, but also the new faculty.

"The community itself is also integrated with the university in terms of jobs, in terms of the culture and the education," said Kent. "My kids are all going to be able to walk to school from where they live. It's a small, safe area, and people have been incredibly friendly to us."

The hiring process for next year has already begun, with a plan to add 30 more faculty members.